Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann has been voted 18th in the final list for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, a fall of 15 places from last year.

Griezmann finished behind only Luka Modric and Cristiano Ronaldo 12 months ago after winning the World Cup with France and impressing for Atletico Madrid at club level.

However, an underwhelming end to his Atletico career and a tough start to life at Barcelona - who he joined in a €120million deal in July - has seen him drop down the list.

It marks the second time the 28-year-old has slipped from third to 18th, having done likewise in 2017.

Griezmann's Barcelona team-mate Marc-Andre ter Stegen finished 24th and Frenkie de Jong, who spent the first half of the year with Champions League semi-finalists Ajax, was voted 11th in the standings.

Three Liverpool players missed out on the top 10, with Georginio Wijnaldum, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino in 26th, 19th and 17th, respectively.

Fellow Premier League side Manchester City were also heavily represented in the 30-11 rankings, as were Dutch champions Ajax following their run to the final four of last season's Champions League.

Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk are the frontrunners to win the most prestigious individual accolade in world football during Monday's ceremony.

Ballon d'Or 30-11 list in full:

=28. Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain)

=28. Donny van de Beek (Ajax)

=28. Joao Felix (Atletico Madrid)

=26. Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool)

=26. Karim Benzema (Real Madrid)

=24. Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli)

=24. Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

23. Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

22. Son Heung-min (Tottenham)

=20. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal)

=20. Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

19. Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

18. Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona)

17. Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)

16. Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)

15. Matthijs de Ligt (Ajax)

14. Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

13. Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)

12. Raheem Sterling (Manchester City)

11. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona)

Mauricio Pochettino has opened the door for a quick return to management following his recent exit from Tottenham, saying he is open to listening to any offers put before him.

The 47-year-old was sacked by the Premier League club on November 19 after a difficult start to the season, with Jose Mourinho brought in as his replacement.

Pochettino returned to his native Argentina to unwind but is ready to step back into work should the right opportunity present itself.

"There are a lot of clubs and attractive projects for me to take on," he told Fox Sports Argentina.

"For the time being, the most important thing is for me to clear my head after five-and-a-half incredible seasons with Tottenham. 

"My aim is to seek the ability to rebuild myself and get my self-motivation back.

"It is my intention to return to manage in Europe. It is hard for me to imagine a project in Argentina. However, for the sake of my family, I would not refuse to work over here.

"But now I need to be calm for a few days and see what happens. I haven't had a lot of time to digest what has happened with me.

"My first decision was to come back to Argentina, return to my home and see family and friends. My best decision was to come to Argentina to switch off for 10 days.

"But I expect to return to Europe to make decisions on my future. At my age I don't need a lot of time to recover. I am open to listen to projects put before me."

Arsenal are on the lookout for a new boss following the dismissal of Unai Emery last week, while German champions Bayern Munich are without a permanent head coach.

Manchester United are also rumoured to be long-term admirers of Pochettino, who guided Tottenham to top-four finishes in four of his five full seasons in charge, as well as their first Champions League final in 2018-19.

Freddie Ljungberg can provide Arsenal with "something special" during his stint as interim head coach, according to captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The former Gunners winger has been placed in temporary charge following the sacking of Unai Emery and drew his first match 2-2 at Norwich City on Sunday.

Aubameyang scored twice to rescue Arsenal at Carrow Road, but the Gunners' winless run now spans eight matches in all competitions.

However, Aubameyang is confident Ljungberg - who won five major honours with Arsenal during his playing days - can lift the club while they search for a new head coach. 

"He can give us something special," the Gabon international said. "If I'm not wrong he was part of the Invincibles.

"His career speaks for itself. We will try to follow him and give the best for him. Everybody is respectful of Freddie. He played for Arsenal, he knows as a player how we feel.

"It's interesting to have him. We had only one session with him, maybe two for those guys who didn't play on Thursday. We will see this week what is going to happen.

"For me personally I think it's good for us. He played for Arsenal and he has this in his heart."

Norwich wasted several chances to inflict further misery on Arsenal, who are eighth in the Premier League and seven points adrift of a Champions League qualification spot.

While acknowledging that improvements must be made following his side's latest disappointing result, Aubameyang insisted there is not an issue with team spirit.

"We have positive things to take," he said. "We didn't play bad, we played good.

"We have to maybe be cleverer in the transition, maybe make some fouls. That's part of the game to not concede goals.

"I think the mood is always good. We try to find more confidence in winning games. We try our best.

"We know it was something special because Unai Emery was sacked. Now we have Freddie and we're all focused on one thing, to get back to winning ways.

"We did not play a perfect game but we did a good job and we'll try to win the next one."

Watford have placed Under-23s coach Hayden Mullins in charge for Wednesday's Premier League trip to Leicester City following the sacking of Quique Sanchez Flores.

Flores' second spell at Vicarage Road was brought to an end at the weekend on the back of a 2-1 loss to Southampton that left the club bottom of the division.

Watford hope to bring in a permanent successor "imminently", but Mullins will be in the dugout for the midweek clash with the high-flying Foxes.

The 40-year-old has been a coach at Watford since July 2016 and was brought in to oversee first-team training on Monday, alongside head of academy goalkeeping Graham Stack.

Former Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton is rumoured to be one of the frontrunners for the Hornets post.

Brendan Rodgers insists he is "very happy" at Leicester City amid speculation Arsenal want to appoint him as their new manager.

The Northern Irishman is reportedly Arsenal's preferred choice to take over from Unai Emery, who was sacked on Friday after a torrid start to the season.

Rodgers only assumed the helm at the King Power Stadium in February but has wasted little time stamping his authority on the club.

He has masterminded a stunning start to the season, guiding the second-place Foxes to 10 wins in their opening 14 Premier League games.  

Speaking after his side's last-gasp win over Everton on Sunday, Rodgers hinted he has a release clause in his contract.

However, he has now moved to silence suggestions that was an indication of his interest in the job at the Emirates Stadium, claiming he plans to be at Leicester for the long haul.

"I have a contract here until 2022 and thus far – and I know managers are losing their jobs – but the club have not indicated to me that they are going to sack me," said Rodgers.

"I think they're pretty happy with how we are working and like I said, I'm very happy, and I have no reason to look elsewhere.

"I think logic would tell you – I know in your job it's not always logical, there's gossip and speculation – but why would I want to leave Leicester City, at this moment in time?

"I'm working with a young group of players that's got so much potential and want to improve and develop.

"I was asked a question about my contract, talking about clauses and stuff like that, and I gave an honest answer which was based on most managers probably have something in their contract. And by all accounts that opened the door for something.

"I repeat, I'm very happy here. I think there is a lot for us to develop over the next few seasons. We are moving to a new training facility.

"I respect that there'll always be this speculation around jobs and there is probably for a number of managers.

"For me, I repeat, I'm happy here, very happy and have great relations with all the people and I feel I want to continue with that. Take from that what you want."

Rodgers will hope to guide his side to a seventh consecutive Premier League win on Wednesday when bottom club Watford are the visitors. 

In August 2018, Mauricio Pochettino guided Tottenham to a 3-0 victory over Jose Mourinho's Manchester United at Old Trafford.

In hindsight, it was a defeat that appeared to signal the beginning of the end for Mourinho at United, with the Portuguese coach sacked four months later, replaced – initially on a temporary basis – by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Pochettino was heavily linked with the United hot seat, but Solskjaer's impressive run earned him the job permanently. But while Spurs went on to reach a Champions League final, the Red Devils' form dropped off dramatically.

Now, 16 months on from that clash at Old Trafford, Mourinho returns to his former stomping ground for the first time since his December 2018 sacking, having taken over from Pochettino at Spurs – who dismissed the former Argentina international following a poor start to 2019-20.

Two 3-2 wins on the bounce in the league, either side of a 4-2 comeback victory over Olympiacos in the Champions League, have seen Tottenham climb up to fifth place, two points above United, who could only draw with Aston Villa on Sunday.

Can Mourinho show his old side just what they are missing, or will Solskjaer prove his credentials in a match over which the spectre of Pochettino could loom large.

 

THE 'SPECIAL ONE' RETURNS

Glory in the EFL Cup and Europa League made Mourinho's first year in charge of United a successful one, though those were the only major trophies he won during his stint in Manchester.

After finishing second – well behind neighbours Manchester City – in Mourinho's sophomore year, United's form tailed off at the start of the former Chelsea boss' final campaign in charge.

Their home defeat to Tottenham followed on from a loss at Brighton and Hove Albion, while they also went down to both West Ham and City as they suffered four defeats from their opening 12 matches.

A run of three successive draws against Crystal Palace, Southampton and Arsenal paved the way for a 3-1 reverse at Liverpool to result in Mourinho's departure.

But after almost a year out of management, he was handed a way back into the big time with Spurs, who seem rejuvenated – albeit still with some glaring weaknesses – and Mourinho is now aiming to become just the third manager to win a Premier League away game at Old Trafford with two different clubs.

United, on the other hand, have managed just four league victories this season and head into Wednesday's encounter without a victory in three matches across all competitions.

In fact, since Solskjaer was appointed on a permanent basis on March 28, United have claimed all three points in just six Premier League games.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: MARCUS RASHFORD V HARRY KANE

One shining light for United in recent weeks has been the form of Marcus Rashford, who seems to have taken up the mantle of leading the Red Devils' youthful attack.

Meanwhile, Harry Kane's goals were not enough to save Pochettino's job, but the England captain is still as reliable as ever when presented with a chance.

Both players are on seven league goals for the season, with Rashford's 14 appearances one more than Kane.

Rashford has also played slightly more than Kane in terms of minutes, racking up 1,219 compared to the Tottenham striker's 1,165.

Kane is proving more efficient, with the 26-year-old scoring his seven goals from a total of 36 shots, resulting in a conversion rate of 19.44 per cent, while Rashford's rate stands at 16.67 per cent.

Not much separates the pair in terms of goal frequency – Kane edging this one with a strike every 166 minutes, compared to Rashford's 174.

However, Kane is the clear winner when it comes to expected goals. By this metric, Rashford (8.66) should be on at least eight goals for the campaign, while his opposite number at Spurs has only been expected to score five goals from the chances he has had this term.

FORM GUIDE

Pochettino managed two draws in his final matches in charge of Spurs, meaning Mourinho's side are now unbeaten in four league games.

Should Tottenham win, Mourinho will become their first manager to win his first three top-flight matches in charge. 

Dele Alli seems to have recaptured his best form, scoring twice and providing an assist in the two Premier League matches since Mourinho's arrival – as many as he had in his final 12 appearances under Pochettino.

United's haul of 18 points from their opening 14 Premier League matches this season means the Red Devils have endured their worst start to a domestic season since the 1988-89 campaign, when they also had 18 points and went on to finish 11th.

Both United and Tottenham are equal in one sense, however, with both having dropped 12 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season.

HISTORY SAYS…

United's hopes will not be boosted by the fact they have lost three of their past seven home league meetings against Spurs, after losing only two of their previous 36 at Old Trafford.

However, Tottenham have lost more Premier League games to United than against any other side, though Mourinho can take solace in knowing the away team won in both top-flight meetings last season.

Aymeric Laporte has targeted a return to Manchester City's first team within two months.

The France centre-back sustained a serious knee injury in the 4-0 defeat of Brighton and Hove Albion at the end of August and required surgery.

Laporte, who joined from Athletic Bilbao in January 2018, is unsure exactly when he will be back but provided a positive update for City fans.

"[My recovery] is going very well," he told The National. 

"I still need time but I hope as soon as possible I can come back and play with my team-mates. I can't say when exactly but more or less one-month-and-a-half to two months."

City's decision not to sign a centre-back to replace club legend Vincent Kompany came under further scrutiny following Laporte's injury.

In his absence, Pep Guardiola's defending champions have fallen 11 points adrift of unbeaten leaders Liverpool in the Premier League.

But Laporte insists City can once again pip Liverpool to the title having beaten the Reds by a solitary point in a thrilling race last term.

"Yes, of course [City can win the title]," Laporte added. 

"Last year was quite similar when they had a similar lead but we still have time this year to recover, to catch them and to again try to win the Premier League, so we hope we can do that.

"We need to make sure we work a lot and don't lose any more games."

Manchester City head coach Pep Guardiola says he has no plans to stop selecting midfielder Fernandinho in central defence, despite the availability of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi.

The Premier League champions were thrown into a defensive crisis when Aymeric Laporte was ruled out for six months after damaging the lateral meniscus in his right knee in September.

Stones and Otamendi endured a torrid time in the first game following Laporte's injury against Norwich City, with the latter particularly at fault in a damaging 3-2 defeat.

Guardiola has selected Brazil international Fernandinho as one of his two central defenders for every Premier League game since then and insists he has no intention of stopping.

Asked why he has not played Stones and Otamendi together, Guardiola told reporters at his media conference ahead of City's visit to Burnley on Tuesday: "Because I like Fernandinho in that position. I prefer him in that position; that's why he plays."

Pressed on why he continues to choose a midfielder in defence, Guardiola responded: "I prefer [Ilkay] Gundogan and Rodri in midfield."

Guardiola also reiterated that Sergio Aguero will miss Saturday's derby against Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium.

The Argentina international sustained a thigh injury in the 2-1 win over Chelsea on November 23, with Guardiola saying: "He is not ready for the derby but after the derby we will see."

City's 2-2 draw with Newcastle United on Saturday means they are now a whopping 11 points behind runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Guardiola acknowledges his side will have to be at their best to avoid dropping more points against Sean Dyche's outfit.

"It is always difficult for teams [to play against Burnley]," he added. "What they do they do perfectly. They are so good in the second balls and are free-kick scorers so we need to adapt and play our way.

"They attack really well and in defence they are so aggressive."

Marco Silva's prospects at Everton look bleak. Sunday's last-gasp defeat to high-flying Leicester City has left the Toffees in 17th and a trip to Anfield does not present the ideal remedy.

Kelechi Iheanacho's VAR–assisted strike in second-half stoppage time cost Everton a share of the spoils at the King Power Stadium, a day short of the anniversary of Jordan Pickford's calamity gifting Liverpool all three points in the first Merseyside derby of last season.

Jurgen Klopp's side have gone from strength-to-strength since then, losing just one Premier League match – to Manchester City in January. 

Everton gained a modicum of revenge in March, when a goalless draw at Goodison Park ultimately proved costly for the Reds, who missed out on the league title by two points.

However, it is difficult to find more contrasting fortunes at present, with Liverpool eight points clear at the top and Everton languishing just two points above the drop zone.

The Toffees have a torrid recent record against Liverpool and, if reports are to be believed, Wednesday's meeting at Anfield could well prove to be Silva's final game of a tumultuous 18-month spell.

Yet, while Silva may ultimately pay the price for a dismal start to the season should Liverpool claim an expected win, Everton's woeful form against their neighbours stretches back much further.

TWENTY YEARS OF HURT

You have to go back over 20 years – to September 1999 – for Everton's last win at Anfield in any competition; Kevin Campbell was the Toffees' hero in a 1-0 success.

Liverpool and Everton dominated English football throughout the 1980s, but since the start of the Premier League era, the derby has become significantly more one-sided.

Everton have just nine wins out of 54 games, with Liverpool claiming 23 victories, while there have been 22 draws.

Seven of Everton's triumphs in that run have come at Goodison, with just two at Anfield, where Liverpool have won 13 times, with the points shared on 12 occasions.

Liverpool have scored 72 goals against Everton in the Premier League, with the Toffees – who have conceded 40 at Anfield – managing just 46 in return.

THE STATS DON'T LIE

Liverpool's dominance over Everton is backed up by even more damning statistics. 

Everton's win percentage against Liverpool is their third-lowest against a Premier League opponent – 16.7 per cent, or nine wins from 54 meetings.

Only against Arsenal (14.8 per cent) and Tottenham (14.5 per cent) do the Toffees have a worse win percentage against in the Premier League era.

Indeed, since their victory at Anfield in 1999, Everton have managed just four wins over Liverpool in all competitions, the most recent of which came in October 2010.

Sam Allardyce was in charge on the last occasion Everton avoided defeat at the ground they used to occupy before Liverpool were formed, with Wayne Rooney's penalty securing a 1-1 draw in December 2017.

Before that, a thunderbolt from Phil Jagielka ensured a share of the spoils back in 2014 under Roberto Martinez, who suffered two 4-0 defeats at Anfield in the space of three seasons.

LIVERPOOL'S DECADE OF DOMINANCE

While Everton's record since the start of the Premier League makes for grim reading, their dreadful form in derbies is magnified when narrowing it down to the past nine years – since Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta led the way to a 2-0 win at Goodison Park in October 2010.

Everton had the better of the derbies in 2010-11, following up their triumph with a 2-2 draw at Anfield the following January.

Since the start of 2011-12, Everton have failed to win any league matches against Liverpool, while their points per game average of 0.56 is their lowest against any opponent in this period.

Liverpool have won seven of the 16 league meetings in this time, with Everton managing draws on nine occasions.

Of the top-flight opponents Everton have faced more than five times since the 2011-12 campaign began, Liverpool are the only team they have not beaten at all, with the Toffees having triumphed twice over Spurs, three times against Arsenal and Manchester City, and four times over Chelsea.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk has insisted there will be "no losers" when the Ballon d'Or winner is announced in Paris on Monday.

The Premier League star ranks among the leading contenders to take home the most coveted individual honour in European club football.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi looks most likely to claim the award, but the five-time winner faces stiff competition from Van Dijk.

The bedrock on which Liverpool built their Champions League triumph, the 28-year-old also captained his country to the Nations League final and was named UEFA Men's Player of the Year in August.

"I am going to be there for a reason and there are no losers on the evening," Van Dijk said.

"I am very proud to be in that bracket, to be in there for the way I performed with the team last year and also with the country.

"It is just something to be proud of because not a lot of players go there and are up for these kind of things."

While a win for Van Dijk would be his first, another for Messi would move the incredible Argentinian clear of Cristiano Ronaldo and into outright first on the leaderboard.

The 32-year-old scored the lone goal for Barca in a 1-0 LaLiga win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday, his 11th in all competitions this term.

Atletico midfielder Saul Niguez was left exasperated by the attacker's brilliance.

"We played a great game, [Barca] did not have many chances, but then Messi appears and does what he does with terrible ease," Saul said.

"That is why he is the best."

Marco Silva may be denied the chance to manage in another Merseyside derby.

Everton chiefs will reportedly begin the week with frank talks over the under-pressure Portuguese's future and could choose to sever ties.

The Toffees are due to head to Anfield on Wednesday, fresh from the late 2-1 loss to Leicester City that left the 42-year-old hanging on by a thread.

 

TOP STORY – SILVA ON CUSP OF EVERTON SACK

After close to a season and a half in charge, Everton boss Silva could be relieved of his duties on Monday.

Various UK newspaper reports indicate his position will be discussed at a meeting of executives two days out from the midweek clash with bitter rivals Liverpool.

Silva took charge in May 2018 and guided the Goodison Park outfit to eighth in his first season, but results have soured this term.

Everton have lost eight of their 14 Premier League fixtures and sit just above the drop zone.

ROUND-UP

- Kylian Mbappe has left Paris Saint-Germain waiting for an answer on contract discussions as he prefers to focus on the season at hand, says TF1 programme Telefoot.

- Serie A champions Juventus have started scouting emerging Brescia centre-back Andrea Cistana and will be closely monitoring his performances in December, according to CalcioMercato.

- Goal-shy Milan are preparing to celebrate their 120th birthday on December 15 and hope to mark the occasion by confirming the capture of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, claims Corriere della Sera. The Rossoneri have scored 13 times in 14 league fixtures this term.

- The English and Irish football associations are set to go ahead with a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup following an encouraging feasibility study, reports The Times.

- Celtic are tracking 21-year-old Ivorian midfielder Ismaila Soro, says the Daily Record. Soro is contracted to Israeli side Bnei Yehuda.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is hopeful of welcoming back either Paul Pogba or Scott McTominay from injury for the Premier League showdown with Jose Mourinho's Tottenham.

Pogba and fellow United midfielder McTominay were absent from Sunday's disappointing 2-2 draw against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

United star Pogba has been sidelined since September with an ankle injury, while McTominay hurt his ankle in the win over Brighton and Hove Albion prior to the international break.

As former United boss Mourinho – who had a reported falling out with Pogba prior to his sacking in December last year – prepares to return to Manchester with his Tottenham side on Wednesday, Solskjaer provided an update on his midfielders.

"We have still got two days and we need to look at everyone here as well," Solskjaer told reporters when asked about Pogba and McTominay.

"We have only got two days, so let's see, but, hopefully, we can see one of them on the pitch. They are working hard behind the scenes."

United are languishing in ninth in the Premier League, two points adrift of fifth-placed Spurs – who have won both Premier League matches since Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers hinted a release clause exists in his contract amid links to the Arsenal vacancy, though he is fully focused on delivering on the Foxes' potential.

Rodgers is reportedly Arsenal's preferred choice after Unai Emery was sacked on Friday, with speculation claiming the former Liverpool and Celtic boss has a £14million release clause.

After Leicester edged Everton 2-1 to stay second and eight points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, Rodgers was asked about the rumours.

"There probably is [a clause] in most managers' contracts. It's all hypothetical – all these types of situations," Rodgers, who moved to Leicester in February, told Sky Sports.

"For me, at this moment, we've had a brilliant win today. My focus is very much with Leicester because I made a change eight or nine months ago, and I've been so happy since I came here.

"I feel, with the players, we still have a lot of work to do. Most managers' contracts will have something in that but, for me, my only concentration is with Leicester.

"I've been very fortunate in my career to work with some brilliant clubs and great institutions. It was an ambition to come here to help the club arrive in the top six. Everything's been great since we've worked together.

"My ambition is to help this club, a responsibility to share that with the others and move the club forward. There's great potential here at Leicester City to push on in the next few years."

Pep Guardiola insists his Manchester City players are not lacking for either confidence or effort even though their Premier League title defence continues to falter.

City were twice pegged back during Saturday's 2-2 draw at Newcastle United, leaving them third in the table and 11 points behind leaders Liverpool after 14 games.

Jurgen Klopp's men have only dropped two points so far this term to establish their dominant position, but Guardiola rejected the suggestion that belief is fading among his own squad ahead of a Tuesday trip to Burnley that precedes the Manchester derby.

"I think honestly you have to see how the players run, how they fought, how they tried to do it, the body language," he said, after Jonjo Shelvey's superb long-range effort cancelled out a similarly emphatic Kevin De Bruyne strike two minutes from time at St James' Park.

"We never give up. The team is always there. That is my feeling. You analyse the results, the 2-2. Of course, it is not good for us. It's good for Newcastle.

"I know it doesn’t count but I have to analyse the performance and the performance was good."

City set a Premier League record of 18 victories in a row when they lifted the title in 2017-18, while they needed 14 wins in succession to hold off Liverpool last time around.

Whether or not such heroics are beyond them this season, Guardiola does not think it is helpful to think in those terms.

"I am not thinking about how many games we have to win, just try to win the next one," he added.

"Last season when we were here, we were not talking about the Premier League and how many games you have to win.

"It's not about that. Just now recover, prepare and try to win against Burnley. After that the derby and make these steps."

Jose Mourinho made it two wins out of two as Tottenham manager while Chelsea suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats for the first time this season on a weekend of mixed fortunes at the top of the table.

Manchester City's failure to beat Newcastle United left them 11 points behind league leaders Liverpool, who won again, but Leicester City's late winner against Everton kept them within eight points of Jurgen Klopp's title favourites.

With a packed December schedule looming for all Premier League clubs, maintaining the form and fitness of key players is even more vital than ever for those chasing honours.

The absence of one of the division's hottest marksmen hurt Chelsea while the return to form of a top playmaker gave Spurs a boost, as our Premier League Data Diary reveals.
 

BLUES FIRE BLANKS IN ABRAHAM'S ABSENCE

Tammy Abraham has scored 10 goals in 13 Premier League appearances this season, but a hip injury ruled him out of Chelsea's 1-0 defeat at home to West Ham on Saturday.

Frank Lampard's side started the game brightly, treating Stamford Bridge to the kind of spirited attacking football that has won them admirers across the country this season, but their 19 shots yielded nothing for the home crowd to celebrate.

Aaron Cresswell's third goal of the season made this his highest-scoring top-flight campaign to date and earned West Ham their first Premier League away win at Chelsea since September 2002, ending a run of 13 without a league victory at Stamford Bridge.

Lampard saw his side rally in the last 20 minutes following the introduction of N'Golo Kante and Callum Hudson-Odoi, but the Blues are yet to gain a single point from a losing position in the Premier League this season. This game became the fourth they have lost after falling behind.

VAN DIJK AT THE DOUBLE AS REDS SURVIVE LATE SCARE

Virgil van Dijk is up against Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for the 2019 Ballon d'Or, and he tormented Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday as Liverpool won 2-1 at Anfield.

Netherlands international Van Dijk scored twice in six first-half minutes to become the highest scoring Premier League defender since the start of the 2018-19 season, with seven strikes, but the Reds endured a nervy end to the game as Brighton mounted a fightback.

Alisson became the first Liverpool goalkeeper to be sent off in a Premier League match since Doni against Blackburn Rovers in April 2012, and Lewis Dunk scored with 11 minutes left to tee up a frantic finish.

But Brighton failed to muster an equaliser and are now without a win in their past six Premier League away matches (D1 L5), while Liverpool have equalled their longest ever unbeaten top-flight run (W26 D5) by matching the 31 undefeated games achieved between May 1987 and March 1988.

ALLI REVIVAL FUELS BACK-TO-BACK WINS

Dele Alli's loss of form was among the problems Mauricio Pochettino failed to overcome before being sacked by Tottenham, but the England playmaker is bouncing back under Mourinho.

After assisting Son Heung-min's opener in a 3-2 win at West Ham a week earlier, Alli scored a brace as Spurs beat Bournemouth by the same scoreline, meaning he has been involved in three goals in two games under Mourinho - as many as in his last 12 league games for Pochettino.

While Mourinho has made a strong start at Spurs, helping the club register back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time since April, the fact his side have conceded four goals in two league games will have troubled him.

Tottenham conceded 20 shots against Bournemouth, who scored in the 73rd and 96th minutes - the exact timings of West Ham's strikes against Spurs a week prior.

The last time Spurs conceded as many shots against them in a Premier League home game was in September 2015, when Manchester City peppered their goal with 22 attempts.

SHELVEY STRIKE STALLS CITY'S TITLE CHARGE

Kevin De Bruyne's stunner looked to have earned City a victory over Newcastle, but Jonjo Shelvey ultimately had the final say.

Newcastle are now unbeaten in each of their past four home league games against reigning top-flight champions, winning two and drawing two, for the first time since a run of five ending in February 2003.

Of players with at least 15 Premier League goals, only David Ginola (66.7 per cent) and Laurent Robert (65.2 per cent) have scored a higher ratio from outside the box than Shelvey, who has netted 11 of his 17 top-flight goals from that range.

Miguel Almiron assisted Jetro Willems' equaliser after Raheem Sterling had put City ahead at St James' Park – the first assist the Paraguayan has registered from what was his 23rd chance created in the Premier League.

City have found the net in each of their past 22 Premier League games against Newcastle – their joint-longest such run in the competition – yet De Bruyne's sensational strike, his sixth goal involvement in six league appearances against the Magpies, was not enough to clinch victory.

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