Manchester United and Arsenal played out a 1-1 Premier League draw that does little for either side's hopes of earning Champions League qualification by finishing in the top four.

Scott McTominay's first-half strike put United in front at a wet Old Trafford on Monday but Arsenal struck back 13 minutes into the second period through the prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

A low-quality match saw few chances to snatch all three points thereafter, McTominay having the best opportunity to win the game but failing to convert a United corner while Marcus Rashford's free-kick was saved by Bernd Leno added time.

In driving Manchester rain it took until the 29th minute - the longest wait in the league this season - for the game's first shot, Leno saving easily from Andreas Pereira's low drive.

The match slowly opened up with Nicolas Pepe testing David de Gea at his near post, the goalkeeper then making a fine double save to deny Bukayo Saka and Matteo Guendouzi.

United struck moments before half-time, McTominay lashing home a stunning 20-yard strike for his first Old Trafford goal after Daniel James and Marcus Rashford led a rapid break.

Arsenal hit back in the 58th minute as VAR correctly overruled a terrible offside decision from the linesman after Axel Tuanzebe gave the ball away in a bad position.

Bukayo Saka seized on Tuanzebe's loose pass and fed Aubameyang, who stole through to beat De Gea with a clever chipped finish for his seventh Premier League goal of the season.

Paul Pogba bent a shot just wide as United tried to respond then McTominay should have restored their lead from an Ashley Young corner, planting a free header well over the crossbar.

United looked likelier to win it late on but Leno brilliantly saved from Rashford before De Gea had to deny substitute Reiss Nelson at the death.

 

What does it mean? Champions League return a long way away

The fact this game was being played on a Monday, 24 hours before Manchester City and Tottenham will be in Champions League action, will not have been lost on fans of United and Arsenal. On this display, returning to Europe's elite any time soon is improbable for both teams, although the draw leaves Arsenal in fourth with United three points back in 10th place.


Saka a star in the making

Alexandre Lacazette's ankle injury has provided a chance for Saka to shine and the 18-year-old is taking it with both hands.

He has been directly involved in four goals in his four appearances in all competitions this season and earned praise from Cesc Fabregas on Twitter, the former Arsenal star writing: "Saka is a player. 18 years old showing great maturity."


Xhaka ducking feeds the narrative

McTominay's rocket looked destined for the top corner as soon as it left his right boot, but Arsenal's new official club captain Granit Xhaka arguably could have blocked it. Replays appeared to show Xhaka ducked his head away from the ball's flight instead of getting in the way. 

It is tempting to speculate whether Patrick Vieira or Tony Adams, two Gunners greats who wore the armband in more successful times for Arsenal, would have risked a bloody nose and stopped the shot.


What's next?

Both teams are in Europa League action on Thursday, with Arsenal hosting Standard Liege while United are away to Eredivisie outfit AZ. In the Premier League at the weekend it is Newcastle United away for the Red Devils and Arsenal are at home to Bournemouth.

As Chelsea slumped to a third winless Premier League home game, Frank Lampard's name rang out around Stamford Bridge in a show of support rarely afforded to his predecessor, Maurizio Sarri.

That the club's all-time leading goal-scorer has survived a tough start to life as manager with his reputation relatively intact comes as little surprise given the esteem in which he is held in west London, but the honeymoon period cannot last.

Sarri knows only too well how quickly things can sour at Chelsea, where his undefeated Blues side conceded just four goals in the Italian's first six league games in charge, yet he still found himself under pressure a few months into his tenure.

Lampard has claimed only two wins from his opening six, seeing his defence ship 13 goals and fail to keep a single clean sheet, but his salvation may lie among Chelsea's young guns.

With the club under a transfer embargo, Lampard has not hesitated to give key roles to talented youngsters who have transformed the mood around the club, despite a slow start to the season.

The potential on show at the Bridge appears to have prompted one of England's most impatient clubs to take a long-term approach for the first time in over a decade.

But just how good are the young stars of Lampard's team? With the help of Opta data, we offer a mid-term report on three of Chelsea's brightest hopes.

TAMMY ABRAHAM

Tammy Abraham had the opportunity to equal Luis Suarez's Premier League record of scoring two or more goals in four consecutive matches when Chelsea faced Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

He came up short, failing to find the net as the Blues lost 2-1, but his performance did no harm to his growing reputation as one of the deadliest strikers in the top flight.

The 21-year-old scored seven goals in three games to ensure he will be a marked man this season, plundering braces against Norwich City and Sheffield United, before netting a hat-trick in Chelsea's 5-2 win at Wolves.

Abraham is averaging a goal every 58.2 minutes, which puts him right up there with Sergio Aguero (one goal every 55.8mins) among the league's most dependable finishers and his shot conversion rate of 38.8 per cent compares well to Aguero's (32 per cent).

The former Swansea loanee has created six chances for team-mates - more than Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (four) or Alexandre Lacazette (two) - and while his passing accuracy (71.95 per cent) is not among the league's highest, he has a better duel success rate (35.38 per cent) than Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (30.91).

MASON MOUNT

Lampard knew he could rely on Mason Mount to step up, having had his faith in the 20-year-old repaid time and time again while they worked together at Derby County last season.

But even the Chelsea boss will not have dared hope Mount would acclimatise to life in the top flight as quickly as he has in his six matches in the Blues' first team.

After a frustrating full debut in the 4-0 defeat at Manchester United, Mount announced himself to the Stamford Bridge faithful with Chelsea's only goal in a 1-1 draw with Leicester City.

The attacking midfielder has since netted in Chelsea's wins at Norwich and Wolves, putting him level with Marcus Rashford and Roberto Firmino on three league goals this season.

Mount brings a lot more than just finishing prowess to Lampard's Chelsea side and his ability to run with the ball and create chances for team-mates has put him among the Premier League's most dangerous players this season.

A dribble success rate of 64.71 per cent puts Mount ahead of Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Daniel James, while he is level with Salah and Sadio Mane on 12 chances created.

CHRISTIAN PULISIC

Christian Pulisic has started three of Chelsea's six league games this season but that has been enough for him to demonstrate his prowess as a potentially consistent creative force.

The 21-year-old signing from Borussia Dortmund has created four chances from open play - one more than Manchester United's much-talked-about new arrival James and as many as Arsenal talisman Aubameyang.

Pulisic has yet to score a league goal in a Chelsea shirt, attempting just four shots, but he selflessly played in Mount for the Blues' second in their 3-2 win at Norwich City.

Pulisic, who has three years' worth of experience at international level with the United States, has impressed with his touch and composure, and his passing accuracy of 85.05 per cent is better than that of Manchester City lynchpin Kevin De Bruyne (83.69) and Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen (83.57).

Having completed eight out of his 19 attempted dribbles, Pulisic does not boast the league's best success rate when running with the ball, but he has shown potential even on quieter outings.

Manchester City sent a message to the Premier League with an 8-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday, but Liverpool claimed victory at Chelsea to ensure they maintained the lead in this season's title race.

The Reds held their nerve in the wake of City's emphatic performance, taking a first-half lead at Stamford Bridge and withstanding a late wave of Chelsea pressure to emerge with a 2-1 win.

While the top two attempt to outstrip each other, Tottenham and Arsenal are lagging behind and there were mixed fortunes for the North London rivals in matchweek six.

After a thrilling weekend of top-flight action, the Opta data sheds light on the important details.

 

REDS SET RECORD AS FLYING START CONTINUES

Liverpool's 2-1 win at Chelsea made them the first team in top-flight history to win the opening six matches in two consecutive seasons.

Goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino helped maintain the European champions' unstoppable league form as they clinched their 15th consecutive domestic victory.

Even champions Manchester City have been unable to keep pace with the Reds this season, but Pep Guardiola's men remain the only team in top-flight history to have achieved a longer winning sequence (18 wins between August and December 2017).

It was Jurgen Klopp's 92nd victory in his 150th Premier League game in charge of the Reds, and former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho (105 wins) is the only manager who can boast a better return from his first 150 matches in the competition.

Blues manager Frank Lampard is still without a home win after taking charge of four matches in all competitions at Stamford Bridge, making him only the second Chelsea boss to start with such a long winless run after Bobby Campbell in 1988.

RECORDS TUMBLE AS CITY RUN RIOT

With the champions determined to return to winning ways after last weekend's shock defeat to Norwich City, poor Watford never stood a chance against Guardiola's rampant side.

The records tumbled as City recorded their biggest ever victory in the English top-flight and inflicted the Hornets' heaviest ever defeat in the top four tiers of English football.

David Silva's opener after just 52 seconds was the fastest goal in the Premier League this season, while City's five goals in just 18 minutes made them the fastest team to go 5-0 up in the competition's history.

Not only did Sergio Aguero bring up 100 Premier League goals at the Etihad Stadium with his early penalty, he also became the first player to score in seven consecutive Premier League appearances since Romelu Lukaku in December 2015.

SPURS LET LEAD SLIP AGAIN AT LEICESTER

Tottenham's stuttering season continued at the King Power Stadium as they slipped to a 2-1 defeat to Leicester City despite Harry Kane's goal giving them a 1-0 lead at half-time.

Ricardo Pereira equalised in the 69th minute before James Maddison struck the winner five minutes from time, condemning Spurs to a third consecutive Premier League away game in which they led at half-time but failed to win – their first such run since March 2008.

Maddison's goal was his first in the Premier League since he scored against Huddersfield Town in April, ending a frustrating run of 31 shots without finding the net as he clinched three impressive points for the Foxes.

There were some positive stats for Kane, who has scored more goals (14 in 13 games) against Leicester than any other side in his professional career and more away goals (13) than any other Premier League player since the start of last season.

But those figures will feel meaningless to the England man after his side lost for the second time in four league games.

GUNNERS PULL THROUGH AFTER MAITLAND-NILES SEES RED

Arsenal were 1-0 down at home to Aston Villa when Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off for a second bookable offence but Unai Emery's men prevailed 3-2 after an impressive second-half performance with 10 men.

It was the ninth time in Premier League history that a team had won a match after having a man sent off while trailing and Arsenal had Nicolas Pepe, Calum Chambers and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to thank for finding the net.

Aubameyang scored the winner in the 84th minute and his goal-scoring record stands at 16 in his past 16 games in all competitions for Arsenal, including goals in each of his last four outings.

Maitland-Niles, meanwhile, became the first Arsenal player to be sent off more than once in the Premier League in the same calendar year since Laurent Koscielny in 2013 (both players sent off twice).

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's late free-kick handed 10-man Arsenal a 3-2 Premier League win over Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The Gunners threw away a two-goal lead to draw with Watford last weekend and looked like they would be on the end of another disappointing result when John McGinn scored for Villa after 20 minutes.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off for the hosts shortly before the break after picking up a second booking, but Nicolas Pepe's first goal for the club – from the penalty spot – pulled them level after 59 minutes.

Parity lasted for only a minute as Wesley's close-range finish restored Villa's lead, but Calum Chambers and Aubameyang struck in the final 10 minutes to move Unai Emery's side up to fourth in the Premier League.

Bukayo Saka put 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt to the sword as Arsenal began their Europa League campaign with a 3-0 victory at the Commerzbank-Arena.

Making his second start for Arsenal, 18-year-old Saka opened his account for the club in the 85th minute and added an assist for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang two minutes later as a much-changed line-up bounced back from a second-half collapse against Watford in the Premier League on Saturday.

The late flurry came after Dominik Kohr was shown a second yellow card for a trip on Saka, with Joe Willock having opened the scoring in an open encounter in Germany.

The trip to Frankfurt was expected to be Arsenal's toughest test in Group F – which also includes Standard Liege and Vitoria SC – but an impressive display ensured they will return to London with maximum points.

One of the more interesting subplots of any Premier League season is the race for the Golden Boot.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah were joint recipients of the title last season after all finishing on 22 goals.

That figure could be comfortably exceeded this time around, with a number of familiar names – such as Aubameyang, Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling – starting the campaign in prolific form.

They are joined at the top of the scoring charts by two players who excelled in the Championship last season: Tammy Abraham and Teemu Pukki.

Using Opta data, we take a closer look at the records of those five in the opening five games of the season and compare their stats from the same period in the 2018-19 campaign.  

 

SERGIO AGUERO (MANCHESTER CITY) - SEVEN GOALS

Aguero has started the season in blistering form and sits atop the scoring charts with Abraham on seven goals.

It is a marked improvement on his tally of three at the same stage last season; a period in which he played an additional 32 minutes.

It is little surprise that Aguero is finding the net regularly, given his superb record since joining City in 2011, but it is his ruthless efficiency this season that has caught the eye. The Argentina international's seven goals have come from just eight shots on target.

Aguero has been far from selfish so far this term, however, carving out seven chances for his team-mates; one of which has been dispatched.

TAMMY ABRAHAM (CHELSEA) - SEVEN GOALS

Chelsea's transfer ban might well have forced Frank Lampard to use Abraham more than he had planned, but the 21-year-old has well and truly taken his chance.

His electric beginning to the campaign is in contrast to a comparatively sluggish start to life on loan with Aston Villa in the Championship last season where he scored just twice in the club's opening five games.

He has played 80 minutes fewer in the top flight so far this season but has scored seven goals from just eight shots on target.

His hat-trick against Wolves at the weekend made him the third player in Premier League history to score two or more goals in three consecutive appearances aged 21 or younger.

TEEMU PUKKI (NORWICH CITY) - SIX GOALS

The Finland international has been one of the surprise packages of the season, plundering six goals for the newly promoted Canaries.

He scored a whopping 29 goals to help his side win promotion last season but started slowly, scoring just two goals in his first five appearances.

There has been no such slumber at the start of this campaign, however.

He took just three shots in his opening five games last season, but Daniel Farke's aggressive approach to life in the top flight has clearly benefited Pukki, who has already attempted 12 shots.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (ARSENAL) - FIVE GOALS

It is hardly a surprise that the Gunners striker is among the deadliest strikers so far this season.

Since his Premier League debut in February 2018, only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (53) has been directly involved in more goals in the competition (37 goals and nine assists).

The bad news for defences across the country is that he might be getting even more prolific.

He scored just once in his opening five games last season, but his brace against Watford on Sunday means he already has five to his name this campaign. Given that start, it will not be a surprise to see him comfortably surpass last season's tally of 22 goals.

RAHEEM STERLING (MANCHESTER CITY) - FIVE GOALS

Sterling set his stall out this season with a hat-trick in City's resounding opening day victory over West Ham.

It marked the continuation of a stunning few seasons for the former Liverpool man, who is now firmly considered to be one of the Premier League's deadliest finishers.

With 49 touches in the opposition box already this season – 18 more than his nearest rival in the top five – it is hardly surprising that he has five goals to his name; two more than he had in the same period last term.

He has also been a consummate team player, laying on eight chances for his team-mates.

Norwich City caused the biggest shock of the Premier League season on Saturday when they registered a famous 3-2 win over reigning champions Manchester City at Carrow Road.

That stunning result means Liverpool are now five points clear at the summit after Jurgen Klopp's side ran out 3-1 winners over Newcastle United to maintain their perfect start to the campaign.

Arsenal threw away a two-goal lead over Watford at Vicarage Road to draw 2-2, while Tammy Abraham netted a hat-trick as Chelsea thumped Wolves 5-2.

With the help of Opta stats, we take a deep dive into the weekend's biggest stories.

 

UNSTOPPABLE PUKKI STUNS CITY

Norwich were outstanding in their dramatic win over Pep Guardiola's side, inflicting a first defeat for the champions against a newly promoted opponent since March 2015 when they lost to Burnley.

It was a defensive nightmare for City, who conceded twice in the opening half-hour of a Premier League game for the second time under Guardiola. The other occasion was against Leicester City in December 2016, when they also conceded three times in total.

Central to the Canaries' success was Teemu Pukki, who has now been involved in eight goals (six scored, two assisted) in his first five Premier League appearances. Only Sergio Aguero has been involved in more goals (nine) in the same number of games at the start of their time in the competition.

Aguero's strike on the stroke of half-time, meanwhile, saw him become just the third player to score in a team's first five Premier League matches of a season after Jose Antonio Reyes for Arsenal in 2004-05 and Wayne Rooney for Manchester United in 2011-12.

LIVERPOOL SWEEP ASIDE MAGPIES

Newcastle took a surprise early lead against Liverpool, but Jurgen Klopp's side bounced back in style to become just the fourth team to win 14 consecutive English top-flight matches.

The Reds have now won their opening five games of the Premier League season for a second consecutive campaign. The only previous two teams to do so in back-to-back seasons were Chelsea (2009-10 and 2010-11) and Manchester City (2015-16 and 2016-17).

Andy Robertson proved a handful for Newcastle with another industrious display. His assist for Sadio Mane's equaliser took him to 17 for Liverpool in the Premier League since the start of the 2017-18 season, more than any other defender in that period.

Defeat for Newcastle represented a 13th loss in their last 14 Premier League away games against 'big six' opponents, with three of those losses coming at Anfield.

AUBAMEYANG HEROICS NOT ENOUGH FOR GUNNERS

Arsenal will consider themselves lucky to have scraped a point at Watford despite holding a two-goal lead thanks to the prolific Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Since his Premier League debut in February 2018, the Gabon international has been directly involved in 46 goals in the competition (37 scored, nine assisted). Only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (53) has had a hand in more in this time.

The Hornets were rampant in the second period, attempting 31 shots – the highest tally the Gunners have faced in a Premier League game since Opta began collecting such data in the division in 2003-04.

It should perhaps come as little surprise that Watford's leveller was from the penalty spot. Since the start of last season, no side has conceded more goals via penalties than the Gunners (10, level with Brighton and Hove Albion).

ABRAHAM MAKING HIS MARK ON THE BIG STAGE

Tammy Abraham enjoyed a day to remember as Chelsea ensured Wolves' wait for a league win this season goes on.

The England striker – who was prolific on loan with Aston Villa in the Championship last season – became the youngest ever Blues player to score a hat-trick in the Premier League and is the youngest Englishman to do so since Raheem Sterling against Bournemouth in October 2015.

He also became just the third player in Premier League history to score two or more goals in three consecutive appearances aged 21 or younger after Cristiano Ronaldo in 2006 and Dele Alli in 2017.

Wolves, meanwhile, conceded five goals in a home Premier League game for the first time since a 5-0 defeat to Manchester United in March 2012.

Mistakes from Sokratis and David Luiz saw Arsenal squander a two-goal lead as Watford earned a 2-2 draw in Quique Sanchez Flores' first game back in charge at Vicarage Road. 

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's deadly finishing, in the absence of the injured Alexandre Lacazette, looked to have steered Arsenal to victory after the Gabon international netted twice in 11 first-half minutes to take his tally to five in five Premier League games this season.

Unai Emery's men took the lead when Will Hughes was bundled off the ball and Aubameyang finished off a fast break with a cool finish, and the second arrived soon after courtesy of an astute Mesut Ozil throughball.

But Arsenal came under heavy pressure in the opening stages of both halves of an entertaining encounter and Watford pulled one back after a calamitous pass from Sokratis allowed Tom Cleverley a chance that he buried with aplomb.

David Luiz conceded a penalty nine minutes from time that substitute Roberto Pereyra confidently converted.

Arsenal, who came from behind to draw 2-2 with Tottenham in their last outing, are now winless in three Premier League games, while Sanchez Flores doubled Watford's points tally for the season by guiding them to a draw.

Unai Emery has handed Mesut Ozil his first Premier League start of the season as Arsenal make the short journey to Vicarage Road for their clash with Watford.

Illness has kept Ozil out of Emery's side during Arsenal's mixed start to the season, with a place among the Gunners' unused substitutes in a 2-2 draw against Tottenham the closest he has come to making an appearance.

Ozil's season was also delayed by the alleged attempted carjacking in July that left him, along with team-mate Sead Kolasinac, said to be mentally unready to join the team for the latter part of Arsenal's pre-season training.

Ozil, who has made at least 20 league starts for Arsenal in the past six seasons, was handed a place behind Emery's front two of Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang against Watford, with Dani Ceballos returning to the starting line-up in place of Lucas Torreira.

Arsenal won their opening two league games of the season against Newcastle United and Burnley before suffering defeat against Liverpool and then drawing at home against Spurs.

Watford, meanwhile, have taken just one point from their opening four matches of the season.

The Premier League table is taking on a familiar look after matchweek four, with undefeated Liverpool and Manchester City setting the pace following comfortable victories.

But there are some unexpected sides among the chasing pack, with Leicester City and Crystal Palace completing the top four after home wins, while Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham sit outside the top six.

At the other end of the table, promoted Aston Villa and Norwich City are struggling to get going and both suffered away defeats, while the division is propped up by last season's FA Cup finalists Watford, who picked up their first point.

A delve into the Opta data on the weekend's action reveals the milestones being passed and records being set as the 2019-20 season unfolds.

FIRMINO REACHES 50 AS REDS MAKE HISTORY

Liverpool's 3-0 victory over Burnley at Turf Moor marked a historic milestone for the Anfield club, who have won 13 league games in a row for the first time in their history.

Those 13 victories have all featured more than one Liverpool goal and the Reds are the first side to achieve that feat since Tottenham's glorious team of 1960.

After Chris Wood's own-goal opened the scoring at Burnley, Sadio Mane doubled Liverpool's lead with his 30th in all competitions since the start of the last season, pulling him level with Mohamed Salah over that time period.

Roberto Firmino's strike 10 minutes from time wrapped up a straightforward victory for the European champions and made him the first Brazilian player to score 50 Premier League goals. He is the ninth player to reach that milestone in the Premier League era for Liverpool, who have more half-centurions than any other club in the division except Manchester United, who have also had nine 50-goal players.

DERBY TURNAROUND DENIES SPURS MUCH-NEEDED AWAY WIN

Tottenham looked on course for their first league win away from home in eight attempts when goals from Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane put Mauricio Pochettino's men 2-0 up over north London rivals Arsenal.

But Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back for the hosts just before half-time and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang drew Arsenal level in the second half to leave Tottenham with a record of two draws and six defeats from their last eight Premier League away games - their longest winless streak on the road since December 2011 to April 2012 (also eight games).

Pochettino's record in away visits to fellow 'big six' opponents is poor, with Spurs having won just three of their 27 such trips since he took over in 2014-15.

Arsenal went behind when Bernd Leno parried the ball to Eriksen's feet - the goalkeeper's sixth error since the start of last season - and Granit Xhaka conceded a penalty for the fifth time since his Premier League debut to allow Kane to make it 2-0.

But Lacazette narrowed the deficit before Aubameyang scored in his seventh successive Premier League start at Emirates Stadium - an Arsenal record bettered only by Thierry Henry, who scored in nine successive starts at Highbury.

AGUERO ONE SHORT OF HOME CENTURY

Sergio Aguero scored twice in Manchester City's 4-0 demolition of Brighton and Hove Albion, taking the Argentinian to 99 Premier League goals at Etihad Stadium.

Only Thierry Henry at Highbury (114) and Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford (101) have scored more goals at a single venue in Premier League history than Aguero, whose second goal was assisted by David Silva.

That came after former Spain playmaker Silva also laid on Kevin De Bruyne's opener, and he has assisted 87 Premier League goals since his City debut in August 2010 - 27 more than any other player.

Bernardo Silva scored the fourth goal as the champions capped a result that leaves Brighton winless in every game they have played away at City, drawing two and losing on eight of their 10 trips.

SOLSKJAER'S SIDE MAKE SLOWEST START IN 27 YEARS

Manchester United roared to a 4-0 win over Chelsea in their season opener but head into the international break with just five points from four games, their lowest total at this stage of a Premier League campaign since 1992-93.

Saturday's subdued 1-1 draw at Southampton extended United's winless run away from home to eight competitive matches, the club's worst in almost five years.

Daniel James, scorer of a sublime opener, continues to be a bright spark and has now netted as many for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side as he did in his final 22 Championship appearances for Swansea City.

But the Wales winger's third of the season was not enough for victory, Jannik Vestergaard forcing a share of the spoils with his first goal for Saints in his 27th league appearance.

Kevin Danso provided the cross for centre-back Vestergaard to equalise, although the Austrian later undid some of that good work by becoming the first Premier League player to be sent off on a home debut since Yannick Sagbo of Hull City in August 2013.

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang believes Tottenham were fortunate to leave Emirates Stadium with a 2-2 draw.

Spurs found themselves 2-0 up in the first half, punishing Arsenal's errors at the back after a Bernd Leno fumble allowed Christian Eriksen to score and Granit Xhaka fouled Son Heung-min for Harry Kane's penalty.

But Alexandre Lacazette hit back just before the break with an emphatic strike and Aubameyang sealed a deserved point 19 minutes from time, steering in from Matteo Guendouzi's cross.

Arsenal were unable to take full advantage of their second-half pressure, ultimately settling for a draw, and Aubameyang felt Spurs were a little lucky not to suffer defeat.

"I think in the first half we deserved to score two goals," told Sky Sports. "We did a great job.

"It was a tough game and I think we deserved more. When you go in the dressing room after scoring a goal it is always positive, so it was crucial to score [before half-time]."

Aubameyang has now scored in seven successive Premier League starts at the Emirates, a run bettered only by Thierry Henry, who netted in nine in a row at Highbury.

He is also Arsenal's top-scorer among the players in the current squad, his 44 goals overtaking the tally of Mesut Ozil.

Unai Emery still seems to prefer using Aubameyang wide on the left and did so against Spurs throughout, but the Gabon international is content to fulfil whatever role is required of him.

"It was a great pass from Guendouzi [for the goal] - he looks at me and he knows I'm going to run," he said. "I like to play as a striker, but when the team needs me on the wing I go and I try my best."

Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got the goals as Arsenal battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to Tottenham in a pulsating north London derby on Sunday.

Arsenal coach Unai Emery was starting Lacazette, Aubameyang and record signing Nicolas Pepe all at once for the first time, and the former pair proved vital in bailing out the Gunners' haplessness at the back.

Christian Eriksen – restored to the starting XI after being benched – fittingly put Spurs in front early on after a rapid breakaway and Harry Kane made it 2-0 from the penalty spot, but Lacazette restored some Arsenal hope when thrashing home just before the interval.

That goal inspired a marked improvement from the Gunners in the second half and, although Kane hit the woodwork, Arsenal levelled through Aubameyang to seal a hard-fought point, meaning Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino remains without an away north London derby win in the Premier League.

Tottenham's early-season rustiness was nowhere to be seen when taking the lead on the break 10 minutes in, as Son Heung-min fed Erik Lamela for a low shot and Eriksen was on hand to tap in when Bernd Leno fumbled.

After having several other chances go begging, Spurs finally made it 2-0 five minutes before half-time – Kane emphatically sweeping home a penalty after Granit Xhaka's rash challenge on Son in the area.

But Lacazette struck in stoppage time, nudging the ball beyond Jan Vertonghen and blasting in to put Arsenal back in the hunt.

Arsenal piled pressure on after the break, with Matteo Guendouzi forcing Hugo Lloris into a fine save before Sead Kolasinac somehow missed from a couple of yards out.

Still Spurs worried them, however, with Kane sending a rasping drive against the post after a clever one-two with Eriksen.

Arsenal deservedly got their equaliser 19 minutes from time, as Aubameyang met Guendouzi's cross and prodded home.

What does it mean? Arsenal their own worst enemy again

Emery's men would have probably been good value for all three points, but they gave themselves a huge uphill task with the Spurs goals, which both came about via errors – Leno's fumble and Xhaka's foul.

Thankfully they have excellent forward capable of bailing them out, but what it is the point of having a fancy facade if you are built on sand?

Bright Son is Spurs' leading light

Spurs looked at their most threatening when playing on the break and Son was vital to that, with his pace, awareness and ability on the ball stretching Arsenal's defence all over the place.

Xhaka predictably rash

If there was one player from this match you could predict doing something particularly daft, it would have been Xhaka. The Swiss midfielder's foul for Kane's penalty was mystifying and entirely unnecessary, yet, because it was him, it was also predictable. When will he learn?

What's next?

After the international break, Arsenal return to action at Watford on September 15. Spurs host Crystal Palace the day before.

Arsenal suffered another humbling defeat to Liverpool at Anfield last week, but they have every reason to feel confident ahead of the visit of Tottenham on Sunday.

The Gunners have not lost the north London derby at Emirates Stadium since surrendering a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 in November 2010, in Spurs' only away league victory against their fierce rivals in the last 26 attempts.

Spurs were beaten 4-2 in this fixture last season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scoring two of his three goals against the 'big six' in England's top flight.

The striker's record might sound in desperate need of improvement, but there are signs Unai Emery is cultivating a new system at Arsenal that could play right into the strengths of their Gabon star.

ARSENAL STARTING DEEP TO SPRING LIGHTNING TRAP

We may be only three games into the season, but there are indications Arsenal are adapting their play to sit deeper and hit with more speed - something that surely suits Aubameyang and record signing Nicolas Pepe.

In the opening matches of 2019-20, no team has attempted more shots from fast-break situations than the Gunners (four), with Aubameyang's goal at Newcastle United coming from just such an attack.

Opta defines a 'fast break' as a fast counter-attack starting from the team's own half, where they turn defence quickly into attack with the ball moving at a high tempo. The opposition defence must also be at least partly unsorted.

The attempt at goal must be made 15 seconds after winning the ball in the first quarter of the pitch, or 10 after winning it in the second quarter.

To help with this apparent proclivity for fast breaks, Emery has had his side dropping back further than usual.

The Gunners have been starting possession spells from much deeper positions on the pitch. Indeed, on average, they have started open-play sequences of possession 35.8 metres from their own goal, which is nearer than any other Premier League team and far deeper than in any of their previous five seasons.

DIRECT AND TO THE POINT

No team has had more direct attacks in 2019-20 than Arsenal (10, at an average of 3.3 per game). A 'direct attack', according to Opta, is an open-play sequence that starts just inside the team's half and has at least 50 per cent of movement towards the opposition penalty area, with that team ending with a shot or a touch in the opponent's box.

Emery's side have not averaged above 2.8 per game in any season since 2014-15, which again points to something of a shift under the former Sevilla boss compared to the more patient approach of Arsene Wenger's teams.

This deeper, counter-attacking brand of football is also yielding fewer turnovers in possession. A 'high turnover' is defined as a sequence that starts in open play and begins 40 metres or fewer away from the opponent's goal. This season, no team has had fewer than Arsenal's five.

The signs for the rest of the campaign are promising, too. At an average of 1.7 per game, the Gunners would be comfortably below their previous high turnovers since 2014-15, when they averaged a league-high 4.8 per match.

There is a problem, however, with their passing.

They have completed 39 per cent of their passes in the opponent's half this season, and 20.1 per cent of passes ending in the final third. Each of those tallies is the lowest they have recorded stretching back to 2003-04.

This seems to be a trend under Emery. Completed passes in the opposite half last term fell by nearly nine per cent from 2017-18, while completed passes ending in the last third dropped by more than five per cent.

PICK YOUR SPOT, PIERRE

Arsenal's overall trend of play bodes well for Aubameyang, who in turn needs to sharpen up against the Premier League's big hitters.

The former Borussia Dortmund star's shot conversion rate against the rest of the Premier League is a healthy 30.1 per cent, dwindling to 9.7 in big-six matches.

His differential in terms of 'big chance' conversion is even more stark – 16.7 per cent down from 48.8.

Aubameyang's expected goals per ninety minutes is 0.59 in big-six encounters, with 0.78 elsewhere, indicating the quality of chances coming his way in such games is lower than normal.

Enough of Arsenal's work over the opening weeks of the season suggests that might be about to change. Starting on Sunday, can Aubameyang make the most of spearheading Emery's flying forwards?

Arsenal boss Unai Emery says Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Nicolas Pepe could be unleashed together against Tottenham in the north London derby.

The trio are yet to start a Premier League match as a front three since Arsenal made Pepe their club record signing, bringing the Ivory Coast forward in from Ligue 1 side Lille.

Lacazette has been battling an ankle injury and was left out of the France squad on Thursday, but Aubameyang has started the new campaign in fine form with two goals from three games.

Arsenal's attack is now arguably as strong as any in the Premier League, with Emery considering whether to choose the Spurs game for Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe to start together.

"Yes, but be calm," Emery told reporters on Thursday when asked if the trio could all be in his XI. "My decision in each moment is thinking about how we are.

"For example with Lacazette, he had a problem with his ankle. This week is the best week of the last three weeks. He’s getting better and feeling better with his ankle, it’s very positive.

"With Pepe, he came here later than the others but he is getting and feeling better in each match. Aubameyang is very important for us, he scores two goals in the first two matches, he had two or three good actions in Liverpool.

"The most important thing for me is to have chances and after with players like Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe, Micki [Henrikh Mkhitaryan], Reiss [Nelson], [Dani] Ceballos and Mesut [Ozil] we can score with different players.

"I think they can start together and they can play also during the match as all three, it depends how we decide our game plan. But I am very optimistic for that situation, but not also those three players, also Nelson, Mkhitaryan, [Joe] Willock, Ozil.

"We need to be able to make the best decisions, but above all, to have different possibilities with the players."

Spurs have stumbled at the start of the season, losing at home to Newcastle United last time out, although they claimed a battling 2-2 draw away to champions Manchester City.

"For us, to play matches like last week against Liverpool and this week against Tottenham, the two teams who played the final of the Champions League last year, is amazing," Emery added.

"I think it's the best test and every time is a good moment to play against them. Sunday, with our supporters, I think is the best moment to play and enjoy with our supporters in that match, that derby.

"I think maybe that on Sunday, that match is the best match in the world for all football supporters.

"I think it's a very, very big challenge for us and it's a very, very good moment, a good match and the possibility of winning against them on Sunday gives a chance for good success. We also remember that last year we finished behind them with only one point's difference in 38 matches.

"We are going to play against the Champions League finalists and there are a lot of positives for us, for our supporters, to enjoy that match on Sunday."

Almost everything about Arsenal's 3-1 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday was predictable.

It was vintage Arsenal, but for all the wrong reasons.

The Gunners made a fist of it for 41 minutes – by which point they were 3-0 down on their last visit to Anfield - yet once Liverpool were ahead through Joel Matip, it just looked a matter of how many they would score.

Ultimately the Reds made do with a comfortable two-goal cushion, with Lucas Torreira getting a late consolation after coming on as a substitute.

But Arsenal found themselves clinging on at times in the second half, with the match affirming many pre-match expectations.

 

Pepe's party tricks undermined when it mattered

No doubt supporters will have been excited by the prospect of seeing club-record signing Nicolas Pepe line up for the first time since his £72million move from Lille.

The Ivory coast international joined Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in attack and he cannot be accused of going missing.

After all, he became the first player in 50 matches to dribble past Virgil van Dijk in the first half, before going on a brilliant run that saw him make a mockery of Andrew Robertson's attempt at defending.

However, the latter situation also presented him with a glorious chance to score in a one-on-one situation. His lack of composure was alarming for a player who scored 22 Ligue 1 goals last term, as he took his shot too early and fired straight at Adrian.

There's no doubt he has ability and some of his touches proved as much, though the performance was closer to impersonating former Gunner Gervinho, rather than the legendary Thierry Henry.

 

Arsenal's recruitment issues laid bare

It was Pepe's first Premier League start – he should improve with time.

But that does not change the perception Arsenal would have been wiser splashing £72m on other areas of the squad, rather than on an attack that already includes Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette.

David Luiz's hapless showing is the case in point.

The Brazilian, brought in as Laurent Koscielny's replacement, was presumably supposed to add the knowledge provided by 'experience', but signing a centre-back with his track record when trying to shore up a leaky defence is akin to using paper to cover a burst pipe.

He was all over the place at Anfield, conceding a penalty by pulling Mohamed Salah's shirt before being left for dead by the Egyptian for his second goal.

 

Aubameyang a flat-track bully?

Arsenal fans generally consider themselves lucky to have Aubameyang. After all, he has been an excellent signing in terms of his output.

However, there have certainly been doubts raised about his effectiveness against the top sides. The Gabon striker has managed just three goals in 14 games against the Premier League's so-called 'big six'.

Against the rest of the teams he has played against in the top flight, Aubameyang has netted 31 in 38 matches, averaging a goal every 94 minutes.

He threatened a few times at Anfield but was nowhere near ruthless enough, letting Adrian get away with a poor clearance when he sent a lobbed effort wide of an open goal in the first period.

He then took an age to make a decision after the break when played through on goal, allowing Joel Matip to make a last-ditch tackle. Aubameyang's blushes were spared somewhat by the flag eventually going up for offside.

 

Reds silence Gunners… Again

Perhaps most predictable of all was that Arsenal simply lost against Liverpool.

The Gunners have not won at Anfield since 2012, their barren streak including losing 4-0, 4-1 and 5-1 (twice).

Before this weekend, Arsenal had won just three games against the 'big six' under Unai Emery. While Saturday was technically an improvement on the 5-1 battering last season from Arsenal's perspective, that's hardly a ringing endorsement of the Spaniard's side.

Next up: Tottenham in the north London derby.

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