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.

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.

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.

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.

Italy continued their 100 per cent record in Euro 2020 qualifying as Jorginho's late penalty secured a 2-1 win over Finland at Tammela Stadion on Sunday.

The hosts had looked like they would gain a vital point after Teemu Pukki cancelled out Ciro Immobile's header from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute.

Chelsea midfielder Jorginho had the final say, though, slotting home from 12 yards with 11 minutes remaining.

The goal means Italy have won all six of their Group J qualifiers and sit six points ahead of second-placed Finland and nine above Armenia in third.

Finland started in positive fashion and almost went ahead in the fourth minute when Joona Toivio scooped narrowly over at the back post from a corner.

The hosts kept their more illustrious opponents at arm's length in the opening 30 minutes, although they were indebted to a wonderful save from Lukas Hradecky to keep out Stefano Sensi's 18-yard volley.

Immobile then went close for the visitors, glancing a header wide of Hradecky's far post from Federico Chiesa's teasing right-wing cross.

Italy continued to crank up the pressure as half-time approached, with Sensi flashing wide from distance and Hradecky blocking Chiesa's effort from an acute angle.

Mancini's men started the second half as they finished the first but had to wait until the 59th minute to break the deadlock.

Chiesa's cross from the right found Immobile at the back post and the Lazio striker made no mistake, thumping a header in off the underside of the crossbar.

Finland improbably found a way back into the game 18 minutes from time when Pukki clipped home from the spot after he had ben tripped in the area by Sensi.

Italy responded well, though, and secured all three points when Jorginho beat Hradecky from 12 yards after Sauli Vaisanen was adjudged to have blocked Nicolo Barella's shot with his arm.

Frank Lampard said Chelsea could have avoided a "nervy" end to their 3-2 victory over Norwich City had they been more clinical, but nevertheless reserved special praise for two-goal striker Tammy Abraham.

Former Aston Villa and Swansea City loanee Abraham scored his first Premier League goal for Chelsea after three minutes at Carrow Road and, after Todd Cantwell pulled one back for the hosts, Chelsea restored their lead through Mason Mount.

Teemu Pukki scored for the third consecutive match to pull Norwich level at half-time but Abraham hit the winner after 68 minutes, rattling a shot through Grant Hanley's legs and beyond Tim Krul to clinch the Blues' first league win of the season.

Lampard, who replaced Maurizio Sarri as Chelsea boss in the close season, has yet to see his charges keep a clean sheet in the league and he expressed his dissatisfaction with the goals Norwich scored.

But the former midfielder said the Blues had deserved more in their opening two league games - a 4-0 defeat at Manchester United and a 1-1 draw at home with Leicester City.

"It was a tough test and Norwich will get a lot of points here and give teams hard games as they are a very good side," Lampard told BT Sport.

"I think we played really well. The only thing I'd say is those were two goals we shouldn't be giving away, particularly the second one I didn't like, and we need to be more clinical.

"If we're more clinical, we take the game away from Norwich and we don't have the nervy last five or 10 minutes, but I thought there were lots of really good elements to our game and I'm pleased."

With Chelsea serving a transfer ban, Lampard relied on young players in his pre-season preparations and against Norwich he fielded the youngest Blues line-up in a Premier League game since February 1994, with an average age of 24 years and 208 days.

The manager had his faith in youth repaid by Abraham, who became the youngest player to score a top-flight brace for Chelsea since Mark Nicholls in January 1998.

"I'm pleased with them, particularly Tammy because it's his first goals for us, he's starting and competing, and he's [scored] two really good goals and the winning goal," Lampard said.

"But I don't want to just talk about them; I want to talk about all the players out there today because those conditions are hard. It's hot here against a good team and we absolutely controlled huge parts of the game.

"We need to win games. We're Chelsea, and nothing is a given in this league. Every year it seems to get harder and our performances haven't given us what we deserved so far, but today it did - it just could have been more comfortable."

Lampard drafted Ross Barkley into his starting line-up shortly before kick-off after Pedro suffered an injury, while Marcos Alonso had to come on for Mount in second-half stoppage time.

"Pedro felt his hamstring in the warm-up so there maybe a small strain there, whereas Mason had a kick on his calf, so it's better news than a strain of any sort and hopefully will recover," Lampard added.

Teemu Pukki became the 10th player to score in each of his first three Premier League appearances on Saturday - but his strike was not enough to prevent Chelsea winning at Carrow Road.

The 29-year-old struck in the 30th minute of Norwich City's clash with the Blues, his right-footed effort squirming through goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Pukki has enjoyed a wonderful start to life in the English top flight, netting in the opening day defeat to Liverpool and then plundering a hat-trick against Newcastle United in Norwich's first home outing.

However, his goal against the Blues came in a losing cause, as Norwich went down 3-2 in the early kick-off.

Still, Pavel Pogrebnyak at Reading is the only other player to score five goals in their first three appearances in the competition.

Diego Costa and Adrian Mutu both managed four in three at the start of their Chelsea careers, a feat also achieved by Brian Deane (Sheffield United), Mick Quinn (Coventry City), Michu (Swansea) and Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton).

Michael Ricketts (Bolton Wanderers) and Dalian Atkinson (Aston Villa), meanwhile, scored three times in their opening three outings.

Tammy Abraham gave Frank Lampard a first Premier League win in charge of Chelsea as the striker's two goals helped to secure a 3-2 triumph at Norwich City.

The recalled striker bookended the scoring at Carrow Road, lighting the fuse for a pulsating contest with a third-minute opener and later deciding the match with his 68th-minute finish.

Todd Cantwell's response 156 seconds after Abraham's first added to a theme of defensive instability which Mason Mount and Teemu Pukki capitalised upon in a four-goal first half.

Chelsea addressed their insecurities after the break and Lampard's faith in youth was well and truly rewarded by the end as his side avoided a fourth match without victory.

Abraham replaced Olivier Giroud in Chelsea's starting XI and quickly gained the goal he craved, meeting Cesar Azpilicueta's cross with a measured half-volley.

The lead lasted less than three minutes though.

Emiliano Buendia weaved away from markers and connected with Pukki, who squared for Cantwell to convert at close range.

Abraham had celebrated his opener with Lampard and there was further satisfaction for the Chelsea boss when midfielder Mount sliced through a suspect defence to score for the second straight match.

But the visitors were no less vulnerable, Pukki's intelligent finish from a narrow angle punishing Andreas Christensen's failure to hold the line 15 minutes before half-time.

The Blues began to assert greater authority after the interval and might have been rewarded had Emerson Palmieri shot either side of Tim Krul.

It was ultimately left to an academy product to provide all three points, though, as Abraham escaped on a counter-attack and held his nerve when confronted by two defenders.

Ben Godfrey gave the 21-year-old too much space for the match-winning strike but almost made amends with a header that crashed against the crossbar, Norwich going agonisingly close to a fourth point of the campaign.

 

What does it mean?

Norwich were on a high after brushing aside Newcastle United last weekend and will trouble plenty of strong sides this season.

While his team were unconvincing defensively, Lampard and Chelsea simply needed victory anyway they could get it and there were two homegrown talents to thank.

In Abraham and Mount, it is plain to see why the club legend is so willing to work with young players.

 

Abraham seals starting berth with crucial brace

Abraham's well-taken double made him the third youngest player to score twice in a Premier League game for Chelsea.

He can now look forward to an extended run at the point of attack.

 

Blues must rush back Rudiger

Chelsea's capacity to score goals was a matter of contention leading into this match but it is evident that an unsteady defence is of greater concern.

Cantwell and Pukki all too easily found space in the box for their goals, an issue the impending return of Antonio Rudiger might resolve.

 

What's next?

Norwich visit fourth-tier Crawley Town in the second round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday ahead of a weekend trip to London to face West Ham.

Chelsea's next game is against another promoted side, Sheffield United, at Stamford Bridge in a week's time.

Arsenal and Liverpool can boast 100 per cent records after two games of the new Premier League season, while four sides have failed to pick up a point from their opening pair of matches.

Aston Villa, Newcastle United, Southampton and Watford all suffered defeats on matchday two, while Manchester City and Chelsea dropped points at home.

With every team desperate to get into a winning habit, Opta's data helps us take a closer look at the patterns unfolding after the weekend's big games.

 

REDS WIN AGAIN TO EQUAL RODGERS' RECORD

Liverpool racked up their 11th consecutive top-flight victory with a 2-1 win at Southampton, equalling the club record set under Brendan Rodgers in April 2014.

Sadio Mane's third goal in four days sent Jurgen Klopp's men on their way just before half-time at St. Mary's and the Senegal international has scored 20 goals for the club in 2019 - eight more than Liverpool's next sharpest shooter, Mo Salah (12).

Roberto Firmino doubled the European champions' lead 19 minutes from time to ensure Danny Ings' late goal - courtesy of Adrian clearing the ball into his shin - was nothing more than a consolation as the Reds made sure they started the season with two wins for the second consecutive campaign, a feat they last achieved in 1993-94 and 1994-95.

Mane also became the first player to score in his first Premier League start of four consecutive seasons since Mark Viduka did so between 2002-03 and 2005-06.

CITY DROP POINTS DESPITE DELUGE OF SHOTS

Manchester City failed to win a Premier League match for the first time in 16 games, despite attempting 30 shots in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.

The last time Spurs faced as many shots in a Premier League fixture was against Fulham (31) in November 2011, but they emerged with a point after Gabriel Jesus' late strike was ruled out by a VAR handball decision in the build-up.

Raheem Sterling put City ahead after 20 minutes with his fifth goal in four matches against Spurs at the Etihad, and, after Erik Lamela equalised for Tottenham, Sergio Aguero scored his 97th Premier League goal at the champions' home ground.

Only Thierry Henry (114 at Highbury), Wayne Rooney (101 at Old Trafford) and Alan Shearer (97 at St. James' Park) can boast equal or better scoring records at a single Premier League stadium than Aguero, who was teed up by Kevin De Bruyne's third assist in two league games - one more than he managed in the whole of last season.

But City's hopes of extending a Premier League winning streak that began on February 3 were undone when Lamela turned provider for Lucas Moura to equalise.

Lamela has scored and assisted for Tottenham in three different Premier League matches, all of them against Manchester clubs (twice against City, once against United).

PUKKI TREBLE EXTENDS MAGPIES' TRAVEL WOES

Newcastle United have won just two of their last 29 Premier League away matches in the month of August (D10 L17) after Teemu Pukki scored a hat-trick as Norwich City beat the Magpies 3-1 at Carrow Road.

The last time Newcastle won their first away league game of the season was in 2011-12 against Sunderland and they failed to cope with the threat of Finland international Pukki as Canaries boss Daniel Farke became the first Norwich manager to win his opening Premier League home game since Mike Walker in 1992.

Norwich fans had to think back 26 years to remember the last time they had a player score a Premier League hat-trick, Efan Ekoku doing so against Everton in September 1993.

Pukki, who also scored in Norwich's opening day defeat at Liverpool, has scored 33 league goals for the club since the start of last season, more than any other player across the top four tiers of English football.

LEICESTER LEAVE LAMPARD WINLESS IN THREE

Leicester City came from behind to draw 1-1 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and make Frank Lampard the first Blues boss since Rafael Benitez (2012-13) to fail to win any of his first three games in charge.

After a Premier League opening day defeat at Manchester United and a UEFA Super Cup loss on penalties to Liverpool, Chelsea took the lead through Mason Mount's home debut goal only to be pegged back by Wilfred Ndidi's second-half equaliser.

Mount's opportunist strike made him the first English player to score on his first home Premier League appearance for Chelsea since Paul Hughes netted against Derby County in January 1997, while Ndidi's bullet header was his fifth goal in 90 Premier League appearances.

Ndidi scored from a corner by James Maddison, who has created 50 chances from set-pieces in the Premier League since the start of 2018-19 - at least six more than any other player in the division.

Norwich City lifted the Championship trophy after a 2-1 victory over Aston Villa saw them fend off the challenge of Sheffield United on a final day that also saw Derby County secure a place in the play-offs.

Derby's 3-1 win over West Brom, who ended the season in fourth, ensured Frank Lampard's men finished sixth ahead of Middlesbrough, who did all they could by beating Rotherham United 2-1.

Leeds United's place in the play-offs was already assured but a 3-2 defeat against the 10 men of already-relegated Ipswich Town left Marcelo Bielsa's men winless in four, while Bristol City, who could have secured a top-six finish if Derby and Middlesbrough slipped up, drew 1-1 at Hull City.

Second-placed Sheffield United, who drew 2-2 at Stoke City, will have the luxury of sitting back and watching while Leeds, West Brom, Villa and Derby contest the Championship play-offs.

 

LATE VRANCIC STRIKE ADDS GLOSS TO CANARIES' GLORY

Mario Vrancic scored Norwich's winner four minutes from time to send their travelling fans wild on a day when Daniel Farke's men were bidding to claim the Championship title.

In the end Sheffield United's draw at Stoke rendered the Canariers' result irrelevant, but it will not have felt that way to Farke and his players who capped a fine season with a win over one of the division's form teams.

Villa were unbeaten in 12 going into the game but they fell behind when Teemu Pukki tapped home Onel Hernandez's cross after seven minutes.

Jonathan Kodjia levelled matters seven minutes later, sweeping Conor Hourihane's low free-kick into the net, and Dean Smith's side looked the better side for spells before Vrancic rifled a shot into the bottom corner of Jed Steer's net from the edge of the box to put the sheen on a day of celebrations across Norfolk.

DERBY SECURE SIXTH AFTER DRAMA AT PRIDE PARK

Derby County clinched a place in the Championship play-offs at Middlesbrough's expense after they beat West Brom 3-1 at Pride Park.

Lampard's men took the lead when Martyn Waghorn rose to meet Jayden Bogle's first-time cross, timing his run well to shake off his marker and nod the ball down into the bottom corner of the net.

Waghorn limped off injured after 40 minutes and Stefan Johansen's equaliser for West Brom meant that Middlesbrough – who were 2-0 up at Rotherham at the time – were set to take the Rams' place in the top six.

But after Tom Lawrence's close-range shot was saved by Sam Johnstone's outstretched leg, Mason Bennett pounced on the rebound and poked it into the net to restore Derby's lead.

Lawrence then jinked his way into the area only to be felled by Kyle Bartley, and Harry Wilson buried the penalty kick in the bottom-left corner of the net before Baggies substitute Hal Robson-Kanu was sent-off for kicking out at Bradley Johnson.

LEEDS SLUMP TO THIRD DEFEAT IN FOUR

A calamitous mix-up between Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla and defender Luke Ayling gifted a winning goal to Collin Quaner, who slid the ball home to earn already-relegated Ipswich a win over Bielsa's out-of-sorts side.

Flynn Downes put Town ahead when the visitors failed to clear their lines at a free-kick, but Mateusz Klich popped up with an equaliser just before the interval, slamming the ball inside the near post from 12 yards.

Andre Dozzell restored Ipswich's lead as Leeds were caught napping at the back two minutes into the second half, before Stuart Dallas equalised from close range when Kemar Roofe's shot rebounded off the crossbar.

Luke Chambers felled Roofe three minutes later and was sent off before the Leeds striker ballooned the ensuing penalty over the bar, and in the final minute the visiting fans were left in disbelief as their side slumped to a third defeat in four matches heading into the play-offs.

THREE POINTS NOT ENOUGH FOR BORO

John Obi Mikel scored his first league goal in English football for almost six years as Middlesbrough beat Rotherham, but a fifth win in six Championship matches was not enough to lift Tony Pulis' men into the play-off places.

Elsewhere, Brentford ended the season on a high as they beat Preston North End 3-0 at Griffin Park, and there were also wins for Nottingham Forest, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic, while Birmingham City drew 0-0 at Reading and Blackburn Rovers were held to a 2-2 draw by Swansea City.

Norwich City and Leeds United dominate this season's Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Championship Team of the Year, providing three players each.

Leaders Norwich, who are all but guaranteed to seal automatic promotion to the Premier League, have Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis included.

Norwich striker Teemu Pukki, the league's top scorer with 28 Championship goals this season, is up front alongside Sheffield United's Billy Sharp and Tammy Abraham, who has hit 25 league goals for Aston Villa in his loan spell from Chelsea.

Sheffield United, second in the table and three points clear of Leeds with two games to go, also provide Oliver Norwood among the midfielders, while Villa playmaker Jack Grealish makes the cut.

Despite an untimely loss of form seeming set to land them in the play-offs, Leeds have defensive duo Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson both in the side, along with Pablo Hernandez.

The only player named in the PFA's XI who does not feature for one of the Championship's top three or fifth-placed Villa is the goalkeeper, Darren Randolph, who plies his trade at play-off hopefuls Middlesbrough.

West Brom strike pair Jay Rodriguez and Dwight Gayle, who have scored 21 and 23 Championship goals respectively this season, are among the players to miss out.

There was also no place for Brentford's Neal Maupay, second behind Pukki in the scoring charts, or his team-mate Said Benrahma, whose 14 Championship assists is a league-high.

Birmingham City's Che Adams was named on the three-man shortlist for Championship's Player of the Season award, which was won by Pukki, but he did not gain selection despite netting 22 league goals.


PFA Championship Team of the Year in full:

Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough); Max Aarons (Norwich), Liam Cooper (Leeds), Pontus Jansson (Leeds), Jamal Lewis (Norwich); Pablo Hernandez (Leeds), Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa); Teemu Pukki (Norwich), Tammy Abraham (Aston Villa), Billy Sharp (Sheffield United).

Teemu Pukki scored a late equaliser as Norwich City dropped points for the second Championship game in a row, the leaders drawing 1-1 away to Wigan Athletic to give Leeds United and Sheffield United hope in the promotion race.

The Canaries were held to a 2-2 draw at home to Reading in midweek and they slipped up again at the DW Stadium on Sunday, where Reece James scored the opener with a contentious penalty.

Ben Godfrey was penalised for handball on the stroke of half-time, even though Sam Morsy's shot rebounded off the defender's leg on to his arm.

James beat Tim Krul with the resulting penalty to set up a potential shock, and the Norwich goalkeeper then made a superb save to deny Leon Clarke midway through the second half.

But Norwich levelled in the 81st minute when Pukki, crowned the Championship Player of the Season on Monday, was slipped through on goal by Kenny McLean to slot home his 27th league goal of 2018-19.

Norwich could not force a winner despite eight added minutes, though, and it was instead Wigan who had the ball in the net, Clarke having a header ruled out for a marginal offside during the extended injury time.

With four games to go, Daniel Farke's men are four points clear of Leeds, with Sheffield United - who drew at home to Millwall this weekend after conceding in added time - a further three back.

Norwich City reclaimed top spot in the Championship as they and Sheffield United romped to 4-0 victories on Saturday.

Teemu Pukki struck twice to help the Canaries move back ahead of Leeds United - who are not in action until next weekend - with a routine win away to Bolton Wanderers, while Gary Madine was at the double in the Blades' comfortable home triumph over Reading.

Fellow promotion hopefuls West Brom were also impressive in prevailing 2-0 at rivals Aston Villa, who are now winless in four matches.

Three draws elsewhere included a dramatic last-gasp derby equaliser for Sheffield Wednesday on the road against Rotherham United.

 

PUKKI POCKETS TWO MORE FOR CLINICAL CANARIES

Stunned 3-1 at Preston North End on Wednesday, Norwich bounced back by crushing relegation-threatened Bolton at the Macron Stadium.

Star striker Pukki bookended the scoring, tucking away the opener in the eighth minute and returning soon after half-time to complete his double. The Finn has now scored in six straight appearances and his league tally for the season of 23 is the most of any player in England's top four tiers.

Marco Stiepermann, who failed to convert a penalty at Deepdale on Wednesday, and Emiliano Buendia were on target in between to help the visitors move two points clear at the top despite Kenny McLean missing a penalty.

Bolton remain three points shy of safety and six ahead of bottom side Ipswich Town, who had Will Keane to thank for a 92nd-minute equaliser in a 1-1 draw with Stoke City at Portman Road.

 

FAST-STARTING BLADES HEADLINE SHEFFIELD SUCCESS

Kieron Freeman scored after 39 seconds to set the tone for Sheffield United's dominant display against a Reading side that arrived at Bramall Lane unbeaten in four.

On the back foot after conceding the division's fourth-fastest goal this term, Jose Gomes' men were blown away in the first half as striker Madine grabbed a brace to open up a three-goal advantage at the break.

John Fleck completed the rout four minutes after the interval with the Blades leapfrogging Yorkshire rivals Leeds into second on goal difference.

There was joy for Sheffield's other Championship side at New York Stadium thanks to Dominic Iorfa's goal in the 10th minute of added time in a 2-2 draw with Rotherham.

The match was paused in the second half after a clash of heads left Jordan Thorniley requiring attention, and Steve Bruce's side also lost Fernando Forestieri to a second yellow card as a result of his attempt to high-five a fan during the exuberant celebrations that followed Iorfa's equaliser.

 

STRUGGLING VILLA SUNK AT HOME BY BAGGIES

Two goals in four first-half minutes helped West Brom see off an out-of-sorts Villa and stay firmly in the frame for an automatic promotion spot.

Hal Robson-Kanu headed home Mason Holgate's cross in the 41st minute and the visitors' advantage was quickly doubled when Jay Rodriguez fired in off the post.

While the Baggies are within four points of second, 10th-place Villa continue to falter in their bid to claim a play-off place.

Teemu Pukki scored a brace to take his Championship goal tally to 20 for the season as Norwich City returned to the top of the table following a heated 3-0 win over local rivals Ipswich Town at Carrow Road on Sunday.

The Finnish forward furthered his reputation as one of English football's signings of 2018-19 with a display of clinical finishing in the second half of a game in which Onel Hernandez gave Norwich an early lead.

Tempers flared throughout a fractious derby that saw Ipswich boss and former Canaries manager Paul Lambert sent to the stands, but the gulf in quality between the two sides was always evident.

While Ipswich remain rooted to the foot of the table, Norwich capitalised on draws for Leeds United and Sheffield United earlier in the weekend and moved two points clear at the summit and five ahead of the Blades in third.

Hernandez opened the scoring inside two minutes, connecting with Mario Vrancic's header across the face of goal and slotting the ball home while Ipswich's defenders floundered.

Lambert had to be restrained by a police officer when he was sent off along with Norwich head of performance Chris Domogalla after a tackle by Jon Nolan on Maximillian Aarons led to an altercation on the touchline moments before the interval.

The second half was 20 minutes old when a defensive error by Matthew Pennington allowed Emiliano Buendia to break through the middle and feed Pukki, who sent a low shot into the far corner of the net.

Pukki thought he had made it three when he headed home from Marco Stiepermann's flick at a corner, only to see the effort ruled out for offside.

But the third goal arrived when Buendia once again carved Ipswich open and played Pukki into the box, where he slid the ball under the body of Town goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski.

Norwich City moved back into the Championship's top two with a 3-1 victory over play-off hopefuls Birmingham City at Carrow Road on Friday.

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