Julen Lopetegui claimed Wolves were denied a "very, very clear penalty" by referee Andy Madley in Sunday's 2-1 defeat at Newcastle United.

Wolves were furious in January when they had a late goal disallowed for offside against Liverpool in the FA Cup at Anfield, and they remain convinced that was an injustice.

Madley was also the man in the middle that time, with Wolves denied what would almost certainly have been a winning goal as the game finished 2-2, with Liverpool going on to edge the replay 1-0 at Molineux.

That incident has not been forgotten by Lopetegui, and he was aghast at Wolves being denied a spot-kick early on against Newcastle at St James' Park.

Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope took a poor touch and gave away the ball to Wolves striker Raul Jimenez, before seeming to bundle the Mexican to the floor.

Wolves wanted a penalty and a red card but got neither, and Lopetegui said afterwards: "It's true that, for me, it was a very, very clear penalty for us. We are very unlucky with the referee. This is a pity for us.

"It doesn't matter what I think. The more important thing is that this is true that we have suffered a big mistake a lot of matches ago at Liverpool, and for me [Sunday's incident] was a penalty, but the VAR can't help in this case the referee. We were very unlucky with the decision. We didn't have a penalty since I arrived here."

Alexander Isak headed Newcastle ahead in the first half, but Hwang Hee-chan brought Wolves level in the 70th minute.

The visitors sat deep and were punished by a fine finish from Miguel Almiron nine minutes later.

Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe told Sky Sports he felt there would have been no justification in awarding Wolves a penalty for the clash between Pope and Jimenez, which came when the game was goalless.

Howe said: "I didn't think it was a penalty at the time. You might say I was biassed, but I didn't. I thought it was Jimenez going down before the contact was made, that was my initial assessment."

Substitute Almiron delighted Howe with his contribution off the bench, having been a regular starter up to now.

"Not that he necessarily needed to give a response, it was a case of us just trying to freshen him up," Howe said. "It's an outstanding season that he's had, he's contributed in lots of different ways, and you see the work rate he gives every week. He made a massive impact, and I'm delighted for him."

Howe was glad to halt a five-game winless run, with the Magpies jumping above Liverpool into fifth place.

"I just think it reignites us," he said. "Hopefully it re-sparks us into action and restores confidence levels to where they should be."

Arsenal's interest in Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Mykhaylo Mudryk is well known, having pursued him in the last transfer window.

The 22-year-old Ukraine winger has scored 10 goals in 18 appearances for Shakhtar this term, enhancing his value.

Mudryk has also had interest from Sevilla and Chelsea, with the Gunners having reportedly previously made two bids for his services.

TOP STORY - GUNNERS CLOSE IN ON AGREEMENT FOR MUDRYK DEAL

Arsenal have tabled a fresh third bid worth €70m (£62m) plus add-ons for key target Mykhaylo Mudryk of Shakhtar Donetsk, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Talks are ongoing with no breakthrough but the two parties are getting closer to agreement, while Mudryk posted a praying emoji on Instagram in a sign he wants to make the move.

The Daily Express claims that the two clubs have come to an agreement on the fee, with negotiations entering the "final stage".

 

ROUND-UP

- Al Hilal, rivals of Cristiano Ronaldo's new Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr, are plotting a €275m move for World Cup winner Lionel Messi from Paris Saint-Germain, reports Mundo Deportivo. The Sun has reported Messi's father Jorge has been spotted in Saudi Arabia too.

- Arsenal are also again interested in Juventus forward Dusan Vlahovic, reports La Repubblica. According to the report, the Serbian is valued at €110m (£97.7m).

- Sport claims that Newcastle United have tabled an offer for Barcelona's Dutch forward Memphis Depay.

- PSG are set to offer Milan Skriniar a €12m-a-year contract, provided he agrees to leave Inter on a free transfer, reports La Repubblica. Skriniar's Inter deal concludes at the end of this season.

- AS reports that PSG have accepted a bid for Wolves for 30-year-old Spanish midfielder Pablo Sarabia.

- Besiktas are turning to Wolves' forward Raul Jimenez to replace Manchester United-bound Wout Weghorst, according to Fotospor.

Benfica's Enzo Fernandez starred for Argentina during their triumphant World Cup campaign, prompting speculation of a January transfer.

The 21-year-old was rewarded for his efforts by being named as the Young Player of the Tournament.

Fernandez only joined Benfica from River Plate last year, signing on a five-year deal that expires in 2027.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TO CONVINCE BENFICA ON FERNANDEZ DEAL

World Cup sensation Enzo Fernandez has agreed to join Chelsea, with the Premier League club's next step to convince Benfica to sell him, claims the Metro.

Fabrizio Romano reports the Blues have opened discussions with the Portuguese club about a transfer, with talk the move could be worth £105million due to a release clause.

Benfica have shown little intention of selling Fernandez and Chelsea already have a back-up plan should the move not materialise in the shape of another Argentinian, Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister, according to the Times.

ROUND-UP

– ESPN claims Real Madrid are willing to splash out more than €100m to land Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, who is also being chased by Liverpool .

Barcelona and Newcastle United are interested in Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, but he wants to re-join Napoli when his Blues contract concludes at the end of this season, claims La Repubblica. Chelsea have also reportedly offered him a new deal.

Manchester City have beaten Newcastle to the signature of Velez Sarsfield's 19-year-old midfielder Maximo Perrone, reports Team Talk.

– Gianluca di Marzio claims Milan are interested in a short-term move for Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy amid ongoing injury issues for number one Mike Maignan.

– The Daily Mail claims Wolves will let Mexican forward Raul Jimenez exit in January if they manage to land another striker.

– Unai Emery's Aston Villa are keen on Udinese forward Gerard Deulofeu, according to 90min.

New Wolves head coach Julen Lopetegui is "worried" after Raul Jimenez was named in Mexico's World Cup squad despite not playing since August.

Former Sevilla and Real Madrid coach Lopetegui officially took charge at Wolves on Monday but will have to wait until after the World Cup break for his first game.

Jimenez has only made three Premier League appearances this season, totalling 211 minutes, after battling with a groin injury but was still included in Mexico's 26-man list to travel to Qatar.

With Wolves four points adrift of safety at the bottom of the top-flight table, Lopetegui says his primary concern is having his key forward to call upon after the break.

"The most important thing is not the World Cup, it's Wolves," Lopetegui said during his first press conference in England.

"I have spoken with Raul, I am worried about him because he doesn't play a minute with his team, Wolves.

"We need all of them but we need Raul fit and the best version. I hope he will come back here in this way. I respect the decision of the player and the coach but above all for me it's Wolves."

Mexico and Wolves have already endured a fractured relationship, with Gerardo Martino's team apologising after naming an unfit Jimenez on their bench for Wednesday's 4-0 friendly victory over Iraq.

The 31-year-old was in attendance at Molineux for the 2-0 home defeat to Arsenal on Saturday before being announced in a Mexico squad that includes Napoli's Hirving Lozano and Ajax defender Edson Alvarez.

But there was no room for former Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez, who scored 18 goals in 34 MLS appearances for Los Angeles Galaxy in 2022.

Gerardo Martino's men start their World Cup campaign against Poland on November 22 before facing Argentina and Saudi Arabia in Group C.

Mexico squad in full:

Guillermo Ochoa (Club America), Alfredo Talavera (Juarez), Rodolfo Cota (Leon); Jorge Sanchez (Ajax), Kevin Alvarez (Pachuca), Nestor Araujo (Club America), Johan Vasquez (Cremonese), Hector Moreno (Monterrey), Cesar Montes (Monterrey), Gerardo Arteaga (Genk), Jesus Gallardo (Monterrey); Andres Guardado (Real Betis), Hector Herrera (Houston Dynamo), Charly Rodriguez (Cruz Azul), Erick Gutierrez (PSV), Luis Chavez (Pachuca), Edson Alvarez (Ajax), Orbelin Pineda (AEK Athens), Luis Romo (Monterrey); Alexis Vega (Guadalajara), Hirving Lozano (Napoli), Raul Jimenez (Wolves), Roberto Alvarado (Guadalajara), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul), Henry Martin (Club America), Rogelio Funes Mori (Monterrey).

Erling Haaland continued his incredible start to life in the Premier League with a record-setting treble in Manchester City's 6-0 thrashing of Nottingham Forest.

The Norway international made it two hat-tricks in the space of five days – and a perfect one at that, with his right foot, left foot and head – in City's latest statement victory.

Meanwhile, Liverpool left it late to see off Newcastle United 2-1 at Anfield.

There were goals and drama elsewhere on Wednesday, too, and Stats Perform unpacks the pick of the data.

Manchester City 6-0 Nottingham Forest: Haaland makes history

Haaland now has nine goals in five Premier League games since joining City from Borussia Dortmund – the best start of any player in the competition's history at this stage.

He surpassed the record of eight goals previously held by Micky Quinn and City great Sergio Aguero, the man he is effectively replacing at the Etihad Stadium.

The prolific striker is just the seventh player to score a hat-trick in back-to-back games in the competition and the first since Harry Kane did so for Tottenham in December 2017.

Fellow newbie Julian Alvarez also scored twice, while Joao Cancelo netted the other as City bagged five or more goals in a league game for the 32nd time under Pep Guardiola.

That accounts for 14 per cent of City's games under the Catalan coach in the competition, with that tally more than twice as many as any other side over that period (Liverpool, 15).

The only side to have exceeded the 18 goals City have scored after five games of a Premier League season were Manchester United, who had 21 to their name at this stage 11 years ago.

Liverpool 2-1 Newcastle United: Carvalho the late hero

Newcastle led with an hour played at Anfield, only for Roberto Firmino to level and Fabio Carvalho to fire home in the 98th minute to snatch all three points for Liverpool.

That was the 40th winning Premier League goal scored by Liverpool in the 90th minute or later – the most of any side – with three of those coming in this fixture.

Timed at 97 minutes and nine seconds, it was Liverpool's latest goal in the top flight since Dirk Kuyt's penalty against Arsenal in April 2011 (101:48).

Alexander Isak had earlier given Newcastle the lead with a debut goal, making him the sixth Swedish player to net on his Premier League bow.

Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa: Martinelli keeps Gunners perfect

Arsenal dug deep to overcome Villa and make it five wins in a row to begin a league campaign for the first time since the 2004-05 season, when they went on to finish second.

Gabriel Jesus steered Arsenal ahead for his sixth goal involvement in his first five Premier League outings for the club, breaking Mesut Ozil's previous record of five.

Douglas Luiz equalised directly from a corner, but Arsenal hit back just 151 seconds later through Gabriel Martinelli, who converted Bukayo Saka's cross.

That was Saka's 17th Premier League assist – only Cesc Fabregas (38), Wayne Rooney (22) and Michael Owen (18) had more before turning 21.

West Ham 1-1 Tottenham: Soucek denies Spurs

Tottenham could not see out a lead at London Stadium as they were denied the chance to make their best start to a Premier League season after five games.

Thilo Kehrer turned a Harry Kane delivery into his own net, with that a league-high seventh own goal scored by West Ham since the start of the 2020-21 season.

Tomas Soucek levelled for West Ham with his 19th Premier League goal, each of those coming from inside the 18-yard box.

That strike was assisted by Michail Antonio on his 200th league appearance for West Ham, whose tally of two goals after five games is their fewest since 1994-95 (one).

While Spurs could not hold on for the win, they are unbeaten after five games in the competition for only the third time, having previously done so in 2004-05 and 2016-17.

Wolves have been dealt a blow ahead of the upcoming Premier League season after star striker Raul Jimenez was ruled out for "a number of weeks" with knee and adductor injuries.

Jimenez, who returned to first-team football 12 months ago after a fractured skull saw him sit out the majority of the 2020-21 campaign, is reportedly likely to miss at least a month of action after limping out of a 3-0 friendly win over Besiktas.

"Raul came off in the game against Besiktas after he stretched for the ball and felt something in his knee and his groin," an update on the club's official website revealed. 

"Scans reveal that he has suffered a medial collateral ligament injury to his knee and a minor strain of his adductor. Neither injury is very serious but he is expected to be out for a number of weeks."

The 31-year-old's setback is a blow ahead of a season that will also see him feature in the World Cup in Qatar, where Mexico will face Poland, Argentina and Saudi Arabia in Group C.

Jimenez, a key man in Mexico's attack, has 30 goals in 97 appearances for El Tri, a tally bettered only by six players in their history – led by ex-Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez with 52.

The injury represents a blow for Wolves, who are now set to begin the season without a recognised centre forward after loaning youngster Fabio Silva to Anderlecht.

Jimenez has scored 40 Premier League goals since moving to Molineux in 2018, over twice as many as Wolves' next most prolific player in that time - Diogo Jota with 16.

It's time for gameweek 29 in the Premier League, and for some it is a double, which will no doubt lead to panicked stockpiling of players from those teams involved.

Do not be fooled into transferring out your star player for a cheaper alternative who has twice as many games on the horizon, though. You get more points for a goal in one game than not scoring in two, after all.

As ever, there are some obvious picks, but also some less obvious ones should you be a fan of the odd differential to gain an upper hand in your mini-leagues.

So let Stats Perform lead you by the hand with Opta data as we pick four players who might just give you those precious extra points in the latest Premier League gameweek.

ALISSON (Brighton and Hove Albion v Liverpool, Arsenal v Liverpool)

Alisson is unquestionably one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and has played as big a role as anyone in Liverpool clawing their way back into the title race.

Since the turn of the year, no Premier League goalkeeper with a minimum of 180 minutes played has kept more clean sheets (five), conceded fewer goals (two) or has a higher save percentage (89.47).

The Reds suffered the unfamiliar feeling of defeat against Inter on Tuesday, albeit still defeating the Italian giants in the Champions League round of 16 on aggregate, but it still took a world-class strike from Lautaro Martinez to beat Alisson.

The big Brazilian comes up against a Brighton team that always manages to make scoring goals look more complicated than quantum mechanics and an Arsenal side that has failed to score against Liverpool in their last five meetings in all competitions.

KYLE WALKER-PETERS (Southampton v Watford)

Southampton may have lost to Aston Villa and Newcastle United in the last week, but before then they were going great guns, winning six of their previous seven in all competitions (D1).

One player in particular who has stood out has been Walker-Peters, who has been getting forward to great effect from right back.

No Premier League defender has had more chance creating ending carriers this season than Walker-Peters (12), while his three goal involvements (one goal, two assists) equals his best tally in a single league campaign (three assists for Tottenham in 2018-19).

DEJAN KULUSEVSKI (Manchester United v Tottenham, Brighton v Tottenham)

Tottenham have gone a bit 'Jekyll and Hyde' lately under Antonio Conte, often following up an impressive win with an insipid defeat. Unfortunately for Spurs fans, they're coming off a 5-0 win against Everton.

While Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have rightly been getting their usual plaudits for recent form (every other game at least), Kulusevski has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water since arriving from Juventus in January.

Since making his debut in England, only Kane (six) has been involved in more Premier League goals than the Swedish winger (five - two goals, three assists).

RAUL JIMENEZ (Everton v Wolves)

It may seem counter-intuitive to look to a Wolves attacker for points given only Brighton (26), Burnley (22) and Norwich City (17) have scored fewer than their 28 goals in the Premier League this season.

They did bag four against Watford on Thursday though, including a goal for Jimenez, who has a tremendous record against Everton and is about to come up against possibly the worst iteration of the Toffees he ever has on Sunday.

The Mexican striker has scored in all five of his league appearances against the Merseyside club, netting five goals in total. In the competition's history, only Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has a better 100 per cent record of scoring against an opponent (six goals in six games against Bournemouth).

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta described the horrific head injury suffered by Wolves striker Raul Jimenez at Emirates Stadium in November 2020 as among the scariest moments of his career, ahead of the Mexican's first return to the ground since his recovery.

Jimenez suffered a fractured skull in a sickening collision with David Luiz just minutes into Wolves' trip to Arsenal last season, which the visitors went on to win 2-1, returning to action with a protective headband eight months later.

Jimenez has hit five league goals for Bruno Lage's outfit since his comeback, and the Midlands club would go above Arsenal in the Premier League table with a repeat of last season's win, as the two clubs battle for European qualification.

On the eve of the Gunners' crucial meeting with Lage's team, Arteta looked back on a worrying moment for all concerned. 

"I have had others, but that was one of them," the 39-year-old responded when asked if it ranked among the scariest moments of his career.

"Straight away you saw the reaction, the anxiety that was suddenly in the team doctors and everybody involved trying to assess what was happening, it was frightening. 

"Thank god it ended the right way, but it looked really, really bad."

Arteta also revealed that his club remained in constant contact with Jimenez during his long recovery, as did the since departed David Luiz, who struggled in the aftermath of the incident.

"Of course, we were [in contact with Jimenez] and David was as well, because he was directly involved, he was really affected by that.

"We are colleagues in the end. We share the same profession and industry. When something like that happens, you are emotionally involved.

"In the case of Raul, it was a really scary moment. Thanks to the medical team, they probably saved [him from] something that could have been much worse."

Arsenal are looking to extend a four-game winning run in the Premier League when they host Lage's in-form team, and have lost only one of their last 10 home league games against the Molineux outfit (W5 D4), although that defeat did come on Wolves' last trip to the Emirates.

Jimenez, meanwhile, will be looking to carry over the form he has displayed from recent trips to another part of north London, netting in his last three visits to Arsenal's neighbours Tottenham, after Wolves' 2-0 win there earlier this month.

Liverpool responded to Manchester City's thrashing of Norwich by recording a hard-fought 1-0 win at Burnley.

Fabinho struck the only goal in the first half, as the Reds continued their fine set-piece record on a day when set-plays proved decisive across the Premier League.

Elsewhere, Raul Jimenez starred as Wolves leapfrogged Tottenham with a shock 2-0 win, and Newcastle continued their revival with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa, thanks to Kieran Tripper's free-kick.

The final game of the day saw West Ham rescue a dramatic 2-2 draw at Leicester City, with Craig Dawson netting a stoppage-time equaliser.

Burnley 0-1 Liverpool: Reds reap rewards of set-piece focus

Liverpool did not produce a vintage performance, but Jurgen Klopp's men kept leaders Manchester City on their toes by earning a vital away win.

The Reds had to work hard for the three points against Burnley at Turf Moor. After managing 27 shots, nine attempts on target and 50 touches in Burnley's penalty area in the reverse fixture at Anfield last August, Liverpool had just over half as many touches in Burnley's 18-yard box this time (26), managing 12 shots in total and just four on target.

However, Klopp's men dug deep to find a winning goal, and did so courtesy of their fantastic set-piece record. Excluding penalties, 14 of Liverpool’s 61 Premier League goals this season have come via set-pieces, more than any other team and more than the tally they recorded in the top-flight last term (13).

Fabinho's winning goal also means he has scored more goals in his last seven matches (five) than he managed in his first 142 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions (four).

Meanwhile, the Anfield outfit also maintained their record of having won each of their games in which the Brazilian has netted for the club, with that run now reaching eight matches.

Tottenham 0-2 Wolves: Jimenez proves decisive at Spurs once again

It was Wolves, rather than Tottenham, who asserted their top-four credentials by recording a huge win in north London, with Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker firing the visitors to a 2-0 win.

Mexican striker Jimenez has now scored in each of his last three Premier League appearances away at Spurs (three goals), with Wolves winning each of those contests.

Indeed, Jimenez has now scored four times in six appearances against Tottenham, and has only scored more Premier League goals against Southampton and Everton (five).

For Antonio Conte's Spurs, the defeat was their third Premier League reverse in succession, and they also lost three consecutive league games under Nuno Espirito Santo in September 2021. This marks the first time they have had multiple three-match losing games in a Premier League campaign since 2004-05 (also two).

Newcastle 1-0 Aston Villa: Another free-kick continues Toon revival

Newcastle's clash with Aston Villa was not exactly one for the purists, featuring the third-lowest expected goals tally of the entire Premier League season so far, but Tripper ensured that it was a memorable day for the Magpies.

Trippier's 35th-minute free-kick was enough to see off Steven Gerrard's men in a contest where both teams created just 0.5 xG apiece.

Remarkably, Newcastle have now scored a direct free-kick goal in each of their last three Premier League games (Jonjo Shelvey at Leeds, followed by Trippier against Everton and Aston Villa), becoming the first side to do so since Liverpool in December 2013.

In a game of fine margins, the England right-back showed the quality that he brings to the Magpies' relegation fight, and he is now the first Newcastle player to score direct free-kick goals in consecutive Premier League games since Hugo Viana did so in May 2003.

Tottenham saw their hopes of a top-four finish dealt a blow as Wolves produced a fantastic away performance to leapfrog the hosts in the Premier League with a 2-0 win.

Goals from Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker gave the visitors a deserved lead at the break, with Antonio Conte's men producing a dire performance and failing to test Jose Sa adequately in the opening period.

Although they managed a better second-half performance, Spurs were unable to find a way past a Wolves backline with a better defensive record than all bar Manchester City in this Premier League season.

Out-of-form Spurs have now lost three consecutive league games, and the last time a Conte-managed team did likewise was Atalanta in November 2009.  

Wolves, looking to bounce back from a midweek loss to Arsenal, required just five minutes to take the lead. Hugo Lloris got down to stop Ruben Neves' strike before inexplicably flapping at Dendoncker's tame rebound, allowing Jimenez to volley home.

The France goalkeeper was again at fault when the visitors doubled their lead on 17 minutes, with his terrible pass inviting Wolves to press high, and Dendoncker tapped in his first goal of the campaign after initially hitting the post.

A furious Conte changed system when bringing on Dejan Kulusevski before the half-hour mark, but tame efforts from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min were the sum of Spurs' poor first-half efforts.

The visitors almost started the second half in the same manner as the first, when Jimenez forced a crucial save from Lloris at his near post, before Kane finally tested Sa twice before the hour mark.

Harry Winks' deflected volley clipped the post as the hosts tried to up the ante, before Kulusevski went close with a well-struck effort.

Wolves were content to sit deep and held on for what could be a crucial result in their own charge for European football, Sa making a fine late stop from Cristian Romero's header.

What does it mean? Wolves leapfrog Spurs by continuing away run

Wolves' victory, their third in their past four Premier League trips to Tottenham, took them a point above their hosts in the Premier League table after playing a game more, damaging the Champions League hopes of Conte's men and boosting their own chances of qualifying for European football.

Wolves have now won four successive top-flight away matches for the first time since April 1980, when they managed a run of five under John Barnwell's management.

Jimenez strikes early blow on fertile ground

Coming after five minutes and 58 seconds, Jimenez's opener was Wolves' fastest goal of the Premier League season to date.

The Mexican striker has now hit four goals in six Premier League appearances against Tottenham, and also netted in away wins over them in December 2019 and March 2020.

Spurs fail to respond

Spurs' terrible start to the contest left then 2-0 down at half-time of a Premier League game for the first time since December 2019, and they've still never come back to win from such a deficit on the own turf in the competition's history, managing four draws and 19 losses from such positions.

What's next?

Conte's Spurs will now prepare for a tough trip to the Etihad Stadium to face champions Manchester City next Saturday. Wolves, meanwhile, host Leicester City at Molineux this time next week.

Raul Jimenez's 80th-minute penalty has earned Mexico a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Panama to open up a four-point gap between the sides in the race to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Jimenez returned after missing the past two games with a calf injury to be a constant threat for El Tri, before converting the spotkick won by Diego Lainez in Mexico City on Wednesday.

The late strike eased the pressure on El Tri head coach Gerardo Martino after Saturday's 0-0 home draw with Costa Rica, as third-placed Mexico moved clear of fourth-placed Panama in the CONCACAF playoff spot with three games to play.

Wolves forward Jimenez had the bulk of Mexico's chances, including having an early second-half goal disallowed by the VAR.

Lainez, who was introduced as a 66th-minute substitute for Hirving Lozano, won the penalty with quick feet after being upended by Abdiel Ayarza. Jimenez sent Panama goalkeeper Luis Mejia the wrong way with his cool finish.

In the fifth minute of stoppage time, the visitors almost grabbed a crucial late equalizer when Michael Amir Murillo pushed forward and glanced a header wide.

The carnage of the Premier League festive schedule is well and truly upon us.

Arsenal, who stripped Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of his captaincy on Tuesday, snatched West Ham's Champions League spot with a comfortable victory in Wednesday's headline clash.

Just 11 miles away in London, Crystal Palace hosted Southampton following a 3-1 defeat of Everton but they could only muster a draw against Ralph Hasenhuttl's side.

Brighton and Hove Albion succumbed to yet another defeat against Wolves in the other clash of the day, after Watford's visit to Burnley was postponed due to COVID-19 cases within the Hornets' squad.

Here, Stats Perform unpacks the pick of Opta data from the top-flight action.

Arsenal 2-0 West Ham: Youth shines again for Arteta's top-four chasers

West Ham have a woeful record at Emirates Stadium and extended that poor run as they lost their 11th league match in 12 games at Arsenal's ground, trading fourth spot with Mikel Arteta's side, who were inspired by two of their young stars.

Gabriel Martinelli broke the deadlock in the second half with his seventh Premier League strike, Gabriel Jesus (16) the only Brazilian with more goals in the competition before their 21st birthday.

Vladimir Coufal then became the 15th Czech Republic player to receive his marching orders in the Premier League when he received a contentious second caution for bringing down Alexandre Lacazette, who saw his penalty saved by Lukasz Fabianski.

Lacazette's miss may have been Arsenal's third consecutive failed penalty in the league – doing so for the first time since 1992 – but substitute Emile Smith Rowe sealed the victory with the Gunners' 10th goal scored by an under-21 in the competition this season, which is more than any other side.

David Moyes, who became the fourth manager to 600 games in the Premier League, has never won at Arsenal in 18 top-flight attempts, extending the record for the most times a manager has played away against a side in the competition without winning.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-1 Wolves: Saiss scores as Seagulls grounded once more 

Wolves headed to the South Coast without a win or a goal in four top-flight games, facing five consecutive blanks for the first time since 2003, but held on in a marathon slog against Graham Potter's timid Brighton.

Roman Saiss nodded in what proved to be the winner for Bruno Lage's side on the stroke of half-time, as Wolves scored their first top-flight goal before the interval in seven matches – dating back to when they netted twice in the first half against Everton in early November.

The Morocco international now has five league goals to his name since the start of last season – only Raul Jimenez (nine) and Ruben Neves (six) have managed more for Wolves in that period.

Wolves, though, had to wait for their win as they battled for 106 minutes and 29 seconds of action in total in the longest English top-flight game since Manchester City and Liverpool in September 2017 (108 minutes and 35 seconds).

In contrasting fortunes, struggling Brighton are still without a win in all competitions since beating Swansea in the EFL Cup in September, while the Seagulls have not tasted top-flight victory in a club record 11 games.

Crystal Palace 2-2 Southampton: Broja form continues as Ayew breaks duck

The Premier League's most fragile away defence in 2021 travelled to Selhurst Park having conceded 50 times on the road, but were unlucky to not walk away with all three points against Patrick Vieira's side.

Wilfried Zaha struck first after just 119 seconds as he fired another away goal past Ralph Hasenhuttl's team, with what was Palace's fastest Premier League goal since May, which also came against Southampton.

However, James Ward-Prowse restored parity with his 11th direct free-kick goal in the league – only David Beckham (18), Thierry Henry and Gianfranco Zola (both 12) have scored more in the competition.

Armando Broja deservedly nudged the visitors ahead with his fourth finish in six league starts, with Mason Greenwood (also four) the only played aged 20 or younger to have scored as many times in the competition this season.

Jordan Ayew then ensured the sides shared the spoils with his first goal in 43 Premier League games, his last coming against Leeds United in November 2020, while the Saints claimed an unwanted record as the first top-flight side to ship more than 50 away goals in a single year since West Brom in 1985 (52).

Raheem Sterling's second-half penalty earned Manchester City a sixth Premier League win in a row and kept the reigning champions roaring along at the summit as they saw off 10-man Wolves 1-0.

City climbed to top spot for the first time this season last weekend and took full advantage of playing before Liverpool and Chelsea on Saturday with a hard-fought – if somewhat controversial – win at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's men were given a huge helping hand by Raul Jimenez's silly sending-off in first-half stoppage time for two bookable offences in the space of 31 seconds.

Wolves again felt hard done by when referee Jonathan Moss adjudged that Bernardo Silva's cross hit Joao Moutinho on the arm, giving Sterling the opportunity to convert the resulting penalty with 66 minutes played for his 100th Premier League goal, which proved enough for a slender victory.

Wolves were only undone by a last-gasp goal in last week's loss to Liverpool, and they managed to contain City in a first half that saw the hosts register just two attempts on target.

However, the visitors were reduced to 10 men when Jimenez was booked for a foul on Rodri and again penalised almost straight after for failing to retreat when the free-kick was taken.

Ilkay Gundogan had a header blocked on the line by Conor Coady and City's pressure eventually told when Sterling calmly converted the match-winning penalty, which Wolves' players argued should never have been given as Silva's cross appeared to hit Moutinho on the armpit, rather than his arm.

Jack Grealish blasted over a great opportunity soon after, while Silva and Sterling had attempts saved by Jose Sa, but Wolves struggled to pose a sustained threat at the other end as they went a fourth game without scoring.

 

A lot can change over the course of the international break – Newcastle United have gone from losing 2-1 at Wolves to becoming the world's richest football club, in a sense.

It's all change at St James' Park and you can guarantee a charged atmosphere for the first match of a potentially exciting period for a club that has underachieved for years, with Tottenham the visitors on Sunday.

A couple of Newcastle players might be worth your consideration, while Leeds star Raphinha – who would ordinarily be an easy pick – this week represents something of a risk.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform picks out seven players for your consideration.

AARON RAMSDALE (Arsenal v Crystal Palace)

His signing was scoffed at by many in pre-season, probably partly due to the significant £24million fee Arsenal spent, but Ramsdale has enjoyed an encouraging start after dislodging Bernd Leno for the Gunners.

He has featured four times in the Premier League and conceded just once, giving him the best minutes-per-goal-conceded ratio in the division (one every 360 mins).

Ramsdale will be confident of continuing that theme on Monday against Crystal Palace, whose open-play expected goals (xG) of 5.2 is better than only five teams this term.

MATT RITCHIE (Newcastle United v Tottenham)

Now, selecting a Newcastle defender might ordinarily be considered something of a risk, but it's fair to suggest there may be a slightly more positive aura around the team – for obvious reasons – when Spurs visit.

If the feel-good factor at the club following their takeover does translate into a strong performance, the early signs this season would have you believe Ritchie will be influential.

The converted left-back's 21 chances created is second just to Bruno Fernandes, while only Trent Alexander-Arnold (2.6) and Mason Mount (2.1) have better expected assists (xA) records than Ritchie (2.0) – he's also played the third-most amount of passes into the box out of everyone in the top flight (63).

KIERAN TIERNEY (Arsenal v Crystal Palace)

Another left-back who is pretty effective going forward is Tierney, who has widely been considered one of few consistently solid performers for Arsenal during his time at the club – when he's fit, that is.

As mentioned previously, Arsenal's next opponents Palace aren't among the league's most threatening team, so there's undoubtedly potential for clean-sheet points, though Tierney also provides plenty in attack.

Among defenders yet to score or assist, only Everton's Lucas Digne (17) has recorded more than Tierney's 15 shot involvements (shots and key passes), while the Scotland international is third among defenders for chances created (nine, two less than Alexander-Arnold).

RAPHINHA (Southampton v Leeds United)

Admittedly, this one's a bit of a gamble. With Raphinha away with Brazil for their World Cup qualifier against Uruguay on Thursday night (early Friday morning UK time), roughly 36 hours prior to Leeds facing Southampton, Marcelo Bielsa has already acknowledged Raphinha's status is at the very least unclear.

But he's looked exciting in his Brazil cameos so far, and his form in 2021-22 would leave few doubting Raphinha has the ability to have a decisive impact on Saturday even if just playing as a substitute.

Currently, he tops the rankings among Leeds players for goals (three), shots (24), chances created (14) and passes into the box (59) – he's surely too important for Bielsa to leave out entirely.

JESSE LINGARD (Leicester City v Manchester United)

After a brilliant few months at West Ham, Lingard is still waiting for a proper run of games this term at United, but he's already chipped in with a couple of goals in just three league appearances.

The second of those came against the Hammers, and up next is another of his former loan teams: Leicester.

He already boasts a great record in meetings with the Foxes, having been involved in six goals (three goals and three assists) against them – that's a joint-personal best (also six versus Arsenal).

ALLAN SAINT-MAXIMIN (Newcastle United v Tottenham)

If there's one member of the Newcastle squad who promises to be the most buoyed by the club's new situation, it's surely the one who wouldn't look out of place in a team of expensively assembled superstars.

Saint-Maximin is box office – he's an entertainer and always looks like he's having a rollicking good time on the pitch, but this season the Frenchman has added a little more substance to his play as well.

With two goals and three assists already in 2021-22, he has an involvement every 126 minutes, massively improved on 2020-21 (one every 224 mins). In front of new owners, few would bet against Saint-Maximin dazzling as he looks to prove he'll be right at home in the new era.

RAUL JIMENEZ (Aston Villa v Wolves)

Back from a serious head injury, Jimenez did not have much luck during his first five Premier League appearances of the season, not getting a single goal or assist despite attempting 14 shots and delivering 15 key passes.

But since then, the Mexico international has been involved in all of Wolves' three most recent goals.

Jimenez has been something of a double-threat under Bruno Lage, with his shot involvements tally of 36 bettered by only Bruno Fernandes (47), Mohamed Salah, Michail Antonio and Raphinha.

Hector Moreno and Raul Jimenez helped Mexico re-claim their three-point lead in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying with a 2-0 win away to El Salvador on Wednesday.

Moreno headed in Jesus Corona's 30th-minute corner before Mexico star Jimenez rounded out the win with a penalty in the third minute of stoppage time.

Hirving Lozano put an early chance wide, while Osvaldo Rodriguez also pushed a header off target before Moreno broke the deadlock with a glancing effort which crept in at the back post.

Both sides were then reduced to 10 men, with El Salvador losing Mario Jacobo to a straight red card for a foul on Rogelio Funes Mori in the 48th minute.

Mexico saw Nestor Araujo sent off with 23 minutes remaining for a second bookable offence, ruling him out of next month's crucial qualifier against the United States in Cincinnati.

Wolves' Jimenez cushioned the victory with his late spot-kick having returned to the national team last month after suffering a serious head injury in November last year.

The win moved unbeaten Mexico to 14 points after six games, three points ahead of USA, who came from behind to beat Costa Rica 2-1 earlier on Wednesday.

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