Manchester United supporters staged a fresh protest against the club's owners on Saturday ahead of the 17-year anniversary of the takeover by the Glazer family.

Many supporters marched to Old Trafford ahead of the Premier League game against Norwich City, some carrying banners as others held lit smoke flares.

With a large police presence, there were no reports of major trouble, although the protesting continued as supporters arrived at the stadium.

A large number heeded calls to boycott the opening 17 minutes of the match, instead staying on the stadium concourses and leaving seats empty.

An early goal from Cristiano Ronaldo, to give United the lead, was followed within minutes by supporters chanting "stand up if you hate Glazers" and "we want Glazers out".

United supporters have been unhappy with the Glazer business model at United since the early days of their ownership. While the club have been commercially successful, results on the pitch in recent seasons have been poor by the club's previous high standards.

The Glazer family, then headed by Malcolm Glazer, established a controlling stake in the Red Devils in May 2005.

The protest came on the day neighbours Manchester City and fierce rivals Liverpool – firmly established as the current top two teams in England – were contesting an FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.

United lost early in that competition, and in the EFL Cup, while they were beaten by Atletico Madrid at the Champions League last-16 stage and came into the Norwich game sitting seventh in the Premier League.

Their last Premier League title came in 2012-13, with United having not won a major trophy since landing the EFL Cup and Europa League titles in the 2016-17 campaign.

Interim Ralf Rangnick has guided United through the second half of this season after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer became the latest manager to struggle to deliver success.

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag is widely seen as the favourite to become the next permanent boss.

Ralf Rangnick provided a frank assessment of a Manchester United squad that he believes is "not easy" to manage and potentially contains several players who cannot cope with the pressure of playing for the club.

United head into Saturday's clash with relegation-threatened Norwich City having won just one of their previous five Premier League matches.

The most recent of which was a dire 1-0 defeat last weekend to an Everton side that had lost six of seven top-flight games beforehand.

United's performance in that loss led to even greater concern among the fanbase about the collective mentality and attitude of the squad, with a small group of supporters staging a protest outside the training ground on Friday.

Another larger demonstration is expected at Old Trafford on Saturday, and Rangnick accepts there could be certain individuals in the team who are not equipped to handle the expectation on Man Utd players.

"I don't know if this is the case, but it might be, at least with one or two or three of our players, it seems to be like that," Rangnick said.

"That the level of expectation is high and that some of the players seem to struggle with their own performance with that.

"Again, no alibis, no excuses, we have to be ready to cope and deal with it for [Saturday], for sure I am fully aware of that, and I’m also convinced and very positive that all of the players know about this.

"This is a test of character tomorrow and mentality in this game. We are playing against the bottom team. Yes, I know they won against Burnley last week and we know that Everton lost against Burnley the week before and we also thought we should be psychologically in a better position than Everton, but we have to show it on the pitch.

"Whatever we talk about right now, whatever kind of speculation we have and whatever you think, or I think might be reasons for the performance at Everton, we have to be able to, in our own house, beat a team like Norwich and show the best possible performance. This is what it’s all about but the truth, the reality, is on the pitch, whatever we talk about right now."

Reports this week have suggested United are close to appointing Ajax boss Erik ten Hag as their new permanent manager, and on the evidence of 2021-22, the Dutchman will be presiding over a massive rebuild.

Rangnick was hired in an interim capacity in November, with United hopeful he could get them back on track for a top-four finish – that now appears beyond them, though the German insists he has no regrets even as he gave a fairly damning summary of his squad.

"No, I have no regrets whatsoever that I took that role. I would do it over and over again," he continued. "You have to see the situation that we had in December, and I don’t regret that at all.

"As a manager, I always think you have to question and ask yourself what could I have done better. Could you maybe have played with a different formation in this game, or could you have made this substitution earlier on? This is what is always happening.

"We always question and ask ourselves what we could have done better but in general, I think we are all aware that this is not an easy squad.

"That the whole situation was not easy, otherwise I wouldn't even be sitting here, and Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] would probably still be here.

"But again, I think we have shown in the past, in the last couple of months that we were able to raise the level but in the same sustainable way that I would wish it to have happened. And that's the reason why I am not happy at all with what we have done and achieved so far."

Ralf Rangnick insisted motivation should not be a problem for players at a club like Manchester United amid a disappointing run of form.

A 1-0 defeat at lowly Everton condemned United to their second loss in four Premier League games, as many as they suffered in their previous 15 top-flight games following the dismissal of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

That leaves Rangnick's side six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with seven league matches left, as United appear set to miss out on Champions League qualification this season.

The Red Devils will look to get back on track when they host Norwich City on Saturday at Old Trafford, where protests against United owners, the Glazer family, are planned to happen before kick-off.

Rangnick expressed his understanding for the frustration of the supporters as he suggested motivation should not be a factor at United.

"We had spells in games where we played well where we showed the team would be able to play on a higher level, for example, against Crystal Palace, West Ham, Tottenham, away at Leeds, until the 70th minute at Aston Villa," he told reporters.

"I would have thought we would have been able to play sustainably on a higher level. I'm not happy about that for sure, but we have to recover.

"I can imagine what the reasons are for the problems and of course, without using it as an excuse, we have lost a few players since the West Ham game, we lost three of our strikers that were part of that game.

"The goal against Everton I was not happy with at all, the unforced error in midfield from Fred's pass and Nemanja Matic's response, but even after that there were 12, 15 seconds we could have defended better.

"This is the problem we are having, we are not keeping clean sheets. Again, motivation shouldn't be a problem at a club like Man Utd. They should always have an eternal level of motivation to compete."

He added on the planned protests: "We all know that football is a game of passions and emotions and we can all understand.

"I can understand the supporters being disappointed about where we stand in the table and the performance against Everton.

"I still believe our supporters are one of the best, if not the best in England, as long as they do the protest in a peaceful way and as long as they still support the team in the stadium.

"They have the right to express their opinion. Emotionally, I can understand them being disappointed."

There are continued reports that Ajax coach Erik ten Hag has agreed to take charge at United next season when Rangnick turns to a consultancy role at the end of his short-term deal.

But the former RB Leipzig head coach insists all of the focus is on the game against Norwich, following suit after Ten Hag reiterated his commitments remain with Ajax.

"I don't know if it's a done deal," he added. "My reply is the same as Erik ten Hag's was. My focus is on the game tomorrow.

"Again, we all know he is a good manager, that he has done a good job at Ajax and also at former clubs, but right now it doesn't make sense to tell you what I think about any other coach."

Manchester United must forget about reports surrounding their next manager and focus on fixing their season, according to left-back Alex Telles.

Ralf Rangnick was appointed on an interim basis until the end of the campaign following the dismissal of United great Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the German to then take up a consultancy role at Old Trafford.

United initially showed promise under the former RB Leipzig coach, but have lost two of their last four Premier League games, having lost one of their last 15 top-flight games following Solskjaer's departure.

That has left Rangnick's side seventh in the league, six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham, and with United already out of all cup competitions, pressure continues to mount.

Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag has reportedly agreed to take charge at United next season, beating Paris Saint-Germain's Mauricio Pochettino to the role, but Telles is not interested in that speculation.

"No, I don't think it influences us because we know what we have to do," he told Sky Sports.

"There are people at the club working on the new manager – but that's for next season. And next season depends on what we do in these remaining games, so we need to stay focused.

"We can't think about who the next manager will be, we need to think about working hard in our next game.

He added: "If I didn't believe we can still rescue the season then I shouldn't be here.

"We know the duty we have to meet our objectives. We can't think of the games further ahead, we have a 'final' against Norwich City [on Saturday] in front of us first."

The United squad has come under significant scrutiny, with the future of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paul Pogba questioned, while Harry Maguire has been regularly cited as an issue in defence.

United supporter group The 1958 are planning to display their disapproval with the side and the off-field ongoings with a protest against current owners, the Glazer family, ahead of the clash with Norwich.

But Telles insists all the players in the dressing room are attempting to pull in the right direction amid distractions off the pitch.

"Everyone in the dressing room really wants to win," he continued. "No player at this club doesn't have this desire. We know about our responsibilities – we have families, we have dreams, we have objectives.

"We want to do the work, not talk and turn this situation around. We know the quality we have, we know the expectation the fans and the club have of us and we need to be prepared to do our best to change things for the better."

United will look to get their top-four push back on track against Norwich, who they have defeated 12 times in their last 15 league meetings, and Telles suggested consistency will be key for Rangnick's team.

"We need more consistency. We've started games really well, but there are moments where the opponents have been on top and then we've lacked solidity, which has affected results," he said.

"We need to keep it up for 90 minutes. We know how quickly things can change in football and the team that concentrates best and really focuses will be successful."

However, consistency may not be the only issue given United have to face Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea in their final seven games as they fight for Champions League qualification.

Manchester City and Liverpool produced a pulsating top-of-the-table clash on another enthralling day of Premier League action on Sunday.

The top two played out a hugely entertaining 2-2 draw at the Etihad Stadium to ensure the title race remains delicately poised with seven games remaining, City's one-point lead intact for now.

Elsewhere, Brentford beat London rivals West Ham, while there were wins for Leicester City and Norwich City over Crystal Palace and Burnley respectively.

Stats Perform takes a look at some key Opta facts from the day's games.
 

Manchester City 2-2 Liverpool: Guardiola's men miss chance to pull clear of rivals

The hosts started at a breathless pace and went ahead early on thanks to Kevin De Bruyne's 11th Premier League goal of the season. The Belgium international has only once scored more in a single top-flight campaign (13 in 2019-20).

Diogo Jota pulled Liverpool level before Gabriel Jesus restored City's advantage, and both players maintained their records of never losing in a Premier League game when they have scored. Jota is unbeaten in 33 matches (W27 D6) and Jesus in 45 (W42 D3), with only James Milner (54 games) and Darius Vassell (46) scoring in more without losing in Premier League history.

Sadio Mane scored just 46 seconds into the second half to secure a point for the Reds. It was the first time they had scored in the opening minute of the second half in a league game since January 2019 (Mohamed Salah vs Crystal Palace) and the first time City had conceded in the 46th minute in a Premier League game since November 2004 vs Norwich City.

The result means Liverpool are now winless in their last five Premier League matches against City (D3 L2), their joint-longest run without a victory against them along with a five-game run between November 2011 and December 2013.

Brentford 2-0 West Ham: Hammers stung by Bees

This win means Brentford have recorded a league double over West Ham for only the second time, last doing so in 1953-54 when both sides were in the second tier.

Bryan Mbeumo opened the scoring and the forward has now found the net in both Premier League games against West Ham this season. He is only the second Brentford player ever to score both home and away against the Hammers in the same league campaign, after Jack Holliday in 1933-34.

Ivan Toney added a second to take his tally to eight goals from 32 shots in the Premier League in 2022, after netting just four times from 36 attempts prior to the new year. Indeed, only Son Heung-min (nine) has scored more top-flight goals since the turn of the new year than the Brentford striker.

West Ham, meanwhile, have lost seven of their last 11 away Premier League games (W2 D2), which is one more away defeat than they suffered last season.

The Hammers have suffered three consecutive away defeats for the first time since a seven-game run between December 2019 and June 2020.

Leicester City 2-1 Crystal Palace: Foxes too strong for Vieira's men

Leicester remain unbeaten in their last six Premier League games against Palace (W4 D2), having lost four on the bounce against the Eagles in the top-flight before this run.

Ademola Lookman got them on their way with his fifth league goal of the season, equalling his best tally in a domestic campaign for a side in Europe's big five leagues (also five in 2017-18 with RB Leipzig).

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall then doubled their advantage with a superb strike after being teed up by James Maddison.

England international Maddison, who has been involved in more Premier League goals than any other Leicester player this season (eight goals, five assists), became just the fourth player to register 20-plus goals and 20-plus assists for the Foxes in the Premier League, after Muzzy Izzet, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy.

Patrick Vieira's Palace got one back through Wilfried Zaha, who has scored more Premier League goals against Leicester than he has versus any other side in the competition (seven), yet they were unable to find an equaliser.

Norwich City 2-0 Burnley: Canaries boost survival hopes

Norwich injected life into their Premier League survival bid with a comfortable win over fellow strugglers Burnley.

Pierre Lees-Melou opened the scoring with his first Premier League goal for the Canaries in his 26th appearance in the competition, becoming the first French player to score for the club in the English top flight.

Teemu Pukki made sure of the three points with his 20th Premier League goal, moving him ahead of Mark Robins (19) as the club's third top scorer in the competition after Chris Sutton (33) and Grant Holt (23).

The result meant Dean Smith's side have gone unbeaten home and away against a Premier League opponent for just the second time this season (D1 W1).

Burnley, meanwhile, are winless in their last four Premier League games against teams starting the day bottom of the table (D1 L3).

The Premier League will reach a new milestone on Sunday when Manchester City face Liverpool in a titanic title tussle.

This will be the 50th match between the top two teams in the division in the competition's history, with City boasting a one-point advantage over Liverpool heading into this encounter.

Victory would move Jurgen Klopp's men top for the first time since October, having trailed by as many as 14 points back in January.

Of the 49 previous top-two meetings, the leaders have come out on top in 20, 11 have been drawn and 18 won by the second-placed team – including one of only two previous examples when City and Liverpool have been the sides at the summit. City thrashed newly crowned champions Liverpool 4-0 in July 2020.

The title race may already have been run on that occasion, but the hunters have consistently fared better than the hunted in such clashes across recent seasons.

The top team have beaten their nearest rivals in only one of the past eight matches to take place in the final 10 games of a season.

Consensus has it that victory for Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium – following that theme – would be followed by a successful title charge for the Reds.

But it has not always been so straightforward, as Stats Perform analyses a history of Premier League title deciders.

United rewarded for holding their nerve (1992-97)

Manchester United won four of the first five Premier League titles after three times holding their nerve against fellow contenders during the run-in.

Norwich City may now prop up the table, but they led the way at the start of April in the inaugural 1992-93 campaign, while United were back in third.

Although that is not the latest eventual champions have emerged from outside the top two – City were third at the start of May in 2013-14 – United had to do it the hard way by heading to Carrow Road in their next match.

Their performance there set the standard for two decades of dominance, as a scintillating first-half display saw three stunning breakaway goals in a 3-1 win. Five days later, Steve Bruce scored a pair of famous late goals against Sheffield Wednesday and United were top.

Alex Ferguson's side retained their title despite losing late in the next campaign to Blackburn Rovers, who were themselves champions the following season, but one of the most notable deciders went United's way in 1995-96. The Red Devils had trailed Newcastle United by 12 points in January but knew a win at St James' Park would trim the deficit to a single point.

That was exactly how it played out, too, as Eric Cantona – who created the first and netted the third at Norwich in 1993 – hit a winner against the run of play.

That was the start of a career-best run of six games in a row in which Cantona scored and the first of five consecutive United goals that came courtesy of their talisman – a feat since repeated only three times (Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2003, Cristiano Ronaldo in 2007 and Robin van Persie in 2013). Four of the six games ended 1-0.

Newcastle would also end 1996-97 as United's closest challengers, but it was the turn of Liverpool – who finished fourth – to blow a big lead.

The gap to United was 10 points in December, when Ferguson's side were sixth, yet Liverpool were two points behind by the time they welcomed their rivals to Anfield in mid-April. A pair of David James errors gave the visitors a precious victory en route to another title triumph.

Double delight for Arsenal at Old Trafford (1997-2004)

From the 1997-98 season onwards, United had consistent title rivals in Arsenal. And although United finished top in four of the next seven seasons to Arsenal's three, there were a pair of painful defeats for Ferguson.

While Newcastle's collapse from 12 points in front is most widely remembered – chiefly because the Magpies are still to win the Premier League – the competition record belongs to United's class of 1997-98, who allowed Arsenal to make up a 13-point deficit in the first season after Cantona's retirement.

There were still nine points between the sides before they met at Old Trafford in mid-March, but Arsenal had three games in hand and won 1-0 courtesy of a Marc Overmars goal – their first away to United in the Premier League – that capped a dazzling individual display. They led the table a month later.

That season ended with a double for Arsenal, and so too did the 2001-02 campaign, in which they again claimed a 1-0 victory at United. The Sylvain Wiltord-inspired success, days after winning the FA Cup, came in the penultimate game of the season and made Arsenal champions.

It was the first of only two occasions on which the title has been won in a match between two teams who were still in the running, while the top two in the Premier League have never met later in a campaign.

Chelsea take challenge to United (2004-2011)

Chelsea replaced Arsenal as perennial threats to United and their second consecutive title in 2005-06 was sealed with a 3-0 win over Ferguson's men, although the championship was essentially a formality at that point.

Meetings in subsequent years were more keenly contested. There was precious little between the two teams in 2007-08, when the Champions League final was decided on penalties, and a late-season Chelsea win at Stamford Bridge moved the teams level on points. However, the Blues' inferior goal difference and final-day draw with Bolton Wanderers allowed United to take the title regardless.

It was a different story in 2009-10, though. There was just a point separating leaders United from chasing Chelsea this time, and an away win at Old Trafford through goals from Joe Cole and Didier Drogba put the Blues in command, able to themselves seal the deal on the final day.

And yet the two dominant teams of this era were not done there. A May meeting back at Old Trafford the following season could have seen Chelsea snatch the championship away from United again, but Javier Hernandez scored inside a matter of seconds to set the Red Devils on course for a victory that crucially moved them six clear. That represents the last time the leaders beat the second-placed team during the run-in.

City serene since crucial Kompany winner (2011-2022)

United have won the title only once since 2010-11, while neighbours City have been crowned on five occasions in that time – and they have largely avoided the drama Ferguson's side made their benchmark.

Of course, their breakthrough triumph in 2011-12 was an exception to that, as City had to beat United even before Sergio Aguero's last-day heroics. Vincent Kompany's header moved the teams level on points, with goal difference vitally working in his side's favour.

Only four times since then have the top two faced off over the final 10 matches of the season, including Liverpool's 2013-14 defeat to Chelsea when neither team won the title and City's 2019-20 thrashing off the Reds when the league had already been settled.

City, in 2012-13, and United, in 2017-18, each claimed away derby wins that restored pride but could not prevent title processions. United's win at least denied City the delight of clinching the title against their neighbours.

The closest City and Liverpool have come to a true decider might be a January epic in 2018-19, but that should all change on Sunday.

Manchester City remain the likely Premier League champions and are on course to pip weekend opponents Liverpool to the title as the race reaches its home straight.

The top two each have eight games remaining and the first comes on Sunday when they go head-to-head at the Etihad Stadium in what many are billing a title decider.

That is hyperbole of course, but for City it is the last time they will face a team currently in the top five, so by that logical reasoning it is the game where they are most likely to slip up.

Arsenal are the team likeliest to snatch fourth place and a Champions League ticket for next season, while at the foot of the table it is almost too close to call between Everton and Burnley for the third relegation place, with Leeds United now standing just a 12.2 per cent chance of sliding down to the Championship.

Stats Perform AI analysis has given us a strong sense of how the standings might look come the season's final whistle on Sunday, May 22, but the figures also show us there remains plenty to play for.

PEP TO WIN THE TITLE BATTLE AGAIN?

Pep Guardiola's City head into the crucial contest with a one-point advantage over a Liverpool side who have been closing the gap since trailing by 14 points on January 15, albeit with Jurgen Klopp's Reds having played two fewer games at that time.

It is clear this remains a title race that could yet go either way, but City stand a 65.6 per cent chance of carrying off the trophy for a second season in a row, with Liverpool, their lone rivals for silverware, having a 34.4 per cent opportunity.

Diego Simeone described City as "an extraordinary rival" after Atletico Madrid's 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, and the second leg of that Champions League tie follows three days after the Liverpool game.

City's Premier League opponents for the remainder of the campaign will then be, in order: Brighton (home), Watford (home), Leeds United (away), Newcastle United (home), West Ham (away) and Aston Villa (home), with a trip to Wolves also to be arranged for a date to be confirmed.

Liverpool, also with Champions League commitments and an FA Cup semi-final against City to come, have what looks a more daunting Premier League run-in after this weekend, beginning with two huge Anfield games: Manchester United (home), Everton (home), Newcastle (away), Tottenham (home), Aston Villa (away), Southampton (away), Wolves (home).

They are 64.7 per cent likely to finish as runners-up, the Stats Perform prediction shows, and 0.9 per cent likely to be caught by Chelsea for second place. City are 0.3 per cent likely to throw it away and finish third. Now that would be some story.

Of all teams in the top flight, third-placed Chelsea are the most likely to finish in their current position. That is calculated as a 94.5 per cent probability.

GO FOURTH AND PROSPER?

The last Champions League qualifying berth is the prize that looks to be a slug-off between north London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal, who will meet in a May 12 derby.

Both sit on 54 points heading into this weekend, with Tottenham fourth for now but Arsenal having played one fewer game.

Momentum could change considerably, but for now Arsenal are predicted to have a 59.1 per cent chance of taking fourth spot, with Tottenham given a 31.9 per cent shot (50.8 per cent to be fifth).

Who else might take fourth and secure the riches that come with Champions League involvement? Well, Chelsea are reckoned to have a 4.0 per cent prospect of slipping there (and a 0.3 per cent chance of nose-diving to fifth), while Manchester United are three points adrift of Spurs and the Gunners, sitting in seventh ahead of a weekend trip to struggling Everton, and are given a 4.2 per cent hope of finishing so high.

That would be a massive boost to United's next boss, but it remains a slim hope. In fact, United's most likely finishing position, according to the predictor, is sixth place (46.1 per cent).

Former Red Devils boss David Moyes has probably seen his West Ham side's hopes of a top-four finish slip away. The Hammers are also just three points behind Tottenham and Arsenal but have played more games than both and are given a trifling 0.7 per cent chance of coming home fourth.

GOING DOWN WITH THE NORWICH?

The Canaries of Norwich are so far down the relegation pit of despair they can surely smell Championship gas. They stand a 1.3 per chance of survival, and are 81.3 per cent likely to finish rock bottom.

Second-bottom Watford are given an 18 per cent chance of staying up by the predictor, and home games against Leeds, Brentford, Burnley, Everton and Leicester City mean that door to survival should be considered just slightly ajar.

Leeds could yet plummet, but if Norwich and Watford are the likeliest two sides to exit the Premier League, then Burnley and Everton are the two most obviously jostling to avoid joining them.

For now, after a bruising 3-2 defeat at Burnley on Wednesday, Everton are rated 49.4 per cent shots to finish inside the bottom three, compared to 53.2 per cent for Sean Dyche's Clarets.

It is knife-edge stuff, hardly the end of the table where Frank Lampard is at his most comfortable.

Come the final day, Lampard's Everton might need something from a trip to Arsenal, who in turn might need points in that fourth-place battle.

HOW THE NUMBERS ARE WORKED OUT

Stats Perform's League Prediction model simulates the outcomes of the remaining matches to estimate the likelihood of teams finishing in each position.

The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) from the latest available betting market odds data or, when not available, by using an internal win probability model that is powered by historical team strengths.

Based on these probabilities, the results of the remaining matches can be simulated. The outcome of the season is simulated 10,000 separate times in order to estimate the likelihood of each team finishing in each league position.

A supremely busy Premier League Sunday may not have included either of the top two, but there was certainly no shortage of talking points.

There was particular focus towards the bottom of the table, with Norwich City and Everton losing yet again, while in the top-four race, Arsenal took another step towards sealing the final Champions League spot.

Chaos continues to engulf Chelsea, but they carry on winning, claiming a dramatic 1-0 win over Newcastle United, who were reminded again what it is like to lose following an impressive unbeaten run.

Without any further ado, Stats Perform looks at the key Opta facts from some of the day's games…

Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle United: Havertz decisive again

It was a particularly strange day at Stamford Bridge, with much of the pre-match noise focused on the two clubs' owners and fans.

But once the game started it was quickly remembered that this was going to give the clearest indication of the true extent of Newcastle's recent improvement.

As it happened, Chelsea clinched a late winner through Kai Havertz, who appeared to channel Dennis Bergkamp as he brought down Jorginho's pass and prodded home almost in one action.

That was the German's sixth goal involvement in five league games and saw him net in three successive top-flight matches for the club, with the former Bayer Leverkusen talent well and truly establishing himself as one of the competition's standout attackers.

It brought Newcastle's nine-match unbeaten run in the league to an end, with it also the first time since December that the Magpies have failed to score in the competition, though it was another encouraging performance from Eddie Howe's team.

Arsenal 2-0 Leicester City: Gunners finding their groove

Everything's looking rather rosy right now at Arsenal, with the Gunners making a pretty convincing case for the top four – this victory puts them a point clear of Manchester United, with Mikel Arteta's men crucially having three games in hand.

Leicester never looked like interrupting Arsenal's flow here, with the hosts in fine shape and playing eye-catching football.

This was their fifth successive league win, with Arsenal the only team outside of the top three to achieve that feat this season.

Their home form has proven a major help. They have lost just once at the Emirates Stadium since losing to Chelsea in their season opener, winning 10 of those 13 games.

Martin Odegaard in particular seems to have found another level lately, and he was excellent again, creating six chances. Five of those came in the first 45, making it the most by an Arsenal player in the first half of a game since October 2017 (Mesut Ozil, six).

Leeds United 2-1 Norwich City: Marsch madness twist leaves Canaries looking doomed

Leeds fans were devoted to Marcelo Bielsa. His replacement, Jesse Marsch, has been received well, but the jury is out on him.

A first win will surely aid his hopes of inspiring a bit of Marsch madness in the fanbase, and it came in dramatic circumstances too.

Joe Gelhardt scored a 90th-minute winner, making him the youngest player (19 years 313 days) to score a last-minute decider in the Premier League since February 2017 (Gabriel Jesus, 19y 308d) – the drama appeared to floor Marsch, who went tumbling to the ground amid the jubilant celebrations.

The joy on the Leeds bench was juxtaposed by the despair among the Norwich players and staff.

That was the Canaries' 20th Premier League defeat of the season in 29 games – never before in a league campaign have they reached 20 losses in fewer games.

Everton 0-1 Wolves: Lage's men continue exceptional 2022 form

What a season this is turning out to be for Wolves. When Nuno Espirito Santo left, there were certainly those who feared for the club's Premier League status given the stability that had served them well for several years was about to be truly tested.

Yet, they needn't have worried. Here we are in March and Wolves are challenging for European football and are one of the two form teams in the league in 2022.

This was their seventh Premier League win of the calendar year, secured by Conor Coady's goal, and leaves them with 21 points since January 1 – only Liverpool (eight wins, 25 points) have a better record than Wolves in 2022.

The reality is rather grimmer for Everton, however. Defeat here leaves them on 22 points from 26 matches, the lowest tally they have ever recorded at this stage of any league campaign (assuming a win equals three points).

This latest disappointment will likely bring fresh questions of manager Frank Lampard given only Norwich (one) have accumulated fewer points than Everton (three) since the former Chelsea boss' first game in charge.

Leeds United head coach Jesse Marsch was delighted with his side's dramatic late 2-1 win against Norwich City as the Whites earned three vital points in the fight to avoid relegation from the Premier League on Sunday.

Leeds looked to have been denied victory by the Canaries when Kenny McLean equalised Rodrigo's first-half opener in the 90th-minute.

But deep into stoppage time, England youth international Gelhardt, who had only been on the pitch for two minutes, turned in Raphinha's cross to snatch the three points back for Marsch's men and hand the American his first win in charge at Elland Road.

Speaking after the full-time whistle, the former RB Leipzig boss spoke of his delight at finally getting off the mark after succeeding Marcelo Bielsa at the helm last month.

"I'll remember it on my deathbed," he stated. "I don't think Joffy [Gelhardt] will ever forget that either.

"We really brought the crowd into the game, and gave them something to root for and attach to. Jack [Harrison] said when people come to Elland Road, they know they will see a fight."

Leeds' first victory since January gives them a welcome boost in the battle to avoid the drop to the Championship, with the Yorkshire club maintaining a four-point lead over 18th-place Watford, who won at Southampton on Sunday.

The Whites now sit four and five points ahead of Everton (17th) and Burnley (19th) respectively after both lost this weekend, but the Toffees and the Clarets have three and two games in hand respectively.

Thomas Tuchel acknowledged the full extent of the off-field chaos engulfing Chelsea is yet to be realised, but he defiantly vowed they will keep competing so long as they have a kit and a bus.

Chelsea beat Norwich City at Carrow Road on Thursday, with their 3-1 win inspired by Mason Mount and Kai Havertz.

But earlier in the day it was confirmed by the UK government that club owner Roman Abramovich was among the latest high-profile Russian individuals and entities to be hit with sanctions in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich, who has been photographed with Russian president Vladimir Putin in the past, was in the process of attempting to sell Chelsea, and the sanctions have put the sale in doubt despite the oligarch claiming the proceeds would have been donated to victims of the war.

While Chelsea were granted a special sporting licence to continue operating as a football club, measures have been imposed upon them including a ban on selling merchandise and tickets to non-season-ticket holders.

Additionally, the first team is not allowed to spend more than £20,000 on away travel, and any income from TV broadcast rights or competition prize money will be frozen.

Shirt sponsor Three has already suspended its agreement with the club while other partners are assessing contracts, and Tuchel realises things may get even worse for the club.

"I didn't see that coming yesterday and I don't know what is coming tomorrow," Tuchel told reporters after the defeat of Norwich.

"The level of impact it has, the news of today is big, in time we don't know how big. We cannot influence it."

Yet the German cut a largely relaxed figure, seemingly at peace with the fact there is nothing he nor his players can do to affect the situation.

For them, it is a case of business as usual, where possible, with Tuchel adamant he remains committed to leading the team.

"I am still happy to be here and still happy to be manager of a strong team," he continued.

"So far we can trust each other and this will not change. As long as we have enough shirts and a bus to drive to the games, we will be there and will compete hard.

"Everybody can be very sure that we focus on us, to keep the attitude and the mentality right on the training ground and within the team."

Chelsea are in action again on Sunday as they welcome Newcastle United to Stamford Bridge.

Mason Mount explained on Thursday how difficult it had been for Chelsea's players not to be distracted by the sanctions imposed on Roman Abramovich.

Abramovich was named as one of seven Russian oligarchs to have his assets frozen by the UK government due to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with a statement calling the Chelsea owner a "prominent Russian businessman and pro-Kremlin oligarch".

A government statement said: "Abramovich is associated with a person who is or has been involved in destabilising Ukraine and undermining and threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine, namely Vladimir Putin, with whom Abramovich has had a close relationship for decades."

The sanctions mean Chelsea's potential sale has been put on hold, with further restrictions banning merchandise sales and tickets to non-season-ticket holders.

This news came on the same day Chelsea travelled to Norwich City for a Premier League match.

Although the Blues won 3-1 to consolidate third place in the table, midfielder Mount – who both scored and assisted goals – acknowledged the precarious situation with Abramovich had been a factor.

"You can't really avoid it, as there's a lot going on," Mount told BBC Sport.

"We have to focus on what we do on the pitch. We had a game today and that was the only thing we could focus on. 

"We did that today, so now it's about Sunday. You try not to look too much into it."

Chelsea host Newcastle United on Sunday in their first game at Stamford Bridge since these developments.

Thomas Tuchel was grateful to have a match to focus on after Chelsea were plunged into uncertainty on Thursday with the freezing of club owner Roman Abramovich's assets.

Chelsea were in Norfolk to face Norwich City, emerging with a 3-1 win thanks to a professional display led by Mason Mount and Kai Havertz.

But earlier in the day it was confirmed by the British government that Abramovich was among the latest high-profile Russian individuals and entities to be hit with sanctions in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Abramovich, who has been photographed with Russian president Vladimir Putin in the past, was in the process of attempting to sell Chelsea, and the sanctions have put the sale in doubt despite the oligarch claiming the proceeds would have been donated to victims of the war.

While Chelsea have been granted a special sporting licence to continue operating as a football club, measures were placed upon them including a ban on selling merchandise and tickets to non-season-ticket holders.

It cast a shroud over Chelsea heading into Thursday's game, but Tuchel feels the fact they were already preparing for a match helped the squad keep their focus away from off-field matters.

Tuchel told BeIN Sports: "It's big news, huge impact of course, that's why it's big news. It is the subject of all the talk [in the squad].

"Normally we'd talk maybe about the Champions League games from yesterday but nobody talked about that, just the impacts of the new facts around the club.

"In the end it's also nice to enter a fixed schedule approaching a match. So, there's three-hours before [the game] we eat, and then we have a tactical meeting, then a set-piece meeting, then we go to the stadium.

"So, it helps you to focus because we're used to it. In the end we cannot influence it, we did not cause the situation, so we allowed ourselves to enjoy the fact we're here and are privileged to play football in the Premier League, and we wanted to show the best things.

"Sometimes it's good to sweat it out, so we tried to work hard, tried to convince the team to work really hard together and that's sometimes the best thing to get the focus back."

Certain sections of the Chelsea support have criticised the media for asking Tuchel about off-field matters since Abramovich announced he had put the club up for sale.

There have been suggestions Tuchel should only be asked questions relating specifically to the football his team play, but the German appeared relaxed about having to answer about off-field topics.

"I would love to talk about sports but I understand [the media] have a lot of questions," he continued.

"Unfortunately, I don't know much more than you, maybe it's the opposite, but we're also an entertainment and that's why it's like this."

Chelsea's off-field uncertainty was no barrier to victory over struggling Norwich City on Thursday as the Blues left Carrow Road with a 3-1 win.

The British government earlier confirmed Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich had his assets frozen as part of its sanctions against high-profile Russian individuals and entities in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

These sanctions were imposed just as Abramovich was attempting to sell the club, meaning Chelsea's future is shrouded in uncertainty, but on the pitch at least it was business as usual to a degree.

Trevoh Chalobah and Mason Mount had Chelsea two up inside 14 minutes, though their second-half performance offered Norwich encouragement with Teemu Pukki pulling one back from the spot.

But a Norwich comeback never materialised as Kai Havertz put the game beyond them late on to keep the Canaries bottom, while Chelsea moved eight points clear of fourth-placed Arsenal. 

Considering Norwich's poor defensive record, Chelsea were always going to get chances – they just may not have expected an opener to come so soon.

Feeble Norwich defending saw Chalobah nudge home from close range after Mount's delivery in the third minute, and it was 2-0 not long after.

The excellent Havertz pulled the ball back to Mount on the edge of the box, and following a drop of the shoulder, he exquisitely found the top-right corner.

Chelsea's intensity dropped after the break, though it was not until the 69th minute that their lead looked under threat, as Pukki coolly slid home a penalty after Chalobah handled a cross from lively substitute Milot Rashica.

Norwich's hopes of a late turnaround were dashed in the 90th minute, Havertz picking out the top-left corner with aplomb.

 

What does it mean? On-pitch stability vital for Tuchel

There is nothing Tuchel and his players can do about the chaos that is encircling Chelsea. All of that will be played out in the boardroom.

But the last thing they need now would be a wobble on the pitch, as they could quickly begin to slide down the Premier League table.

While the next few weeks – at least – look set to be challenging for Chelsea in almost every sense, this was at least a victory that prevented questions of being asked of the players' mentalities.

Mount the instigator

Although he was slightly quieter in the second half, Mount deserves recognition for his all-round performance. The midfielder was a major attacking threat, having an involvement in two of Chelsea goals, while his four shots and five key passes were match highs – only twice before has he set up more chances in a single Premier League game.

Rachica brought hope for Norwich

Norwich were massively improved in the second half, with Havertz's late strike arguably flattering the visitors. Rashica was key to the hosts' showing after the break with a lively display on the left flank, his two key passes the most of any player in yellow – it was also his cross that led to the penalty.

What's next?

Chelsea welcome Newcastle United to Stamford Bridge on Sunday, while Norwich head to out-of-form Leeds United the same day.

The Premier League confirmed Chelsea's game at Norwich City would go ahead on Thursday despite Blues owner Roman Abramovich being hit with sanctions.

Abramovich was one of seven Russian oligarchs sanctioned by the UK government on Thursday. He has had his assets frozen and cannot pursue efforts to sell the London club, with the decision made while Russia continues to invade Ukraine.

Chelsea have been granted a special sporting licence to be able to continue trading, but measures have been imposed that include a ban on selling tickets, with only season-ticket holders permitted to attend matches.

The Premier League said in a statement: "Following the UK government's announcement that sanctions have been imposed against Roman Abramovich, the Premier League can confirm tonight's match between Norwich City and Chelsea will go ahead as planned.

"The government has issued an initial licence to enable Chelsea to continue to train, play its fixtures and fulfil its obligations for the rest of the season.

"The league will now work with the club and the government to ensure the season will proceed as planned and in line with the government’s intention."

Chelsea said the club "intend to engage in discussions" with the government, and that they hope to operate "as normal as possible".

"Chelsea Football Club has been advised that its owner Roman Abramovich has been sanctioned by the UK government," the club stated.

"By virtue of his 100 per cent ownership of Chelsea FC plc and affiliated entities, Chelsea FC would normally be subject to the same sanctions regime as Mr Abramovich. However, the UK government has issued a general licence that permits Chelsea FC to continue certain activities.

"We will fulfil our men's and women's team fixtures today against Norwich and West Ham, respectively, and intend to engage in discussions with the UK government regarding the scope of the licence.

"This will include seeking permission for the licence to be amended in order to allow the club to operate as normal as possible. We will also be seeking guidance from the UK government on the impact of these measures on the Chelsea Foundation and its important work in our communities.

"The club will update further when it is appropriate to do so."

Brandon Williams explained his decision to hug Christian Eriksen during Norwich City's recent 3-1 defeat to Brentford was pure instinct following the Dane's ordeal.

A video clip went viral on Saturday after a comical and heart-warming moment between Williams and Eriksen, who initially looked set for an angry tussle.

Eriksen grappled with Williams in an attempt to halt a Norwich attack, and the two players fell to the floor in a pile.

Williams' reaction suggested anger as he appeared about to pin the midfielder down, but upon realising who it was he was tussling with, he instead gave Eriksen a hug – the latter's confused smile as he got up said it all about the amusing exchange.

Four days on, Norwich defender Williams has spoken publicly about his gesture, which he says came from a place of awe following Eriksen's return to the football pitch less than a year after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark at Euro 2020.

"Obviously, it was just a moment that happened, it was just instincts," Williams told Sky Sports.

"I got past him and I felt him pull me down, so we were on the attack and I was really angry.

"I was going to…hold him, but I know what he's been through, and it's incredible what he's done, and he's back now.

"It was something special for him to be on the pitch for himself, and to be involved in that, I felt like he needed a hug.

"[Eriksen's health emergency] is something that no player wants to go through, it was amazing that he's back and he's a top quality player. I'm sure he'll be back to his best very soon."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.