Liverpool were in typically ruthless form on Saturday as they brushed aside Southampton 4-0 at Anfield.

The result meant Jurgen Klopp's men became just the second English top-flight team to score two or more goals in 17 consecutive games in all competitions, after Sunderland in 1927.

Elsewhere, rock-bottom Newcastle United's winless start to the Premier League season continued as they were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

Steven Gerrard secured his second consecutive win since taking over as Aston Villa boss, with his side sealing a 2-1 away win at Crystal Palace.

Brighton and Hove Albion and Leeds United played out a goalless draw at the Amex Stadium, as did Norwich City and Wolves at Carrow Road.

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


Liverpool 4-0 Southampton:Jota at the double for rampant Reds

Liverpool have now scored 39 goals in their 13 Premier League games this season – their highest total at this stage of a top-flight campaign.

Diogo Jota got them on the way with their earliest goal in the Premier League (one minute and 37 seconds) since Naby Keita netted against Huddersfield Town in April 2019 (15 seconds).

Another from Jota and a strike from Thiago Alcantara put Liverpool 3-0 up at the break, before Virgil van Dijk rounded off the scoring early in the second half.

Netherlands international Van Dijk's goal was created by Trent Alexander-Arnold, who earned his 40th Premier League assist. Only Wayne Rooney (22 years and 200 days) and Cesc Fabregas (21y 188d) have reached such an assists total in the competition at a younger age than the Liverpool right-back (23y 51d).

Salah reached 150 Premier League goal involvements by setting up Jota's second, reaching that total (108 goals, 42 assists) in just 171 games. Only Alan Shearer (148 games) and Thierry Henry (163) have got there in fewer games.

Southampton, meanwhile, have lost more away games (14) and conceded more away goals (47) than any other side in the Premier League side this calendar year.


 

Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle United: Gunners cruise against Howe's beleaguered men

The Gunners continued their fine home form under Mikel Arteta with a routine win against Eddie Howe's struggling side.

Since Arteta's first home game in charge in December 2019, only Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have won more points at home in the Premier League than Arsenal (67).

Bukayo Saka got them on their way before Gabriel Martinelli added a second just 93 seconds after coming on as a substitute. It was just Martinelli's second Premier League goal at the Emirates Stadium and his first since January 2020 against Sheffield United.

The Magpies, meanwhile, became the sixth different team to fail to win any of their opening 13 games to a Premier League season, with four of the previous five sides suffering relegation (only Derby County in 2000-01 survived).

Crystal Palace 1-2 Aston Villa: Gerrard's winning start continues

This victory meant former Rangers boss Gerrard became only the second manager to win his first two Premier League games in charge of Villa, after John Gregory in February-March 1998.

Matt Targett scored the opener for Villa with his first Premier League goal in his last 75 appearances in the competition, the full-back having not netted since getting a late winner against Brighton in October 2019.

John McGinn then added a second, the Scotland international already equalling his best goal tally for a full Premier League season (three in both 2020-21 and 2019-20).

Marc Guehi pulled one back in stoppage time, but it was too late to prevent the Eagles suffering a first defeat in their last eight Premier League games (W2 D5), since a 3-0 away loss to Liverpool in September.

Norwich City 0-0 Wolves: Smith maintains unbeaten start

Dean Smith followed up a win in his first game in charge of the Canaries last weekend with a hard-fought point at home.

Norwich have now taken seven points from their last three Premier League games (W2 D1), more than they had in their previous 25 in the competition (W1 D3 L21).

The Canaries have also kept two clean sheets in their last four Premier League home games – as many as in their previous 26 at Carrow Road in the competition.

It is perhaps no surprise they could not find a way past Wolves, with only Chelsea (five) and Liverpool (four) keeping more away clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Bruno Lage's men (three).

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.

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.

New Norwich City boss Dean Smith says his appointment gives on-loan Chelsea prospect Billy Gilmour "a new start" at the club.

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel recently revealed he had held talks with Smith's predecessor Daniel Farke amid speculation the European champions would recall Gilmour.

The highly rated Scotland midfielder has only started four Premier League matches this season despite Norwich's struggles, the last of those coming in September.

That led to calls for Chelsea to end the loan spell as Gilmour was not getting the regular minutes needed for his development, but Tuchel felt it was not the right time to do so.

And the arrival of Smith after Farke's sacking provides a fresh chance for Gilmour and fellow midfielder Todd Cantwell – who has also fallen out of favour – to stake their claim for the bottom-of-the-table team.

"They have got a big role to play at this football club," Smith said of Gilmour and Cantwell as he was presented as Norwich boss on Wednesday.

"It is a new start for them with a new coaching team coming in.

"We'll see them in training on Thursday and it's down to them to impress us in our time here and get in the team."

Smith was also asked for his views on Steven Gerrard being named as his replacement at Aston Villa in a high-profile appointment from his former club.

He replied: "I have no idea! They have decided to go with Steven. 

"He was very successful at Rangers and I hope he's very successful at Aston Villa but, obviously, not at Norwich City's expense now.

"I had a very enjoyable three years at Villa. If someone said to be at the start when I got offered the job I'd spend three years there, especially with the modern life of a football coach, and accomplish what we accomplished then I'd have snapped their hands off. 

"I'm in a different place now but one I'm thoroughly looking forward to. We have got talented players and I think there’s enough quality to stay up."

Norwich City have appointed Dean Smith as their new head coach on a two-and-a-half-year contract.

He replaces Daniel Farke, who was sacked by the Canaries after the recent 2-1 win at Brentford, their only victory of the season so far.

Smith was dismissed by Aston Villa on the same weekend, but the 50-year-old was not out of work for long as he has now been tasked with getting the Carrow Road club off the bottom of the Premier League table.

Smith's first game in charge will be at home to Southampton on November 20, the same opponents he faced in his last game at Villa, a 1-0 defeat at St Mary's. It will be the eighth time a manager has faced the same opposition back-to-back in the Premier League with two different clubs.

While at Villa Park, Smith achieved promotion from the Championship in his first season, reached the EFL Cup final and kept the club in the Premier League on the last day in 2019-20, before finishing 11th in the top flight last term.

However, the former Walsall and Brentford boss has lost almost half of the 87 games he has managed in the Premier League (43), with 28 wins and 16 draws. 

Excluding play-off matches, Smith's record in the Championship has seen him win 69 of his 166 games as manager (D45 L52).

Raheem Sterling's future at Manchester City remains unclear.

The England winger has only made three Premier League starts this season.

Sterling, who starred during England's run to the Euro 2020 final, could now be on the move.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA RESOLUTE ON RAHEEM

Barcelona are determined to sign Raheem Sterling from Manchester City despite the Premier League club's refusal to let him leave, reports Manchester Evening News.

The Catalans want to bring Sterling to Camp Nou in January on a loan deal, with the forward open to a move after losing his regular starting spot at City.

Sterling still has 18 months remaining on his City contract and the English champions have no intention of accepting an offer for him.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester City are set to launch a new bid for Tottenham forward Harry Kane in January, claims ESPN. City pursued Kane over the off-season but the Spurs skipper ultimately remained in London after Tottenham declined their approaches.

- El Nacional reports Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti has told the club to sell or release Gareth Bale. The Wales forward has only made three appearances this term and is contracted to Los Blancos only until the end of the season.

Hakim Ziyech is unhappy at Chelsea and could be lured to Borussia Dortmund, claims The Mirror. The Morocco winger could move in January, having been unable to re-discover his best form at Chelsea after moving from Ajax in 2020.

Norwich City are set to offer ex-Aston Villa boss Dean Smith their vacant manager role, according to Sky Sports. Smith was sacked as Villa coach this week.

- The Daily Record claims former Feyenoord coach Giovanni van Bronckhorst will hold talks with Rangers about taking over as manager after Steven Gerrard's departure for Villa.

The weekend's fixtures in the Premier League felt like they could be pivotal for so many teams, especially near the top of the table.

It proved to be a mixed weekend for the title chasers with Manchester City beating Manchester United with ease, Chelsea throwing away two points at home to Burnley, and Liverpool losing their unbeaten start to the season against an in-form West Ham.

Deeper impacts were felt at the other end of the table as both Aston Villa and Norwich City felt the need to sack their bosses, despite the latter actually winning their first game of the season.

Find all that and more as Stats Perform looks at the quirky Opta facts behind the weekend's action.

 

United soft and unstable

The Premier League's favourite Jekyll and Hyde team, Manchester United, were at it again on Saturday as they 'entertained' neighbours Manchester City.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men had dusted themselves down following their last home game against Liverpool where they were dispatched 5-0 to win well at Tottenham, and then rescue a vital late point at Atalanta in the Champions League. But the 2-0 defeat to City was another reminder of how far they are off the title contenders.

To emphasise the need for improvement at Old Trafford, Eric Bailly's own goal to open the scoring on Saturday meant that United are now without a clean sheet in their last 14 home games in all competitions. The only longer run in the club's history without a home clean sheet was a 21-game stretch between April 1958 and March 1959.

In the Premier League era, only under David Moyes (1.18) have United conceded more goals per game than under Solskjaer (1.13). 

Solskjaer may point to the fact that the away team has won nine of the last 12 meetings between United and City in all competitions (D1 L2), including each of the three games in 2021. Perhaps it would all have been fine for the Red Devils had Saturday's game taken place at the Etihad?

Villa hate Fridays

Aston Villa were a team on the rise and Dean Smith was doing a great job at his boyhood club, until they were not, and he was not.

The Villains began the season well enough, with notable victories at home to Everton and away at Manchester United. Then, before you knew it, they had lost five league games in a row, leading to Smith being relieved of his duties on Sunday.

Could it have been the day of the week's fault, though? Heading into the game, Aston Villa had won none of their previous 13 away top-flight matches played on a Friday (D3 L10), with their last win coming in April 1950, a 4-1 victory at Charlton Athletic.

Unlucky for some? It certainly was for Smith and Villa, with the record now at 14 games.

Newcastle cannot buy a win

Excitement continues at Newcastle United right now as the club eagerly anticipates the January transfer window, with an opportunity to finally flex their financial muscle.

However, that remains almost two months away and the Magpies could be in a bit of trouble by then as their 1-1 draw at Brighton on Saturday meant that they are now 11 games into the season and still waiting for their first league win, the only team yet to register a victory.

It is now their longest winless run from the beginning of a league campaign, and most concerning of all to the new owners at St James' Park will be that each of the last four Premier League sides to endure a similar start to a top-flight season have gone on to be relegated. Then again, none of those sides have the wealth Newcastle do now. Then again, is Eddie Howe the right manager to turn their form around? 

Only Norwich City (26) have conceded more goals than Newcastle (24) this season, while the Magpies' opponents have had a league-high 21.6 expected goals. Howe's Bournemouth side conceded at least 61 goals in each of their five seasons in the top flight. 

Norwich's unconventional response to first victory

Unlike Newcastle, the Canaries finally won their first league game of the season on Saturday, and then sacked head coach Daniel Farke immediately after.

The 2-1 success at Brentford was Farke's 49th and final Premier League game in charge at Carrow Road. His 12.2 win percentage is the second-worst of any coach to preside over 40 or more matches in the competition. Only John Gorman at Swindon Town in 1993-94 achieved a worse win percentage (11.9).

It seems the decision was taken before the game, with Norwich bottom of the Premier League table having lost eight of their first ten games since promotion back to the top flight.

One bright spot other than the three points though was the fact that it was the first time they have scored more than one goal in a game in 28 attempts in a Premier League match.

Hope for whoever comes in to replace Farke, at least.

Norwich City have confirmed Daniel Farke has left the club on the day the Canaries recorded their first win of the Premier League season.

Farke has spent the past four and a half years at Carrow Road, overseeing 208 matches in total.

He won the Championship on two occasions, though Norwich – who were relegated from the top flight in 2019-20 – have started this season poorly in the Premier League.

Farke's position has seemed increasingly precarious, though Norwich then mustered a 2-1 win over Brentford on Saturday.

However, it was not enough for the Austrian to keep his job, with Norwich having made the decision to cut ties heading into the international break.

Sporting director Stuart Webber said: "In continuing to demand the very best for our football club, this decision was not an easy one.

"I know how determined Daniel and his staff were to succeed at this level, but we feel that now is the right time for a change to give ourselves the best opportunity of retaining our Premier League status.

"All at Norwich City should be forever grateful to Daniel and his staff for the significant role they have played in our journey. They helped deliver two Championship titles, many memorable moments and they all fully bought into our philosophy and what it means to be part of this football club.

"It's important that we now look forward. We have 27 league games remaining and a long way to go in the current season. We know we have the ability within our playing squad and staff to start picking up points and climbing the league table."

Prior to Saturday's win at Brentford, Norwich had taken just two points from their previous 20 Premier League matches (D2 L18) and had not scored more than once in any of their past 28 top-flight games. Only Wolves between January 1984 and October 2003 had a longer run of games without scoring more than once in top-flight history (30 in a row).

Norwich still sit bottom on five points after Newcastle United managed to draw with Brighton and Hove Albion. The Canaries have already conceded 26 goals, scoring just five in return.

Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic is winning plenty of admirers.

The 21-year-old Serbian has netted 10 times in 12 appearances at club level this season.

Vlahovic is currently under contract until June 23, although La Viola want him to sign an extension.

TOP STORY – PSG TO ENTER VLAHOVIC RACE

Paris Saint-Germain will enter the race to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic, claims Le10Sports.

The Parisians are lining up the Serbian striker as a potential successor to Kylian Mbappe should he exit the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, with Real Madrid circling.

Hot property Vlahovic is being pursued by JuventusLiverpool and Tottenham.

ROUND-UP

- Unai Emery will not be the first permanent manager in Newcastle United's new era, BBC Sport journalist and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague understands. The Basque coach is set to stay at Villarreal for now, though his job there is under threat amid a poor start to 2021-22.

- The Sun reports Antonio Conte's arrival at Tottenham has seen Harry Kane abandon any plans he had to quit the club. Kane apparently wished to join Manchester City during the most recent transfer window.

- New Spurs boss Conte wants to sign Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Metro. Conte also has Inter defender Stefan de Vrij in his sights, claims Football Insider.

Milan are in the race to sign talented River Plate star Julian Alvarez in the off-season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Fiorentina have also shown interest in 21-year-old Alvarez, who has four caps for Argentina.

Norwich City are considering a move to replace embattled manager Daniel Farke with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, claims the Daily Mail. The Canaries have only two points from 10 games following their return to the Premier League. Howe has also been linked with the vacant Newcastle job.

Newcastle want to make Inter's Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic their first major signing in January, says The Sun. Brozovic is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lazio are looking to convince Luiz Felipe to ink a new deal with the club amid interest from BarcelonaSevilla and Real Betis, reports CalcioMercato. The Brazilian centre-back's contract expires at the end of this season.

Fiorentina forward Dusan Vlahovic is winning plenty of admirers.

The 21-year-old Serbian has netted 10 times in 12 appearances at club level this season.

Vlahovic is currently under contract until June 23, although La Viola want him to sign an extension.

TOP STORY – PSG TO ENTER VLAHOVIC RACE

Paris Saint-Germain will enter the race to sign Fiorentina's Dusan Vlahovic, claims Le10Sports.

The Parisians are lining up the Serbian striker as a potential successor to Kylian Mbappe should he exit the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, with Real Madrid circling.

Hot property Vlahovic is being pursued by JuventusLiverpool and Tottenham.

ROUND-UP

- Unai Emery will not be the first permanent manager in Newcastle United's new era, BBC Sport journalist and Spanish football expert Guillem Balague understands. The Basque coach is set to stay at Villarreal for now, though his job there is under threat amid a poor start to 2021-22.

- The Sun reports Antonio Conte's arrival at Tottenham has seen Harry Kane abandon any plans he had to quit the club. Kane apparently wished to join Manchester City during the most recent transfer window.

- New Spurs boss Conte wants to sign Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, according to Metro. Conte also has Inter defender Stefan de Vrij in his sights, claims Football Insider.

Milan are in the race to sign talented River Plate star Julian Alvarez in the off-season, according to Gazzetta dello Sport. Fiorentina have also shown interest in 21-year-old Alvarez, who has four caps for Argentina.

Norwich City are considering a move to replace embattled manager Daniel Farke with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe, claims the Daily Mail. The Canaries have only two points from 10 games following their return to the Premier League. Howe has also been linked with the vacant Newcastle job.

Newcastle want to make Inter's Croatian midfielder Marcelo Brozovic their first major signing in January, says The Sun. Brozovic is out of contract at the end of the season.

Lazio are looking to convince Luiz Felipe to ink a new deal with the club amid interest from BarcelonaSevilla and Real Betis, reports CalcioMercato. The Brazilian centre-back's contract expires at the end of this season.

We went into the weekend almost expecting a certain Premier League manager to be sacked come Monday – as it turned out, the coach of the team he beat got the chop instead.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked like a dead man walking ahead of Manchester United's trip to Tottenham, but the Norwegian got his tactics and personnel just right as the Red Devils won 3-0, a result that has cost Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo his job.

However, most Spurs fans will be adamant it is a just punishment despite being so early in the season, and the numbers behind Nuno's 10 Premier League matches – the fewest of any permanent Tottenham manager ever – paint a similar picture.

Find all that and more as Stats Perform looks at the quirky Opta facts behind the weekend's action.

Toothless Tottenham

Even before the weekend, Spurs had been widely criticised for their dull brand of football under Nuno, but it reached its nadir on Saturday as a United side in crisis swept them aside with relative ease.

As such, Nuno has left Tottenham with them ranking joint-last in the Premier League for shots per match (10.3) with a Norwich City team that already seemingly has its journey back to the Championship booked, highlighting just how disappointing they've been as an attacking force.

Nuno amassed just 15 points from 10 games with Spurs. Since 2008-09, only twice have Tottenham taken fewer points from the same period of matches, while their haul of nine goals is better than at the same point in four previous Premier League campaigns.

Bruno adapting for Ronaldo

When Man Utd secured the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, a lot of focus centred around how he'd link up with compatriot and Portugal team-mate Bruno Fernandes – after all, they'd not always looked particularly compatible at international level.

While it's too soon to make major conclusions, what does seem clear is that Fernandes has had to alter his play. This is best identified by the fact he's having fewer shots now (2.9 per 90 minutes now, 3.6 before) and getting a smaller portion of them on target (1.5 down to 0.4 per 90 minutes), which suggests he's unable to get into better scoring positions because Ronaldo's already there.

But the flipside is Fernandes' creativity, and we saw this at its best for Ronaldo's gorgeous volley from his countryman's chipped throughball against Spurs.

Fernandes is now creating 4.6 chances every game, up from 2.7 before Ronaldo returned to United. With someone so reliable now leading the line for United, perhaps this setup will actually suit Fernandes' skills even more.

Ramsdale's a colossus

If there was one standout performance from an individual over the past weekend, it was surely Aaron Ramsdale in the Arsenal goal.

He's enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence and hushed plenty of doubters since moving in a pre-season deal apparently worth up to £30million, though his performance in the 2-0 win at Leicester City was his best yet.

In fact, it was arguably the best of any goalkeeper this season. According to Stats Perform xGOT (expected goals on target) conceded data, Ramsdale prevented 2.45 goals as he saved all eight of Leicester's shots on target.

The last time a Premier League goalkeeper was deemed to prevent more goals in a single game was Alex McCarthy for Southampton in July last year – no Arsenal goalkeeper has ever had such a decisive impact since Opta started analysing such data.

Norwich facing challenge of historic proportions

Of course, Norwich City already looked doomed before Sunday's defeat to Leeds United, but statistically they have now reached tipping point.

They are left with just two points from 10 matches – the fewest amount of points any team has ever got in their opening 10 games and avoided relegation is three points.

That was manager Daniel Farke's 48th Premier League game in charge. His 10.4 win percentage and 0.48 points per game are comfortably the worst of any coach to preside over 48 matches in the competition.

Chelsea maintained their position at the Premier League summit as they thumped sorry Norwich City 7-0 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday.

Manchester City remain two points behind after cruising past Brighton and Hove Albion 4-1 at the Amex Stadium.

Watford produced a stunning comeback to thump Everton at Goodison Park, while Leeds United left it late to snatch a point against Wolves.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform takes a look at the pick of the fixtures from the day.

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-4 Manchester City: Foden inspires City's latest win over Seagulls

Phil Foden was at the heart of City's big win at the Amex Stadium as Pep Guardiola's side sealed an eighth win in nine Premier League games against the Seagulls.

Ilkay Gundogan put the visitors ahead before Foden scored just his second brace in the Premier League, previously doing so against Burnley in June 2020.

Alexis Mac Allister pulled one back for Graham Potter's side to became the first player to score a Premier League penalty as a substitute for Brighton.

Riyad Mahrez added gloss to the scoreline in stoppage time, though, after being teed up by Foden. The Algerian has scored more goals in all competitions (16) than any other City player so far in 2021.

The result meant Brighton conceded four goals for the first time in 43 Premier League games, since a 4-2 loss against Everton in October 2020. Indeed, the Seagulls conceded as many goals as they had in their previous seven league games combined.

Chelsea 7-0 Norwich City: Mount puts Blues in seventh heaven

Chelsea made light work of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner's absences, winning a Premier League game by seven or more goals for the fourth time and the first time since an 8-0 win over Aston Villa in December 2012.

Mason Mount was the star man, the England international becoming the 20th different player to score a Premier League hat-trick for Chelsea. Only Arsenal (21) have had more hat-trick scorers in the competition.

Ben Chilwell was on the scoresheet as well, the former Leicester City left-back becoming the first Englishman to score in four consecutive Premier League appearances for Chelsea since Frank Lampard in February 2013.

The defeat was Norwich's joint-heaviest in Premier League history, the Canaries also losing 7-0 to Manchester City in November 2013.

Their haul of just two goals after nine league games this season is the joint-lowest tally ever at this stage of an English league campaign, and just the third time a team has registered such a low return at this stage in the Premier League (Crystal Palace in 2017-18 and Everton in 2005-06).


Everton 2-5 Watford: King comes back to haunt Toffees

Watford scored four times in the final 12 minutes to complete a remarkable fightback at Goodison Park.

They were indebted to a superb hat-trick from former Toffees striker Josh King, who became just the third player to score a Premier League hat-trick against a side he has previously played for in the competition, after Andy Cole (for Manchester United vs Newcastle) and Marcus Bent (for Wigan vs Blackburn). 

It was just the second time Watford had scored five goals in an away Premier League game (also vs Cardiff in February 2019), becoming just the seventh newly promoted side in Premier League history to score five or more goals in an away game.

The result also marked the first time the Hornets had come from behind to win an away Premier League game since January 2019 vs Crystal Palace, having lost each of their previous 21 such matches in the competition.

Leeds United 1-1 Wolves: Rodrigo leaves it late for Bielsa's men

Despite earning a late point thanks to Rodrigo's stoppage-time penalty, seven points from nine games marks Leeds' worst start to a top-flight campaign since 1981-82 (six points), a season in which they were relegated to the second tier.

Wolves had looked destined for all three points thanks to another goal from Hwang Hee-chan. The South Korean has scored four goals from just four shots on target in the Premier League this season, the best such 100 per cent conversion rate in the competition so far this term.

Rodrigo stepped up late on to salvage a point, though. His equaliser from the spot was just Leeds' third penalty goal scored in the final minute of a Premier League match, after Gary McAllister against Coventry City (October 1995) and Ian Harte against Derby County (December 1999).

Thomas Tuchel wants Chelsea's players to continue proving their quality after watching them run riot against Norwich City.

Shorn of the injured Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner, Chelsea made light work of lowly Norwich at Stamford Bridge, with Mason Mount scoring a hat-trick in a 7-0 win.

It was the fourth time Chelsea have won a Premier League game by seven or more goals and the first time since December 2012 against Aston Villa (8-0), with only Manchester United netting seven or more goals in more Premier League games.

Mount opened and rounded off the scoring, with strikes from Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Ben Chilwell and an own goal from Max Aarons wedged in between.

Chelsea's win lifted them four points clear at the top for at least a few hours, and though pleased with the display, Tuchel wants the same level of performance when the Blues take on Southampton in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.

He told BT Sport: "Yes, a good performance, we were sharp, put in a lot of effort.

"High-pressing, [we] played a high rhythm and created a lot of chances and we were very precise. It was a deserved win. To score seven you need a bit of luck and momentum, but a good game.

"This will not stop, this is only one game and the next one follows on Tuesday here, up for a challenge again and they will have to prove it again. All the credit, but it's only one game."

Mount had not scored since netting in a 2-0 Champions League win over Real Madrid in May, but he was the star of the show against the hapless Canaries, who also had Ben Gibson sent off.

He had more shots (five) and efforts on target (four) than any other player, while his tally of three key passes trailed only Mateo Kovacic (six).

Tuchel said: "It's good, because no matter what the coach says and how many good opportunities you have, how satisfied the coach is, the offensive guys need goals to feel fully happy, full confidence.

"He waited long, too long, and it was good that he got some goals today."

Tuchel had concerns about fatigue with Mount, and he added: "I don't think it was a matter of now he is fresh and yesterday he was tired. For now it's a process, we are still in between international breaks, I think it's normal. It's a status that will not change from one game to the other.

"I agree that today he looked fresh and it was good to put him on the pitch. We need to be careful with these players ... who play important roles in their national teams and have a lot of competitions."

Mount added: "Before the game I was putting pressure on myself to get on the scoresheet because it's been quite a long time since I did, and then three come around in the same game.

"I don't think I've ever scored more than one in a game for Chelsea, so it's obviously a massive moment for me to get three, I'll remember this for a long time.

"You put pressure on yourself. I was always getting in the positions to score, but I just wasn't putting it in the back of the net, and I just thought there'd be a game where it was going to come off and today was the day.

"It was my luck today, and obviously the team as well, not just me. The way we played today, I spoke before about intensity, an early kick-off, being at it from the beginning and we were like that today."

Chelsea did not miss Romelu Lukaku or Timo Werner as the Premier League leaders made light work of 10-man Norwich City in a 7-0 rout, with Mason Mount scoring a hat-trick.

A side starting the day bottom of the league has not beaten the team at the top since February 2011, and Norwich never looked likely to halt that run at Stamford Bridge as Thomas Tuchel's side cruised to their biggest win of the season with ease.

Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi got things started with their first league goals of the campaign, with Ben Chilwell scoring for a fourth successive top-flight match after fellow wing-back Reece James got in on the act.

Max Aarons' own goal and Ben Gibson's red card made life even more miserable for Norwich, with Mount doubling his tally from the spot before rounding off his hat-trick in stoppage time.

It took Chelsea just eight minutes to take the lead, as Mount allowed Jorginho's lay-off to run across him before planting a firm strike into the bottom-left corner.

Mateo Kovacic's weighted throughball teed up Hudson-Odoi for a cool finish across Tim Krul 10 minutes later, with Mount turning provider for Chelsea's third, sliding a perfect ball through to James, who chipped in with aplomb. 

After making an error that allowed Milot Rashica to test Edouard Mendy, Chilwell quickly atoned at the other end, drilling in a low finish to continue his brilliant scoring form.

Aarons' deflection on Hudson-Odoi's cross-shot did for Krul, who spilled over his own line, before Gibson – only 10 minutes after he had first been cautioned – dived in late on James.

Mathias Normann's handball handed Chelsea a spot-kick and, though Krul initially saved Mount's effort, the goalkeeper had come off his line, and Norwich's goalkeeper was unable to keep out the second attempt.

There was time for one more, Ruben Loftus-Cheek beating the offside trap and cutting back for Mount to slot in his third.

The Premier League table continues to take shape as we approach matchday nine, with Liverpool versus Manchester United the headline clash of the weekend.

Mohamed Salah, a fantasy football favourite, will look to further his nine-game scoring run as the Reds travel to Old Trafford, while Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping the comeback win against Atalanta inspires his side.

Chelsea, whose defence continues to provide valuable clean-sheet points for many a fantasy line-up, face strugglers Norwich City and Manchester City – another clean-sheet machine – travel to Brighton and Hove Albion.

Whether it is the Blues' regimented defence or Jurgen Klopp's shot-hungry attack, Stats Perform uses Opta-powered data to pick out seven potential fantasy stars.

EDOUARD MENDY (Chelsea v Norwich City)

Edouard Mendy was, arguably, the primary reason Chelsea collected all three points at local rivals Brentford last time out.

The goalkeeper produced six second-half saves as he left the Bees in disbelief with his various acrobatics to secure his 20th clean sheet in just 38 top-flight games.

With that many shutouts to his name, he boasts a clean-sheet ratio of 53 per cent – the highest of all keepers with 10-plus starts in Premier League history.

BEN CHILWELL (Chelsea v Norwich City)

Marcos Alonso may have been an early pick but Thomas Tuchel's wing-back roulette now seems to be favouring Ben Chilwell, who is in fine goal-scoring form.

The England left-back not only offers defensive returns, but he has also managed to score in his last three Premier League matches – having registered just two gaols in his first 26 Blues appearances in the competition.

Partnered with Mendy and against a shot-shy Norwich outfit, Chilwell is almost a certainty to provide some much-needed contributions from your backline.

JOAO CANCELO (Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester City)

Joao Cancelo is the only one of Pep Guardiola's defenders to start all eight top-flight fixtures this term, after fantasy favourite Ruben Dias was surprisingly benched against Burnley.

The versatile full-back is yet to score but boasts the highest expected goals of any defender this term (1.3), while enjoying the most touches in the opposition box among the same category (22).

Only Shane Duffy (14) has attempted more shots than Cancelo (13), and the full-back should also be a shoo-in for clean-sheet bonus points, given no defender has kept more than his six shutouts this season.

MOHAMED SALAH (Manchester United v Liverpool)

By this point, if Salah is not present in your team then questions may need to be asked following his solo 'Goal of the Season' competition he has seemingly created in the last couple of games.

Since the start of March, the Egypt forward has been directly involved in the most goals, with his 18 (12 goals, six assists) two more than Leicester's Kelechi Iheanacho.

A premium but must-buy option for every fantasy outfit, Salah could wreak havoc on Sunday against a somewhat timid Red Devils defence at Old Trafford.

SON HEUNG-MIN (West Ham v Tottenham)

With an unusually out of form Harry Kane failing to deliver for Tottenham, and the majority of fantasy owners, Son Heung-Min has stepped up for Nuno Espirito Santo's side.

The South Korea international has scored four times and assisted once – those contributions worth eight points to Spurs, more than any player in the competition this campaign.

Son, up against West Ham, could provide further joy on Sunday if he is to carry Spurs seemingly single-handedly to victory once more.

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal v Aston Villa)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been integral to Arsenal's early-season revival, finding the net in each of his last three top-flight games at Emirates Stadium.

In total, he has managed 42 Premier League goals at the Gunners' home ground, with only Robin van Persie firing in more (46).

Against a wounded Aston Villa defence, who shipped three late goals against Wolves in their last game, can Aubameyang continue his fine scoring run?

RAHEEM STERLING (Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester City)

Again, err on the side of caution with this pick, given Guardiola's preference to rotate his wealth of playmaking riches regularly.

However, should Raheem Sterling start against Brighton – he could be an unlikely differential to source vital attacking gains in gameweek nine.

The England international has netted four times in four starts against the Seagulls, scoring a hat-trick on his last visit to the South Coast in July 2020.

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