Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard
London (AFP) - Arsenal sent a message to their Premier League rivals as they headed into the new year sitting seven points clear at the top of the table.
Manchester City’s hopes of retaining the title were dented by a draw with Everton, while West Ham manager David Moyes is feeling the heat.
AFP Sport looks at three things we learned from the Premier League this weekend:
Odegaard expects more from Arsenal
Martin Odegaard provided the final flourish in Arsenal’s 4-2 win at Brighton, then warned the rest of the Premier League that the Gunners can get even better.
Mikel Arteta’s side are unexpectedly in pole position to win the title for the first time since 2004 after a blistering run of form.
Influential captain Odegaard orchestrated their latest victory against Brighton on Saturday, claiming the second goal with a cool finish before providing a sublime assist for the fourth scored by Gabriel Martinelli.
Despite 14 wins from 16 top-flight games this term, Odegaard wants more from Arsenal.
“Of course, it’s a good moment for us. Being top is good but, as I have said many times, we have to stay calm, keep working hard, stay in the moment, and not focus too much on the table,” he said.
“I think the best thing about it is that we still have a lot to improve, we can still get much better in many areas of the game.”
Man City must bounce back
Manchester City players react after their draw with Everton
Manuel Akanji admitted Manchester City must bounce back quickly after Everton damaged their bid to win a fifth title in six seasons.
The champions lost ground in the title race as they were held to a 1-1 draw by struggling Everton in their final match of 2022 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.
The result left second-placed City seven points behind Arsenal but, with an intense schedule in the coming weeks, Swiss defender Akanji does not want to dwell on one frustrating afternoon.
City must heed Akanji’s warning as they face successive games against Chelsea in the Premier League and FA Cup on Thursday and Sunday respectively.
“We gave the opponent one opportunity. I think it was their only shot on target and they scored. But we got one point. We try to keep putting pressure on Arsenal,” Akanji said.
“It is still a long season. We have still got so many games to play. It is a busy January we’ve got now, and we’ll try to win all of our next games and we’ll see how it’s going to be.”
Rice wants West Ham to help Moyes
West Ham manager David Moyes
Declan Rice admits West Ham’s players are letting down themselves and their under-fire manager David Moyes.
West Ham’s dismal season plumbed new depths after they were booed off following a 2-0 defeat at home to Brentford on Friday.
Moyes’ men have lost five consecutive league matches, leaving them languishing just one place above the relegation zone.
“It’s frustrating because I know the quality we have got. I see it day in and day out in training,” West Ham captain Rice said.
“The reality of it at the minute is that we are not doing well enough, we are letting ourselves and the manager down, and we are also letting the fans down.
“We’re down there and that’s the reality but we don’t want to think like that because we want to have a positive mentality. We still think we can play and get a result in this league.”