Chelsea stole a draw at the death while Arsenal comfortably dusted Bournemouth aside
Yesterday's Premier League action contained just two fixtures but there were plenty of talking points to bite on.
The deficiencies in Manchester United's game were exposed once again, against an irrepressible Chelsea side who profited from their efforts with a Diego Costa strike in added time. Elsewhere, Arsenal devoured Bournemouth with two goals one minute apart to showcase their unwillingness to give up on Premier League title hopes.
It might seem unfair to relentlessly return to the legacy of fortitude left behind by the Manchester United team of the 90's and early 00's. But in truth, those were the years when United's tactics for success were not only reliable, but they were distinctly their own. And under the management of Alex Ferguson, incidents of disappointing results were greeted with a ruthless reaction to strive for better. And they regularly delivered.
"It was a fantastic goal. I'm very happy for him."— Manchester United (@ManUtd) February 8, 2016
Daley Blind on Jesse Lingard's stunner at Stamford Bridge. pic.twitter.com/baEqx1qnEQ
That mentality and passion for success is notably absent now. United have won just three of their last six Premier League ties, punctuated by a disappointing draw yesterday evening. Relinquishing a 1-0 lead in the final moments of a game is a cardinal offence on its own but more worryingly for United is their low-scoring rate. 10 goals in their last six PL games is not a stat that corresponds with the ruthless United of yore.
Chelsea's pursuit of an equaliser yesterday was an exhibition of resilience and a tribute to their recent Premier League improvements. Granted, they were poor at times against United but they were economical when in possession which proved crucial in the end.
Chelsea have enjoyed a much needed reversal of fortune since the arrival of Guus Hiddink and considering they shamefully bear the tag of one of the worst title defenders in Premier League history, their depth of resolve deserves applause.
Wow Costa is really something else… my God https://t.co/4qEjsuONhF— Tayofunmi (@teaponpi) February 7, 2016
Wins against United and Arsenal over the last two months will galvanise their hopes heading into their next game against Newcastle United, but these progressive steps are likely to be mere trifles in the end.
Sitting in 13th position on the table is a constant reminder of their horrific form before Christmas and it will take more than blessings from above to propel them into contention for Champions League qualification.
After enduring some five hours of football without a goal, Arsenal, and more specifically Mesut Ozil, delivered a close range screamer against Bournemouth. It was promptly followed up with a slick shot from Chamberlain a mere 60 seconds later and with that, the Arsenal revival was complete. But defeating Bournemouth was a bottom-of-the-league assignment and now they must face title hopefuls Leicester next weekend.
How to shut up a Man City fan by Jamie Vardy https://t.co/ZMp6ANKXsu— George Alborn (@GeorgeAlborn) February 6, 2016
The result of their last Premier League meeting favoured Arsenal, but that was before Leicester announced themselves as table toppers and after devouring Man City on Saturday, they cut the shape of a more formidable outfit now. But the question remains, how will Arsenal adjust to prepare for next weekend?
And if you missed Saturday's action as well, check out the most important learning points from the games here.