AFC Bournemouth
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Dusan Tadic guides Saints toward safety; Arsene Wenger era in a microcosm

The weekend review has praise for Dusan Tadic and Eden Hazard, while Arsenal's loss at Manchester United was a microcosm of the end of the Arsene Wenger era.

Goal of the weekend

Some goals aren't immediately spectacular, but after a couple of looks, you realise that there was really only one place the scorer could have put the ball to get the goal. That was the case for Dusan Tadic's second for Southampton against Birmingham, half toe-punted, half expertly swerved into the corner of the net. Lovely.

Assist of the weekend

A mark of class is when a footballer does things that nobody else even considered, let alone attempted. Eden Hazard's blind flick to set up Cesc Fabregas in Chelsea's 1-0 win over Swansea falls into that category, and in fact looked so unlikely that with most you'd probably think he didn't mean it. But this is Eden Hazard, after all.

Heart-sinking moment of the weekend

Arsene Wenger probably didn't mean to make everyone sad during his postmatch news conference. But it was difficult to think anything else when he noted, talking about the fine reception he'd got from Manchester United: "When you're not a danger anymore, people love you."

He was probably simply referring to his imminent departure from Arsenal, but in truth this has been the case for years. Games against Manchester United have defined Wenger: when Arsenal were good, they generally beat them; when they were bad, defeats were a microcosm of why they were bad.

This defeat may well have summed up the latter. Arsenal played some good football, didn't convert their chances and were undone when a big man came on and headed in a winner.

Ultimately, this defeat meant nothing for Arsenal, a shadow team with a more important European semifinal ahead, and it won't impact their league position. But for Wenger, this was an apt farewell in the very worst way.

Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson embrace.
Arsenal's loss at Manchester United was a microcosm of the end of the Arsene Wenger era in North London.

Result of the weekend

Given that they managed zero points from their first seven games, Crystal Palace's 38 points have been gathered from 29 fixtures. Extend that ratio over a full season and you'll get 50 points, comfortably enough for a top-half finish.

Towards the end of their 5-0 thrashing of Leicester, Roy Hodgson put his arm around assistant Ray Lewington as if to say "Good job we've done here, mate." And rightly so.

Capitulation of the weekend

Leicester are ninth in the Premier League. Under normal circumstances, that might be regarded as a decent position. But it's the nature of their performances in recent weeks that have upset some Leicester fans, the nadir coming in their capitulation at Palace.

This wasn't just a defeat, but a surrender, a tame handing over of the points which, in terms of their league standing, doesn't matter much at all. But that Claude Puel is capable of presiding over a team that can simply not turn up in such an egregious manner does not exactly suggest he's the man to lead them into next season.

Timely performance of the weekend

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's injury ruling him out of the World Cup, there would hardly have been a better time for Ruben Loftus-Cheek to produce a brilliant performance and a goal for Crystal Palace. The two men are very different midfielders, but that's not an area of abundant strength for Gareth Southgate: Loftus-Cheek might just be back in time for a seat on the plane.

Result of the weekend

They're still alive. "Results change everything," said Mark Hughes after their astoundingly tense 2-1 win over Bournemouth. "They change perceptions, they change mentality, they change fans mentality -- everyone's not so negative now."

They change predictions too. A few weeks ago, the bottom three looked set in stone, but now Southampton have some hope, a point shy of safety and it now means that their trip to Swansea a week on Tuesday is the biggest game of their -- possibly anyone's -- season.

Dusan Tadic's goals have Southampton edging closer to Premier League safety.

Inevitability of the weekend

There's always a temptation, when glancing at the fixture list and assessing where points could be picked, to write off games against Manchester City. But West Ham seemed to take that a little too literally on Sunday.

City have made taking opponents apart look pretty easy for much of the season, but they could hardly have faced a more obliging team than the Hammers, who for the 15th time this season shipped three or more goals in the 4-1 defeat.

West Ham have the worst defensive record in the Premier League, and it could just cost them their place in the division. In truth it's fairly unlikely, but they are only three points from safety and if they surrender as meekly as they did against City, then frankly they don't deserve to stay up.

Stat of the weekend

After their win over Newcastle, West Brom remain unbeaten in four games under Darren Moore. In those four games, they have earned the same amount of points (eight) as Alan Pardew did in 18.

This run has showed that this is a pretty decent set of West Brom players that are heading into the Championship. It's too easy to wonder "what if Moore had been appointed earlier?", or even to say this definitely means Moore should get the job permanently. But it's thanks to Tony Pulis and Pardew that they will take that decision in the second tier.

Falling stone of the weekend

One win in the past seven is bad enough, but Huddersfield's past three games are a terrifying prospect for anyone invested in their Premier League survival. Manchester City away, Chelsea away, Arsenal at home on the final day.

Looking at those, and with only a three-point cushion from the bottom three, Huddersfield will be fully behind Arsenal reaching the Europa League final. That will take place three days after the final Premier League fixtures; if Arsenal are there, they'll surely play a shadow team against Huddersfield, if not they may want to send Arsene Wenger off with a win.

At the moment, the former looks like their best chance of picking up any more points at all.

Nick Miller is a writer for ESPN FC, covering Premier League and European football. Follow him on Twitter @NickMiller79.


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