Chelsea slipped from first to third in the Premier League over the weekend after a costly defeat at West Ham, which included a bizarre late winner for the hosts.

Divock Origi was told to "Be Divock" by Jurgen Klopp, so duly went and scored a 94th minute winner for Liverpool at Wolves, while Ralf Rangnick achieved something his fellow German didn't in his first game as interim boss at Manchester United.

Antonio Conte and Steven Gerrard also continued their positive starts to respective gigs at Tottenham and Aston Villa in a sentence that feels like it's straight from your favourite football management simulation game rather than real life.

With all that and more, here are some of the weekend's quirky stats from the Premier League...

 

Chelsea Hammered

Did he mean it? Arthur Masuaku says no but your West Ham supporting mates say yes.

Masuaku's kick of the ball in the 87th minute at the London Stadium flew past Edouard Mendy to inflict Chelsea's second league defeat of the season, toppling them from the summit of the Premier League.

It was the Frenchman's first Premier League goal in his 96th appearance for the Hammers, from his 29th attempt at goal, if you can even call it that.

The 3-2 defeat was Chelsea's first in the Premier League after leading at half-time since December 2018 against Wolves under Maurizio Sarri – they had been unbeaten in 48 league games when ahead at half-time before Saturday (W40 D8).

It is no time to panic for Blues fans, though. The future looks bright with all their talented young players, accompanied by Brazil's answer to Steve Buscemi with a skateboard over his shoulder.

Aged 37 years and 73 days, Thiago Silva became the oldest player to score for Chelsea in the Premier League, breaking Didier Drogba's record from April 2015 against Leicester City (37 years, 49 days).

The Late Late Show with Divock Origi

You could say there was an air of inevitability about it as Divock Origi arrived on the Molineux pitch in the 68th minute on Saturday.

The Belgian is a man who arguably deserves a statue more than a starting place at Anfield, having scored just once in the league prior to this game since the last day of the 2019-20 season, but who has famously bagged late goals just when his team has needed them.

His dramatic strike in the closing seconds of this game was Liverpool’s 39th winner scored in 90+ minutes in the Premier League, at least 13 more than any other side. It was also his 10th as a substitute in the Premier League for the Reds, with no player having netted more from the bench for the club in the competition.

It felt harsh on Wolves, though they had hardly done much to bother their opponents at the other end of the pitch, having just three shots in this game, their fewest in a Premier League match since March 2019 (two vs Chelsea).

One particularly sore loser will have been skipper Conor Coady. Although a former Liverpool player, he will have been hoping his heroic goal-line block of Diogo Jota's effort, with an xG of 0.604, would have at least secured a point for his team, particularly as the ball hit him square in the Divocks.

 

King Ralf

There had not been such anticipation about the future of Manchester United since that bloke Ole was at the wheel. Remember him?

United's interim gaffer Ralf Rangnick became the sixth German to manage in the Premier League as he stood in the Old Trafford dugout to see his new team beat Crystal Palace, and he was the first to win his debut game in charge in the competition (Felix Magath, Klopp, Jan Siewert, Daniel Farke and Thomas Tuchel all failing to do so before him).

Following the 1-0 success, six of the last seven managers (including caretakers) have won their first game in charge of the Red Devils in all competitions, with Louis van Gaal being the only exception (he suffered a 2-1 loss against Swansea City at Old Trafford in August 2014).

United also kept their first clean sheet at home in all competitions since April against Granada in the Europa League, having conceded in 15 consecutive home matches prior to Sunday.

Fred's impressive winner was his second goal of the season in 12 Premier League matches, as many as he scored in 76 appearances in his first three seasons in the competition beforehand.

More capital chaos for Canaries

After their 3-0 defeat at Tottenham, Norwich City have now lost 12 of their past 13 Premier League games in London (W1), conceding 29 goals and scoring just three.

Antonio Conte became the third Spurs manager to win his first three Premier League home games, after Ryan Mason and Harry Redknapp, but will be hoping that Kane will start to find the net again soon, with the England captain having only scored once in 13 league games this season.

Norwich manager Dean Smith felt his team were hard done by, and perhaps he had a point when you consider how close the xG of the contest ended, with Norwich's 1.33 only just behind Spurs' 1.52. It was little surprise that Conte's men were more deadly in their finishing though, particularly with Son Heung-min about.

The South Korea forward has been directly involved in 50 per cent of Tottenham’s league goals this season (six goals, two assists), with only Teemu Pukki (63 per cent) and Emmanuel Dennis (55 per cent) being involved in a higher share of their side's tally.

Son both scored and assisted in a single Premier League game for the 19th time. Since 2015-16, only Mohamed Salah (22) has done so more often in the competition.

 

Steve Gerrard, Gerrard, seems management isn't hard

Doing a stellar job at Rangers is one thing, but Steven Gerrard's management capability was really going to come under the microscope when he moved south to the Premier League.

It is still early days of course, but so far, the former Liverpool and England midfielder must be wondering what all the fuss was about as he saw his Aston Villa side win again with a 2-1 victory against Leicester City and his former boss Brendan Rodgers.

Having only won three of their first 11 Premier League games of the season under Dean Smith (D1 L7), Villa have since won three of their first four under Gerrard, with the only failure coming in the narrow 2-1 defeat at home to champions Manchester City.

Gerrard emphasised on his arrival that he wanted to improve the defence, but Ezri Konsa must have thought he meant at the other end as he bagged a brace on Sunday. In his 216th professional appearance in all competitions, Konsa scored twice in a game for the first time. In doing so, he was the first defender to score a brace for Aston Villa in a Premier League match since Ciaran Clark against Arsenal in November 2010.

Leicester, meanwhile, are now the first side to both score and concede a goal in 15 consecutive away games in England's top flight since Burnley from April 1961 to March 1962 (16 in a row).

As always, there was plenty of drama as the Premier League continued on Sunday.

Ralf Rangnick made a winning start to life in the Old Trafford dugout as Manchester United saw off Crystal Palace.

Tottenham and Aston Villa, meanwhile, continued their resurgences under Antonio Conte and Steven Gerrard respectively.

Spurs enjoyed a commanding win over bottom side Norwich, with Villa coming from behind to defeat Leicester City.

And despite Patrick Bamford's last-ditch goal, Leeds United dropped more points from a winning position against Brentford at Elland Road.

With lots to reflect on, Stats Perform takes an in-depth look at the pick of Opta's post-match facts from Sunday's action…

Manchester United 1-0 Crystal Palace: Rangnick makes winning start

Fred's second Premier League goal of the season gave Rangnick the perfect start to life in the Old Trafford dugout.

Including caretakers, six of the last seven managers have now won their first game in charge of the Red Devils in all competitions.

Rangnick, though, became the first German manager to win his maiden Premier League match; succeeding where Felix Magath, Jurgen Klopp, Jan Siewert, Daniel Farke and Thomas Tuchel failed.

It also marked United's first clean sheet at Old Trafford in 16 attempts, having last kept out Granada in the Europa League back in April.

Leeds United 2-2 Brentford: Last-gasp Bamford denies Bees

Brentford were denied only a second league victory at Elland Road in 15 attempts as Bamford marked his return from injury with a dramatic 95th-minute equaliser.

Tyler Roberts' first home Premier League goal put Leeds on course for a ninth successive win over a promoted side.

But the Bees bit back. Shandon Baptiste became only the third Grendian to score in the English top-flight, before Sergi Canos completed the turnaround.

Bamford ensured a share of the spoils for the hosts, who have now scored three Premier League goals in the 90th minute or later this season – more than any other side.

Nevertheless, Marcelo Bielsa's men have now dropped 12 points from winning positions this term – already twice as many as they did in the whole of last season.

Tottenham 3-0 Norwich City: Three out of three for Conte

After Harry Redknapp and Ryan Mason, Conte became the third Tottenham manager to win his first three Premier League home games following a commanding victory over Norwich.

Son Heung-min scored and assisted in a single game for the 19th time since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015, with only Mohamed Salah (22) doing so more often during that time.

The South Korea international has been directly involved in 50 per cent of Tottenham's Premier League goals this season, with only Teemu Pukki (63 per cent) and Emmanuel Dennis (55 per cent) involved in a higher share of their side's goals.

There was also a rare goal for Davinson Sanchez. Indeed, it was 1,029 days since the defender last found the net in this competition; doing so against Leicester in February 2019.

Norwich became the first side since Arsenal in 2008-09 to name five players aged 21 or under in their starting 11 for the third time in a single season.

However, the Canaries remain bottom of the table following a 12th defeat in 13 Premier League games in London.

Aston Villa 2-1 Leicester City: Gerrard continues to revitalise Villa

Villa made it three wins in four games under Gerrard – as many as they managed in their first 11 matches of the campaign.

Though they took the lead, Leicester lost having scored first for only the second time in 13 Premier League away games.

Ezri Konsa was the unlikely hero for the hosts. In his 216th professional appearance in all competitions, the centre-half scored twice in a game for the first time.

He also became the first defender to score a brace for Villa in a Premier League match since Ciaran Clark against Arsenal in November 2010.

One of his goals was provided by Emiliano Buendia. It was the Argentine's 37th assist since arriving in England in 2018, with only Trent Alexander-Arnold (39) registering more in the top four divisions during that time.

Jamaica international, Leon Bailey, will not return for English Premier League (EPL) club Aston Villa before Christmas after scans confirmed his latest injury setback.

The winger was forced to leave the field of play after just 30 minutes against Manchester City earlier this week, after appearing to sustain a non-collision-related injury.  Subsequent scans have revealed that the player has suffered damage to his thigh muscle.

Aston Villa coach Steven Gerrard confirmed the player would not be in the line-up for Sunday’s encounter against Leicester City and would be out for at least a few more weeks.

 “Unfortunately, he’s had a scan and that has confirmed there is a muscle injury, it’s going to be quite a long one so he’ll be missing for a number of weeks, you won’t see him before Christmas,” Gerrard said.

The midfielder had previously missed a few weeks after suffering an issue with his thigh muscle after coming on against Everton in September.  Bailey has had a stop-start season so far and missed five out of 14 Premier League games due to injuries this season.

Chelsea host Manchester United in the headline game of the weekend in the Premier League, with Sunday's showdown at Stamford Bridge a lip-smacking occasion.

Will United put the misery of their five defeats in seven domestic league games behind them and start afresh after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking, or will it be the same old story for the Red Devils?

The threat comes from all quarters with Chelsea: Reece James and Antonio Rudiger may be as likely, if not more so, to score than Timo Werner, for example.

Leeds are boosted by the return from injury of Raphinha as they head to Brighton, while Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang face opponents against whom they have outstanding past records.

The pursuit of fantasy points is on, and here are suggestions for possible picks ahead of the weekend, powered by Opta data.

REECE JAMES (Chelsea v Manchester United)

Will Manchester United's Champions League victory at Villarreal be a spur for them to find a way back to winning ways in the Premier League? Not if Reece James can help it.

Chelsea's exciting right wing-back was sufficiently impressive last term to make England's Euro 2020 squad, but he has gone to another level this time around, and a midweek goal against Juventus just confirmed his progression.

In the Premier League, James has been directly involved in eight goals this season, three more than in his previous 56 appearances in the competition across the last two seasons (5 - one goal, four assists). His total of involvements is higher than any other defender in the league in 2021-22, and United will be wary of that danger. Whether they can stop it remains to be seen.

ANTONIO RUDIGER (Chelsea v Manchester United)

Another Chelsea defender who provides value as an all-rounder, Rudiger provides Premier League fantasy points possibilities at both ends of the pitch.

Among Premier League defenders, only his Blues club-mates James (4) and Ben Chilwell (3) have scored more goals in the competition this season, while only Manchester City's Joao Cancelo (8) has registered more clean sheets than the German (7).

With Harry Maguire suspended and Raphael Varane injured, United seem likely to be susceptible to crosses from set-pieces, which is where Rudiger could come into his own.

RAPHINHA (Brighton and Hove Albion v Leeds United)

Leeds are hovering just above the bottom three, heading into the weekend, so to have Raphinha available will be a major boost to Marcelo Bielsa.

After missing the defeat at Tottenham last time out, the Brazil international is expected to be involved at Brighton this weekend as Leeds target a third win of the campaign.

They missed his creative influence in north London, with Leeds having won 45 per cent of their Premier League games in which Raphinha has featured (18/40) since his debut for the club in October 2020, They have won none of their six matches when he has been absent (D2 L4) and have averaged a measly 0.5 goals per game.

His 20 goal involvements in the league over the same period (11 goals, 9 assists) is second only at Leeds to Patrick Bamford (23 - 15 goals, 8 assists).

RAHEEM STERLING (Manchester City v West Ham)

Has Raheem Sterling played himself into form for City? Three goals in his last three appearances across all competitions suggests that is the case for a player who struggled in the early weeks of the season, in the wake of his exploits at Euro 2020 with England.

Now, assuming he keeps his place in Pep Guardiola's starting line-up, Sterling gets to face one of his very favourite opponents when West Ham visit the Etihad Stadium.

Sterling has been involved in 11 goals in his last eight Premier League games against the Hammers (6 goals, 5 assists), hitting a hat-trick when the teams met in London on the opening day of the 2019-20 season.

EMMANUEL DENNIS (Leicester City v Watford)

It was Emmanuel Dennis who inflicted the final blow to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, completing the rout as Watford whipped Manchester United 4-1 last Saturday.

The Nigerian appears to have been an outstanding acquisition from Club Brugge and Leicester will be wary of his menacing form ahead of a King Power Stadium tussle.

Dennis has scored four goals and assisted five more in just 11 Premier League appearances for Watford. Should he score in Sunday's game, he would become only the sixth player in Premier League history to reach both five goals and assists in 12 or fewer games, after Eric Cantona (11 games), Jurgen Klinsmann (12), Arjen Robben (11), Andrey Arshavin (10) and Bruno Fernandes (9).

JOSE SA (Norwich City v Wolves)

The handover of the Wolves goalkeeper job from Rui Patricio to fellow Portuguese Jose Sa has been seamless, and the new man between the sticks has been highly effective already in the Premier League.

Only Chelsea's Edouard Mendy (3.71) has prevented more goals in the PL this season than Sa (2.18). That is based on Opta's expected goals on target (xGOT) metric, which assesses the quality of shots. On that basis, Sa would have been expected to concede 14.18 goals, but he has picked the ball out of the net just 12 times.

His 38 saves from 50 shots faced gives him a healthy 76 per cent success rate, beaten only by Mendy (88.57 per cent) and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale (78.95) so far this season. Norwich will do well to find a way past one of the most in-form glovesmen in the top flight.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal v Newcastle United)

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has not scored or had an assist in his last three Premier League games, creating just one chance in 270 minutes.

But if there is any team he is going to score against, Newcastle would be close to the top of the list, and not merely because Eddie Howe's team are bottom of the table.

The former Borussia Dortmund striker has been involved in nine goals in his eight appearances for Arsenal against Newcastle in all competitions (6 goals, 3 assists), scoring in each of his last five games against the Magpies.

Leicester City midfielder James Maddison does not feel he had anything to prove after an impressive performance in his team's 3-1 win against Legia Warsaw in the Europa League on Thursday.

The 25-year-old scored and assisted during his hour on the pitch at the King Power Stadium in a victory that sent the Foxes to the top of Group C with one match remaining.

All four goals in the game came in the first half, with Patson Daka and Wilfred Ndidi also on the scoresheet for the hosts, while Filip Mladenovic followed up to score after Mahir Emreli's spot-kick was saved by Kasper Schmeichel.

Maddison was heavily involved in most of Leicester's dangerous attacking play, making two key passes, having three shots and putting in six crosses.

He also scored the second goal of the game, with his fierce left-foot effort after a one-two with Ademola Lookman giving Legia goalkeeper Cezary Miszta no chance.

Speaking to BT Sport after the win, Maddison was asked whether he felt he had something to prove after a stop-start season, with just eight of his 12 appearances in the Premier League coming from the start.

"I don't think I had a point to prove, no," Maddison said. "I'm hungry. I always want to do well for my team, for the fans, my family, the manager.

"I want to get back to my best and tonight I showed that."

It is the third time Maddison has both scored and assisted in a single game for Leicester in all competitions, having previously done so against Braga and Brentford.

We move to the summit of the group #LeiLgw pic.twitter.com/OhOu2jS7uu

— Leicester City (@LCFC) November 25, 2021

Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers alleviated fears around Jonny Evans, who was injured in the warm-up and replaced by Daniel Amartey, with the Foxes boss confirming that the centre-back's withdrawal before the game was merely a precaution.

"He just felt something in his thigh, and the last thing we can do is have anyone else out, especially such an important player like Jonny. He should be fine for the weekend," he told BT Sport.

On the win, the former Liverpool and Celtic manager was particularly pleased to see his team return to their usual standards of pressing after four games without a win in all competitions.

"The atmosphere was amazing," he added. "The supporters played a huge part in it, and like I said before the game, just returning to our football with our pressing and really intense counter-pressing, that won us the game, especially in the first half."

Leicester leapfrogged all three of their Europa League rivals to the top of Group C after a comfortable 3-1 win against Legia Warsaw at the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes started Thursday's game bottom of a tight group, but with Spartak Moscow beating Napoli 2-1 on Wednesday, Brendan Rodgers' side now sit top thanks to first-half goals from Patson Daka, James Maddison and Wilfried Ndidi.

The only negative for Rodgers on the night aside from Filip Mladenovic's consolation strike was losing Jonny Evans to a muscle injury in the warm-up, with Daniel Amartey replacing him in defence.

The Premier League outfit will travel to Napoli for the final game of the group stage knowing that a draw will be enough to see them qualify for the knockout stage.

Leicester put the pressure on the visitors from the first whistle and were ahead in the 11th minute when good work from Harvey Barnes forced a deflection that fell kindly for Daka, who calmly slid in his fifth Europa League goal of the campaign.

They doubled their lead in the 21st minute as Maddison worked the ball onto his left foot after a one-two with Ademola Lookman before firing into the top corner of the net.

The Polish side had a penalty just five minutes later after Caglar Soyuncu's clearance struck Wilfried Ndidi on the arm. Mahir Emreli's spot-kick was saved by Kasper Schmeichel but Mladenovic was quickest to follow up and slot in the rebound.

Ndidi made amends for his penalty concession in the 33rd minute, though, as the unmarked Nigerian headed in Leicester's third from a Maddison corner.

Both teams could have added to the scoring in the second half but the hosts were happy to see out the win, only their second in this year's Europa League group stage.

 

What does it mean? Foxes in the driving seat

Leicester avenged the 1-0 defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture on matchday two with relative ease and now sit top of Group C, one point ahead of both Spartak Moscow and Napoli.

Rodgers will be more than satisfied with that after picking up just one point from their first two games in the group, though it promises to be a tough final fixture in Naples in two weeks.

The Foxes have now only lost two of their 16 home matches in European football (W9 D5).

Maddison rises to the occasion

Maddison has had a quiet start to the season, but was at his influential best in the hour he got on the pitch against Legia, taking three shots, making two key passes and putting in six crosses.

The 25-year-old also scored and assisted in a single game for Leicester for the third time in all competitions, previously doing so against Sporting Braga (November 2020 in the Europa League) and Brentford (January 2021 in the FA Cup).

Legia Warsaw in crisis

Marek Golebiewski's side have now lost nine of their last ten games in all competitions and sit second from bottom in the Polish top flight.

This was Legia Warsaw’s first European match in England since November 1995, when they drew 0-0 with Blackburn Rovers in the Champions League group stages, and despite getting on the scoresheet, never looked like stopping the rot in Leicester.

What’s next?

Leicester host former boss Claudio Ranieri and his Watford team in the Premier League on Sunday, while Legia Warsaw are at home to Jagiellonia Bialystok on the same day in the Ekstraklasa.

Leicester leapfrogged all three of their Europa League rivals to the top of Group C after a comfortable 3-1 win against Legia Warsaw at the King Power Stadium.

The Foxes started Thursday's game bottom of a tight group, but with Spartak Moscow beating Napoli 2-1 on Wednesday, Brendan Rodgers' side now sit top thanks to first-half goals from Patson Daka, James Maddison and Wilfried Ndidi.

The only negative for Rodgers on the night aside from Filip Mladenovic's consolation strike was losing Jonny Evans to a muscle injury in the warm-up, with Daniel Amartey replacing him in defence.

The Premier League outfit will travel to Napoli for the final game of the group stage knowing that a draw will be enough to see them qualify for the knockout stage.

Leicester put the pressure on the visitors from the first whistle and were ahead in the 11th minute when good work from Harvey Barnes forced a deflection that fell kindly for Daka, who calmly slid in his fifth Europa League goal of the campaign.

They doubled their lead in the 21st minute as Maddison worked the ball onto his left foot after a one-two with Ademola Lookman before firing into the top corner of the net.

The Polish side had a penalty just five minutes later after Caglar Soyuncu's clearance struck Wilfried Ndidi on the arm. Mahir Emreli's spot-kick was saved by Kasper Schmeichel but Mladenovic was quickest to follow up and slot in the rebound.

Ndidi made amends for his penalty concession in the 33rd minute, though, as the unmarked Nigerian headed in Leicester's third from a Maddison corner.

Both teams could have added to the scoring in the second half but the hosts were happy to see out the win, only their second in this year's Europa League group stage.

 

What does it mean? Foxes in the driving seat

Leicester avenged the 1-0 defeat they suffered in the reverse fixture on matchday two with relative ease and now sit top of Group C, one point ahead of both Spartak Moscow and Napoli.

Rodgers will be more than satisfied with that after picking up just one point from their first two games in the group, though it promises to be a tough final fixture in Naples in two weeks.

The Foxes have now only lost two of their 16 home matches in European football (W9 D5).

Maddison rises to the occasion

Maddison has had a quiet start to the season, but was at his influential best in the hour he got on the pitch against Legia, taking three shots, making two key passes and putting in six crosses.

The 25-year-old also scored and assisted in a single game for Leicester for the third time in all competitions, previously doing so against Sporting Braga (November 2020 in the Europa League) and Brentford (January 2021 in the FA Cup).

Legia Warsaw in crisis

Marek Golebiewski's side have now lost nine of their last ten games in all competitions and sit second from bottom in the Polish top flight.

This was Legia Warsaw’s first European match in England since November 1995, when they drew 0-0 with Blackburn Rovers in the Champions League group stages, and despite getting on the scoresheet, never looked like stopping the rot in Leicester.

What’s next?

Leicester host former boss Claudio Ranieri and his Watford team in the Premier League on Sunday, while Legia Warsaw are at home to Jagiellonia Bialystok on the same day in the Ekstraklasa.

Emerging Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic has a long list of admirers.

The 21-year-old netted 21 Serie A goals last season.

Vlahovic scored a double in Fiorentina's 4-3 win over Milan last weekend too.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE STILL KEEN ON VLAHOVIC

Cashed-up Newcastle United will still pursue hot property forward Dusan Vlahovic despite Fiorentina's €80million (£67m) asking price according to Corriere Fiorentina.

The bottom-of-the-table Premier League club are determined to land the Serbian who has also attracted interest from Juventus.

Juventus want Vlahovic in January and are still front-runners to land the 21-year-old, who has already netted 12 goals this term.

 ROUND-UP

- Sky Germany reports that Borussia Dortmund are preparing a new contract offer for Erling Haaland to keep him at the club, amid interest from Real Madrid, BarcelonaChelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City.

- Barcelona are considering moves for either of Chelsea pair Timo Werner or Hakim Ziyech as an alternative to Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling claims ESPN.

- Liverpool, Leicester City and Newcastle are all monitoring Olympiacos' 20-year-old midfielder Aguibou Camara reports The Sun.

- Milan have entered the pursuit to sign Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette claims Calciomercato. Atletico MadridBarcelona and Newcastle are all interested.

Manchester United's managerial post is vacant after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday.

Solskjaer had led United since December 2018 but failed to win a trophy, finishing runners-up in last season's Premier League and Europa League.

The lean spell has United desperate to return to their former glories with their next managerial appointment.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE NOT KEEN ON MAN UTD JOB

World Cup winner and ex-Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is not interested in the vacant Manchester United job, reports BBC Sport.

Zidane left Madrid in May after failing to win LaLiga and has been linked with a host of roles since.

United have approached the 49-year-old about their vacant post but he is not interested in the position at this point.

 ROUND-UP

- Fichajes claims that reported United target Mauricio Pochettino would put Tottenham's Harry Kane at the top of his wishlist if he got the Red Devils job. The current Paris Saint-Germain boss is among those linked with the vacant post. The Telegraph claims that Pochettino is open to moving to Old Trafford at the end of this season.

- Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is United's second choice behind Pochettino reports Sky Sports, while The Sun claims the Red Devils have already approached Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers.

- Sport claims that new Barcelona boss Xavi wants to sign Al-Sadd's Algeria international striker Baghdad Bounedjah. Xavi coached Al-Sadd until taking over at Barca earlier this month.

- Tottenham may make a move for Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo who is unhappy at the club, claims Calciomercato.

- Fichajes reports that Real Madrid have an interest in Mason Mount, who is currently in talks with Chelsea on a new deal. Manchester City and Bayern Munich are also interested in Mount's services.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it seems, is no longer at the wheel.

Following another drubbing, this time a 4-1 rout at Watford on Saturday, Manchester United have reportedly called time on Solskjaer's tenure.

After a lengthy meeting, the club great is set to be axed.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER TO BE SACKED

Manchester United have agreed to sack manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, according to widespread reports.

Having already been humiliated by Premier League rivals Liverpool and Manchester City prior to the international break, United's season hit a new low following Saturday's 4-1 rout at lowly Watford.

Amid a worrying slump, The Athletic, Manchester Evening News and Fabrizio Romano claim United have opted to part with Solskjaer amid links to former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers and Ajax head coach Erik ten Hag.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport says Raheem Sterling has told Premier League champions Manchester City he wants to join LaLiga giants Barcelona.

Barca and City are among the clubs interested in Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette, per Fichajes.

- The Sun reports Newcastle United are looking to sign Fiorentina star Dusan Vlahovic. The Serbia international, who scored twice to sink Milan on Saturday, has been linked with City, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Inter, Atletico Madrid, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid are set to go head-to-head for the signature of Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, says Mundo Deportivo. The Germany international is a free agent at season's end. Bayern are also believed to be interested.

Saturday provided no shortage of talking points as the Premier League returned after the international break.

Manchester United suffered another heavy defeat, this time at the hands of Watford, and it will likely be one too humiliation too many for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

There was also a harsh dose of reality fed to Arsenal and Mikel Arteta, as they were given a bruising by Liverpool at Anfield.

But two new managers began their respective tenures with victories, as Aston Villa and Norwich City each hope to enjoy a prolonged 'new manager bounce'.

Below, Stats Perform looks through the pick of Saturday's Opta facts…

Watford 4-1 Manchester United: Writing's on the wall for Solskjaer

Another week, another humiliating defeat for United and Solskjaer – Watford were the latest side to toy with the Red Devils.

United's loss was their biggest league defeat to a promoted side since a 5-1 reverse to Manchester City in September 1989, and it took them to 20 goals conceded this season already.

Only in 2001-02 (11 games) have United conceded 20 or more after fewer than in 2021-22 (13 games), while this is the first time Watford have ever beaten them in successive home league games.

United were still in with a shout at 2-1 until Harry Maguire's first red card in 121 appearances for the club, but it all fell apart thereafter.

It looks set to be the result that costs Solskjaer his job.



Leicester City 0-3 Chelsea: Foxes intimidated by pacesetters again

Most would have expected Chelsea to get a proper examination of their title credentials here – who knows, maybe this was a real statement.

Either way, Thomas Tuchel's men saw off Leicester City with great authority, or so it seemed.

In reality, Leicester actually have a dreadful record against teams starting the day top of the table. Granted, the side at the summit is usually fairly handy, otherwise they wouldn't be setting the pace, but Leicester's run is particularly poor.

They are now winless in 17 league games against the team that started the day top of the table, conceding 40 goals at a rate of 2.35 per game.

In the process of winning here, Chelsea moved level with Tottenham and Manchester City with the most away wins (five) at the King Power Stadium in the top tier.

Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal: Gunners come crashing back to reality as Reds continue domination

Although Arsenal came into the weekend in good form, having not lost any of their previous 10 matches in all competitions, there was more than a hint of predictability about their Anfield defeat and the manner of it.

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool have scored more Premier League goals against Arsenal (37) than any top-flight side has against another opponent since October 2015, which in itself is a fairly damning indictment of the Gunners' fall from grace.

Mohamed Salah got Liverpool's third goal of the game, which was also their 100th against Arsenal in the Premier League, a haul they can only better in meetings with Newcastle United (105).

It was the fifth time this season Arsenal have failed to score in a league game, with only Norwich and Watford (both seven) having a worse record.

The Gunners aren't "back" yet.

Aston Villa 2-0 Brighton and Hove Albion: Gerrard off to winning start

Steven Gerrard began his tenure as Villa boss in positive fashion, seeing off Graham Potter's Brighton.

It was a largely unspectacular bow for Gerrard but Villa eventually got the job done with two goals late on, making the Liverpool legend only the club's third permanent manager to begin with a win in the Premier League.

Ollie Watkins was the man to get the first goal of the Gerrard era, taking his tally to a club-high 17 strikes since the start of last season in the top flight.

There was also a first assist of the season for Ashley Young, who set up a Villa goal for the first time in 10 years and 189 days.

Norwich City 2-1 Southampton: Smith lifts Canaries off the foot the table

The man who made room for Gerrard at Villa, Dean Smith, also began the latest chapter of his career with a victory.

Norwich initially trailed to Che Adams' goal, but they turned things around as the Canaries came from behind to win a Premier League game for the first time in five-and-a-half years, or 36 matches.

But if they were going to end that run against anyone, the Saints would have been a good bet – since Ralph Hasenhuttl took charge in December 2018, they have dropped more points from winning positions than any other team in the Premier League (67).

Grant Hanley got Norwich's winner, his first Premier League goal in nine years and 324 days since netting for Blackburn Rovers against Manchester United in December 2011.

Thomas Tuchel insisted everybody at Chelsea wants Antonio Rudiger to stay after his side cruised past Leicester City 3-0 on Saturday.

Rudiger opened the scoring for the Blues, the centre-back's fourth goal against the Foxes in the Premier League – against no other side has he netted more than once in the competition.

N'Golo Kante struck 14 minutes later against his former club before substitute Christian Pulisic added a third as Chelsea collected their fourth successive away league win without conceding for the first time since December 2008.

Delighted with his side's defensive work and overall performance, Tuchel praised his backline while providing an update on Rudiger's future.

"[Rudiger] has been outstanding from the first game and the defensive performance was as strong as ever, they deserve the praise for it," Tuchel said post-match to BT Sport.

"They do a lot of invisible work, they protect each other at the back and they are brave when they go forward up front when we want to be dangerous from set-pieces.

"Everybody wants him to stay. He's brilliant here and it's pretty clear but sometimes there's a delay in these things. I think we're on the same side. He knows he plays for a fantastic club in a fantastic league.

"He's a wonderful competitor and if he has a bit of patience hopefully we will make it happen."

Tuchel also found time to praise Kante, who scored his second goal in his last six league games, as many as he had in his last 51 matches in the English top flight.

"N'Golo is outstanding. He finds another gear on the pitch, when he plays with a free mind he can be the difference," Tuchel added.

"We want to push over and over again. I am happy with the way we played and the result.

"We played a good away game, excellent result, a good mixture. We created a lot of half-chances, we were a bit unlucky with offsides but I am happy if we create. We need to be strong from first to last minute. It was a deserved win.

"At two goals, anything can happen and the stadium can wake up but we did not allow them into the game and finished them off."

Chelsea coasted to a 3-0 away win over Leicester City as Thomas Tuchel's team powered on at the top of the Premier League on Saturday.

Brendan Rodgers' home side had twice defeated Tuchel's men in 2021 already, but the Blues raced into a two-goal lead this time as Antonio Rudiger and N'Golo Kante struck in the first half.

The visitors remained utterly dominant after the break and added a well-deserved third through substitute Christian Pulisic against the hapless Foxes, who did not record a single shot until the 58th minute.

Chelsea, who collected a fourth successive away league win without conceding for the first time since December 2008, at least briefly moved six points clear at the summit.

No Premier League team had scored more headed goals than Chelsea this season (four), while no side had conceded more than Leicester (four) ahead of this game, and Rudiger's 14th-minute opener continued the trend.

Ben Chilwell, who rattled the crossbar after just three minutes against his former club, delivered to the near post where Rudiger deftly flicked into the top-left corner.

Ademola Lookman thought he had equalised but was denied by the offside flag, before former Leicester midfielder Kante drove forward and arrowed past Kasper Schmeichel in the 28th minute to double Chelsea's advantage.

Schmeichel produced a magnificent save after the interval to thwart Chilwell and, not to be outdone by his opposite number, Edouard Mendy responded with a similarly brilliant stop against Daniel Amartey.

Substitutes Hakim Ziyech and Pulisic then combined, but the latter could only poke wide.

However, the same combination proved fruitful when Ziyech found the United States international, who prodded through Schmeichel's legs from close range after 71 minutes.

Pulisic and Reece James saw late strikes ruled out for offside as Chelsea cruised to victory.

Thomas Tuchel is not putting any pressure on Romelu Lukaku as the Chelsea striker continues his recovery from injury.

Lukaku has been absent since sustaining an ankle problem in Chelsea's 4-0 win over Malmo in the Champions League on October 20.

The 28-year-old has subsequently missed five Chelsea games, along with Belgium's World Cup qualifiers against Estonia and Wales.

Chelsea have also been without Lukaku's fellow forward Timo Werner, who suffered a thigh injury in the same game.

Tuchel's team managed three victories without their strikers, though they needed a penalty shoot-out to get past Southampton in the EFL Cup before being held to a 1-1 home draw by Burnley before the international break.

Leicester City, who beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final last season, are next up in Saturday's early Premier League kick-off, but Tuchel will again be without Lukaku.

"Mateo [Kovacic] and Romelu are still out. Romelu is very close to team training, hopefully he will join the squad on Sunday," Tuchel said on Friday.

"Let's see how this works out. He is pushing hard to come back as soon as possible."

Before his injury, Lukaku had not been at his best in terms of goalscoring, having not netted for the Blues across all competitions since September 14.

Lukaku's return would be timely for Saturday's trip to the King Power Stadium, given he has scored five goals in eight Premier League appearances against teams managed by Brendan Rodgers (all against Liverpool, including the last goal scored against the Northern Irishman's Reds side in October 2015 for Everton).

No player has netted more Premier League goals against teams managed by Rodgers (Harry Kane also on five), but Tuchel insisted he is not going to rush Lukaku back.

Asked if Lukaku could be fit to feature against Juventus on Tuesday, or his former club Manchester United in Chelsea's following league game on October 28, Tuchel said: "It's pure speculation and it will not help. All I can say is that we will try hard that he will join team training on Sunday.

"If everything works out perfectly and he trains on Sunday and Monday then okay he can maybe join the group on the bench, but there are a lot of ifs and I don't want to put pressure on him.

"He's putting a lot of pressure on himself and we will not rush things. We will take things seriously as always, have talks with doctors and physios and with the player.

"If there is something to be decided then that's good, and it will be decided on Monday evening."

Tuchel did have a more positive update to offer on Werner, however, while Mason Mount could be in contention and Christian Pulisic is fit to feature.

"Timo's in team training since Thursday, let's see, we have another training session today, let's see if he is even in the squad or on the bench," Tuchel added.

"We can only decide after his second session. Christian Pulisic feels fine. Thiago Silva will train, he did not play [for Brazil] but he has some trouble in his body and some time differences. Mason [Mount] is back in training, looking hungry, fresh in a good spirit, but we need to evaluate. He looks good, but we need to see if he can start or play 90 minutes."

Chelsea may well need the Germany forward. While they have only lost three of their last 18 Premier League matches against the Foxes, albeit the most recent of those defeats came in the corresponding fixture last season, in what proved to be Frank Lampard's last top-flight game in charge, Leicester are unbeaten in their last three home league matches against the Blues.

In all competitions, Leicester have won two matches against Chelsea in 2021, winning in the Premier League in January and the FA Cup final in May. In the last 10 years, only Man United have beaten them three times in a single calendar year.

International football is officially over for another year. *Pauses for cheers or jeers*

With the November international break done with, we turn our attention back to domestic football, with a hectic period set to begin in the Premier League.

More fantasy points will be available over the next seven weeks or so than at any other period in the season, such is the jammed nature of the schedule, and there's no better time to get ahead of the curve.

Stats Perform has delved into the Opta data to pick out seven picks for this week, hopefully giving you the edge...

EDOUARD MENDY (Leicester City v Chelsea)

Leicester City may represent a tricky opponent for any team, particularly given their good options going forward, but if anyone can keep them at bay, it's Mendy.

Not only has the Senegal international conceded the joint-fewest goals (four, excluding own goals, minimum of three appearances) in the Premier League, he also leads the way with 3.4 goals prevented, according to expected goals on target data.

In terms of form goalkeepers this season, Aaron Ramsdale runs him close, but Mendy is the outstanding candidate.

JOAO CANCELO (Manchester City v Everton)

City's versatile Portuguese full-back enjoyed an exceptional 2020-21, but he seems to have stepped things up even further this term.

In 17 games in 2021-22 across all competitions, Cancelo has already reached seven goal involvements (two goals, five assists), just one fewer than his haul of eight in 43 outings last term.

He has been hugely influential at City, while it would also hardly be a surprise if they keep a clean sheet against an out-of-sorts Everton.

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD (Liverpool v Arsenal)

Liverpool's right-back became something of a scapegoat – fairly or not, that's a discussion for another day – in 2020-21. It is safe to say his critics are rather quieter at the moment.

Only Bruno Fernandes (37) can better Alexander-Arnold's 30 chances created in the Premier League this term, while no defender has more than his four assists.

A resurgent Arsenal could cause Liverpool issues, so a clean sheet is no guarantee, but there is no defender more likely to nab you an assist or two.

CONOR GALLAGHER (Burnley v Crystal Palace)

On-loan Chelsea youngster Gallagher has been a revelation for Palace this season, with his all-action style proving a great addition to Patrick Vieira's team.

He has also provided plenty of quality in the final third, having a hand in a team-high six goals (four goals, two assists).

Gallagher has already beaten his combined tally (two goals, two assists) from 2020-21 when he was on loan at West Brom, and he won his first England cap against San Marino earlier this week.

BRUNO FERNANDES (Watford v Manchester United)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have seemingly hobbled from 'crisis' to 'crisis' this season, and while Fernandes arguably has not been as impressive as last season, he is still essential to the Red Devils.

He leads the way with the most chances created (37) in the league this term, and that fits into his wider excellence ever since joining United, a period that has seen him supply the most assists (22) and craft the most goal-scoring opportunities (162) of anyone in the competition.

Additionally, only Mohamed Salah (55) has been involved in more goals than Fernandes (52) in the same period. Regardless of perceptions of his form, the Portugal star is a must-have, particularly given United will fancy their chances of bouncing back at Vicarage Road.

GABRIEL JESUS (Manchester City v Everton)

While he may not be playing in the striker role many might have expected before the season started, instead featuring largely as a right-sided winger, Jesus has made a strong start to 2021-22.

With the South American World Cup qualifiers not extended to a triple-header this month, Jesus is also less of a selection risk than he was after the international breaks in September and October.

But above all, he loves playing Everton. In eight Premier League games against them, Jesus has scored eight times, or roughly one every 69 minutes, and he will be aiming to give the Toffees plenty to chew on yet again this weekend.

SON HEUNG-MIN (Tottenham v Leeds United)

Among the players Antonio Conte will be hoping to get more out of after a slow start to the season, Son is surely near the top of the list.

Since the start of last season, no player has outperformed their expected goals (xG) tally by a greater margin than the South Korean (8.2), with 21 goals from 12.8 xG.

Obviously that can suggest a degree of unsustainable fortune on Son's part, but we all know he is an exceptional player capable of the extraordinary. Leeds are a side who let other teams play, and that might be just what the doctor ordered for Son and Spurs.

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