Cristiano Ronaldo's controversial penalty gave Ralf Rangnick a second successive Premier League win as Manchester United claimed an unconvincing 1-0 victory at Norwich City.

United laboured for long periods at a sodden Carrow Road but were given a chance to break an unexpectedly long deadlock when Max Aarons was adjudged to have pulled down Ronaldo.

The Portugal forward stepped up to convert the spot-kick 15 minutes from time, his emphatic finish proving the difference despite a spirited effort from the league's bottom club.

United are fifth, level on points with fourth-placed West Ham but with an inferior goal difference, while Norwich remain three points adrift of safety.

Alex Telles saw a free-kick deflected onto the crossbar, but United struggled to break down the division's leakiest defence in the first half and were frustrated by Tim Krul in the Norwich goal.

Ronaldo was thwarted by a diving save from the Dutchman while Harry Maguire saw a header tipped over in the closing stages of the first 45 minutes.

Norwich provided more of an attacking threat in the second half and only a flying save from David de Gea prevented Teemu Pukki from firing the opener into the top-left corner.

But they were left aghast when Darren England pointed to the spot despite Ronaldo appearing to go down easily under contact from Aarons.

There was no doubt about Ronaldo's effort from 12 yards, which he lashed into the bottom-left corner – two stunning saves from De Gea to deny Ozan Kabak and the kind of United defending that was often lacking during Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's tenure ensuring it was enough for all three points.

Ralf Rangnick has earmarked improving the defence at Manchester United as the main priority for success at Old Trafford.

The former RB Leipzig head coach has overseen two games since his arrival in Manchester, winning his first against Crystal Palace – becoming the first of six German managers to win their opening Premier League game – before a 1-1 draw against Young Boys.

While Rangnick fielded a youthful side against the Swiss team, United have now failed to keep a clean sheet in their last five home group-stage matches – their longest run in the Champions League.

United also went 15 consecutive home matches without a clean sheet, their longest run without a shutout since a 21-game spell between 1958 and 1959, before keeping Palace at bay in the 1-0 win last Sunday.

That poor period of defensive form has left them 11 points off the early pace of leaders Manchester City and Rangnick explained that he is prioritising finding a solution to be more resolute at the back.

"So far, I'm more than happy with their attitude again and their eagerness to learn information that will help them get better, not only against the ball but also with the ball," Rangnick told Sky Sports on Friday.

"We had only two clean sheets until the Crystal Palace game and no clean sheets since last April at Old Trafford, it was very clear for me where our focus should be for the first few days and weeks.

"With this group of players we can produce more clean sheets regularly, we are making sure we don't concede goals or even allow them to shoot on our goal.

"The more we do that, the more I am convinced that we can win games because with this group and players we are always going to create chances and opportunities to score ourselves."

United travel to Norwich City on Saturday in Rangnick's first away Premier League fixture, with none of the last four permanent Red Devils managers losing their maiden such game since Alex Ferguson in 1986.

New Norwich head coach Dean Smith is looking to become the first manager since Andy Aitken in 1908-09 to defeat United with two different clubs in a single season, having already tasted victory with former club Aston Villa.

But Smith has revealed the club are waiting anxiously on coronavirus tests for a couple of players ahead of the game at Carrow Road.

"We have got a couple of knocks and have got a couple of Covid-related issues that we are waiting on results for," said Smith.

"I can't really let you in on any names, but there's a couple of players who we are worried about, so we have tested and we will wait for the PCR results.

"They are just feeling a little bit unwell, but it is not likely to be linked to the game last week with Tottenham."

Ralf Rangnick has been in contact with the injured Paul Pogba as he continues to get to know his Manchester United players and instil his methods.

Rangnick defeated Crystal Palace 1-0 in his first game in charge last Sunday, becoming the first of six German managers to win their opening game in the Premier League.

A youthful United side, which featured six teenagers for just the fifth time in Champions League history, were then held to a 1-1 draw by Young Boys at Old Trafford and the Red Devils now prepare to visit Norwich City on Saturday.

They will do so, however, without Pogba – who is currently in Dubai in an attempt to recover from a thigh injury – but Rangnick explained he has spoken to the France international as he continues to outline his plans with the squad.

"We spoke over the phone two days ago or on Tuesday," Rangnick told reporters at Friday's news conference. 

"He was still in Dubai, he's expected to come back today and we will get to know each other in person on Sunday. We had a telephone call for around 10 or 15 minutes and he told me he was getting better. 

"Obviously, he still isn't fully fit and from what I've heard it will take another couple of weeks until he's fit for training again. He has been out for quite some time so it will take another couple of weeks to get him match fit."

Rangnick faces his first away game in the Premier League against Norwich, with none of the last four permanent United managers losing their first league game on the road since Alex Ferguson in November 1986.

However, Norwich head coach Dean Smith has already beaten United this term with Aston Villa.

He is aiming to become the first manager since Andy Aitken in 1908-09 to beat United with two different clubs in the same top-flight season.

Rangnick, though, has been satisfied with his side's work ethic so far as he looks to build on a pleasing showing against Palace.

"In the first instance, it was about getting to know the players," he added. "We did quite a lot of video footage with them in order to tell them how we want to play. 

"As we all saw, they did well in that game. Not everything was perfect, but quite a few things worked out well. We were always on the front foot, we had control of the game. 

"Now it's about taking the next steps. What we showed against Crystal Palace was good. We didn't allow them to score or give them too many opportunities.

"[Norwich] have improved since the change of managers. They play a little bit more direct, a little bit more vertical than they did with Daniel Farke, so it will be a challenge to play at Carrow Road.

"But we want to improve our performance, we want to build on what we showed against Crystal Palace and hopefully get the next win tomorrow."

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

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

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

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

 

Chelsea Hammered

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Late Late Show with Divock Origi

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

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

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

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

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

 

King Ralf

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

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

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

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

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

More capital chaos for Canaries

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

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

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

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

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

 

Steve Gerrard, Gerrard, seems management isn't hard

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucas Moura senses Tottenham are building a formidable mentality under Antonio Conte after recording their third straight Premier League win.

Spurs leapfrogged rivals Arsenal to move fifth in the table following a commanding 3-0 victory over bottom side Norwich City.

Lucas got the ball rolling with his first league goal of the season courtesy of a thunderous 25-yard strike, while Davinson Sanchez and Son Heung-min sealed the points.

Conte became only the third Tottenham boss to win each of his opening three home Premier League games in charge – after Harry Redknapp and Ryan Mason.

Brazilian Lucas, whose goal was only his second from outside the box in the league since arriving in 2018 from Paris Saint-Germain, believes the club’s upturn in fortunes is testament to the Italian's influence.

"I'm very happy that I finally managed to score my first goal in the Premier League this season," Lucas said. "What a goal, what a feeling!

"It's very natural for me; I tried to dribble and when I found space, I decided I was going to shoot.

"I think with Tottenham, it's in my top three [goals]. I don't score many goals like Son or Harry, but I've scored some nice goals. I'm happy to help the team."

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Lucas said: "It was a solid performance. I think we are building a very good mentality and just need to keep going this way. Every day, we work very hard and try to put on the pitch what Antonio asks of us.

"I think our style of play is very clear; we are very aggressive with a lot of intensity and I think we are doing very well."

Lucas Moura's wonder goal sent Tottenham on the way to a routine 3-0 win over Norwich City.

The Brazilian opened the scoring with a thunderbolt in the 10th minute at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Second-half strikes from Davinson Sanchez and Son Heung-min sealed the victory as Antonio Conte's side leapfrogged Arsenal into fifth in the Premier League table.

Spurs are unbeaten in four Premier League games under Conte and trail fourth-placed West Ham by two points in the race for Champions League football. Norwich remain bottom following their first defeat under Dean Smith.

Unbeaten in four Premier League games, the Canaries had the first chance inside three minutes; Teemu Pukki drawing a smart save out of Hugo Lloris from point-blank range.

But the hosts took the lead in emphatic fashion seven minutes later. Lucas skipped away from a couple of challenges and played a neat one-two with Son, before drilling a stunning 25-yard effort into the top corner.

Despite losing Sergio Reguilon to injury, Spurs went close to adding a second before half-time.

Ben Davies was just unable to turn the ball home from a free-kick, while Harry Kane's ambitious chip from distance was not too far wide.

Looking to win consecutive Premier League games in London for the first time since 1992, Norwich squandered a great opportunity to equalise just before the hour mark.

Brandon Williams cut the ball back for Pukki, whose mishit shot was deflected wide from close range by Adam Idah.

It proved costly as Spurs doubled their lead in the 66th minute when Sanchez lashed home after Son's corner ricocheted kindly into his path.

Son then got in on the act as he put the icing on the cake 13 minutes from time. Receiving the ball from Davies in the box, the South Korea international skipped away from a challenge and fired beyond Krul and into the bottom-left corner.

New Tottenham head coach Antonio Conte reassured he is "very pleased" with Harry Kane despite the striker's lean spell of scoring form.

Spurs cruised to a 2-0 win over Brentford in the first ever top-flight meeting between the sides on Thursday, though Kane could not get on the scoresheet and has just one Premier League goal to his name so far this season.

The England international did, however, record a game-high three key passes in a creative performance that was typified by his usual preference to drop deep and look to link-up play.

As Conte prepares to host Norwich City, who the Italian has never faced before in the league, he once again gave his backing for goal-shy Kane.

"First of all, I'm sure Harry is happy if we win and he doesn't score," Conte said of Kane, who has scored five goals in three top-flight matches against the Canaries.

"Tottenham is the first thought for us and Harry. As I said yesterday, Harry played a very good game, he was in the situation that we scored and he had a good chance to score.

"It is important to have chances to score and we're improving a lot in this aspect. I'm sure Harry is going to score many goals.

"I'm sure he’s going to have a good performance in the same way he had against Brentford against every team we play.

"I'm very pleased with the way that he's playing. I know the striker wants to score but we want to give him many chances to score. I think we're on the right path to do this type of situation." Conte has won both of his opening home games in the league – only Ryan Mason and Harry Redknapp have started with three wins in the club's Premier League history.

Despite only being in charge for a short period, Conte has partly resolved some of Spurs' issues and one of his next tasks will be to sort a new contract with skipper Hugo Lloris, whose deal runs out at the end of the season.

"Yeah but I've just arrived," he responded when asked about negotiations with Lloris. "Only one month. At this moment, for sure, we have many situations to solve.

"Hugo is the captain of this team, captain of France and we're talking about a top goalkeeper. He's very focused now. He knows very well now we're trying to do our best.

"Me as a coach, Hugo as goalkeeper and every player has to perform at a high level, but for sure we'll have time to speak about him and I consider him an important player for his experience.

"He's a good goalkeeper first of all and has showed great commitment to the club over a number of years."

Having only just finished an exciting batch of midweek games, the Premier League returns with the potential for more drama, goals, and perhaps some fantasy points to boot.

Everton boss Rafael Benitez will be hoping to arrest his team's downturn in form when Arsenal come to Merseyside, but despite defeat at Manchester United on Thursday, the Gunners have a couple of form players to keep an eye on.

Antonio Conte will be looking to continue a promising start at Tottenham as they host Norwich City, and it will be no surprise to anyone if one of his wing-backs ends up having a decisive impact again.

Another electric wing-back has returned for Brighton and Hove Albion in recent weeks; Manchester City boast one of the form players in Europe; and the bottom, two teams look to their star strikers for much-needed points.

Plenty of fantasy teams are just as desperate for points, so here are Stats Perform's suggestions for possible picks ahead of the weekend, powered by Opta data.

AARON RAMSDALE (Everton v Arsenal)

Aaron Ramsdale has been rather busy since his arrival from Sheffield United, and he faced another ten shots on target from United on Thursday.

However, he has broadly impressed in Mikel Arteta's side, and ranks third in the Premier League this season for goals prevented (2.57).

He is also set to face an Everton side fresh off a chastening Merseyside derby defeat, and who have scored only four times over their past six league games, the joint-fewest of any side in the division with Wolves.

 

SERGIO REGUILON (Tottenham v Norwich City)

Conte's new Tottenham side are unbeaten in their opening three league games, the Italian head coach utilising a three-man defence again after successes with Chelsea and Inter.

Sergio Reguilon has been the main beneficiary of the change in system, with the left wing-back directly involved in a Spurs goal in each of his last two league games, scoring against Leeds United before assisting against Brentford last time out.

The Spaniard next faces strugglers Norwich, who have scored the fewest goals of any side in the Premier League this season (eight), while conceding the second-most (28).

 

TARIQ LAMPTEY (Southampton v Brighton and Hove Albion)

Tariq Lamptey played an integral part in Brighton snatching a late equaliser against West Ham as he crossed in for Neal Maupay's acrobatic brilliance in the closing minutes.

The Englishman was brought on with 20 minutes to go and, as an impact sub, did exactly what he was asked to ensure Graham Potter's men did not return south empty-handed.

The right wing-back ranks fourth for chances created per 90 minutes among defenders in the English top flight this season, creating 2.4 opportunities on average as he prepares to face Southampton.

BERNARDO SILVA (Watford v Manchester City)

Pep Guardiola hailed Bernardo Silva as the best player in the league after the Portugal international nailed an expert first-time volley in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa.

The 27-year-old, who reportedly wanted a move away in the previous transfer window, has scored four goals in his last seven league games for City, as many as he had in his previous 55 in the competition.

With the reigning champions perhaps a striker short still, Silva will continue being of central importance for City's attacking returns as they travel to Watford.

 

EMILE SMITH ROWE (Everton v Arsenal)

Emile Smith Rowe may have converted in bizarre circumstances at Old Trafford, but as many fantasy players will tell you: they all count!

The England international has had a hand in eight goals in his previous 11 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal (six goals, two assists), with only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bettering that total this season (nine).

He heads to Benitez's Everton, who have conceded more goals than any other team in the league over their last six games (15).

 

TEEMU PUKKI (Tottenham v Norwich City)

There is one man for the job of keeping Dean Smith's Norwich away from the Championship and that is Teemu Pukki, a budget fantasy favourite for the Canaries.

The Finland goal poacher has managed three goals in his last four top-flight outings, as many as he had in his previous 24 appearances.

Indeed, if Norwich can breach Tottenham's resurgent defence, it is likely to be Pukki, who has scored five of his side's eight goals this term.

 

CALLUM WILSON (Newcastle United v Burnley)

In similar fashion to Pukki, Newcastle United's attacking hopes largely rest on the shoulders of Callum Wilson, who converted from the penalty spot in his last game against Norwich.

Another cheaper option compared to the likes of Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo, the former Bournemouth man has scored 17 Premier League goals for the Magpies.

That is more than twice as many as any other player for Newcastle since he joined the club at the start of last season, and Eddie Howe will be hoping his main man can deliver once more.

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.

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