Willy Boly had an eventful derby and there was a penalty double for Matheus Pereira as West Brom boss Sam Allardyce maintained his unbeaten record against the team he used to support as a boy.

Albion claimed a huge victory in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League at Molineux on Saturday, beating bitter rivals Wolves 3-2.

There was no such entertainment at Anfield on Sunday, with a hugely hyped clash between Liverpool and leaders Manchester United ending goalless, while Antonee Robinson's red card was costly as Fulham were beaten by Chelsea.

Ilkay Gundogan matched his best Manchester City goal tally for a season in a 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace, while Tottenham captain Harry Kane made his mark in Yorkshire yet again 

With the help of Opta data, we take a look at some of the quirkiest stats from the top-flight action over the weekend.

 

Boly in thick of the action as Wolves pay the penalty 

West Brom ended an eight-match winless run to claim three precious points against their big rivals Wolves.

Defender Boly became the first Wolves player to concede a penalty, provide an assist and score in a Premier League game since Adlene Guedioura in May 2011 - which was also against West Brom at Molineux.

Baggies midfielder Pereira was on target with two spot-kicks, becoming the fifth player to score a brace of penalties in a top-flight game this season. The last time there were so many penalty doubles was back in the 2010-11 campaign.

Allardyce was a Wolves fan as a youngster, but his allegiances have long gone out of the window, as the Albion head coach has not lost in 12 Premier League games against Wanderers - his longest unbeaten streak against any side.

 

Gun firing on all cylinders

Kevin De Bruyne sparkled once again as in-form City hammered Palace to go second in the table.

The midfield maestro laid on one of two goals for John Stones, taking his tally of assists for City to a landmark 100.

Gundogan is another midfielder who has caught the eye this season and the Germany international was on target with a sublime long-range finish at the Etihad Stadium.

The former Borussia Dortmund playmaker has scored four goals in his past six Premier League games, as many as he could muster in his previous 55 matches in the top flight. His tally of six for the season is the joint-most he has scored for City.

 

Kane comes up smelling of White Roses again

Prolific Spurs skipper Kane led by example yet again in a 3-1 win at bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United.

Kane scored his 19th goal of what is proving to be another outstanding season in Tottenham's first league win at Bramall Lane since 1975, having failed to secure maximum points in their previous seven visits.

England captain Kane has scored in each of his past six Premier League games in Yorkshire, a run that former Leeds United striker Mark Viduka was the last to achieve in 2003.

Leeds will have to be wary of the talismanic striker when Jose Mourinho's men return to the White Rose county for a clash at Elland Road on May 8.

 

Dire States: Rash Robinson costs Fulham

Fulham full-back Robinson was sent off late in the first half of the London derby at Craven Cottage for a rash lunge on Cesar Azpilicueta.

Chelsea had to be patient as they pushed for a winner, but Mason Mount struck to consign Scott Parker's relegation-threatened side to a 1-0 defeat.

Robinson was the eighth player from the United States to be given his marching orders in the Premier League.

The former Wigan Athletic left-back's dismissal also made Fulham the first club to have two players from the USA see red, Carlos Bocanegra being the other.

The Premier League's relentless schedule continues with matchday 19 this weekend.

Keeping on top of your fantasy teams has been tough with the intense fixture list and increasingly regular postponements due to the coronavirus pandemic.

To make things a little bit easier, we have used Opta data to highlight a few candidates for selection in your side.
 

NICK POPE

Burnley may only be four points clear of the drop zone, but when Pope is in the team they are difficult to beat.

Since the start of November, no goalkeeper to have featured at least four times has conceded fewer than Pope (four).

He has kept five clean sheets during that run and has the best save percentage in the Premier League at 90 per cent.


JOHN STONES

Manchester City are starting to look like Premier League title contenders once again, and a resurgent Stones has played a key role in that.

He has helped his side keep six clean sheets in his eight Premier League appearances this season, the highest percentage among defenders to play more than four games in 2020-21.
 

MARCUS RASHFORD

A mouthwatering top-of-the-table clash between Liverpool and Manchester United is scheduled to take place on Sunday and Rashford will again hope to prove influential in this fixture.

He has scored three goals in his past four Premier League appearances against Liverpool, earning his team four points in the process.

Only Wayne Rooney (six), Andy Cole (four) and Ryan Giggs (four) have found the back of the net against Liverpool more times for United in the Premier League than Rashford.


PEDRO NETO

Wolves host second-bottom West Brom in a West Midlands derby on Saturday.

With Raul Jimenez out due to a fractured skull, Neto has done his best to keep Nuno Espirito Santo's side pushing for a place in the top six.

He has the most Premier League goal involvements (four scored, three assisted) this season of any player aged 21 or younger, while his 32 chances created are twice as many as Bukayo Saka in second.

TOMAS SOUCEK

There is no doubting that Soucek has made himself an important part of David Moyes' West Ham side.

The Czech Republic international is the Hammers' highest-scoring player with five goals. He has also been involved in the most goal-ending open play sequences (seven) for the team this season.

CHRIS WOOD

Burnley may not be the most prolific team in the Premier League but Wood does not find it hard to score against West Ham.

The New Zealand striker has scored six goals in as many top-flight appearances against the Hammers, averaging a goal every 58 minutes.

He has not scored more than four against any other Premier League opponent.

Manchester City star Sergio Aguero is reportedly wanted by Barcelona.

Aguero's future at City is uncertain with the 32-year-old coming out of contract at the end of the season.

And the forward is unsurprisingly wanted by Europe's biggest clubs.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA WANT AGUERO

Barcelona are eyeing Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, according to The Sun.

Aguero has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain as City's all-time leading goalscorer entered the final six months of his contract.

The Argentina international has scored two goals in nine games this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Barcelona and Eric Garcia looks set to join the club from City. The cover of Mundo Deportivo says Garcia is poised to move to Barca in January in a deal worth €5million (£4.5m) plus variables.

- Also facing an uncertain future is Fernandinho. The Telegraph reports Fernandinho is undecided about his future, with the City man having offers from South America.

- Matteo Guendouzi is set to see out his loan spell at Hertha Berlin. Fabrizio Romano says the midfielder will not return to Arsenal in January, with the Bundesliga club wanting him to stay until season's end.

- Wolves seem unlikely to sign a forward in January. The Mirror claims they have aborted interested in Liverpool striker Divock Origi and Chelsea's Olivier Giroud.

- With Frank Lampard under pressure at the helm of Chelsea, help could be incoming. Sky Sports reports Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is considering bringing back former manager Avram Grant to work with Lampard.

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo fears another halt to Premier League action amid the coronavirus pandemic could give the country's biggest clubs the opportunity to launch a European Super League.

The English football authorities are carrying out regular tests on players and club staff, and the number of positive cases is rising, with 40 declared in the Premier League last week.

This has led to a number of games being postponed, while Tottenham will play Fulham - not Aston Villa - on Wednesday as part of the rearranged schedule.

Spurs had been due to travel to Villa Park for a midweek fixture, but their opponents requested a new date due to their players and staff either testing positive for COVID-19 or being placed in isolation as close contacts.

Instead, Jose Mourinho's side are to host Fulham in a fixture that was originally postponed on December 30 due to a spike in reported coronavirus cases at Craven Cottage. 

The rise in cases has led to growing calls for a circuit break – a tight set of restrictions, likely including the suspension of games, designed to reverse the tide of the pandemic. 

Nuno, however, is concerned about the future of the Premier League should they be forced to stop playing like they did for three months during the second half of the 2019-20 season. 

"The virus was something that we had never experienced so there were a lot of doubts," he told a media conference ahead of Wolves' clash with Everton on Tuesday. "Now, after the re-start, I think everybody made a big effort and there were protocols, meetings, decisions. 

"We were assured that, no matter what, we were playing because we only needed 14 players to play a match. Now things have changed and we start thinking about stopping again. 

"I don't know for sure what is better but I think and I am afraid that the decision is to stop football. This is my biggest fear. The schedule will go crazy. [It will be] impossible to even finish the league. 

"What I feel is that if we stop, everything will change. The Super League' will probably come, and other competitions which will help clubs survive.

"Basically, my opinion is based on the economy of the clubs, the idea that you start feeling other competitions emerging because the industry needs to find ways to survive and move forward.

"Based on what we have now, probably, if you make a quick comparison with what's happening in the economic industry, if you have a crisis, the strong will survive, what about the rest? 

"What is happening now will have an effect on the future, everybody is aware of that. Young boys are not training, playing football. I think it's clear."

Liverpool and Manchester United were reportedly approached in talks over a FIFA-backed European league last October, while the rejected "Project Big Picture" was viewed in some quarters as a cynical attempt by the biggest clubs in England to use the new realities of the pandemic as a means by which to increase their power base.

Wolves have recalled forward Patrick Cutrone from his loan spell with Fiorentina, bolstering their attacking options while Raul Jimenez recovers from a serious head injury.

Mexico striker Jimenez sustained a fractured skull in a clash of heads with Arsenal's David Luiz during a 2-1 win at the end of November and does not appear close to a return.

Since then, 18-year-old Fabio Silva, a pre-season recruit from Porto, has filled in as Wolves' main centre-forward and looked lively, if unspectacular.

The youngster has featured seven times in the Premier League and scored once, his eight shot attempts fewer than Ruben Neves, Romain Saiss (both nine) and Pedro Neto (10).

Wolves' options in that part of the pitch are limited, making Cutrone's recall less of a surprise.

The Italian joined for a reported £16million (€17.7m) from Milan in 2019 but he scored just three times in 24 appearances across all competitions before being sent to Fiorentina on a planned 18-month loan in January last year.

However, he fared no better with the Viola, netting only four times in 30 Serie A outings and laying on just six chances for team-mates.

He will hope to take advantage of a clearer run at a first-team spot with Wolves, as Jimenez still has not been given a return date.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Burnley 1-0 Sheff Utd: Blades equal unwanted record

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea lauded the last-gasp win against Wolves but refused to get carried away with growing title talk as he urged focus.

Marcus Rashford's 93rd-minute goal lifted in-form United past Wolves 1-0 and up to second in the Premier League on Tuesday.

The turgid contest appeared to be petering out for a draw at Old Trafford before Rashford popped up in stoppage time with a deflected strike after Bruno Fernandes had played through the England international.

United are in the midst of a nine-match unbeaten streak in the Premier League to be within two points of defending champions and leaders Liverpool.

"It was a massive win, we scored at the end of the game, a tight game against a good team, this is the way to be at the top of the league, but the most important thing is to be ready for Aston Villa and recover well," United star De Gea told MUTV.

"They're a very good team, they defend very well, have good counter attacks, players with pace up front, it was a tight game, they have good chances, but scoring in the last minute is always good, the three points are massive for us."

United have not won the Premier League since 2012-13 – Alex Ferguson's final season in charge of the club.

"We need to be calm, there's still a lot of games to play, we have many games with the cups as well, be focused on not looking too far forward, looking at the next game," De Gea added ahead of United's New Year's Day clash with Aston Villa.

United's stoppage-time winner at 92 minutes, 51 seconds was their latest winning goal in a Premier League game at Old Trafford since September 2009, when Michael Owen scored at 95:27 against rivals Manchester City.

Since his Premier League debut in February, Fernandes has been directly involved in more goals in the competition than any other player (32 – 18 goals and 14 assists).

"The players have to recover well, we play a lot of games, they run a lot, one of the most important things is to recover well," De Gea said.

"You have to fight until the end, we have to keep on going until the end, you keep believing and keep trying we can score winning goals like today."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he cannot see the benefit of the Premier League temporarily halting action in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.

On Tuesday, the Premier League confirmed 18 new positive COVID-19 tests in the week commencing December 21 – the highest number of positive results in a single round of tests this season.

The news came just a day after Manchester City's game at Everton was postponed at four hours' notice due to a coronavirus outbreak at the Etihad Stadium, while Fulham's match against Tottenham on Wednesday is also in doubt.

Eighteen positive cases surpasses the previous high of 16 recorded in the week commencing November 9, and mirrors the wider situation in England, with more people now in hospital due to the virus than at the peak of the first wave in April.

West Brom head coach Sam Allardyce has called for a circuit break – a tight set of restrictions designed to reverse the tide of the pandemic – but Solskjaer is unsure what benefit that would bring. 

"As a club and as a group we've been really good at following the protocols," Solskjaer said after United's 1-0 win over Wolves on Tuesday.

"That's part of the job. I can't see the benefit in having a circuit break because when are we going to play the games?

"We all know this year is so difficult, but if you stop more games I don't think that's going to make a big change – it might be a longer one. When do we finish the season?"

Marcus Rashford's stoppage-time goal handed United all three points against Wolves at Old Trafford and moved the Red Devils up to second in the table, two points behind leaders Liverpool. 

The result stretched United's unbeaten run in the league to nine games, but Solskjaer said it is too early to start talking about a title challenge.

"There's no title race after 15 games," he added. "You can lose the chance of being in a race in the first 10 games. But play another 15, get to 30, and then maybe we can start talking about a title race."

Bruno Fernandes was once again instrumental in United's win, with his ball over the top leading to Rashford's late strike. 

Since his Premier League debut in February, the Portugal international has been directly involved in more goals in the Premier League than any other player (32 – 18 goals, 14 assists).

Solskjaer admitted it was not Fernandes' most stellar performance but he was pleased his perseverance paid off. 

"He didn't play his best game, definitely," he said. "He's played better games but he's always in and around creating chances.

"Maybe he made more for them than he did for us today! But he's got that knack of looking for that pass, and in the end it worked."

Marcus Rashford insists Manchester United "cannot look too far ahead" after his last-gasp strike snatched a 1-0 win against Wolves to close the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to two points.

Rashford conjured up something out of nothing three minutes into stoppage time at Old Trafford, latching onto a brilliant Bruno Fernandes pass and lashing a left-footed drive off the body of Romain Saiss and past Rui Patricio in the Wolves goal.

The Red Devils had dominated possession and created the best chances but United seemed destined to be consigned to back-to-back draws.

But Rashford's moment of brilliance, after turning Wolves wing-back Rayan Ait-Nouri inside and out, kept United in touching distance of the summit.

However, the England international striker refused to entertain talk about a title challenge and said it would be "stupid" to focus on the table after only 15 matches.

"I think for us we cannot look too far ahead," Rashford told Amazon Prime.

"We're a team that's still doing a lot of work on ourselves and to be looking at the table so early in the season is a bit stupid of us.

"We have to take it one game at a time and if we can keep finding ways to win like this we'll see where we are at the end of the season."

The late strike was Rashford's seventh in 15 Premier League matches this season, after he netted 17 times in 31 top-flight outings in 2019-20.

The 23-year-old revealed the match-winning moment came after he noticed Wolves' left-sided defender Ait-Nouri struggling with cramp and decided to target the stricken Frenchman.

He said: "The full-back, I think he got cramp a few minutes before so I just had in my head that the next time I get the ball I'm going to try and go at him and make him chop and turn and just see if I can make something happen, and thankfully in the end we got a deflection and it went in.

"We're obviously a little bit disappointed we didn't play as well as we wanted to or we could have, but at the end of the day it's three points and no matter how scrappy or how tough they are we'll take them."

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer revealed he has encouraged his players to remain focused late in games due to United's historic penchant for scoring crucial goals in the closing stages.

"It's one of the points we brought up in a meeting early on in the season that last season we didn't win many points at the end of games," Solskjaer said.

"We've got a tradition for it at this club. It's happened so many times at that end. Now we've won quite a few points at the end of games and that's both a mental aspect but also a physical aspect.

"We've got a group now that's more robust mentally and physically. They're getting fitter and fitter, and the fitter they are the more they can do.

"Mentally as well, it gives you a mental boost knowing that you do win games towards the end.

"We've got to a decent position at the moment but it's not even halfway. We didn't perform as well as we want to, but we won a game against a very difficult opponent.

"This is a big step forward, that you don't perform but you still win."

Marcus Rashford scored in second-half stoppage time to earn Manchester United a 1-0 win over Wolves and send the Red Devils up to second in the Premier League.

In the 93rd minute of a turgid game with few clear chances for either side, the two stars of United's season combined to produce a goal that took their tally to 10 points from their past four games at Old Trafford and ended 2020 on a high.

Wolves failed to capitalise on United's flat display, prioritising their own low block to stifle the threat of fast breaks that brought Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men six goals against Leeds United in their previous home game, and defender Romain Saiss was the visitors' most potent attacking force.

But they slipped up late on when they failed to track Rashford's run onto a brilliant Bruno Fernandes pass and the England international's deflected goal extended his side's unbeaten run to nine league matches.

Diego Costa is poised to become a prize catch for one club in the days ahead, but what does the former Atletico Madrid striker have in mind?

He was released from his contract with LaLiga's leaders on Tuesday but looks set to make a swift return to football.

Atleti head coach Diego Simeone said he expects Costa to make a success of his next move, with the likes of Benfica, Arsenal and Wolves already linked with the fiery frontman.

Perhaps Costa will favour a move home to play in his native Brazil, or could MLS beckon?

Could Costa light up the Primeira Liga?

Benfica were linked with Costa in the previous close season, but nothing came of their reported interest. However, the Portuguese giants may still fancy a shot at bringing him to the Estadio da Luz.

They sit five points behind leaders Sporting CP this season, with Switzerland international Haris Seferovic their leading scorer with six goals in just three starts and six substitute appearances.

Would Costa fancy the Portuguese league, which he left behind 13 years ago when departing Braga to head to Spain? A Europa League campaign might bolster the appeal, with Benfica drawn to face Arsenal in the first knockout round.

Is he going to be a Gunner?

Given he was a hate figure for many Arsenal fans during his time at Chelsea, when he was a two-time Premier League winner, it would seem inconceivable for Costa to move to Emirates Stadium.

But needs must, and Arsenal might benefit from some of his attitude and knowhow up front as they battle to climb the Premier League table from a lowly standing.

Reports in Spain have suggested Arsenal's interest is genuine, with the club willing to let bygones be bygones and embrace a former fierce rival.

Whatever would they make of it at Chelsea?

Wolves at the door

There is plenty of circumstantial evidence to suggest a switch to Wolves could be a goer.

Costa's agent is Jorge Mendes, whose influence has helped the Premier League club build a squad with the talent to challenge for a top-six place.

And with Raul Jimenez sidelined after the serious head injury he sustained at Arsenal in November, Wolves could certainly do with an experienced addition to their forward ranks.

Costa might fancy joining a pack of underdogs, and his prospects of regular top-flight football would appear to be good.

Homeward bound

Perhaps the player who left Brazil as a teenager to seek footballing fame and fortune in Europe could be about to announce a return home.

Costa never played professional club football in Brazil and it may hold some appeal before he hangs up his boots.

There might be some making up to do before that happens, however, given he controversially turned his back on Brazil in 2013, in favour of playing international football for Spain.

The MLS route

A player of Costa's stature could be a big draw in MLS, given his achievements in Europe, his background, and his eye-catching style of play.

Goals have been hard to come by in  LaLiga for Costa during his second spell with Atletico, and there may be some appeal in moving to a league where not only would he be assured regular football, but the goals may come more easily.

If Lionel Messi is considering a future move to the United States, then clearly it is below no one, and Costa may relish seeing out his career in the growing league.

The Premier League title picture became little clearer on the first weekend after Christmas.

Liverpool and Tottenham were both held, while Manchester United played out a draw at Leicester City. Chelsea lost to struggling Arsenal.

But there was still plenty of intrigue across the latest round of fixtures as Edinson Cavani proved his worth again and Spurs struck swiftly before their late collapse.

With the help of Opta data, we take a look at some of the most interesting facts.
 

Cavani continues sublime sub form

United striker Cavani has still started just one Premier League match and played 207 minutes in the competition in total, but he provided another telling contribution as a substitute on Saturday as he assisted Bruno Fernandes' goal at Leicester less than four minutes after his introduction.

It was Cavani's fifth goal involvement off the bench already in the league this season, scoring three and creating a further two. No other player has been involved in more than three.

That tally has already matched manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's best return as a substitute in a single Premier League campaign; the renowned 'super sub' was involved in five goals off the bench in both 1996-97 and 1998-99.

Earlier this term, Cavani achieved a feat that Solskjaer had not, scoring and assisting as a substitute in the same away game at Southampton. Only Ruud van Nistelrooy had previously done so on the road for United.

The Paris Saint-Germain great has some way to go before taking the all-time Premier League record for goal involvements from the bench, however, as Adam Le Fondre tallied nine (eight goals, one assist) in 2012-13.
 

Speedy Spurs strike early again

If only Tottenham finished matches as strongly as they start them, having again failed to see out victory in the closing stages of Sunday's draw against Wolves.

Spurs have now dropped nine points in the final 10 minutes of matches this season, a Premier League high, yet their 57-second opener from Tanguy Ndombele continued a theme of speedy starts.

Only Chelsea (12) have scored more first-minute goals than Tottenham (11) in Premier League history.

And while Ndombele's drilled effort did not rank up there with the quickest, Spurs have accounted for two of the four fastest goals ever scored in the competition.

Ledley King's 9.8-second blast against Bradford City in 2000 ranks second, with Christian Eriksen's 10.5-second finish in a win over United in January 2018 fourth.

Tottenham have also conceded seven times in the opening 60 seconds of Premier League matches, though, joining Chelsea, United and Arsenal in a tie for third in that regard behind Everton (10) and Newcastle United (nine).
 

Arsenal ace Xhaka finds his range

Arsenal's London derby defeat of Chelsea might have come as a surprise, but Granit Xhaka's superb goal perhaps should not.

His free-kick on the stroke of half-time put the Gunners 2-0 up and was the first Arsenal goal scored direct from a free-kick against Chelsea since Thierry Henry's effort in the 2004-05 season.

Henry (12) has scored the most Premier League free-kicks for the Gunners, while Alexis Sanchez and Robin van Persie (both five) are the only other two Arsenal stars to top Xhaka's total of three.

And no Arsenal player with five or more Premier League goals has scored a greater portion of their strikes from outside the box, with Xhaka netting seven of nine (78 per cent) from range.

He is still a way short of Henry's Arsenal haul of 29 goals from distance or Chelsea boss Frank Lampard's Premier League record of 41, however.
 

Ten-man Villa deserving victors

One of the most impressive results of the weekend saw Aston Villa beat Crystal Palace 3-0 despite seeing Tyrone Mings being sent off just before the break with his side just one goal up.

Although Villa had just 38.6 per cent of the possession, they were ruthless, having 20 attempts for an expected goals total of 4.3.

That is the highest xG total for a team over a single match so far this season, with Manchester City - 4.6 against Brighton and Hove Albion - the last team to top that at the end of the 2019-20 campaign.

City had 11 men for the duration of that match, though.

Since Opta's xG records began in 2013-14, no team had previously earned a total of 4.3 after having a man sent off, let alone having been reduced to 10 men before half-time.

Thomas Tuchel's tenure as Paris Saint-Germain head coach is all but over.

Tuchel will reportedly be replaced by Mauricio Pochettino, despite leading PSG to Ligue 1 glory last season and the Champions League final.

Can former PSG defender Pochettino help the French giants conquer Europe?

 

TOP STORY – POCH SET FOR PSG

Mauricio Pochettino has agreed terms to take charge of Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Thomas Tuchel's sacking is set to be announced after striking a deal with PSG to leave immediately – the compensation worth €6million, reports Bild.

Former Tottenham manager Pochettino is now poised to return to PSG, where he played between 2001 and 2003.

 

ROUND-UP

Diego Costa has requested to leave Atletico Madrid in January, claims Diario AS and Marca. If Costa is unable to depart during the next window, the veteran striker will farewell Atletico on a free transfer at season's end.

Wolves have joined the chase to sign Real Madrid outcast Luka Jovic, says The Athletic. Wolves are keen to bolster their attack following Raul Jimenez's serious injury and Jovic has emerged as a loan option for the Premier League side. Milan have also been heavily linked with the Serbia international.

Georginio Wijnaldum wants time to reflect on Liverpool's contract offer, reports Fabrizio Romano. Wijnaldum is set to become a free agent amid links to Barca.

- The Mirror reports Arsenal are circling for Brighton and Hove Albion full-back Tariq Lamptey should Hector Bellerin depart for Barcelona. Lamptey has been linked to Manchester City and Bayern Munich.

Sevilla are eyeing a January swoop for Marseille star Florian Thauvin, according to Andaluz Estadio Deportivo. Milan have also been tracking the Frenchman.

- Corriere dello Sport says Juventus and Inter remain keen on signing Udinese's Rodrigo De Paul. Meanwhile, Ilbianconeri claims Juve have been offered Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil.

Manchester United remain in contact with Moises Caicedo's agents to sign the Independiente del Valle sensation, says Romano. The 19-year-old Ecuadorian midfielder wants to move to Old Trafford.

Jose Mourinho is concerned by Tottenham's inability to see games out after they once again lost points in the latter stages of a Premier League match following their 1-1 draw with Wolves.

Spurs were 1-0 up at Wolves on Sunday inside the first minute thanks to Tanguy Ndombele, but they only managed to muster another two shots on target for the remainder of the match, the last one coming in the 21st minute.

Highlighting Spurs' lack of attacking threat was the fact Son Heung-min and Harry Kane only managed one shot each against Wolves.

Wolves came on stronger in the second half and eventually levelled late on through Romain Saiss' glancing header at a corner.

It meant Spurs have dropped nine points with goals conceded in the final 10 minutes of matches this term, more than any other Premier League team.

While Mourinho accepted that was a concern, the head coach feels it is more worrying that Spurs are failing to kill teams off with their winless run now four in the league - they scored first in three of those games.

"Of course it is a concern, but I repeat, it's more a concern the fact we score early goals and we don't kill matches," Mourinho told reporters.

"Of course, against Liverpool it was about the post not wanting us to win the match and it's not expected to go to Liverpool to have five, six or seven chances and score one, two, three or four goals.

"In this match, or against [Crystal] Palace for example, are matches where by scoring an early goal you must have a go and it's simple as that.

"Even defending very well, which we do as a team, that is not enough. It could be enough if we defend that last corner, we win 1-0 and maybe now you are asking me different questions.

"But my feeling would be exactly the same, scoring in the first minute we had 89 minutes to score more goals and we didn't."

That was also the latest in a series of goals conceded at set-pieces, but again Mourinho felt the bigger issue was failing to add to Ndombele's early strike.

"Of course, we can go back to a corner, we can say that in Liverpool we should win and we lost with a corner," Mourinho continued. "We can say here we should win and we drew with a corner.

"You can say that against Crystal Palace we should win and drew with a lateral free-kick.

"I don't think it's very obvious just to look in that direction and not to go in other directions. The other direction for me is, you score a goal in the first minute and you have 89 minutes to score more goals and we didn't."

Spurs' slump has seen them go from looking like Liverpool's likeliest title challengers to dropping right out of the top four, while Manchester City and Aston Villa in the places directly below have played fewer games.

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