One of the more interesting subplots of any Premier League season is the race for the Golden Boot.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were joint recipients of the title last season after all finishing on 22 goals.

That figure could be comfortably exceeded this time around, with a number of familiar names – such as Aubameyang, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling – starting the campaign in prolific form.

They are joined at the top of the scoring charts by two players who excelled in the Championship last season: Tammy Abraham and Teemu Pukki.

Using Opta data, we take a closer look at the records of those five in the opening five games of the season and compare their stats from the same period in the 2018-19 campaign.  

 

SERGIO AGUERO (MANCHESTER CITY) - SEVEN GOALS

Aguero has started the season in blistering form and sits atop the scoring charts with Abraham on seven goals.

It is a marked improvement on his tally of three at the same stage last season; a period in which he played an additional 32 minutes.

It is little surprise that Aguero is finding the net regularly, given his superb record since joining City in 2011, but it is his ruthless efficiency this season that has caught the eye. The Argentina international's seven goals have come from just eight shots on target.

Aguero has been far from selfish so far this term, however, carving out seven chances for his team-mates; one of which has been dispatched.

TAMMY ABRAHAM (CHELSEA) - SEVEN GOALS

Chelsea's transfer ban might well have forced Frank Lampard to use Abraham more than he had planned, but the 21-year-old has well and truly taken his chance.

His electric beginning to the campaign is in contrast to a comparatively sluggish start to life on loan with Aston Villa in the Championship last season where he scored just twice in the club's opening five games.

He has played 80 minutes fewer in the top flight so far this season but has scored seven goals from just eight shots on target.

His hat-trick against Wolves at the weekend made him the third player in Premier League history to score two or more goals in three consecutive appearances aged 21 or younger.

TEEMU PUKKI (NORWICH CITY) - SIX GOALS

The Finland international has been one of the surprise packages of the season, plundering six goals for the newly promoted Canaries.

He scored a whopping 29 goals to help his side win promotion last season but started slowly, scoring just two goals in his first five appearances.

There has been no such slumber at the start of this campaign, however.

He took just three shots in his opening five games last season, but Daniel Farke's aggressive approach to life in the top flight has clearly benefited Pukki, who has already attempted 12 shots.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (ARSENAL) - FIVE GOALS

It is hardly a surprise that the Gunners striker is among the deadliest strikers so far this season.

Since his Premier League debut in February 2018, only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (53) has been directly involved in more goals in the competition (37 goals and nine assists).

The bad news for defences across the country is that he might be getting even more prolific.

He scored just once in his opening five games last season, but his brace against Watford on Sunday means he already has five to his name this campaign. Given that start, it will not be a surprise to see him comfortably surpass last season's tally of 22 goals.

RAHEEM STERLING (MANCHESTER CITY) - FIVE GOALS

Sterling set his stall out this season with a hat-trick in City's resounding opening day victory over West Ham.

It marked the continuation of a stunning few seasons for the former Liverpool man, who is now firmly considered to be one of the Premier League's deadliest finishers.

With 49 touches in the opposition box already this season – 18 more than his nearest rival in the top five – it is hardly surprising that he has five goals to his name; two more than he had in the same period last term.

He has also been a consummate team player, laying on eight chances for his team-mates.

Pep Guardiola believes his "prestige" in England is down to Manchester City's players, as he defended his squad in the wake of their shock defeat to Norwich City.

The champions were beaten in the league for the first time since January on Saturday, losing 3-2 to a patched-up Norwich side at Carrow Road.

Aymeric Laporte's absence through injury was certainly felt, with Norwich's third goal coming as a result of a mix-up between John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

City's defeat leaves them five points behind leaders Liverpool after five matches, but Guardiola – whose style of play was questioned at times during his first season in England – jumped to the defence of his players, claiming he will only be concerned if his side stop caring after a defeat.

"They [the players] gave me all the prestige I have in England, when the first season when it was 'fraud' Guardiola, 'Fraudiola'," Guardiola told a news conference.

"This kind of game here in England – it's not possible to play because you need to have tackles and you have to play like that – these players gave me the prestige that I have.

"And now all around the world people say how good a manager I am. So, it's for them, not for me.

"In the moment where they don't care about losing the game, when they don't care about absolutely anything, that would be a problem.

"But I know how they suffer, because in the past when we don't win, they haven't done that. What do we have to do? Work harder, work more, talk more, be more precise.

"Start winning games and winning games and winning games and in the end, if we are not able [to win the title], then we will congratulate the opponent."

Guardiola elected to start with Kevin De Bruyne on the bench against the Canaries, despite the playmaker's excellent start to the season.

Although Liverpool already hold a commanding lead at the top, De Bruyne has issued a reminder that City were seven points behind the Reds deep into last season.

"Last season we were seven points behind – it happens. Of course, we want to win every game, but it is difficult," De Bruyne said.

"It will be tough, the next seven months, like last year. It never stops. It is our job and sometimes it is hard, but you have to take it on the chin.

"We lost four games out of 38 last season and that is a good record. We can still win this season with the same points at the end of this season."

Norwich City caused the biggest shock of the Premier League season on Saturday when they registered a famous 3-2 win over reigning champions Manchester City at Carrow Road.

That stunning result means Liverpool are now five points clear at the summit after Jurgen Klopp's side ran out 3-1 winners over Newcastle United to maintain their perfect start to the campaign.

Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead over Watford at Vicarage Road to draw 2-2, while Tammy Abraham netted a hat-trick as Chelsea thumped Wolves 5-2.

With the help of Opta stats, we take a deep dive into the weekend's biggest stories.

 

UNSTOPPABLE PUKKI STUNS CITY

Norwich were outstanding in their dramatic win over Pep Guardiola's side, inflicting a first defeat for the champions against a newly promoted opponent since March 2015 when they lost to Burnley.

It was a defensive nightmare for City, who conceded twice in the opening half-hour of a Premier League game for the second time under Guardiola. The other occasion was against Leicester City in December 2016, when they also conceded three times in total.

Central to the Canaries' success was Teemu Pukki, who has now been involved in eight goals (six scored, two assisted) in his first five Premier League appearances. Only Sergio Aguero has been involved in more goals (nine) in the same number of games at the start of their time in the competition.

Aguero's strike on the stroke of half-time, meanwhile, saw him become just the third player to score in a team's first five Premier League matches of a season after Jose Antonio Reyes for Arsenal in 2004-05 and Wayne Rooney for Manchester United in 2011-12.

LIVERPOOL SWEEP ASIDE MAGPIES

Newcastle took a surprise early lead against Liverpool, but Jurgen Klopp's side bounced back in style to become just the fourth team to win 14 consecutive English top-flight matches.

The Reds have now won their opening five games of the Premier League season for a second consecutive campaign. The only previous two teams to do so in back-to-back seasons were Chelsea (2009-10 and 2010-11) and Manchester City (2015-16 and 2016-17).

Andy Robertson proved a handful for Newcastle with another industrious display. His assist for Sadio Mane's equaliser took him to 17 for Liverpool in the Premier League since the start of the 2017-18 season, more than any other defender in that period.

Defeat for Newcastle represented a 13th loss in their last 14 Premier League away games against 'big six' opponents, with three of those losses coming at Anfield.

AUBAMEYANG HEROICS NOT ENOUGH FOR GUNNERS

Arsenal will consider themselves lucky to have scraped a point at Watford despite holding a two-goal lead thanks to the prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Since his Premier League debut in February 2018, the Gabon international has been directly involved in 46 goals in the competition (37 scored, nine assisted). Only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (53) has had a hand in more in this time.

The Hornets were rampant in the second period, attempting 31 shots – the highest tally the Gunners have faced in a Premier League game since Opta began collecting such data in the division in 2003-04.

It should perhaps come as little surprise that Watford's leveller was from the penalty spot. Since the start of last season, no side has conceded more goals via penalties than the Gunners (10, level with Brighton and Hove Albion).

ABRAHAM MAKING HIS MARK ON THE BIG STAGE

Tammy Abraham enjoyed a day to remember as Chelsea ensured Wolves' wait for a league win this season goes on.

The England striker – who was prolific on loan with Aston Villa in the Championship last season – became the youngest ever Blues player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League and is the youngest Englishman to do so since Raheem Sterling against Bournemouth in October 2015.

He also became just the third player in Premier League history to score two or more goals in three consecutive appearances aged 21 or younger after Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006 and Dele Alli in 2017.

Wolves, meanwhile, conceded five goals in a home Premier League game for the first time since a 5-0 defeat to Manchester United in March 2012.

Daniel Farke will celebrate Norwich City's surprise victory over Premier League champions Manchester City with "a coffee and a piece of cake" after training on Sunday.

Norwich produced a brilliant display to see off City 3-2 at Carrow Road on Saturday and claim their second win of a vibrant start to the 2019-20 season that has included some good moments in defeats to Liverpool, Chelsea and West Ham.

Kenny McLean and Todd Cantwell put the Canaries two goals ahead, before Sergio Aguero reduced the arrears on the stroke of half-time.

Teemu Pukki restored Norwich's advantage after Emiliano Buendia caught Nicolas Otamendi napping, with Rodri's late effort proving solely a consolation for Pep Guardiola's side.

Asked how he would celebrate the famous victory, Farke said: "To be honest, it was a really complicated week and I'm happy when I'm back on my sofa this evening because I'm too old and too exhausted to celebrate.

"We have training Sunday morning and we have to analyse the game so for that I have to watch the game back.

"So it will be a pretty late night for me to be prepared, but hopefully on Sunday afternoon on the sofa I can have a coffee and a piece of cake, I will celebrate with this.

"All our supporters are definitely allowed to celebrate and enjoy this day because if you don't value these moments you lose your motivation, but we will definitely stay calm."

Norwich were without seven players due to injury and Farke felt that provided additional sweetness to an unexpected success, though he always sets his team out to "reach something excellent".

"It is definitely a proud night, without any doubt," he said. "To win against the best team in the world, with world-class players, a world-class coach, a top club, as Norwich City, as a newly promoted side who has no chance to spend an unbelievable amount of money in the summer in a situation with an unbelievable amount of injured players, it's really special.

"I always believe in my players. We know we were not the favourites and everything has to come together. But we play football to reach something excellent, not just realistic things.

"We have had several good games but the outcome in terms of points was not perfect because we played some really decent sides and so you struggle with self-confidence.

"It was important to give them back the belief and some self-confidence - but it seems like we found the right words and decisions.

"Against such quality you have to play slightly different because you can't control possession against Manchester City. We had to try and allow Manchester City possession in certain areas and with certain players.

"It was complicated to prepare this game, but my lads fulfilled everything we tried to work on in the last few days in a perfect way."

Pep Guardiola congratulated Norwich City after they inflicted one of the biggest shock results in Premier League history on champions Manchester City.

Norwich were without 11 players due to injury and head coach Daniel Farke had to include two goalkeepers as substitutes in order to fill his bench, but they pulled off a stunning 3-2 home win.

The Canaries led 2-0 thanks to goals from Kenny McLean and Todd Cantwell and held their nerve despite Sergio Aguero halving the deficit before half-time.

Nicolas Otamendi's error led to Teemu Pukki making it 3-1 and although Rodri's late strike set up a nervous finale, the promoted outfit were able to hold on for a famous victory.

City's first loss in the Premier League since January leaves them five points behind Liverpool, who have won all five of their games in the 2019-20 campaign, as Guardiola's men seek a third consecutive title.

"Sometimes games like this happen – we had our chances to score but didn't, so congratulations to Norwich," Guardiola said. "It is football – we had many opportunities today, they had three or four and scored three goals.

"The first one was a set-piece we didn't defend, the second we were caught on the counter-attack and the third came from a mistake, but we know what we are as a team, we know what we have done and we know what we are going to do.

"I love my players and it's a pleasure to be with them. They didn't create so many chances, but they got three goals – we played Bournemouth and they had more chances than Norwich did today, but we won that game – football can sometimes do this."

Guardiola sprang a surprise by starting with Kevin De Bruyne on the bench and while he introduced the Belgium star in the second half, along with Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez, City could not find an equaliser.

"Even at 2-0, we knew we were still in it because we can create a lot of chances in a short space of time," Guardiola added.

"But the third goal hurt us because we had started [the second half] well and we were there, but in the end it didn't happen. In football you can't always avoid mistakes.

"They are a really good team with good players who have quality, we saw that in the Championship last year, they were clinical today.

"We did not have urgency in the final third that we normally have. Even at 3-2 we had chances to make it 3-3 – this team never gives up and that's why we have done what we have done."

Pep Guardiola insists he does not need to bring in defensive reinforcements in the January transfer window despite Manchester City's surprise 3-2 loss at Norwich City. 

Aymeric Laporte is expected to be out until the new year after undergoing surgery on a knee injury, with the Premier League champions losing at Carrow Road in his absence on Saturday.

Goals from Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki earned the injury-hit Canaries a famous win, while Sergio Aguero and Rodri were on target for City.

Before the game Guardiola indicated City would not enter the market to replace Laporte despite being left with only two senior centre-backs, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, after the departure of club captain Vincent Kompany.

Stones and Otamendi were both at fault in a dreadful defensive performance as City lost in the league for the first time since January, with McLean's headed opener coming from a corner.

Asked if City have a problem defending near-post corners in particular, Guardiola said: "In four seasons, yes. Our quality of play is different but we defended incredibly well in the past."

Guardiola, who surprisingly left talisman Kevin De Bruyne on the bench, feels Stones and Otamendi can still form a reliable partnership in the wake of their error-strewn display, while Kyle Walker was involved in conceding a cheap second goal to Cantwell.

"It's football," he added. "We talk and improve from this, Kyle knows it and this happens sometimes, try to improve for the next time.

"They [Stones and Otamendi] play how many times together? A lot, they are the centre-backs we have. Maybe Fernandinho or Rodri can play there. I'm not worried, it's football. How many games John and Nico played in more than three games together? A lot.

"Normally I count their chances and I think they didn't create too much, three goals, I don't know from how many shots on target but I don't have that feeling they had many, many chances, but sometimes this happens."

An injury crisis left Norwich without 11 players and Daniel Farke could not even fill his bench of seven substitutes without including two goalkeepers.

"Of course it is special day for us and for the club," he told BBC Sport. "Against one of the best teams in the world and when we have so many injuries.

"We had to be special in our plan for City because they are the best team in the world, but we had setbacks too with our injuries.

"We deserve the win, we were exceptional."

Manchester City fans experienced that rare feeling of Premier League defeat under Pep Guardiola as Norwich City overcame the odds in sensational style at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Many were suggesting the heavily depleted Canaries' best hope was to avoid a cricket scoreline against the defending champions.

But a clinical performance, coupled with some questionable Man City defending, saw Daniel Farke's side secure a memorable 3-2 victory, with Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and the in-form Teemu Pukki on the scoresheet for the hosts.

The loss marked an end to a 25-match unbeaten streak against promoted sides for Man City, while Norwich had lost 11 of their previous 12 encounters against the team defending the Premier League title – their last such victory coming against the same opponents in May 2013.

It was an unlucky 13th Premier League defeat for Man City since Guardiola took over ahead of the 2016-17 campaign and their first since January.

We look at their most surprising top-flight reverses under the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach.

Leicester City 4-2 Man City (10/12/2016)

It is easy to forget Guardiola's maiden campaign at the Etihad Stadium was not all sunshine and roses. A week on from a 3-1 home reverse to Chelsea, City were turned over by a Jamie Vardy inspired Leicester. The Foxes were three to the good inside 20 minutes as Vardy scored twice either side of an Andy King effort, with the ex-England striker completing his hat-trick in the 78th minute. Late goals from Aleksandar Kolarov and Nolito did little to ease the disappointment.

Everton 4-0 Man City (15/01/2017) 

Just a month later, Guardiola was left accepting his side's chances of defending the title were over after a shambolic performance at a rampant Everton. Romelu Lukaku and Belgium team-mate Kevin Mirallas assisted each other to put the Toffees 2-0 up by the 47th minute and late goals from Tom Davies and Ademola Lookman compounded the visitors' Merseyside misery.

Man City 2-3 Crystal Palace (22/12/18)

A 2-0 loss at Chelsea a couple of weeks previous had put paid to City's chances on going unbeaten in the Premier League, but this was an altogether more shocking defeat. Ilkay Gundogan's 27th-minute opener suggested a routine win was on the cards but two goals in as many minutes from Jeffrey Schlupp and Andros Townsend – the latter an unbelievable 30-yard volley – put Palace ahead at the break. Luka Milivojevic's penalty cemented the lead and not even Kevin De Bruyne's late strike could salvage a point for City. Eagles boss Roy Hodgson would describe the result as "one of those bonanza days".

Leicester City 2-1 Man City (26/12/18)

Four days later, an unhappy festive season was completed with another defeat thanks to familiar Foxes foes. Marc Albrighton cancelled out Bernardo Silva's 14th-minute strike and a late stunner from Ricardo Pereira gave Leicester a late Christmas present. Fabian Delph received the one card he would not want to get in December when he saw red for a late tackle on Pereira in the closing stages.

Newcastle United 2-1 Man City (29/01/2019)

Sergio Aguero, as he always seems to, scored against the Magpies with a first-minute goal and he saw a second soon chalked off for offside. However, a couple of defensive errors enabled Salomon Rondon and Matt Ritchie to score – the second netting from the spot – and City slipped to defeat at St James' Park.

Norwich City 3-2 Man City (14/09/2019)

Norwich and boss Daniel Farke drew plenty of smiles for the light-hearted way they dealt with a grim-looking injury list prior to a visit from the champions. Pre-match odds of 22-1 underlined the task the home side were facing, but McLean took advantage of City's slack defending at a corner to head Norwich into an 18th-minute lead. More sloppy work at the back led to Pukki brilliantly teeing up Cantwell to double the lead, before Aguero nodded home before the break to bring the champions back into the game. Comical work from Nicolas Otamendi led to Emiliano Buendia teeing up Pukki for Norwich's third. Rodri's drilled strike late on set up a nervy finish, but Norwich held on for the win.

Manchester City lost in the Premier League for the first time since January as a 3-2 defeat at injury-hit Norwich City left them five points behind leaders Liverpool in the title race.

The Reds extended their perfect run to five wins from five with a 3-1 comeback victory at home to Newcastle United in Saturday's early kick-off.

And that victory was given even more importance when the Canaries rocked the champions at Carrow Road despite being without 11 players who are in the treatment room.

There were also big wins for Tottenham and Chelsea, Manchester United handed Leicester City their first defeat of the season, Southampton won at 10-man Sheffield United and Burnley struck late to claim a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion.

LAPORTE LOSS HURTS CHAMPIONS

Aymeric Laporte has been ruled out for six months after surgery on his right knee and City's diabolical defensive performance indicated the centre-back will be horribly missed.

Kyle Walker, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi were all at fault at various times as goals from Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and August's Premier League player of the month Teemu Pukki earned Norwich a deserved victory against massive odds.

Pep Guardiola began with Kevin De Bruyne on the bench ahead of the Champions League starting next week and the decision backfired as City looked lost without their midfield talisman, although Sergio Aguero and Rodri struck to spark hopes of a comeback.

It is early days in the title race, but Liverpool are already looking very strong while City's weaknesses were ruthlessly exposed by Norwich in their second home win of the season.


FIVE IN A ROW FOR REDS

Newcastle United took a shock early lead at Anfield thanks to a thunderbolt from left-back Jetro Willems, but that proved as good as it got for Steve Bruce's men as they went down 3-1 to leaders Liverpool.

Sadio Mane was inspirational as the Senegal star scored twice to turn the game on its head, his second thanks to poor goalkeeping from Martin Dubravka, before Mohamed Salah wrapped things up.

With a perfect record from their five fixtures in 2019-20, Liverpool are up to 14 straight wins in the Premier League – and they are the first team in the competition's history to do so scoring more than once in each game.

This result moved them five points clear at the top and the European champions could hardly be in better shape ahead of beginning their Champions League defence away to Napoli on Tuesday.


SPURS AND CHELSEA RUN RIOT

At half-time, Spurs were 4-0 up at home to Crystal Palace while Chelsea were 3-0 up away to winless Wolves, Fiyako Tomori netting a stunner with Abraham scoring at least twice for the third Premier League game in a row.

He went one better after the break to set a record for the Blues, though a touch of the shine was taken off his performance when he put through an own goal to hand Wolves a consolation, which they added to through Patrick Cutrone.

Abraham, now the top scorer this season with seven strikes, is the first player in the history of the Premier League to score a hat-trick as well as an own goal in the same game, with fellow England talent Mason Mount also on target late on.

Son Heung-min proved unstoppable for the Eagles, with the South Korea star involved in Spurs' first three goals before Harry Kane set up Erik Lamela to make it four.

It was a much-needed three points for Spurs, who were on a three-game winless run, with a trip to Olympiacos in the Champions League to come next for Mauricio Pochettino's side.


RASHFORD PENALTY SEES UNITED BOUNCE BACK

Like Spurs, United had failed to win any of their three league games going into the international break, but they showed resilience to edge a slim victory at home to Leicester despite being without Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard.

Rashford won an early penalty when he was clumsily brought down by Caglar Soyuncu and, unlike in their 2-1 loss at home to Palace, this time he converted from 12 yards to condemn the Foxes to their first defeat of the season.

Moussa Djenepo's excellent goal earned Southampton a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane, where the Blades were cut down to 10 men when substitute striker Billy Sharp was dismissed for a challenge on Stuart Armstrong.

Brighton looked to be heading for their first home league win since March 2 thanks to Neal Maupay's controlled volley but Burnley substitute Jeff Hendrick marked his 100th Premier League appearance with a stunning late equaliser.

In the first minute of added time, the Republic of Ireland midfielder collected a lay-off from Matej Vydra to rifle a first-time drive into the bottom-right corner from 25 yards.

Norwich City shocked Premier League champions Manchester City 3-2 at Carrow Road despite the Canaries coping with a massive injury crisis.

The visitors' first league loss since January was self-inflicted as defenders made regular errors, but Norwich, whose goals came from Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and Teemu Pukki, fully deserved their second home win since sealing promotion.

Rodri drilled home with two minutes to go to give City hope of a point but defeat on Saturday leaves them five points behind Liverpool in the table, with the Reds holding a 100 per cent record after five Premier League games.

Norwich were without 11 players due to injury and had to name two goalkeepers on the bench, but Daniel Farke's men took a shock lead in the 18th minute.

City's weakness from near-post corners is well known and when Emiliano Buendia floated Norwich's first set-piece into that area, McLean ran into space to power home a superb header.

It got worse for the champions 10 minutes later. Rodri lost a 50-50 on halfway and City were immediately exposed with Pukki able to easily advance and square for Cantwell to score.

Raheem Sterling's header hit the post as City aimed to respond and Sergio Aguero halved the deficit before the break by nodding home a perfectly placed left-wing Bernardo Silva centre.

Nicolas Otamendi's moment of madness presented Norwich with a gift of a third after the restart, Buendia robbing the defender and feeding Pukki for an easy finish - his eighth goal of the season for club and country.

Pep Guardiola sent on Kevin De Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and Riyad Mahrez from the bench but the cavalry could not rescue the champions, although Rodri's 20-yard drive flew past Tim Krul to leave Norwich to see out a nervy finale.


What does it mean? City must enter transfer market after Laporte news

The news Aymeric Laporte could miss six months was a huge blow to a squad still missing the steady leadership of Vincent Kompany, who was not replaced when his contract expired.

John Stones has been out of sorts for some time and Otamendi also feels like a player who always has a mistake in him, with Guardiola possessing no specialist cover for either centre-back.

Guardiola told reporters before this game that City would not buy a defender in January but he has to reconsider after this shambolic defensive performance, although take nothing away from Norwich. They were huge outsiders and produced one of the league's biggest ever shocks.


Prolific Pukki cannot stop scoring

Since May 5, Finland forward Pukki has played 10 games for either Norwich or his country, failing to find the net in only one of those appearances. At 29 his career has taken the long way round to reach the Premier League but Pukki looks at home.

Goals are often the biggest problem for promoted sides but in Pukki, the Premier League's player of the month for August, they have a striker they can rely on, while he showed an unselfish streak to set up Cantwell for the Canaries' second.


Otamendi loses the plot

One mistake in a game can be forgiven but Otamendi made two awful errors in incredibly quick succession. Having played a poor pass to the similarly sloppy Stones that Norwich failed to capitalise on, he switched off immediately to allow Norwich to net the goal that effectively killed the game.

Although the Argentina defender started 14 league games last term, Stones and Otamendi does not look like a partnership that will help City to win the Premier League title again.


What's next?

City will want a better defensive display when they open their Champions League campaign away to Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. They then take on Watford at home next weekend, when Norwich travel to Burnley.

Tammy Abraham hit his first Premier League hat-trick as Chelsea routed Wolves, while Liverpool extended their 100 per cent record at the top of the table.

The England striker became Chelsea's youngest hat-trick scorer in the Premier League era and also netted at the wrong end as Nuno Espirito Santo's side crumbled to a 5-2 loss at Molineux.

There was a heavy victory for Tottenham, who hammered Crystal Palace 4-0 at home, and Harry Maguire helped Manchester United beat his old club Leicester City 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Elsewhere, Southampton triumphed 1-0 at 10-man Sheffield United and Burnley struck late to claim a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion on another busy Saturday of Premier League action.


FIVE IN A ROW FOR REDS

Newcastle United took a shock early lead at Anfield thanks to a thunderbolt from left-back Jetro Willems, but that proved as good as it got for Steve Bruce's men as they went down 3-1 to leaders Liverpool.

Sadio Mane was inspirational as the Senegal star scored twice to turn the game on its head, his second thanks to poor goalkeeping from Martin Dubravka, before Mohamed Salah wrapped things up.

With a perfect record from their five fixtures in 2019-20, Liverpool are up to 14 straight wins in the Premier League – and they are the first team in the competition's history to do so scoring more than once in each game.

This result moved them five points clear at the top, although Manchester City are at a depleted Norwich City later in the day, and the European champions could hardly be in better shape ahead of beginning their Champions League defence away to Napoli on Tuesday.


SPURS AND CHELSEA RUN RIOT

At half-time, Spurs were 4-0 up at home to Crystal Palace while Chelsea were 3-0 up away to winless Wolves, Fiyako Tomori netting a stunner with Abraham scoring at least twice for the third Premier League game in a row.

He went one better after the break to set a record for the Blues, though a touch of the shine was taken off his performance when he put through an own goal to hand Wolves a consolation, which they added to through Patrick Cutrone.

Abraham, now the top scorer this season with seven strikes, is the first player in the history of the Premier League to score a hat-trick as well as an own goal in the same game, with fellow England talent Mason Mount also on target late on.

Son Heung-min proved unstoppable for the Eagles, with the South Korea star involved in Spurs' first three goals before Harry Kane set up Erik Lamela to make it four.

It was a much-needed three points for Spurs, who were on a three-game winless run, with a trip to Olympiacos in the Champions League to come next for Mauricio Pochettino's side.


RASHFORD PENALTY SEES UNITED BOUNCE BACK

Like Spurs, United had failed to win any of their three league games going into the international break, but they showed resilience to edge a slim victory at home to Leicester despite being without Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard.

Rashford won an early penalty when he was clumsily brought down by Caglar Soyuncu and, unlike in their 2-1 loss at home to Palace, this time he converted from 12 yards to condemn the Foxes to their first defeat of the season.

Moussa Djenepo's excellent goal earned Southampton a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane, where the Blades were cut down to 10 men when substitute striker Billy Sharp was dismissed for a challenge on Stuart Armstrong.

Brighton looked to be heading for their first home league win since March 2 thanks to Neal Maupay's controlled volley but Burnley substitute Jeff Hendrick marked his 100th Premier League appearance with a stunning late equaliser.

In the first minute of added time, the Republic of Ireland midfielder collected a lay-off from Matej Vydra to rifle a first-time drive into the bottom-right corner from 25 yards.

Daniel Farke revealed the sobering state of his injury list could leave Norwich without up to 11 players for Saturday's visit of champions Manchester City, but he remained surprisingly chirpy given the situation.

Farke's pre-match news conference on Friday was verging on farcical, as the German steadily went through a list of players who are either injured or a doubt for the match against City.

The Canaries' defence has been utterly decimated by the crisis, as they will definitely be without Max Aarons, Timm Klose and Christoph Zimmermann, while Grant Hanley is only fit enough for a place on the bench, Ben Godfrey is a major doubt after sustaining a groin strain on England Under-21 duty and Tim Krul is struggling.

That leaves them with only Jamal Lewis, Sam Byram and Philip Heise as recognised first-team defenders.

They also have problems in midfield, with Tom Trybull, Mario Vrancic, Moritz Leitner and Onel Hernandez ruled out, and Patrick Roberts is ineligible against his parent club.

Despite the issues, Farke has no plans to go all-out defensive in an attempt to salvage a point.

"Manchester City are exceptional, they are so special," Farke told reporters. "If you just try to park the bus then you have no chance.

"It is important that you have periods where you control the ball and are in possession. We will have to be top class in our defending and be disciplined.

"It will be also important that we bring our style and try to dominate possession and be good with the ball.

"Even if I wanted to, I can't park the bus because I have no defensive players anymore. We will have to concentrate on our skills.

"There were more lads today [Friday] on the physio bench than on the training pitch. It is a tricky situation for us.

"We are playing one of the best teams in the world, if not the best, and as a newly promoted side you always have to be at your best."

Farke, though, was still able to remain light-hearted about Norwich's situation.

"Our injury situation is not easy at the moment, but we will try to handle it anyhow. I will return to my darkened cave after this [news conference] and cry," he quipped.

Norwich City striker Teemu Pukki has won the Premier League Player of the Month award for August following a flying start to the new season.

The former Celtic flop scored five times in Norwich's first three games on returning to the top flight, including a hat-trick in the 3-1 win over Newcastle United.

His superb form continued over the international break with two more goals for Finland in the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Greece and Italy.

Pukki opened his Premier League account with a consolation strike in a 4-1 loss to Liverpool, who have compiled a perfect record after four games.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp scooped the Manager of the Month award for leading the European champions to victory over the Canaries and defeats of Southampton, Arsenal and Burnley.

Liverpool face Newcastle on Saturday as Norwich entertain champions Manchester City.

Norwich City have suffered a triple injury setback and defender Timm Klose could miss the rest of the Premier League season because of major knee ligament damage.

In a serious blow to last season's Championship winners, scans showed the cruel nature of the injury suffered by the 31-year-old Swiss on EFL Cup duty against Crawley Town.

Klose was returning from a hip problem when he had to be substituted midway through the first half of the cup fixture.

Norwich said scans revealed "significant damage to the posterior cruciate ligament", adding that Klose would continue to see specialists.

The club did not indicate an anticipated recovery period. Experts typically estimate recovery from such an injury - if surgery is required - as taking six to 12 months.

Norwich head coach Daniel Farke told the club's website: "It's a tough time for Timm and our thoughts are with him. The nature of the injury means it isn't a straightforward process, but he's in the care of the best possible people."

The Canaries have also lost two German cornerstones of their team, for at least a short while.

Klose's fellow centre-back Christoph Zimmermann is undergoing tests on a foot ligament injury stemming from a challenge by West Ham's Sebastien Haller in Saturday's Premier League game at London Stadium.

Midfielder Tom Trybull will miss around six weeks because of an ankle ligament blow, also suffered in the game at West Ham, where Norwich suffered a 2-0 defeat.

Manchester United and Chelsea fell further off the pace in the Premier League as they lost leads in disappointing draws on Saturday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men were unable to retain their advantage as they drew 1-1 at Southampton, while Chelsea slipped from 2-0 up in a dramatic encounter with promoted Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester City thumped Brighton and Hove Albion 4-0, while Liverpool will meet Burnley in the last game of the day.

Crystal Palace, Leicester City and West Ham were also winners, while Newcastle United and Watford drew 1-1.

 

BLADES COMEBACK STUNS CHELSEA

Frank Lampard is still waiting for his first home win as Chelsea boss after the Blues somehow failed to hold on against Sheffield United.

Kurt Zouma's own goal one minute from time saw the Blades claim a famous point. Callum Robinson had earlier reduced the deficit for the visitors, while he and substitute Lys Mousset were involved as the ball diverted in off Zouma's shin with the clock ticking down.

Tammy Abraham had scored twice before half-time to seemingly put Chelsea on course for victory, but instead they remain behind their opponents in the table on just five points from four games.


MAN UNITED DENIED AFTER SUPERB JAMES OPENER

Daniel James produced an excellent finish to score his third Manchester United goal and give his side a 10th-minute advantage at Southampton.

But the 10-man hosts ensured Solskjaer has now gone three straight league games without a win as Jannik Vestergaard sent in a towering header just before the hour mark.

United could not find a winner even after Kevin Danso's dismissal in the 73rd minute, the left-back picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Scott McTominay.


LAPORTE A WORRY AS AGUERO INSPIRES MAN CITY

City's win over Brighton was straightforward from the moment Kevin De Bruyne gave them the lead after 68 seconds.

The Belgium international then set up the first of two goals for Sergio Aguero either side of half-time, the other created by David Silva, who had also laid on the opener.

Aguero, who now has six goals in four games, then turned provider with 11 minutes remaining as he set up Bernardo Silva.

However, City's win came at a cost, with defender Aymeric Laporte leaving the field on a stretcher due to a suspected knee injury after colliding with Adam Webster.

City later confirmed Laporte had been hospitalised, with a diagnosis on the severity of his problem to follow.

 

VARDY BOOSTS IMPRESSIVE LEICESTER 

Elsewhere, Jamie Vardy's double inspired Leicester to a 3-1 win over Bournemouth at the King Power Stadium.

He scored in each half as well as assisting Youri Tielemans' goal for the unbeaten Foxes, with the former England striker's first effort a wonderful lob. Callum Wilson netted for Bournemouth, who have won only one of their first four games.

Crystal Palace followed up their win over Manchester United last week with a 1-0 home victory over Aston Villa, which arrived courtesy of Jordan Ayew's strike 17 minutes from time. Trezeguet was sent off for the visitors early in the second half.

It is three wins in a row across all competitions for West Ham after in-form Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko gave them a 2-0 home triumph over Norwich City.

Will Hughes scored after 78 seconds for Watford, who had to settle for a first point of the season rather than a maiden victory after Fabian Schar cancelled out his effort for Newcastle.

Premier League sides Norwich City and Crystal Palace were knocked out of the EFL Cup second round by League Two opposition on Tuesday.

Norwich – who made 11 changes from the side that lost to Chelsea in the Premier League at the weekend – were undone by Crawley Town, with Beryly Lubala scoring the only goal of the game.

Palace, meanwhile, were dumped out on penalties by Colchester United after playing out an uninspired 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park.

Fellow Premier League sides Aston Villa, Sheffield United, Brighton and Hove Albion, Southampton, West Ham and Watford all fared better, however, progressing through to the third round unscathed.

Meanwhile, England goalkeeper Jack Butland went from zero to hero at Elland Road as Stoke City knocked out Championship rivals Leeds United on penalties.

Butland – who has endured a difficult start to the season and was dropped for the league match between the two sides at the weekend – was at fault for Eddie Nketiah's goal during the 2-2 draw, but successfully converted a penalty during the 5-4 shoot-out win.

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