West Brom and Leeds United benefited from late winners as they took full advantage of a defeat for Preston North End in the Championship.

Leaders West Brom defeated Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at home on Saturday, while Marcelo Bielsa's men won by the same scoreline away to Luton Town.

Preston fell to a 1-0 defeat away to Derby County, meaning Leeds moved above them into second place, two points behind the Baggies, who have only suffered one defeat in 17 league games.

Blackburn Rovers, Brentford, Stoke City and Millwall were the other winners in Saturday's action.

BAGGIES AND LEEDS LAND LATE BLOWS

West Brom and Leeds looked like they were heading for draws that would have stalled their promotion bids before late interventions.

Charlie Austin netted a penalty with two minutes remaining for the Baggies after goalkeeper Keiren Westwood brought down Matheus Pereira in the box.

Steven Fletcher had previously scored from the spot at the other end to level the match after Hal Robson-Kanu's first-half opener, but Wednesday were left frustrated and saw Liam Palmer sent off in stoppage time.

Leeds' winner came even later, Matty Pearson's last-minute own goal gifting them victory as Luton suffered a fifth consecutive defeat. Patrick Bamford and James Collins had exchanged strikes earlier in the second half.

PRESTON & SWANS SLIP UP

Preston fell to Derby, who have now won five consecutive home games. 

Derby substitute Martyn Waghorn, only just on for the injured Mason Bennett, scored a close-range effort after 33 minutes which proved decisive.

Swansea also lost 1-0, their first defeat in four coming courtesy of an excellent free-kick from Millwall's Jed Wallace with 25 minutes left at the Liberty Stadium.

DIOUF CAPS STOKE COMEBACK AS DACK DENIES STRUBER

Only goal difference separates Stoke from fourth-bottom Luton after Mame Biram Diouf's strike in the third minute of added time earned a 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic.

Michael O'Neill's first home game in charge had appeared to be heading for a draw when Danny Batth levelled the contest following Sam Morsy's opener, but Diouf ensured the new Stoke boss secured a second victory from as many matches.

Bradley Dack scored twice, including the winner with four minutes left, as Blackburn earned a thrilling 3-2 triumph over bottom-of-the-table Barnsley, who were being managed by Gerhard Struber for the first time.

Elsewhere, Cardiff City came from two goals down to salvage a 2-2 draw at Charlton Athletic in Neil Harris' opening game in charge, while Bristol City and Nottingham Forest, who had Ryan Yates sent off, played out a goalless draw.

A late Marc Roberts equaliser, the defender's first goal since April 2018, gave Birmingham City a 1-1 draw at Huddersfield Town, while Brentford are two points off the play-off places after Ollie Watkins' 11th league goal of the season earned a 1-0 home win over Reading.

West Brom maintained their two-point lead at the Championship summit with a slender 1-0 win over Hull City on Saturday.

Preston North End and Leeds United remain within touching distance of the Baggies after wins over Huddersfield Town and Blackburn Rovers respectively.

At the other end of the table, Michael O'Neill inspired Stoke City to a 4-2 win over Barnsley in his first game since taking charge of the club – a result that lifts them above the Tykes at the foot of the table.

Elsewhere, Nottingham Forest edged out Derby County in the East Midlands derby, while there also wins for Fulham, Millwall, Reading and Brentford.

 

BAGGIES STAY TOP AFTER LIVERMORE STUNNER

Jake Livermore's second goal of the season was enough for West Brom to edge out Hull at the KCOM Stadium.

The 29-year-old midfielder finished off a short corner routine in spectacular style after 28 minutes, taking a touch to control the ball 20 yards from goal and unleashing a rocket of a right-footed shot into the bottom corner of the Tigers' net.

Hull started the second half brightly and Kevin Stewart missed crucial chances as Slaven Bilic's side found themselves exposed at the back.

But the visitors should have doubled their lead when Matheus Pereira – their outstanding creative player so far this season – sent a chip narrowly over the crossbar, but Bilic's table-toppers claimed all three points nonetheless.

BAMFORD ON TARGET AS WHITES WIN AGAIN

Leeds went into their clash against Blackburn unbeaten in four matches but striker Patrick Bamford was without a goal at Elland Road since April.

The former Middlesbrough striker ended his home drought after a foul on Luke Ayling earned a dominant Leeds side a penalty, Bamford coolly sending Christian Walton the wrong way as he stroked the ball home.

Bamford had a hand in the Whites' second, touching Kalvin Phillips' floated ball deftly into the path of Jack Harrison, who sent an angled shot in off the far post.

But slack marking allowed Derrick Williams to head Blackburn back into the game five minutes before half-time, the full-back rising to meet Stewart Downing's cross for his third goal of the season from 12 yards.

A combative Rovers side failed to break Marcelo Bielsa's men down, however, as they collected back-to-back Championship wins for the first time since August.

PRESTON TOO STRONG FOR RESURGENT TERRIERS

Huddersfield's recent revival came to a crashing halt at Deepdale as Preston registered a third consecutive league win with a 3-1 victory.

The Terriers were unbeaten in seven league games but never looked like clawing their way back into the game after Jayden Stockley had given the hosts a fourth-minute lead.

Alan Browne doubled that advantage shortly after the half-hour mark, while Paul Gallagher added a third with a penalty five minutes after the interval.

Juninho Bacuna pulled one back for the visitors 16 minutes from time, but it did little to take the gloss off another impressive win for Alex Neil's side.

O'NEILL MAKES INSTANT IMPACT AT STOKE

O'Neill made a superb start to life with struggling Stoke, guiding them to an emphatic win over Barnsley at Oakwell.

A Sam Clucas brace and goals from Joe Allen and Lee Gregory helped the Potters end a run of three consecutive defeats and start life after Nathan Jones in style.

Elsewhere, Lewis Grabban scored the only goal of the game as Forest edged out local rivals Derby, while Fulham registered a 1-0 win at Birmingham City.

Millwall overcame Charlton Athletic 2-1, Reading powered past Luton Town 3-0 and Brentford beat Wigan Athletic by the same scoreline.

In the day's other games, Middlesbrough drew 2-2 away at QPR and Swansea City scored deep into stoppage time to draw 2-2 with Sheffield Wednesday.

Preston North End moved to the top of the Championship table as a Paul Gallagher penalty secured a 1-0 win away at Charlton Athletic on Sunday.

Substitute Gallagher - who had replaced the injured Daniel Johnson in the first half - converted from the spot in the 58th minute after team-mate Jayden Stockley had been hauled down by Jason Pearce.

Charlton goalkeeper Dillon Phillips kept the deficit down to one, denying both Stockley and Tom Barkhuizen in the closing stages before the visitors held on during nine additional minutes.

The result sees Preston - who released a statement on Saturday to end speculation linking manager Alex Neil with the vacancy at Stoke City - climb from fourth to first in the table, knocking Leeds United off the summit.

Neil confirmed his commitment to the club after the game, telling Preston's official website: "There is nothing to talk about really, I am Preston North End manager and I love being here and working with these players."

Struggling Stoke are searching for a new boss after Nathan Jones was sacked on Friday.

West Brom had a men sent off and were dramatically held to a 2-2 draw at Charlton Athletic after Leeds United and Sheffield Wednesday missed the chance to apply pressure to the Championship leaders.

Slaven Bilic's side remain two points clear at the top after the Yorkshire rivals played out a 0-0 draw at Hillsborough.

Preston North End are up to second, above Leeds on goal difference, after coming from 2-0 down to claim a stunning 3-2 win over Blackburn Rovers in the all-Lancashire clash at Deepdale.

Huddersfield Town extended their unbeaten run to six matches and climbed out of the relegation zone with a 2-1 win over Barnsley that left their opponents bottom of the pile.

 

Cullen holds his nerve after Ferguson sees red

West Brom had to settle for a second consecutive 2-2 draw despite Matt Phillips finishing emphatically at the end of Matheus Pereira's 10th-minute run.

Macauley Bonne marked his birthday by heading the initial equaliser before highly rated West Brom defender Nathan Ferguson was eventually sent off for a reckless challenge on Chris Solly – referee Matt Donohue having initially dismissed Grady Diangana in a case of mistaken identity.

Hal Robson-Kanu restored Albion's lead despite their reduced numbers, but Josh Cullen dispatched a stoppage-time penalty after Semi Ajayi was adjudged to have fouled Naby Sarr as the pair collided.

Neither Leeds nor Wednesday were able to find a breakthrough but Preston found themselves in an all-action contest.

Sam Gallagher's header forced an own goal from North End goalkeeper Declan Rudd inside the first 30 seconds and the Blackburn striker soon made it 2-0 to the visitors.

Tom Barkhuizen reduced the arrears before the interval and would prove the match-winner – firing into the top corner eight minutes from time after Daniel Johnson scored his eighth of the season from the penalty spot.

 

Terriers' Cowley revival continues

Danny Cowley continued to work his magic at Huddersfield, with Karlan Grant netting his eighth of the campaign having created Christopher Schindler's opener.

Jacob Brown pulled a goal back for Barnsley, who are joined in the bottom three by Middlesbrough – Jonathan Woodgate's men held to a 0-0 draw by Fulham at the Riverside Stadium despite their visitors having goalkeeper Marek Rodak sent off for handling outside the area in the 17th minute.

Beleaguered Stoke City are level on eight points with Barnsley after they were beaten 2-0 by former boss Gary Rowett on his first outing as Millwall manager. Jed Wallace converted a penalty 15 minutes from time after teeing up Ben Thompson for the opener.

Bowen at the double, waterlogged Forest

Jarrod Bowen scored twice in the space of six minutes during the closing stages as Hull City saw off Derby County 2-0 to claim back-to-back league wins for the first time this season.

Lukas Jutkiewicz was Birmingham City's matchwinner in a 2-1 triumph over Luton Town, while torrential rain saw the match between Nottingham Forest and Reading postponed.

Championship leaders West Brom came from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw against bottom club Barnsley on Tuesday.

Their lead over nearest rivals Leeds United remains at two points, however, after Marcelo Bielsa's side were held to a 1-1 draw at Preston North End.

Sheffield Wednesday moved up to third after a narrow 1-0 win over Stoke City, while Brentford and Birmingham City were victorious against Swansea City and Blackburn Rovers respectively.

Elsewhere, new Millwall boss Gary Rowett was watching on as the Lions drew 2-2 with Cardiff City - the same result as the clash between Queen's Park Rangers and Reading.

BATTLING LEADERS BOUNCE BACK

Basement club Barnsley looked set for a precious win at the Hawthorns after Cauley Woodrow put them two goals ahead after 24 minutes.

Slaven Bilic's side turned things around in the second period, though, with an own goal from Bambo Diaby reducing the deficit in the 68th minute. They ensured a point with nine minutes remaining thanks to Matheus Pereira's third league goal of the season.

Leeds missed the chance to leapfrog the Baggies at the summit as they were held by fellow promotion chasers Preston at Deepdale.

Tom Barkhuizen fired home from close range in the 74th minute to give Alex Neil's side hope of jumping above Leeds into the automatic promotion places.

But on-loan Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah had other ideas, coming off the bench to head home a leveller three minutes from time.

 

OWLS SNEAKING UP ON TOP TWO

Sheffield Wednesday closed the gap to Leeds to just a single point after edging past Stoke City at Hillsborough.

The Potters have endured a woeful start to the season, yet two consecutive wins had given them hope of clawing their way out of the relegation zone.

It was not to be against Garry Monk's side, though, who only needed Massimo Luongo's solitary goal to seal all three points.  

Mark Bowen, meanwhile, remains unbeaten in his first two games as Reading boss, with his side playing out an entertaining 2-2 draw with QPR.

Nahki Wells and Jordan Hugill scored either side of George Puscas' goal for the Royals, who sealed a point courtesy of Sam Baldock's strike 16 minutes from time.

 

BEES SWARM ALL OVER SWANSEA

Brentford were in ruthless form against Swansea, sealing a 3-0 win at the Liberty Stadium.

Said Benrahma claimed his first goal of the campaign to give the visitors the lead before Jake Bidwell's own goal doubled their advantage.

Any hopes the home team had of clawing their way back into the game were extinguished early in the second half when Bryan Mbeumo added a third.

Elsewhere, Maxime Colin's first-half goal secured a 1-0 victory for Birmingham, while Tom Bradshaw cancelled out goals from Danny Ward and Junior Hoilett to seal a point for Millwall against Cardiff.

Hal Robson-Kanu snatched late winner to sink Middlesbrough 1-0 and keep West Brom top of the Championship.

The goal stopped Leeds United pulling level on points with Slaven Bilic's men thanks to a victory by the same scoreline over Birmingham City.

Preston North End suffered late heartache as Mark Bowen began his tenure as Reading manager with a 1-0 win, while Barnsley held Swansea City but slipped to the bottom of the table.

As a result, high-scoring victories for QPR and Charlton Athletic served to bunch up the chasing pack.

On a productive Saturday for teams at the other end of the table, Stoke City claimed back-to-back league victories for the first time since October last year by beating Fulham 2-0.

KANU BELIEVE IT?

Fresh from signing a contract extension, Wales striker Robson-Kanu was the man to benefit from an 82nd-minute goalmouth scramble at the Riverside Stadium.

It meant back-to-back wins for Albion since slipping up against Leeds at the start of the month, with the Elland Road outfit forced to be patient in their pursuit of three points against Birmingham this time out.

In the week the club celebrated its centenary, Leeds-born Kalvin Phillips made himself an appropriate match-winner with an emphatic 65th-minute finish.

The same scoreline belatedly arrived at the Madejski Stadium, when defender Matt Miazga turned home in the eighth minute of stoppage time after Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd saved from Jordan Obita.

Reading moved up to 19th, two points clear of the drop zone, with Preston dropping to sixth – Swansea climbed to third despite managerless Barnsley finding a swift response to Andre Ayew's 67th-minute opener through Alex Mowatt.

EZE HOLDS NERVE AMID LATE DRAMA

QPR were heading for a 1-1 draw at the KCOM Stadium until Ebere Eze won and converted a pair of late penalties.

Hull City, who led through Jarrod Bowen, set up a grandstand finish when Northern Ireland international Josh Magennis scored his first league goal for the club deep into stoppage time, but it finished 3-2.

Philipp Cocu's troubled Derby County tenure continued with a 3-0 loss at the Valley.

Macauley Bonne and Naby Sarr on target for Charlton before Conor Gallagher capped the triumph with a fabulous long-range effort.

IT'S THE SOUND OF THE TYRESE

Former Manchester City youngster Tyrese Campbell put Stoke on the way to a 2-0 win over Fulham that lifted them off the bottom of the table.

Scott Hogan was brought down by Cottagers goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli 10 minutes from time and Lee Gregory, who set up the opener with a flick-on, made light of the Potters' dismal recent record from the spot by converting.

Ollie Watkins missed a first-half penalty but was Brentford's injury-time hero as he sealed a 3-2 win over Millwall, who led 2-0 heading into a remarkable final six minutes at Griffin Park.

Luton Town were 3-0 winners against Bristol City, while Blackburn Rovers and Huddersfield Town shared a 2-2 draw in the early kick-off.

West Brom charged to the top of the Championship with a 4-2 win over Cardiff City as Slaven Bilic's side took advantage of shock losses for Swansea City and Leeds United.

Swansea went down 2-1 at home to struggling Stoke City, while 10-man Leeds were beaten by the same scoreline away to Millwall.

Those results allowed West Brom to surge to the summit, while Nottingham Forest – who beat Brentford 1-0 at home – moved up to second, with only goal difference keeping them off the top.

Preston North End and Bristol City are the other occupants of the top six after they won on Saturday, with Derby County, Huddersfield Town, QPR and Sheffield Wednesday also tasting victory.

 

SWANSEA AND LEEDS SHOCKED

Swansea were top of the league and playing winless bottom side Stoke, who had baffled many observers by sticking with manager Nathan Jones this week.

It looked like the match would go exactly as the form book suggested when Andre Ayew scored after 57 seconds, but Sam Clucas levelled the match and substitute Scott Hogan scored from close range in the last minute to seal a stunning victory.

Leeds were unable to overcome a 14th-minute incident that saw Gaetano Berardi sent off for conceding a penalty by fouling Tom Bradshaw, with Jed Wallace converting the Millwall spot-kick.

Bradshaw's backheel made it two on the stroke of half-time and despite Ezgjan Alioski getting a goal back 16 seconds into the second half, Leeds could not salvage a point as Millwall caretaker boss Adam Barrett – who has been linked with the vacant managerial role at Southend United – made a superb start.

 

WEST BROM TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE

Impressive loanee Matheus Pereira scored one and set up two more as West Brom won their third straight home game despite Cardiff making life interesting towards the end.

Long-range strikes from Pereira, Grady Diangana and Charlie Austin had the Baggies three goals clear with 15 minutes to go, but substitute Danny Ward scored twice for the Bluebirds before Romaine Sawyers sealed the hosts' victory in stoppage time.

Ben Watson's volleyed winner – his second goal in as many home games – was enough to earn victory for Forest, who are now 10 league games unbeaten.

Preston are one point behind the new top two after Daniel Johnson scored twice in a 5-1 home win over second-bottom Barnsley, Alex Neil's men scoring four times in 27 second-half minutes.

 

MITROVIC EARNS DRAMATIC DRAW

Fulham came from behind on two occasions to draw 2-2 with Charlton Athletic at Craven Cottage, a clever finish from on-loan Chelsea midfielder Conor Gallagher having put the visitors ahead in the first half.

Three goals in a mad eight-minute spell after the break meant the match was level after 63 minutes, Ivan Cavaleiro finding the top corner and Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring from close range for Fulham either side of a Macauley Bonne header.

Scott Parker's men dropped two places to seventh, one place behind Bristol City who beat Reading 1-0 courtesy of Famara Diedhiou's early diving header, Daniel Bentley impressing in goal for the home victors.

Elsewhere, Tom Lawrence – who has been charged with drink-driving – was among the scorers as Luton Town lost 2-0 at Derby.

Huddersfield beat Hull 3-0 to move out the bottom three, Massimo Luongo scored the only goal as Sheffield Wednesday saw off Wigan Athletic and Eberechi Eze netted in QPR's 4-2 win over Blackburn Rovers.

Leeds United reclaimed top spot in the Championship with a 1-0 victory over West Brom, while Huddersfield Town picked up their first win of the campaign away at rock-bottom Stoke City.

Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds side had won just one in four previous league outings, but Ezgjan Alioski's strike seven minutes before half-time at Elland Road lifted them back to the summit.

At the opposite end of the table, Huddersfield got off the mark under Danny Cowley - appointed as Jan Siewert's successor last month - thanks to a late 1-0 victory over Stoke at the bet365 Stadium.

Juninho Bacuna scored from Huddersfield's first shot on target to end a winless run spanning 19 league matches, a result that leaves Stoke at the foot of the table and with the pressure well and truly on boss Nathan Jones.

FOREST SLIP UP

Nottingham Forest had led the way at the top of the division after Saturday's action, but they were held to a 1-1 draw by Blackburn Rovers in Lancashire.

Joe Lolley scored two minutes after Adam Armstrong had opened the scoring for Blackburn, though Forest could not find a winner and slip to third in the table, behind West Brom on goal difference.

Fulham are now just a point behind Forest and two adrift of league leaders Leeds after thumping Reading 4-1 at the Madejski Stadium.

Aleksandar Mitrovic and Tom Cairney helped themselves to a couple of goals apiece before Reading, who had John Swift sent off 20 minutes in with the score at 1-0, pulled one back through Yakou Meite.

BORO'S SLOW START CONTINUES

Middlesbrough had Darnell Fisher to thank as they recovered to earn a 1-1 draw against Preston, though it is now just two wins in 11 matches for head coach Jonathan Woodgate. 

Preston defender Fisher put the ball into his own net under pressure less than two minutes after Josh Harrop had opened the scoring for the play-off chasing visitors, who are unbeaten in seven league outings.

Sheffield Wednesday also have eyes on the top six, but they suffered a 1-0 loss at Yorkshire rivals Hull City.

Tom Eaves found a way through with a bullet header 18 minutes from time to score his first goal for the club and condemn Wednesday to their fourth defeat of the campaign.

Birmingham City also dropped down the table following a 1-0 defeat in their meeting with Wigan Athletic, who secured the three points through Anthony Pilkington's long-range striker on his return from injury.

Pep Clotet's side have now lost three games in a row and are 14th in the table, two points above their opponents.

Derby County ended a troubled week with a 3-2 victory over Birmingham City in the Championship.

Rams players Mason Bennett and Tom Lawrence were charged with drink-driving after they were involved in a crash late on Tuesday night, and captain Richard Keogh suffered a season-ending knee injury on the same team evening out.

The club have been scathing about the conduct of those involved and warned they will "pay a heavy price for their actions", making Saturday's home match a welcome chance to focus again on on-field matters.

Neither Bennett nor Lawrence were involved as Phillip Cocu's side took the spoils at Pride Park thanks to goals from Chris Martin, Martyn Waghorn and Jamie Paterson, who netted the 74th-minute winner.

Birmingham replied through Gary Gardner and Ivan Sunjic, and would have gone ahead at 2-2 but Lukas Jutkiewicz failed to convert a penalty.

Derby's second win in nine league games this season - and first success at home - lifted them up to 14th place, one behind Birmingham.

BAGGIES BOUNCE UP TO TOP SPOT

Unbeaten West Brom took over at the top after a 2-0 win at QPR, with second-half goals from Nathan Ferguson and Matheus Pereira settling the outcome in favour of Slaven Bilic's men. QPR had Yoann Barbet sent off in the 82nd minute, moments before Pereira sealed the points.

Swansea had been on course to climb above West Brom but had to settle for a 1-1 draw at home against Reading, for whom Andy Yiadom snatched a last-gasp equaliser. Swansea led from the third minute, when Borja Baston headed in, until Yiadom's late intervention.

The point nudged Swansea above Nottingham Forest and into second place, though. Forest beat Stoke 3-2 on Friday evening.

Leeds were another side to spurn an opportunity to jump to the top of the standings, losing 1-0 at Charlton as Marcelo Bielsa's side suffered a second league defeat of the campaign. Macauley Bonne scored the only goal in the 32nd minute at The Valley, giving Charlton boss Lee Bowyer victory over his former club.

MONK RETURNS TO HAUNT BORO

Sheffield Wednesday were 4-1 up on Middlesbrough at half-time at the Riverside, and the scoreline stayed that way as the Owls continued their bright start under new boss Garry Monk.

Adam Clayton's own goal was followed by efforts from Dominic Iorfa, Adam Reach and Steven Fletcher, with Paddy McNair grabbing the lone reply for Boro, with whom Monk had a short-lived spell as manager two years ago.

Hull and Cardiff were level-pegging at 1-1 heading into the 89th minute at the KCOM Stadium, but the game finished 2-2 after Hull's Jordy de Wijs netted what looked likely to be a winner, only for Danny Ward to snatch a leveller.

FERGUSON SEES RED

Preston and Bristol City shared six goals, drawing 3-3 at Deepdale, while struggling Huddersfield and Millwall finished 1-1 in West Yorkshire, with Shane Ferguson sent off for the Lions late on.

James Collins and Matty Pearson netted as Luton won 2-1 at Blackburn.

Pep Guardiola defended Bernardo Silva after a tweet about Manchester City team-mate Benjamin Mendy included what was described as a "racist stereotype" by Kick It Out.

The organisation criticised Silva after he posted a photo of Mendy as a child alongside a dated image from Spanish confectionary 'Conguitos' that has been criticised for its racist connotations, with the caption: "Guess who?".

France international Mendy appeared to take the post in good humour, replying with laughing emojis and a message saying: "1-0 for you will see".

Silva, who had scored a hat-trick in an 8-0 Premier League defeat of Watford last week, deleted the message then posted: "Can't even joke with a friend these days…You guys…".

However, social media users noted the racist implications of the image and the Football Association (FA) has contacted City to ask the club for their observations over the tweet.

Guardiola feels there was no malice intended from Silva, noting the Portugal international's close relationship with left-back Mendy.

"Honestly, I don't know what will happen," Guardiola told reporters after Tuesday's 3-0 EFL Cup win at Preston North End. "They [the FA] should put their focus on another issue because they don't know which guy you are talking about.

"Bernardo is one of most lovely people I ever met in my life. He speaks four or five languages and that is the best way to understand how open-minded he is and one of his best friends is Mendy. He’s like a brother for him. 

"The image is not about the colour of the skin. He took a picture of Benjamin when he was young and he related it to this cartoon, which was quite similar for the image.

"If they want to do that [investigate] and ask for Bernardo, I think he will be open to talk. But first you have to know exactly which person you are talking about.

"There are many situations with people, with white people, and you look at a cartoon and the face is quite similar as your face and you put it in there, it is quite similar.

"I think the response from Mendy was clear after that. They are joking all the time. Maybe what I say as advice is to hide social media… if something happened it would be a mistake.

"Bernardo is an exceptional person. A guy who can speak five languages, it's because he's open-minded – nothing about the colour of the skin, nationalities or whatever."

Pep Guardiola described Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis as exceptional human beings after they helped Manchester City reach the EFL Cup fourth round.

Teenagers Garcia and Harwood-Bellis contributed to City's clean sheet in a 3-0 win at Championship club Preston North End on Tuesday, with Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and a Ryan Ledson own goal sealing a comfortable victory.

City's defensive injury crisis, with Aymeric Laporte and John Stones sidelined, has left Nicolas Otamendi as their only senior centre-back after the departure of club captain Vincent Kompany.

Yet Garcia and senior debutant Harwood-Bellis impressed enough against Alex Neil's side to suggest they can be options for City as they seek to defend all three of their domestic trophies.

"We made a good solid performance against a team third in the Championship, we played really good," Guardiola said to Sky Sports.

"I am pleased a lot with Eric Garcia and Taylor Harwood-Bellis at the back, they helped us a lot.

"They combined, they suit each other perfectly and they have played in the academy every weekend.

"They are exceptional human beings with a good mentality. I am very pleased."

Preston held firm for 19 minutes, with City having put five past Watford in the Premier League by the same stage at the weekend.

"We didn't disappoint," said North End boss Neil. "For the first 20 minutes we started brightly on the front foot. We went chasing the ball for the first goal. They are good-quality goals for them.

"The goals they scored were stuff we talked about. But when you play against that quality with their speed, it’s one thing to talk about stopping them. It’s another thing to do it. We can't get too hard on ourselves.

"Man City were the better team. Their forward line is scary for any Premier League team. We need to take the positives of what we did well and take them onto Saturday."

Manchester City cruised into the EFL Cup fourth round with a 3-0 win at Preston North End.

The holders, who have a defensive injury crisis, named a back line including teenagers Taylor Harwood-Bellis and Eric Garcia but were untroubled at Deepdale on Tuesday.

Raheem Sterling excelled, scoring the opening goal in the 19th minute and recording two assists in the first half, with Gabriel Jesus also on target for Pep Guardiola's men.

City led 5-0 inside 18 minutes against Watford last time out in the Premier League, but Preston held firm a little longer. 

Sterling created space for himself with a darting run and his shot deflected off defender Ben Davies to beat Connor Ripley in the Preston goal.

The England forward then created two more before half-time, feeding Jesus to get on the scoresheet and then setting up David Silva for another deflected finish which was credited as a Ryan Ledson own goal.

Jesus headed Angelino's cross over the top following the restart, then Preston went close to getting on the scoresheet as Josh Harrop's shot came back off the post.

Phil Foden's long-range effort rattled the crossbar, Sterling wasted a free-kick in a good position and Ripley brilliantly saved from Ilkay Gundogan in added time, with Alex Neil's side preventing City from adding to their tally.


What does it mean? City still have enough depth for multiple trophies again

Defeat at Norwich City, when Guardiola rested Kevin De Bruyne, showed the Premier League champions can be vulnerable when they do not name their strongest team. But although Preston are third in the Championship, the gulf in class was large despite De Bruyne's absence again.

Rookie centre-backs Garcia and Harwood-Bellis were largely untested at the back; the pair will likely see more action in the weeks to come as City aim to repeat their dominance from last term by defending all three of their domestic titles.


Sterling thrives under top billing

With Sergio Aguero and De Bruyne among those given a break, it was down to Sterling to shine in the spotlight. Rested for the demolition of Watford, he looked sharp in a match-winning first-half performance, although he needlessly went down too easily in the box early on.

Foden unable to take his chance

There is rightly huge excitement around Foden, a player believed to be so talented he will be crucial for both City and England in the future. But, on his first start of the season, the 19-year-old could not take the game by the scruff of the neck. He recorded an unimpressive passing accuracy rate of 82.5 per cent.

What's next?

City are away to Everton on Saturday, when Preston host Bristol City in the Championship.

None of the top four sides in the Championship won on Saturday, meaning Leeds United remained top of the table despite a disappointing 1-1 home draw with Derby County.

Bristol City and Swansea City, who started the day third and second respectively, played out a 0-0 draw, while Charlton Athletic suffered a second straight defeat, going down 2-0 at Wigan Athletic.

Preston North End, QPR and Nottingham Forest all gained ground towards the top of the standings with victories, while Blackburn Rovers, Cardiff City and Hull City were also among the winners.

Sheffield Wednesday drew 1-1 with Fulham and Stoke City moved off the bottom of the table after a goalless encounter at Brentford.
 

FRUSTRATION FOR LEEDS

Other results meant Leeds stayed top even though they suffered frustration against Derby, the team with whom they were embroiled in last season's 'spygate' controversy.

Marcelo Bielsa's men led through Max Lowe's own goal, but Mateusz Klich fired wide with a penalty that would have sealed victory 20 minutes from time, while Patrick Bamford, who had won the spot-kick, squandered multiple opportunities.

Chris Martin then punished the hosts with a stoppage-time equaliser, finishing off a slick move completely against the run of play to score his first Derby goal since November 2017 and give his side their fifth draw in eight games.


CHARLTON FALLING AWAY

Charlton lost a second straight game without scoring, as defender Chey Dunkley scored a double for Wigan to send Lee Bowyer's men down to seventh.

Dunkley netted in each half to follow up his goal at Hull last week, having failed to net in 39 Wigan appearances last season. The result ended a six-match winless league run for the hosts.

Swansea are still level on points with Leeds at the top after their draw at Ashton Gate. The Welsh side had Jake Bidwell sent off in the last-minute for a lunge on Niclas Eliasson.


CHASING PACK GAIN GROUND

Sean Maguire scored for a second straight week to give Preston a 1-0 win at Birmingham City, Alex Neil's men moving up to third - just a point behind the leaders - as a result. 

Nahki Wells' double – his second coming courtesy of a huge goalkeeping blunder from Bartosz Bialkowski – gave QPR a 2-1 win away to Millwall, ensuring Mark Warburton's men sit level with Preston.

Forest are one point further back after Ben Watson's first goal for the club ensured Barnsley were beaten 1-0 at The City Ground. It was the home side's only shot on target.
 

NUHU DENIES FULHAM

Fulham remain in mid-table after Atdhe Nuhiu headed in a Sheffield Wednesday equaliser three minutes into stoppage time, cancelling out Tom Cairney's first-half opener.

Elsewhere, Ashley Fletcher's second-minute own goal gave Cardiff a narrow 1-0 win over Middlesbrough, Hull scored three times in the final 27 minutes to thump Luton Town 3-0 at Kenilworth Road and Blackburn Rovers won 2-1 away to Reading.

Sergi Canos had an effort cleared off the line as Brentford were frustrated by struggling Stoke.

Swansea City replaced Leeds United at the top of the Championship in dramatic fashion as a 90th-minute strike from Wayne Routledge earned Steve Cooper's men a 1-0 win at Elland Road.

Leeds dominated for much of the game on Saturday, but they were made to pay for a lack of cutting edge when Routledge swept home late on.

As a result, Swansea are two points clear at the top of the table heading into the international break, having won five and drawn one of their opening six games.

Charlton Athletic, promoted from League One last season, are also unbeaten and sit second after a 2-0 win at Reading.

At the other end of the table, the misery goes on for Stoke City and Huddersfield Town, who both remain winless after giving up leads in respective 2-1 defeats at Birmingham City and Luton Town.

Derby County also endured a horrible day as they were trounced 3-0 at Brentford.

 

SUPER SWANS DEFYING EXPECTATIONS UNDER COOPER

Cooper was something of a surprise appointment by the Swans after Graham Potter left for Brighton and Hove Albion, but the former England Under-17 coach could hardly have asked for a better start to his tenure at the Liberty Stadium.

The Swans certainly rode their luck at Leeds, who created numerous chances to move ahead before being beaten by Routledge's last-gasp strike.

However, Swansea's resilience typified their early-season form under Cooper, which has seen them concede just four league goals thus far.

This win at Elland Road was their first in 70 years.

BAGGIES PREVAIL AFTER GOAL-FILLED FIRST HALF

Like Swansea, West Brom are yet to taste a Championship defeat after a change of boss in the close season. Slaven Bilic's men drew three of their first five games but are now up to fourth, a point behind Leeds, courtesy of a 3-2 win over a Blackburn Rovers side managed by former Albion chief Tony Mowbray.

All of the goals at the Hawthorns came in the first half, with Matt Phillips, Jake Livermore and Grady Diangana on target for West Brom after Bradley Dack's opener inside 25 seconds. Bradley Johnson pulled one back just before the break, but Blackburn could not rescue a point.

 

POTTERS STAY ROCK BOTTOM

Nathan Jones' future as Stoke's manager looks increasingly uncertain after they followed up a morale-boosting EFL Cup win at Leeds with a fifth league loss in six matches. Liam Lindsay put the Potters ahead after 58 minutes at Birmingham, but they were nevertheless beaten again, Jude Bellingham's deflected strike earning the hosts victory.

Huddersfield also have just one point, Andrew Shinnie claiming Luton's winner at Kenilworth Road, while Derby's struggles worsened as Ollie Watkins struck twice in an emphatic win for Brentford.

Bristol City and Middlesbrough played out a 2-2 draw in Saturday's early kick-off, while QPR came from behind to beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 thanks to Jordan Hugill's brace.

Elsewhere, Millwall and Hull City drew 1-1, as did Nottingham Forest and Preston North End. There were no goals in the game between Wigan Athletic and Barnsley.

 

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