The Premier League was in full flow on Wednesday night with no fewer than six fixtures taking place.
Liverpool and Manchester City kept up the pace in their hunt for the title, beating Watford and West Ham respectively, while Maurizio Sarri’s Chelsea delivered a morale-boosting win over Spurs at Stamford Bridge.
Southampton gained a vital 2-0 win over Fulham, who now look doomed, while Man Utd and Arsenal enhanced their top four claims with wins over Crystal Palace and Bournemouth respectively.
But who were the big winners and losers from the games?
Winner – Mesut Ozil
Whether you think it’s justified or not, you cannot help but feel sorry for Mesut Ozil with the amount of criticism he comes in for. Wednesday, however, was a night to celebrate for the German as he put in a first-half masterclass against Bournemouth.
Ozil scored his first goal in 11 games to put Arsenal 1-0 up within just four minutes, adding the finish to a wonderful, slick passing move from Unai Emery’s men.
And the 30-year-old wasn’t finished there; some sloppy play from Bournemouth’s Adam Smith had Henrikh Mkhitaryan racing at the Cherries’ back four and after a quick one-two with Ozil, the Armenian put the Gunners 2-0 up.
Ozil’s assist means he has now been directly involved in 111 goals across all competitions for Arsenal, with 42 himself and 69 created for his teammates.
Loser – Kepa Arrizabalaga
Man City may have taken their first step toward a potential quadruple after winning Sunday’s League Cup final, but it was the behaviour of Kepa Arrizabalaga that stole the headlines.
The Spanish stopper infamously refused to be substituted, despite appearing to suffer from cramp, leaving Maurizio Sarri looking like a boiling kettle in the Wembley dugout (and halfway down the tunnel at one point).
As a result, Kepa has been fined a week’s wage and, perhaps more poignantly, was dropped as Chelsea hosted Spurs at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.
Willy Caballero was preferred between the sticks and while the Argentine wasn’t overly tested, he was calm and collected when called into action as Chelsea earned a much-needed 2-0 win over their London rivals.
How long will Kepa be benched for?
Winner – Sadio Mane
Two goals in 20 minutes from Sadio Mane put Liverpool well in control at Anfield against Watford.
The three points are vital to the Reds, keeping them top of the table in the Premier League title race, while on a personal level, Mane’s strikes proved to be a bit of a landmark.
The Senegalese’s second goal put him on 14 for the season in the Premier League, making it his most productive in the English top flight to date.
And with 10 games still to play, who knows what number he could end up on?
Winner – Ralph Hasenhuttl
Despite Southampton remaining inconsistent, Ralph Hasenhuttl has massively improved the south coast side since taking over from Mark Hughes in December, giving them a genuine chance of avoiding relegation when things were looking so bleak earlier in the season.
The Saints saw out a comfortable 2-0 win over beleaguered Fulham at St Mary’s on Wednesday, taking the next step on the road to Premier League safety and lifting them out of the bottom three at the expense of Cardiff City, who actually beat Southampton earlier in February.
Wednesday’s result also ended a run of four games without a win for Southampton, with the points looking even more priceless considering they will face Man Utd and Spurs in their next two games.
Losers – Cardiff and Fulham
While Southampton will be ecstatic with their win over Fulham, the Cottagers themselves, as well as Cardiff, will be looking at the Premier League table with a fair amount of trepidation now.
Fulham are now 10 points off Premier League safety with just 10 games to go, falling to their seventh defeat in eight league outings. While you can still see them scoring goals, they leak like a badly-plumbed sink at the back and bad defences pretty much always get relegated.
Meanwhile, Cardiff’s two-game winning revival has been well and truly ended with back-to-back hidings at home to Watford and Everton, 5-1 and 3-0 respectively.
This allowed Southampton to go above the Bluebirds and dump them back into the Premier League relegation zone and with Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea all to come in their final 10 fixtures, things are looking grim for Neil Warnock.
Winner – Liverpool
After a run of just three wins from their last seven Premier League games, table-toppers Liverpool got back on track with a 5-0 win over Watford.
All the pre-match talk surrounding Jurgen Klopp’s side was questioning whether or not they were ‘bottling’ the chance to win a first league title in 29 years, so the German will be delighted with their response on Wednesday.
Doubles from Sadio Mane and, surprisingly, Virgil van Dijk, as well as a further strike from Divock Origi, mean the Reds remain a point clear at the top of the Premier League and closes up that all-important goal difference gap on Manchester City.
Not a bad way to prepare for a Merseyside derby.
Losers – Kieran Trippier and Spurs
If there were still any ultimate optimists hoping for an unlikely title charge from Spurs, even after their defeat to Burnley at the weekend, then surely they were snuffed out on Wednesday?
A 2-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge has effectively ended the Lilywhite’s faint hopes of challenging City and Liverpool, now sitting eight points off second and nine points off top spot.
And to compound their misery, the defeat was sealed with a late own goal from Kieran Trippier, who passed the ball beyond the onrushing Hugo Lloris in a horrible misunderstanding.
Trippier looked like he wanted to be anywhere but in front of the Chelsea fans who, of course, showed absolutely no sympathy, while Pochettino looked utterly bemused and exasperated on the sidelines.
Winner – Trent Alexander-Arnold
Back to Anfield, not only did Liverpool dispatch the Hornets in exquisite style, with even Van Dijk bagging a brace, but a little of history was also made.
Not one, not two, but three of Liverpool’s goals were assisted by young England international, Trent Alexander-Arnold.
The 2018 Golden Boy nominee has lit up the right-hand side of Liverpool’s defence since getting his break last season and on Wednesday, he became the youngest ever player to assist three goals in a single Premier League game (20 years, 143 days).
Maybe he’ll get a proper squad number soon?
Winner – Romelu Lukaku
After going nine games without a goal and struggling to overhaul Marcus Rashford up front, Romelu Lukaku finally got back on track on Wednesday night.
Man Utd’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park was signed and sealed with a much-needed double for the Belgian, keeping Red Devils just a point behind Arsenal in fourth place.
Romelu Lukaku has now scored as many Premier League goals as Emile Heskey (110).
25 for Manchester United. 🔴⚫️ https://t.co/N86Ncgj2D1
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) February 27, 2019
Moreover, the brace also draws Lukaku level with Emile Heskey on 110 Premier League goals, with 25 of them coming for Man Utd. All at the 25-years-old.
Even with his inconsistent form this season, Lukaku still posts up some seriously impressive numbers.