Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha heaped praise on manager Patrick Vieira after a shock 2-0 victory over defending Premier League champions Manchester City.

Zaha opened the scoring in the sixth minute, becoming the first player to reach 50 goals in the Premier League for Palace, before Aymeric Laporte was sent off for bringing him down and Conor Gallagher wrapped up the points late on.

The unexpected win at the Etihad Stadium saw the Eagles end their run of four consecutive draws and rise to 13th in the table, and Zaha was quick to credit Vieira for the team's positive form.

Vieira ended his playing career at City and then began his coaching career with the north-west club, bossing the reserve team before moving on to sister club New York City FC. He had a spell with Nice and joined Palace in July of this year.

"I feel like we have had a threat [before] but the difference now is that we keep the ball from the back and build and make our chances," Zaha said after the game. "We are exploiting our talent.

"[Vieira] knows what he is talking about and we have all seen him do it. It's surreal because he was an amazing player. Every player is buying into it and slowly the results will come."

The Ivory Coast forward was pleased with how Palace disrupted City and revealed delight at his growing connection with on-loan Chelsea midfielder Gallagher.

"It was about getting in their faces and not letting them play," said Zaha, according to the BBC. "We know how good they are, we wanted to show them what we could do."

His goal was not a clean strike, as Zaha admitted.

"I scuffed it, but a goal is a goal," he said. "I was just buzzing to see it go in, so I was happy. Conor Gallagher brings a lot of energy and I needed people to link up with."

City defender Dias was downcast about the result and questioned whether Laporte's challenge on Zaha was worthy of a red card, with Leicester City's Jonny Evans shown only a yellow for a similar offence against Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earlier in the day.

"The reaction is that we have a game in a short period of time and we are already thinking about it," Dias said. "Today we lost three very important points, but it is football. We are not happy but looking forward. Today we were not at our best, but even so the team fought and gave everything and it was not enough."

On the dismissal of Laporte, Dias said: "It was a little bit strange to see a red. I was walking back thinking it was a yellow. I never thought [the referee] would go for a red but we have to accept it."

Crystal Palace earned a stunning 2-0 win at Manchester City as Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher spoiled the party in Pep Guardiola's 200th Premier League game.

City suffered a first home league defeat of the season and had Aymeric Laporte sent off, the defender having earlier committed the error that gifted Zaha his sixth-minute opening goal - his 50th in the league for Palace.

Spain international Laporte struggled to deal with the Eagles' star forward and was caught out again in first-half stoppage time, denying Zaha a goalscoring opportunity as the last man with a clumsy challenge and being shown a red card.

Gallagher put the result beyond doubt with two minutes of normal time left to play, emphatically finishing off a counter-attack after good work from Zaha and Michael Olise.

Zaha gave Palace a shock early lead as Gallagher caught Laporte on the ball at the back before finding the Ivory Coast forward, who scuffed a low shot beyond Ederson and into the bottom-right corner.

City struggled to find their rhythm for most of the first half and Laporte's afternoon went from bad to worse just before the break as the centre-back was shown a straight red card for hauling Zaha down as the Eagles forward was set to go clean through on goal.

The hosts thought they had drawn level on the hour mark as substitute John Stones – a minute after his introduction – picked out Phil Foden with a terrific raking pass and the 21-year-old clipped a ball to the back post where Jesus squeezed home from a tight angle, but the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside after a VAR check.

City pushed for an equaliser in the remaining half-hour, but Palace remained resolute and stung the hosts in the 88th minute. Zaha held the ball in the box before squaring to Olise, who laid it off for Gallagher with one touch, allowing the midfielder to thump into the top-right corner and ensure Guardiola's landmark game ended with the Spanish boss empty-handed for once.

Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is not surprised by the scrutiny Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is facing at Manchester United having felt similar pressure during his Barcelona tenure.

Solskjaer's future has been the subject of widespread speculation this week following last weekend's historic 5-0 home defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League.

United lost by five or more goals without scoring for the first time since February 1955 in what was Liverpool's biggest ever margin of victory against their fierce rivals.

The Red Devils are seventh in the table with nine games played, already eight points behind leaders Chelsea, and have won just six of their 13 matches in all competitions

Solskjaer has spoken to United's board but has not sought any assurances about his future, with speculation growing that either Antonio Conte or Zinedine Zidane may be approached.

Guardiola, who took a year sabbatical after a four-season spell at Barca, has sympathy for Solskjaer as he believes the Norwegian is under twice the pressure as some managers.

"At United, everything that happens is doubled," he said. "The influence of them, like Liverpool, they are the greatest teams in England for many years. 

"When it happens, their victories are double, defeats are double. Of course, it's not a surprise.

"If I don't have good results, I'll be treated the same. Every manager. Nobody can survive bad results, no one. So expectations are so high at United, you have to win.

"For a long time the team doesn't win the Premier League, they do and they work to get results in terms of titles because their history demands it. 

"When I took over Barcelona, I knew it. I had to win. Otherwise, another manager will be in this position. I'm saying the most obvious things that everyone knows. 

"In that moment that it happened I'm pretty sure Ole is surrounded by people, family, the staff to be close to them and try to win the next game. There's no more secrets than that."

While questions remain over Solskjaer's future, Guardiola is preparing to take charge of his 200th Premier League game with Man City when they face Crystal Palace on Saturday.

The Catalan coach boasts the highest win percentage of any manager to have overseen at least 20 games in the English top flight since 1992 with 73.4 per cent.

But Guardiola, who takes his City side to Old Trafford next weekend, does not intend to stick around for another 200 league games with the reigning English champions.

"No, I don't think so," he said. "When you are at 200 games, you have many years and that means you won games, no secrets. 

"We are judged for results, not how good or bad we are, just results. If you get this milestone, it's because we have done quite decent with the players.

"I don't have any regrets. I could not demand or ask more than we have done so far. Impossible. 

"I'm delighted what we lived together in this period, hopefully we can continue working and doing well."

City have lost just one of their last 12 Premier League meetings with Palace, going down 3-2 at the Etihad Stadium in December 2018.

Pep Guardiola says he has no doubts that Xavi is ready to take over the reins at Barcelona, should the Catalan giants offer the former midfielder the job.

Managing Al Sadd in the Qatar Stars League, Xavi has been heavily linked with a return to the Camp Nou following the departure of Ronald Koeman earlier this week.

Widely considered one of the greatest midfielders of all time, the World Cup and two-time European Championship winner made 767 appearances for Barca between 1998 and 2015; then a club record that has since been surpassed by Lionel Messi.

Guardiola played for three years alongside Xavi, who was the heartbeat of the side that delivered three LaLiga titles and two Champions Leagues during the former's trophy-laden tenure between 2008 and 2012.

The Manchester City boss is confident the 41-year-old has the credentials to succeed at their old club, while he also empathised with another former team-mate of his in the outgoing Koeman.

Speaking ahead of City's Premier League showdown with Crystal Palace on Saturday, he said: "I don't know what's going to happen. 

"In case [Xavi is appointed Barcelona head coach], I don't have any doubts he's ready to do the job. He knows the game, he has passion and I'm pretty sure he has more experience now than I had when I took over.

"Ronald and myself know exactly that we depend [on] and we live [for] and we expect and we are there for the results. Nobody can survive without results – no Koeman, no Pep – we are judged for the results."

Palace's visit to the Etihad Stadium will mark Guardiola's 200th Premier League game in charge of City since replacing Manuel Pellegrini in July 2016.

The former Bayern Munich head coach has guided City to three league titles along the way, while they are just two points off leaders Chelsea after the opening nine matches of this season.

"When you have 200 games, it's because you've been many years and when you have been many years, it's because you won some games," he continued.

"We are judged on the results, not on how good we are or bad we are, just the results. You can get these milestones because we have done quite decent with the players. I couldn't demand or ask more for what we have done so far, it's impossible. 

"I'm incredibly happy, we saw the team grow and grow and that's the best signal you are doing well. Hopefully, in the years to come, we can continue working really well."

Following a complaint about the unveiling of a banner by Crystal Palace supporters in their Premier League clash with Newcastle United at Selhurst Park on Saturday, police assessed the concerns and have confirmed that they will be taking no further action.

The banner criticised the Premier League's Owners' and Directors' Test in light of the recent takeover of the Tyneside club by a Saudi consortium.

A large sheet depicted caricatures including a man in traditional Arab dress holding a sword covered in blood, a mock-checklist of the Owners' and Directors' Test, a bag of money and the letters "P.I.F" written on the man's clothes.

The banner also showed a magpie, seemingly representing Newcastle, whose nickname is the Magpies.

A member of the public made a complaint to police following the game, with a statement from Croydon MPS saying "On Saturday 23 October police received a report of an offensive banner displayed by Crystal Palace fans. Officers are assessing the information and carrying out enquiries. Any allegations of racist abuse will be taken very seriously."

However, Croydon MPS confirmed on Monday that, following an assessment, they would be taking no further action. 

The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with a spectacular Callum Wilson overhead kick cancelling out Christian Benteke's opener for the home side.

Newcastle are currently searching for a new manager following the recent departure of Steve Bruce.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta was left baffled by referee Mike Dean's decision not to dismiss James McArthur in his side's 2-2 Premier League draw with Crystal Palace, despite the aid of VAR.

Alexandre Lacazette struck a dramatic stoppage-time goal to rescue a point for Arsenal after Palace had recovered from 1-0 down to lead 2-1 in the dying stages of Patrick Vieira's return to his former club on Monday.

However, Arteta believes visitors Palace should have been reduced to 10 men just before half-time when McArthur caught Bukayo Saka with a late foot as they competed for an aerial ball.

Despite the hosts being incensed by McArthur's challenge, the Palace midfielder received a yellow card from Dean, while England international Saka was forced to withdraw from the action at the interval due to injury,

Gunners boss Arteta was adamant that the incident warranted further punishment, especially with the assistance of video technology.

"It's a clear red card. [McArthur had] no intention to play the ball," he told BBC Sport. "I don't know how with VAR, he hasn't been sent off."

While generally disappointed with Arsenal's performance, Arteta praised the resilience they demonstrated to ensure a share of the spoils.

Arsenal made two errors leading to goals in a Premier League game for the first time since April 2019 against Wolves and for the first time at the Emirates since December 2017 versus Manchester United.

"After the [opening] goal, we didn't manage the game well enough," he added. "We didn't have composure or control. It [the dip in performance] was for a long period, which is worrying.

"We started better in the second half. We had more control, and then we gave the ball away two times for the two goals.

"The most positive thing is we kept going. They kept believing until the end; that's how we managed to get a point."

Lacazette, who grabbed that late equaliser, also praised the hosts' character, while paying tribute to the home crowd for providing much-needed energy.

"At the end, we could draw. The main thing was to avoid the loss," said the French forward, whose last four Premier League goals at the Emirates have all come in London derbies.

"We wanted to win; we started well but then stopped playing. I think this is something we have to work on in the future. He [Arteta] told us when we play well, the fans are with us. This is what I tried to bring. 

"When the fans are with us, it gives us players energy. We need to give them what they want. We showed we have character. Even when we are down, we don't give up."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had opened the scoring for Arsenal – the Gunners star netting in three consecutive home Premier League games for the first time since September 2019.

Since making his Arsenal debut in February 2018, Aubameyang has scored 91 goals in 156 club appearances. The only Premier League players to score more in all competitions during this period are Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (109) and Tottenham forward Harry Kane (99).

Alexandre Lacazette struck a stoppage-time equaliser as Arsenal rescued a point in their 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace.

The Gunners made the ideal start at Emirates Stadium, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang finding the net for a third successive home match to give them an early lead.

However, Palace hit after the break as Christian Benteke and Odsonne Edouard completed the turnaround on Patrick Vieira's return to his former club.

But with virtually the last kick of the game, substitute Lacazette fired home a dramatic leveller to stretch the hosts' unbeaten run to six matches in all competitions.

Arsenal were aiming for a fourth straight home victory and they took the lead after just eight minutes on Monday.

After an initial corner was overhit, Vicente Guaita did well to push away Nicolas Pepe's curling shot, but Aubameyang was in the right place to volley the rebound into an empty net from close range.

Seeking a first away win in seven attempts under Vieira, who won three Premier League titles as a Gunner, Palace looked to respond before the break.

Benteke drilled a low effort straight at Aaron Ramsdale, who also demonstrated brilliant reflexes to tip Conor Gallagher's stoppage-time volley wide.

But there was no denying Benteke five minutes after the break. Thomas Partey was caught in possession by Jordan Ayew, and former the Liverpool striker skipped away from a challenge before firing home his first goal of the season.

Arsenal were ruthlessly punished again moments after Guaita brilliantly denied Lacazette, the ball stolen from Albert Sambi Lokonga as Gallagher led a devastating counter before Michael Olise set up Edouard, who beat Ramsdale off the underside of the crossbar.

However, Palace were denied in the fifth minute of stoppage time, when Lacazette pounced for a dramatic equaliser after Guaita parried Ben White’s initial strike directly into his path.

Patrick Vieira is anticipating an emotional reunion with Arsenal, but the Crystal Palace manager is out to beat his former club.

Vieira spent nine years with Arsenal between 1996 and 2005, helping Arsene Wenger's side win three Premier League titles and four FA Cups before he left for Juventus.

The 45-year-old made 279 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, with only five players making more for the club in the competition. In fact, Vieira will be just the fourth person to have played for the Gunners in the Premier League and then managed against them in the competition, after David O'Leary (W3 D2 L9), Tony Adams (L1) and Remi Garde (L1).

He has never faced the Gunners as a coach, though did play against them twice, with Juve and Manchester City, but did not manage to win on either occasion.

Vieira is out to change that record when Palace, who came from behind in impressive fashion to draw 2-2 with Leicester City before the international break, visit Emirates Stadium on Monday.

"The focus and concentration will be on how can we perform well," said Vieira, who was just 20 when he joined Arsenal from Milan.

"I am really looking forward to it. I had the chance to play for this football club [Arsenal] for nine years. I arrived at this football club when I was a kid and I left as a man.

"That is the club where I played my best football I would say. So obviously going back there will be emotional, but I will put that on the side because it will be important for us to perform well and to get points.

"It's about controlling yourself as a manager and controlling the emotion. I always try to do that and will try to do that again on Monday."

Recent history of Palace's trips to Emirates Stadium would suggest Vieira has a good chance of breaking his duck against Arsenal, with the Eagles unbeaten in their last three such games (W1 D2).

However, Arsenal have won their last seven league matches played on Monday, scoring 15 times and conceding just twice.

Palace ended an 11-game winless run in Premier League London derbies when they beat Tottenham 3-0 last month, though Arsenal have won four of their last five top-flight home matches.

Mikel Arteta is still demanding more improvements as Arsenal continue their recovery from a poor start to the season and prepare to face Crystal Palace.

The Gunners were winless in their first three Premier League games but responded by winning their next three before a draw with Brighton and Hove Albion took them to five games unbeaten in all competitions.

Initial calls for Arteta's sacking have somewhat faded away, at least temporarily, as Arsenal look to defeat the Eagles for just the second time in seven top-flight meetings between the pair.

Arteta, who was named September's Premier League Manager of the Month, has been impressed in the upturn in form but still wants more from his side as the domestic season returns.

"We managed to turn things around a little bit [during the previous international break] but there is still a big margin for improvement," Arteta told reporters at Thursday's pre-match news conference.

"But we got important results that were very needed in that moment and we just need to think about doing things better, progressing up the table and focus on winning our next match.

"It is the opportunity that this game gives you and you have to stand up, keep believing, work hard, be critical and analyse things to try to change them and improve them. Football always gives you another opportunity.

"When you're in a good moment, you want to carry on playing as quickly as possible. When the confidence is there, and the momentum is there, you want to continue, but again, we knew that we had to stop after that game.

"[We knew] that we had to get as many points as possible, and we did well enough to do that and be in a different position than a month ago, and now we have to just improve it."

Arsenal have mustered just five goals from their opening seven league games – their fewest at this stage since 1986-87 – and Arteta implored his side to improve their finishing.

"It is certainly something we can do better and improve in our efficiency in front of goal, and when we get that balance right it will obviously help us to win more game," he continued.

Patrick Vieira, who made 279 Premier League appearances for Arsenal, returns to his former club with Palace – becoming just the fourth man to play for the Gunners and manage against them in the competition.

Arteta – aware of Vieira's legendary status, with only five players appearing more in the league for the north London club – expects a warm welcome for the former France midfielder from the Emirates Stadium crowd.

"He is an Arsenal legend and I hope he gets the reception he deserves for what he did for the club, not only as a player but also what he transmitted as a person," he added. 

"He was a captain of the club in the most successful era in the last many years and it is great to have him back."

Mohamed Salah maintained his magnificent form by scoring a stunning goal and setting up another in Liverpool's thrilling 2-2 Premier League draw with Manchester City.

City twice came from behind to secure a point as all four goals were scored in a pulsating second half at Anfield on Sunday, Sadio Mane and Salah on target for the Reds, with Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne finding the back of the net for the champions.

Brentford continued their great start to life in the Premier League with a 2-1 London derby win at West Ham, while Tottenham stopped the rot with a win over Aston Villa.

Crystal Palace fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Leicester City in another entertaining game in the capital.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform looks at the key statistics from Sunday's games.

 

Liverpool 2-2 Manchester City: No stopping sensational Salah

Salah has now scored in seven consecutive matches in a row in all competitions, matching his best scoring run for the Reds that he also achieved in April 2018.

The Egypt forward has either scored (9) or assisted (3) in eight of his nine games in all competitions for the unbeaten Liverpool this season, having a direct hand in more goals so far in 2021-22 than any other Premier League player (12).

Foden (21 years and 128 days) is the youngest player to score in three consecutive Premier League appearances against Liverpool since Romelu Lukaku in November 2013 (20y 194d).

City conceded more goals on Merseyside than in their previous seven top-flight games combined beforehand (1).

Tottenham 2-1 Aston Villa: Spurs end losing streak

Spurs had been smarting from three consecutive defeats in the Premier League, but they edged out Villa.

Tottenham have won 11 of their past 13 top-flight games against Villa, scoring at least two goals in each of those victories.

Harry Kane was unable to find the back of the net, though, and the England captain has not scored in any of his past six Premier League matches - his longest scoreless streak in the competition since failing to net in his first six games of the 2015-16 campaign.

Villa suffered their 72nd away Premier League defeat in London; only Newcastle (81), Everton (79) and Southampton (74) have lost more in the capital.

West Ham 1-2 Brentford: Bees provide a sting in the tail

Brentford are sitting pretty in seventh spot in their first Premier League campaign after Yoane Wissa stunned the Hammers with a last-gasp winner.

West Ham have lost four of their past seven home Premier League matches, as many as they lost in their previous 20 at London Stadium (W11 D5 L4).

Brentford's Bryan Mbeumo has scored five goals in his past seven away league matches (excluding play-offs) – he had only scored six in his first 40 on the road for the Bees.

Crystal Palace 2-2 Leicester City: Battling Palace thwart Foxes

Palace are unbeaten in the Premier League at Selhurst Park since Patrick Vieira took charge (P4 W1 D3). The Frenchman is the first Eagles manager to avoid defeat in his first four home games in the competition.

Leicester failed to win a Premier League game in which they were ahead at half-time by two or more goals for the first time since October 2003 (4-3 defeat v Wolves).

Foxes striker Jamie Vardy has scored 90 goals in the Premier League since turning 30, just three fewer than Ian Wright (93) as the player with the most goals in the competition after his 30th birthday.

With another international break almost upon us, fantasy football players will be able to rest easy for a couple of weeks at the start of October.

But first, there are plenty of important points to be had.

With Liverpool hosting Manchester City, Chelsea eager to get back to winning ways and Arsenal preparing for a tricky test at Brighton and Hove Albion, there is plenty of value to be had with some wise selections.

Allow Stats Perform to lend a guiding hand, with the help of Opta data...

 

EDOUARD MENDY (Chelsea v Southampton)

Back-to-back defeats to Manchester City and Juventus have somewhat derailed Chelsea's good start to the season, and Thomas Tuchel will expect a response against Southampton.

Saints have failed to score in their past three league matches and, in Edouard Mendy, they will be facing the goalkeeper with the best save percentage in the division this season (90 per cent), out of those to have played more than once in the competition.

Mendy is conceding just once every 225 minutes on average, a stat likely to worry winless Southampton but bring encouragement to fantasy football players.

 

ANDY ROBERTSON (Liverpool v Manchester City)

Since the start of last season, Andy Robertson has provided eight Premier League assists. The only defender with more is, you guessed it, Liverpool team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold (nine).

The England right-back is also the only defender since last September with more passes into the box and chances created than Robertson, who has managed 329 and 52 respectively.

With Alexander-Arnold ruled out by Jurgen Klopp due to injury, Robertson could play an even more pivotal role for the Reds against the reigning champions.

 

JOAO CANCELO (Liverpool v Manchester City)

If you are looking for value in both boxes, Joao Cancelo may well be your best bet.

No Premier League defender has had more touches in the opposition box (16), while only Cancelo and team-mate Ruben Dias can boast five clean sheets in the competition in the 2021-22 season so far.

With 10 shots and one assist to his name, Cancelo will be another full-back to watch with interest at Anfield.

WILFRIED ZAHA (Crystal Palace v Leicester City)

Leicester could be vulnerable after a Thursday Europa League trip to Poland, especially with Palace having gone three home games without defeat while conceding just once.

The Foxes also happen to be among Wilfried Zaha's favourite opponents. The Ivory Coast international has six goals and two assists against them in 12 games, more than he has against any other side.

It is perhaps also worth mentioning that, as a player, Palace boss Patrick Vieira played 11 times against Leicester and never lost.

 

ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN (Wolves v Newcastle United)

Aside from being one of the most fun players in the top flight, Allan Saint-Maximin is also Newcastle's greatest goal threat.

With two scored and three assisted, he has been directly involved in 71 per cent of all the Magpies' league goals this season and has had a hand in at least one in each of his past four appearances.

Newcastle have only won one of their most recent nine league encounters with Wolves, who themselves have not beaten their next opponents at home since April 1993. Perhaps Saint-Maximin is the man to tip the balance.

 

NEAL MAUPAY (Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal)

Speaking of key players, Brighton owe half of their eight league goals this season to Neal Maupay, who is looking to score in three consecutive top-flight matches for the first time in a year.

Arsenal are one of his preferred opponents, too: he has scored the winner in two out of three league meetings with the Gunners.

Mikel Arteta's side should be feeling positive after their derby win, but the Seagulls have won three of their past four home matches in the league, as many as they had managed in their previous 22.

 

ROMELU LUKAKU (Chelsea v Southampton)

After drawing a blank in his previous four outings in all competitions, Romelu Lukaku will be keen to get back among the goals.

Chelsea's record signing will be glad of his next opponents, then: he has nine goals in 12 previous Premier League games against Southampton and has never scored more against a single side in the division.

The Blues have scored six first-half goals in 2021-22 – only Liverpool can match that tally – so an early Lukaku strike may well be on the cards.

Manchester City made something of a statement in their 1-0 win over potential title challengers Chelsea on Saturday, whereas Manchester United seemed to take another step back as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign stuttered again.

But Solskjaer is certainly not the only top-flight manager feeling the heat – Nuno Espirito Santo's honeymoon period as Tottenham boss is well and truly over, with the Portuguese now among the favourites to be the first Premier League boss sacked this season following a 3-1 defeat in the north London derby.

Without any further ado, here are some of the more curious facts and stats from across the Premier League this past weekend…

City defence putting the 'guard' in Guardiola

It may not have been the thrill ride neutrals were likely hoping for, but City's 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge was another impressive indicator of just how good Pep Guardiola's team is as a unit.

Of course, they won the Premier League only a few months ago, so saying City are "good" probably won't cut it for analysis – but what is really making people sit up and take note at the moment is how their unity and cohesion is translating into defensive solidity.

City have conceded just one goal in their six Premier League games this term, the fewest they've ever shipped at this stage of any league campaign.

Let's not forget that Chelsea had been widely praised for their own start to 2021-22, yet on Saturday they were prevented from having a single shot on target in a home league game since November 2012, which coincidentally was also against City.

But even more impressive from City's perspective was the fact Chelsea's expected goals (xG) value was just 0.2, the worst they've recorded in a home Premier League game since Opta records began in 2008-09.

While Chelsea fans will understandably be frustrated, it would seem their struggles on Saturday were more down to City being in a groove defensively.

They've only faced six shots on target this season, a record no Premier League has bettered over the first six matches in a campaign since at least 2003-04. If they keep this up, the title will surely be staying at the Etihad Stadium.

Fernandes' penalty miss not Man Utd's big issue

It was another day to forget for United on Saturday as they lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa.

They were presented with a great opportunity to equalise in second-half stoppage time, but Bruno Fernandes sent his penalty over the crossbar.

Much of the focus afterwards was on Fernandes and his miss, though it would be unfair to pin the blame on him – after all, of the 23 spot-kicks he has taken since his United debut, he's only failed to convert two.

In the same time period, Cristiano Ronaldo – seemingly Fernandes' main penalty rival now – has taken 22 and missed four. This is not a problem that United need to dwell on much.

Instead, they'd be wise to look into their glaring tactical inefficiencies, with Solskjaer's team sorely lacking identity, cohesion and a defined playing style. Too often they are bailed out by moments of individual brilliance, which is an unsustainable approach to solely rely on in a title challenge.

Against Villa, those instances of individual excellence never arrived, despite United mustering 28 shots. That was the most efforts attempted by United without scoring in a home league game since October 2016 (38 shots in 0-0 draw with Burnley).

They have now conceded in each of their past eight league games at Old Trafford, their worst such run in 49 years, and lost three successive home matches (all competitions) for the first time since 1962.

Norwich set new benchmark for worst start

With every match that passes, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to become ever dimmer for Norwich City.

A 2-0 defeat at Everton on Saturday leaves Norwich pointless and with a -14 goal difference after six matches – that makes their start to the season the worst after six matches in Premier League history.

Only twice before had a Premier League side begun a campaign without a single point from six games, the last of which was Frank de Boer's infamous Crystal Palace team in 2017-18 – the Dutchman was sacked after the fourth match in that sequence.

Norwich have at least been a little more patient than Palace, with Daniel Farke's record of overseeing two promotions seemingly ensuring he retains some good will at the club, even if he now has the highest loss percentage (75 per cent, 33/44) of any manager to take charge of at least 20 games in the Premier League.

Most would already consider Norwich to be doomed for relegation, though perhaps there is some reason for optimism.

There have only been nine teams to start a top-flight season (prior to 2021-22) with six or more successive losses, but four of them – including Palace – have avoided relegation.

Vardy joins exclusive club

Jamie Vardy ended up having a peculiar day when Leicester City drew 2-2 with Burnley on Saturday, the former England striker scoring three of the four goals.

It was his own goal that gave Burnley an early lead, while he also got both Leicester equalisers, including one late in the day.

That was his first own goal ever in 360 appearances for Leicester, while he became the first player to net at both ends for the club in a single Premier League game.

It's happened to some of the best, though. He joins an illustrious list containing 11 others who have scored at least 100 goals but also put past their own goalkeeper, with Harry Kane, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney among them.

On top of that, Vardy is now only one of five players in Premier League history to score at least twice at the right end and an own goal in the same game after John Barnes (Liverpool v Spurs 1995), Niall Quinn (Sunderland v Charlton Athletic 2001), Rooney (Man Utd v Stoke City 2012) and Tammy Abraham (Chelsea v Wolves 2019).

But he is still doing more than his fair share at the other end, his brace in this game taking him to eight goal involvements in his past seven league games, which is 89 per cent (8/9) of Leicester's goals in that time.

Bad omens stacking up for Nuno

After three wins from his first three Premier League games in charge, everything was looking rather rosy for Tottenham boss Nuno.

Three matches and three defeats later, some will doubt whether he'll still be in charge this time next month, let alone this time next season.

Sunday's north London derby was his 10th in charge of Spurs and the 3-1 loss made him the first manager to lose as many as four of his first 10 matches at the helm of the club since Glenn Hoddle in 2001.

Hoddle was also the last Spurs boss to conceded at least three goals in three consecutive league games in September 2003, and he was sacked after that run.

Nuno will probably make it to the next match but the last team to begin a season with three wins and then lost the next three (Everton, 1993-94) finish as low down as 17th.

His future arguably rests on getting something out of Kane, who's failed to score in five straight league games for the first time since August 2016, but things aren't looking great given Spurs' 35 open-play shots is the second fewest in the division and their expected goals (xG) total is just 3.2, only higher than three teams.

While a lack of quality chances might usually be masked by Kane's excellence, he's not bailing them out any longer – if that continues, it's difficult to see Nuno keeping his job for the long term.

Barcelona need to add some attacking options to their squad, particularly with the Lionel Messi era now over.

Ferran Torres is among those on their wish list. 

Will Manchester City let him go? 

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA STILL COVET TORRES

Barcelona are not ready to give up on their pursuit of Manchester City forward Ferran Torres, the Sun reports.  

After being rebuffed in a previous overture for the 21-year-old Spain international, Barca are ready to try again next year.  

Torres has done them no favours with his impressive showing for Spain at Euro 2020, plus his in-form start to this season for City. 

 

ROUND-UP

Xavi could be in line to replace Ronald Koeman at Barcelona, Marca reports. The Barca legend is head coach at Al Sadd after finishing his playing career with the Qatari club.  

Liverpool plan to renew their pursuit of West Ham's Jarrod Bowen, the Liverpool Echo reports, after they reportedly bid £20million for him during the previous transfer window.  

Alexandre Lacazette will have no shortage of suitors when the time comes for him to depart Arsenal. Atletico Madrid are interested in the France striker, says Le10 Sport, while West Ham and Crystal Palace may also bid for the 30-year-old, according to 90min. 

Liverpool ran out 3-0 winners over Crystal Palace on Saturday, to take their place at the top of the Premier League.

Title rivals Manchester City could only draw at home to Southampton, but Manchester United and Chelsea subsequently joined Liverpool on 13 points.

Here are some of the more curious facts from across the Premier League weekend.


Premier League first for Reds trio

Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita scored Liverpool's goals in their win over Palace at Anfield.

It is the first time in the Premier League that a game has ended 3-0, with all three goals being scored by African players.

Mane opened the scoring with his 100th goal for Liverpool. The Senegal forward has now scored in each of his last nine league appearances against Palace, making him the first player in Premier League history to score in nine straight matches against a single side.

All three of Liverpool's goals came from corners. Not since City beat West Brom in March 2015 has a top-flight game ended 3-0 with all the goals coming from corners.

Dave saves... finally

There was late drama aplenty at London Stadium on Sunday as United joined Liverpool at the top of the table thanks to a 2-1 win over West Ham.

After Cristiano Ronaldo continued his fantastic start to his second United stint to drag the Red Devils level, Jesse Lingard came on to break West Ham hearts late in the game.

London Stadium is the 66th different stadium that Ronaldo has scored at in matches played in Europe's big five leagues, and he has scored at more unique venues than any other player since his United debut in 2003-04, ahead of Zlatan Ibrahimovic (64).

Lingard, meanwhile, became the 47th player to score for and against West Ham in the Premier League. Excluding own goals, West Ham have had more players score for and against them than any other side in the league's history.

But it was David de Gea who proved to be United's hero, as he saved a last-gasp penalty from Mark Noble, who was brought on specifically by David Moyes to take the spot-kick.

De Gea's save ended a drought stretching back to April 23, 2016 of 40 spot-kicks faced without making a save for both club and country, in the process helping United claim a dramatic win at London Stadium. 

Of those penalties, 11 were scored by Villarreal players in May's Europa League final, with De Gea ultimately missing the decisive kick in the Red Devils' shoot-out defeat. 

The 30-year-old did keep out a Jordan Ayew penalty in last September's league meeting with Palace, but that was retaken and scored by Wilfried Zaha after De Gea was deemed to be off his line. 

Veteran Silva helps give Spurs the blues

Aged 36 years and 362 days, Thiago Silva became the second-oldest Chelsea player to score in the Premier League behind only Didier Drogba, who scored against Leicester City aged 37 years and 49 days in April 2015, when the Brazilian headed Thomas Tuchel's side ahead at Tottenham.

N'Golo Kante's deflected effort made it 2-0. The midfielder scored for the first time in 49 league appearances, having last found the net against Man City in November 2019. Three of his last four top-flight strikes have come from outside of the box.

Antonio Rudiger condemned Spurs to a second successive 3-0 defeat; they have lost consecutive Premier League matches by a 3+ goal margin for the first time since their opening two games of the 2011-12 campaign.

Harry Kane, meanwhile, cut a forlorn figure up top for Nuno Espirito Santo's side. He has failed to score in his first four Premier League appearances of a season for the first time since 2015-16, attempting just four shots so far.

Super-sub Bailey bursts Benitez's bubble

Everton's unbeaten start under Rafael Benitez came crashing to a halt as Leon Bailey starred with a blistering cameo in Aston Villa's 3-0 win.

Bailey came on from the bench and had an instant impact. With Matty Cash's first Premier League goal having put Villa ahead, the Jamaica forward whipped in a corner that Lucas Digne turned into his own net.

Digne has now scored three own goals in the Premier League, level with Younes Kaboul for the French player to have done so on the most occasions.

Villa were not finished there, however, and Bailey burst clear to lash home his first Premier League goal. Moments later, he went off with an apparent thigh injury, becoming only the second Villa player to come as a substitute, score, and then be substituted in a Premier League match, after Julian Joachim against Derby in September 2000.

Farke's losing streak rolls on, Toney at the top

Ivan Toney scored and assisted another as Brentford defeated Wolves 2-0 on Saturday.

Since the start of last season, Toney is the outright leading goalscorer in the top four tiers of English football (excluding play-off matches), with 33 strikes to his name.

Another promoted club, Norwich City, suffered their fifth defeat of the campaign. In total, the Canaries have now lost each of their last 15 Premier League games, meaning Daniel Farke is the manager with the longest losing run in top-flight history.

Mick McCarthy (14) was the last manager to go close to almost as long as Farke without a top-tier win, though that was back in 2005.

Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Barcelona all pursued Erling Haaland in the recent transfer window.

The 21-year-old Norway forward opted to stay with Borussia Dortmund.

But the race will heat up again at the end of the season.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA INTERESTED IN STERLING

Manchester United still want to sign Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland and will make a move next European summer, reports the Express.

United made a major transfer splash when they landed Cristiano Ronaldo last month but remain in the Haaland race.

The Red Devils are looking to end their trophy drought and added Raphael Varane and Jadon Sancho along with Ronaldo for this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- United are leading the way in the chase to sign Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, according to The Sun. The 18-year-old is being pursued by Chelsea and Manchester City too.

- The Sun reports that United are planning a clear-out at the end of this season, including Donny van de Beek , Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial to free up funds.

- Calciomercato reports that Juventus have identified Real Madrid forward Luka Jovic as a transfer target in the January window on loan.

- Ligue 1 club Lens could make a bid for Liverpool's Belgium international forward Divock Origi , claims Fichajes.

- Crystal Palace are interested in signing US international forward Daryl Dike from Orlando City, reports The Sun. Dike is set to command a £18m fee.

- Transfer expert Ekrem Konur claims that Flamengo have tabled an offer to sign Brazilian veteran Dani Alves.

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