As we head into the decisive matchdays in the Premier League season, match-winners will become worth their weight in gold to all 20 sides in the division.

With that in mind, our latest suggestions for fantasy football enthusiasts include a good number of forwards who will be expected to chip in with goals.

There are also two of the league's most in-form defenders and a goalkeeper who might just have won himself the number one spot.

Our tips for this week – powered by Opta, as always – are below...
 

DEAN HENDERSON

Since taking over Premier League duties while David de Gea was in Spain for the birth of his daughter, Dean Henderson has made it clear he does not intend to relinquish the Manchester United starting spot.

The former Sheffield United loanee has the best save percentage (82.4) in the competition this season, while he has conceded just 0.6 goals per game on average – the best rate of any keeper to play at least 200 minutes.

Henderson will likely keep his spot for the trip to Aston Villa, a team who have beaten United just once in their previous 44 Premier League meetings.

BEN CHILWELL

Fresh from celebrating reaching the Champions League final, Ben Chilwell will be looking to keep up his strong league form for Chelsea.

The left-back has been directly involved in seven goals this season (two scored, five assisted) – no defender in the competition has been involved in more.

Expect him to provide his customary threat on the break when Chelsea take on Manchester City.

AARON WAN-BISSAKA

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer challenged Aaron Wan-Bissaka to improve his attacking output, and the tough-tackling right-back appears to have heeded the call.

Three of his four goal involvements (75 per cent) and 21 of his 26 chances created (81 per cent) have come since the turn of the year.

The United man also boasts 13 Premier League clean sheets this season; among defenders, he is behind only Ruben Dias and Matt Targett (14).

MOHAMED SALAH

Liverpool might have struggled for consistency this season, but Mohamed Salah's goal output has remained impressively high; he has 20 in the league, behind only Harry Kane (21).

On Saturday, he will meet some of his favourite opposition in Southampton, a team against whom he has scored seven goals in seven league appearances, including five in three at Anfield.

Saints have also lost their past three league games away to Liverpool by an aggregate score of 10-0.

GARETH BALE

With a hat-trick against relegated Sheffield United, Gareth Bale proved he could still be a vital asset in Tottenham's European chase.

Bale has scored nine goals in 727 minutes in the division this season, averaging a goal every 81 minutes, which is the best record in the competition in 2020-21.

Should he take his tally to 10 against Leeds United, Bale will set a new record for the longest gap between 10-goal seasons in Premier League history (eight), overtaking Paul Scholes and Nwankwo Kanu (seven).

MASON GREENWOOD

Mason Greenwood has recaptured some of his better form in recent weeks to help United... well, if not catch Manchester City, at least consolidate second place.

The forward has four goals and one assist in his most recent four league games, which is more direct goal involvements than he managed in his previous 28 appearances.

Solskjaer will likely have to rotate given the hectic week ahead, but expect Greenwood to be involved at Villa Park, even if it's as a substitute.

KELECHI IHEANACHO

Speaking of rediscovering form, nobody in the league has done so quite as spectacularly in recent weeks as Kelechi Iheanacho.

The Leicester City striker has scored nine goals and assisted two in his most recent eight league appearances – that's one more direct goal involvement than he managed in his previous 57 league games.

The Foxes are also on a run of eight wins in 10 league games against Friday's opponents Newcastle United.

Brendan Rodgers is hoping to write his name in Leicester City folklore by guiding them to FA Cup glory in next month's final against Chelsea.

Leicester edged out fellow Premier League side Southampton 1-0 at Wembley on Sunday through a Kelechi Iheanacho strike to reach their first final since 1969.

The Foxes were memorably crowned English champions in 2015-16 but never before have they lifted the FA Cup, finishing runners-up on four occasions.

Rodgers is looking to put that right as Leicester attempt to balance their cup exploits with finishing in the top four of the Premier League over the remainder of the season.

"We have the chance to create history. That is what this game is about, creating a memory," he told BBC Sport. 

"I have been made aware since I've been at Leicester how important this cup is for the supporters. When we arrived here that was the ambition. 

"We said we wanted to be competitive. From a football perspective we wanted to be able to compete and we've been able to do that. Now we have a trophy to genuinely go for. 

"When you fail it is an integral part of being successful. We missed out last year, so a great credit to the players this time."

The victory was Leicester's first at Wembley since the 2000 EFL Cup final, with Iheanacho once again the hero.

He scored for the third round running to take his tally in the competition to 14 goals in 19 appearances since his first-such outing in January 2016 – the most of any player over that period.

"I've been unlucky in the past few years but I need to keep working hard to go to the next level now," Iheanacho told BT Sport.

"We did it together. Without the whole team we wouldn't have won. It's not a one-man show. 

"I'm happy with the way we played together and stayed together at the end and I was at the right place at the right time. We are in the final and we're really happy.

"I think the FA Cup loves me and I love the FA Cup."

Iheanacho is the first Nigerian player to score 15 goals in all competitions in a season for a Premier League club since Odion Ighalo in 2015-16 for Watford.

Rodgers added: "His confidence levels are very high. Some of his set-up play was a bit loose today but his confidence was not affected by that. 

"Him and Jamie [Vardy] are a real threat but it is very much a team effort."

Southampton have been eliminated in eight of their last 10 FA Cup semi-final appearances, two of which have come in the last four seasons.

The Saints had kept a clean sheet in each of the previous four rounds and scored eight goals, but they failed to have a single shot on target this time around.

"It's hard to take because we haven't been the worst team," Ralph Hasenhuttl told BBC Sport. "We saw a not very good football game to be honest, with both teams a little nervous.

"That such a goal decides such a game is a pity for us. We had a good run and we wanted to get to the final to give our fans the chance of another final. 

"In the end, especially in the final third, we didn't have good moments. We couldn't get a shot on goal and this is not enough. We had the chance to get to the final. We'll try again next year."

Leicester City reached the FA Cup final for the first time since 1969 as Kelechi Iheanacho continued his sensational form to secure a 1-0 win over Southampton.

Iheanacho had scored more FA Cup goals (13) heading into Sunday's contest at Wembley – which was played in front of a small crowd – than any other player since the start of 2015-16, and it was his second-half strike which proved decisive.

Playing in their first FA Cup semi-final since 1982, Leicester had the better chances throughout, although Iheanacho's effort was the only shot on target in the entire contest.

It gave the Foxes their first win at the new Wembley in four attempts and Brendan Rodgers' side will now chase a second when they face Chelsea in next month's showdown.

The 4,000 socially distanced fans were not treated to a true opportunity until Jamie Vardy raced through after half an hour, only to slice a close-range chip into the side netting.

With Southampton having more possession without threatening Leicester's goal – they finished the first half without registering a single attempt – Wilfried Ndidi had the next chance, his looping header landing on the roof of the net.

Leicester's breakthrough arrived 10 minutes after the restart. Vardy spun his marker to get to the byline and squared for Iheanacho, who slotted in after his initial effort was blocked.

Southampton responded swiftly, mustering four shots in quick succession, with Ibrahima Diallo going agonisingly close to restoring parity with a strike which whistled just wide.

Returning from the bench after his club-enforced suspension for a breach of COVID-19 regulations, James Maddison could have made it 2-0 with 13 minutes remaining but thumped over from Iheanacho's pass.

Maddison went closer still moments later with a venomous shot which flashed across Fraser Forster's goal, though a blunt Southampton attack failed to make Leicester pay for those missed opportunities.

Harry Kane continues to be linked with a move away from Tottenham and, after last week's defeat to Manchester United, his Spurs future looks little brighter.

Still, the England star has rarely allowed off-field rumours to influence his form, and he happens to be preparing to face one of his favourite opponents in Everton.

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota is another forward we are encouraging Fantasy Football players to select for this week, as the champions get ready for a tricky test at Leeds United.

Is there anyone else who offers good value for this week, we hear you ask? Read on for a handful of suggested picks, as powered by Opta data...

 

RUI PATRICIO

Wolves goalkeeper Rui Patricio has kept five clean sheets in his most recent 13 Premier League games. That might not sound like a lot, but he went 12 matches before there without keeping the ball out of the net.

Those shut-outs have come against some strong opposition, too: Chelsea, Leicester City, Leeds United, Aston Villa and Fulham have all failed to find a way past the Portugal international.

Given Sheffield United have failed to score in 17 league matches this term, the highest number in the division, Patricio is an ideal man for the number-one spot.

PABLO MARI

Backing Arsenal defensively is rarely the safest of bets, but they do have a strong record against promoted teams in the top flight, having kept four clean sheets in their most recent six meetings with such opposition.

Of their four main centre-backs, Pablo Mari has the best rate for minutes per goal conceded: one every 103.

Having helped the Gunners ease past Sheffield United last week, he could be in line for another outing against struggling Fulham.

 

ANTONIO RUDIGER

Antonio Rudiger has only started 14 games in the league this season, but Chelsea have kept clean sheets in nine of those matches, including in five of the most recent seven.

In the most recent game in which the Germany defender did not start, the Blues shipped five goals at home to a West Brom side who were made to look like peak Barcelona.

After their FA Cup semi-final with Manchester City, Chelsea resume league duties against Brighton and Hove Albion – a team with a frustrating habit of failing to turn promising play into goals.

 

DIOGO JOTA

Liverpool might have fallen from the lofty heights of last season, but few could blame their decline on close-season signing Diogo Jota.

The Portugal forward has averaged a goal every 103 minutes in the league this term, the best rate of any Liverpool player. He has also netted in each of his past three away games.

With Leeds United boasting an expected goals against figure of 48.94, the fourth-worst in the division, Jota will fancy his chances at Elland Road.

ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN

With a goal and an assist off the bench against Burnley last week, Allan Saint-Maximin proved just how valuable he could be to Newcastle United's survival hopes.

The winger has been involved in five goals (two scored, three assisted) in his previous six league matches, as many as he managed in 19 before then.

The Magpies face tough opponents in West Ham, but David Moyes' men have conceded nine goals in three league games - and each time after going 3-0 up.

 

HARRY KANE

Harry Kane cut a disconsolate figure after Spurs' loss to Manchester United, but this weekend could offer the chance for a pick-me-up.

Kane has scored nine goals in his past seven games against Everton in all competitions, including five in just three appearances at Goodison Park.

He also just one short of reaching 20 in the top flight in a single season for the fifth time.

KELECHI IHEANACHO

His two goals at West Ham were not quite enough to mount a comeback, but they did underline the red-hot form of Kelechi Iheanacho.

The striker has hit seven goals in five league games, as many as he managed in 63 previous appearances in the competition.

With eight league goals to his name in 2020-21, Iheanacho is just one short of his best ever return for a Premier League season. Next up for Leicester after their FA Cup final? Relegation-threatened West Brom.

In-form Leicester City star Kelechi Iheanacho has signed a new three-year contract with the Foxes.

The Nigeria international, who joined from Manchester City in August 2017, has agreed to a deal that will run until at least the end of the 2023-24 season.

"I can't express how I'm feeling," Iheanacho, who has scored 12 goals this season, told the club's website. "I'm excited, I'm happy, I'm overwhelmed! It's a great moment and I'm happy that Leicester City gave me a new contract.

"It's been a great time here. It's not been easy, but there's a lot of people here that are good people, great people to work with. They are nice people and they make me feel comfortable and welcome since I came in.

"It's been really great being here. It's like a family. I'm happy being here and hopefully I can stay here many more years."

Iheanacho has hit a rich vein of form after previously struggling for Leicester, the 24-year-old having scored seven goals in his previous four appearances.

His five top-flight goals in March, including a hat-trick against Sheffield United, helped him to win the Premier League Player of the Month award, while he also struck the opener in Leicester's 3-1 FA Cup quarter-final win over Manchester United.

His minutes-per-goal rate last month (48) was bettered only by Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski (38.75) across Europe's top-five leagues.

In total, he has scored 32 goals in 117 games for Leicester, leaving manager Brendan Rodgers delighted with his recent performances and his overall attitude.

"Since he has come into the team he has just been fantastic," Rodgers told Sky Sports. "I am delighted for him because he is such a conscientious guy, such an honest guy, and as you can see now, a very talented player.

"All the guys love him. Now what you are starting to see is all his qualities. How he receives the ball. His strength. His finishing ability. His anticipation as a striker. You are seeing all of these things now because he is playing with confidence. I am delighted for him."

Pep Guardiola says Manchester City may not be able to afford a replacement for striker Sergio Aguero.

City confirmed on Monday their all-time leading goalscorer will bring down the curtain on a trophy-laden decade-long spell at the Etihad Stadium when his contract expires in June.

Aguero has won four Premier League titles, one FA Cup and five EFL Cups, a tally he can add to before departing as City are on course for a quadruple this season, including a first Champions League triumph.

City have been tipped to spend big on a new striker at the end of the season, with Erling Haaland, Kylian Mbappe and Harry Kane rumoured to be on their radar.

However, Guardiola insists the Premier League leaders are not in a position to complete such a signing due to the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"With these prices we are not going to buy any striker. It is impossible, we cannot afford it," the Catalan coach said during a news conference on Friday. 

"All clubs struggle financially, we are not an exception. We have Gabriel [Jesus], Ferran [Torres], young academy players, false nines. I don't know what will happen. 

"Today there is more of a big chance we won't sign a new striker for next season."

Aguero has scored 257 goals in 384 appearances for City since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2011, seeing him surpass Eric Brook as the club's all-time record goalscorer.

Guardiola accepts the Argentina international will be a huge loss but is confident he already has the personnel to help fill the void.

"We know how important he is in the present and past. These decisions are never easy," Guardiola said.

"I want to be clear: Maybe we'll find a new player to replace Sergio. In terms of numbers he might be replaced, but in terms of what he means to the club it is impossible.

"We have enough players in the first team, interesting players in the academy. But with the economy the way it is we're not going to sign a new striker this summer."

Aguero is in contention to start Saturday's clash with third-placed Leicester City, who have in-form ex-Manchester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho leading their line.

Iheanacho spent one season playing under Guardiola before joining Leicester in August 2017 and has scored 15 goals in 87 Premier League appearances for the Foxes.

That does not tell the whole story, however, as the Nigeria international has scored five goals in his last three league games, making this his best goalscoring season since his maiden campaign with Manchester City.

Guardiola has been impressed by Iheanacho's recent form, which also includes two goals against Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-finals two weeks ago, and expects a tough match against Brendan Rodgers' high-flying side.

"He's been incredible. The quality was always there as a young player," Guardiola said. "We had Gabriel and Sergio so there we not much space in the squad. 

"He's a fantastic person. We had a good relationship together. I'm delighted he's playing well. He links well with others, he is fast and is also very clear in front of goal."

He added: "I have to admit, since Brendan took over they've been incredible. I remember he took over and after a week, 10 days, wow, he changed them completely from the previous manager. 

"They had an incredible chance to qualifying for the Champions League last season, didn't do it, but they are there again this season. The last 5-10 years they have worked really well on scouting and are a contender every season. 

"They have a top manager, top players. It is a big challenge for us tomorrow."

Guardiola is still unsure on the availability of up to eight of his international players for Saturday's match due to coronavirus restrictions delaying their return to training.

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss has heavily rotated his side between games of late and intends to continue doing so, with a Champions League quarter-final tie against Borussia Dortmund to come on Tuesday.

"We rotate well because we work well when we do that," he said. "When I rotate and we lose you tell me it's disastrous - why rotate? In the modern day, no player can sustain mentally or physically playing every three days. 

"Tomorrow I'll select a team to win that game. I'm sure Man United and Leicester can win a lot of games. Everything in football can happen. 

"We need four victories to be champions and tomorrow is our first chance to win another game. Then when on the coach after the game I'll think about Dortmund."

The leaders have alternated between defeat (two) and victory (two) in their last four Premier League away games against Leicester, winning this fixture 1-0 last season.

Guardiola's side were beaten 5-2 in September's reverse match and Leicester are looking to complete their first league double over Manchester City since the 1986-87 season.

Barcelona have reportedly joined the queue chasing Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

Haaland is a player in demand following his exploits for Bundesliga outfit Dortmund.

The Norway international could be among a number of new recruits at Camp Nou.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND WANTED AT CAMP NOU

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman is leading the club's recruitment this off-season and has identified Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as a key target, according to Diario AS.

Haaland has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Liverpool.

Koeman is also reportedly eyeing City defender Eric Garcia, Lyon captain Memphis Depay and soon-to-be Liverpool free agent Georginio Wijnaldum.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fresh from netting a hat-trick to knock Tottenham out of the Europa League, Dinamo Zagreb's Mislav Orsic has been linked with a move to London rivals Arsenal by The Sun, which claims the Gunners are looking at the Croatian attacker as an off-season signing.

- Marca claims Arsenal will not be able to sign on-loan Martin Odegaard on a permanent deal as parent club Real Madrid see him as part of their long-term future plans.

Roma want either Maurizio Sarri or Massimiliano Allegri to be their next coach to replace Paulo Fonseca, according to Messaggero.

- Calciomercato says rumoured Premier League target Franck Kessie has rejected Milan's latest contract extension offer.

- Schalke's California-born 20-year-old Matthew Hoppe is hot property and Valencia are the latest club to join the chase, alongside TottenhamBarcelona, Ajax and PSV, according to AS.

- The Sun reports in-form Leicester City forward Kelechi Iheanacho will sign a new deal with the club.

Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho continued his hot streak with a brace as Brendan Rodgers' side beat Manchester United 3-1 to book a place in the semi-finals of the FA Cup.

Iheanacho pounced on a first-half error from Fred to open the scoring and headed home Marc Albrighton's free-kick to complete a deserved triumph at the King Power Stadium and book a Wembley date with Southampton.

In between his goals, he laid on Youri Tielemans for Leicester's second and the Nigeria international now has 15 goal involvements in his past 15 starts across all competitions – 11 goals and four assists.

This month, Iheanacho has been on fire, with seven goals in four outings – a return of one every 48 minutes that places him among Europe's elite.

Only Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski (eight, 38.75 mins/goal) has outscored the 24-year-old during this period.

Hot on Iheanacho's heels are Erling Haaland, Karim Benzema and his international team-mate, Simy Nwankwo of Crotone, on six.

Paris Saint-Germain favourite Kylian Mbappe has five in five since the calendar turned, one more than Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne, Youssef En-Nesyri and Gerrard Moreno.

"I'm enjoying it - I just need to focus and keep going," Iheanacho told BBC Sport.

"It's not easy to get an opportunity but I think I am taking mine - I just need to keep working hard every day and they opportunities will keep coming."

Iheanacho's rich vein of form is timely for Leicester, given Jamie Vardy is enduring an unusually barren spell in front of goal.

The former England striker has not scored for eight matches, although he weighed in with two assists as Iheanacho scored a hat-trick in last weekend's 5-0 demolition of Sheffield United and Rodgers is delighted with how the pair are working in tandem.

"Kelechi has always contributed. Maybe his confidence was lower [before] but he works so hard every day and always comes in and gives his all," the Foxes boss told BBC Sport.

"You see his confidence now. He's at the top of his game.

"It's a different structure [up front]. Kelechi is probably best with someone up there with him. Those two are working very well."

The former Manchester City youngster added: "The partnership is really helping us in the team I am really happy playing alongside Jamie.

"It's helping me a lot [in terms of] creating space and getting the shot in behind, so I hope we can keep working hard together."

 

By contrast, United's forwards are struggling at present.

Mason Greenwood got their goal, his first in 16 matches. After bursting onto the scene last season, the teenage striker has scored two FA Cup goals to his solitary effort in the Premier League this time around.

Marcus Rashford was an injury absentee at Leicester and has been, by far, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's most impressive attacker this season with 18 goals and 10 assists.

Anthony Martial's brace in the 9-0 shellacking of Southampton remain his only goals since New Year's Day, while Edinson Cavani has not completed 90 minutes since February 14 due to injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pinned the blame for Manchester United's limp FA Cup exit on his side's hectic schedule as they suffered a 3-1 quarter-final loss at Leicester City.

United were beaten by a double from in-form Kelechi Iheanacho and one from Youri Tielemans at the King Power Stadium as the Foxes secured just a second victory over the Red Devils in 26 meetings in all competitions.

Mason Greenwood's first-half leveller – his first goal in 16 games – ended up being a mere consolation for the visitors as Brendan Rodgers marked his 100th game in charge by leading Leicester to their first FA Cup semi-final since 1982.

For United, it was a first away defeat in domestic competition since January 19 last year, with manager Solskjaer citing a busy fixture list that has recently included a tough two-legged Europa League tie with Milan.

"We didn't have the spark, but it's understandable," he told BBC Sport. "This team have been fantastic in the last three or four months. We played every three days and have been on a great run. It just caught up with us, all the games and travel.

"Thursday night in Milan was a big night and took a lot of out of us physically. We didn't have the extra zip, authority and confidence.

"We tried to get on the front foot and start well because sometimes you can get that adrenaline boost and confidence if you get a goal and that can carry you over the line.

"We've got too many players that have played too many games and too many that haven't really had much football; Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, Paul Pogba and others are trying to get in who haven't had enough football. We didn't have enough against a tough team."

The first goal came about after a woeful mistake from Fred, whose attempted pass back to Dean Henderson gifted former Manchester City striker Iheanacho a simple finish.

But the Norwegian refused to point the finger at any individuals, insisting such mistakes come with the territory of playing out from deep.

"We want to build from the back and want the players to be confident," he said. "Sometimes it doesn't work and that's one time it didn't.

"When we win, we win together, and when we lose, we lose together. We're not pointing fingers and blaming.

"The second one is a good goal by the boy but maybe with a zip of energy we could've got to him and wouldn't have been done as easily in the middle.

"That's been one of our strengths, keeping clean sheets and being dogged, but we didn't have the opportunity."

Solskjaer is now looking ahead to what remains of United's season, which still holds the prospect of continental silverware and a shot at sealing second spot in the Premier League.

"We've got the Europa League and Premier League to concentrate on," he said. "Yes, we would've liked to go to Wembley, but now all the focus is on the games we do have.

"We're in a good position in the league and we want to keep improving; of course, Leicester are just behind us, so it won't be easy, but we want to keep going and get as far as possible in the Europa as well."

Leicester City reached the FA Cup semi-finals for the first time since 1982 after a 3-1 win over Manchester United in Sunday's quarter-final clash.

Two goals from Kelechi Iheanacho and one from Youri Tielemans were enough to give the Foxes only a second victory over the Red Devils in 26 meetings in all competitions.

United, who levelled in the first half through Mason Greenwood before Tielemans' fine winner, looked well short of their best for much of a contest for which they made five changes from their Europa League win in Milan three days earlier.

Iheanacho headed in a third 13 minutes from time to make certain of victory as United lost an away match in domestic competition for the first time since January 19 last year.

Fred had twice lost possession in United's half before his dreadful backpass to goalkeeper Dean Henderson gifted Iheanacho an easy finish.

Despite their changes, United played like a team struggling with fatigue in the first half, as Leicester pressed them into errors without managing to take full advantage.

It was therefore something of a surprise when the visitors levelled seven minutes before the break. Pogba's low cross from the left was dummied superbly by Donny van de Beek, giving Greenwood the chance to smash home his first goal in 16 appearances.

Leicester regained their lead in prompt fashion in the second half, though, Tielemans drilling a fine shot beyond the reach of Henderson after drifting easily away from Nemanja Matic and Fred.

Jamie Vardy should have made it 3-1, skipping beyond Harry Maguire only to drag a shot wide of the left-hand post with only Henderson to beat, prompting Solskjaer to make four changes to breathe life into United's display.

It was one of those substitutes, Scott McTominay, who conceded a cheap free-kick near the box and then allowed Iheanacho to drift behind him to nod home Marcus Albrighton's delivery.

 

All eyes were on the Emirates Stadium on Sunday for the north London derby and there was a lot of comforting familiarity on display.

A red card, Erik Lamela attempting a rabona (and scoring it!) instead of using his right foot, and, of course, Spurs throwing away a lead.

Elsewhere, Manchester United remained on course to finish second as they ensured David Moyes' continues to dread returning to his former employers, while Sheffield United's first game since Chris Wilder's exit arguably proved just how good the Yorkshireman was as manager.

There was also a potentially vital win near the bottom of the table for Brighton and Hove Albion, and we have taken a look at all the best Opta facts from those games.

Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham: Spurs surrender once again in a north London derby

Lamela's opening goal will be shown in north London derby highlight reels for years – his rabona finish was so good, so audacious.

But even with that being the opening goal, it never really looked like being decisive, so underwhelming were Spurs otherwise from an attacking perspective – the fact they went on to lose meant they have now dropped 45 points from winning positions against Arsenal in the Premier League, the most of any team against a specific opponent in the competition.

After Martin Odegaard levelled, becoming just the fourth Gunners player to score in his first top-flight north London derby, Alexandre Lacazette's second-half penalty secured Arsenal the points.

It was Spurs' ninth league defeat of the season, the joint-most Jose Mourinho has ever suffered in a single season, and Lamela's sending off certainly did not help their situation.

In collecting two bookings, he became only the fifth substitute in Premier League history to score and be sent off in the same game.

His goal will be the enduring moment from the match, but in the grand scheme it was meaningless for a Spurs side in increasing danger of missing out on the top four.

Manchester United 1-0 West Ham: Moyes' Old Trafford misery continues

It was not an occasion for the neutral at Old Trafford as Man United scraped an unconvincing win thanks to an own goal by Craig Dawson.

The defeat means only Harry Redknapp (15) has managed more Premier League games away to United without winning than former Red Devils boss Moyes (14 – four draws, 10 losses).

The Hammers' difficulties in front of goal were partly to blame as none of their seven attempts were on target, the highest number of shots they have had in a league game without a single accurate once since August 2013 (nine shots).

On the flipside, Man United kept a fourth straight Premier League clean sheet for the first time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the club last achieving that feat in January 2018 under Mourinho.

They have also lost just one of their previous 23 league outings having suffered three losses in their opening six games this term.

Leicester City 5-0 Sheffield United: Blades suffer bruising defeat as they venture into the Wilder-less wilderness

Less than 24 hours on from confirmation of Wilder's "mutual" departure as Blades manager, many were likely left wondering why the club did not fight harder to keep him.

While seemingly doomed for relegation anyway, Wilder retained significant respect for the job he presided over at Bramall Lane, and Sunday's result showed why.

With interim boss Paul Heckingbottom taking over for the first time, he has already shipped five goals in a single game as many times as Wilder did in 227 matches (a 5-4 defeat to Fulham in 2017). Their former manager was never beaten by more than a three-goal margin.

Heckingbottom also became only the third manager in Premier League history to lose by five or more goals in his first game, but this should not take credit away from Brendan Rodgers' ferocious Foxes.

Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first hat-trick and also netted in three successive top-flight games for the first time. Jamie Vardy set up two of those goals and in doing so became only the sixth player to register 100 or more goal involvements in the Premier League after turning 30.

Those to achieve this before him were Teddy Sheringham, Frank Lampard, Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Gianfranco Zola – esteemed company indeed.

Southampton 1-2 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls remember their shooting boots as Saints sink

Much has been said and written about Brighton's woes in front of goal this term, but they got the job done here.

Their 2-1 win at St Mary's is only the second time in 2021 that they have scored twice or more in a single Premier League game – the other instance was their 3-3 draw with Wolves in their first match of the year.

This was their 11th outing since.

The win took Graham Potter's men three points clear of the relegation zone and just four behind Saints, who are in a difficult spot.

It is 10 defeats in the past 12 Premier League games now for Southampton, with Ralph Hasenhuttl coming under increasing pressure – their previous 10 losses came across a 38-match spell.

Kelechi Iheanacho scored twice as Leicester City moved clear at the top of their Europa League group with a 4-0 win over Braga.

Starting in place of Jamie Vardy up top, the Nigerian produced a fine individual performance, netting in either half and setting up substitute Dennis Praet for the third.

Another impressive performer, James Maddison, then rounded off a comfortable victory with a goal late in the second half.

Leicester now hold a three-point cushion at the summit of Group G and look well placed to make the knockout stages with just half of their fixtures completed.

In dipping temperatures at the King Power Stadium, both sides took time to warm up, leading to a scrappy opening quarter of an hour.

And the biting cold will only have enhanced the pain of the knee to the thigh James Maddison received early on during a challenge with Ali Musrati.

The Englishman was seen limping as he attempted to run off that blow but looked to be moving well enough as he played a beautifully weighted one-two to release Iheanacho in behind.

The Foxes striker still had work to do from a tight angle, but bundled past Matheus with a degree of good fortune before tapping into an empty net.

Braga responded well, with Bruno Viana heading on target before a well-timed Hamza Choudhury slide stopped Abel Ruiz latching onto a delicious Ricardo Esgaio cross at the back post.

But the visitors' failure to capitalise on those chances was punished moments after the restart, Iheanacho grabbing his second with a deflected effort from range.

Leicester's lone striker turned provider with just over 20 minutes remaining, picking out an inch-perfect cross to give Praet a tap-in at the back post.

His reward for that contribution was an early withdrawal, with Brendan Rodgers making the most of generous substitution rules in Europe to give his tiring players a rest.

The hosts did not take their foot off the gas, however, with Maddison grabbing a deserved goal 12 minutes from time, jinking through the Braga defence to poke home.

James Maddison, Harvey Barnes and Kelechi Iheanacho all scored as Leicester City began their Europa League campaign with a routine 3-0 win over Zorya Luhansk. 

In their first meeting with Ukrainian opposition, Leicester had to withstand a sharp start from their Group G rivals at the King Power Stadium on Thursday. 

However, Maddison's 29th-minute effort put Brendan Rodgers' side ahead, with Barnes – who had played a crucial role in the opener – doubling the lead on the stroke of half-time. 

Wesley Fofana missed a chance to make matters even more comfortable, though the points were wrapped up when Iheanacho slotted in a low finish.

Vladyslav Kabaev should have capped a dominant start for Zorya with an opener in the 22nd minute, only for the forward to fail to beat Kasper Schmeichel from close range.  

Maddison saw a goal rightly disallowed for offside from the counter-attacking move that followed, but he broke the deadlock moments later.  

Barnes' wonderful strike hit the post but Iheanacho managed to turn the rebound into the path of Maddison, who prodded into an empty net.  

Leicester got lucky when Dmitriy Ivanisenya volleyed wide from Schmeichel's poor clearance, yet they had their second when Barnes raced onto Iheanacho's flick and lifted a sublime finish over Mykyta Shevchenko.  

Fofana headed just wide 10 minutes after the restart, with Maddison then curling over from the egde of the penalty area. 

A third for the hosts did eventually arrive in the 67th minute, Iheanacho – who became the first Nigerian to assist two goals in a single Europa League game – rounding off a fine individual display with a brilliant finish to add further gloss to the scoreline.


What does it mean? Foxes back to winning ways

Without the injured Jamie Vardy, Leicester went down 1-0 to Ross Barkley's late goal for Aston Villa on Sunday, following on from a 3-0 defeat to West Ham before the international break.

However, they bounced back from those disappointing results, securing their maiden win in UEFA's second-tier club competition, though they had only previously played in it during the 2000-01 season.

Leicester's front three run the show

Barnes was key to both of Leicester's first-half goals, while Maddison, who has scored twice in his last three appearances in all competitions, proved instrumental in a free role, having three shots and creating two chances. 

Yet Iheanacho was arguably the star performer, with his persistence integral to Leicester's opener. He also displayed brilliant skill for the second, then dispatched his goal with pinpoint accuracy.

Kabaev left to rue glaring miss

Schmeichel rushed off his line to close the angle on Kabaev, but Zorya's striker should have done better from less than 10 yards out. It proved to be his only attempt of the game as he was taken off in the 65th minute.

What's next?

Leicester visit Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday before facing AEK Athens in their next European outing. Zorya's second Group G fixture sees them take on Sporting Braga. 

Kelechi Iheanacho's late goal spared Leicester City's blushes and secured a 1-1 draw at home to Aston Villa in the EFL Cup semi-final first leg, leaving the tie in the balance.

Brendan Rodgers' Foxes went into the match on the back of three successive wins across all competitions, but they struggled to make the most of their superiority in Wednesday's clash, with Iheanacho's late equaliser the best they could muster.

For all of Leicester's first-half dominance, Villa were the more effective in the final third, opening the scoring just before the half-hour mark through Frederic Guilbert and then going agonisingly close to a second when Ezri Konsa was denied by the crossbar.

Villa's desire to attack vanished entirely in the second half as Leicester desperately attempted to break them down and eventually substitute Iheanacho capitalised on a defensive mishap to prevent a first-leg defeat.

Leicester initially had little difficulty establishing control, as they created several opportunities during the early exchanges – the best of which arrived in the 22nd minute, when Jamie Vardy's effort from a tight angle was blocked by Orjan Nyland in the Villa goal.

Villa scored against the run of play soon after through Guilbert, who threw himself into the danger zone to prod Anwar El Ghazi's cross past Kasper Schmeichel.

The Leicester goalkeeper was fortunate to not be picking the ball out of the net for a second time just before the break as he was beaten to a free-kick delivery by Konsa, but his header came back off the bar.

Leicester's grip on proceedings only tightened after the break, but Nyland continued to frustrate, rushing out to thwart James Maddison just past the hour when the midfielder had brilliantly made space for himself.

But Nyland was helpless 16 minutes from time, as Iheanacho lashed past him after Douglas Luiz had been caught in possession by Hamza Choudhury.

What does it mean? Leicester will fancy their chances

Although they were expected to win at home, Leicester will still be confident of securing a spot in the final to – presumably – face Manchester City.

While Villa's defence held out for a while, this match highlighted the gulf in quality between the two sets of players – surely Leicester will not be this wasteful next time.

Maddison Leicester's bright spark

While he may not have ended the match with a goal or assist, there is no doubt Maddison was the biggest threat for Leicester. In an impressive outing, he had a total of eight shots, created four chances, delivered five good crosses and completed 95 per cent of his 65 passes.

Schmeichel fails to inspire confidence

Nyland was in fine form at one end – at the other, Schmeichel was underwhelming. The Dane might have done better for the goal and was then all at sea when Konsa hit the bar.

What's next?

These two return to Premier League action at the weekend, with the Foxes hosting Southampton on Saturday and Villa welcoming Manchester City the following day. They face each other in the second leg on January 28.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.