Three talking points from the Premier League

·3-min read
Midfield maestro: Ilkay Gundogan (left) scored twice as Manchester City moved to the brink of the Premier League title at Everton
Midfield maestro: Ilkay Gundogan (left) scored twice as Manchester City moved to the brink of the Premier League title at Everton

Manchester City are on the brink of retaining the Premier League title after Arsenal's challenge crumbled in a 3-0 home defeat to Brighton on Sunday.

City also did their bit to close on a fifth title in six seasons as Ilkay Gundogan starred with two stunning goals in a 3-0 win at Everton.

At the other end of the table, Southampton's fate was sealed by a 2-0 defeat at Fulham to end their 11-year stay in the top flight.

AFP Sport looks at the key talking points from the Premier League weekend.

Evergreen Gundogan going out in style

Gundogan appears to be coming to the end of his seven-season stint at City with the German's contract expiring at the end of the season and Barcelona reportedly set to pounce.

The 32-year-old was Pep Guardiola's first signing and been a cornerstone of City's success ever since.

Gundogan famously came off the bench to score twice and win the title on the final day of last season as City fought back from 2-0 down to beat Aston Villa 3-2.

This time round the German is doing his best to ensure there is no such late twist in the title race.

Gundogan scored twice against Leeds last weekend and hit another brace at Goodison Park with a sumptuous flick and a precise free-kick.

In between times, he also grabbed an assist as his cross teed up Erling Haaland's 52nd goal of the season.

"He can do everything and he does it well," said Guardiola.

City need just one win from their final three games to wrap up the title and could be champions before they next take the field in the Premier League should Arsenal lose at Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

Brilliant Brighton deserve Europe

Brighton's quest to qualify for Europe for the first time was derailed earlier in the week by a shock 5-1 home defeat to Everton.

But they bounced back in some style to inflict just Arsenal's second home league defeat of the season.

Roberto De Zerbi's men climb to sixth in the table, one point clear of Tottenham and Aston Villa and with two games in hand still to come.

The Italian insisted even after victory at the Emirates that his side must build on their mentality to become a regular challenger to the Premier League's elite.

But they have proven over the course of the season to be more than a match for clubs with far bigger budgets and who are likely to try and pick off the best of Brighton's talent again over the summer transfer window.

Since De Zerbi took charge in October, Brighton have also beaten Chelsea and Liverpool twice and Manchester Untied.

Southampton's costly gamble on youth

Saints' first season under new owners Sport Republic has ended in disaster.

Captain James Ward-Prowse admitted that relegation "had been coming" after a season in which Southampton won fewer home games than they had managers.

The new owners had not been shy to splash out in the transfer market, but over £100 million ($125 million) spent largely on an array of promising young talents has had little reward.

"Our goal is to return to the Premier League as soon as possible and ensure that we stay there," said Sport Republic in a statement issued just hours after relegation was confirmed.

"At the same time, we will continue to focus on the long-term development of the club, both on and off the pitch, to ensure its sustainability at the highest level."

That will mean a summer rebuild with England international Ward-Prowse among those likely to be tempted away from St. Mary's.