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Tuesday, 04 March 2014

Arsenal, Mourinho, Pardew, City and Liverpool: Five things we learned this week in the Premier League

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Week 28 in the Barclays Premier League proved to be an eventful one, especially for Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew.

The former West Ham and Reading boss used his head - but in the wrong way - against Hull City's David Meyler and will now surely have the book thrown at him by the FA. 

Elsewhere Arsenal lost at Stoke, again, while Chelsea extended their gap at the top thanks to a second half hat-trick by Andre Schurlle.

But here is what we learned this week:

1. Arsenal simply cannot compete against Stoke at the Britannia

Wenger's record at the Britannia is awful. It's like that god-awful Peter Andre track Mysterious Girl. No matter what you do there's simply no getting away from it, or way of overcoming it. Straight from the kick off you could tell that Arsenal weren't up for it. Appealing for every decision and dropping their heads. It was a soft penalty to concede but this was their chance to prove they had the stomach for a title fight.

Pardew nut2. Alan Pardew needs help

Just when you think you have seen it all in football, up steps Alan Pardew with a Glasgow kiss. A manager is expected to set an example, not try to stick the nut on an opposing player! How Newcastle United players are supposed to respect him when he tries to discipline them now I'll never know. But of course this isn't the first time Pardew's emotions have boiled over on the touchline. He's had run-ins with Arsene Wenger, Martin O'Neill and Manuel Pellegrini. He needs anger management. Although the club fined him £100,000, he is a very lucky boy still to have a job.

3. Mourinho is still the Special One

Who needs long-winded speeches at half-time to motivate your players? Jose Mourinho certainly doesn't. After a drab first half at Fulham, Mourinho entered the dressing room and simply said "This is your ****, sort it out." And they did! Schurlle bagged a hat-trick and Hazard was simply unplayable again. If Torres could actually hit the target, Chelsea could have scored one of the goals of the season thanks to Hazard's inventiveness down the wing.

4. Form is temporary, class is permanent

Manchester City won the first silverware of the season on Sunday by coming from behind to beat Sunderland in the Capital One Cup, but that was only thanks to two moments of sheer brilliance from Yaya Toure and Samir Nasri. The former Barcelona and Arsenal midfielders were arguably City's two worst players in a poor first half for the champions elect, but they proved their class with two exceptional goals. Toure's came out on nowhere and changed the game, while Nasri's was a picture book strike. Can anyone stop them from completing the Treble?

5. Liverpool are genuine title contenders

Brendan Rodgers' men moved up to second in the table following Arsenal's defeat at Stoke and showed they have what it takes to win the league. They have won only once at Southampton in the past 15 years but they wiped the floor with Pochettino's men, with Suarez scoring his 62nd top flight goal in 100 Premier League games. Liverpool also managed a rare clean sheet. It's been 24 years since Liverpool were last crowned champions of England. Will they be the team to take the title off their old foes Manchester United?

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