Romelu Lukaku is Chelsea's back-up plan if they cannot land Erling Haaland.

Haaland is being circled by several top clubs including Chelsea, along with Manchester City and Real Madrid.

The Borussia Dortmund talent will demand a significant transfer fee which the Blues may be able to afford.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU FIRMS AS CHELSEA'S PLAN B

Chelsea have turned their attention to their former striker Romelu Lukaku as they look to bolster their forward options.

The Telegraph reports that Haaland still remains top priority but Inter forward Lukaku is being heavily considered.

The Manchester Evening News are also reporting City are interested in Lukaku as both clubs prepare to miss out on Haaland.

Inter have indicated that Lukaku, who was at Chelsea from 2011 to 2014 but spent spells on loan at West Brom and Everton, is not for sale.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca's front page discusses Real Madrid setting Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe as their transfer priorities amid a major reconstruction whilst reinforcing a Cristiano Ronaldo return is not part of their plans.

- ESPN claim Borussia Dortmund have set a €180m valuation on Haaland, as numerous clubs circle for the Norwegian forward's services.

- Manchester United are considering offering Jesse Lingard a new deal following his exceptional form on loan at West Ham United, according to The Sun.

- AS is reporting that Manchester United have also made an approach to sign Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente for £68.5m.

- Turkish outlet Ajansspor reports that Fenerbahce have contacted ex-Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri about potentially taking up their head coach role.

Jesse Lingard has revealed Gareth Southgate pointed him down the path towards an England recall.

Southgate will take charge of his 50th game when England begin their World Cup qualifying campaign against San Marino at Wembley on Thursday.

His first, against Malta in October 2016, was also Lingard's international debut and the attacking midfielder became one of Southgate's key performers as England charted a surprise run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup.

However, struggles for form and fitness at Manchester United, along with difficulties in his private life, saw Lingard fall out of the Three Lions picture.

In January he joined West Ham on loan and has been a player revitalised.

Five goals in seven Premier League appearances for David Moyes' men earned an England recall for the 28-year-old, who thanked Southgate for his counsel and his influence over the Hammers move.

"He's shown a lot of support and belief in me, he gave me my England debut, which I'm proud of," Lingard told talkSPORT.

"I still kept in contact with him even though I wasn't playing, just to get his advice on what I should do.

"It was just about the right move, whether it was going out to Europe or staying in the Premier League.

"He said, 'If I was you, I would stay in the Premier League'. After that, it was about finding a Premier League side and West Ham fitted in perfectly."

Since his West Ham debut against Aston Villa on February 3, only Leicester City striker Kelechi Iheanacho (six) has more Premier League goals than Lingard (five), while he is level with England captain Harry Kane and Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan over the period in question.

His 12 shots on target are a joint Premier League best along with Kane, giving him a shot conversion rate of 23.8.

Lingard also has two assists for the Hammers and has created eight opportunities for team-mates overall.

 

Another man in from the cold, although less dramatically, is Manchester City centre-back John Stones.

Like Lingard, Stones was a mainstay at Russia 2018 but last played for England in November 2019 after his club form dwindled.

However, a supreme centre-back alliance with Ruben Dias for Premier League leaders City made a recall for the 26-year-old a virtual formality – not that he necessarily viewed it that way.

"It was difficult watching from home," Stones told reporters, having also acknowledged Southgate "texted now and then" when he was out of favour.

"You feel a bit helpless that you can't contribute and be a part of the squad, but I used it as a motivation to strive to be better.

"When I got the text the other day, it was a great feeling to be back involved and see all the faces I've got some great memories with.

"I was very nervous. I had worked so hard and I was hearing people say, 'you should be in'.

"But I didn't take any of that in until the text arrived. I wanted to hear from the source. I was absolutely made up."

City remaining in contention for four major honours shows how impressive their overall performances have been this season, but with Stones in the team their record verges on the absurd.

In 20 games where the former Everton defender has not played, Pep Guardiola's men have won 13, drawn five and lost two for a 65 per cent win rate. In these games they conceded 19 times.

Out of Stones' 26 appearances, City have won 24 alongside a draw and a loss and have conceded only seven times. This tallies to 0.3 goals against and 2.8 points per game and a win percentage of 92.3.

Tottenham bounced back from a dreadful week to keep their hopes of a top-four Premier League finish alive. 

A north London derby defeat to Arsenal was followed by a shocking Europa League exit at the hands of Dinamo Zagreb, but Jose Mourinho's men comfortably swatted aside Aston Villa 2-0 to move to within three points of fourth-placed Chelsea.

The Gunners, meanwhile, produced a stirring comeback to seal a 3-3 draw against West Ham, David Moyes' side giving them more than a little assistance. 

There were also wins for Brighton and Hove Albion and Leeds United over Newcastle United and Fulham respectively. 

Using Opta data, we look at some of the more quirky facts from the weekend's top-flight action.

 

Spurs bounce back from European nightmare

Jose Mourinho demanded a positive response from his side after their dismal Europa League exit to Dinamo Zagreb on Thursday and they duly delivered. 

Goals in either half from Carlos Vinicius and Harry Kane sealed a fourth win in five Premier League games for Spurs, while they became the third side to win six consecutive top-flight away games against Villa, after Manchester United (2003-2007) and Liverpool (2011-2019). 

Vinicius has now scored nine goals in his nine starts for the club across all competitions, the Brazilian needing just 12 shots to do so.

That kind of accuracy is familiar to Kane, who has been directly involved in 30 goals in the Premier League this season (17 goals, 13 assists). The England captain is the first player to reach that total in the 2020-21 competition, while it is the first time he has achieved this since 2017-18 (30 goals, two assists).

Villa might point to the absence of the talismanic Jack Grealish as a contributing factor to their poor display. The Villains have a 17 per cent win ratio in the Premier League games without the England international, which rises to 50 per cent when he is in the side.

Hammers give Arsenal a helping hand

West Ham players scored five goals in their clash against Arsenal at the London Stadium, yet David Moyes' side had to make do with a 3-3 draw. 

The Hammers took a 3-0 lead against Mikel Arteta's men, but ended up with just a point after Tomas Soucek and Craig Dawson put into their own nets before Alexandre Lacazette's late leveller. 

It meant Moyes' outfit became the first team to score two own goals in a Premier League game since Swansea (also against Arsenal) in January 2017, while Soucek became the first player to score at both ends of the pitch in the same home top-flight game for West Ham since Frank Lampard against Leicester City in November 1998.

The collapse meant West Ham failed to win after being three goals ahead in a Premier League game for the first time since September 1998 when they lost 4-3 to Wimbledon. 

Following their 3-3 draw with Tottenham earlier in the season, the result meant the Hammers have been involved in two of the Premier League's three three-goal comebacks this season – the most instances in a single campaign since 2010-11 (also three). 

There is nothing boring about them these days. 

Leeds return to Yorkshire with capital gains

Leeds' trips to London have largely been fruitless affairs in recent years, but they returned to winning ways in the capital with a slender triumph over Fulham. 

Patrick Bamford and Raphinha were on target as Marcelo Bielsa's side sealed a first win there in 17 games across all competitions, with their previous success coming in the shape of a 3-1 win against QPR in 2017. 

Bamford brushed off his disappointment at not being included in Gareth Southgate's England squad to become the first Leeds player to score in four straight league appearances against a single club since Luciano Becchio against Middlesbrough between 2010 and 2012. 

Joachim Andersen had given the Cottagers hope of securing at least a point when he joined Bjarne Goldbaek and Claus Jensen as the only Danish players to score for the club in the Premier League. 

Raphinha brought home the bacon for Leeds, though, scoring his sixth goal since his first top-flight start in November – only Bamford has scored more (seven) in that period.

Magpies' rotten run against Brighton continues

Brighton could scarcely have handpicked more accommodating opponents than Steve Bruce's sorry Newcastle.

The Seagulls' comfortable victory was their second at the Amex Stadium in 2021 – double what they achieved at home in 2020. 

Leandro Trossard, Danny Welbeck and Neal Maupay were on target for the hosts, with the former pair's strikes both coming from outside the penalty area – the first time Brighton have scored two such goals since a clash with QPR in April 2017.

They have now played more Premier League games against Newcastle (eight) without losing than against any other side in the competition, Graham Potter's side winning four and drawing four. 

The Magpies have scored just one goal in those games, with only Sheffield United having faced a side more often while netting just once in the competition, the Blades hitting the back of the net on a solitary occasion in 10 games against Manchester City.

Mikel Arteta declared himself "really disappointed" despite Arsenal fighting back from three goals down to claim 3-3 draw with West Ham United on Sunday.

The Gunners paid for a poor start at the London Stadium as they fell behind to early goals from Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek.

However, they reduced the deficit when Soucek was forced to put through his own net before the break, and it was game on when Craig Dawson did the same following the restart.

Alexandre Lacazette subsequently completed the turnaround with a header 10 minutes from time to earn the visitors a share of the spoils.

But, speaking after the game, manager Arteta could not hide his disappointment over a sloppy start that had given his side a mountain to climb.

He told Sky Sports: "I'm really disappointed because I cannot accept my team to play the way we did for certain periods in the first half because what I expect is the team to play the level we showed afterwards. 

"We played incredibly well, we should have scored six or seven goals, but we had two faces and the first face is about giving goals to the opponent and not doing what we have to do and that is not good enough.

"The first goal, it can happen. It's a really good combination, they do that, they play that channel well and have players in the box and scored a brilliant goal, it's fine. 

"The way we concede the second one is unacceptable, the third goal is unacceptable, and we still gave them one more – a throw-in and they hit the post.

"For the rest, [I liked] the attitude, the desire that we showed and the togetherness that we showed, because at 3-0 it's really difficult to do what we've done. 

"I have no doubts because we talked about it and I can see every day the energy and the cohesion the players have. We came really close to winning, I thought we deserved to win in the end, but the first part really worries me."

Arteta's opposite number David Moyes struck a more positive note, despite the fact his team threw away a sizeable lead.

"It was a really good game, a tough game, lots of goals. We played very well, especially in the opening 30 minutes, we were excellent," Moyes said.

"Unfortunately, we gave them a goal just before half-time from a deflection which I think the shot was going wide and it gave Arsenal a bit of a foot up. That made it more difficult. 

"We played very well for long periods; Arsenal played very well, but Arsenal are in good form at the minute and showing good things. 

"It wasn't a great result for us after going 3-0 up but it was still a good result. We've still kept ourselves moving along, it was a tough game for us and we showed that we're up there competing with the best teams."

The Hammers find themselves in the midst of a perhaps unexpected push for Champions League football this season, but missed a chance to go level on points with fourth-placed Chelsea.

Still, Moyes remained sanguine about his team's position given the manner in which they have exceeded all expectations thus far.

He added: "It's been a long time since we've finished above Arsenal in the league at West Ham, so we've done our best to make sure they can't catch us. 

"We're trying to stay in the top half of the league, I think at the start of the season if we'd said that we'd have said it's [going] good. But now we want more, now I'm greedy. 

"You should see the dressing room, they're devastated because they haven't taken all three points. It's a good sign for a manager, though."

Arsenal fought back from three goals down to claim a 3-3 draw with West Ham in a thrilling London derby on Sunday.

David Moyes' side had carved out a three-goal lead with just over half an hour gone as Jesse Lingard, Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek capped off a blistering start.

But a Soucek own goal late in the first half swung momentum toward the Gunners, who set up a thrilling finish by forcing Craig Dawson to put through his own net with 30 minutes remaining.

And Alexandre Lacazette completed the comeback late on as he headed home from close range to steal a share of the points.

Mikel Arteta has warned West Ham will know "how to hurt" his Arsenal team when the London rivals clash in the Premier League on Sunday. 

The fifth-placed Hammers sit seven points ahead of Arteta's toiling mid-table Arsenal with 10 games of the season remaining for both teams, as David Moyes continues to work wonders. 

Arsenal's best hope of qualifying for next season appears to be through the Europa League, which offers a place in the elite competition to the winners, and Slavia Prague await them in the quarter-finals. 

West Ham, however, can get there on merit through the domestic league, and three points at the London Stadium this weekend would bolster their top-four chances. 

Arteta and Moyes were appointed by their respective clubs in December 2019, and few would have foreseen West Ham being a step ahead of the Gunners 15 months down the line. 

Looking ahead to their tussle, Arteta said: "We know we will have a really tough game, they've been in great form. They've been really consistent, they know really well what to do and how to hurt opponents. I know David really well and I am sure he will prepare the match so it is a really difficult game for us." 

Arteta was asked whether West Ham's form has come as a surprise, to which he replied: "Not really. I think they have a really strong squad and they have a great manager and coaching staff. 

"They started the season with some doubts, but I know what David is capable of doing. 

"He gets the group together, they're working really hard for each other, they've recruited really well and you can start to see the things that David has done. Obviously they have a little bit more time during the week to prepare football matches and training, and I think they've been in great form and they're a really dangerous team." 

Arsenal muddled their way past Olympiacos in the Europa League last-16 on Thursday, with a 1-0 home defeat meaning the Gunners scraped through 3-2 on aggregate. As Arteta pointed out, West Ham have no European commitments this season, but it could be a different story next term.

Why are Arsenal still trailing in West Ham's wake?

West Ham were already ahead of Arsenal at the turn of the year and it will worry Arteta that the gap has grown since, yet in many aspects the teams have performed on a similar level in the Premier League.

Since January 1, the Hammers have a goals for-and-against of 19-11 in the competition, while Arsenal's shows as 21-10, and the 13.38 per cent shot conversion rate for West Ham is more or less identical to Arsenal's own (13.04).

West Ham have created 20 'big chances', to 16 by Arsenal, and both sides have 50 per cent conversion rates when it comes to those opportunities, which are defined by Opta as being "where a player should reasonably be expected to score".

Arsenal are on a par with their xG (expected goals rate) of 18.2 from 158 shots in 2021, scoring 18 non-penalty goals, while West Ham have taken 18 fewer shots and are similarly closely tracking their xG of 17.5, also scoring 18 times excluding spot-kicks.

Perhaps telling when it comes to judging the difference between the teams is the toll that errors are taking on Arsenal.

In 12 Premier League games this year, West Ham players have collectively made three errors leading to shots, none of which resulted in a goal, but Arsenal have made seven such errors and have conceded three goals as a direct consequence.

The Gunners' 2021 haul of 21 points from 12 games (W6 D3 L3) is bettered by West Ham, who have 25 points (W8 D1 L3) over the same period.

Indeed, only Manchester City (45 points from 16 games), Manchester United (27 points/14 games) and Leicester City (27 points/13 games) have taken more points than West Ham since the turn of the year.

As the Premier League season heads towards the home straight, so too do your fantasy football leagues.

Hurt by captaining Raheem Sterling last week before he twice missed out for Manchester City? Or wondering how to replace the injured Son Heung-min?

Time is of the essence when making these big calls, especially when there are only four league fixtures this weekend.

Fortunately, you can consider our weekly Opta-powered picks, this time featuring two of Son's Tottenham team-mates.
 

EMILIANO MARTINEZ

If your confidence in Spurs is wavering, with Son out and a north London derby defeat fresh in the memory, you might prefer to hedge your bets.

Aston Villa, Tottenham's opponents, have the standout goalkeeper in action this week in the form of Martinez, who is a reliable source of frequent clean sheets. His 14 is a total only topped by Ederson (16) this season.

Among keepers to play 500 minutes in the Premier League this term, ex-Arsenal man Martinez has the best save percentage (77.6).

LEWIS DUNK

The big battle at the bottom sees Brighton and Hove Albion host Newcastle United on Saturday, in a match that is unlikely to provide a wealth of goals based on the form of both sides.

However, defender Dunk is perhaps as likely a scorer as any. He has four in the league this season, making this his best top-flight campaign for goals, while only Neal Maupay (seven) has more for Brighton in 2020-21.

Add in the potential boost of a clean sheet and Dunk could be a real difference-maker.

STUART DALLAS

The versatile Dallas is listed as a defender, allowing him to accrue additional points for attacking contributions despite spending large parts of his career in midfield.

Indeed, no defender in the division has netted more goals than the Northern Ireland international (five) this season.

Dallas, set to face struggling Fulham with Leeds United on Friday, also has two assists for seven total goal involvements.

JESSE LINGARD

Midfield loanee Lingard was kept on the sidelines last weekend as West Ham visited Manchester United, his parent club.

But this week has already improved for the Hammers star following his return to the England fold, earning a recall following four goals and an assist in six league appearances since his temporary move. He has been on target in his past two London Stadium outings.

Now Lingard has Arsenal in his sights, and he has a great record against the Gunners. Indeed, he has not scored more against any other team in English football, having managed four goals in seven starts in all competitions against the north London giants.

GARETH BALE

Still fancy Tottenham to beat Villa? Great, we have some options for you - starting with Bale.

The winger was quiet against Arsenal but has still been involved in six goals (four goals, two assists) in his past five Premier League games, having netted just once in his first seven on his return to the competition this season.

Bale's previous meeting with Villa, back in December 2012, saw him score his first career league hat-trick in a 4-0 Spurs win.

HARRY KANE

If not Bale, then why not Kane? Or pair the two, as they are each likely to be heavily involved if Tottenham turn in a much improved performance from the Arsenal match.

Kane has six goals in six Premier League games against Villa, including five in his past three.

His most recent two meetings with Villa have seen the England captain net braces - in March 2016 and August 2019.

ALEXANDRE LACAZETTE

While Bale and Kane cannot again perform as poorly as they did in the north London derby, Lacazette will hope to match the standard he set.

Handed the captaincy and the central striking role from the start as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was disciplined, the Arsenal number nine netted the winner and is now the club's leading marksman in the Premier League this season with 10.

West Ham should be especially wary of Lacazette, who has scored six goals in his past eight league London derbies. He has been on target in four of those encounters this term and Arsenal have won all of them.

Jesse Lingard admitted it had been a "long journey" back after earning an England recall following his fine form for West Ham.

Lingard's most recent international appearance came in June 2019, as he was part of Gareth Southgate's squad that featured in the inaugural Nations League Finals, eventually finishing third in the tournament.

The 28-year-old was also a regular as England reached the semi-finals at the 2018 World Cup, yet a lack of playing time at Manchester United saw him slip down the pecking order with the Three Lions.

However, a loan spell away from Old Trafford has helped the United academy product kick-start his career. Now he has the chance to force his way back into Southgate's plans ahead of the delayed Euro 2020, receiving a place in the squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against San Marino, Albania and Poland.

"Buzzin [sic] to be recalled back into the England squad after two years," Lingard tweeted, along with a picture of him celebrating while playing for the national team.

"It's been a long journey, very mentally challenging but full of hard work and belief. Thank you to everyone who believed in me, this is just the start."

Lingard had not featured for United in the Premier League this term before leaving in the mid-season transfer window, with his only outings in the campaign for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer coming in domestic cup competitions.

Yet a reunion with former Red Devils boss David Moyes at West Ham has allowed the attacking midfielder to thrive again.

In his six league starts since joining, Lingard has scored four goals - twice as many as any of his new team-mates - and has also provided an assist, while only Aaron Cresswell (11) has created more chances than his tally of seven.

Southgate has been suitably impressed enough to include Lingard – whose long-term future at club level still remains unclear - in his latest squad.

"We weren't sure how it would work out but we were able to give Jesse a great reference," the England boss told media at the official squad announcement.

"We were just pleased he was back playing football. It's one of those moves that has worked well for everybody.

"I can only reiterate that ideally you would've seen that over a longer period of time. He's got a great opportunity now."

Lingard is joined in the party by a familiar face in Luke Shaw, drafted back in by Southgate following the left-back's outstanding form for United.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer needs to win a trophy this season to demonstrate how Manchester United have made real progress, according to Gary Neville. 

United further enhanced their chances of a top-four finish in the Premier League with a 1-0 win over fifth-placed West Ham on Sunday, courtesy of an own goal from Craig Dawson in the second half. 

The victory, following on from their derby triumph over runaway leaders Manchester City a week earlier, sees Solskjaer's squad sit second in the table. 

However, former Red Devils defender Neville feels finishing as the closest team to Pep Guardiola's title winners is not enough, citing the importance of securing silverware ahead of a potentially pivotal transfer window. 

United have an FA Cup quarter-final at Leicester City coming up, though before then they face Milan in the second leg of a delicately balanced Europa League tie, the teams having drawn 1-1 at Old Trafford last Thursday following a dramatic late equaliser from the Italian side. 

"The FA Cup has become critical to this football club this season. The League Cup and FA Cup has been the starting point for Manchester United teams over the last 15 to 20 years," Neville said on his podcast for Sky Sports. 

"If Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is going to be successful at this club, he not only needs to finish second in the Premier League, but he has to win a trophy. That would be seen as real progress. Then you're attracting players next season to try and catch Manchester City. 

"I think it's a brilliant week. Beating Manchester City the way they did, and winning on Sunday.

"If you'd have said to Solskjaer at the start of the week you'll beat Manchester City, beat West Ham and draw 1-1 with Milan, he'd have snapped your hand off. Going into that Manchester derby, they were under real pressure."

As for the fight to finish in the top four in the league, Neville feels the current situation – with Leicester and Chelsea sitting behind the two Manchester clubs – will be the same at the end of the campaign. 

West Ham only sit three points behind Chelsea with a game in hand over their London rivals, while those below them – Everton, Tottenham and Liverpool – have failed to show signs they can put a run of results together to mount a genuine challenge. 

"Leicester are the one team you'd be most nervous about, because they did blow up last season. But I think there's just enough this year," the ex-England international said. 

"I don't see West Ham catching Leicester, and the teams below them are so inconsistent and seem to be all over the place. I'm not sure which one of them is going to put a run together.” 

All eyes were on the Emirates Stadium on Sunday for the north London derby and there was a lot of comforting familiarity on display.

A red card, Erik Lamela attempting a rabona (and scoring it!) instead of using his right foot, and, of course, Spurs throwing away a lead.

Elsewhere, Manchester United remained on course to finish second as they ensured David Moyes' continues to dread returning to his former employers, while Sheffield United's first game since Chris Wilder's exit arguably proved just how good the Yorkshireman was as manager.

There was also a potentially vital win near the bottom of the table for Brighton and Hove Albion, and we have taken a look at all the best Opta facts from those games.

Arsenal 2-1 Tottenham: Spurs surrender once again in a north London derby

Lamela's opening goal will be shown in north London derby highlight reels for years – his rabona finish was so good, so audacious.

But even with that being the opening goal, it never really looked like being decisive, so underwhelming were Spurs otherwise from an attacking perspective – the fact they went on to lose meant they have now dropped 45 points from winning positions against Arsenal in the Premier League, the most of any team against a specific opponent in the competition.

After Martin Odegaard levelled, becoming just the fourth Gunners player to score in his first top-flight north London derby, Alexandre Lacazette's second-half penalty secured Arsenal the points.

It was Spurs' ninth league defeat of the season, the joint-most Jose Mourinho has ever suffered in a single season, and Lamela's sending off certainly did not help their situation.

In collecting two bookings, he became only the fifth substitute in Premier League history to score and be sent off in the same game.

His goal will be the enduring moment from the match, but in the grand scheme it was meaningless for a Spurs side in increasing danger of missing out on the top four.

Manchester United 1-0 West Ham: Moyes' Old Trafford misery continues

It was not an occasion for the neutral at Old Trafford as Man United scraped an unconvincing win thanks to an own goal by Craig Dawson.

The defeat means only Harry Redknapp (15) has managed more Premier League games away to United without winning than former Red Devils boss Moyes (14 – four draws, 10 losses).

The Hammers' difficulties in front of goal were partly to blame as none of their seven attempts were on target, the highest number of shots they have had in a league game without a single accurate once since August 2013 (nine shots).

On the flipside, Man United kept a fourth straight Premier League clean sheet for the first time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the club last achieving that feat in January 2018 under Mourinho.

They have also lost just one of their previous 23 league outings having suffered three losses in their opening six games this term.

Leicester City 5-0 Sheffield United: Blades suffer bruising defeat as they venture into the Wilder-less wilderness

Less than 24 hours on from confirmation of Wilder's "mutual" departure as Blades manager, many were likely left wondering why the club did not fight harder to keep him.

While seemingly doomed for relegation anyway, Wilder retained significant respect for the job he presided over at Bramall Lane, and Sunday's result showed why.

With interim boss Paul Heckingbottom taking over for the first time, he has already shipped five goals in a single game as many times as Wilder did in 227 matches (a 5-4 defeat to Fulham in 2017). Their former manager was never beaten by more than a three-goal margin.

Heckingbottom also became only the third manager in Premier League history to lose by five or more goals in his first game, but this should not take credit away from Brendan Rodgers' ferocious Foxes.

Kelechi Iheanacho scored his first hat-trick and also netted in three successive top-flight games for the first time. Jamie Vardy set up two of those goals and in doing so became only the sixth player to register 100 or more goal involvements in the Premier League after turning 30.

Those to achieve this before him were Teddy Sheringham, Frank Lampard, Ian Wright, Alan Shearer and Gianfranco Zola – esteemed company indeed.

Southampton 1-2 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls remember their shooting boots as Saints sink

Much has been said and written about Brighton's woes in front of goal this term, but they got the job done here.

Their 2-1 win at St Mary's is only the second time in 2021 that they have scored twice or more in a single Premier League game – the other instance was their 3-3 draw with Wolves in their first match of the year.

This was their 11th outing since.

The win took Graham Potter's men three points clear of the relegation zone and just four behind Saints, who are in a difficult spot.

It is 10 defeats in the past 12 Premier League games now for Southampton, with Ralph Hasenhuttl coming under increasing pressure – their previous 10 losses came across a 38-match spell.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hopes to have four or five players back from injury when Manchester United face Milan in the Europa League last-16 second leg on Thursday.

United manager Solskjaer expects forwards Edinson Cavani and Anthony Martial to be fit, the former having missed seven of United's last eight matches and the latter having limped out of the 1-1 first-leg draw against Milan with a hip problem.

Donny van de Beek, who has been sidelined since February 22, may also be ready to return, while Paul Pogba – who last played in the 3-3 Premier League draw with Everton on February 6 – could also be back in the squad.

With Marcus Rashford having returned from ankle trouble in the 1-0 Premier League win over West Ham on Sunday and David de Gea now free to return after self-isolating, United could look in much better shape for the return fixture at San Siro, where the tie is poised at 1-1.

"Injury-wise, I hope that we have four or five players back for that game," Solskjaer said after the win over West Ham. "We hope, or it's very likely that Edinson and Anthony are fit. Donny, hopefully as well. Paul even might make the trip. David is back from isolation.

"That's more numbers. Today, we even had two goalkeepers on the bench, so we need them back."

United's hard-fought win over the Hammers, earned through a second-half own goal from Craig Dawson, lifted the Red Devils back into second in the Premier League table.

While they are 14 points behind leaders Manchester City with a game in hand, they now have a nine-point cushion to West Ham in fifth, putting them in a strong position at least for a top-four finish.

Solskjaer was delighted with the attitude his players displayed three days on from conceding an injury-time equaliser to Milan, even if the performance was not quite up to scratch in attack.

"It's been a big week for us. We're starting to build some momentum in the league. We've opened the gap further to West Ham, which was important to us," he said.

"We want to improve on last season. We want to get to a final, we want to move up the table. This week was always going to be massive. The reaction after the late equaliser that Milan scored was really good because you never know how that can affect you.

"It looked like everyone wanted to show what they could do, the first 15, 20 minutes, maybe a little bit too eager, lacked a bit of composure. The attitude was spot on, When we got the composure, we built more and more pressure and momentum.

"We had to readjust a little bit. After 15, 20 minutes, there was a break in play and we just had to get to grips with our composure. We kept firing passes into each other and couldn't find a red shirt whatsoever.

"We've had four clean sheets now [in a row] and that's always the foundation. We want to score goals, we're creating big chances. I feel we're getting back to what we can. It's only a week ago we beat City 2-0, so I don't want to be greedy. Nobody can score four or five goals in every game in the Premier League. You've got to earn it. We always back our players to score enough goals."

Mason Greenwood performed well as the central striker but was unable to end his goal drought, with Lukasz Fabianski making a fine save to deny him in the first half before he smashed a shot off the post in the second.

The 19-year-old has only scored once in 23 league games this season, having managed 10 in just 12 starts in 2019-20, but Solskjaer is not concerned.

"His performance was really good, he deserved a goal," said the United boss. "He's played really well lately. He linked the play well for us, he held it up for us, and he had our two best chances, a great save by Fabianski and unfortunately, he hit the post on the second one.

"He kept creating chances for others as well. I'm very pleased with Mason at the moment."

United have kept four straight clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time under Solskjaer, last doing so in January 2018 when Jose Mourinho was at the helm.

Solskjaer's United have only lost one of their last 23 Premier League games (W14 D8), this after suffering three defeats in their opening six games of the season.

Manchester United battled to a 1-0 win over West Ham on Sunday to move back into second place in the Premier League.

A second-half own goal from Craig Dawson proved to be the difference as Old Trafford as David Moyes suffered a third defeat in three meetings with his old club this season.

They were three hard-won points for the Red Devils, who now have a more comfortable cushion to the Hammers in fifth, as they completed a league double over West Ham for the first time since Moyes' days in charge in 2013-14.

Marcus Rashford, a surprising starter after recovering from an ankle problem, should have scored 25 minutes in but failed to make clean contact with a header from Mason Greenwood's cross.

It was 37 minutes in until the first effort on target, Greenwood curling a strike towards the bottom-left corner that was expertly tipped away by Lukasz Fabianski, with the Hammers becoming the first team since Swansea City in March 2018 to fail to attempt a shot in the first half of a league game against the Red Devils.

The breakthrough came eight minutes into the second half, the ball flying past Fabianski off the head of Dawson after Scott McTominay had flicked on Bruno Fernandes' corner.

Fabianski made another fine one-handed stop to keep out a Fernandes strike from the edge of the box, and Greenwood blasted a shot off the base of the post after a fast break when the goalkeeper was beaten.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men conceded a 92nd-minute equaliser to Milan in their last game, but this time they held firm in the closing stages.

 

What does it mean? United edge back into second

The win moved United back above Leicester City, who had earlier thrashed Sheffield United 5-0, and also means they are nine points clear of West Ham.

With nine games to go, the 14-point gap to leaders Manchester City appears too great, but Solskjaer's men are in a good position for what is proving a fiercely contested battle for the top four.

Maguire stands tall

When West Ham at last made some concerted attacking moves in the second half, United captain Harry Maguire was resolute against Michail Antonio and Tomas Soucek.

He made a team-high seven clearances, won back the ball eight times and made a fine block to deny a fierce Jarrod Bowen strike.

Red Devils still too timid in attack

This was the fifth time in the past six games in all competitions that United failed to score in the first half, the exception being that early Fernandes penalty in the derby win at City.

Breaking down defences is something of a recurring problem for Solskjaer and it could be a concern when they head to Milan on Thursday needing to score a goal to prevent a European exit.

What's next?

United's final two games before the international break are a Europa League trip to Milan on Thursday and an FA Cup quarter-final at Leicester City next Sunday. West Ham have a week to prepare for the league visit of Arsenal.

All eyes will be on Emirates Stadium on Sunday when Tottenham chase a first league double over Arsenal in the north London derby since 1992-93.

Premier League leaders Manchester City are also in the capital, giving struggling Fulham a tough task at Craven Cottage in Saturday's late kick-off.

The most intriguing tactical battle of the weekend could come at Elland Road, where Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United host Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea, while West Ham are likely to face a thorough examination of their top-four ambitions at Manchester United.

Here, we give a few pointers on which players could come up trumps in fantasy football terms.

DEAN HENDERSON

England goalkeeper Henderson has not played too frequently since opting to make a go of things with parent club Manchester United.

But when he has featured for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side, the 24-year-old has generally impressed, even if his midweek outing against Milan in the Europa League contained an unwanted sting in the tail.

If David de Gea is absent once more against West Ham, Henderson's 19 saves from 22 shots faced in the Premier League this season suggests the United goal is in safe hands. His save percentage of 86.4 is the best of any goalkeeper to have played more than one game this season.

AARON CRESSWELL

Given the dearth of natural left-back options available to England manager Gareth Southgate, a strong season at West Ham for Cresswell could turn out to have been perfectly timed.

The full-back is also a threat in opposition territory, with his seven assists more than any other defender in the division. It is a left-back dominated list, with Lucas Digne up next on six from Andy Robertson, Luke Shaw (both five) and Southgate's first choice Ben Chilwell (four).

Seven assists also matches the most productive season of Cresswell's career in that regard, having provided the same number in 2017-18.

CESAR AZPILICUETA

Tuchel has overseen a defensive transformation since taking over from Frank Lampard, tightening up an unhelpfully leaky backline.

Club captain Azpilicueta has been a pillar of this turnaround. His eight clean sheets are the most for any Premier League defender in 2021.

Azpilicueta is one ahead of rejuvenated club-mate Antonio Rudiger, while Manchester City centre-backs John Stones and Ruben Dias and Manchester United duo Harry Maguire and Aaron Wan-Bissaka similarly have seven apiece.

WILFRIED ZAHA

Relegation-haunted West Brom would be forgiven for dreading the sight of Crystal Palace winger Zaha.

In his past four outings against the Baggies, the Ivory Coast international has scored four times.

That run includes a second-half brace from when Palace hammered the Baggies 5-1 at The Hawthorns in December – a result that would prove influential in Slaven Bilic's sacking later that month.

RAHEEM STERLING

England forward Sterling sat out City's 5-2 win over Southampton in midweek after his latest disappointment in the derby against United.

His native London is a far happier hunting ground, with the 26-year-old amassing 16 goal involvements (10 goals and six assists) in his previous 16 Premier League starts in the English capital.

Sterling continued that streak last time out at Emirates Stadium, heading the only goal early on in a 1-0 win over Arsenal.

GARETH BALE

This weekend, another wide forward on a hot streak will be foremost in Arsenal's thoughts.

A revitalised Bale scored twice in a 4-1 win over Palace last weekend, meaning he has had a hand in six goals in his past four top-flight appearances (four goals and two assists).

And, if you believe the form book stays on this side of the window on derby day, the Wales star has five Premier League goals against Arsenal – more than against any other side in his career.

DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

As the battle for a top-four finish hots up, sides in the chasing pack will need players to weigh in with 'heavy' goals.

Thankfully for Everton, no player's goals in the Premier League this season have been worth more in terms of points gained than Calvert-Lewin's.

The centre-forward, who was rewarded with an England breakthrough following a sensational start to the campaign, has netted 13 times in the league this season – strikes that have won a total of 14 points.

Burnley, this weekend's visitors to Goodison Park, could be the next team to add to his tally.

Manchester United are in talks with Eric Bailly over a new contract, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confirmed.

The centre-back, who played in his 100th game in all competitions for the Red Devils as they drew 1-1 with Milan in the Europa League last-16 first leg on Thursday, sees his deal expire next year.

Bailly joined for a reported £30million from Villarreal in 2016, making him the club's first signing under Jose Mourinho, but persistent injury troubles mean he has started just 27 league matches in the past four seasons.

The Ivory Coast international, who turns 27 next month, has largely impressed when called upon this season, with United keeping eight clean sheets and conceding 12 goals in the 15 matches Bailly has played.

Indeed, since his debut in August 2016, United have won 65 per cent of matches with Bailly in the starting line-up compared with 53 per cent without him. They have also averaged more points per game (2.1 compared to 1.8) and fewer goals against (0.8 compared to 1.0).

Solskjaer is expected to pursue the signing of a new central defender in the transfer window but he appears keen to keep Bailly at the club regardless of potential incomings.

"We've started talking to Eric and Eric's representatives," Solskjaer said. "Eric's been keeping fitter for longer and you can see Eric's performances as well. I've been very happy with him.

"His playing style has sometimes made him lose too many games because 100 games is not enough for the period he's been here. He's getting more and more robust, so he's one we're talking to."

United host West Ham in the Premier League on Sunday hoping to build on last weekend's 2-0 derby win at Manchester City, while also moving nine points ahead of David Moyes' side in fifth.

While he accepts the gap to league leaders City is perhaps too big to bridge - Pep Guardiola's men are 14 points clear, having played a game more - Solskjaer is keen to strengthen the grip on second spot.

He is also happy not to have to face in-form Jesse Lingard, who has impressed on loan at the Hammers since his January move but is ineligible to play against his parent club.

Solskjaer said: "For Jesse, it's really worked out; for David [Moyes], it's really worked out. And for us as a club as well, because we know that Jesse's position is a 10 and we've got Bruno [Fernandes] there.

"For me, it was a no-brainer to get Jesse the chance to prove himself and play some football again. He's really been bright for them. He's finding back to himself.

"I think they've been brilliant. We played them in the FA Cup not long ago as well. We went to extra time, it was a tight, even game, he's got players who score goals, creative, defend really well, really difficult on set-plays, and David's done a tremendous job that we know he's capable of.

"We're very happy for him and we know this is a big game for us. It's maybe too far ahead to City, so we need to consolidate our place in the top two or three, hopefully."

United have something of an injury crisis for the match. Paul Pogba, Donny van de Beek and Juan Mata may not be fit before the international break in the final two weeks of March, while goalkeeper David de Gea may still need to quarantine for a few more days after returning from Spain following the birth of his daughter.

Forwards Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford and Edinson Cavani are also unlikely to be fit, meaning 18-year-old Amad Diallo, who scored his first goal for the club as a substitute against Milan, could be called upon again.

"It's a big change for him, he's moved over here by himself but he's coming into training every day, he's working really hard, he knows he's got a lot to learn," Solskjaer added.

"He's an exciting talent, of course, but he'll have to get used to the tempo and the quality of the level he's playing at now.

"He didn't play much for Atalanta, either, so we're gradually giving him more and more, but he's been hungry to learn. His appetite in training has been spot on."

French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain are plotting an ambitious move for Manchester United goalkeeper David de Gea.

PSG, headed up by ex-Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, are keen to replace 34-year-old Keylor Navas.

De Gea has been with United since 2011 and has two years remaining on his contract.

 

TOP STORY – PSG TO TEMPT UNITED

Mega-rich PSG would be able to offer United a significant fee for the 30-year-old De Gea and match his £375,000-a-week wages, according to The Sun.

United have been linked with a move for Milan's Gianluigi Donnarumma, who is coming off contract, while Dean Henderson has pushed De Gea this season to be number one.

PSG have also been linked with Tottenham custodian Hugo Lloris given his connection with Pochettino from their time together at Spurs.

ROUND-UP

- AS reports that Liverpool could enter the race for Kylian Mbappe, due to the alleged rift between forward Mohamed Salah and manager Jurgen Klopp.

- West Ham have turned to Stuttgart's Sasa Kalajdzic in their search for a striker, according to the Daily Mail. In the queue already are RB Leipzig and Roma.

- Limited funds means Barcelona are out of the race for Wolves' Adama Traore, according to Mundo Deportivo. The Spain international has been linked with Liverpool and Manchester City.

- UOL Esporte reports that Manchester United have registered an interest in Leeds United winger Raphinha.

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