Premier League, Talking Points, Frank Lampard sacked, Everton, Arsenal, Eddie Nketiah, title race, Erling Haaland, goals, Manchester City, Manchester United, Erik ten Hag, latest, updates


An unsuspecting hero emerged for Arsenal as their title bid marches on, but Erling Haaland’s return to form has no doubt struck some fear into Gunners fans.

Elsewhere, Manchester United’s glaring issue reared its ugly head again and it could prove to be the downfall of their season as Everton’s woes deepened with their latest result and forced a massive shake-up.

Foxsports.com.au breaks down all of the action in the latest edition of Premier League Talking Points!

Haaland picks up fourth hat-trick! | 00:57

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NEW HERO EMERGES AS GUNNERS’ TITLE CHARGE CONTINUES

After beating Tottenham in the North London Derby, many pundits believed it was the true sign that Arsenal were well and truly on their way to becoming Premier League champions.

That chat has only ramped up in the wake of their thrilling last-gasp victory over Manchester United in a contest eerily reminiscent of their tight tussles in the decades before when the two were often title favourites.

The Red Devils hit the lead through Marcus Rashford in the 17th minute, only for Eddie Nketiah to equalise seven minutes later.

Bukayo Saka put the Gunners in front with a stunning strike from outside the box, but Lisandro Martinez levelled the contest in the 59th minute.

United were forced to repel wave after wave of attacks from Mikel Arteta’s side, until the breakthrough was achieved in stoppage time.

Up popped Nketiah to flick home Martin Odegaard’s initial effort and send the fans at the Emirates Stadium into meltdown.

Eddie Nketiah has emerged as a surprise hero for the Gunners. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

It was Nketiah’s 18th goal in 26 starts for the Gunners and his 12th in his last 13 starts at home.

But it wasn’t just about Nketiah’s goal that has pundits singing their praises.

Instead, it was all about how Arsenal refused to slow down in their pursuit of that all-important winner.

“In years gone by, they may have run out of steam but there is a persistence about this Arsenal side and a willingness to take ownership of such testing moments,” The Athletic’s Jordan Campbell wrote.

“Whether it is Bukayo Saka, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Granit Xhaka or Eddie Nketiah, enough players are stepping up when the pressure is on.

“Arsenal managed to play like a team in a rush but also a team that knew they still had time to keep shifting the ball until the gap appeared.”

The win over United also pushed Arsenal to 50 points after 19 games.

History shows that five of the six teams to reach that point tally after the same amount of games went on to win the league title, with only Liverpool’s effort in 2018/19 the one exception.

Will Arsenal continue to trend, or will they join the Reds as the two outliers?

Eddie Nketiah’s goal record when starting is extremely impressive. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)Source: AFP

LAMPARD THE LATEST FALL GUY AS $1.2B FARCE DEEPENS

All of the reporting in the lead-up to West Ham United’s fixture against Everton centred around the future of both bosses.

A loss for either Hammers manager David Moyes or his Everton counterpart Frank Lampard would all but bring about the end of their tenures at their respective clubs.

As it transpired, a 2-0 win for West Ham consigned Everton to their sixth defeat in seven games and, as of Tuesday morning, Lampard to the unemployment queue.

Granted, Everton’s position on the ladder reflects on Lampard.

He has been the man in charge and the one tasked with getting the necessary results, a brief he has failed to achieve.

However, The Times’ Paul Joyce notes the Toffees malaise isn’t just down to Lampard.

Instead, the finger must be pointed towards the turbulent ownership of Farhad Moshiri since 2016.

Upwards of $1.2 billion has been spent on transfer fees since Moshiri took over, with very little to show for it.

Frank Lampard was sacked as Everton boss. (Photo by Glyn KIRK / AFP)Source: AFP

It’s not just a horrendous record in the transfer market either, with Lampard the sixth different permanent manager under Moshiri’s reign.

“The flip-flopping in managerial styles highlights how a vision for the club has not been established during Moshiri’s ownership,” Joyce wrote.

“The British-Iranian businessman bears the ultimate responsibility for that and is viewed as the sole cause of the distress and panic that now grips Everton by those in the upper echelons of the club.

“There is little need for anyone else to accept responsibility when the narrative out there already is that Moshiri has shown flawed thinking and been too easily swayed by, for example, friendly agents.”

Who knows which manager will be brave enough to fill Everton’s managerial vacancy.

Achieve survival and they will be heralded as a hero.

But oversee a drop to the Championship, in what would be Everton’s first season outside of the top flight in over 70 years, and their life could become a living hell.

Fans have taken aim at Farhad Moshiri for Everton’s struggles over the years. (Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

CITY, HAALAND ‘SMELLING OF ROSES’ AFTER PEP’S ‘HAPPY FLOWERS’ JAB

It felt like a lifetime since Erling Haaland last scored a hat-trick, such has been his lust for goals this season.

In fact, the Norwegian had not bagged a treble since the Manchester Derby on October 3.

But it was business as usual for Haaland when he got his fourth hat-trick this season, which became yet another goalscoring record he has shattered since arriving on these shores.

Crucially, Haaland’s goals contributed to a vital three points that ensured Manchester City remain within touching distance of league leaders Arsenal, with the points gap now just five points, although the Gunners have a game in hand.

Haaland being amongst the goals should serve as a timely and worrying reminder to Mikel Arteta’s side too.

When the Norwegian failed to find the net, City took just four points from a possible nine — not exactly a disastrous haul, but for a team locked in a fight for the title, every point is critical.

Since Haaland found his shooting boots again, City are two wins from two as fixtures against Tottenham and Aston Villa loom before a salivating clash against Arsenal on February 16.

Perhaps it was City boss Pep Guardiola’s description of his side as a “happy flowers” team that revved up Haaland and his teammates.

Well, according to The Telegraph’s James Ducker, “spring may yet be blooming early in east Manchester and Haaland, after a frustrating period, is smelling of roses again.”

Erling Haaland’s fourth hat-trick ensured Manchester City kept a five-point gap to league leaders Arsenal. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images

UTD BOSS QUESTIONS MENTALITY AS GLARING ‘MESS’ EXPOSED

If Manchester United had just held strong in their last two fixtures, they’d be sitting clear in third on 42 points and just three behind second-placed Manchester City.

However, the Red Devils conceded stoppage time goals to draw against Crystal Palace and lose to Arsenal.

In the wake of the Gunners defeat, United boss Erik ten Hag blasted the team’s mentality and insisted it needs to change if they want to go from pretenders to contenders.

The Dutchman even went as far as describing their collapses to “a pack of cards”.

But, as The Telegraph’s Jason Burt wrote, the loss to Arsenal exposed more than the Red Devils’ mental fragility.

Although United had a staggering $AUD299 million worth of talent in three players on their bench in the form of Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof and Fred, they had little else to turn to.

The remaining outfield members of the bench had an average age of 19.8 years, with very few Premier League starts amongst them all.

“For a club with United’s spending power and resources it is not good enough,” Burt wrote.

“This is a situation which is the result of years of complacency, terrible planning, poor team building and blind panic under a succession of underachieving managers.

“Literally hundreds of millions of pounds have been wasted and it will take time for Ten Hag and football director John Murtough to unpick this mess.”

How long that takes remains to be seen, but given how Ten Hag has turned things around compared to the start of the season, the Red Devils’ rebuild looks to be happening at a faster rate than perhaps first anticipated.

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