Edinson Cavani's Instagram post containing an offensive phrase is set to be investigated by the Football Association (FA).

The Manchester United forward sent the message after scoring twice in Sunday's 3-2 victory at Southampton, including a last-gasp winner.

Uruguay international Cavani used a Spanish phrase in response to an Instagram story from a fan and has since deleted the post, having been told of its potential to cause offence.

The FA said it had been informed and would look into it, while United are also reported to be aware of the post.

Cavani's double at St Mary's Stadium came after he was introduced from the bench at half-time, the victory leaving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side just three points adrift of the top three with a game in hand.

Edinson Cavani inspired a superb turnaround as Manchester United came from two behind to beat Southampton 3-2.

Jan Bednarek's header and a trademark free-kick from James Ward-Prowse had put Southampton in command at St Mary's Stadium.

But the introduction of Cavani for the second half proved a masterstroke by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that paid initial dividends in the 59th minute when he teed up Bruno Fernandes to halve the deficit.

He then met the midfielder's deflected shot with a diving header to equalise and had the crucial final say when he diverted Marcus Rashford's cross beyond Alex McCarthy in the 92nd minute, securing a record eighth successive Premier League away win for United.

 

 

Mason Greenwood has been included in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United XI for the clash with Southampton - along with Donny van de Beek. 

Greenwood has not started for United since the 1-0 home defeat to Arsenal on November 1, though the teenager did come on as a substitute in the 4-1 Champions League win over Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday. 

However, Solskjaer has handed the forward – who has scored just twice in all competitions this term – his fourth Premier League start of the campaign, as he partners Marcus Rashford up front at St Mary's. 

In midfield, Van de Beek gets his first league start since joining from Ajax with both Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay out injured, Solskjaer having stated in his pre-match news conference that the pair were doubtful for the clash with Ralph Hasenhuttl's in-form team. 

Anthony Martial is another absentee too, with Solskjaer confirming the France international had fallen ill overnight. 

Nemanja Matic, Fred and Bruno Fernandes – who Solskjaer has compared to Cristiano Ronaldo – were named alongside Van de Beek in a midfield diamond. 

Since his debut in the competition, Fernandes has been involved in more Premier League goals than any other player (24 – 14 goals, 10 assists), while no player has netted the winner in more different top-flight games than the Portuguese playmaker this season. 

Theo Walcott was rumoured to be a doubt for the hosts but the 31-year-old was passed fit to start alongside Che Adams in Danny Ings' continued absence through injury. 

Walcott has scored three Premier League goals against United, with all of these coming at different grounds – Old Trafford, Emirates Stadium and Goodison Park.  

Only Les Ferdinand (five), Nicolas Anelka (four) and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (four) have scored a Premier League goal against the Red Devils at a greater number of venues.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted the Red Devils are "going places" amid uncertainty over his future at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer's position at the helm of United has come into question after overseeing the club's worst start to a season at home of any manager since 1972-73, though the Premier League giants finally won at Old Trafford in the top flight for the first time since July after edging West Brom last week.

United are in the midst of a three-game winning streak, having beaten Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League, and West Brom and Everton in the Premier League.

Solskjaer's United can move within five points of leaders Liverpool if they beat Southampton on Sunday and the Norwegian boss is bullish over his future amid ongoing speculation linking Mauricio Pochettino the club.

"We live in a results business and all I want is for Man United to improve as a team and as a club," Solskjaer said, with United searching for their first Premier League title since 2012-13.

"I have very good dialogue with the club all of the time. You have to think long-term and short-term – and I would never ever think that this is my chance to prove a point and that it's all about me.

"That's not what it's about here. Every decision I make is for the good of Manchester United.

"For me, it's about results and if we keep improving we have a very good opportunity because this team and this squad is going places."

United have won their last seven Premier League away games, having never celebrated eight victories in a row on the road in the top flight before.

Meanwhile, United are looking to win their first four away games to a league season for the third time in their history, also doing so in 1913-14 and 1985-86.

Solskjaer, who replaced Jose Mourinho temporarily at the end of 2018 before being permanently appointed in March the following year, added: "Teams that win the league put good runs together, consistent ones. I know this season is more uncertain, but if you look at the last 40 games with this team, we win two draw one, win two lose one. So we are getting consistent.

"Look at the stats since we got the latest transfers and since Bruno came in. Since the Burnley game, only Liverpool have taken more points, so we are getting there. We are getting better and better.

"We did not start the League campaign on a par with everyone else because of Europe and a pre-season we didn't have. Now we are showing what we're capable of. If we carry on improving and keep the mindset, I am very sure we will move up.

"This season is very unpredictable and the main thing is to keep right mindset. You can forgive any mistake as long as you have the right mindset and approach - and I feel we are getting there."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is glad to see Bruno Fernandes demanding more from his Manchester United team-mates and hopes other players in the squad will learn from the star midfielder.

Fernandes has made a huge impact at Old Trafford since arriving from Portuguese giants Sporting CP in January, playing a direct part in 34 goals in 35 games for United.

No player has scored the winning goal in more different Premier League games than Fernandes this season, the 26-year-old netting the winner in all four of United's victories.

Fernandes is not afraid to bark out instructions on the pitch, either, and has even been trusted with the captain's armband at times in the absence of regular skipper Harry Maguire.

And Solskjaer is more than happy for former Sporting captain Fernandes to keep berating those around him if they fail to match the high standards he has set in his 10 months at United.

"In the heat of the moment people are allowed to air their frustration and be angry for a second or two, but then it's over and done with, because it's just for the benefit of the team," Solskjaer said. 

"If it lingers on that's a different scenario. I've been in a team and I like a team that has that inner justice where it's not just the managers and the coaches that shout. 

"I want players to take responsibility and put other players into their places at times when it’s necessary. They're out there fighting for one cause and that's for the team to win.

"The players have reacted really well [to Fernandes], we see different kinds of leadership, some lead by example, some lead by both, once in a while you just have to take a rollicking when you deserve one.

"He's not just giving out rollockings; he's also instructing players. We can all learn from his mentality and mindset, that winning mentality. If it's 2-0 he wants 3-0, if it's 4-0 he wants 5-0, he always wants the team to improve."

Fernandes scored a brace against Istanbul Basaksehir in midweek to keep United well on course for a place in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Solskjaer's United have struggled for any sort of consistency in the Premier League, however, and find themselves down in 13th position – eight points off the pace – ahead of Sunday's trip to Southampton.

But they travel to Southampton seeking an eighth away league win in succession for the first time ever in the top flight and Solskjaer can see signs of progress.

"The main thing for me is to keep improving, and climbing the table would be a sign of that," he said. "I do feel that we are getting to the right mindset after a difficult start to the season. 

"Generally speaking, teams that are capable of winning the league are the ones that can put good runs together.

"I don't know if that will hold true this season because it might be a little more unpredictable than most, but we are starting to show a bit more consistency. I like the way we approach games."

Borussia Dortmund rising star Jude Bellingham has been called up to the England squad for the first time.

The 17-year-old has been brought into Gareth Southgate's set-up after injuries to Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold and Southampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse.

Bellingham was initially in the Under-21 squad but will now link up with the senior side ahead of matches with the Republic of Ireland, Belgium and Iceland.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford will report for duty on Thursday for further assessment on an injury sustained in the 3-1 win over Everton last Saturday.

Bellingham has impressed in his first season in the Bundesliga since joining from Birmingham City last year.

The midfielder has registered one assist in his six league appearances in 2020-21 but ranks highly compared to other players under the age of 18 in Europe's top-five leagues this term.

He has attempted more passes (292) than any player within that age range and has a completion rate of 86 per cent, which puts him second.

Bellingham has quickly taken to Lucien Favre's high-pressing, attacking style at Dortmund. He is fourth for dribble success rate (58.3 per cent) among players under 18 to attempt at least 10, while he has made more tackles (12) than any other.

If Bellingham makes his debut during the next three matches, he would become the third-youngest player to make a senior appearance for England, behind Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott.

England face the Republic of Ireland in a friendly at Wembley on Thursday before facing Belgium in the Nations League on Sunday in Leuven.

The Three Lions are then due to host Iceland in their finals Nations League match next Wednesday, although the game could reportedly be staged in Albania or Germany because of travel restrictions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Iceland play Denmark in Copenhagen on Wednesday 15, which poses problems due to a UK ban on foreign visitors travelling from the country, where there are concerns around a new strain of the virus passing from mink to humans.

Sheffield United fans can be forgiven for fearing the worst after Saturday's 3-1 reverse at Chelsea left Chris Wilder's men still rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.

The Blades confounded expectations to finish ninth last season having gained promotion from the Championship in the 2018-19 campaign.

But the defeat against Frank Lampard's Blues means the men from the Steel City have just a solitary point through eight matches this time around, and only on four occasions have teams had such a record at the same stage of a Premier League season.

So, are Sheffield United – who have scored just four top-flight goals so far – already doomed for the drop?

Well, history suggests perhaps not. Below, we remember some of the Premier League's worst starts to decipher whether the Blades can recover from their perilous position.


Manchester City 1995-96

Points after eight games: 1

Relegated? Yes (18th)

This was back in the days when City still resided at Maine Road and the Abu Dhabi fortunes were years away from arriving. Alan Ball described taking on the manager's job as the "envy of millions" but few were looking on with green-eyed jealousy as City took until their 12th game to register a league win. Although a bleak situation improved and back-to-back 1-0 wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa gave City a fighting chance heading into the final day, a 2-2 draw at Liverpool saw the Citizens relegated on goal difference.


Southampton 1998-99

Points after eight games: 1

Relegated? No (17th)

A 5-0 loss at newly promoted Charlton Athletic was a miserable low, the second of five straight defeats to start the season under Dave Jones for a Saints side who looked like marching straight out of the top flight. A first three points did not arrive until the 10th attempt, against Coventry City, and Southampton had just 14 points from 20 games. Although they continued to be plagued by inconsistency, three wins and two draws from their final five matches ensured survival at the expense of Charlton.


Sheffield Wednesday 1999-00

Points after eight games: 1

Relegated? Yes (19th)

The Blades do not have to look too far for warning signs about abysmal starts, with derby rivals Sheffield Wednesday enduring misery two decades ago. The Owls scored just three goals and shipped a whopping 23 in their opening eight matches, including an 8-0 hammering at Newcastle United in a game where Alan Shearer scored five. A 5-1 win against Wimbledon proved a false dawn as Wednesday spent the majority of the campaign in the bottom three, sacked manager Danny Wilson in March, and eventually succumbed to the drop after failing to beat Arsenal in their penultimate game.


Sunderland 2013-14

Points after eight games: 1

Relegated? No (14th)

A torrid start saw Sunderland struggling in the drop zone but a 2-1 win over fierce rivals Newcastle United in October finally brought some joy to the Stadium of Light. Unfortunately for Paolo Di Canio, he had already departed by then and successor Gus Poyet looked in trouble as the Black Cats hit another bleak spell in the second half of the campaign. But a surprise 2-2 draw at eventual champions Manchester City was followed by a shock 2-1 win at Chelsea – the first of four straight wins that helped to a seal an eventual 14th-place finish.


Tottenham 2008-09

Points after eight games: 2

Relegated? No (8th)

If the Blades really want an optimistic outlook they can point to this Tottenham season. A shoddy start under Juande Ramos, which yielded a measly two points from eight games, led to the appointment of Harry Redknapp, who steered Spurs to an eventual finish of eighth and an EFL Cup final where they were beaten by Manchester United on penalties.


Sunderland 2016-17

Points after eight games: 2

Relegated? Yes (20th)

Sorry Sunderland fans, but if your team appears on this list twice the chances are one of them is likely to end in tears. Such was the case in the 2016-17 season as a return to the second tier beckoned. Sam Allardyce had engineered a great escape the campaign before but did not return to continue the job and a season of despair followed under David Moyes. A run of four wins in seven games between November and December was about as good as it got and there were just two league victories after the turn of the year.


Newcastle United 2018-19

Points after eight games: 2

Relegated? No (13th)

Newcastle's second season back in the top flight under Rafa Benitez did not initially make for pretty reading. Indeed, it took until November to register a first league win, but that sparked a run of three in a row. Things particularly improved from mid-January as Newcastle won eight games to finish comfortably away from the bottom three.


Cardiff City 2018-19

Points after eight games: 2

Relegated? Yes (18th)

Sadly for Cardiff City, it was a different story under Neil Warnock – a well-loved figure at Bramall Lane incidentally – in that same season. Blades fan Warnock had earned Cardiff promotion back to the top flight the campaign before but they were beaten eight times in their opening 11 league games. Ultimately, Cardiff finished only two points shy of safety, having impressively won 2-0 at Manchester United in their final game, but it was an immediate drop back into the Championship.

Southampton defeated Newcastle United 2-0 on Friday to move to the top of the Premier League for the first time in their history.

Che Adams and Stuart Armstrong struck in each half at St Mary's to seal a straightforward victory for Ralph Hasenhuttl's men.

The win - Southampton's fifth in eight matches this term - takes them above Liverpool on goal difference to the summit of the English top flight.

It is the first time the Saints have been top of the pile at the end of a day since September 1988.

"It's amazing what my team is doing," Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports. "Congratulations to everybody around the pitch and the team. It's amazing. 

"Everybody was on the highest level. It is a little scary what we are doing at the moment to be honest but not surprising when I see what we are working on.

"I just told the guys in the dressing room that we invested so much in this together. We made so many big steps forward. We are now a strong side. That is not a coincidence."

Danny Ings will not play again for England until March 2021 at the earliest after the Southampton striker was ruled out for up to six weeks.

Ings enjoyed an outstanding 2019-20 season at Saints after his move from Liverpool was made permanent, scoring 22 Premier League goals and forcing his way into Gareth Southgate's England squad.

The 28-year-old featured against Iceland in September and then netted his first Three Lions goal at home to Wales last month, but he suffered a knee injury at Aston Villa last week.

Initial results were "favourable", Saints said, but coach Ralph Hasenhuttl revealed on Wednesday the forward was set for "small surgery" and would miss "four to six weeks".

Ings will not recover in time for the November international break - the final England fixtures of 2020 - as the race to be selection by Southgate for the European Championship hots up.

Using Opta data, we look at the other leading strikers contending for places in that squad.
 

HARRY KANE

England's captain and the Golden Boot winner at the 2018 World Cup, Kane will - barring major injury - make the squad. But the Tottenham man is not being picked on name alone. Kane has six goals and eight assists in the league this season, attempting more shots (31) and creating more chances (14) than any other forward in the pool.

MARCUS RASHFORD

Rashford has dominated the headlines in recent months for his work battling child poverty in England, but he is delivering on the pitch as well. While many of his best performances have been reserved for the Champions League, the Manchester United forward has scored from both of his Premier League big chances - the only potential pick with a 100 per cent record - and has two assists from nine key passes.

TAMMY ABRAHAM

Chelsea's significant investment ahead of this season appeared to limit Abraham's opportunities, but the striker has still played 288 minutes in the league and provided both a goal and an assist.

DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

Calvert-Lewin might have already jumped ahead of Ings in the queue even before this injury. The Everton frontman, who scored against Wales on his international debut, is the Premier League's leading marksman with eight goals - one every 76 minutes.

MASON GREENWOOD

Ings is not the only forward to have been selected this season who is now sweating on his place. Greenwood departed early following his first call-up due to an off-field incident and has since struggled to impress in a United shirt. He has no goals and no assists in the Premier League this term, creating just two chances.

CALLUM WILSON

Wilson was in Southgate's plans before struggling last term as Bournemouth were relegated. He has rediscovered his best form since joining Newcastle United, though, scoring six goals from just 16 shots - an impressive conversion rate of 37.5 per cent - and creating seven chances.

PATRICK BAMFORD

An unlikely candidate, Bamford was surely not expected to be in this conversation but has scored as many as Kane and Wilson this season while outperforming Rashford, Abraham and Greenwood. The Leeds United forward has taken just two of his eight big chances, however.

JAMIE VARDY

If he can be tempted out of international retirement, there is surely only one choice as Southgate considers replacements for Ings. Vardy scored and supplied an assist against Leeds on Monday, and his statistics as a pure striker blow away all others. The 33-year-old has seven goals - one every 67 minutes - and has scored with an outstanding 53.9 per cent of his shots. No rival has been in position for as many big chances as his 10 and he has taken seven of them.

The Premier League appeared to revert back to the norm this weekend as five of the big six claimed victories and Liverpool climbed to the top of the table for the first time this season.

In doing so, the Reds became the first English top-flight club to top the division having conceded the outright highest number of goals of any side since Norwich City in November 1992.

Erstwhile pacesetters Everton and Aston Villa both lost for the second game running, to Newcastle United and Southampton respectively, while Manchester United's poor start to the domestic campaign continued with defeat to Arsenal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are stuck on seven points after six matches, making this their worst start to the season since David Moyes' brief spell in charge in 2the 13-14 season, when they went on to finish seventh.

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


BALE'S LONG WAIT

After a slow start to life back at Tottenham following his loan switch from Real Madrid, Gareth Bale showed what he is capable of with his headed goal against Brighton and Albion.

The Wales international scored what proved to be the winner exactly 200 seconds after being brought off the bench by Jose Mourinho, coming seven years and 166 days after his previous goal for the club in May 2013.

That gap of 2,724 days is not the longest between Premier League goals, though, with Matt Jackson holding claim to that particular honour.

Jackson went an incredible 4,935 days between his last goal for Everton in May 1993 and first in the league for Wigan Athletic 13 years later.

Also high up on the list is Leeds United forward Rodrigo, who netted against Manchester City last month, some 3,559 days after scoring for Bolton Wanderers against Wigan.

 

SALAH CONTINUES PENALTY STREAK

Mohamed Salah's penalty may have been a controversial one in Liverpool's win over West Ham, but there was never any doubt about the outcome of where the spot-kick would end up.

That is the 13th penalty in a row the Egypt international has buried for Liverpool during a run of 18 successful spot-kicks on the spin in all competitions for the Reds.

Sixteen of those have come in the Premier League, though the reigning champions still have some way to go to match the all-time record of 29 scored in a row by Southampton - a run spanning some 17 years.

As for the worst such streak, Leicester City failed to score from six in a row between August 1994 and September 1996.

 

UNITED SLOW OFF THE MARK... AGAIN

Sunday's 1-0 loss to Arsenal leaves United with only two wins from their opening six matches and languishing in the lower reaches of the division.

Solskjaer pointed out after the game it took his side 10 games to reach three wins last season when going on to finish a respectable third, behind Liverpool and Manchester City.

That was also the case in 2014-15 when recovering to finish in a Champions League spot.

At the other end of the spectrum, United have won eight of their first 10 matches on three occasions - in 1993-94, 2006-07 and 2012-13, finishing as champions each time.

 

ZIYECH UP AND RUNNING

Hakim Ziyech scored on his full debut for Chelsea in the Champions League win over Krasnodar and did likewise on his first Premier League start in Saturday's routine 3-0 win over Burnley.

The Morocco international also set up Timo Werner to become the first player to both score and assist on his full debut in the competition since Ruben Neves in August 2018.

He is the third African player to ever do so, along with Salah and Dame N'Doye, who it is fair to say have had contrasting careers in England's top flight.

Salah has since scored 82 goals and assisted 29 in 128 Premier League appearances, compared to six and one respectively for N'Doye during spells with Hull City and Sunderland.

Ziyech has a long way to go to match Salah's return but he has certainly made a bright start to his career with the London club.

 

INGS-CREDIBLE FROM RANGE

Danny Ings continued his fine form in front of goal with another sublime long-range strike to put Southampton four goals up in their 4-3 win against Aston Villa - the Villans falling just short of producing a remarkable comeback.

The England international, who later hobbled off with a knee injury that does not appear to be too serious, has now bagged 27 goals since the start of last season in the Premier League.

Only Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy (29) has scored more during that time, while no player has scored more from outside the box - Ings' five goals putting him level with James Maddison and Kevin De Bruyne.

Southampton have revealed the initial results of Danny Ings' knee scan are "favourable", with the striker appearing to have avoided serious damage.

The England international was forced off in the 85th minute of Sunday's 4-3 win over Aston Villa following a collision with Trezeguet.

Ings had earlier scored his fifth Premier League goal of the season to put Southampton 4-0 up, before a late fightback from Villa set up a tense finale.

He has already had to overcome two long-term knee injuries and boss Ralph Hasenhuttl admitted "it did not look good" when the 28-year-old went down at Villa Park.

However, Southampton confirmed on their website on Monday the initial results of Ings' scan are "favourable" and he will undergo further assessment over the coming days.

Ings has scored 27 Premier League goals since joining Southampton permanently in July 2019 - a tally bettered only by Leicester City's Jamie Vardy (29).

Eighteen of those goals have come via his stronger right foot and eight with his left, while his five goals from outside the area in that time is the joint-most along with James Maddison and Kevin De Bruyne.

Southampton are back in action against Newcastle United on Friday, a day after Gareth Southgate is due to name his England squad for this month's triple-header of games.

Arsenal have endured a frustrating run at Old Trafford in recent times, but they ended a 13-game winless streak in Premier League visits to the stadium on Sunday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a penalty to secure a 1-0 win over Manchester United.

Gareth Bale got off the mark in his second spell at Tottenham to earn the points against Brighton and Hove Albion, and there were also wins for Southampton and Newcastle United.

Using Opta data, we take a look at the key facts from Sunday's four Premier League fixtures.

 

Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal: Aubameyang ends Gunners' Old Trafford hoodoo

Aubameyang's second-half penalty was enough to clinch the points for Arsenal against United, as the Gunners clinched their first Premier League victory at Old Trafford since September 2006.

It was also the first time Arsenal have won away at a 'big six' Premier League side since January 2015, when they beat Manchester City 2-0 – a run of 29 games.

Only Chelsea (18) have won more Premier League games against United than Arsenal, with Sunday's win being their 16th victory in meetings with their old rivals.

Though United thrashed RB Leipzig 5-0 at Old Trafford in midweek, there has not been much in the way of home comfort for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side in the Premier League as of late, and they have failed to win any of their opening four top-flight games at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time since 1972-73.

They finished 18th in a 22-team First Division in that campaign, while their haul of seven points from six Premier League games so far this term is their lowest tally at this stage since 2013-14, when David Moyes was in charge.

Arsenal's spot-kick – conceded by Paul Pogba – was the fifth United have given away in their last seven home league matches; the previous five penalties they had conceded at Old Trafford in the competition came over a period of 101 games.

Pogba has now conceded three penalties in the Premier League under Solskjaer – no other United player has committed more than one foul leading to a spot-kick.

Tottenham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Bale is back

Seven years and 166 days after scoring on his farewell appearance for Tottenham against Sunderland, Bale struck his first Spurs goal since embarking on his second spell at the club.

The 31-year-old scored with his second touch, just 200 seconds after coming on against Brighton, to secure a 2-1 win which sent Jose Mourinho's side into second place.

Bale's winner came after a contentious equaliser from Tariq Lamptey, whose goal was allowed to stand after a long VAR check for a possible foul from Solly March.

Pascal Gross played a neat pass into young full-back Lamptey, and the German has now assisted 16 Premier League goals for Brighton, double that of any other player at the club.

Spurs, who have now won four of their six Premier League games since their opening-day defeat to Everton – their joint-longest unbeaten run under Mourinho – hit the front through Harry Kane's early penalty.

Their second-place finish to the day is the highest spot they have achieved since February 2019, under Mauricio Pochettino.

At the other end of the table, only the current bottom three sides have lost more games in the Premier League this season than Brighton, while only league leaders Liverpool (15) have conceded more goals than Graham Potter's side.

Aston Villa 3-4 Southampton: Ward-Prowse into Saints' record books

Southampton were 4-0 up heading into the final half-hour at Villa Park, though Dean Smith's side rallied to give the visitors a late scare.

Jannik Vestergaard put Southampton in front after 20 minutes, heading his second goal in as many league away games as he connected with James Ward-Prowse's cross.

Ward-Prowse had Southampton three goals to the good by half-time, scoring two superb free-kicks. The midfielder, who also netted in the win over Everton last time out, is the ninth player in Premier League history to score directly from two free-kicks in a game, and the first since Christian Eriksen for Tottenham in 2015.

Birthday boy Ward-Prowse, who turned 26 on Sunday, has also now overtaken Matt Le Tissier as the player with the most free-kick goals for Southampton in the Premier League, with eight.

Danny Ings made it 4-0 in the 58th minute, and the former Liverpool striker has now netted 27 Premier League goals since the start of 2019-20, with only Jamie Vardy (29) having scored more, while no player has netted more from outside the box in the same period.

Tyrone Mings pulled one back from Jack Grealish's cross, with Ollie Watkins netting his fourth Premier League goal with a penalty before Grealish, Villa's captain, made it 4-3 in the final minute.

Southampton have picked up 13 points from their opening seven Premier League games – that is the Saints' most at this stage of a campaign since 2014-15 - while Villa have lost consecutive Premier League games for the first time since July.

Newcastle United 2-1 Everton: Wilson double inflicts Ancelotti's second straight defeat

Without key men James Rodriguez, Richarlison and Lucas Digne, Carlo Ancelotti named a makeshift team against Newcastle, and his Everton side were not up to the task.

Having gone eight games unbeaten in all competitions at the start of the season, the Toffees have now lost their last two after Callum Wilson's double secured the points for the hosts at St James' Park.

Wilson scored from the penalty spot before tucking in his second from close range – the ex-Bournemouth forward has now scored six goals in his first seven Premier League appearances for Newcastle, with only Les Ferdinand having reached that tally in fewer games (six) for the Magpies in the competition.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin pulled one back for Everton late on and, though it could not inspire a comeback, the 23-year-old has scored more top-flight goals against Newcastle (five) than he has against any other opponent.

Newcastle have won two of their last three league matches at home, as many as Steve Bruce's side had managed in their previous 11 such matches (D4, L5).

Ancelotti, meanwhile, has lost successive league games for the first time since September 2014, when his Real Madrid side went down 4-2 and 2-1 to Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid respectively.

Jordan Pickford was also dropped to Everton's bench for the first time in the Premier League, after the England goalkeeper had started 120 successive games.

Merseyside rivals Everton and Liverpool will be looking to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Sadio Mane respectively to maintain their excellent starts to the Premier League campaign this weekend. 

The Toffees, who are ahead of Jurgen Klopp's side at the Premier League summit on goal difference, travel to Newcastle United, while their city rivals host West Ham – sides that Calvert-Lewin and Mane have excellent recent records against.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will be confident of picking up three points at struggling Burnley, given Frank Lampard can call on a couple of the Premier League's most in-form players in Edouard Mendy and Ben Chilwell. 

Finally, Crystal Palace and Southampton will hope Wilfried Zaha and Che Adams can continue their hot streaks when they face Wolves and Aston Villa respectively.

EDOUARD MENDY

Edouard Mendy has impressed for Chelsea since taking over the gloves from the error-prone Kepa Arrizabalaga.

The former Rennes man travels to Burnley at the weekend looking to become the first Chelsea goalkeeper to keep a clean sheet in each of his first three Premier League appearances for the Blues since Petr Cech in August 2004.

Given Sean Dyche's side have scored just three goals in their opening five games this season, do not bet against him achieving it.

 

BEN CHILWELL

Ben Chilwell has played in just three of Chelsea's six Premier League games this season but he has already created more chances (nine) than any other Blues players. 

The former Leicester City left-back has been directly involved in three goals in those three appearances, with one goal and two assists, and has contributed to two clean sheets.

Burnley look like they will have their work cut out trying to stop the marauding England international at the weekend.

 

MICHAEL KEANE

Everton's forwards have received most of the plaudits for the Toffees' superb start to the season, but there is a man at the back who has certainly contributed to their success. 

Since the Premier League resumed in June, centre-back Michael Keane is the competition's top-scoring defender with three goals.

Two of those have come this season and he heads to Newcastle United this weekend looking to add to that tally. 

 

WILFRIED ZAHA

Wilfried Zaha has brushed aside any disappointment at not getting a move to a Champions League club, starting the 2020-21 season in electrifying form. 

The Ivorian – who faces Wolves on Friday – has scored five goals already this season, which is one more than he managed in 38 appearances last term. 

With five goals and one assist to his name, he is also just one goal or assist away from matching his goal involvement total from last season.

 

SADIO MANE

Sadio Mane will be licking his lips at the prospect of facing West Ham this weekend. 

The Liverpool forward has scored in his last four games against the Hammers and boasts eight goal involvements (five goals, three assists) in eight meetings with them.

He has also been directly involved in five goals in his last four Premier League fixtures (four goals, one assist), which is more than in his previous 10 outings, when he scored just four goals.

 

CHE ADAMS

Southampton visit high-flying Aston Villa and former Birmingham City striker Che Adams will be hoping to get one over on his former arch rivals. 

After failing to score in his first 24 Premier League games, Adams has now scored six in his last 12, including goals in each of his last two appearances. 

He has not found the net in three successive games since he did for the Blues in early 2019. Villa have been warned.

 

DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has been in red-hot form this season and sits second in the Premier League's scoring charts with seven goals from six appearances. 

Expect him to add to that tally when Everton visit Newcastle, given his recent form against Steve Bruce's side. 

The England international has scored against the Magpies more than any other opponent in the top flight, with all four of his goals coming in his last three games against them.

Carlo Ancelotti confirmed Everton will appeal Lucas Digne's red card, questioning whether the extensive coverage of Jordan Pickford's tackle on Virgil van Dijk last week played a part in the decision.

James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams did the damage at St Mary's on Sunday, as Premier League leaders Everton suffered their first defeat in all competitions this season.

Everton's 2-0 reverse means 2020-21 is the first English top-flight campaign since 1967-68 in which no side has gone unbeaten through the first six matches.

A year to the day since Southampton were thrashed 9-0 at home by Leicester City, Everton's hopes of a comeback were further diminished when Digne received a straight red card for a challenge on Kyle Walker-Peters in the 72nd minute.

Sprinting after Walker-Peters, Digne appeared to slow himself but in doing so stepped on the heel of the Southampton full-back, prompting his dismissal.

It is the first time since December 2002 that Everton have received straight red cards in back-to-back Premier League games, after Richarlison was dismissed in last week's Merseyside derby.

Earlier in that match, Pickford was fortunate to escape punishment for a tackle on Van Dijk that resulted in the Liverpool centre-back suffering a potentially season-ending knee injury – an incident that has been at the centre of a media storm since.

Ancelotti believes the reaction to the decisions in the Merseyside derby possibly played a part in Digne's dismissal at Saints, which left him fuming.

"It was a joke, the red card, because it was not intentional," Ancelotti told Sky Sports. "Maybe it can be a yellow but for sure it was not violent conduct. They could check it better.

"Maybe all the rumours, all week against Pickford, against Richarlison, affected the decision. If it is like this, it's not right, it's not fair. We are going to appeal, for sure."

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum was critical of Everton after the derby and claimed Ancelotti's side were "unacceptable".

Everton received three red cards last season, though all were for second bookable offences, with the Toffees collecting 70 yellow cards in total – an average of 1.84 bookings per game.

This season, Ancelotti's team have received seven yellow cards and two straight reds from their six league matches, conceding 70 fouls (11.6 per match), which is a decrease from 12.4 per game in 2019-20.

If his red card is not rescinded, Digne will miss league matches against Newcastle United, Manchester United and Fulham.

Ralph Hasenhuttl took a different view, with Southampton's boss saying: "He tried before to kick him, finally he hit him from behind. It was a clear red card for me."

This most peculiar of Premier League seasons resumes this weekend with leaders Everton facing Southampton – and a notable nemesis.

Champions Liverpool tackle an out-of-sorts Sheffield United and last season's runners-up Manchester City meet West Ham, who produced that utterly amazing comeback against Tottenham last week.

Spurs are good value to bounce back against Burnley, particularly given Harry Kane's recent record, and Hugo Lloris might fancy a first clean sheet of the season.

There's also the small matter of Manchester United versus Chelsea, where Bruno Fernandes will hope to keep racking up those fantasy points. He's just one of our Opta-powered tips for you this week.

HUGO LLORIS

Spurs will want to get that collapse against West Ham out of their system swiftly, and a trip to Burnley might just be exactly what they need.

The Clarets have only beaten Spurs twice in 12 Premier League meetings and Jose Mourinho has never lost to them in nine games as a manager.

Lloris will hope this is the moment for a first shutout of the season. He's certainly earned one: of Premier League keepers to play at least 10 games since August 2018, only Emiliano Martinez (81 per cent) has a better save percentage than Lloris (75.4 per cent). Lloris has saved 193 of the 252 most recent shots on target he has faced.

 

AARON CRESSWELL

If you're looking for full-back value, look no further than Aaron Cresswell.

Okay, West Ham are likely to concede at least one goal against Manchester City, but Cresswell has more assists (three) and more chances created (12) than any other Premier League defender in 2020-21.

And City are not exactly impregnable at the back – they have already conceded seven times this term.

 

ANDY ROBERTSON

Andy Robertson is probably the safest swap for those having to take Virgil van Dijk out of their defences.

Liverpool's left-back has more assists (three) and more overall goal involvements (he's also scored twice) since the restart in June than any other Premier League defender.

The Reds face Sheffield United, who have looked decidedly shaky of late.

 

BRUNO FERNANDES

It might be a stretch to predict another 4-0 win for United at home to Chelsea as it was at Old Trafford last season, but few would bet against Bruno Fernandes being involved in the thick of it.

Since his debut in the Premier League, Fernandes has scored 11 and assisted nine goals, and no other player has reached 20 goal involvements in the competition in that time.

Chelsea have also conceded three goals in two of their past three league matches.

RAHEEM STERLING

Simply put, Raheem Sterling loves playing against West Ham.

The City forward has six goals and five assists in his past six league starts against the Hammers, a run that includes a hat-trick in a 5-0 win at London Stadium last season.

In fact, Pep Guardiola has won all nine games against West Ham as a manager, his joint-best record against a single opponent alongside Watford and Bournemouth.

 

DANNY INGS

Everton are tough opponents for anyone right now, but that does not change the fact that Danny Ings has always rather enjoyed facing them.

The Southampton striker has scored in four of his five appearances against the Toffees in all competitions, including in both games last season.

Only against Spurs (five) has he scored more goals for Saints.

 

HARRY KANE

Harry Kane has been flying this season and there is every chance his form continues against Burnley on Monday.

Kane has managed six goals and two assists in his past four Premier League games against the Clarets and hit a hat-trick at Turf Moor three years ago.

Spurs have also scored 11 in just two away games in the league this term.

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