Tariq Lamptey has signed a new long-term contract with Brighton and Hove Albion.

The 20-year-old full-back agreed a new deal with the Premier League club that will run until the end of the 2024-25 season.

Lamptey has become a mainstay of Graham Potter's side since joining from Chelsea last January, making 19 appearances in all competitions.

The England youth international has recently been linked with some of Europe's biggest clubs including Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid and Arsenal.

"We are delighted to see Tariq commit his long-term future here," Brighton boss Potter said via the club's website.

"We knew his potential when we signed him a year ago, and hoped he would have a really positive impact on the club, and that has proved to be the case with his performances since June.

"He has been the model professional, he works exceptionally hard, is a humble lad and is a team player. He fits in with everything we would want from a player, now it's about helping him reach his potential."

Lamptey has made 11 appearances in all competitions in 2020-21, although he has missed Brighton's last seven matches including Saturday's 1-0 league win at Leeds United.

An exciting prospect both defensively and going forward, Lamptey has attempted more dribbles (3.75) and made more interceptions (1.9) per 90 minutes than any other Brighton player this season to make at least 10 appearances.

He scored his first goal for the club in the 2-1 loss to Tottenham on November 1.

Chelsea needed a late intervention from Mason Mount to overcome Fulham 1-0 on Saturday, relieving the pressure on boss Frank Lampard. 

Brendan Rodgers - a man tipped to take over at Stamford Bridge if Lampard is removed as boss - saw his Leicester City side climb up to second in the table with a 2-0 win over Southampton. 

There were also wins for Brighton and Hove Albion, West Ham and struggling West Brom. 

Here is the pick of the Opta facts from Saturday's action in the Premier League.

 

Fulham 0-1 Chelsea: Mount settles west London derby

Chelsea left it late to overcome Fulham at Craven Cottage, Mason Mount scoring with 12 minutes remaining to end the Blues' run of three straight away Premier League defeats. 

The scoreline perhaps should not come as a surprise, given Chelsea have won 131 Premier League games by that margin - the most common winning score for a single team in the competition's history. 

The result also marked Chelsea's fourth away clean sheet of the season - a feat they managed just once last season. 

It could have been a different outcome had Antonee Robinson not seen red shortly before half-time for a wild lunge on Cesar Azpilicueta. That dismissal was Fulham's third in the Premier League this season - no side has had more so far this term. 

Defeat for Scott Parker's side means they are winless in their last 19 top-flight London derby matches since a 2-1 win over West Ham in January 2014.

Leicester City 2-0 Southampton: Maddison and Barnes on target for flying Foxes

Leicester moved up to second in the Premier League after earning their first home league win against Southampton since April 2016, ending a run of four without a win against the Saints at the King Power Stadium. 

They were set on their way by James Maddison, who has now scored in consecutive top-flight games for the Foxes for the first time since October 2019, matching his goal tally at the King Power Stadium from each of the previous two campaigns.

Harvey Barnes' 10th goal of the season sealed all three points, the winger equalling his best ever goals return in a single campaign. 

Southampton, meanwhile, have now failed to score in four of their last five Premier League games, as many as they had in their previous 34 in the competition.

The Saints' first 12 Premier League games this season saw 41 goals scored (F24 A17), at an average of 3.4 per game, while their last six games have seen just six goals scored (F2 A4).

Wolves 2-3 West Brom: Pereira brace gives Allardyce lift off

Sam Allardyce got off the mark with his first win as West Brom boss to revive his side's survival hopes against out-of-form Wolves.

The veteran manager, previously without a win in five matches in all competitions since taking over, is now without defeat in six Premier League games against Wolves - his best unbeaten return against any side in the division.

Matheus Pereira gave West Brom the lead from the penalty spot early on - the ninth league game in a row Wolves have conceded first - before Fabio Silva and Willy Boly turned the game in the home side's favour.

In doing so, Boly became the first Wolves player to concede a penalty, assist and score a goal in the same Premier League game since Adlene Guedioura in May 2011 - also against West Brom at Molineux.

Semi Ajayi levelled the game up with his ninth headed goal since the start of 2018-19 - no defender in England's top four tiers has scored more, level with Virgil van Dijk and Aaron Pierre - and Pereira scored the winner with another spot-kick.

Wolves, who last lost successive home league games against West Brom between 1929 and 1931, are without a clean sheet in 12 Premier League matches - the longest ongoing run among sides in the division.

Leeds 0-1 Brighton: Maupay haunts Bielsa's men again

Brighton ended a nine-game winless run in the Premier League with a narrow victory at Leeds thanks to Neal Maupay's close-range finish after 17 minutes.

Maupay rounded off a slick team move for his 10th away goal for Albion in the competition, making him just the second player to reach that tally for the Seagulls after Glenn Murray (11).

It was the striker's fourth goal in five league appearances against Leeds and ensured a first ever away top-flight victory in this fixture for his side at the fourth attempt.

Leeds, whose two shots on target was their second fewest in a home match under Marcelo Bielsa, have lost their first three games in a calendar year for the first time since 2014.

West Ham 1-0 Burnley: Antonio hits milestone goal in narrow win

Michail Antonio made the difference as Burnley fired another blank, the versatile forward becoming the fourth West Ham player to reach the 40-goal mark for the club after Paolo Di Canio (47), Mark Noble (46) and Carlton Cole (41).

All 40 of those goals have been scored inside the penalty area - only Tim Cahill (56), Javier Hernandez (53), Gabriel Jesus (43) and John Terry (41) have netted more with 100 per cent coming inside the box.

No team has failed to score in more different Premier League games than Burnley this season (10), while no team has netted in more different games than West Ham (15).

It was also a third successive clean sheet in the league for David Moyes' men for the first time since September 2019 as they picked up an eighth win of the campaign in their 18th game, a tally it took them 32 games to reach last time around.

Pep Guardiola suggested Manchester City got a reality check against Brighton and Hove Albion despite moving third with a fourth consecutive Premier League win.

Phil Foden's goal was enough for a 1-0 victory that took City back to within four points of leaders Manchester United with a game in hand.

It was another win and another clean sheet for City – their eighth shutout, a league high – but Guardiola's men did not quite hit the heights of previous performances.

The manager saw that as a positive, however, believing it was important for his side to come through a tricky test against strugglers Brighton.

"For the next games that we have in January, February, this is the best thing that could happen today," Guardiola told BBC Sport.

"There's some rumours outside the team, in the team after Stamford Bridge, [Manchester] United, and the reality is today, the game that we played today.

"It's nice to play the way we played. For 60, 70 minutes, we were so good.

"The first half was the way we have to play; the second half we struggled more because of the quality of the opponent - not because we were lazy or a lack of concentration, not these kinds of things."

City won despite missing a late penalty through Raheem Sterling, their seventh Premier League spot-kick failure since the start of last season, of which the England forward has accounted for three.

Sterling had replaced Foden, who was enthused by City's performance while acknowledging room for improvement.

"I feel like we're back to our best," Foden said. "We're definitely taking confidence from the last few results.

"Today I still thought we could have done better, but we dug deep to get the win. Overall, I'm really proud of the team and how we kept going to the final whistle. Overall, it's a great result."

It was a seventh win from seven Premier League meetings with Brighton, and City now intend to turn their focus to Crystal Palace next on Sunday.

"We know that we have a game in hand, but we just have to think of the next opponent and not think too far ahead," said Foden, now City's top scorer with eight in all competitions.

"We just want to keep going with this form and push to win the league, hopefully."

Manchester City extended their unbeaten Premier League run after Phil Foden's first-half goal secured a comfortable 1-0 victory over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Foden found the back of the net a minute before half-time and that proved to be enough for Pep Guardiola's men to make it eight games without defeat – including four straight wins – in the top flight.

England international Foden took his tally for the season to eight goals in all competitions at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, making him City's highest-scoring player in 2020-21.

Bernardo Silva hit the crossbar and Gabriel Jesus made his return from COVID-19 as a substitute, but City were unable to add to their tally, with Raheem Sterling missing a stoppage-time penalty.

A lovely exchange between Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan led to the first major opening in the 14th minute, but the Belgium international was kept out by Robert Sanchez inside the six-yard box.

Mahrez was unable to supply the finish at the end of an intricate move around the visitors' box, before De Bruyne was again denied by Sanchez following a counter-attack from Brighton's first corner.

City made the breakthrough on the stroke of half-time, with Foden controlling a pass from De Bruyne exquisitely and guiding a fine finish into the bottom-left corner from the edge of the box.

Guardiola's men remained comfortably on top in the second half and after Mahrez missed a one-on-one, Sanchez denied Gundogan and saw Silva's follow-up – which came after he sent the ball through Ben White's legs – crash back off the bar.

Substitute Sterling blazed his last-gasp penalty over after De Bruyne pounced on a wayward header from Lewis Dunk and was taken down by Sanchez.

But City had done enough to move up to third and four points behind leaders Manchester United with a game in hand.

 

What does it mean? Defence still rules for City

City have done well to put together a strong run despite the absences of Jesus and Sergio Aguero, but their impressive form has been built on their defence.

They have conceded just two goals during their eight-game unbeaten run, while they have let in just seven in their past 14 outings in the top flight – four fewer than any other side since the start of October.

Brighton looked dangerous on the break at times, but Ruben Dias and John Stones secured a clean sheet for Ederson on his return from coronavirus.

Delightful De Bruyne

De Bruyne was at the heart of everything positive for City in the first half. By setting up Foden he has now assisted 14 goals in all competitions this season, a tally no Premier League player can better.

Jesus use raises questions

City finally have a fit striker in Jesus, but for some reason Guardiola decided to play him from the left after sending him on in the 67th minute. It was not until Sterling entered 15 minutes later that the Brazil international got to play through the middle.

What's next?

City host Crystal Palace on Sunday in the second of three straight Premier League home games, while Brighton are in action at Leeds United a day prior.

Manchester City's 2020-21 Premier League title bid has been one of unlikely storylines and standout players.

Whether it's the resurgence of John Stones, helming the most miserly defence in England's top flight alongside record signing Ruben Dias and leaving the highly touted Aymeric Laporte out in the cold as a result, or a rotating cast of attackers impressing as emergency centre forwards in the absence of Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, it pays to expect the unexpected from Pep Guardiola's squad.

Perhaps the most surprising development has been Joao Cancelo's transformation from expensive and unreliable back-up to a key man pushing City's game and maybe even Guardiola's vaunted idea of football to new heights.

"He arrived last season, he was confused in the beginning. He expected something we could not offer him," the City boss said of the Portugal full-back on the eve of Wednesday's Premier League match against Brighton and Hove Albion, where victory would move his side to within a point of champions Liverpool with a game in hand.

Cancelo arrived from Juventus with a £60million price tag – a sizeable chunk of which was remunerated as Danilo moved in the opposite direction – and proceeded to start fewer than half of City's 58 games across all competitions after his move.

What's more, he seemed ill at ease with the tactical demands placed upon him by Guardiola, such as switching and interchanging positions frequently during matches. The battle to be first choice at right-back seemed unfairly skewed in favour of Kyle Walker, one of the most consistent performers of the Catalan's tenure at the Etihad Stadium.

"Last season he struggled a bit with a new club, new ideas, the way we wanted to play," Guardiola confirmed

Alongside Rodri, who arrived from Atletico Madrid for a similar outlay, Cancelo became a poster boy of a failed campaign for many City fans, where a third straight EFL Cup success could not make up for Liverpool romping clear to the Premier League title.

Despite being an ever present in the Premier League this time around, Rodri still seemingly has more to do to convince the masses. However, first when filling in at left-back and more recently at right-back as Walker convalesced following a COVID-19 positive, Cancelo has consistently caught the eye.

"Now he has had more time and helps us to do something we need," Guardiola said. "He was outstanding all the season, playing at a high, high level."

Carrying City forward and backing up De Bruyne

From Dani Alves rampaging down the Barcelona right to Phillip Lahm becoming an auxiliary midfielder late in his career, Guardiola's best teams have usually featured a full-back doing something a little bit special.

During this month's 3-1 and 2-0 wins at Chelsea and Manchester United in the Premier League and EFL Cup respectively – arguably City's best two performances of 2020-21 – Cancelo excelled, roving forward and often in-field from a nominal right-back position, his combination of technical skills and physicality to the fore.

While at Bayern and blessed with the services of Lahm and David Alaba, Guardiola pioneered a gambit whereby his full-backs could tuck inside to bolster the defensive midfield position.

He still uses this tactic at City, but Cancelo has generally caused damage from more advanced starting points in the midfield.

"Oleks [Zinchenko] can play there too," Guardiola said when discussing Cancelo's role. "Benjamin [Mendy] and Kyle Walker can play in different positions but it depends on the opponent – which opponent we can use [the full-back] inside, outside."

The 26-year-old's ability to drive forward with possession has been to the fore. According to Opta, he has created eight chances from carries, including an assist, while having two shots himself.

This is a string Mendy and Walker do not appear to have to their bows, as they have one shot-creating carry each this season.

Cancelo's frequent presence in opposition territory has contributed to him being ranked second in the City squad in terms of chances created (24), passes ending in the final third (272) and passes played in the box (63) in the Premier League this season, with top spot in all categories belonging to Kevin De Bruyne.

Only De Bruyne, Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling have completed more dribbles than Cancelo (16), a player who seems to have given a new dimension to a City team that had come to look stale during the early weeks of the season in the aftermath of David Silva and Leroy Sane's departures.

"It's especially about their quality," Guardiola added. "It's not about 'okay, I want to play this player in this position', I have to know if he can do it for his qualities. That's all.

"[Cancelo] can do it, but he can do it from outside as well. This alternative that he can give us as a team is so important. Honestly, it's so important."

Pep Guardiola believes he should shoulder the blame for Manchester City's struggles earlier this season.

City can move to within a point of Liverpool if they beat Brighton and Hove Albion at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday - the first of two games they have in hand on the reigning champions.

Guardiola's side have been bolstered by a 13-match unbeaten run, spanning four competitions, and the sort of consistency that appeared beyond them as they spluttered through the opening weeks of 2020-21.

Still nursing the hangover from a humbling 3-1 Champions League quarter-final defeat at the hands of Lyon in August, they won only three of their opening eight Premier League games this term.

Recent victories over Chelsea in the top flight and Manchester United in the EFL Cup semi-finals have seen City look something far more like their old selves.

Manager Guardiola feels this is in part because the team are back in tune with his principles - something that suffered as last season bled into this in the absence of normal preparations.

"From day one [we had these principles]. We lost it a bit this season, that was my fault - the message was not clear but we came back a little bit [to] the principles," he said.

"Especially the reason [for poor form] was because the players need time to get the best condition after no pre-season.

"It’s normal that, after good results and performances, the people visualise again that we can do it again in the way we did it in the past. And that is the way we have to continue."

Guardiola also feels City's improvement is down to them doing their work more smartly during games than they were earlier in the campaign.

"The only difference is that we run less, we were playing running too much," Guardiola said.

"When you play football you have to walk – or run much, much less.

"Without the ball you have to run. But with the ball you stay more in the position and let the ball run, not you. And we improved in these games, in these terms."

Tracking data collected from this season's Premier League games does not exactly bear out Guardiola's point but might align with the greater discipline he alludes to.

In the 3-1 triumph at Stamford Bridge earlier this month, the 116.7 kilometres City covered collectively was their most in any league match this term, with their 163 sprints second only to 166 in the 1-0 victory at Southampton in mid-December that launched an ongoing winning run of six matches on three fronts.

A feature common to both those games was each of Guardiola's recognised strikers, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, being sidelined.

A rotating cast of attacking midfielders have taken turns to lead the line and City's shots per game (15.4 with Aguero and/or Jesus, 15.8 without) and goals per game (1.6 with Aguero and/or Jesus, 1.7 without) remain consistent.

Guardiola's team were striker-less at the beginning of the humiliating 5-2 home defeat to Leicester City in September, although youth team centre-forward Liam Delap came on when the score was 1-1.

A draw at Leeds United followed and in the four games since when neither Aguero nor Jesus has been available - versus Sheffield United, Southampton, Newcastle United and Chelsea - City have won each time.

"We have to adapt the quality we have, unfortunately it's a long time without Sergio," Guardiola added.

"Gabriel has been good but had COVID. But we have enough players with the quality playing wide and in the middle so we adapt with the players we have right now."

Jesus is in contention to face Brighton but Aguero continues to self-isolate after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

Phil Foden still has plenty of room for improvement, says Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

Foden's long-range strike against Birmingham City in the third round of the FA Cup was his seventh goal of the season in all competitions - making him City's joint top scorer alongside Raheem Sterling.

The 20-year-old also made his England senior breakthrough this season, netting twice in the 4-0 Nations League thrashing of Iceland in November.

At club level, Foden has amassed his impressive return - he also has five assists - despite not being an automatic choice in Guardiola's first XI.

The circumstances of a coronavirus outbreak at the club is a contributing factor to an unbroken run of three successive first-team starts, although a goal at Chelsea in the Premier League and an assist for John Stones in the EFL Cup semi-final at Manchester United have made a strong case for him to remain.

"He is playing like he played always, high standards in all departments," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's match against Brighton and Hove Albion.

"He still has big margins to improve because it would be bad news if he could not improve at the age he is.

"But from day one I have been delighted, especially with his behaviour. The quality will do the rest.

City have three consecutive home games in the space of eight days on their immediate agenda - a chance to bolster their title challenge even before considering Liverpool and Manchester United are set to take points off one another this weekend.

Even though his team appear to be back to their swashbuckling best despite trying circumstances, Guardiola remains wary of the challenges at hand.

"Brighton are a joy to watch, a joy to analyse," he said, before underlining his admiration for Seagulls boss Graham Potter.

"At the same time, when you see them you are concerned about the quality. I said to the players that we will have to be in the highest standards to complete against them. They have better stats [than their league position] in all the departments except the final third.

"I am a big fan of Graham Potter. We faced him for the first time with Swansea. Everyone [in Potter's teams] plays in his position and the ball comes to them.

"They have the courage to play. I like a lot how they play and it will be a good test after this amount of games."

Considering a 13-match unbeaten run on all fronts, Guardiola added: "The momentum can arrive and disappear in one instant.

"We cannot forget the teams we beat recently especially in Premier League and Carabao Cup - two strong teams away and we did well.

"But the momentum can disappear, we have to do it again. Especially for the way we are playing."

City remain without injured defenders Aymeric Laporte and Nathan Ake, while Sergio Aguero will continue to self-isolate, with youngsters Cole Palmer, Eric Garcia and Adrien Bernabe, and third-choice goalkeeper Scott Carson in the same situation.

Ederson, Ferran Torres and Tommy Doyle should be available to return following their own COVID-related absences.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly eyeing Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero.

Aguero, 32, is out of contract at the end of the season and his future with the Premier League giants is uncertain.

And PSG are apparently eyeing the forward.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EYE AGUERO

Mauricio Pochettino and PSG have Aguero in their sights on a free transfer at the end of the season, according to the Mirror.

Injuries have limited Aguero to just nine appearances in all competitions this season.

Aguero is Manchester City's all-time leading scorer with 256 goals.

 

ROUND-UP

- Linked with a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Julian Brandt, Arsenal may also be looking elsewhere. Bild reports PSG's Julian Draxler, who is out of contract at the season's end, is an alternative for the Premier League club.

- Also at Arsenal, Mesut Ozil seems set to leave the club. The Guardian reports the playmaker is in talks to join Fenerbahce on loan, but Arsenal do not want to pay any part of his salary if he moves to the Turkish giants.

- Lyon striker Moussa Dembele is again being linked with a switch. Goal reports Dembele is not interested in a move to West Ham, and Atletico Madrid are keen to land him. L'Equipe says Atletico want Dembele on loan.

- Kieran Trippier's ban has been put on hold pending an appeal, but his January reportedly could have been very different. TalkSPORT reports Manchester United were considering a bid for the defender, who was keen on a move, before his ban over betting rule breaches.

- Manchester United are apparently not chasing Moises Caicedo. Fabrizio Romano reports United, who were previously linked to Caicedo, will not sign the Independiente del Valle and Ecuador attacker, who is said to be the subject of a bid from Brighton and Hove Albion.

Tottenham got their title push back on track with a first win in five outings and Arsenal maintained their recent revival with a third win on the bounce in Saturday's Premier League action.

Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were again among the scorers for Spurs in their victory over Leeds United, while Alexandre Lacazette helped himself to a double in the Gunners' even more straightforward success at West Brom.

Crystal Palace also picked up three valuable points with what is a now-customary victory over doomed Sheffield United, who set an unwanted record with their latest setback, but there was nothing to separate Brighton and Hove Albion and Wolves in the day's other game.

Here is the pick of the Opta facts from Saturday's Premier League fixtures.

Tottenham 3-0 Leeds: Son and Kane combine again in convincing victory

Son scored his 100th goal for Tottenham in all competitions to help his side on their way to a routine victory over Leeds in the early kick-off.

The South Korea international swept in Kane's pass to become the 18th Spurs player to reach the milestone figure on what was his 253rd appearance.

Kane has now assisted 17 goals for Son in all competitions, while the pair have combined 13 times in the Premier League alone in 2020-21 - no two players have linked up more in a single season in the competition.

Prolific striker Kane had earlier given Tottenham the lead and in doing so he became the first player to reach double figures for both goals (10) and assists (11) in Europe's top five leagues this season.

Kane has also now scored against all 30 opponents he has faced in the Premier League - the best 100 per cent record in the competition among players to have faced more than one team.

Toby Alderweireld added a third goal early in the second half and Leeds were unable to respond - the first time they have failed to score in an away league game this term, leaving Aston Villa and Manchester United as the only perfect sides in that regard.

The only blemish for Spurs was the stoppage-time dismissal of Matt Doherty for a second yellow card, meaning they have already had more top-flight red cards in 2021 than they had in the whole of 2020.

Palace 2-0 Sheffield United: Eze does it for Eagles as visitors lose again

Bottom club United have now officially set the record for the longest ever winless run from the start of a Premier League campaign after going down 2-0 to Palace.

The Blades' 17-match winless run to begin a season is the worst in the English top flight since Bolton Wanderers' run of 22 without a victory in 1902-03.

Stretching back into 2019-20, Chris Wilder's men are winless in 20 Premier League games - failing to keep a clean sheet in any of those - making them the fifth side to reach that figure and the first since West Brom between August 2017-January 2018.

Jeffrey Schlupp opened the scoring at Selhurst Park with just 188 seconds on the clock, which was Palace's earliest goal in the division since James McArthur's strike against Everton after 51 seconds in November 2017. 

The versatile wideman hobbled off injured and it was his replacement, Eberechi Eze, who added a second goal with a wonderful solo effort as he became the fourth Palace player to score his first two goals for the club from outside the box - the others being Ricky Newman, Gareth Southgate and Simon Rodger.

United, who saw 16-year-old Antwoine Hackford become their youngest ever Premier League player in the second half, could not find a response as the Eagles kept a first clean sheet in the competition in 16 matches since September.

Brighton 3-3 Wolves: Seagulls battle back after Burn horror shown

Dan Burn endured a first half to forget but Brighton recovered from two goals down to claim a point against Wolves at the Amex Stadium.

The centre-back put into his own net and brought down Adama Traore for a penalty that Ruben Neves converted, having earlier conceded a corner in the build-up to Romain Saiss' opener - the Wolves defender's second goal in three league games, which is as many as he managed in his previous 40.

In doing so, Burn became the first player to score an own goal and give away a penalty in the same Premier League game since Eliaquim Mangala for Man City against Hull City in September 2014.

Brighton refused to roll over and had a lifeline when Neal Maupay converted from the spot 50 seconds after the restart - the earliest penalty scored in the second half of a Premier League game since Opta records began in 2006-07.

Lewis Dunk then nodded in to snatch a draw - the fourth occasion Albion have rescued a point in a Premier League game in which they have been two goals behind.

West Brom 0-4 Arsenal: Lacazette at the double for revived Gunners

Arsenal turned on the style with a runaway victory over a struggling West Brom side as they made it three wins in a row in the Premier League, following a previous run of two victories in 12.

Kieran Tierney scored a sublime opener for the visitors, becoming the first Scottish player to score an away goal for the north London side in the competition since Charlie Nicholas against Ipswich Town in March 1986.

The strike itself was impressive and it came at the end of a 20-pass move that pulled West Brom apart. Indeed, since Mikel Arteta's first game in charge on Boxing Day 2019, the Gunners have scored more goals following a sequence of 20 or more passes (three) than any other Premier League side.

The impressive Bukayo Saka scored the second at the end of another flowing team move - the 22nd league goal he has been involved in since the start of last season (seven goals, 15 assists), which is the second most by a teenager currently playing in the division after Manchester United's Mason Greenwood (25).

West Brom had a goal ruled out for offside and their heads dropped from that point on as Lacazette netted a quickfire brace, taking his tally for the season to five away goals in the Premier League - already his best seasonal tally since joining Arsenal.

It was another damaging defeat for West Brom, who are the first side to lose consecutive Premier League home games by at least four goals since Wigan Athletic in August 2010.

The size of the task at hand for Sam Allardyce has now become even clearer, meanwhile - at no club has he won fewer points (one, level with Crystal Palace) or conceded more goals (13) after his first four Premier League games in charge of a club.

Finally, 2020 is history - there won't be many people who aren't happy to see the back of a difficult year.

While the coronavirus pandemic shows no sign of making a swift exit, the turn of the year at least gives us the chance to look forward, and the same is true in the world of sport.

2020 saw many promising young players make the step up, some undoubtedly down to the absences caused by coronavirus or the packed schedule that the pandemic has led to.

We've picked out 21 under-21 players to keep an eye on in 2021 - and while you may already be familiar with some of them, there's good reason to give them your attention this year...

 

Illan Meslier, 20 - Leeds United

Few goalkeepers can come away from a 6-2 defeat having impressed, but Meslier did so against Manchester United recently. His eight saves prevented Leeds' crushing loss from getting even more embarrassing, while only three goalkeepers have produced more in a single Premier League match this term. His total of 63 is also the second most in the division – the France Under-21 talent, who joined on a permanent deal from Lorient last year, appears to have a big future ahead of him.

Kristoffer Klaesson, 20 - Valerenga

Goalkeepers tend to break through a little later than outfield players, but Norway youth international Klaesson has already been first-choice at Valerenga for the best part of 16 months – he only turned 20 in November. Coincidentally, he could have become a team-mate of Meslier's in 2020 as Leeds were reportedly interested, but he remains in Norway for the time being.

William Saliba, 19 - Arsenal

Saliba is certainly one of the most recognisable names on this list – after all, he has been owned by Arsenal for getting on for two years. Unfortunately, he has not been afforded much of a chance by Mikel Arteta this term, which makes him an interesting prospect to watch in 2021. Either he'll eventually get an opportunity at the Gunners, or a loan move will provide him with a crack at first-team football. After a tricky 2020, he'll want to get his career back on track.

Perr Schuurs, 21 - Ajax

Given his appearance, playing style and the fact he has come through Ajax's academy, comparisons between Schuurs and Matthijs de Ligt were to be expected. He may not reach the Juventus star's level, but he has certainly shown real promise that is reportedly interesting Liverpool. Schuurs is one of the five youngest players to have featured for at least 500 minutes in this season's Champions League, while his 47 ball recoveries was the sixth highest of any player in the group stage.

Ethan Laird, 19 - Manchester United

Aaron Wan-Bissaka was supposed to fix Man United's issues at right-back, but this season his defensive positioning has been concerning and he appears to have become even less effective in attack – his chances created and open-play crosses per 90 minutes have decreased significantly. Laird has long been considered a fine prospect at United and boasts the technical abilities to be a threat in attack. If he can stay fit, chances could be in the offing.

Tariq Lamptey, 20 - Brighton and Hove Albion

Having joined Brighton last January from Chelsea, Lamptey has quickly made a name for himself as an exciting wing-back. Last year saw the diminutive talent enjoy something of a breakthrough, but in 2021 he'll be looking to truly establish himself and potentially break into the England squad. There are few more exhilarating full-backs in the Premier League – his 3.8 dribbles per game is the third most among defenders to have featured more than twice.

Nuno Mendes, 18 - Sporting CP

Sporting have a wealth of talent coming through at the moment and left-back Mendes is arguably chief among them. Blessed with fine technical abilities, the 18-year-old is apparently a target for Man United, Liverpool and Real Madrid. Already a regular having started 10 of the Primeira Liga leaders' 11 games this term, Mendes' 10 completed dribbles is the fourth-highest among defenders in the division, while his 28 interceptions is second only to team-mate Luis Neto.

Gabriel Menino, 20 - Palmeiras

An intriguing player with a well-rounded skillset, Menino has already transitioned from centre-back to defensive midfield to right-back despite his young age. It is in the latter position where he impressed enough to earn a first Brazil call-up last year and only two players have provided more than his five assists in the 2020 Brazilian Serie A.

Moises Caicedo, 19 - Independiente del Valle

The past month or so has seen Caicedo brought to the attention of a wider audience – or, more specifically, Manchester United fans. The all-action midfielder was the teenager with the most goals (four), shots attempted (24), chances created (19), successful passes (748) and dribbles completed (23) in Ecuador's top flight in 2020, while his passing accuracy of 90.1 per cent was the highest among players to attempt 500 or more.

Billy Gilmour, 19 - Chelsea

Scottish talent Gilmour had shown real promise during his 11 Chelsea appearances last season before a knee injury in July laid him low. He returned to action last month with a few cameos off the bench, and there will be plenty hoping he can return to his previous level quickly. A loan move might be on the cards, but Frank Lampard has high hopes for the crafty midfielder.

Yunus Musah, 18 - Valencia

Valencia are going through another difficult spell, with off-field matters often overshadowing on-pitch performances. Nevertheless, in United States international Musah, they appear to have a reason for optimism. Another tricky winger, Musah's 38 dribbles is the second most among Los Che players this term and he became their youngest LaLiga goalscorer (17 years, 338 days) this century when netting back in November. He's one that got away from Arsenal.

Ander Barrenetxea, 18 - Real Sociedad

A nimble right-footed left-winger, Barrenetxea broke into La Real's senior side last season with 17 appearances in LaLiga. His eight starts this term is already an increase of five on the entirety of 2019-20 and he has been using that extra time on the pitch to excite. He has attempted 41 dribbles in LaLiga, and his 56 per cent completion rate is bettered by only seven players – all of whom are much older – among those to have tried at least 40.

Bryan Gil, 19 - Eibar (on loan from Sevilla)

If Barrenetxea embodies the modern 'inverted winger' style, then Bryan is very much a wide midfielder of the classic variety. A direct touchline-hugger, the left-winger's aim is almost always to beat his man and get a cross into the box, and he is catching the eye on loan at Eibar this term. Only five wingers in LaLiga can better Bryan's 49 open-play deliveries, though his 22.5 per cent accuracy is better than all but one of those with more cross attempts. He's also tried 44 dribbles, his 52.3 per cent completion putting him close to Barrenetxea.

Jaminton Campaz, 20 - Deportes Tolima

Campaz may not be a household name yet, but a move to Europe or one of South America's leading leagues is surely not far away. The attacker, who can play wide or through the middle, is an explosive player but also productive. No younger player had more goal involvements (five goals and four assists) and chances created (32) in Colombia's top division than Campaz.

Amad Diallo, 18 - Manchester United

Although United splashed a reported £19million on Diallo, the young Ivorian remains something of an unknown quantity. A left-footed right-winger, he has only been given a handful of opportunities in Atalanta's senior side – though he has often caught the eye with his ability on the ball. Given United's lack of options on the right flank, he might just establish himself sooner than some expect – either way, he will be one to monitor.

Pedri, 18 - Barcelona

As each week passes, more and more Pedri looks to be settling into the role as Lionel Messi's heir at Barcelona, but whether he's ready to take up such a mantle as early as this year is another matter. Messi's contract ends in June and so he could well depart – taking on his creative burden would be an unenviable task for a teenager, though Pedri is proving effective. He is creating a chance every 45 minutes on average in the league this term, the third most frequent in the squad among those to have played at least five times.

Talles Magno, 18 - Vasco da Gama

Are you really a Brazilian 'wonderkid' if you've not been linked with every major European club? Talles Magno fits the bill there and it's easy to see why there's interest. His end product still needs work, but his ability to excite is considerable – the 18-year-old has completed more than twice as many dribbles (106) as any other teenager in Brazil's Serie A between 2019 and 2020.

Karim Adeyemi, 18 - Salzburg

There has been a buzz around Adeyemi for a few years now as has previously impressed scouts with Germany's youth sides and during a fruitful loan spell at Liefering. Now back at Salzburg, he looks destined to be another serious talent off the club's impressive conveyor belt. Adeyemi is the only player to have been involved in four goals in a single Austrian Bundesliga this term, scoring and getting a hat-trick of assists in the 8-2 victory over St. Polten, while he set up a goal on his league debut for the club in June. A thrilling talent with great vision and dribbling abilities, Adeyemi may get even greater responsibility in 2021 following the departure of Dominik Szoboszlai.

Marcos Leonardo, 17 - Santos

It's still early days for Marcos Leonardo, though Santos clearly rate him highly – the striker's release clause is €100m. He's already the underage player with the most minutes played (296) and goals (one) in Brazil's top division this season, while he became the sixth youngest player to net in the Copa Libertadores (17y, 173d) when scoring a winner against Defensa y Justicia.

Youssoufa Moukoko, 16 - Borussia Dortmund

There's not much that hasn't already been said about Moukoko. He became the Bundesliga's youngest ever player in November when making his debut a day after his 16th birthday, before then also setting a new record for the league's youngest goalscorer in December. New coach Edin Terzic has already given him two starts – his next target will be to break records on the international stage with Germany. He couldn't get into their Euros squad, could he?

Matias Arezo, 18 - River Plate (URU)

Stocky, technically gifted and already proving decisive in front of goal with seven goal involvements (five goals, two assists) in 15 league matches, Arezo has a lot going in his favour. Whether he has the mentality or focus to not let the 'new Luis Suarez' labels distract him remains to be seen, but he's already the youngest Uruguayan (17y, 349d) to ever score a brace in the Copa Sudamericana having done so against Atletico Nacional in November.

Goals proved hard to come by - The Hawthorns aside - on a day of low-scoring games in the Premier League.

One goal was enough for Arsenal, Manchester United and Burnley to beat Brighton and Hove Albion, Wolves and Sheffield United respectively.

Meanwhile, Southampton's home meeting with West Ham finished goalless, but Leeds United clearly did not get the memo as they hit five against lowly West Brom.

Here is the pick of the Opta facts from Tuesday's action in the Premier League.

Brighton 0-1 Arsenal: Super-sub Lacazette inspires Arsenal

Alexandre Lacazette scored from the bench to make it back-to-back victories for Arsenal in the Premier League for the first time since their first two games of the season.

The French forward's strike – his third in a row in all competitions, after netting once in his previous 12 – arrived just 29 seconds after replacing Gabriel Martinelli, making it the quickest goal by an Arsenal substitute since Opta records began in 2006-07.

The assist was as impressive as the composed finish, with Bukayo Saka storming down the right to tee up Lacazette – the 15th goal he has set up for a team-mate in all competitions since the start of last season, which is the most of any Arsenal player.

Arsenal held firm at the other end to record a fourth away clean sheet this season in the Premier League – only Aston Villa boast a better such record, with five in total for the Villans.

Relegation-threatened Brighton end the year with just one Premier League home win to their name in 17 games – the lowest total of victories on home soil in a calendar year by any side in the history of the competition.

Burnley 1-0 Sheff Utd: Blades equal unwanted record

Another game, another defeat for Sheffield United, who have now lost 14 of their 16 Premier League matches this term, drawing the other two.

The Blades' 16-match winless streak to begin the season is the joint-worst in the competition's history, equalling the record set by QPR in 2012-13.

Oliver Burke has played in 10 of those games. Indeed, the winger has not ended on the winning side in any of his first 25 Premier League appearances, seeing him surpass Gareth Bale (24) for the longest winless start for a player in the competition.

Ben Mee scored what proved to be the winner with a header from a corner after 32 minutes to separate the division's two lowest-scoring sides – the Burnley skipper's first Premier League goal at Turf Moor in 76 matches since January 2015.

That goal should have come as little surprise to the visitors given that they have failed to keep a clean sheet in each of their last 19 league outings since a 3-0 victory over Chelsea in July.

Burnley have now won three of their last four home top-flight matches – as many as their previous 13 combined – with this marking their first successive wins at Turf Moor since October 2019.

Southampton 0-0 West Ham: Successive stalemates for shot-shy Saints

Southampton played out a second successive goalless draw in the Premier League for the first time since October 2018 in a low-key affair at St Mary's.

The Saints were also held by Fulham on Boxing Day and are now winless in four league matches, which is their longest such run since going eight without a victory from September to November 2019.

Top scorer Danny Ings returned for the hosts but had minimal impact as he failed to have a shot or a single touch in West Ham's box – the first time in 54 Premier League games the striker has played a full 90 minutes in which that has happened.

Ralph Hasenhuttl was absent from the dugout after a member of his household tested positive for coronavirus, but for opposite number David Moyes it was the 12th time in his last 13 top-flight encounters that he has avoided defeat against Southampton.

It was a well-earned point for West Ham and an occasion to remember for Craig Dawson, who at the age of 30 years and 237 days became the oldest outfield English player to make his Premier League debut for the club since Roger Johnson in 2014.

West Brom 0-5 Leeds: Baggies blitzed by Bielsa's boys

Romaine Sawyers' comical own goal set the tone early on as West Brom followed up a draw away at champions Liverpool with a humiliating 5-0 loss at home to Leeds, who equalled their biggest margin of victory in a Premier League game.

The midfielder passed the ball into his own net from 25 yards and subsequently became the seventh WBA player to score an own goal since the start of 2019-20 – no side in English football's top four tiers has scored more, tied with Southend United.

Ezgjan Alioski's crisp finish, Jack Harrison's strike from close range and Rodrigo's deflected effort had Leeds four up at the interval in a top-flight game for the first time since May 2001 versus Bradford City.

Raphinha rounded off the scoring in the second half to take Leeds to 30 goals in the Premier League this season – the second-most ever for a newly promoted side after 16 matches, behind only Newcastle United in 1993-94 (31).

Leeds, who have won by five goals in the competition on five previous occasions, move up to 11th in the division, while West Brom are 19th with eight points – only in 1985-86 (six when converted to three points for a win) have they amassed fewer.

Man United 1-0 Wolves: Solskjaer's men leave it late

A rare Marcus Rashford strike at Old Trafford earned United a late victory against Wolves as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men made it seven wins in their last nine league matches.

Rashford scored with 92 minutes and 51 seconds on the clock – United's latest winning goal in a Premier League match at Old Trafford since September 2009, when Michael Owen netted at 95:27 against Manchester City.

The goal – Rashford's first on home soil in the league in 845 minutes since July – was set up by Bruno Fernandes, who has now been directly involved in more goals in the competition than any player since his debut in February (18 goals, 14 assists).

Wolves, who named their youngest starting XI for a Premier League game since April 2012 at an average of 25 years and 109 days, were seconds away from a precious point but have now conceded in each of their last nine top-flight matches.

That is their joint-longest run without a clean sheet in the competition under Nuno Espirito Santo, with this third away loss in a row leaving them in the bottom half of the division.

Mikel Arteta's January business will not change due to Arsenal's past two results, although Bukayo Saka continues to provide the creative spark the Gunners need.

Arsenal were winless in seven and 15th in the table at Christmas but have since beaten Chelsea and Brighton and Hove Albion.

The latter 1-0 victory at Brighton came courtesy of an Alexandre Lacazette strike 29 seconds after coming off the bench on Tuesday.

Arteta's men are now nine points clear of the bottom three, surely quelling any mischievous relegation talk, but they are not looking to take their foot off the gas.

Asked if back-to-back wins for only the second time this season in the league would affect the urgency to make moves in the coming transfer window, Arteta replied: "No, the last few results won't change our approach to the window."

The Arsenal manager was asked specifically about the prospect of signing out-of-favour Real Madrid playmaker Isco but added: "Obviously we cannot talk about individual players."

With Mesut Ozil left out of Arsenal's Premier League and Europa League squads, Isco could potentially bring a new dimension in the centre of the pitch.

In his seven and a half years in Madrid, only Karim Benzema (60), Cristiano Ronaldo (47) and Toni Kroos (46) have provided more LaLiga assists for Los Blancos than Isco (42), who has created 306 chances in 217 matches (1.4 per game).

However, on the wing, Arsenal already have a creative force in the form of 19-year-old England international Saka.

A superb assist for Lacazette was his 15th in all club competitions since the start of last season, more than any other Arsenal player.

Saka played the most key passes (three) of any visiting player at the Amex Stadium, having scored his second league goal of the season in the Chelsea match.

Arteta is keen to keep the player grounded, though, telling reporters: "I would like everybody to be cautious and let him be and let him develop.

"I think he's having the right progression, I think he's got the right people around him, in his house, in his entourage.

"Then he's got the right team-mates as well to support him all the time, give him confidence, keep his feet on the floor but also give him support and confidence.

"Hopefully we can be the right coaches around him and the right club to see what he can be in the future.

"Today he had a difficult game in the first half because we weren't using certain moments to generate advantages for him and the other attacking players in the right way.

"The game becomes really difficult with your back to goal against a back five in a low block.

"In the second half, we started to play different balls and attack in a different way. They found more freedom, more space and more capacity to unlock the situations and the block.

"We created four or five big chances and he was involved in most of them."

Saka was substituted nine minutes from time having failed to shake off a knock, with Arteta asked if the apparent injury was serious.

"Hopefully not," the manager said. "He was limping - I think he took a strong challenge - but hopefully he will be fine."

Mikel Arteta and Arsenal are enjoying "a different world, a different story" after winning for the second time since Christmas away at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Talk of a potential relegation battle was building prior to the Boxing Day clash with London rivals Chelsea, but Arsenal ran out 3-1 winners at Emirates Stadium.

Although the Gunners were unconvincing on Tuesday as they turned their focus to Brighton, another three points took them nine clear of the bottom three and up to 13th.

It is the first time since the opening two matches of the season Arsenal have won two in a row in the Premier League, although the clean sheet was their fourth on the road this term - trailing only Aston Villa (five) in that regard.

Manager Arteta is now targeting consistency as his side next visit West Brom, beaten 5-0 at home by Leeds United on Tuesday.

He told Amazon Prime Sport: "We know that we've been struggling with results recently.

"The fact that we won against Chelsea was a big boost, because I think that it was more related to results than performances.

"To come here three days later and get another win for us is massively important. As well, I think we did it in a convincing way in the second half.

"We played much better, but at the end, in the Premier League, you have to hang on in the last few minutes. I'm proud of the boys and happy for the result.

"The best medicine is wins. When you are lacking, whatever it is, you win a football match and it is a different world, a different story. The picture looks much better at the moment.

"We just need to have that consistency. We go against West Brom now and try to win again."

Having endured a seven-match winless run prior to the Chelsea game, Arteta was impressed with the way Arsenal remained positive heading into the festive fixtures.

"When you lose the amount of games we did recently, to maintain the spirit high is a big challenge," he explained. "I think we have managed to do that.

"We have made some decisions - of course, you have to in this period. We have some young kids who are helping, but as well, I must say, the senior players have been spot on to try to balance the energy.

"The frustration when you get defeats can be really damaging."

It was Alexandre Lacazette, one of Arteta's senior stars, who made the difference at Brighton, despite being dropped for fit-again captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Lacazette scored just 29 seconds after his introduction as a substitute, the fastest Arsenal goal from the bench since Opta records began in 2006-07.

The striker has now scored the opening goal in five Premier League games this season, more than any other player, while he has netted in three matches in a row in all competitions.

"You always hope [the changes will have an impact] and Laca's in a really good moment," Arteta said. "He's full of confidence, he's playing well, and we knew we could use him."

Lacazette added: "I'm really happy. When we come off the bench, we need to help the team and today I was lucky on my first touch to score.

"It's good for me and good for the team as well. Bukayo [Saka] gave me a good pass, as I like, so it was good for me."

Alexandre Lacazette rode to Arsenal's rescue with the winner from the bench at Brighton and Hove Albion as a 1-0 success made it back-to-back Premier League victories since Christmas.

A seven-game winless run in the league was ended on Boxing Day as the Gunners beat Chelsea, although Mikel Arteta's men remained in 15th place after a dismal start to the season.

Rather than build on that triumph, a further setback appeared likely for a time at the Amex Stadium on Tuesday against Brighton, whose only prior home league win in 2020 had come on Arsenal's previous visit back in June.

But Lacazette, who lost his place in the XI to fit-again captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, scored 29 seconds after his introduction as a substitute to settle a key clash in the bottom half in Arsenal's favour.

There was little in the first half to suggest Arsenal had brought forward any momentum from the Chelsea game, with Brighton well on top but themselves missing a cutting edge.

Bernd Leno watched Alireza Jahanbakhsh lash the best early chance over with the outside of his right boot, before the goalkeeper was belatedly called into action by the same man with the first shot on target eight minutes before the break.

Arsenal survived a goalmouth scramble within a minute of the restart, but they finally provided a threat on the counter soon after and Robert Sanchez blocked from Aubameyang at point-blank range.

An improved spell saw Gabriel Martinelli drive just over and the arrival of Lacazette on 66 minutes prompted the breakthrough.

A storming run down the right from Bukayo Saka created space for Lacazette, who was able to control in the centre with his first touch and fire decisively beyond Sanchez.

Only an apparent injury to Saka in the closing stages could put a dampener on a much better Arsenal second half.

Arsenal defender Gabriel is self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus. 

The 23-year-old was left out of Arsenal's squad for Saturday's 3-1 win over Chelsea after coming into close contact with someone who had contracted COVID-19. 

Arsenal have now confirmed that Gabriel has also returned a positive test result, meaning he will miss their next two Premier League matches - against Brighton and Hove Albion and West Brom. 

"Gabriel has tested positive for COVID-19 and is isolating according to UK Government and Premier League protocols," a club statement read.  

"We will continue to monitor and support Gabriel, and we are hoping he will be available again after our next two matches." 

Gabriel has started 12 of Arsenal's 15 league matches this season and has featured a further three times in cup competitions. 

The news comes on the same day the Premier League clash between Everton and Manchester City was postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak in the latter's camp. 

It is the second Premier League match to be called off due to COVID-19 this season, with Newcastle United's game with Aston Villa earlier this month also delayed. 

Arsenal also announced on Monday that centre-back David Luiz and forward Willian will play no part against Brighton on Tuesday due to illness, though their absences are not linked to coronavirus.

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