Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes enjoyed a record-breaking November.

The 2018 NFL MVP produced another dominant performance as Super Bowl champions the Chiefs overcame the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

As the Chiefs improved to 10-1, Mahomes completed a magical November. This month, he completed 132 of 181 passes for 1,598 yards, 14 touchdowns and just one interception.

As per Stats Perform, Mahomes averaged 399.5 passing yards per game in November. That is the most passing yards per game by any quarterback in a single month in NFL history (minimum four games played).

Tyreek Hill caught three touchdown passes against the Buccaneers. Of Mahomes' 14 in November, eight were to Hill.

We take a look at Mahomes' month.

November 1 v New York Jets

Unsurprisingly, the Jets were no match for Mahomes and the Chiefs at the start of the month.

Mahomes went 31 of 42 for 416 yards and five touchdown passes in a 35-9 victory at Arrowhead Stadium.

He connected twice with Hill, throwing at least five TD passes in a game for the first time since late 2018.

November 8 v Carolina Panthers

Challenged by the Panthers, the Chiefs did enough to record a 33-31 win.

With the Chiefs leading 20-17 entering the fourth quarter, the teams traded touchdowns, with Mahomes twice finding Hill.

He finished with four touchdown passes, having completed 30 of 45 for 372 yards.

November 22 v Las Vegas Raiders

Seeking some revenge following their only loss of the season in October, the Chiefs found it thanks to Mahomes.

They looked set for another defeat when Derek Carr found Jason Witten with a one-yard TD pass with less than two minutes remaining to put the Raiders ahead.

But Mahomes led a seven-play, 75-yard drive in 75 seconds, completing it with a 22-yard pass to Travis Kelce to lift the Chiefs to a 35-31 victory.

Mahomes completed 34 of 45 passes for 348 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

November 29 v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Mahomes stepped up again as the Chiefs held off the Buccaneers 27-24 on Sunday.

He completed 37 of 49 passes for 462 yards and three touchdowns, outshining Tom Brady as the Chiefs improved to 10-1.

Only once – against the Los Angeles Rams in 2018 – has Mahomes had more passing yards in a game, finishing that contest with 478.

Hill was the star with 269 receiving yards and three touchdowns with the Chiefs holding on against Brady's Tampa Bay.

A point gained, or two lost? Both Chelsea boss Frank Lampard and Tottenham counterpart Jose Mourinho felt their teams could have won a London derby that was big on pre-match hype but lacking in clear-cut chances.

"That was a game where we respected them and they respected us," Mourinho told Sky Sports after the Stamford Bridge stalemate. A little too much respect, perhaps.

The Premier League title hopefuls combined to manage four shots on target in a quickly forgettable contest that, like a loaf missing yeast, failed to rise.

Lampard, meanwhile, reflected on a game where his team had the "handbrake a tiny bit up", even if a seventh clean sheet in nine outings shows they have some momentum to work with while parked nicely in third place in the table.

One of the few openings came Chelsea's way as the capital clash neared a welcome conclusion, substitute Olivier Giroud not converting in added time when up against fellow Frenchman Hugo Lloris.

Tammy Abraham watched on from the home bench as the man who had replaced him proved unable to grab a late winner. Abraham had moments to make a mark on proceedings before being replaced, only to fluff his lines on the big stage.

There were a pair of inviting crosses from Reece James in the second half that were missed, while another delivery from Timo Werner – playing from the left in a front three – went begging.

It summed up a frustrating outing for Abraham, whose 79 minutes on the pitch included four shots – none of which hit the target – along with 14 passes (he completed just 57 per cent of them) and 27 touches, a number only one better than his own team's goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy.

The England international was a key figure in a successful first campaign under Lampard, scoring 15 league goals, but such exploits only lead to increased expectations.

As former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink pointed out during Sky Sports' post-match coverage, the bar has been raised. If 2019-20 felt like a free swing for Lampard and his young squad, that early promise, coupled with substantial investment in the squad, has increased the pressure on all at the club.

"He has to improve in those moments. He did ever so well last year when he came in, for half of the season he was a breath of fresh air, scored a lot of goals," Hasselbaink said of Abraham, who has started four games in a row in the league.

"Second half of the season he had it tough, but it's normal because he's a young boy, but this season he needs to step up. With his stature, his ability, he should do better and score more goals and score more important goals."

Abraham has three league goals so far in 2020-21, averaging one every 182 minutes. That compares unfavourably to last season, when he managed to score every 148 minutes.

When it comes to big chances, the numbers are trending in the right direction. Last term he missed 22 such opportunities, but he has converted two of the four that have come his way so far in this campaign.

Yet it is perhaps not too surprising that Abraham did not capitalise on James' delicious deliveries against Spurs, having scored just four of his 18 top-flight goals from crosses. Still, such openings cannot afford to be passed up now that the spotlight is more intense, both due to Werner's arrival from RB Leipzig and amid talk of a title tilt.

"Sometimes I wonder if he watches clips of himself after the game, because sometimes his movement can be better, his hold-up can be better. He needs to keep on improving," Hasselbaink - who scored 69 times in the Premier League during his Chelsea career - added.

Lampard was rewarded for showing faith in Abraham in his first year; now the striker must push on if he wants to make sure he is not left behind.

As the NFL season reaches its business end, the San Francisco 49ers are a team without a home.

Saturday saw the Santa Clara County Public Health Department announce new directives aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus amid a surge of cases.

They prohibit sports at all levels that "involve physical contact or close proximity to persons outside one's household, including all contact sports".

Those measures will remain in place for at least three weeks, during which time the 49ers have home games with the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Football Team scheduled to take place at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

San Francisco finish the season with a home game against the Seattle Seahawks on January 3, but it appears likely that game will also take place elsewhere.

It is another headache for the reigning NFC champions in a miserable season in which they are 4-6 having seen their roster decimated by injury.

But just where will they play their remaining home fixtures? Here we assess some realistic, and some outlandish, potential alternatives.

Arizona/out of state

Let's get the most likely, and most depressing alternative, out of the way first.

Reports suggest that State Farm Stadium, the home of the Arizona Cardinals, has emerged as the favourite to take on the Niners as temporary tenants.

The 49ers are said to want to play in an NFL stadium and Arizona would be practical as it is relatively nearby and San Francisco and the Cardinals never play at home on the same day.

It appears the 49ers will be temporarily bubbling up in an out-of-state location where restrictions are looser. If the Niners do fade completely from playoff contention, then it may be fitting for them to round off a season they will want to forget in a hurry by playing out the string at the home of another team.

Oakland Coliseum

Providing Alameda County, of which is Oakland is part, does not introduce the same measures as Santa Clara, the Coliseum could be considered the leader in the clubhouse among the realistic California options.

It hosted NFL football as recently as last year as the Raiders played their final season in the Bay Area before moving to Las Vegas, so would likely be the easiest local stadium to get ready in time.

California Memorial Stadium

The home of the California Golden Bears also resides in the East Bay in Alameda County. The Bears have only one more home game scheduled in the 2020 college football season, so logistically this 98-year-old venue could work as a solution.

Oracle Park

The 49ers actually playing in San Francisco? What a concept.

Oracle Park, home of MLB's San Francisco Giants, will remain free until April and has previously played host to college football bowl games.

The size of the field may be an issue that prevents a move to Willie Mays Plaza from being a realistic option, but the prospect of the Niners playing at one of the most spectacular ballparks in MLB is a fun one to think about.

Kezar Stadium

Let's get nostalgic.

There is no chance of the 49ers moving back to their original home, nestled within the picturesque grounds of Golden Gate Park.

Gone are the days when Kezar could hold close to 60,000 people. Today it hosts USL soccer and high school football and would be ill-equipped to accommodate two NFL teams and the television equipment needed to broadcast games.

But in a season that has brought the 49ers little reason for celebration, a return to where it all started would allow them the chance to finish it off with a unique experience.

"Ridiculous" was a word used by Frank Lampard to sum up N'Golo Kante last week - and with good reason. 

The Chelsea midfielder is back fit, back in the side and more or less back to his best, having missed 16 Premier League matches last season. 

Kante's "quietly influential" form has helped Lampard's side to a strong start to the season that has left some to bill Sunday's derby clash with Tottenham as something of a title showdown – or at least a game that could well highlight which of the two has the best chance of dethroning Liverpool. 

A win for either side will move them top of the table after 10 games, but Kante's recent performances might just indicate Chelsea have the edge.

BACK WHERE HE BELONGS?

In 2018-19, Maurizio Sarri preferred Jorginho at the base of midfield, with Kante generally shifted to the right of a three. 

The system was hardly a failure: Chelsea returned to the Champions League, won the Europa League and only lost the EFL Cup final on penalties to Manchester City. Few, though, ever thought it brought the best out of Kante. 

Since taking charge last year, Lampard has shifted Kante back towards the middle and, as can be seen from his average touch maps, 2020-21 sees a full return for the France international as the midfield anchor.

N'Golo Kante's touch maps by season, from 2018-19 (L) to 2020-21. The shift from the right-hand side towards the base of midfield is clear.

He is averaging 82 touches per 90 minutes in the Premier League, the highest figure he has ever posted for Chelsea, five more than in his title-winning debut season in 2016-17. He is also averaging 67 passes per game, more than he ever has before for the club.

In other words, Kante is very much at the heart of Lampard's Chelsea.

He is also back to his exceptional defensive levels in 2020-21, averaging three interceptions per game – again the most in his Chelsea career – as well as three tackles, his highest figure under Lampard.

The caveat is his passes in the final third have dropped by an average of six per game compared to last season and by nine compared to 2018-19, but the creative talent at Lampard's disposal means the burden of attacking is no longer on Kante's shoulders.

HOJBJERG BATTLE AWAITS

If Chelsea's form is based in part on the performances of Kante, Tottenham's strong start to the season is very much built on the work of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

Signed from Southampton for a reported £15million fee, the 25-year-old has established himself as Jose Mourinho's most important player behind the relentlessly brilliant Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

Through nine rounds of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign, Hojbjerg had managed more touches (809), attempted more passes (695) and completed more passes (619) than any other midfielder in the competition. He has also got stuck into 29 tackles, the third-highest number for midfielders this term and four more than Kante.

Hojbjerg might not be a player of the Kante mold, but the two have had remarkably similar influences on their teams. Each has one assist in nine league starts, their passing accuracy practically matches (88.5 per cent for Kante, 89.1 for Hojbjerg), and they have made exactly the same number of recoveries (64).

Effective as they are without the ball, so much of Chelsea and Spurs' good work with it also relies on these two.

Kante has started 139 open-play sequences this season, eclipsing Hojbjerg (111), but that is about as big a difference as you will find.

Of those sequences started by Kante, 13 have ended in a shot and two in a goal; for Hojbjerg, 11 have ended in a strike at goal and one has seen Spurs get on the scoresheet.

Indeed, in terms of involvements in open-play build-up, Kante has managed 423, only slightly up on Hojbjerg's 415. Of those tallies, each player has seen 31 of those involvements end in a shot; when it comes to resulting in a goal, Hojbjerg edges Kante eight to three.

On Sunday, the winner of the battle for midfield control between these two could well swing the match in his side's favour.

Empty stadiums, Barcelona in the midst of an institutional crisis exacerbated by Lionel Messi's wanderlust, and Real Madrid a world away from the glamour and ruthlessness we often associate with Los Blancos – 2020-21 always looked set to be an intriguing one for LaLiga.

Sunday will see the season's first meaningful clash between two teams vying at the top of the table, as leaders Real Sociedad go to third-place Villarreal.

By no means is this a fixture steeped in the tradition of title tussles or anything of the sort – after all, La Real's two LaLiga crowns came in the early 1980s and their most recent top-two finish was 17 years ago, while Villarreal have never won the league.

But in this peculiar time for football, few have adapted better and they are laying the foundations for potential tilts at glory.

Building on a foundation

La Real earned acclaim and attracted many neutral eyes last season as they came close to qualifying for the Champions League for the first time since 2003.

Ultimately their form tailed off late in the season, coinciding with losing key man Martin Odegaard to injury, but despite eventual disappointment they showed they were laying the foundations for something potentially special.

Many felt that seeing Odegaard return to Real Madrid would have a major impact on La Real, that they had no hope of bettering themselves without a player of his calibre – but it's so far, so good in 2020-21.

This is a club and setup that's already got a strong base. Throughout their ranks they coach a particular brand of football, and there is an onus on progression, both for players and management.

Imanol Alguacil has been at the club in various capacities since 2011, managing the youth team, the B team and then the senior side, of whom he was appointed coach in 2018. Their strong core of homegrown players only benefits them and aids cohesion in the long run.

Arguably La Real's biggest strength is their pressing intensity – only two teams in LaLiga have averaged more high turnovers in possession than their 5.3 per game, with 1.3 of those in every match leading to a shot.

Yet, this relentlessness isn't – as it can be – implemented to account for a shortfall in technical ability. They boast an impressive array of gifted players, as evidenced by the fact they've scored more goals (21) than they would otherwise be expected to (18 xG) and seen eight different individuals claim at least one assist – Atletico Madrid is the sole club to match this.

Alguacil generally deploys a lone front man and wingers who operate more as inside forwards, which can create central overloads but offers the flexibility of being able to pump crosses into the box, as such they are averaging 13 shots per game and converting 16.3 per cent – both are significant upgrades on Villarreal, for example.

Mikel Oyarzabal has been their shining light, the club academy product having scored more goals (six) than anyone else in LaLiga this term. On top of that, his combination of chances created and total shots (43) is second to Lionel Messi (50), highlighting just how influential the wide attacker is.

But they aren't solely dependent on attacking prowess. La Real have been seriously shrewd at the back too despite losing Diego Llorente to Leeds United in pre-season, conceding only four goals – that's second to Atletico (two), who have played two games fewer.

Additionally, La Real face only seven shots per game on average, suggesting they aren't just relying on miracles from Alex Remiro in goal either.

Alguacil has presided over their joint-best start in LaLiga history. While the result on Sunday – whatever the outcome – won't decide any titles, it is the first opportunity for La Real to prove they should be taken seriously.

Restoring a reputation

Villarreal's situation is rather different to that of La Real – they are at the start of a new cycle having decided to up the ante when hiring a new coach in pre-season.

Unai Emery arrived and, while his reputation outside of Spain may have taken something of a knock with Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain, at home he remains highly regarded for his early work with Valencia and then the Europa League three-peat at Sevilla.

It's fair to say Emery has adjusted well and Villarreal have responded in kind to him – his 4-1-4-1 formation, not too dissimilar to that of La Real, provides the right blend of discipline and flexibility, often morphing into a 4-3-3. A trio of technically proficient midfielders support an attack spearheaded by Paco Alcacer, who is flanked – usually – by Samuel Chukwueze and Gerard Moreno.

Attacking full-backs help complete their outlook, which certainly on the face of it has drawn comparisons with his Sevilla team.

But while they were strongest on the counter, Emery's Villarreal looks to control possession more rather than explode with quick transitions – after all, the Yellow Submarine average the fourth-most number of passes per game (553.3) in LaLiga and just over half take place in their own half.

This is a patient team. It's an approach that's arguably necessary when one considers most of their regular midfielders – the likes of Moi Gomez, Manu Trigueros, Dani Parejo and Vicente Iborra – are certainly not blessed with pace but all possess fine technical attributes.

That's not to say they lack intensity, either. In fact, they are one of the two teams to create more high turnovers per game (5.4) than La Real, while they also craft more shots (1.6) from those scenarios than their next opponents.

A 1-1 draw against Real Madrid last time out should put Villarreal in a good mindset for another high-profile encounter – they will hope their considered, possession-based approach is the ideal counter to La Real's more direct style in San Sebastian.

Jose Mourinho has many happy memories at Stamford Bridge, but very few of them have come from the visiting dugout.

The Tottenham coach takes his side to Chelsea on Sunday looking to preserve top spot in the Premier League against hosts who can themselves reach the summit with a win.

For Mourinho, it is also a return to his first club in English football.

The Portuguese won consecutive league titles with Chelsea following his arrival in 2004 and added a third after returning to the Blues in 2013.

However, since leaving the Bridge for the first time in 2007, Mourinho has won away at Chelsea only once.

That success came on his first trip back in 2010 when the idea of Mourinho ever enduring misery in SW6 seemed quite improbable.

Mourinho's Inter won 1-0 courtesy of Samuel Eto'o's goal to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals. The Nerazzurri had triumphed over Carlo Ancelotti's men in the home leg, too, and would claim the treble.

Yet those were Mourinho's only back-to-back victories against Chelsea and there have been just two subsequent wins in 10 attempts in all competitions - both in the Premier League at Old Trafford as Manchester United manager. Antonio Conte oversaw each reverse.

A third success did follow in September of this year but only courtesy of a penalty shoot-out as Chelsea were knocked out of the EFL Cup.

That was a third meeting with Frank Lampard, a star midfielder in Mourinho's first spell, and the master is yet to get the better of his apprentice outside of spot-kicks.

Indeed, Lampard did the double over Mourinho in the league last season.

Were the former England international to secure another victory this weekend, he would become the first Premier League coach to win three in a row against Mourinho in the competition. Chelsea would also become the first club to enjoy a trio of consecutive successes.

The Blues should not be lacking motivation this week, but the potential to make history against their former boss adds just a little more spice.


Mourinho's full record against Chelsea (Premier League unless stated):

Inter 2-1 Chelsea (Champions League) - 2010
Chelsea 0-1 Inter (Champions League) - 2010

Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United - 2016
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (FA Cup) - 2017
Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea - 2017
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United - 2017
Manchester United 2-1 Chelsea - 2018
Chelsea 1-0 Manchester United (FA Cup final) - 2018
Chelsea 2-2 Manchester United - 2018
Tottenham 0-2 Chelsea - 2019
Chelsea 2-1 Tottenham - 2020
Tottenham 1-1 Chelsea (EFL Cup, 5-4 pens) - 2020

The day after Thanksgiving is a day for eating leftovers, doing some Black Friday shopping and if you have the misfortune of being a Detroit Lions fan, ruminating on another demoralising defeat.

After a particularly chastening 41-25 loss to the Houston Texans on Thursday, even Lions fans must be wondering whether it is worth having their team spoil their holiday with consistently poor performances on Thanksgiving.

The Lions, along with the Dallas Cowboys - who were blown out by the Washington Football Team - are an NFL tradition when it comes to Thanksgiving. 

But gone are the days when Barry Sanders would spend Thanksgiving making defenders look foolish and recently it is the Lions who most frequently leave the field red-faced.

Here we examine the numbers the Lions have put up in Thanksgiving games to assess if their presence on the schedule is a tradition worth maintaining.

The losing streak is stretched

The raw win-loss numbers do not make for pretty reading for Detroit. After the defeat to the Texans, the Lions are 4-13 in Thanksgiving games since 2004.

Detroit had stopped an eight-game losing streak in 2013, a victory over the Green Bay Packers starting a four-game winning streak.

However, they are now firmly back on the wrong track, Houston's triumph making it four turkey day defeats in a row for the Lions.

Turnovers again prove costly

Detroit went into Thursday's game with opponents having dominated the per-game numbers in Thanksgiving matchups since 2004.

Prior to the meeting with the Texans, opponents had averaged 28.1 points per game to the 21.1 for the Lions, with Detroit also being outgained 364.3 to 360.4 yards per game.

The major difference between the Lions and their Thanksgiving foes in that timeframe has been Detroit's inability to protect the football.

Before the Week 12 clash with Houston, the Lions had doubled the number of turnovers of their Thanksgiving opponents, committing 36 compared to 18 by the teams they faced.

That trend continued on Thursday. Though the Lions marginally outgained the Texans, they ended the game with three giveaways while Houston turned the ball over just once.

It was a performance in keeping with the ineptitude they have displayed under Matt Patricia on Thanksgiving.

Patricia the main problem?

Across the three games the Lions have played under Patricia, they have committed six turnovers.

Their opponents, by contrast, have given the ball away three times. Given that discrepancy, it is no surprise the Lions are 0-3 on Thanksgiving under the former New England Patriots defensive coordinator.

And, with those games making up the majority of their now four-game losing streak, perhaps it is worth seeing whether the Lions stay the course with Patricia before calling for them to be removed from the Thanksgiving slate.

With Detroit's hopes of making the playoffs basically extinguished for another season at 4-7, the decision appears a simple one for the Lions brass.

Patricia is 13-29-1 as a head coach. Few coaches survive posting such a record and, if the Lions decide to move on, then they merit the opportunity to turn things around on Thanksgiving in 2021.

However, if they elect to give him another season at the helm, then it is clear that NFL fans deserve the opportunity to have something else on their Thanksgiving menu.

The last two Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks are set to face off on Sunday as Patrick Mahomes' Kansas City Chiefs face Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Defending champions Kansas City have a 9-1 record this season, while the Buccaneers are 7-3.

Though Tampa have lost two of their past three games, the Chiefs' most recent two victories have been by tight margins, and now an all-time great in the form of six-time Super Bowl champion Brady goes up against the league's current star quarterback.

The game in Florida is among the key Thanksgiving weekend matchups we preview with Stats Perform data.

FEATURED GAME

Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Sunday, 4:25pm (all times Eastern)

- This game is a matchup of the quarterbacks who won the past two Super Bowls, with Brady winning Super Bowl LIII two seasons ago with the New England Patriots and Mahomes and the Chiefs winning the Lombardi Trophy last February. The Bucs are 1-4 this season versus QBs who have started in Super Bowls, and 6-0 in all other games.

- Kansas City have reeled off five straight victories, scoring 30 or more points in each of the last four contests. In the franchise's 61-year history, the team has scored 30 or more points in five successive games on two occasions, in 2004 and 2018 (both streaks ended at five games).

- With a 13.5 touchdown-interception ratio (27 TD passes, two picks), Mahomes is tied for the second best single-season mark among qualifiers in league history. He is topped by only Brady and his 14.0 mark in 2016 as a member of the Patriots (28 and two).

- Twenty years and six days after making his NFL debut, Brady will look to snap a two-game home losing streak. It is the third time in his career and first since 2006 that the veteran campaigner has lost consecutive home contests in the regular season; he has never suffered a three-game home losing streak.

OTHER KEY GAMES

Arizona Cardinals at New England Patriots - Sunday, 1pm

- New England have won six of the last seven games between these teams dating back to 1993, with Arizona's only win coming in 2012 in Foxborough. The Cardinals have not scored more than 21 points in any of those seven games – they had at least 24 in six of the first seven all-time meetings between these teams (6-1).

Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts - Sunday, 1pm

- Ryan Tannehill has 44 touchdown passes and nine interceptions in his 20 starts with Tennessee. His 4.89 TD/INT ratio is the best all-time by a quarterback in his first 20 starts with a team, surpassing Peyton Manning with the Denver Broncos (4.82).

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers - Sunday, 8:20pm

- Green Bay are 15-3 against Chicago since the 2011 season – the third best record by one team against a divisional opponent in that span, behind the Patriots against the New York Jets (17-2) and the Steelers against the Cinciannati Bengals (16-3). Since the start of last season, the Bears have gone 14 games scoring fewer than 20 points. Only the Jets (17), Bengals (15), and Washington (15) have had more such games.

Seattle Seahawks at Philadelphia Eagles - Monday, 8:15pm

- The Eagles are 2-5 against the Seahawks in Philadelphia, their worst home record against any active franchise. Losers of the last five such matchups, Philly have not dropped six consecutive home games to a single opponent since losing six straight to the Cardinals from 1973 to 1978.

ELSEWHERE...

Los Angeles Chargers at Buffalo Bills - Sunday, 1pm

- The Chargers have won four straight over the Bills by a combined 80 points, winning each by double digits. The last time the Bills beat the Chargers was on October 19, 2008 – that 12-year span without a win is the fourth-longest active drought by any team against a conference opponent.

Las Vegas Raiders at Atlanta Falcons - Sunday, 1pm

- Atlanta's Matt Ryan is set to play in his 200th career game on Sunday. His tally of 54,164 passing yards (though 199 games) is the second-most in NFL history in a player's first 200 games, trailing only Drew Brees (55,439).

Pep Guardiola is convinced the floodgates are about to open for his Manchester City team and Saturday's opponents Burnley may already be fearing the worst.

On their last three visits to the Etihad Stadium, Burnley have lost 5-0 on each occasion, with a pair of Premier League thrashings coming either side of an FA Cup trouncing.

Speaking this week, Guardiola said he would need to "find a solution" to his City team's scoring problem, which has seen them net a modest 10 goals in their opening eight Premier League fixtures this season.

He mentioned the importance of fixing "little details", adding: "In one or two games, this kind of thing will get better. The season is still so young and I'm fully optimistic we're going to do a good season."

Given he recently signed a contract extension until the end of the 2022-23 season, City will hope Guardiola's hunch proves correct and the good times return for City.

 

Shots fired, but little damage done

Burnley must look back misty-eyed at the 1-1 draw they secured against City at Turf Moor in February 2018, given that is the most change they have got out of a Guardiola team.

Raheem Sterling missed a sitter in that game before Johann Berg Gudmundsson scored a late equaliser for Burnley, who were one of just six teams to take points off City in their 100-point season.

Since then, City have won by three or more goals in five of the six meetings between the sides, having to settle for a 1-0 victory in the game that was the odd one out.

Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez both scored twice and David Silva was also on the mark in the most recent 5-0 trouncing, in June, and City's overall Premier League record against Burnley during the Guardiola era shows they have taken 22 points from a possible 24, scoring 23 goals and conceding just four.

City have taken 155 shots in those eight games against the Clarets, of which 57 were on target, while Burnley have returned fire with just 47 attempts, with only 13 of those not going astray.

The Eastlands outfit have taken 125 shots so far this term, which is more than early leaders Tottenham (115) have managed, but their quota of opportunities defined by Opta as 'big chances' is low compared to Jose Mourinho's side.

City have had just 15 big chances so far, to 29 for Tottenham and 33 for Liverpool, and exacerbating their problem at that end of the pitch has been their wastefulness.

Their record is chronically bad when it comes to putting away the big chances, with City converting just 26.67 per cent.

Stand that figure against Tottenham's 62.07 per cent, Liverpool's 48.48 per cent, Chelsea's 60 per cent and Leicester City's 63.64 per cent, and it is easy to see why City are some distance behind the top four.

Indeed, since the 2012-13 season, only three teams have finished a campaign with a lower big-chance conversion rate than City's current mark (Norwich City in 2013-14, Aston Villa in 2014-15, Brighton in 2019-20).

 

Banishing the 'big' problem is City's mission

City's dominance of the rivalry with Burnley does not mean it stands to be repeated in Saturday's game, but Guardiola may have justifiable cause to expect an upturn in the goals return.

It was a matter of months ago that City were polishing off a season in which they had 141 big chances in 38 games (3.7 per game, compared to 1.9 this season), and in which they put away a healthier 41.13 per cent of those opportunities.

That league campaign was considered by some a failure given Liverpool won the title by 18 points, but City's haul of 102 goals was 17 higher than the champions achieved, so scoring was not the area where they were falling down.

City have been without Sergio Aguero for much of the campaign so far due to knee trouble, and with the Argentine striker in their ranks many see them posing a greater goal threat.

What Opta data shows is that City's expected goals per game rises to 2.38 when Aguero plays, compared to 2.14 without him, based on Premier League matches since the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

They have 3.6 big chances per game when Aguero plays, and 3.1 when he does not, but the actual goals per game only inflates slightly, from 2.4 goals to 2.5, when the 32-year-old features.

Others must take responsibility for this malaise. City have missed their last seven big chances - spanning their last four Premier League games - and against Tottenham last time out they had 22 shots at goal.

Sooner or later, the dam will break and City goals will come all at a rush - or at least that is what Guardiola hopes, and must believe, will happen.

The trouble is, City cannot afford to be chasing Liverpool again, or Spurs, Chelsea or Leicester for that matter, in the title race.

If the dam holds against Burnley, and City cannot comfortably beat Sean Dyche's side, who have one win, five points, and a mere four goals this season, then there will be real cause for concern.

Another 5-0 or similar, however, could be the turning-point result that Guardiola senses is coming City's way.

Diego Maradona was a majestic footballer who was idolised by millions worldwide, but the Argentina great was not the best role model off the pitch.

His death at the age of 60 on Wednesday led to an outpouring of grief from within sport and beyond.

The 1986 World Cup winner is revered in his homeland, where thousands queued to file past his coffin on Thursday morning, as well as in Italy, where he played arguably the best football of his career for Napoli.

Maradona also battled major drug and alcohol problems, once shot at journalists, had a turbulent private life and took a swipe at Pope John Paul II.

Those episodes all form part of the legend and the bigger picture when it comes to remembering the most talented player of his generation.

DRUGS DON'T WORK

Maradona was said to have first dabbled in drugs in the mid-1980s, and cocaine began to play a big part in his career. In Naples, a city where chaos plays a big part in the daily life of many, Maradona lived on the edge, risking his health with the Class A drug while attempting to still produce on the pitch.

His form began to fall away, and comeuppance came with a 15-month drugs ban imposed in 1991, before Maradona moved to Sevilla.

A seemingly resurgent Maradona was sent home from the 1994 World Cup after testing positive for a banned stimulant, and drugs continued to be a problem for Argentina's favourite son after he retired from playing. He later claimed to have given up drugs in 2004, following serious heart problems that led him to spend time in intensive care.

GUN DRAMA

Maradona was sentenced to a suspended jail sentence of two years and 10 months in 1998, four years on from an incident that saw him shoot at journalists with an air rifle.

The February 1994 episode occurred outside his Buenos Aires home, and it was reported that four people were injured.

Footage showed Maradona perched behind a Mercedes car, pointing the gun.

TAXING TIMES

He claimed to have been "treated like the worst criminal" by Italian authorities that were pursuing him for allegedly unpaid taxes.

Speaking in 2016, Maradona told the Corriere della Sera newspaper: "I don't owe anything. They have been hounding me unfairly over the last 25 years for €40million with €35million in fines for an alleged tax violation that every single judge has ruled did not exist."

Maradona added, according to ESPN, that he had been singled out as the only footballer to have jewellery and watches taken away by authorities.

HOW WOULD HE MANAGE?

Putting Maradona in charge of the Argentina national team looked like a dicey move, and his two-year reign effectively ended with a 4-0 defeat to Germany in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals.

Argentina had been in danger of missing out on the tournament but won their last two qualifying matches to scrape into the finals.

Maradona was predictably elated with qualification, proving his doubters wrong, and ran into trouble when he told reporters to "suck it and keep on sucking it".

FIFA imposed a two-month ban for the lewd outburst, with Maradona apologising for his comments.

CEILING A DEAL WITH THE POPE

By the late 1980s, Maradona was arguably the world's most celebrated sports star.

Such celebrity status opens doors, and he met with Pope John Paul II.

Maradona told a story in his autobiography, I Am Diego, of how he took issue with the pontiff's concern for poverty-stricken children, given the luxury set-up at the Vatican.

He wrote: "Yes, I did argue with the Pope. I argued with him because I've been to the Vatican and seen the gold ceilings. And then I hear the Pope saying that the Church was concerned about poor kids. So? Sell the ceilings, mate! Do something!"

HAND OF GOD

From the Pope, to the Hand of God.

Maradona's status in England will forever be tainted by his controversial opening goal for Argentina against Bobby Robson's team in the 1986 World Cup quarter-final.

By punching the ball past goalkeeper Peter Shilton, who has not forgiven Maradona, the mercurial captain of Los Albiceleste became an instant hate figure for English supporters.

Maradona claimed it was God's hand that helped Argentina past their rivals at the Stadio Azteca, a step nearer their eventual triumph and his finest moment in the game.

Diego Maradona's death made headlines across the globe as the world marked the passing of the Argentinian football legend.

The 60-year-old died in Buenos Aires on Wednesday, two weeks after being discharged from hospital having undergone a routine operation for a subdural haematoma.

After that news was announced by the Argentine Football Association, tributes flooded in for the Napoli great and on Thursday news of his death made front and back pages all over the planet.

Here is a collection of headlines on the day after Maradona's death.

 

In his home country, the newspaper Cronica superimposed Maradona atop the World Cup trophy, back turned and walking away, under the headline "Adios" (goodbye).

Clarin ran a picture of Maradona holding the World Cup aloft, with the words "Conmocion mundial: murio Diego Maradona" (World upheaval: Diego Maradona dies).

Uruguayan outlet El Observador went with "A que planeta te fuiste" (Which planet did you go to?), in reference to his otherworldly talent.

El Pais, a Spanish newspaper, said the former Barcelona forward was "Un dios del football" (A God of football).

Also in Spain, Marca's front page featured the words "If I die, I want to be reborn and I want to be a footballer... and I want to be Diego Armando Maradona again".

In France, L'Equipe ran a full front-page image of Maradona in his prime wearing the blue and white of his country, with a headline which declared "Dieu est mort" (God is dead).

Germany's Kicker dedicated its front page to the news, putting the dates of Maradona's birth and death under a picture of the star playing for Argentina.

La Gazzetta Dello Sport showed Maradona kissing the World Cup trophy and went with the words "Ho visto Maradona" (I've seen Maradona).

It was against England that Maradona scored his famous 'Hand of God' goal as he led Argentina to World Cup glory at Mexico 86. English newspaper The Sun was among the outlets to play on that phrase, coined by the man himself.

"In the hands of God," read that publication's front page, which featured an image of the incident as the diminutive forward beat England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to the ball. The paper described Maradona as "England's World Cup nemesis and one of the all-time greats".

The Mirror ran a similar headline, adding: "Diego Maradona, a hero, a villain, a cheat and a genius... dead at 60".

Placing a little more emphasis on his achievements, The Times opted for a picture of Maradona celebrating that 1986 success in Mexico City, accompanied by the headline "Millions mourn Maradona's death".

And the Daily Express, using both the handball and trophy photographs, described Maradona as "the eternal, flawed genius".

Diego Maradona dragged Argentina to World Cup glory, triumphed in Italy and Europe with Napoli and won countless individual honours.

Along the way, the footballing great – who died on Wednesday at the age of 60 – scored some of the greatest goals the game has ever seen.

No matter the occasion, or indeed the opponent, Maradona was often unplayable – as can be seen from our selection of his five greatest ever goals.

 

Argentina v England (June 22, 1986)

Hailed by many as the greatest goal of all time, Maradona picked up the ball inside his own half and dribbled past four England players before calmly rounding Peter Shilton.

The moment of magic arrived four minutes after the infamous 'Hand of God' goal and helped Argentina into the semi-finals of the 1986 World Cup, which they went on to win.

 

Argentina v Belgium (June 25, 1986)

The goal scored by Maradona three days later, this time in the semi-finals, was not too dissimilar in that he had four opposition players between himself and the goal.

He slalomed between two of them, jinked past another – in the process taking out a fourth – and fired past Jean-Marie Pfaff for his second goal of the contest.

Napoli v Juventus (November 3, 1985)

Napoli ended their 12-year wait for a league victory over rivals Juventus thanks to Maradona's brilliance of a different kind. If the previous goals were all about neat footwork and clinical finishing, this was more to do with sheer audacity.

A large wall, set five metres from the ball, was not enough to stop the Argentine maestro delicately lifting the indirect free-kick into the one spot Stefano Tacconi could not reach.

Napoli v Hellas Verona (October 20, 1985)

This one was all about the technique - and the confidence to even think about taking it on. Maradona brought down the ball with his first touch, turned and sent a long-range drive flying over Giuliano Giuliani from a good 40 yards out.

What made it all the more special is that this strike came in a 5-0 thrashing of Verona, who were the reigning Serie A champions at the time.

Boca Juniors v River Plate (April 10, 1981)

Maradona spent a season with Boca Juniors before arriving in Europe and it soon became clear what a talent he would become.

His first spell at the club may have been short but he left behind plenty of memories, including a goal at the home of bitter rivals River Plate. With the angle against him, he squeezed in an effort with a masterful finish from the wing.

Football has produced few more divisive figures than Diego Maradona.

The Argentina great died on Wednesday at the age of 60 following a cardiac arrest and, while opinions on his legacy may differ depending on where you live, his remarkable impression on the game is undoubted.

The abiding image of Maradona for most likely stems from the 1986 World Cup quarter-final between Argentina and England.

For so many in England, he will forever be remembered for arguably the most controversial goal in the history of football, which saw the diminutive Maradona somehow rise above the comparatively towering figure of Peter Shilton and divert a sliced clearance from Steve Hodge into the empty net with his hand.

But that act of what can at best be considered deceit did not take away from the majesty of his ultimately decisive second goal, dubbed the Goal of the Century, with the balletic grace with which he weaved past the helpless England defenders before rounding Shilton and slotting home the defining memory of Maradona for his adoring fans in his home country and scores of fans around the world.

That game perhaps encapsulated the man known as El Pibe de Oro (The Golden Boy). As England striker Gary Lineker, who scored the goal overshadowed by Maradona's brace at Estadio Azteca, said in a tweet paying tribute following news of his death, the Albiceleste legend led a "blessed but troubled life".

Raised in a poor family in Villa Fiorito, a shantytown on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Maradona's blessings were evident from an early age. At just eight years old, his promise was discovered by a scout, Francisco Cornejo, and he was signed to the youth team of Argentinos Juniors.

"He did things that I have never seen anyone else do," Cornejo, who died in 2008, later said of Maradona.

Maradona made his Argentinos debut 10 days before turning 16 and marked it in fitting fashion by nutmegging an opponent within minutes of entering the pitch.

One hundred and sixteen goals in 166 games for Argentinos followed and resulted in Maradona receiving a dream move to Boca Juniors, though his spell at La Bombonera yielded only one league title and was marked by a difficult relationship with coach Silvio Marzolini before he moved to Barcelona in a world-record transfer in 1982.

Barca did not see Maradona at his best at the 1982 World Cup in Spain that preceded his debut for the Blaugrana, yet the impact he had on his cohorts at Camp Nou was stark.

"He had complete mastery of the ball," former team-mate Lobo Carrasco remarked. "When Maradona ran with the ball or dribbled through the defence, he seemed to have the ball tied to his boots."

His time in Catalonia delivered both brilliance and tumult in equal measure. Maradona became the first Barca player to receive a standing ovation from Real Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabeu in 1983, but sustained a career-threatening ankle injury against Athletic Bilbao and was then involved in a brawl against the same opposition in the 1984 Copa del Rey final that hastened his exit from the club.

It was perhaps no surprise that the pinnacle of his international career coincided with that of his club career at Napoli, for whom Maradona will forever be an icon.

After being named player of the tournament at the '86 World Cup, Maradona inspired Napoli to their first Serie A title and triumph in the Coppa Italia. UEFA Cup glory followed in 1989 prior to a second league title a year later.

Napoli's Stadio San Paolo was the scene of glory for Argentina in a World Cup semi-final win over Italy, in which Maradona scored the ultimately decisive penalty in the shoot-out, though he could not ensure a successful title defence as West Germany prevailed in the final.

Italian football saw the best of Maradona, whom Franco Baresi described as his toughest opponent - "when he was on form, there was almost no way of stopping him," the Milan legend said.

Yet it also saw significant off-field struggles and he left Napoli after serving a 15-month ban for failing a drug test for cocaine, battling his addiction to the drug and alcohol until 2004.

He returned to Argentina by signing for Newell's Old Boys after a turbulent spell with Sevilla, with his international career ended in the wake of a positive test for ephedrine doping during the 1994 World Cup that resulted in him being sent home from the United States.

Retirement came on the back of a second two-year stint at Boca, but Maradona was rarely out of the spotlight even as he fought addiction and struggles with obesity, undergoing gastric bypass surgery in 2005.

His post-playing career also saw a string of brief coaching tenures, which included him leading Argentina to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup, where they were thumped 4-0 by Germany. Maradona made sure his departure was fittingly acrimonious, levelling accusations of betrayal at the national team's hierarchy.

Maradona had seemingly found some stability in his coaching career at Gimnasia y Esgrima de la Plata when he was admitted to hospital this month having recently renewed his contract through the 2020-21 season.

"We live an unforgettable story," Gimnasia posted in a tribute on Twitter.

Blessed but troubled, tempestuous yet utterly bewitching to watch. Gimnasia's words struck the right chord.

His story was undeniably unforgettable and it is telling that, despite Lionel Messi's otherworldly exploits, it is Maradona who stands as the symbol of Argentinian football for so many.

As Messi wrote of Maradona on Instagram: "He leaves us but does not leave, because Diego is eternal."

Whether it's the Hand of God or the Goal of the Century, his presentation to hordes of Napoli fans or that goal celebration at the 94 World Cup. Maradona was the artist behind so many of the game's indelible images. Football is mourning the premature passing of an all-time great, but his legacy and impact will endure for decades to come.

The Las Vegas Raiders came up short in Week 11 against the Kansas City Chiefs but did so with a performance that was another reminder of the strides they have made on offense this season.

Head coach Jon Gruden, whose coaching tree includes innovators such as Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay, widely regarded as the two best play-callers in the NFL, is overseeing one of the most efficient offenses in the league in the 2020 season.

The Raiders, therefore, are worthy of fantasy consideration every week and managers with Las Vegas players on their roster should have no hesitation starting them in Week 12, when they face the lowly Atlanta Falcons.

NFC East teams have been far less trustworthy this year, but three of the four teams in the division feature in this week's edition of fantasy picks.

QB: Derek Carr - Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders' success this season has not resulted in fantasy consistency for Derek Carr despite his clear improvement as a quarterback in 2020.

But he is coming off a three-touchdown game against the Chiefs and this week takes on the most generous fantasy defense to opposing quarterbacks in the Atlanta Falcons.

If you have Carr, make sure he is in your starting line-up.

RB: Miles Sanders - Philadelphia Eagles

The primary source of competence on the Philadelphia offense, last Sunday's loss to the Cleveland Browns was just the second time this season that Sanders failed to put up double-digit fantasy points.

Do not expect him to record a third such game against the Seattle Seahawks, who are allowing 19 points per game to opposing running backs. Sanders also has successive games with five targets in the passing game, meaning he has some points per reception upside against the worst pass defense in the NFL.

WR: Terry McLaurin - Washington Football Team

In what is somehow an important game in the NFC East between two three-win teams, McLaurin is almost certain to play a pivotal role against a Dallas Cowboys defense giving up the second-most fantasy points to wide receivers.

He has at least seven targets in every game this season and caught seven of his 11 targets for 90 yards and a touchdown in the reverse fixture in Week 7. McLaurin is a safe bet to replicate and perhaps outperform that production in this Thanksgiving clash.

TE: Darren Waller - Las Vegas Raiders

Believe it or not, that Falcons defense that struggles against opposing quarterbacks also has difficulties defending tight ends.

Atlanta allow the most fantasy points in the NFL to tight ends, meaning it should be another productive day for Darren Waller.

After some quiet weeks by his standards, Waller caught all seven of his targets for 88 yards against the Chiefs and should keep the momentum going in the city where he played his college ball.

D/ST: New York Giants

The Giants, like every other team in the league's worst division, are firmly in the mix in the NFC East.

New York's 15 turnovers are tied for the fifth-most in the NFL and they should have a chance to add to that tally against a Cincinnati Bengals team starting backup quarterback Ryan Finley following the season-ending injury to Joe Burrow.

Given the Bengals' struggles in protecting the quarterback, Sunday could be a hugely profitable day for fantasy managers willing to back the Giants defense to take advantage of a favourable matchup.

Diego Maradona's remarkable all-round World Cup record is one which may never be matched.

The Argentina legend died at the age of 60 on Wednesday, prompting tributes from across the football world.

Reflections of his career will see so many of Maradona's magical moments highlighted, though perhaps most memorable are his 1986 exploits in Mexico, a tournament which gave Argentina their most recent World Cup success.

Opta statistics help to illustrate Maradona's remarkable performances on football’s biggest stage and highlight how difficult his legacy at the tournament will be for a modern player to match. 

Maradona appeared in four successive World Cups for Argentina between the ages of 21 and 33, playing his first in 1982 before going on to represent his country in 1986, 1990 and 1994.

He ended his Argentina career having made 91 appearances and it was clear he thrived on the big stage - nearly one in four of those caps occurred during World Cups, where he enjoyed a win record in excess of 50 per cent.

He holds the record for the most number of appearances in the competition by an Argentine player (21), just ahead of Javier Mascherano (20) and Lionel Messi (19).

Maradona is one of just three players to captain his country in two different men's World Cup finals, having done so in 1990 as well as the 1986 tournament, where he stole the show.

The only other two players to achieve the feat are Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (1982 and 1986) and Dunga, who did so in successive tournaments after Maradona in 1994 and 1998.

The exploits of Maradona in 1986 will be hard to top. He had 10 goal involvements (five goals and five assists) in seven games and no player has done that since at a single edition of a World Cup.

No other player at the tournament in Mexico managed more than six goal involvements, highlighting his level of superiority.

Only Gabriel Batistuta (10) has scored more World Cup goals for Argentina than Maradona, who ended his international career with a total of eight.

Maradona is also one of only three Argentina players to have scored in three separate World Cups (1982, 1986 and 1994), alongside Messi (2006, 2014 and 2018) and Batistuta (1994, 1998, and 2002).

As well as eight goals, Maradona had eight assists in his 21 appearances over the four tournaments he played in. Across all World Cups staged since 1966, no other player has accumulated as many.

Maradona won 152 free kicks across his four World Cups, the most in tournament history.

That is more than twice as many fouls won by any other player, with Brazil's Jairzinho ranking second with 64.

On average he won more than seven fouls per game in his World Cup career, or one every 12 minutes and 46 seconds. 

He was the most fouled player across three consecutive competitions from 1982 to 1990, with this total from 1986 (54) remaining the highest single figure from one World Cup. 

Amazingly, his individual totals from 1990 (50) and 1982 (36 from just five games) also rank individually as second and third all time.

As well as being the most fouled player, Maradona has also provoked more cards than any other player at World Cups since yellow and red cards were first introduced in 1970. 

Fouls on him resulted in 12 cards being dished out, ahead of Arjen Robben (11) for the most in tournament history.

Though as well as forcing his opponents to pick up bookings, Maradona was also prone to being cautioned himself – he is the only player to be booked in two separate World Cup finals (1986 and 1990).

In the 1986 tournament, he played a part in an astonishing 56 per cent of his team's 101 shots. He had 30 of them himself, and played the final pass on 27 other occasions.

The only game where he failed to score or assist at least one goal was in the round of 16 match against Uruguay, but even then he still managed to hit the woodwork from a stunning direct free-kick.

He led the assist rankings with five at Mexico 86 and with five goals he was the second highest scorer behind Gary Lineker, who netted six.

Maradona remains the only player since 1966 to have to have scored and assisted as many as five goals in a single World Cup, a record that looks particularly tough to beat.

Famed for his dribbling prowess, no player has beaten an opponent more times in a single World Cup than Maradona did in 1986. 

The attacker successfully took the ball around an opponent 53 times, averaging eight per game. Four came in just one single move, the goal of the century against England in the quarter-finals.

He travelled 51 metres with the ball in 10 seconds to net one of only four World Cup goals since 1966 where a player travelled as far before scoring.

Jarizinho had 47 successful take-ons in 1970, while the closest anyone has come to breaking that Maradona record since his retirement was when Messi had 46 in 2014 and Eden Hazard 40 in 2018.

The stats from that match with England sum up Maradona's overall impact in Mexico. He attempted the most shots of any player on the pitch (seven), the most shots on target (three), most chances created (five) and most completed dribbles (12), as well as winning seven fouls. 

Until 2018, Maradona also held the record for the most dribbles (105) in World Cup matches, a number was fittingly eclipsed by his compatriot Messi (110).

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