Brighton & Hove Albion
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Manchester United
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Salah continues to dominate, Mourinho berates his team, Morata ends drought

A look back at an eventful weekend in the FA Cup and Premier League, with drama on and off the pitch.

Goal of the weekend

It almost feels churlish to nominate the only goal that Mohamed Salah didn't score for Liverpool on Saturday, but at least he had a big hand in it. His low cross, flicked home between his legs by Roberto Firmino, was the sight of a formidable attack operating in glorious synchronicity.

Player of the weekend

It's a weakness of the discussion around football that even those who succeed beyond all expectations must be compared to someone else. Every time Salah is compared to Lionel Messi -- as he was after his four goals against Watford -- it gives the appearance of diminishing his extraordinary achievements.

Because the 36 goals he has so far this term are truly extraordinary, and should be viewed only in that prism and not next to this generation's defining talent. Salah had gone a whole two games without a goal, his second-longest drought of the season, so it was fairly predictable that he would make up for it.

Anti-motivation of the weekend

There seems to be a glaring hole in Jose Mourinho's man-management technique. Here is a manager who only seems able to rule with the stick, either unwilling or unable to reach for the carrot, even when the former doesn't seem to be working.

So it was again this weekend, despite Manchester United's win over Brighton, as he called out a number of his players for not playing with "personality": essentially, not being mentally strong enough. He didn't single out anyone by name, publicly, but the fact he took an uninjured Luke Shaw off at half-time does remove the mystery somewhat.

Mourinho's suggestion that Shaw isn't strong enough might be true, but he may want to look at why: in January, Mourinho said he didn't "see many better left-backs" than Shaw, then picked him only three times in the next ten games, two of which were in much-changed FA Cup lineups. Even the strongest mind would be confused by that one.

The "treat 'em mean" technique might work with some players, but he doesn't seem to be having much luck with Shaw.

Stand-in of the weekend

The absence of Harry Kane will understandably cause a degree of panic among Tottenham fans, and it would be extraordinarily contrarian to argue that they are better off without him.

Mohamed Salah
Mohamed Salah scored four goals in Liverpool's 5-0 victory over Watford on Saturday.

However, Saturday's performance against an admittedly passive Swansea at least suggests they will be able to cope without him. Son Heung-Min seems to be the favoured theoretical No. 9 to stand in for Kane, and with a rotating cast including Christian Eriksen, Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura and Dele Alli to buzz around behind him, this Spurs team will still be a potent attacking force.

This is good news for Gareth Southgate, too. If Spurs can still score goals without Kane, they'll be less inclined to hurry him back from his ankle injury, and thus risk further problems that might harm his chances of making the World Cup.

Welcome form of the weekend

Everton's transfer business last summer turned out to be almost entirely terrible, but a purchase they made in January is currently proving one of the shrewder moves made this season.

Cenk Tosun took a few weeks to settle in England, as Sam Allardyce loudly proclaimed, but after no goals in his first four appearances he has four in his past three, the latest pair coming in their 2-1 win over Stoke. If Allardyce is to take some good will into next season, he'll need more of the same from Tosun.

Trivia of the week

Mark Hughes could provide a terrific quiz question this season: Which manager won the FA Cup after being beaten in the third round by a League Two side? Despite the knockout punch to his stagnant spell at Stoke coming against Coventry in this competition, his first game at Southampton was the quarterfinal against Wigan, and was negotiated smartly.

His appointment wasn't especially imaginative, and the end of his time with the Potters might make some think he won't have an impact, but Hughes's record at mid-level Premier League clubs is broadly strong. The cup will be a distraction to the business of Premier League survival, but a pleasant one: they could easily complement each other.

Relief of the weekend

When Alvaro Morata was sent through by Willian in Chelsea's FA Cup quarterfinal against Leicester, he looked nothing like a striker who was about to end a three-month, 13-game goal drought. For the whole game he'd looked lost, bereft of confidence and nothing like the centre-forward Chelsea thought they were buying.

But he opened his body and curled a terrific finish home and looked like the most relieved man in the world as the ball hit the net. Perhaps he will now start playing like the centre-forward Chelsea need him to be.

Admission of the weekend

"I keep saying it to my players: we have got to keep showing pride in what you do, and I will keep doing that until such time I am told not to."

Alan Pardew can't directly say the jig is up. West Brom still have 21 Premier League points to play for, enough to reach the amount that will probably be required to stay up. But his words after their 2-1 defeat to Bournemouth, at least partly blamed on an injury to Jonny Evans, show he knows. He knows very well. It's over, and has been for a while.

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


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