Premier League grades: Liverpool, Newcastle, Cardiff and Brighton top
By Sky Sports Football
Last Updated: 11/03/19 1:27pm
Which unlikely teams are top of the pack and whose game was like "the morning after the night before"? We grade each team from the Premier League this weekend.
There were wins for Manchester City and Liverpool at the top of the Premier League, while Arsenal were 2-0 winners against Manchester United in the race for the top four.
At the foot of the table, Cardiff and Southampton both won against West Ham and Tottenham respectively, although Huddersfield and Fulham suffered defeats. Read on to see how each team was graded over the weekend...
Liverpool - A
It wasn't a vintage attacking display from Liverpool against Burnley, but in tricky conditions, and having conceded a controversial opener, they got the job done, controlling possession for most of the match and coping well with Burnley's physical strike partnership.
Adam Lallana impressed on his return to the starting XI while Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino bagged two goals each as Liverpool became the first team this season to have three players reach double figures in the Premier League. Even though Mohamed Salah's scoring struggles continued, he was influential, leading Jurgen Klopp to say that he thought Salah was the best player on the pitch. If Salah can add more goals to his game again then Liverpool should be well set for the run-in. (James Walker-Roberts)
Cardiff - A
Coming into the game on the back of three straight defeats and faced with a number of difficult fixtures in the next few weeks, it was vital that Cardiff got something against West Ham - and their performance suggested that they were well aware of that fact.
Neil Warnock's side made a superb start, took an early lead, and even after the visitors began to dominate possession, Cardiff's defence remained resolute and prevented West Ham creating any real chances across the 90 minutes. Victor Camarasa gave them a two-goal cushion early in the second half and as the game wore on, Cardiff looked more likely to make it three than concede. A fine performance and a crucial win. (Sam Drury)
Newcastle - A
Five home wins on the spin at a rocking St James' Park and an attacking trio full of confidence. Things are on the up on Tyneside as they produced a stirring second-half comeback to celebrate three years of Rafa Benitez in charge. Ayoze Perez was outstanding, providing a key assist for Saloman Rondon before punishing Everton's lack of resistance with a late double salvo. A top-half finish could - remarkably - be on their radar now. (Lewis Jones)
Brighton - A
Brighton do not win that often on their travels in the Premier League, which makes Saturday afternoon's victory at the home of their rivals all the more impressive.
Chris Hughton's side arrived in south-east London in desperate need of three points after a lean 2019 and they claimed bragging rights after a near-faultless display at Selhurst Park.
Anthony Knockaert will naturally grab the headlines after that goal, but it was a true team performance, with the visitors' defence seemingly back to its reliable best.
All of which means Brighton have now done the league double over Crystal Palace for the first time since 1983-84. (Richard Morgan)
Wolves - A-
Wolves were defensively solid against a Chelsea side who were ponderous in possession.
Raul Jimenez was excellent up top with his tireless running and converted their only shot on target following a fine counter-attacking move which begun on the edge of Wolves' own box.
Although they slipped up in injury-time, Nuno Espirito Santo's team are now unbeaten in their six Premier League games in London this season and showed they are good enough to play European football. (James Kilpatrick)
Southampton - A-
This was a game of two halves for the Saints. In the first, they were thin at the back and allowed Spurs to rage forward three vs three time after time. They could have been 3-0 down at half-time, but Ralph Hasenhuttl's half-time change changed everything.
Though Shane Long had little impact and went back off injured, Josh Sims was superb, adding an energy they had lacked in the first 45.
The win came from a piece of individual brilliance from James Ward-Prowse, and suddenly having been in the relegation zone with 15 minutes remaining, Saints are now out of it. But will they stay out of it? (Gerard Brand)
Arsenal - B+
It took two bits of luck to see Arsenal past Manchester United - first Granit Xhaka's opener bamboozling David de Gea and then the award of a questionable penalty allowing them to double the lead. They were also let off the hook by United hitting the woodwork twice and Bernd Leno making a number of wonderful saves, but they looked the fresher and more willing side which will please Unai Emery most.
Arsenal are finally putting their record against fellow top-six sides behind them, and look favourites to reach the Champions League for the first time since 2016 on current form. (Ron Walker)
Leicester - B+
Leicester failed to beat Burnley, Southampton and Cardiff at home this season, and Rodgers highlighted his satisfaction at having overcome a side struggling to stay up to get off the mark in his new position.
Mind you, the Foxes made heavy work of earning only a second league win since New Year's Day, allowing Fulham to come back into the contest with their first meaningful attack, six minutes into the second half.
But in Jamie Vardy, Harvey Barnes and James Maddison moving fluidly in front of the creative Youri Tielemans, Rodgers will feel he has the making of a very good side, who took their first step to realising their potential under their new boss.
Back in the top half of the table and with winnable games ahead against Burnley, Bournemouth, Huddersfield, Newcastle and West Ham, a late dash for seventh place and a potential European spot should not be ruled out on this evidence. (Ben Grounds)
Man City - B
Against a side who had made seven changes and they would have fancied beating comfortably anyway, Man City were far from their best in their 3-1 win over Watford. Yes, they did end up coasting to victory, but for 45 minutes they struggled against a dogged Watford defence with their passing and final ball way below standard.
It took a big slice of luck to give them the opening goal, with Raheem Sterling clearly offside when netting the opener. Three points were well-received to keep them top of the Premier League, but performances will need to improve if they are to make sure they continue their stranglehold over Liverpool. (Ron Walker)
Bournemouth - B
A very easy afternoon for Bournemouth, but they exemplified their quality with a fine display in Yorkshire. Ryan Fraser is always a danger out wide, with only Lionel Messi and Eden Hazard registering more assists in Europe's top five leagues, David Brooks is the perfect provider from deep, while in Callum Wilson they really do possess a top striker.
They can start to look up now, having got over their away-day hoodoo, and have the ability to be climbing the table between now and the end of the season. (Pete Hall)
Chelsea - B-
Maurizio Sarri said post-match that Chelsea needed to move the ball faster in their draw with Wolves and he was right.
The hosts' inefficiency with their 76 per cent possession allowed Wolves to park ten men behind the ball for most of the match and they struggled to break behind the visitors' five at the back.
Nevertheless, Eden Hazard salvaged a point with a late goal that was very well taken. (James Kilpatrick)
Watford - B-
Considering the lack of football a lot of Watford's players had been given during the season they put in a commendable effort at the Etihad against a team who could have easily blown them away. But even after falling behind, it took until they had gone 3-0 down to finally take the game to Man City, and they immediately reaped the benefits with Gerard Deulofeu scoring 21 seconds after coming on. Javi Gracia's decision will be vindicated so long as Watford beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup next weekend, but otherwise you wonder what might have been. (Ron Walker)
Manchester United - C
The morning after the night before is how United's defeat at Arsenal felt. Having used up so much energy in Paris in midweek, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wondered after the game whether a trip to a motivated Arsenal was a game too much for his side as they "huffed and puffed", in the words of Graeme Souness, but failed to score on the road for the first time all season.
Yes they were undone by a goalkeeping error and a questionable penalty, but they lacked the spark which has accompanied them consistently since Solskjaer took over, and lost his unbeaten league record with a bit of a whimper. (Ron Walker)
Crystal Palace - C
Roy Hodgson's team entered this game full of confidence having recorded seven wins in their previous 12 matches, not that you would have known judging from their lacklustre display against Brighton on Saturday lunchtime, though.
Another victory would have moved the home team six points clear of their arch rivals, however, they now sit level on points together in the table and with their Premier League safety still not confirmed.
And Hodgson and Co will need to start winning at home if they are avoid getting sucked into a relegation battle. (Richard Morgan)
Fulham - C
Fulham caretaker manager Scott Parker can be forgiven for starting to plan for next season in the Championship after a second-half resurgence at Leicester still resulted in the same old outcome.
Parker said after the defeat at the King Power Stadium: "While it's still mathematically possible we're still not done. It's been a tough year but the players have a lot to play for. Whether we're down or whatever, every game will be a cup final."
Individual errors were central to a 21st league defeat of the season, with Calum Chambers robbed in possession before Youri Tielemans' opener while Fulham had a throw-in deep in Leicester's half in the build-up to Vardy's decisive first strike.
Games against Liverpool and Manchester City come either side of the international break, and Fulham's fate will surely be sealed not long afterwards. (Ben Grounds)
Burnley - C-
Burnley looked like they might be capable of causing an upset after taking a shock lead against Liverpool, but then after falling 2-1 behind they didn't really look like getting back into the match. Although they did restrict Liverpool to few clear chances, they also struggled to assert themselves in blustery conditions, with Dwight McNeil and Charlie Taylor their standout players down the left side.
Ultimately it was errors that cost Burnley, with at least two of the four goals coming from defensive mistakes. They will need to cut those out if they are going to pull away from the relegation zone. (James Walker-Roberts)
Tottenham - D
At the break, the only criticism you could throw at Spurs was the fact they were not two or three goals to the good. They did almost everything right, hit the woodwork twice and were ahead through Harry Kane's trademark goal.
But as soon as Saints showed some energy and willing in the final third, Spurs crumbled. Mauricio Pochettino, looking on from the stands, looked nervous throughout, and saw his side throw away a lead which may have huge repercussions in the top-four race.
Yes, Danny Rose's error was telling, but the warning signs had come in the 20 minutes before the equaliser. Lately, if teams go at Spurs, they just don't like it. (Gerard Brand)
Everton - D
This was a defensive capitulation of the highest order with Jordan Pickford at the heart of the problems. He redeemed himself by saving a penalty his sloppiness gave away but there was no reprieve for his lacklustre parry straight to Ayoze Perez for the equaliser.
His lack of authority in the box is causing problems for his defence, who crumbled when Newcastle put them under pressure in the second half. Everton have now lost 10 of their last 17 games in all competitions as the positivity from last weekend's Merseyside derby performance disappeared with this late collapse. (Lewis Jones)
West Ham - E
Manuel Pellegrini has done an excellent job at West Ham. They have ensured that the relegation battle is none of their concern and at their best they are a match for almost any side in the division. At Cardiff, though, they were far from their best.
They created next to nothing and some slack defending meant the margin of defeat could have been greater. With eight games to go, Pellegrini will want to see far more from his team and avoid a largely positive season ending with a whimper. (Sam Drury)
Huddersfield - E
Only two teams in top-flight history have scored fewer goals after 30 games than the 15 Huddersfield have this season, and it is easy to see why after another inept performance in front of goal against Bournemouth.
They play some half decent football until the moment they have to pick that killer pass, and get it badly wrong almost every time. They are as good as down now, but they will at least need to show some fight now until the end of the season to keep mutiny at bay in Yorkshire. (Pete Hall)