In another thrilling weekend of Premier League action, the agony and ecstasy of the world’s premier football competition was on full display.
Excitement has thus far being the name of the game and the 2023-24 season is on course to set a new record for total goals in Premier League history.
Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool all picked up wins to strengthen their title ambitions, with all three showing no signs of slowing down their charge towards the top spot as we approach the final third of the campaign.
Meanwhile, the battle of the chasing pack continues with Manchester United securing what could prove to be a crucial three points in the race for Champions League football as they left it late to defeat Aston Villa.
Elsewhere in the table the competition for points is just as fierce, with Sheffield United defeating Luton to keep a glimmer of hope alive that they can make the most unlikely of pushes for Premier League safety.
To gain a deeper insight into the emotions involved in top flight football Mail Sport have enlisted forensic lip-reader Jeremy Freeman to offer his analysis on what was said in some of the weekend’s most animated incidents.
Mail Sport enlisted an expert lip reader to shed light on some of this weekend’s most contentious incidents
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Forest’s heated penalty protest
After narrowly escaping relegation last season, Nottingham Forest once again find themselves dicing with death at the wrong end of the table.
Steve Cooper‘s sacking in December was followed by back-to-back wins for Nuno Espirito Santo, but that new manager bounce could yet be negated by a possible points penalty for breaking the league’s financial rules.
The Tricky Trees are now slipping back into their old ways on the pitch and found themselves winless in three ahead of Newcastle’s visit to the City Ground.
Bruno Guimaraes gave the visitors the perfect start, but Forest fought back twice to head into the interval level.
In the second-half Taiwo Awoniyi was brought down by Martin Dubravka, with former referee Mark Clattenburg telling Mail Sport it was ‘impossible’ for the striker to stay on his feet.
Nottingham Forest felt they deserved a penalty when Taiwo Awoniyi was brought down by Martin Dubravka
The club’s bench lit up in frustration as they appealed to the officials to point to the spot
Rui Pedro Silva could later be seen protesting his innocence after being shown a yellow card
However referee Anthony Taylor did not point to spot, leading to furious protests on the Forest bench captured on the broadcast that were only exacerbated after the referee cautioned Santo’s assistant, Rui Pedro Silva.
In his analysis of the clip, Freeman noted the No 2 saying: ‘Hey? Hey? [indecipherable] That is nothing. I was sitting on the bench, I was sitting on the bench, man, of course, sitting on the bl***y bench.’
Things would go from bad to worse for the hosts in short order, with Guimaraes again popping up to fire Newcastle to victory and secure the three points.
Alvarez and Gabriel clash
After victory over Liverpool kept their title ambitions alive, Arsenal travelled to the London Stadium on Sunday intent on reaffirming their status as genuine contenders.
Mikel Arteta’s side wasted little time getting down to business at the London Stadium.
With the game still level in the early stages Alphonse Areola attempted to kickstart a counter for the Hammers by launching a throw towards Edson Alvarez on the left flank.
The summer signing’s first touch flattered to deceive however, and he was forced into a rash challenge to deny an onrushing Bukayo Saka possession.
Edson Alvarez made a rash challenge on Bukayo Saka in the early stages of West Ham’s defeat by Arsenal
The Mexico international appeared to insist that Saka had not been hurt in the tackle
Alvarez then engaged in a heated back-and-forth with Arsenal defender Gabriel
With the England international left writhing on the pitch, Alvarez was shown a yellow card, and, according to Freeman was not expecting his caution.
‘No, no, nah, no, he didn’t hurt…(referee then brandishes yellow)…what?’
Gabriel then involved himself by squaring up to Alvarez with the pair exchanging heated words.
‘F*** off, you dirty ****,’ Freeman believes Gabriel to have told the West Ham defender – with the second expletive matching the lip patterns and the context of the situation.
Alvarez retorts: ‘F*** off Magalhaes (Gabriel’s surname), how can you…’ before the camera cuts away.
The Brazilian would ultimately have the last laugh, joining Saka on the scoresheet in a 6-0 thumping as they handed the Hammers their joint-heaviest home defeat in Premier League history.
Moyes vents as his side sinks
For as jubilant an afternoon as Sunday was for the Gunners it was equally as devastating for David Moyes.
The Scotsman’s second spell in charge at the east London club has been punctuated by moments of triumph followed by sinking despair, and unfortunately for Moyes recent results have fallen squarely in the latter category.
Such was the disappointment of the defeat, contract extension talks for the manager have been paused, with the club now winless in their last seven games in all competitions.
David Moyes could be seen expressing his frustration following his side’s hapless performance
Hammers boss has seen contract extension talks with the club paused amid their dismal form
Freeman’s analysis of the former Everton boss’s words captures the frustration of a manager watching his team completely blown out of the water.
In the 84th minute, the cameras cut to an exasperated Moyes, who can be seen muttering to himself after Jakub Kiwior is penalised for a foul on Mohammed Kudus: ‘For f*** sake, it’s about time, how many times, it’s not [indecipherable}… count how many fouls’.
Hojlund riles up Villa Park
While West Ham’s momentum has ground to a halt in recent weeks, Manchester United have very much been in the ascendency.
Erik ten Hag has spent much of the campaign to this point trying to reignite the success of his maiden term in Manchester and with a youthful spine at its core it looks to finally be underway.
Against Aston Villa, United faced one of their primary rivals for a Champions League place and proved they can get a result at a critical juncture of the campaign.
Rasmus Hojlund continued his fine form in front of goal with a fifth in as many games, before Douglas Luiz equalised for the hosts and likely ruffled a few feathers with an exuberant goal celebration.
Rasmus Hojlund was substituted in stoppage time as Manchester United defeated Aston Villa
Douglas Luiz angrily exchanged words with the forward as he took his time leaving the pitch
A Villa fan then aimed a obscenity-filled tirade at Hojlund as he made his way to the bench
How fitting then that the pair would come together in stoppage time after substitute Scott McTominay had fired United back into the lead with a header in the closing minutes of normal time.
As Hojlund walked off the pitch after being replaced by Jonny Evans, the young forward enraged the Villa Park faithful by gesturing at them to calm down and reminding them of the score.
Luiz then confronted the Dane, with Freeman noting he said: ‘You s***, come on, you know, you push off, just go off,’ as he attempted to hasten his departure.
A more fiery remark was still to come however, with a fan wearing a club-branded hoodie aiming a expletive-laden diatribe at the 21-year-old and appearing to refer to the him as a ‘n***e’.
‘You f**ing, f*** off, you f****** n**ce,’ he could be seen shouting at the Dane.