VAR rage returns – 5 things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

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Nick Purewal
·3-min read
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Leeds provided a reminder that Manchester City are still fallible, Chelsea found full attacking fluency and West Ham showed they are here to stay in the top-four race.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from the weekend’s Premier League action.

Pundits rail against latest VAR controversy

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Roy Keane and Micah Richards finally found something to agree on on Sunday – that video refereeing is ruining football. Edinson Cavani had a goal chalked off thanks to Scott McTominay’s adjudged foul on Son Heung-min, in a VAR decision that had the TV pundits up in arms. An incensed Keane branded Son’s actions “embarrassing” amid a theatrical fall to the ground after minimal contact from McTominay. And Richards lamented an “absolutely ridiculous” decision. United shrugged off that setback and Son’s quickfire goal afterwards to power to a 3-1 win, with Cavani eventually on target.

Old master Bielsa teaches pupil Pep a lesson

Manchester City v Leeds United – Premier League – Etihad Stadium
Marcelo Bielsa inspired Leeds to a 2-1 win over Manchester City (Rui Vieira/PA)

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola admitted feeling “weird” this week on receiving fulsome praise from Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa. Guardiola sought the help of Bielsa at the start of his glittering managerial career and has always counted the Argentinian boss as a mentor. Runaway leaders City hosted Bielsa’s Leeds on Saturday determined to inch ever closer to a third league title in four years, but instead Guardiola’s men suffered just a second defeat in 29 matches in all competitions. Guardiola will doubtless stomach a loss to Bielsa better than to anyone else, but was left frustrated by what he deemed his side’s rare lack of creative quality.

Havertz finds his feet for Chelsea

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Germany forward Kai Havertz finally looked the full £70million part for Chelsea, claiming a goal and an assist in the Blues’ 4-1 stroll at Crystal Palace. The 21-year-old has struggled to find his niche at Stamford Bridge this term but hit top form against the Eagles. In the false nine role, Havertz linked well with Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic, who bagged two goals and stretched the defence with his searing pace. New Blues boss Thomas Tuchel immediately tightened Chelsea’s leaky defence but is yet to find regular attacking rhythm. All the ingredients blended perfectly at Selhurst Park, however, to boost the Blues in their quest for Champions League qualification.

Lingard continues to wow for West Ham

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Jesse Lingard’s superlative form since his West Ham loan switch shows no signs of abating. Frozen out at Manchester United, the England forward has now fired eight goals in nine Premier League games for the Hammers. David Moyes’ West Ham sit fourth following Sunday’s 3-2 win over Leicester. Lingard must already represent one of the signings of the season, but that claim will be impossible to doubt should the Hammers push on and seal Champions League qualification.

Newcastle still alive and kicking

Burnley v Newcastle United – Premier League – Turf Moor
Allan Saint-Maximin turned Newcastle’s fortunes around at Burnley (Stu Forster/PA)

Allan Saint-Maximin transformed relegation-battling Newcastle’s fortunes at Burnley, climbing off the bench to claim a goal and an assist in the Magpies’ 2-1 victory. The crucial win keeps Newcastle six points ahead of Fulham and outside the relegation zone. After months of recrimination and criticism of manager Steve Bruce, Newcastle continue to cling on to hopes of avoiding the drop. And Saint-Maximin’s sharp cameo at Turf Moor will leave Bruce and company in buoyant mood ahead of the final push to the end of the season.

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