LONDON, March 2 (Reuters) - The following are three talking points from the weekend’s Premier League games:
Arsenal did not play this weekend — with their league opponents Manchester City busy lifting a third consecutive League Cup at Wembley — but their fans had reason to cheer when Liverpool suffered a 3-0 defeat at Watford.
Liverpool’s first loss of the season means they cannot finish the campaign unbeaten to match Arsenal’s “Invincibles” of 2003-04.
The Anfield club’s unbeaten run was snapped at 44 games, falling five short of Arsenal’s record of 49 unbeaten matches 16 years ago.
Having also equalled Manchester City’s 2017 record of 18 consecutive wins in the league, victory at Vicarage Road would have given Liverpool bragging rights but Watford’s Ismaila Sarr and Troy Deeney had other ideas.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sprung to the defence of his goalkeeper David De Gea, describing him as the “best goalkeeper in the world” despite his blunder in their 1-1 draw against Everton, but the numbers tell a different story.
De Gea gifted Everton the lead in the third minute when he smashed his delayed clearance into the incoming Dominic Calvert-Lewin and the ball flew into the net — drawing the ire of ex-United captain Roy Keane on Sky Sports who said he wanted the Spaniard “lynched”.
De Gea has now committed seven errors that have directly led to an opposition goal in the league since the start of last season — the most alongside Martin Dubravka (Newcastle United), Bernd Leno (Arsenal) and Jordan Pickford (Everton).
De Gea, who improved as the game wore on and made a crucial late save, has Solskajer’s trust but Dean Henderson could be challenging him next season following a successful loan spell at Sheffield United.
Bottom side Norwich City had reason to celebrate when they beat third-placed Leicester City on Friday to close the gap on those above them but their joy was short-lived as both West Ham United and Watford climbed out of the relegation zone.
West Ham accomplished the double over Southampton, winning 3-1 at home with Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuettl describing the goals his side conceded as an “absolute joke”.
Watford, meanwhile, moved out of the relegation zone for only the second time this season following their shock win over Liverpool. (Reporting by Rohith Nair and Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)