Patrick Bamford emulated Eric Cantona as he continued his prolific start to the season with a hat-trick in Leeds United's 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Friday.

Leeds striker Bamford opened the scoring in the Premier League clash at Villa Park in the 55th minute when he pounced on the loose ball after Emiliano Martinez saved an effort from Rodrigo Moreno. 

The 27-year-old then lashed a stunning 20-yard drive into the top-right corner for his second and showed great feet and composure in the box before digging out a fine finish to complete a 19-minute treble. 

Bamford's tally for the season now stands at six, with Cantona (1992-93) the only other Leeds player to have reached that amount after the first six games of a Premier League campaign. 

The former Chelsea forward became the ninth Leeds player to net a Premier League hat-trick and only the second for the club to score in each of their opening three away games in a top-flight season, after Gordon Hodgson in 1937-38. 

Marcelo Bielsa's side handed Villa their first Premier League defeat of the season and ended an eight-game unbeaten run for Dean Smith's side that stretched back to last term. 

Another spectacular weekend in the Premier League always looked likely after Liverpool's thriller at Everton, and we weren't disappointed.

The champions lost Virgil van Dijk to injury and a winning goal to a Sadio Mane offside so marginal it seems VAR has now started dealing with measurements on the Planck scale.

Gareth Bale's return to action for Tottenham was warmly welcomed (mostly by jubilant West Ham fans) as a Jose Mourinho team once more produced a goal-fest, a sure sign that 2020 is truly losing its marbles.

Thankfully, we were also given a healthy dose of normality. Arsenal lost to Manchester City for the seventh time in a row, Jack Grealish was fouled so much you have to wonder if his tiny shin pads are shouting insults at every opponent, and Crystal Palace did their utmost to get a result against Brighton and Hove Albion without actually shooting.

Here are some of the more unusual takeaways from the past few days...

 

WHERE EAGLES (DON'T) DARE

Brighton out-shot Palace by 19 in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park, but it wasn't until the 90th minute through Alexis Mac Allister that they finally scored.

Palace had been leading 1-0 since the 19th minute, when Wilfried Zaha converted a penalty won by Michy Batshuayi. Remarkably, that was their only shot in the entire match; since Opta began collecting such data back in 2003-04, no other team has gone through a whole Premier League game in which their solitary attempt was from the spot.

Swansea City hold the Premier League record (at least since 2003-04) when it comes to the lowest number of shots for an entire season: they managed 339 in 2017-18. Palace, who have had 32 in their five games this term, might just have something to aim for – if aiming were their strong suit, anyway.

IT'S GUNNER CHANGE ONE DAY

Some degree of normality was restored at the Etihad Stadium, where Arsenal, who seem to love losing to Manchester City, lost to Manchester City.

Raheem Sterling's goal gave the hosts a seventh win in a row in the league over the Gunners, who last lost as many in succession against the same opponent at the hands of Ipswich Town between 1974 and 1977. If they lose the return fixture, they'll equal a club record of eight consecutive top-flight defeats to the same team, having last done so to Leeds United from 1972 to 1976.

The worst such run in England's top tier belongs to West Brom: they were beaten 15 times in a row by Chelsea from 1984 to 2011 before Gareth McAuley gave them a 1-0 win in March 2012.

 

JACK'S HACKS

Grealish might be struggling to win over England boss Gareth Southgate, but his opponents certainly seem to view him as a force to be reckoned with.

In Aston Villa's 1-0 win at Leicester City, Grealish won five fouls – nobody was fouled more often – to take his tally to 182 since the start of last season. Unsurprisingly, that's the highest number in the division.

According to Opta data, the most-fouled player in the Premier League since 2003-04 is former Bolton Wanderers striker Kevin Davies, who won 727 free-kicks. Grealish has some way to go before he can reckon with that figure, but at least he has double the number of England caps as Davies, who got one back in October 2010.

RED-FACED REDS

Conceding twice to Everton did more than sting Liverpool's local pride – it also took them to 13 goals conceded in five league games this season, the same number they let in after 15 matches in 2019-20. In fact, it's the most they have ever conceded in the first five league games of a season since shipping 13 back in 1953, when Winston Churchill was still prime minister of the United Kingdom.

If their average of 2.6 goals against per game continues, they will end the season having conceded at least 98 times. That would set a new club record in terms of their worst defensive displays across a campaign, surpassing the 97 goals they let in back in, you guessed it, 1953-54. How they would have hoped for better news on Virgil van Dijk's injury.

It could be worse, though: Manchester United conceded a quite spectacular 26 goals in the first five games of 1930-31, which remains a record in England's top flight. Churchill wasn't even in the government at the time.

 

UNBELIEVABALE

Spurs were cruising to a 3-0 victory when Bale came on against West Ham for his first appearance for the club in 2,707 days. What a moment for the fans watching at home.

Of course, it was the West Ham faithful who will have been jumping for joy in their living rooms by the end of the game, with Fabian Balbuena, a Davinson Sanchez own goal and an utterly magical hit from Manuel Lanzini snatching the most dramatic of 3-3 draws. Bale had earlier missed a great chance to make it 4-2, for good measure.

Still, welcoming back Bale after more than seven years will have been a special moment, although it doesn't quite match Wayne Rooney's Premier League record. His first appearance after rejoining Everton in 2017 came 4,837 days after his first in 2002, and he marked it by scoring the winner against Stoke City.

Gareth Bale's return to English football coincided with a Tottenham implosion against West Ham, as David Moyes' team earned a place in Premier League history. 

From 3-0 behind after 81 minutes, West Ham incredibly scrambled a 3-3 draw from their trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

No team in the Premier League had ever previously come from so far back, so late in a game, to avoid defeat. 

Burnley are now the only team without a point in the Premier League after Sheffield United and Fulham both got off the mark in a 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane, while Brighton and Hove Albion had 20 times as many shots as Crystal Palace in their Selhurst Park battle but also finished in stalemate. 

Aston Villa, meanwhile, have joined early leaders Everton in sending a reminder to the 'big six' that they too were once giants of the English game, who might just be waking from years of slumber. 

Tottenham 3-3 West Ham: Hammer blow to Spurs

Was it the Premier League's greatest three-goal comeback, or simply the latest? Either way, the recovery from David Moyes' team was one they will not forget in a long time, while Tottenham and head coach Jose Mourinho may find it haunts them. 

Until the late twist there was a lot to enjoy for Tottenham and their supporters. 

Going 3-0 up in 16 minutes was the earliest they had held a three-goal lead in a Premier League game since facing Derby County in August 2007. They led 3-0 after 14 minutes and beat the Rams 4-0 that day, so surely three points were beckoning again here. In the most recent 87 Premier League matches where they had led by at least three goals, going back 19 years, Tottenham had won every time. 

Harry Kane's early double and assist for Son Heung-min took him to 23 direct goal involvements in his past 12 competitive games for Spurs, consisting of 15 goals and eight assists. 

The England captain has five goals and seven assists for his club this season, with those 12 involvements the most ever by a player in their opening five matches of a Premier League campaign. 

Had Tottenham convinced themselves the game was won by the time Bale came on in the 72nd minute, for his first Spurs appearance since May 2013? The chasm of seven years and 152 days since he last pulled on the shirt was the longest gap between appearances for the club by any player in the Premier League. 

After the game, Tottenham boss Mourinho said Moyes had found "his new Fellaini" in Tomas Soucek - alluding to Moyes' strong allegiance towards Marouane Fellaini, who he had at Everton and took to Manchester United. 

Fellaini was a nuisance in the air, particularly at set-pieces, and Soucek clearly has some of that in his armoury. The tall Czech has had the most goal attempts in the Premier League this season of players who have not scored. He has been luckless so far after 14 efforts at the target, six of which have been headers. 

Leicester City 0-1 Aston Villa: Red-hot Ross

Can anyone stop Villa? Ross Barkley's late strike gave the midfielder two goals in two games since joining from Chelsea. 

Barkley only got two goals in his last 42 Premier League appearances with Chelsea before accepting a season-long loan switch to Villa, so either he is overachieving or there is something about his new team that suits him. 

Perhaps combining with Jack Grealish is bringing the best out of Barkley. Grealish played more passes in the Leicester half (30) than any other Villa player, but Barkley was just three behind. 

After his hat-trick against Liverpool before the international break, Ollie Watkins could only manage a treble of a different kind this time. He was caught offside three times, more than any other player in the match. 

The signs are overwhelmingly good for Villa after a fourth successive win. The last time they began a season with such a string of victories was in 1930-31, when they went on to finish as runners-up to Arsenal in the old First Division. 

Sheffield United 1-1 Fulham: History a warning to Blades

Billy Sharp's penalty dug the hosts out of trouble and ensured these two shared the points in South Yorkshire, but there are worrying omens for the Blades. 

United are winless in five games, and their single point so far is worrying enough. The last time they failed to win one of their opening five league games, however, it was a precursor to relegation from the Premier League in the 2006-07 season and 12 ensuing years outside the top flight. 

Sharp's 85th-minute spot-kick ended their 368-minute Premier League goal drought at home, dating back to a surprise 3-0 win over Chelsea in July. 

While United prepare for consecutive fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea, their visitors on Sunday might wish to address their own penalty-taking. 

Aleksandar Mitrovic missed from the spot in the second half before Ademola Lookman gave the west London side the lead. 

Fulham have only scored three of their past six Premier League penalties, while Mitrovic has failed to put away four of his last 10 across all competitions in English football. 

The former Newcastle United striker also fouled Jack Robinson to hand Sharp his spot-kick opportunity. That made Mitrovic the first player to both miss and give away a penalty in the same Premier League game since Mikel Arteta did so for Arsenal against Fulham in November 2012. 

Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Zaha makes hosts' one shot count

Wilfried Zaha's early penalty gave Palace the lead, but there was little doubting Brighton deserved at least a point in south London, so their 90th-minute equaliser was hard earned. 

With 65.7 per cent of possession and 20 shots to Palace's one, it was really a wonder that Brighton took only a point from this fixture. 

Zaha's penalty means he has scored seven goals versus Brighton now - more than against any other opponent - while Palace kept up their lethal record from the spot. That is now 15 consecutive spot-kick conversions in the Premier League from the Eagles. 

At least there was some reward for Brighton for their great efforts, with Alexis Mac Allister getting his first Premier League goal for the club on his 10th appearance in the competition. 

It made the Argentinian, at 21 years and 299 days old, the second-youngest Seagulls player to score in the Premier League. 

Dean Smith revelled in Aston Villa's historic win as the Premier League high-flyers preserved their perfect start to the season.

Villa upstaged Leicester City 1-0 thanks to Ross Barkley's stoppage-time effort to make it four victories from four games in the Premier League on Sunday.

Smith's Villa – who narrowly avoided relegation last term – have won their opening four games of a league season for the first time since 1930-31, per Opta.

"I said to the players at the start of the season that we're all about trying to make history," Villa manager Smith said as his team sit second in the table behind Everton.

"We did it in my first season winning 10 games and we stayed up last season. It's important we keep our feet firmly on the ground and stay humble.

"This is a big result for us because I've got so much admiration for Brendan Rodgers and his team. I felt last season they were a top-four team.

"To come here, keep a clean sheet and play as well as we did is very pleasing."

According to Opta, Barkley has scored in each of his two Premier League appearances for Villa (2) – as many as he managed in his last 42 for Chelsea before moving to Villa Park on loan at the start of the season.

Villa and Serie A giants Milan are the only remaining teams in the top five European leagues with 100 per cent records.

Milan and Aston Villa are the only remaining teams in the top five European leagues with 100 per cent records.

All eyes have been on the likes of Juventus and Inter in Italy, while the focus has been on Premier League champions Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal in England.

But Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Milan have been flawless in 2020-21, winning all four of their Serie A fixtures to top the standings.

Ibrahimovic scored twice as the in-form Rossoneri defeated city rivals Inter 2-1 in Saturday's Milan derby.

Milan have scored nine goals – Ibrahimovic contributing four – from four matches, conceding just once to be two points clear of Sassuolo.

For the first time since 1995-96, Milan have won each of their first four seasonal Serie A matches, according to Opta.

Villa also own a perfect record after four matchdays in the Premier League following Sunday's surprise 1-0 victory at Leicester City.

After narrowly avoiding relegation last season, Villa – who have a game in hand – now sit second, having humiliated titleholders Liverpool 7-2 prior to the international break.

Ross Barkley was the hero against Leicester, with Villa boasting the best defensive record with just two goals shipped, while scoring 12.

Villa have won their opening four games of a league season for the first time since 1930-31, per Opta.

The Premier League is back after a two-week hiatus, much to the delight of fantasy football managers everywhere.

Picking the right team has been difficult so far due to a disrupted fixture list and shock results, not least in the last round of games.

Liverpool and Manchester United were on the end of heavy defeats and will be looking to hit back against Everton and Newcastle United respectively this weekend.

There is also the small matter of Manchester City against Arsenal, plus a London derby between Tottenham and West Ham.

Whether you need to build on a strong start to the season or make up points on the sides in front, our Opta-powered picks will give you the advantage you need.

EMILIANO MARTINEZ

Martinez has made a good start to life at Aston Villa since joining last month, very much picking up from where he left off at Arsenal.

The 28-year-old can argue his case as being the Premier League's best goalkeeper since the competition resumed post-lockdown in June.

Four keepers have faced more shots on target since then, but Martinez has made the most saves (43) and has the best save percentage (79.3).

Only Man City's Ederson and Rui Patricio of Wolves (both seven) have kept more clean sheets across the same timeframe than Martinez's seven.

 

CESAR AZPILICUETA

Many felt that Azpilicueta's days at Chelsea may be numbered following the emergence of Reece James at right-back.

However, the 31-year-old is proving that he remains a great option for any fantasy side, having created more chances (16) from open play than any defender since June.

He has four assists in that time, which is bettered only by Liverpool's Andy Robertson (six), most recently setting up Mason Mount in Chelsea's 3-3 draw with West Brom.

 

EZRI KONSA 

Even taking Everton's perfect start to the season into consideration, Villa have been the Premier League's surprise package so far

Konsa has played a big part in his side's impressive run in the top flight, which stretches back to last season, by helping to keep three clean sheets in his last five games.

The young defender has helped out in an attacking sense, too, scoring twice from four shots since the Premier League restart four months ago.

 

JACK GREALISH

After an international break that only strengthened his claim to be a starter for England, Grealish will be looking to pick up from where he left off for his club side.

Villa have played a game fewer than 16 other sides but only one player, Tottenham's Son Heung-min (seven), has been involved in more goals than Grealish in the 2020-21 season.

The playmaker has scored three goals of his own and laid on three more for team-mates, while his 10 chances created from open play is only bettered by Kevin De Bruyne (12).

On the basis of his five goal involvements in the thrashing of Liverpool, the Villa skipper seems an ideal pick for this trip to Leicester City.

 

KEVIN DE BRUYNE

If you are one of the rare fantasy managers without De Bruyne in your side, this may well be the time to finally take the plunge.

The Belgium international has scored five goals against Arsenal, making the Gunners his favourite opponents in that regard, and he has also bagged a couple of assists in this fixture.

That includes a goal when the sides last met in June, although it is worth pointing out that he is carrying a knock ahead of Saturday's contest.

 

MICHAIL ANTONIO

Taking the tail end of last season into account, versatile West Ham attacker Antonio is one of the most in-form players around right now.

The 30-year-old continues to be overlooked for England selection, despite scoring 10 goals in his last 11 top-flight outings.

Antonio also loves playing against Tottenham, finding the net against his side's London rivals four times in seven previous games, making them his favourite opponents.

 

JAMIE VARDY

On the subject of players who tend to do well against certain sides, Leicester talisman Vardy has scored five goals in his last four league games against Villa.

The striker, fully rested after two weeks off between games, scored braces home and away against Dean Smith's side last season.

He already has five goals from four matches this season, placing him behind Son and Dominic Calvert Lewin (six each) in the scoring charts.

Sergio Ramos could reportedly leave Real Madrid for Juventus or Paris Saint-Germain, while Paul Pogba is being linked to Barcelona.

Madrid captain Ramos, 34, has been at the LaLiga giants since 2005, but his contract is expiring at the end of the season.

And his situation is catching the eye of two European giants.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS, PSG EYEING RAMOS

Juventus and PSG have tabled contract offers for Madrid star Ramos, according to El Chiringuito.

Ramos is out of contract in June next year, leading to fresh speculation over his future.

The Spain international has won five LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies with Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- Amid a difficult financial position, Barcelona could also be looking at players coming out of contract. Mundo Deportivo reports Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba and Bayern Munich defender David Alaba may become targets.

- Inter reportedly offered Bayern Munich and intriguing exchange during the transfer window. Sky Germany says Christian Eriksen was offered to Bayern by Inter, who wanted Jerome Boateng, but the Bundesliga champions turned down the deal.

- Sergio Romero wants out of Manchester United. The Sun reports the goalkeeper has begged the Premier League giants to let him leave amid apparent interest from MLS.

- Harry Wilson could be set for another loan spell away from Liverpool. After spending last season at Bournemouth, Wilson is being offered to Swansea City, according to The Sun.

- Danny Welbeck may stay in the Premier League. The Daily Mail reports the forward, who was released by Watford earlier this month, is attracting interest from Brighton and Hove Albion.

- West Ham's move for Brentford forward Said Benrahma has stalled, according to The Telegraph, and Aston Villa may make a move for the 25-year-old.

Liverpool could not have known the incredible journey that awaited them when the club hired Jurgen Klopp on this day five years ago.

Brendan Rodgers had recently been sacked with the Reds 10th in the Premier League, a far cry from their title challenge a year and a half earlier.

That bid for Premier League success in 2013-14 was something of an outlier, though. Despite their illustrious history, prior to 2014 Liverpool had only finished in the top two three times since winning their previous league championship in 1990.

Klopp came in with the goal of waking a proverbial sleeping giant, something he had managed to do at Borussia Dortmund, whom he guided to back-to-back Bundesliga titles after seven years outside of Germany's top four.

Liverpool fans' yearning and desire for domestic success was even greater, they will surely tell you, but with the aid of smart recruitment, a hint of patience and fine coaching, Klopp has turned the Reds into a force once again.

On the fifth anniversary of his appointment, we looked at the Opta data behind his success…

THE RECORD BOOKS

While domestic cup success continues to elude Klopp in England, it's fair to say Liverpool fans won't mind given the silverware that has been secured, namely the Champions League, Premier League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup.

That Premier League triumph last season was Liverpool's first since the competition ceased to be Division One. It ended a wait of 30 years to win the league championship.

A big part of their success last season was an 18-match winning streak, a joint record in English top-flight history, while they also went unbeaten in 44 games from January 2019 to February 2020.

The Reds' 24 consecutive home league wins from February last year to July 2020 is also a record, while they remain unbeaten in 61 games at Anfield, the third longest run in English top-flight history.

Liverpool remarkably collected 99 points last term, which was just one shy of the all-time benchmark set by Manchester City the previous season, when the Reds' 97 set a new high for second place.

Some might even feel Klopp has a case to be considered Liverpool's greatest manager, ahead of Bob Paisley and Kenny Dalglish. He has the best winning percentage of any Reds boss to have taken charge of at least 50 matches with 60.3 per cent (58.3 per cent for Dalglish, 57.4 per cent for Paisley).

And in terms of the Premier league, only Pep Guardiola (2.33) has averaged more points per game than the German (2.17), who edges out Alex Ferguson (2.16).

THE PLAYERS

One of the key elements to Klopp's Liverpool is that he has built a team in his image – "heavy metal" football, as he memorably dubbed it, reflects the manager's no-nonsense attitude but is also thrilling, full-on and uncompromising.

Of course, essential to that is the players – he has fielded 88 of them across all competitions, with 58 making their debut under him.

The first to be given a debut by Klopp was Connor Randall – now at Ross County – in an EFL Cup the month of his appointment, while the most recent is Diogo Jota.

No player comes close to Roberto Firmino as his most relied upon, however. The Brazilian, for all his critics over the past year, has played 242 games for Klopp, with 211 from the start – this amounts to 18,435 minutes.

Firmino also leads with regards to assists (54), though he's a fair way off Mohamed Salah in the goalscoring stakes, with the former on 78 and the Egyptian one shy of his century.

Nevertheless, that pair together with Sadio Mane (84) have accounted for 46 per cent of all goals scored under Klopp – they have become one of the deadliest attacks in Europe.

Unfortunately for Klopp, the result closest to his anniversary was his worst with the Reds, as they astonishingly lost 7-2 at Aston Villa on Sunday.

It was the first time since 1963 that Liverpool conceded seven goals in a match, but up next after the international break is the Merseyside derby against an Everton side top of the table – what better opportunity to bounce back?

It was impossible to make a case for the defence as Liverpool and Manchester United were humiliated after Everton's Colombia duo made history on another extraordinary weekend of Premier League action.

Champions Liverpool were demolished 7-2 at Aston Villa on Sunday after 10-man United had slumped to a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of rampant Tottenham.

Jurgen Klopp's side and the Red Devils are by no means the only ones needing to get a grasp of the art of defending during the international break, as the goals continue to flow far too easily in the top flight.

There was a Colombian first at Goodison Park, where surprise leaders Everton beat Brighton and Hove Albion 4-2 to maintain their perfect start.

With the help of Opta, we took a look at some of the more unusual stats to have emerged over the weekend.

 

LETHAL WATKINS STUNS FRAIL REDS

Villa's big-money signing Ollie Watkins capitalised on Liverpool's defensive frailties in a remarkable encounter.

The striker had a hat-trick inside 39 minutes at Villa Park, where the Reds endured a nightmare and were fortunate to trudge off after only conceding seven.

Watkins was the 10th player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Liverpool and the first since Dimitar Berbatov in September 2010.

His treble was the 26th to be completed in the first half of a top-tier game in England, Harry Kane the last man to achieve that feat against Stoke City in February 2017.

AT SIXES AND SEVENS

A stunning Sunday of Premier League action saw giants Liverpool and United ship at least six goals on the same day for the first time.

It was also the first time the fierce rivals had both lost by a five-goal margin on the same day.

Liverpool conceded seven times for the first time since a 7-2 capitulation at Spurs back in 1963, while it was also the fifth time reigning top-flight champions let seven in during a league game and the first since Arsenal in September 1953.

It was the third occasion in which United had conceded six in the Premier League, with Southampton thumping them 6-3 in October 1996 and Manchester City dishing out a 6-1 battering nine years ago.

SWEET DAY FOR TOFFEES' COLOMBIANS

Everton are riding on the crest of a wave under Carlo Ancelotti, and James Rodriguez has already become a big fans' favourite.

Rodriguez scored twice in an impressive victory over Brighton at Goodison Park to keep the Toffees marching on.

The former Real Madrid man also provided an assist for Yerry Mina, the first time in the competition that a goal has been scored and laid on by Colombians.

Steven Alzate's presence in the Seagulls' starting line-up made it the first time three Colombian players had started a Premier League game.

 

RODRIGO BACK IN BUSINESS 

Leeds United's record signing Rodrigo Moreno pounced on a mistake from Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson to secure a 1-1 draw in Saturday's thrilling contest at Elland Road. 

The forward scored his first goal for Leeds since his big-money move from Valencia and also struck the crossbar twice. 

Rodrigo scored during a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers in January 2011 and his strike against City came nine years and 272 days later.

Only Andy Johnson has had a bigger gap between his first two Premier League goals, at nine years and 276 days.

It has been an incredible start to the 2020-21 Premier League season, but no one could have foreseen what happened on Sunday.

Manchester United were dismantled 6-1 by Tottenham at Old Trafford and just hours later reigning champions Liverpool were thrashed 7-2 by Aston Villa.

It was United's joint-heaviest home defeat in the Premier League era and the first time Liverpool had conceded seven in any game in 57 years.

The international break could not have come at a more frustrating time for neutral fans, with this season shaping up to be one of the most remarkable of all time.

With the help of Opta, we look at some of the stand-out statistics from a breathtaking start to the campaign.
 

GOALS, GOALS, GOALS

There have been 144 goals in the 38 Premier League matches played this season, which is 40 more than there were at the same point in 2019-20.

The average of 3.79 goals per game is the highest the English top flight has seen since there were 3.95 in the 1930-31 season; it is also ranks 11th on the all-time list.

There have been at least five goals scored in 11 of the 38 matches this term (29 per cent), representing the highest percentage in a season since 1960-61 (33.5 per cent)

NEW NAMES AT THE TOP

Everton and Villa lead the way in the Premier League and are the only teams with a 100 per cent record still intact.

The Toffees have won their opening four matches for the seventh time in their history and they went on to win the title on five of those six previous occasions, most recently in 1969-70.

Monday is the fifth day of the 2020-21 season that Everton have been top, which is just three days fewer than they spent at the summit between 1992-93 and 2019-20.

The omens aren't quite as good for Villa. The last time they won their first three league matches was in 1962-63 and they finished that season in 15th.

PENALTIES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

A change in the interpretation of the handball law played a role in a significant increase in penalties this season, with 17 of the 38 games (45 per cent) including at least one spot-kick.

The frequency with which they have been awarded has almost doubled from last term, when 23 per cent of matches included a penalty; it is also 19 per cent higher than the previous record of 25.3 per cent in 2009-10.

Six of the 25 penalties awarded this season (24 per cent) have been given due to handball, the highest percentage since 2006-07 (when Opta has the data). The trend led to outcry from players, managers and pundits and an update in guidance has helped ensure none of the past eight spot-kicks have been given for handball.

There have been few days in Premier League history quite as remarkable as October 4, 2020. 

Manchester United's 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham raised eyebrows, but Liverpool's 7-2 thrashing at Aston Villa a few hours later dropped jaws. Did that really happen? 

Those results at Old Trafford and Villa Park means there have been 144 goals in 38 Premier League games so far this season – making for an average of 3.79 per fixture - the highest in the top flight since 1930-31. 

Here, using Opta data, take a look at the key stats from Sunday's six games.

Aston Villa 7-2 Liverpool: Watkins-inspired Villains demolish champions

The reigning champions were humbled as ex-Brentford striker Ollie Watkins became the 10th player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Liverpool, taking his tally in league outings to 29 since the start of last season - more than any player in England's top four tiers. 

Jack Grealish, who also scored twice, became the second Villa player to provide three assists in a single game, following in the footsteps of current Reds midfielder James Milner, who did so in 2010. 

Ross Barkley netted a debut goal for Villa, while John McGinn was also on target, meaning Mohamed Salah's brace came in vain as Liverpool became the first reigning champions to ship seven goals since Arsenal did so against Sunderland in 1953.

Manchester United 1-6 Tottenham: Spurs smash Solskjaer's sorry side

There was little indication of what was to come when Bruno Fernandes tucked away a second-minute penalty at Old Trafford to give United the lead. 

Spurs hit back in style - Tanguy Ndombele, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane all on target before Son's second ensured United - who lost Anthony Martial to a first-half red card - conceded four in the opening half of a league fixture for the first time since 1957, which also happened to be against Tottenham. 

Serge Aurier added a fifth after the break and Kane then converted a late spot-kick as United suffered their joint-heaviest Premier League defeat, equalling their 6-1 home loss to Manchester City in 2011. 

As for ex-United boss Jose Mourinho, the Portuguese equalled his biggest ever Premier League win on the road, his team winning by five goals for the first time since Chelsea beat Swansea City 5-0 in 2015. It is also his first away league triumph against a team he has previously managed in the Premier League.

Arsenal 2-1 Sheffield United: More home comforts for Arteta's Gunners

Mikel Arteta's Arsenal claimed a ninth win from their past 11 home Premier League matches, with only Liverpool (34) having won more home points than the Gunners (29) since their manager's first game in charge at Emirates Stadium last December.

Bukayo Saka opened the scoring before Nicolas Pepe finished off a 19-pass move, which was the longest sequence before a goal in the top flight this term.

Sheffield United pulled one back late on through David McGoldrick but Chris Wilder's side have now lost seven league matches in a row for the first time since 1975. It is the worst run for the Blades boss in his managerial career since 10 defeats on the spin when in charge of Halifax Town (February-April 2004).

Leicester City 0-3 West Ham United: Another amazing away day for Antonio

West Ham were the happy Hammers again at the King Power Stadium after making it back-to-back Premier League victories while keeping clean sheets for the first time since May 2019. 

Aaron Cresswell, playing his 192nd Premier League game, assisted two goals in a game for the first time in his top-flight career, Michail Antonio and Pablo Fornals both profiting prior to half-time before Jarrod Bowen added a third. 

Antonio's header saw him become the first Hammers player to score in five successive away games, with the in-form forward netting eight times in that run.

Wolves 1-0 Fulham: More defensive solidity from Nuno's men

Having conceded four against West Ham last time out, Wolves were back to their stubborn best in a 1-0 win over Fulham that came courtesy of Pedro Neto's second-half strike.

It was Wolves' seventh clean sheet of the calendar year, more than any other Premier League club in 2020, with Nuno Espirito Santos' side not conceding in seven of their past nine games at home.

As for Fulham, they have conceded 11 goals from their opening four league games, the most they have shipped at this stage in a campaign since the 1960-61 campaign (14).

Southampton 2-0 West Brom: Baggies' slow start continues

A 2-0 defeat for West Brom left Slaven Bilic's men with one point from four games, their fewest at that stage of a top-flight campaign since 1985-86.

Moussa Djenepo and Oriol Romeu scored past Sam Johnstone either side of the interval, with the Baggies goalkeeper only the second in Premier League history to concede at least 13 times in his first four games after Swindon Town's Fraser Digby in 1993-94.

The result sees the Saints march into the international break off the back of successive wins, while they have only lost two of their last 11 in the league (W6 D3).

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insisted under-fire goalkeeper Adrian was not to blame for the Premier League champions' 7-2 humbling against Aston Villa.

It was a forgettable outing for Liverpool, who conceded seven goals in a game for the first time since a 7-2 defeat to Tottenham in April 1963.

Liverpool were without first-choice goalkeeper Alisson due to a shoulder injury and the visitors were put to the sword in stunning fashion at Villa Park, where Ollie Watkins scored a first-half hat-trick on Sunday.

Back-up keeper Adrian was forced to collect the ball from his own net within four minutes after his wayward pass to Joe Gomez was seized upon by Villa captain Jack Grealish, who squared for Watkins to slot home. 

Grealish had a brace and there were goals for John McGinn and Villa debutant Ross Barkley, while Reds star Mohamed Salah scored on either side of the break as Liverpool became the first reigning English top-flight champions to concede seven goals in a league match since Arsenal against Sunderland in 1953.

Afterwards, Klopp leapt to the defence of Adrian following confirmation that Alisson will not return for the Merseyside derby against Everton on October 17.

"Not only because of tonight, it's now easy and people are like this – I'm not sure if journalists are like this as well – but now people will go for Adrian and stuff like this," Klopp told reporters.

"Yes, the first goal was not cool, of course. But apart from that, I don't think he had anything to do with all the other goals pretty much. We didn't help him tonight, let me say it like this, or we even did the opposite. He's a really good goalie who played 11 [Premier League] games for us last year and I think we won pretty much all of them.

"It's all fine. Our goalie was not the problem [against Villa]. Only around the first goal. And the reaction for that first goal was not his problem, that was then our problem. We have to do that better, we can do that better."

Klopp added: "It's quite strange when you see a game like this, not that I saw these games like 20 times from my team, I see all these things and I'm old enough to know strange things can happen in life and in football.

"But I saw all the things that happened tonight and I know that if you lose the decisive challenges you will lose football games. We did that tonight. If you protect your own offensive stuff not properly, you will get in trouble. And we got in trouble tonight. And all these things happened tonight. You could see in moments – and I don't think I had to say that a lot – but tonight in different challenges Aston Villa definitely wanted it more than us.

"That's something I saw and I don't like obviously, but now the boys go to their national teams and when they come back – hopefully healthy, all of them – then we have two days' time to prepare the Everton game and then we have the chance to do better."

Liverpool and Manchester United both conceded six or more goals on the same day for the first time after respective 7-2 and 6-1 defeats to Aston Villa and Tottenham. 

United were cast aside by a rampant Spurs at Old Trafford, Son Heung-min, Harry Kane, Tanguy Ndombele and Serge Aurier getting on the scoresheet. 

Yet the dust had hardly settled on that stunning result before Villa raced into a 4-1 lead by half-time against the defending Premier League champions, Ollie Watkins scoring a hat-trick before the break. 

Liverpool continued to struggle after the interval too – Jack Grealish and Ross Barkley inflicting further damage - as Jurgen Klopp's side were torn apart.

While United are on the brink of making two signings – Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles – to bolster Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad, Jurgen Klopp may well point to the impact of losing first-choice goalkeeper Alisson to a shoulder injury in training. 

However, Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher suggested the Reds' high defensive line, such a key component to their success last season, left stand-in keeper Adrian far too exposed. 

"I was almost laughing at the end. I couldn't believe what I was seeing," Carragher said on Sky Sports. 

"You don't associate it with this Liverpool team, it was a shocking performance, certainly the worst under Klopp, there's no doubt about that. 

"The thing for me was it seemed evident very early on. Liverpool did not start the game well, it was clear there was danger there for them. 

"Watkins said they worked on Liverpool's high line. Even though Liverpool have got a good defence, I don't like it and I don't agree with it as a defender. 

"This team play high up the pitch and almost sacrifice one big chance per game, but they look at the benefits because they press so high and win the ball. 

"You can't be too critical, you look at what this team have done under Klopp. But they started conceding goals at the restart, we put that down to having already won the championship. 

"It's a big game now after the international break, the Merseyside derby, Everton are top of the league. Is this a freak result or a trend through the last 10 or 15 games?" 

The scoring spree was in keeping with the trend at the start of the 2020-21 campaign; the goals tally now stands at 144 from 38 matches, an average of 3.79 per game.

Liverpool "lost the plot" in their stunning 7-2 Premier League defeat to Aston Villa, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

Premier League champions Liverpool were left shocked as a rampant Villa tore through them on Sunday, with Ollie Watkins scoring a first-half hat-trick.

It is the first time since 1963 that the Reds have conceded seven goals in a game, and the last time the reigning top-flight English champions let in as many goals was back in 1953.

Klopp struggled to fully explain Liverpool's display at Villa Park, but conceded his team failed to find any way of regaining their composure.

"Explain I'm not sure, but I can tell you what I saw. For different reasons, Aston Villa did really well, forced all the mistakes that we made," Klopp told Sky Sports. 

"The game had a specific direction – the first goal had an impact but it shouldn't. We conceded goals like that in the past, but the reaction wasn't good, and we lost the plot.

"It was unexpected but it happened tonight. For me it wasn't a specific moment, we put all our rubbish things and mistakes in one game and hopefully we can start again.

"Tonight wasn't sloppy, it was just bad, I have to admit that but I can't change it. I would love to have a training session tomorrow and Tuesday and to talk about it but the boys go back off to international duty. Hopefully they come back healthy and we use the two days to prepare for Everton."

Liverpool are next in action on October 17, going up against rivals Everton – who have won all four league matches this season – in the Merseyside derby.

Villa, meanwhile, are the only side other than the Toffees to have enjoyed a 100 per cent start to the league campaign, and Dean Smith revelled in Klopp's reaction to his team's display.

"It was just sheer hard work and effort. The work ethic, when Jurgen Klopp says wow to you, you know you've done something right," Smith told Sky Sports.

"The lads were superb, they executed the game plan perfectly. We were at our best today. The biggest regret is that there were no supporters here with us – I hope they are enjoying it from their homes. It was a tremendous achievement for the players, they worked really hard."

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk says no punches will be pulled as the Premier League champions try to find the reason behind their hammering at Aston Villa.

Jurgen Klopp's side were beaten 7-2 at Villa Park on Sunday, just hours after fierce rivals Manchester United had been humiliated 6-1 at home by Tottenham.

Ollie Watkins hit a hat-trick, Jack Grealish scored twice and John McGinn and Ross Barkley got a goal apiece as Villa ran riot against an abject Liverpool defence.

A poor pass from goalkeeper Adrian, in for the injured Alisson, prompted the first goal but it was the visitors' poor execution of a high defensive line that did most of the damage.

They are the first reigning English top-flight champions to concede seven goals in a league game since Arsenal against Sunderland in September 1953, while the 11 they have let in over the first four games of this season is their highest such tally since 1937-38.

Van Dijk was unhappy with the defending but also with Liverpool's lack of a killer touch in attack, although Mohamed Salah did score twice.

"It's hard to lose the way we lost. First and foremost, well done to Aston Villa, you have to give them the credit they deserve," he told Sky Sports.

"But if we are looking at ourselves, it felt like it was one of those performances where we just weren't 100 per cent at it from start to finish.

"The goals we conceded, we should have done better, but also the chances we had - because we had many - we should have done better. So, overall, we are very disappointed. We shouldn't lose with the numbers we did. Now it's key to stick together and not let this happen again.

"You can't take credit away from Aston Villa. Obviously, we should have been more clinical. In all aspects of the game, we should have done much better. We have to be very hard to each other and we will be.

"It's key not to get crazy or anything, but we have to be stepping it up. The performance level between the last game against Arsenal in the league and today was too big. All of us, everyone, has to take responsibility.

"I felt the gaps were too high, the second-ball battle was lost many times, and the goals helped them a lot, gave them confidence and the chances we missed doesn't help, either."

Van Dijk denied that the absences of Alisson and Sadio Mane, who returned a positive coronavirus test over the past week, could be blamed for the result.

"I don't think so. We prepared well, we prepared a good game against Arsenal in the EFL Cup with a lot of players who didn't have many minutes so far," he said.

"Our preparation was good. We were ready for it before the game. Unfortunately, in the game, it didn't happen as we wanted it to."

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