Three talking points from the Premier League weekend

Arsenal and Manchester City traded blows with impressive wins in contrasting circumstances to pull further clear of the pack at the top of the Premier League.

Despite playing for over an hour with 10 men, City saw off Fulham 2-1 on Saturday thanks to Erling Haaland's 95th minute penalty.

Arsenal responded with a 1-0 win away to Chelsea to regain top spot by two points on Sunday and underline their credentials to be champions for the first time since 2004.

As the top two pull away, the race for the top four remains wide open with eight points separating in-form Newcastle in third from Crystal Palace in 10th.

Liverpool got themselves back in the race for a Champions League place with a 2-1 win at Tottenham, but Manchester United's unbeaten run came to an end as Aston Villa won 3-1 on Unai Emery's debut in charge.

AFP Sport looks at three talking points from the Premier League weekend:

Arsenal show true grit

As the rain fell heavier at a sodden Stamford Bridge and Chelsea's desperation increased, Arsenal were faced with the kind of high-pressure situation that has so often proved their downfall in recent years.

Holding a 1-0 lead given to them by Gabriel Magalhaes' close-range finish in the second half, Mikel Arteta's side had a statement victory in their grasp if they could hold firm in treacherous conditions.

In the past, that would have been the signal for a late Arsenal collapse.

But Arteta has imbued his unexpected title contenders with a gritty character at odds with their grim history of underachievement over the last decade.

City remain firm favourites to retain their title, but Arsenal refuse to go away and will seal top spot heading into the World Cup break with victory at Wolves next weekend.

Haaland holds his nerve

City took top spot for just under 24 hours as Haaland came off the bench on his return from injury to secure victory on a much more tense afternoon than anticipated at the Etihad.

The champions were cruising when Julian Alvarez opened the scoring, but Pep Guardiola's men suffered the double jeopardy of conceding a penalty and losing a man when Joao Cancelo bundled over Harry Wilson inside the box on 26 minutes.

Andreas Pereira converted from the spot, but, despite their numerical disadvantage City still enjoyed over 70 percent possession and the better efforts on goal.

Guardiola turned to Haaland 25 minutes from time as he returned from a foot ligament injury.

The Norwegian duly delivered with his 18th Premier League goal in 12 appearances after Kevin De Bruyne was chopped down in the box.

"It was one of the most nervous moments of my life," said the normally ice cool Haaland.

"A penalty in the last minute, of course I would be nervous. But it's an amazing feeling. I love it."

Spurs struggling with step up

Tottenham roared out of the blocks at the start of the season but a string of defeats against their top-four rivals is raising alarm bells.

Antonio Conte's men did not taste defeat in the league until October 1, when they went down 3-1 to early-season pacesetters Arsenal.

Liverpool's first away win of the season on Sunday means Spurs have now lost three of their last four league games with the other defeats coming against Manchester United and Newcastle.

Conte has transformed the club's fortunes over the past year, taking them back into the Champions League, and their fine start to the season prompted fans to dream of an unlikely first title since 1961.

Now fourth in the table, Spurs have shown they can roll over sides lower down the pecking order but need to show they are capable of more when the level is raised to remain in the Champions League places.

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