Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has suggested players should cut out social media use to minimise the impact of would-be online abusers.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita were all sent racist comments after Liverpool were beaten 3-1 by Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

The club condemned the abuse as "abhorrent" and "utterly unacceptable" and called on platforms to introduce "the strongest possible preventative measures".

Rangers, managed by former Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, joined Swansea City and Birmingham City this week in boycotting social media as part of a challenge to companies to do more to prevent abuse.

Klopp is not active on social media but believes the best way to deprive abusers of the "forum" they crave is to "cut them off".

He told reporters: "With social media in general, we obviously have the problem that people can hide behind whatever account and say what they want to say. That's a problem that really has to get sorted on this planet as quick as possible.

"I got criticised quite a lot in my life, and not only recently. And the advice I would give is that people you don't know, people who are not really interested in you, people who don't want to help you with criticism, don't listen [to them]. Don't listen. 

"They need a forum. They need people to read it and take these kinds of things seriously. That's how bullying works, that's how blaming works, that's how shouting works, how harsh criticism works. If you cut that side off, then it's already helped a lot and it cannot harm you.

"That's my advice to the players. The rest, I don't really understand enough the need for social media. I know there are some good things for sure, but a lot of things are just not important, and for you, as a person, if you can cut them off then it's already a step in the right direction."

Liverpool face Aston Villa on Saturday looking to avenge their remarkable 7-2 defeat last October while also putting pressure on the teams in the Premier League top four.

Klopp sees the Villa clash and the second leg against Madrid as a chance to show they deserve to be in the Champions League, both this season and next.

"There is no opportunity without pressure," he said. "We are at the highest level of professional football, we want to fight for the Champions League, both qualifying for next year and being a part of it still for this year.

"A week ago we, spoke about a wonderful game we played against Arsenal, a great game of football. A few days later we played pretty much the opposite of a great game against Real Madrid, but this game shouldn't have any influence on the Aston Villa game."

Klopp admitted it was difficult to move on from their thrashing by Villa in the previous meeting, in which the champions conceded seven goals for the first time since April 1963.

"You cannot put a game like this one aside immediately," he said. "We had to work with it. A lot of problems showed up in that game. Some of the problems we had before, some we never had before.

"You work with results. The higher or more strange a result is, it doesn't mean it gets more necessary to work with it, but for sure we spoke about it quite frequently. 

"It differs, how long it takes me to get over a game. Usually, especially after a win, my mind is immediately at the next game, but we still have to reflect on the last game. I watch these games, and then I know better what happened in the game. I just try to understand why things happen."

Jack Grealish has suffered a setback in his injury recovery and will be absent for another "few weeks", Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has confirmed.

Attacking midfielder Grealish has missed Villa's last seven matches due to a shin complaint, with Smith's side winning only two of those games.

The Villa captain will now sit out the clash with Liverpool at Anfield this weekend and is likely to remain a doubt for when they next play, against Manchester City on April 21.

"Myself and Jack were quite optimistic to get him back a bit sooner than he probably should and he's had a setback that will probably put him back a couple of weeks," Smith said.

"He was really good in training, but he couldn't tolerate the loading. It's a loading injury and we have to de-load him over the next few weeks and get him back from there.

"We know it's not a long-term injury and he will be back. We all, Jack included, probably pushed him back a little bit too quickly. We wanted him to get back and he had a little setback."

Only three players have more Premier League assists than Grealish's 10 this term, while he ranks second behind Bruno Fernandes for chances created (75) and joint-third for Opta-defined 'big' chances (14).

Grealish's injury meant he missed out on England selection for the recent World Cup qualifiers, but Smith is optimistic the absence will not damage his player's chances of making Gareth Southgate's squad for the rescheduled Euro 2020.

"He's proved himself already, but the one thing for certain is he will be back before the end of the season, and then Gareth [Southgate] has to make a decision whether he thinks he's right for that," Smith said.

The Premier League made its comeback this weekend, and there was no shortage of drama on Sunday.

It was a tail of turnarounds throughout the four fixtures – three sides coming from behind to win while Newcastle United and Tottenham played out a topsy turvy 2-2 draw.

Manchester United needed a late goal to see off Brighton and Hove Albion, while Southampton and Aston Villa claimed victories.

United have now won 95 Premier League points after conceding first, seven more than any other team in the history of the competition and, using Opta data, we take a look at more of the best facts from across the day's matches.

Southampton 3-2 Burnley: Ings puts former club to the sword in thrilling fightback 

Southampton picked up their first Premier League home win since their opening game in 2021 as they came from two goals down to beat Burnley 3-2, ending a run of five league outings at St. Mary's without a victory (D1 L4).

The Saints had not won a league game that they had trailed in by two goals since March 2016, when they defeated Liverpool under Ronald Koeman, but Danny Ings inspired the turnaround against his former club.

Having teed up Stuart Armstrong's goal, Ings became just the fourth player in Premier League history to score in four successive appearances against sides he has previously played for in the competition, after Robbie Keane in 2004, Jermain Defoe in 2009 and Wilfried Bony in 2017.

It was Nathan Redmond who then dealt the decisive blow, volleying in from Theo Walcott's cross after Nick Pope had brilliantly denied Ings a second.

Redmond has been directly involved in five goals in his past two games for Southampton (three goals and two assists), as many direct goal involvements as he had registered in his previous 30 appearances in all competitions combined.

Chris Wood gave Burnley the lead from a VAR-awarded penalty – the 100th spot-kick taken in the top flight this season, and the 83rd to be converted. This is only the seventh Premier League campaign to see a century of penalties awarded.

Newcastle United 2-2 Tottenham: Kane double not enough as Spurs let another lead slip

Tottenham looked set to move into the top four as they led 2-1 at Newcastle – Harry Kane's double putting them ahead after Joelinton carried on his goalscoring form against Spurs; he has now netted a total of four Premier League goals in 62 appearances, with two of those coming in four matches versus the north London team.

Kane has been directly involved in 45 goals in all competitions this term, scoring 29 times and providing 16 assists, equalling his career-best tally from 2017-18 (41 goals and four assists).

He has also scored 84 goals in 120 away games in the Premier League for Spurs, the most goals any player has scored on the road for a single club in the competition, going past Wayne Rooney's 82 for Manchester United.

Yet his efforts were not enough – Joe Willock rescuing a point for relegation-battling Newcastle, who have drawn three consecutive Premier League games at St. James' Park for the first time since another three-game run spanning December 2017 and January 2018.

Tottenham have dropped four points from winning positions against Newcastle this season, their most in a campaign against a single side since also dropping four versus Arsenal and West Brom in 2015-16, while Spurs have now failed to win six Premier League games after leading at half-time, the most of any side in 2020-21.

Aston Villa 3-1 Fulham: History made at Villa Park before Cottagers collapse

Sunday's clash between Aston Villa and Fulham was the first game in Premier League history in which every player in the starting XI for both sides was born after the first ever Premier League game on August 15, 1992.

Despite Dean Smith saying he would be available, Jack Grealish was not in Villa's squad, and Fulham hit the front through Aleksandar Mitrovic, who – after 159 days and 23 games without a goal for club and country – has now scored six times in the past 12 days, five times for Serbia and once for the Cottagers.

Yet only Southampton (18) and Brighton (20) have dropped more points from winning positions in the Premier League this season than Fulham (16) after Scott Parker's third-bottom side suffered a collapse.

Trezeguet scored a rapid double – his two goals coming just 160 seconds apart. The Egypt international had previously attempted more shots without scoring than any other player in this season's Premier League (29).

Ollie Watkins helped himself to his first league goal in eight games, ending a run of 18 shots without a goal in the competition since netting versus Arsenal in February.

Manchester United 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Matchwinner Greenwood in elite company

Only Wayne Rooney (15) and Marcus Rashford (13) have scored more Premier League goals as teenagers for United than Mason Greenwood (12), who struck late on to complete the turnaround at Old Trafford.

Former Red Devil Danny Welbeck opened the scoring in Sunday's final game – he became the first player to net as many as three Premier League goals against United after having appeared for the club in the competition.

The 2020-21 season is only the second to see two players who have previously appeared for Manchester United in the Premier League score against them (Wilfried Zaha and Welbeck), along with the 1997-98 campaign, when Dion Dublin and Mark Hughes did so.

But United have now won 25 points from losing positions this term, nine more than any other side, while Brighton remain winless at Old Trafford in 13 attempts in all competitions (D2 L11).

Rashford – who has only scored more league goals (five) against Leicester City than he has against the Seagulls – equalised after being teed up by Bruno Fernandes, who has been directly involved in five goals in three Premier League appearances against Brighton.

Tottenham bounced back from a dreadful week to keep their hopes of a top-four Premier League finish alive. 

A north London derby defeat to Arsenal was followed by a shocking Europa League exit at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb, but Jose Mourinho's men comfortably swatted aside Aston Villa 2-0 to move to within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea.

The Gunners, meanwhile, produced a stirring comeback to seal a 3-3 draw against West Ham, David Moyes' side giving them more than a little assistance. 

There were also wins for Brighton and Hove Albion and Leeds United over Newcastle United and Fulham respectively. 

Using Opta data, we look at some of the more quirky facts from the weekend's top-flight action.

 

Spurs bounce back from European nightmare

Jose Mourinho demanded a positive response from his side after their dismal Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday and they duly delivered. 

Goals in either half from Carlos Vinicius and Harry Kane sealed a fourth win in five Premier League games for Spurs, while they became the third side to win six consecutive top-flight away games against Villa, after Manchester United (2003-2007) and Liverpool (2011-2019). 

Vinicius has now scored nine goals in his nine starts for the club across all competitions, the Brazilian needing just 12 shots to do so.

That kind of accuracy is familiar to Kane, who has been directly involved in 30 goals in the Premier League this season (17 goals, 13 assists). The England captain is the first player to reach that total in the 2020-21 competition, while it is the first time he has achieved this since 2017-18 (30 goals, two assists).

Villa might point to the absence of the talismanic Jack Grealish as a contributing factor to their poor display. The Villains have a 17 per cent win ratio in the Premier League games without the England international, which rises to 50 per cent when he is in the side.

Hammers give Arsenal a helping hand

West Ham players scored five goals in their clash against Arsenal at the London Stadium, yet David Moyes' side had to make do with a 3-3 draw. 

The Hammers took a 3-0 lead against Mikel Arteta's men, but ended up with just a point after Tomas Soucek and Craig Dawson put into their own nets before Alexandre Lacazette's late leveller. 

It meant Moyes' outfit became the first team to score two own goals in a Premier League game since Swansea (also against Arsenal) in January 2017, while Soucek became the first player to score at both ends of the pitch in the same home top-flight game for West Ham since Frank Lampard against Leicester City in November 1998.

The collapse meant West Ham failed to win after being three goals ahead in a Premier League game for the first time since September 1998 when they lost 4-3 to Wimbledon. 

Following their 3-3 draw with Tottenham earlier in the season, the result meant the Hammers have been involved in two of the Premier League's three three-goal comebacks this season – the most instances in a single campaign since 2010-11 (also three). 

There is nothing boring about them these days. 

Leeds return to Yorkshire with capital gains

Leeds' trips to London have largely been fruitless affairs in recent years, but they returned to winning ways in the capital with a slender triumph over Fulham. 

Patrick Bamford and Raphinha were on target as Marcelo Bielsa's side sealed a first win there in 17 games across all competitions, with their previous success coming in the shape of a 3-1 win against QPR in 2017. 

Bamford brushed off his disappointment at not being included in Gareth Southgate's England squad to become the first Leeds player to score in four straight league appearances against a single club since Luciano Becchio against Middlesbrough between 2010 and 2012. 

Joachim Andersen had given the Cottagers hope of securing at least a point when he joined Bjarne Goldbaek and Claus Jensen as the only Danish players to score for the club in the Premier League. 

Raphinha brought home the bacon for Leeds, though, scoring his sixth goal since his first top-flight start in November – only Bamford has scored more (seven) in that period.

Magpies' rotten run against Brighton continues

Brighton could scarcely have handpicked more accommodating opponents than Steve Bruce's sorry Newcastle.

The Seagulls' comfortable victory was their second at the Amex Stadium in 2021 – double what they achieved at home in 2020. 

Leandro Trossard, Danny Welbeck and Neal Maupay were on target for the hosts, with the former pair's strikes both coming from outside the penalty area – the first time Brighton have scored two such goals since a clash with QPR in April 2017.

They have now played more Premier League games against Newcastle (eight) without losing than against any other side in the competition, Graham Potter's side winning four and drawing four. 

The Magpies have scored just one goal in those games, with only Sheffield United having faced a side more often while netting just once in the competition, the Blades hitting the back of the net on a solitary occasion in 10 games against Manchester City.

Jose Mourinho could not help but wonder why Tottenham's response against Aston Villa did not come earlier in the week to rescue their Europa League campaign.

Spurs head coach Mourinho was scathing of his side after they lost 3-0 to Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday in a match where he had expected a reaction.

The trip to Croatia followed a north London derby defeat to Arsenal, but a two-goal first-leg Tottenham lead was overturned by Dinamo in another drab display.

So when an improved Spurs showing earned a 2-0 win at Villa, Mourinho's delight was tempered by memories of their midweek mishap.

"I'm very happy with the result, I'm very happy with the performance, I'm very happy with the attitude," he told a news conference.

"I'm not happy with the feeling that if you did it tonight, why didn't you do it 48 hours ago? That match on Thursday will be a scar for a long time.

"It's not going to heal just because we won, but total credit to the players. They were a team. They fought together."

Mourinho described the victory as "the reaction of men", yet only four of his starting XI from Thursday remained in the team.

It was a selection that paid off. Harry Kane and Lucas Moura were the only two attackers to keep their places, the former scoring from one of four shots while the latter assisted from one of four key passes.

Meanwhile, Carlos Vinicius was among those to come in and scored his first Premier League goal.

The two Mourinho picked out for special praise were defenders, though.

Japhet Tanganga, playing at right-back, made five clearances, two blocks, a tackle and an interception, as Joe Rodon contributed three clearances, two interceptions, a block and a tackle.

Mourinho explained: "My thinking was we need angry people, we need fresh and positive feelings.

"We need kids on the bench that live a dream, kids that if you play them 10 seconds, they play them like the last seconds of their career.

"I need people on the pitch that I know the match is really important for them. Tanganga and Rodon are these kind of players."

A comfortable win meant Mourinho for now staved off a 10th league defeat of the season - an unwanted mark he has never previously reached - but the coach told Sky Sports he would have no issue losing if the attitude was as it was in this match.

"I want to be proud of my players [no matter] the result," he said. "During my career, I was proud of my players many times, many times after defeats, many times.

"I was not proud last Thursday, and I was not proud at the Emirates. I want to be always proud of them, even in defeat.

"For me, more than thinking in this moment about which position we are going to end, more than thinking about the cup final, it's to try to develop the spirit that we need."

Harry Kane acknowledged Tottenham's Europa League defeat to Dinamo Zagreb was "embarrassing" but the striker was delighted with their response at Aston Villa.

After losing a north London derby to Arsenal last weekend, Spurs crashed out of Europe in midweek, going down 3-0 in Croatia after winning the first leg 2-0.

They became the first English team since Manchester City in 2016-17, against Monaco, to be eliminated after claiming a two-goal lead from the first leg.

Jose Mourinho and his Tottenham players were critical of their own performance in the aftermath but victory at Villa got them back on track.

Kane played a part in the opener for strike partner Carlos Vinicius, netting his first Premier League goal, before a penalty – won and converted by the England captain – took the Spurs talisman to 30 goal involvements in the competition this season.

"Massively [important]," Kane told Sky Sports of the win. "The past couple of games have not been good enough in all areas really, so we knew we had to bounce back.

"Just before the international break as well, we didn't want to go away with three losses or two losses and a draw.

"We knew we needed to win. The boys put in a great shift and we deserved it."

Mourinho called Tottenham's commitment into question after Thursday but they won 73 duels to Villa's 57 in a determined display back in league action.

Their performance was epitomised by Lucas Moura, who created four chances – including an assist – but also won six fouls.

The Brazilian was the only visiting player to contest more duels (21) than Kane (19).

Kane appeared to agree with Mourinho's assessment of the Dinamo match while highlighting the clear improvement on Sunday.

"The attitude [was an issue]. I think the last couple of games we dropped below our standards in that aspect," he said.

"Working hard together, all in the same direction, we lost a bit of that. It was nice to see that back today, everybody fighting, putting our bodies on the line.

"That's what we're going to need from now until the end of the season if we're going to give the top four a push.

"Whenever you go through a difficult couple of games like we have... a London derby and then obviously going out of the Europa League in that fashion, it was embarrassing for us as players.

"The only way we can give back to the fans, give back to the club is to get back out there on the pitch and show what we're made of. I think we've done that."

Tottenham ended an awful week with a much-needed win as Aston Villa went down 2-0 in the Premier League on Sunday.

Spurs' season had gone off the rails over their previous two matches, losing the north London derby to Arsenal and then remarkably exiting the Europa League at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb after claiming a 2-0 first-leg lead.

Their focus now - until the EFL Cup final, at least - is on European qualification through the league, and Jose Mourinho's men did their hopes no harm at Villa Park.

While the visitors were still far from convincing, Carlos Vinicius' first Premier League goal and a Harry Kane penalty took Tottenham sixth, within three points of the top four.

Spurs came under pressure at the back until a defensive mix-up at the other end, exacerbated by a poor clearance from former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, gifted Mourinho's under-fire side the opener.

Martinez's kick landed at the feet of Lucas Moura, who offloaded to Kane and ran onto a smart return pass in the area before squaring for Carlos Vinicius, who could not miss from in front of goal.

Kane saw a shot deflected wide at the start of the second half and Villa were slow to respond, eventually having their first attempt when Joe Rodon blocked from Trezeguet on 58 minutes.

Substitute Anwar El Ghazi's drive then flew wide, but the home team's improved spell was short-lived as Kane settled the game from 12 yards, converting a slightly fortuitous spot-kick after his mis-control invited a lunge from Matty Cash.

A third Tottenham goal appeared more likely than a Villa fightback and Martinez got down well to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's strike, saving face but no points.


What does it mean? Tottenham's season still alive

It would have been easy for Spurs fans to be defeatist this week, but they remain firmly in the hunt for Champions League qualification. Had they won at Arsenal last week, they would head into the international break in fourth place.

Mourinho will certainly hope to see more cohesive performances in the run-in - they completed only 76.8 per cent of their second-half passes - but the result alone mattered on Sunday.

Faith in forward rewarded

Carlos Vinicius has scored more difficult goals for Tottenham this season, but his first in the league was a precious one.

Spurs supporters might wonder if his second appearance in the top-flight XI should have arrived sooner, having scored nine goals in nine starts from just 12 shots on target in all competitions.

Spurs profit from Cash error

Villa were poor all over the pitch, their attack not attempting a shot until close to the hour mark, but a shaky defence was especially susceptible down Cash's flank.

Lucas stole in ahead of the right-back to meet Martinez's scuffed kick for the breakthrough goal, before Villa's number two gave Kane a clinching penalty. Cash made five tackles but committed three fouls and was perhaps fortunate to only be booked for the last of them.

What's next?

Tottenham will welcome the timely rest before they visit struggling Newcastle United on April 4. Villa host Newcastle's relegation rivals Fulham a day earlier.

Harry Kane says there are "no words" that will make amends for Tottenham's dismal week. 

Spurs had the chance to move on from their north London derby defeat to Arsenal last weekend by securing a place in the last eight of the Europa League, having taken a 2-0 lead over Dinamo Zagreb into the second leg in Croatia on Thursday.

But an insipid performance saw Tottenham crash out of the competition as Mislav Orsic's hat-trick inspired a stunning 3-0 home win after extra time.

That led to captain Hugo Lloris labelling Spurs a "disgrace", while the World Cup-winning goalkeeper also hinted at deeper issues within the club.

Jose Mourinho's beleaguered men have the chance to return to winning ways on Sunday when they visit Aston Villa in the Premier League, but they will need to improve on a poor record on the road.

They have lost four of their last five top-flight games away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - as many as they had in their previous 20. 

Kane - who has scored five goals in his last three Premier League appearances against Villa, netting braces in his last two matches – made no excuses for Tottenham's recent form and says the players need to do their talking at Villa Park. 

Posting on his social media channels, the England captain said: "Time to bounce back tomorrow after a very disappointing week. No words will atone for the last two games, we just have to show our response on the pitch!"

Tottenham are eighth in the Premier League, six points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, although the Blues have played a game more.

 

Jose Mourinho wants to see "the basics of every job" from his Tottenham team against Aston Villa, although he is concerned there was no response from last week's defeat to Arsenal.

Spurs had the chance to move on from their north London derby defeat by securing a place in the last eight of the Europa League, having taken a 2-0 lead over Dinamo Zagreb into the second leg in Croatia.

But a desperate performance saw Tottenham crash out of the competition as Mislav Orsic's hat-trick - his second for Dinamo in Europe - inspired a stunning 3-0 home win after extra time.

It was just the third time in 196 European matches as a coach Mourinho had lost by a three-goal margin.

"For sure, it is one of the most difficult, I'm not sure it is the most difficult one," Mourinho said ahead of Sunday's trip to Villa Park.

While Dinamo won just one more duel (76) than Spurs across the 120 minutes, the away boss felt there was a lack of commitment from his side.

Explaining why the Dinamo defeat caused him so much pain, Mourinho added: "I had in Europe moments of big pain, but pain caused by what football is.

"I lost two Champions League semi-finals on penalties - it hurts you, I'm maybe still bleeding - but the feeling for the passion for football, the respect for your job is something that hurts me deeply.

"I have this very bad feeling because, maybe for some people in football, football is a job, a way to make money. For me, it's much more than that.

"That's why I never lose these basics of football, which is the passion, the heart, the desire. I feel very, very hurt. I cannot find more words to describe it."

Mourinho struggled to explain how Tottenham could rally against Villa, having expected to see more in the Europa League in the aftermath of the 2-1 reverse at Emirates Stadium.

"It's the same question as after the game against Arsenal, and I didn't see what I wanted to see," he said.

"It's hard to say, because I was expecting a completely different attitude and we didn't get that.

"Obviously what I want against Aston Villa is all the ingredients I said in some of the previous questions, what I consider the basics of an honest professional.

"It doesn't matter the area; at this moment we are speaking about football, we could be speaking about any other area in society.

"The basics of every job are the honesty, the commitment, the desire, the respect for the people that expect that you do good work. All these ingredients, that's what I expect to have every day."

Another setback would see Mourinho lose 10 league matches in a campaign for the first time in his career, but Spurs have an impressive record at Villa Park, unbeaten in nine in the Premier League and winning on their past five visits.

Tottenham can close the gap to the top four to three points by winning this game in hand, a vital step as the league is their only remaining route back to the Champions League.

Meanwhile, the club's last remaining trophy hope this season is in the EFL Cup. They will face Manchester City in the final and Mourinho knows recent standards will not be enough to trouble the league leaders.

"We can say that we lost a competition," he added. "Of course, the only chance we have to win a trophy this season is the final that we have to play against a very good team, against the next champions, against the team that match after match showed an incredible desire to win.

"It will be a very, very difficult final. If we want to have a chance to win it, of course the attitude has to be completely different."

As the Premier League season heads towards the home straight, so too do your fantasy football leagues.

Hurt by captaining Raheem Sterling last week before he twice missed out for Manchester City? Or wondering how to replace the injured Son Heung-min?

Time is of the essence when making these big calls, especially when there are only four league fixtures this weekend.

Fortunately, you can consider our weekly Opta-powered picks, this time featuring two of Son's Tottenham team-mates.
 

EMILIANO MARTINEZ

If your confidence in Spurs is wavering, with Son out and a north London derby defeat fresh in the memory, you might prefer to hedge your bets.

Aston Villa, Tottenham's opponents, have the standout goalkeeper in action this week in the form of Martinez, who is a reliable source of frequent clean sheets. His 14 is a total only topped by Ederson (16) this season.

Among keepers to play 500 minutes in the Premier League this term, ex-Arsenal man Martinez has the best save percentage (77.6).

LEWIS DUNK

The big battle at the bottom sees Brighton and Hove Albion host Newcastle United on Saturday, in a match that is unlikely to provide a wealth of goals based on the form of both sides.

However, defender Dunk is perhaps as likely a scorer as any. He has four in the league this season, making this his best top-flight campaign for goals, while only Neal Maupay (seven) has more for Brighton in 2020-21.

Add in the potential boost of a clean sheet and Dunk could be a real difference-maker.

STUART DALLAS

The versatile Dallas is listed as a defender, allowing him to accrue additional points for attacking contributions despite spending large parts of his career in midfield.

Indeed, no defender in the division has netted more goals than the Northern Ireland international (five) this season.

Dallas, set to face struggling Fulham with Leeds United on Friday, also has two assists for seven total goal involvements.

JESSE LINGARD

Midfield loanee Lingard was kept on the sidelines last weekend as West Ham visited Manchester United, his parent club.

But this week has already improved for the Hammers star following his return to the England fold, earning a recall following four goals and an assist in six league appearances since his temporary move. He has been on target in his past two London Stadium outings.

Now Lingard has Arsenal in his sights, and he has a great record against the Gunners. Indeed, he has not scored more against any other team in English football, having managed four goals in seven starts in all competitions against the north London giants.

GARETH BALE

Still fancy Tottenham to beat Villa? Great, we have some options for you - starting with Bale.

The winger was quiet against Arsenal but has still been involved in six goals (four goals, two assists) in his past five Premier League games, having netted just once in his first seven on his return to the competition this season.

Bale's previous meeting with Villa, back in December 2012, saw him score his first career league hat-trick in a 4-0 Spurs win.

HARRY KANE

If not Bale, then why not Kane? Or pair the two, as they are each likely to be heavily involved if Tottenham turn in a much improved performance from the Arsenal match.

Kane has six goals in six Premier League games against Villa, including five in his past three.

His most recent two meetings with Villa have seen the England captain net braces - in March 2016 and August 2019.

ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE

While Bale and Kane cannot again perform as poorly as they did in the north London derby, Lacazette will hope to match the standard he set.

Handed the captaincy and the central striking role from the start as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was disciplined, the Arsenal number nine netted the winner and is now the club's leading marksman in the Premier League this season with 10.

West Ham should be especially wary of Lacazette, who has scored six goals in his past eight league London derbies. He has been on target in four of those encounters this term and Arsenal have won all of them.

Where will Jack Grealish play his football next season?

It is one of the big questions in English football right now and Manchester City have joined the conversation.

City are reportedly emerging as the favourites to sign the Aston Villa captain.

 

TOP STORY – CITY LINE UP GREALISH SPLASH

Manchester City appear best placed to sign Aston Villa's £100million-rated captain Jack Grealish, according to the Daily Mail.

Grealish reportedly came close to joining Manchester United last year, but the Red Devils could not come up with the funds to seal the deal.

City manager Pep Guardiola is a well-known admirer of Grealish, previously calling him "an exceptional player".

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Liverpool have joined the queue chasing Inter defender Alessandro Bastoni, with a reported £43m (€50m) move. European heavyweights Bayern Munich and Barcelona are also allegedly keen on the 21-year-old Italy international.

Tottenham are likely to opt out of exercising the £36m (€42m) option-to-buy Carlos Vinicius, who is on loan at Spurs from Benfica according to the Daily Mail. The report claims Spurs are only willing to pay more than half that amount for the Brazilian.

- Calciomercato says Juventus are considering a move for Arkadiusz Milik, who they have previously been linked with as they prepare for the possible departures of Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala. Juve are reportedly set to revive their interest in Milik, with the Poland international on loan at Marseille from Napoli.

- Football Insider reports that United are plotting a move for Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez amid doubts over star David de Gea and Dean Henderson. They have also been linked with Milan sensation Gianluigi Donnarumma.

Real Madrid are keen to bring back Levante winger Jorge de Frutos to the Santiago Bernabeu, according to Marca.

Matthijs de Ligt was linked with Manchester United before his move to Juventus in 2019.

United have reportedly renewed their interest in the 21-year-old Dutch defender.

Could he end up in Manchester?

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT DE LIGT

Manchester United are set to target Juventus centre-back Matthijs de Ligt, according to TodoFichajes.

United were heavily linked with De Ligt before the Netherlands international swapped Ajax for Serie A champions Juve in 2019.

With United reportedly not advancing in their pursuit of Real Madrid pair Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, the Red Devils are eyeing De Ligt.

United have also been linked with RB Leipzig's Ibrahima Konate, Sevilla defender Jules Kounde and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato reports Paris Saint-Germain are poised to offer David Alaba a €25million-per year deal in an attempt to prise the Bayern Munich star to the French capital. Out of contract at season's end, Alaba has been tipped to join Madrid. Chelsea, Barcelona and Manchester City have also been linked.

United have been left alone in the fight to sign Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, claims TodoFichajes. Unwilling to match Villa's valuation, City have reportedly exited the race for Grealish. The report also says United could sell Marcus Rashford to fund the move.

- Madrid stars Lucas Vazquez and Isco are wanted by Everton, according to Calciomercato. After prising James Rodriguez from the LaLiga champions, Everton are targeting another two players from the Spanish capital, though Milan and Juve are also keen.

- Diario AS reports Madrid are prioritising a move for in-demand Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland. Chelsea, United, City, Juve, PSG, Barca and Bayern have all been linked but Madrid are reportedly shifting their attention from Kylian Mbappe to Haaland.

Arsenal were dealt a blow by Granit Xhaka's dreadful mistake against Burnley, while Southampton ended a nine-match Premier League winless streak on Saturday.

Xhaka hit an attempted clearance straight at Chris Wood in the early kick-off at Turf Moor, ultimately costing Mikel Arteta's side a point.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's team then dispatched lowly Sheffield United 2-0 to finally rediscover some form, with Aston Villa and Wolves later playing out a goalless draw.

Leicester City beat Brighton and Hove Albion 2-1 in the late kick-off, and we took a look at the best Opta facts from Saturday's action.
 

Burnley 1-1 Arsenal: X-rated error costs Arteta

Arsenal could have closed the gap between themselves and Tottenham to just two points ahead of next week's north London derby, yet had to settle for a point against Burnley, who have now won just one game in 10 in all competitions.

The Gunners took the lead through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the sixth minute. Arsenal's captain has scored more Premier League goals against Burnley (eight) than against any other club, while he only has a better record against Hamburg (nine) in Europe's 'top five' leagues.

However, they were hindered by Xhaka's error. The midfielder attempted to play his way out of a tight spot in Arsenal's area, only for his clearance to strike Chris Wood and bobble in.

Since the start of 2016-17, Xhaka has made eight errors leading to goals in the top flight, which is more than any other outfield Premier League player.

Arsenal have now kept only one clean sheet in their past 11 games in all competitions (0-0 v Manchester United in January), after keeping five in a row directly before that.

Burnley, on the other hand, have drawn five consecutive home league games for the third time in their history, after a run of six games ending in April 1936 and a run of five ending in October 1997.

Sheffield United 0-2 Southampton: Adams blunts his former club as Saints buck the trend

Che Adams scored a stunning goal to condemn his former team Sheffield United to another defeat, while simultaneously helping Southampton end their dismal run of form.

Southampton had lost eight of their past nine league matches heading into Saturday's meeting at Bramall Lane, having not won since beating Liverpool on January 4.

Captain James Ward-Prowse opened the scoring from the penalty spot; he has been directly involved in 26 Premier League goals under Hasenhuttl (18 goals, eight assists), twice as many as under any other Southampton manager.

It also moved Ward-Prowse onto seven goals in all competitions, his joint-best return in a single campaign. Six of these seven goals have come from dead ball situations (five direct free-kicks, one penalty).

Southampton had been hit by an early injury to Danny Ings, yet his replacement Adams stepped up, slamming in a spectacular half-volley to make it 2-0 shortly after half-time.

Adams has scored four goals in his four Premier League appearances against the Blades, accounting for 44 per cent of his total goals in the competition, while Chris Wilder's men have become only the second English top-flight team to lose 22 of their first 28 games in a season after Sunderland in 2005-06.

Aston Villa 0-0 Wolves: Grealish absence continues to hit home

There was no winner in Saturday's local derby as Wolves extended their unbeaten run in the Premier League at Villa Park to five matches (W2 D3).

Villa have failed to score in each of their past four home Premier League games against Wolves – only against Chelsea (a run of five between October 1995 and January 2000) and Manchester United (a run of five between March 2003 and December 2006) have they had a longer run of games without scoring against a specific opponent at Villa Park in the competition.

Jack Grealish was again absent through injury and, under Dean Smith, Villa have won just two of their 12 home league games without the playmaker (D5 L5).

On the plus side for Villa, they have kept 14 clean sheets in the Premier League this season, their highest tally in a single top-flight campaign since 2009-10 (15), with only Manchester City (15) having kept more this term.

Wolves, meanwhile, have won just one of their past 10 away Premier League games (D4 L5), with that victory coming at Southampton in February.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-2 Leicester City: Amartey late show gets Foxes back on track

Daniel Amartey proved the unlikely hero for Leicester as they got back on track in their bid to consolidate their place in the top four with a last-gasp 2-1 win over Brighton.

Graham Potter's side took the lead through Adam Lallana's maiden Brighton goal, and his first in 503 days and 32 appearances in the competition since netting for Liverpool against Manchester United in October 2019.

However, Brighton have now dropped 17 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season, their most in a single campaign in the competition. Only Southampton (18) have dropped more than the Seagulls in 2020-21.

Kelechi Iheanacho restored parity and has scored in each of his past two Premier League appearances, having netted in just one of his previous 17 in the competition.

Brighton thought they might come away with a point when Jamie Vardy had a penalty appeal turned down, but Amartey popped up with the winner from the following corner.

It was just his second Premier League goal, and his first since he scored against Stoke City in December 2016.

Manchester City will be looking to set a new club record for games unbeaten in all competitions when they welcome rivals Manchester United to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.

Pep Guardiola's men have gone 28 matches since last tasting defeat and have won the last 21 of those, including 15 wins from their last 15 in the Premier League.

The Manchester derby undoubtedly headlines this weekend's fixtures in the English top flight, but there are plenty of other intriguing games at both ends of the division.

Players from six different clubs feature among our Opta-fuelled fantasy picks for what could be a defining few days.

EDOUARD MENDY

Mendy was the busier of the two goalkeepers in Chelsea's goalless draw with Manchester United last weekend as he notched another clean sheet.

He now has six shutouts in his first 10 home Premier League starts, which is the most of any goalkeeper after that number of games in the competition since Alisson's seven for Liverpool at Anfield in 2018.

The only Chelsea keeper with a better return after their first 10 league starts at Stamford Bridge is Petr Cech with eight.


JOHN STONES

City may have conceded in three of their last four league games but their defence remains the strongest in the division, largely thanks to the form of a resurgent Stones.

The league leaders have conceded just four goals in the 1,440 minutes Stones has been on the field in the Premier League this term - one goal every 360 minutes.

That is the joint-best ratio among defenders with more than 300 minutes of involvement in the competition this season, level with Aston Villa's Kortney Hause (one goal conceded across his 360 minutes on the field).

LUKE SHAW

Left-back Shaw is continuing to enjoy his best season for Manchester United, even if the Red Devils are badly struggling for any sort of consistency.

The England international has four Premier League assists to his name in 2021 - more than any other defender - having set up goals for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Bruno Fernandes, Edinson Cavani and Scott McTominay.

He also leads the way this calendar year for chances created by defenders with 34.

 

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG

Arsenal skipper Aubameyang appears to be returning to his best form after scoring eight goals in his last 10 matches in all competitions.

The Gabon international may have fired a blank as a late substitute against Leicester City last time out, but he will fancy his chances of finding the net in Saturday's trip to Burnley.

That is because Aubameyang has scored seven goals in his six previous Premier League meetings with the Clarets, the most he has netted against any team in the competition.

 

SON HEUNG-MIN

Crystal Palace have recorded back-to-back clean sheets in the Premier League, but if they are to extend that run they will need to keep Son quiet in Sunday's showdown with Tottenham.

The South Korea international tends to enjoy playing against the Eagles, having scored five times and assisted once in seven top-flight starts in this head-to-head.

Son's five goals against Palace is bettered only by the eight he has managed against Southampton.

CHE ADAMS

Southampton's slump continued with defeat to Everton last time out and Ralph Hasenhuttl will know the importance of bringing an end to his side's nine-game winless streak in the league.

The stuttering Saints head to bottom side Sheffield United on Saturday and that could mean a return to scoring ways for out-of-form Adams, who has scored three goals in three appearances against his former employers.

The 24-year-old, who spent two full seasons at Bramall Lane earlier in his career, has not scored more than once again any other Premier League opponent.

 

OLLIE WATKINS

Watkins has gone four matches without scoring in the league, but the statistics suggest you should not lose faith in the Aston Villa striker just yet.

He has netted seven times at home in the Premier League this season - Christian Benteke, with 11 in 2012-13, was the last Villa player to score more in a single top-flight campaign.

The last English player to net more times at Villa Park in a Premier League season, meanwhile, was Darius Vassell in 2001-02 with eight goals.

David Beckham's Inter Miami are trying to woo Cristiano Ronaldo to MLS.

Ronaldo, 36, is contracted at Juventus until 2022, but his next move is seemingly already a discussion point.

And MLS could suit nicely if Beckham has his way.

 

TOP STORY – BECKHAM'S INTER MIAMI EYE CRISTIANO

Beckham is speaking to Ronaldo's representatives about a move to Inter Miami, according to todofichajes.com.

The Portugal international is understood to be interested by the challenge of joining the club in the United States.

The financial contract would be massive for Ronaldo but he may potentially make the move next January, lowering the transfer fee, given the MLS runs from March to December.

Lionel Messi was reportedly previously sounded out about a possible US switch.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Express are reporting that Gareth Bale's recent form upturn means Tottenham are now keen to sign him permanently, with the Welshman having joined on loan from Real Madrid. Subsequently, the funds availed from a permanent transfer could enable Madrid to enter the fray for Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

West Ham, Leicester City, Southampton, Brighton and Hove Albion and Aston Villa are among the list of clubs interested in Tammy Abraham if Chelsea deem him surplus to requirements, according to The Telegraph.

- The Star claims the Hammers are also keen on two other young English strikers; Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah and Brentford's Ivan Toney.

- Deportivo Alaves goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco is being pursued by Premier League pair Leeds United and Southampton, according to todofichajes.com.

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