Manchester United will be playing Europa League football next season despite Wilfried Zaha scoring in a 1-0 win for Crystal Palace over the Red Devils in the Premier League.

Incoming United boss Erik ten Hag was in attendance at Selhurst Park as Zaha punished a languid first-half showing by Ralf Rangnick's side to put Palace in front.

United, without the injured Cristiano Ronaldo, could not find a breakthrough in the second half as they fell to a sixth straight away league defeat.

However, West Ham were defeated by Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday, which kept United in sixth despite the Red Devils finishing the term with a club record-low Premier League points tally.

Edinson Cavani, playing in his final game for United, almost wrongfooted Vicente Guaita with a volley after 14 minutes, but the Spaniard readjusted to parry away.

David de Gea showed quick reflexes to thwart low drives from Zaha and Jeffrey Schlupp, but the United goalkeeper had no response shortly after when the Ivory Coast international drilled into the bottom-left corner.

Bruno Fernandes tamely curled a free-kick into Guaita's hands after the interval, while Conor Gallagher dragged a presentable opportunity wide at the other end.

Anthony Elanga sliced wide from Juan Mata's cutback as United searched for a late equaliser, although a belated offside flag against the Spaniard spared the Sweden international's blushes.

United continued pressing forward but Palace held firm for a fifth consecutive top-flight home clean sheet for just the second time in history.

Gareth Southgate understands why Wilfried Zaha chose to switch his international allegiance to Ivory Coast, with the England manager unsure of what the winger's role might have been with the Three Lions.

Zaha made two friendly appearances for England back in 2012 and 2013, but he was not picked by Southgate when he took over in 2016, despite impressing after his return to Crystal Palace.

The forward eventually elected to play for Ivory Coast, the country of his birth, ahead of the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations.

Zaha has gone on to play in 11 of Ivory Coast's 12 matches across the past three Africa Cup of Nations, scoring twice in the 2019 edition, although he has only turned out twice in World Cup qualifiers. Ivory Coast failed to advance to Qatar 2022.

The 29-year-old is in fine form, having scored 10 goals across all competitions for Patrick Vieira's Palace side this season – just one shy of matching his best total for the club, set last season – and will now get the chance to go up against England when the Three Lions host Ivory Coast at Wembley on Tuesday.

"He's a talent," Southgate told reporters when asked about Zaha. "He's a good player playing at a high level every week.

"He felt the Ivory Coast was the route to go and I totally understood that. It's hard to say what his role might have been with us.

"Raheem [Sterling] has been a key part of our team for a long period, Jesse Lingard had done a fabulous job and, at the start, we had Adam Lallana, who was our player of the year for the first 18 months or so."

 

Southgate coached Zaha while he was in charge of England Under-21s and conceded it was a hard time for the then Manchester United winger.

"When we had him with the Under-21s he was in the middle of a very difficult spell both with Manchester United and then on loan with Cardiff," said Southgate, who explained that he never doubted Zaha's commitment or desire to play.

"I remember being asked at the time – and we were asked about a few different cases – and I said players have to have the desire to play for England.

"That was slightly tweaked a bit, I would say, so that created a little bit of an atmosphere with Wilf and [Palace chairman] Steve Parish for a while.

"That wasn't an insinuation on Wilf – you couldn't have a more passionate player, as anyone who follows Crystal Palace knows."

Manchester United's inability to take their chances came back to bite them once more as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton on Saturday.

Che Adams struck early in the second half to cancel out Jadon Sancho's opener at Old Trafford.

In the 3pm GMT kick-offs, Everton ended a six-match winless streak in the Premier League as Frank Lampard oversaw a vital 3-0 win over Leeds United at Goodison Park, while Watford were beaten by Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford drew 0-0 with Crystal Palace.

Later, league leaders Manchester City moved 12 points clear at the top with a 4-0 thrashing of strugglers Norwich City at Carrow Road.

Manchester United 1-1 Southampton: Rangnick's right, but that won't get the Red Devils points

Ralf Rangnick may have risked the wrath of some pundits after bringing up expected goals in his post-match comments, but the interim manager is correct – his side are creating plenty of chances without putting them away.

United finished the game with 12 shots to Southampton's 13, but an xG of 2.6 to the visitors' 0.9.

 

Nevertheless, for only the second time in their Premier League history, United have failed to win back-to-back matches despite being ahead at half-time in both, having last done so in December 1998.

Across their 10 top-flight games under Rangnick, meanwhile, they have averaged fewer goals per game than they have under any other manager in Premier League history (1.4).

United are at least unbeaten in their last 12 Premier League games against Southampton (W5 D7) since a 1-0 home loss in January 2016, while having only scored two goals in his first 23 appearances for the club in all competitions, Sancho has since netted two in his last three.

Brentford 0-0 Crystal Palace: Bees stop the rot

Brentford ended a run of five straight Premier League defeats and registered a clean sheet for the first time in 12 top-flight games (since a 1-0 win over Everton on November 28), as they drew with Palace.

It was a match of few clear chances (there were only 15 shots in total), though Wilfried Zaha was convinced he should have been awarded a late penalty.

Zaha was making his 250th Premier League appearance for Crystal Palace, just the third African player to hit that milestone for a single club in the competition, after Shola Ameobi (294 for Newcastle) and Didier Drogba (254 for Chelsea).

Everton 3-0 Leeds United: Lampard up and running

Lampard claimed his first league win as Everton manager in style, as the Toffees snapped a four-match losing streak in the competition with an emphatic 3-0 win over Leeds.

Everton went 2-0 up before half-time through Seamus Coleman's first league goal in 69 games, since May 2019, and Michael Keane's 10th goal in the top flight for the club.

 

Both of those were headers and no team have now scored more headed Premier League goals than Everton, who are level with United on 336.

It was the first time Everton scored twice before half-time in 40 Premier League games, last doing so one year and nine days earlier against, coincidentally, Leeds at Elland Road.

Anthony Gordon diverted in Richarlison's shot to seal Everton's biggest Premier League win since a 5-2 victory over West Brom in September 2020.

Watford 0-2 Brighton and Hove Albion: No home comforts for the Hornets

Watford have now lost six consecutive home league games for the first time since August to October 1990, a run which also included a defeat to Brighton.

Neal Maupay and Adam Webster got the goals for Brighton, who have lost just one of their past 12 away games in the Premier League, all coming in 2021-22 (W4 D7) – no side has lost fewer away games in the top flight this term than the Seagulls.

Watford have not kept a clean sheet in any of their past 17 home Premier League matches, equalling the competition's record run without a home shut-out.

Roy Hodgson has taken on a big job, and Watford will want a favour from Aston Villa against Newcastle United on Sunday to remain within three points of safety.

Norwich City 0-4 Manchester City: Perfect Sterling hat-trick sees leaders storm on

City lost on their previous league trip to Carrow Road, but there appeared little danger of a shock this time around as Raheem Sterling's perfect hat-trick helped them to a 4-0 win.

Sterling became the third City player to score a perfect hat-trick in the Premier League, after Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero (twice). Meanwhile, no player has scored more away hat-tricks for the club in the competition than Sterling, with each of his last three coming on the road.

 

The ex-Liverpool attacker became the sixth City player to score as many as 10 headed goals in the Premier League, with only Aguero (19) and Niall Quinn (13) netting more.

City scored at least four goals in a Premier League away game for the 21st time under Pep Guardiola, at least eight more than any other side since the Catalan coach joined the club.

Norwich, meanwhile, have conceded 50 goals in their 24 Premier League games this season – only in 1938-39 (21) and 1946-47 (19) have they shipped 50 in fewer games in a single league campaign.

Premier League leaders Manchester City collected a routine victory over Brentford to further their advantage at the top.

That victory saw Pep Guardiola's side extend their lead at the summit to 12 points, with second-placed Liverpool due to host Leicester City on Thursday.

Tottenham fell to a late defeat against Southampton as Antonio Conte suffered his first home league loss as Spurs boss, while Aston Villa shared the spoils in a six-goal thriller with Leeds United.

And strugglers Norwich City picked up a valuable draw at home to Crystal Palace, with Dean Smith's side now a point behind 17th-placed Newcastle United as the relegation battle continues.

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

Manchester City 2-0 Brentford: Citizens cruise to league double over Bees

Strikes either side of the interval from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez helped City to a 2-0 win over Brentford as the Citizens completed the league double over the Bees for the first time since 1936-37.

Mahrez opened the scoring as he netted in his seventh consecutive game across all competitions for City – only Lionel Messi (twice) and Sergio Aguero have previously achieved that feat under Pep Guardiola.

De Bruyne doubled the hosts' lead in the second half, the midfielder recording his 85th goal involvement (35G 50A) in his 96th top-flight appearance at the Etihad Stadium, where he has found the net five times in his last four games.

Brentford rarely troubled Ederson's goal and were caught offside 10 times in the match, the most by a Premier League team since January 2018 as City recorded their 100th clean sheet under Guardiola in the competition.

The Bees have now lost five consecutive league matches for the first time since December 2007, under Terry Butcher in League Two, and for the first time in the top flight since April 1947 (seven in a row).

Tottenham 2-3 Southampton: No home comforts for Conte

Southampton twice rallied from behind to earn a late 3-2 victory at Tottenham to end Conte's unbeaten start at home in the league as Spurs boss.

Jan Bednarek poked into his own net to give Spurs the lead, the centre-back now on a Premier League-high three own goals since the start of 2019-20. Similarly, Tottenham have benefited from the most own goals in the competition this season (three).

But Armando Broja soon levelled up. That was the Albania striker's sixth top-flight goal this term – only Kevin Davies (nine in 1997-98) managed more in the Premier League for Southampton while aged 20 or under.

Son Heung-min restored his side's advantage with his 12th strike against Southampton across all competitions, five more than he has registered against any other team for Spurs.

Saints fought back again, Mohamed Elyounoussi equalising before Che Adams sealed victory. Both finishes were set up by James Ward-Prowse, who assisted two goals in a single Premier League match for only the second time in 290 appearances.

Having equalised in the 79th minute, Southampton's victory was the latest they had been behind in a Premier League match that they would go on to win since March 2016 against Liverpool (equalised in 83rd minute).

Aston Villa 3-3 Leeds United: Whites continue away scoring run in Villa Park classic

Aston Villa, who had Ezri Konsa dismissed late on, shared the points with Leeds in a 3-3 thriller as Dan James, Jacob Ramsey and Philippe Coutinho dominated proceedings.

James scored his third and fourth Premier League goals this term, his best-ever tally in a season, though Marcelo Bielsa found his side 3-2 down at half-time.

Coutinho initially cancelled out James' opener as he became the sixth Villa player to score in each of his first two Premier League appearances at Villa Park, and the first since Carlton Cole in August 2004.

The Brazil international then teed up a Ramsey double as the midfielder became the youngest player to score more than one goal in a Premier League game for Villa (20y 257d) since Luka Moore got a hat-trick in February 2006 (19y 356d).

Diego Llorente restored parity in the second half as Leeds recorded three goals in consecutive Premier League away games for just the second time, and for the first time since March 1995, to earn a valuable point.

Norwich City 1-1 Crystal Palace: Zaha's penalty falter costs poor travelling Eagles

Norwich City raced out the blocks at Carrow Road but ultimately had to settle for a point after a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace.

Teemu Pukki – who has scored 43 per cent of Norwich's top-flight this season (6/14), the highest such share of any player in the competition – netted the fastest goal in the Premier League this season as he finished after just 38 seconds. 

Wilfried Zaha pegged Smith's team back with his 80th goal involvement in England's top division (53G 27A), 79 of which have been for the Eagles.

Michael Olise teed up the Ivory Coast international's second-half equaliser, his seventh goal involvement (3G 4A) across all competitions in 2022 – the most by any Premier League player.

Palace should have secured all three points but Zaha failed from the penalty spot for the first time, on his fifth attempt, meaning the Eagles have won just one of their last 13 away games in the league.

Premier League managers are already feeling the strain amid cascading numbers of COVID-19 cases and mid-season injuries. Now many top bosses stand to lose stars to the Africa Cup of Nations.

Africa's greatest football show – now commonly known as AFCON – gets under way on Sunday in Cameroon.

Although the 2019 edition was held in June and July, it has historically been a January-into-February tournament and has returned to that place on the calendar.

A host of Premier League big names are hoping to make an impact during the four-week tournament, which falls slap-bang in the middle of European club campaigns, causing a major clash of competitions.

Premier League clubs certainly cannot complain of a lack of fair warning. It was June 2020 when African football chiefs decided the 2021 edition of the tournament would have to be pushed back by 12 months to a January 2022 start, in the hope the coronavirus crisis would have eased.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at which teams from the English top flight might feel its impact the most.

Can Reds cling on in title battle?

If Liverpool lose no further ground on leaders Manchester City by the time their stars return from AFCON, then Jurgen Klopp would surely settle for that.

The 2019-20 Premier League champions have taken two points from a possible nine to leave the title as effectively City's to lose, and now Klopp is going to have to get by without Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita.

Egyptian striker Salah is the Premier League's leader in goals (16) and assists (9, level with Trent Alexander Arnold) so far this season. He has taken 80 shots in 20 games (38 of these have hit the target), played 12 throughballs and created 40 chances from open play: in each of those categories he is at the top of the Premier League charts for players defined by Opta as forwards.

How do you cope without such a contribution? Having Mane on hand would help, but Mane will be turning out for Senegal, a team who, like Salah's Egypt, are firmly in the mix as serious trophy contenders. Don't expect either back at the end of the group stage.

Mane has eight Premier League goals this term, including the opener at Chelsea recently. That goal return puts Mane joint-second among African scorers in the Premier League this season, level with Watford's Emmanuel Dennis, who is not in Nigeria's squad.

Mane has played 19 throughballs and has made 23 tackles to boot, which is the seventh highest number of tackles by a forward in the league this season, a rarely mentioned attribute of his game. He does not always tackle with his elbow, either.

Keita will presumably be less of a miss, with the Guinean's Anfield contribution remaining underwhelming, but Liverpool have been so hard hit by absentees recently that to lose anybody for up to five weeks is an inconvenience.

They are at least assured of Joel Matip's presence this month. The centre-back last played for Cameroon in 2015 and has retired from international duty. That is bad news for the AFCON hosts but helps Liverpool, given Matip remains a sturdy presence, with a duel success of 69.47 per cent this season ranking him third among Premier League defenders with 10 or more appearances, and a passing accuracy of 88.89 per cent putting him eighth in that metric.

Liverpool only have two league games inked in between now and the end of AFCON, against Brentford and Crystal Palace, but the Reds also have two postponed fixtures to be slipped in somewhere along the line.

Wintertime Blues?

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City hold a 10-point lead over second-placed Chelsea, with Liverpool a point further back but possessing a game in hand on the top two. Reigning champions City have won 11 straight Premier League games and the Citizens have the resources to be able to cope with the short-term loss of Riyad Mahrez, who will captain Algeria.

Mahrez's six goals and four assists this season have come at a startling rate. Given the depth in City's squad, he does not always start, so to appreciate his contribution it is worth looking at his numbers per 90 minutes on the pitch.

The former Leicester City forward is averaging 0.64 goals and 0.43 assists per 90 minutes – impressively close to Salah's return of 0.81 and 0.45 in those categories – and is one of only four Premier League players with 10 or more appearances to average at least 1.00 goal involvements per 90 (Michael Olise 1.43, Salah 1.26, Roberto Firmino 1.24, Mahrez 1.07).

The Blues of Chelsea may have concerns over the absence of goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, given the Senegalese's stabilising influence at the back. His save percentage of 77.14 has only been beaten this season in the league by Wolves' Jose Sa (80.82) and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale (77.46).

Spaniard Kepa Arrizabalaga struggled in the early stages of his Chelsea career and is now the undoubted understudy.

Yet Kepa's form when given an opportunity this season has not given such cause for concern. The former Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper has been chiefly used in cup action, and he has achieved a remarkable save percentage of 81.48, suggesting that for a short run of games, he could be a perfectly able deputy.

Can an exodus to Africa affect the race for Europe?

Will fourth-placed Arsenal miss Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang? It seems unlikely now, given he was dropped and stripped of the captaincy after a disciplinary breach before heading off to join Gabon. He has not played for a month. The Gunners won five games in a row without him, including four in the league, before being unlucky to lose to Manchester City.

Cold facts tell us Arsenal have a points average of 1.9 per Premier League game when Aubameyang has started games this season, and 1.5 when he has been either a substitute or out of the team, but those figures may not be significant given the momentum Mikel Arteta's players have built in the recent absence of the 32-year-old. His continuing exile from the first team seems unlikely to cause much consternation.

For manager Arteta to lose Thomas Partey (Ghana) at this point is a blow though, with the former Atletico Madrid player having been excellent in the 2-1 defeat to City, having been slowly building up to such a performance. He had more touches, won more duels, made more tackles and played more successful passes than any other Arsenal player.

Arsenal have a big derby at Tottenham coming up on January 16, and they might feel Partey's absence that day, particularly given Spurs, who currently sit sixth, are sending no current first-teamers away to AFCON.

Splitting the north London rivals for now are West Ham, in fifth, and it will surely have hurt David Moyes to wave off Said Benrahma for a month of Algeria duty. The playmaker has five goals and four assists in the league this season, as well as making 83 ball recoveries and creating 21 chances in open play. That makes him one of only 13 players in the competition to top both 80 recoveries and 20 open-play chances created, and one of only five Premier League stars to tick both boxes and score at least five times. Crystal Palace's Wilfried Zaha, away with Ivory Coast, is another member of that small group.

Seventh-placed Manchester United will lose Eric Bailly to Ivory Coast too. But with Phil Jones back in the first team, will Bailly be missed? The former Villarreal centre-back has played just 217 minutes in the Premier League this season. United youth prospect Hannibal Mejbri is also away, in his case with Tunisia.

Further into mid-table, Wolves must find an alternative to the excellent Romain Saiss (tackle success rate 72.73 per cent) on the left side of their defence, after he joined up with Morocco. Brighton and Hove Albion powerhouse Yves Bissouma has the highest tackle success rate among midfielders to have made more than 40 such challenges in the Premier League this season (50 attempted, 35 won: 70 per cent hit rate) and he will line up for Mali after ending an international exile.

Leicester City sent away striker Kelechi Iheanacho (2 goals, 4 assists this season) for Nigeria service at a bad time for the Foxes, given injured Jamie Vardy faces several weeks out of action.

Palace are firmly in favour of players heading away to represent their countries, but the Eagles never particularly like to be without Zaha (5 goals, 1 assist, 86 dribbles). Since his return from Manchester United in August 2014, Palace have averaged 1.2 points and a 32.9 per cent win percentage with Zaha in their starting line-up, and 0.9 points and a 24.5 win percentage when he has not been in that matchday XI. The loss of Cheikhou Kouyate (80.56 per cent success rate from 36 tackles) to Senegal duty may also diminish the sturdiness of Patrick Vieira's Eagles spine.

Can Clarets cope without Cornet?

The relegation scrap seems more likely to be affected by transfer market activity than departures to AFCON.

Newcastle United and Norwich City, the league's bottom two, are sending nobody away, while fourth-bottom Watford have kept Dennis (8 goals, 5 assists) and it remains to be seen what happens to Ismaila Sarr (5 goals), who has been absent with injury of late but has headed for checks with Senegal doctors.

Burnley, who sit 18th, are seemingly the team to watch carefully here. Maxwel Cornet, now away with Ivory Coast, has scored six Premier League goals from just 10 shots on target, and Sean Dyche must find a way to make the Clarets impactful without the former Lyon man.

Harry Kane continued his fantastic Boxing Day scoring record as Tottenham eased to a 3-0 win over 10-man Crystal Palace in the Premier League.

Goals from Kane and Lucas Moura in quick succession put Spurs in command, the England captain netting in his sixth consecutive Boxing Day fixture to match Robbie Fowler's Premier League scoring record of nine goals the day after Christmas.

Wilfried Zaha was then dismissed before half-time for two bookable offences and Son Heung-min added a third goal after the interval as Spurs cruised to three points at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Victory means Spurs are unbeaten in six top-flight games since Antonio Conte's arrival, moving further into contention for a Champions League place with games in hand on those around them in pursuit of the top four.

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Son's long-range strike forced a smart save from Jack Butland, while Lucas inexplicably headed off target in a dominant opening from Conte's men.

Spurs deservedly took the lead when Kane fired into the bottom-left corner from Lucas' pass to cap a swift attacking move, with the Brazilian forward heading in a second just two minutes later following Emerson Royal's cross.

Zaha was then given his marching orders for two needless cautions, both for fouls on Davinson Sanchez, before the interval.

Kane deflected Son's corner just over after the break before the South Korea forward capped an excellent London derby performance from Spurs by flicking Lucas' delivery past Butland.

Wilfried Zaha has once again called for action to be taken after he was racially abused online following Crystal Palace's surprise 2-0 win at Manchester City on Saturday.

Zaha scored the opening goal in Palace's stunning victory over the Premier League champions at the Etihad Stadium.

The Palace forward might have had a second goal if he was not dragged down by Aymeric Laporte in the first half, a professional foul that resulted in the City defender being sent off.

Zaha posted screenshots of abuse he was subjected to on his Instagram account following the win over Pep Guardiola's side.

The Ivory Coast international challenged social media companies to take strong action against people who abuse others online earlier this year and the 28-year-old reiterated that the issue must be taken more seriously.

"This message isn't for me to get a million messages saying we stand with you and it's disgusting or about me getting sympathy," Zaha posted on an Instagram story.

"I'm not here for all the nonsense that is being done instead of fixing the actual problem!

"I don't mind abuse because nowadays it comes with doing the job I do even though it's not an excuse, but my colour will always be the real problem, but it's fine because I'll always be BLACK AND PROUD!

"Speak to me when you actual take this issue serious."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was unhappy with the decisions to send Aymeric Laporte off and disallow Gabriel Jesus' goal as his side slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace.

Wilfried Zaha scuffed in an early opener before Laporte was shown a straight red card for hauling the Ivory Coast forward down in a promising position.

Jesus thought he had snatched an equaliser despite City's man disadvantage, but the strike was ruled out for a marginal offside after a VAR check, and Conor Gallagher made it 2-0 late on to seal the result.

Leicester City defender Jonny Evans committed an almost identical offence to the one Laporte was dismissed for against Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earlier in the day, but was only shown a yellow card.

Guardiola, who was unable to mark his 200th Premier League game with a victory, revealed his frustration with the inconsistency of the decisions made and claimed that his team played well for long spells, despite the error that led to the opening goal.

"Many things went wrong," Guardiola said to the BBC after the game. "We conceded an early goal, played a good first half but at the same time there was the sending off and the interpretation from the referee.

"The fans were behind us but unfortunately the goal was disallowed. This afternoon, Jonny Evans with the same action got a yellow card. It is an interpretation from the referee. We made a mistake for the goal and the second one a yellow or red card it depends on the referee.

"It's VAR. I don't know the line. It was a yellow card in Leicester a red here. The referees are the bosses and they decide. The goal we conceded was our mistake."

Palace manager and former Arsenal and City midfielder Patrick Vieira, meanwhile, declined to pass judgement on whether the decisions were accurate, but said that luck was necessary to overcome difficult opponents.

"I wasn't really well-positioned to make a call [on Laporte's red card]," Vieira told the BBC. "That went in our favour, the offside went in our favour. You need that if you want to win at City and we will take it because in the last couple of games we have not had that luck."

The Frenchman also hailed his side's defensive work as a unit, while also singling Zaha out for special praise after a superb showing from the forward.

"You have to defend well and we did it," Vieira continued. "You have to take your chances and we did it and you need a bit of luck because of the quality of their players. When you have those three aspects you have more chance but I am really proud of the way we fought.

"We could not come to a place like this and not have players taking part of the defensive work. Everyone worked really hard. When you sacrifice yourself like that you are really pleased when you get a win.

"What is important is to keep improving ourselves. This is a group that needs to play more games together and believe more in themselves. I am pleased with the step we made today. We have started to have confidence in ourselves but there is still a lot they can give.

"When Wilf is like that, taking his chances and working really hard, he is somebody who is really strong on one versus one. His personality, his character he is a winner. He worked really hard and this is what I expect and want from him."

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha heaped praise on manager Patrick Vieira after a shock 2-0 victory over defending Premier League champions Manchester City.

Zaha opened the scoring in the sixth minute, becoming the first player to reach 50 goals in the Premier League for Palace, before Aymeric Laporte was sent off for bringing him down and Conor Gallagher wrapped up the points late on.

The unexpected win at the Etihad Stadium saw the Eagles end their run of four consecutive draws and rise to 13th in the table, and Zaha was quick to credit Vieira for the team's positive form.

Vieira ended his playing career at City and then began his coaching career with the north-west club, bossing the reserve team before moving on to sister club New York City FC. He had a spell with Nice and joined Palace in July of this year.

"I feel like we have had a threat [before] but the difference now is that we keep the ball from the back and build and make our chances," Zaha said after the game. "We are exploiting our talent.

"[Vieira] knows what he is talking about and we have all seen him do it. It's surreal because he was an amazing player. Every player is buying into it and slowly the results will come."

The Ivory Coast forward was pleased with how Palace disrupted City and revealed delight at his growing connection with on-loan Chelsea midfielder Gallagher.

"It was about getting in their faces and not letting them play," said Zaha, according to the BBC. "We know how good they are, we wanted to show them what we could do."

His goal was not a clean strike, as Zaha admitted.

"I scuffed it, but a goal is a goal," he said. "I was just buzzing to see it go in, so I was happy. Conor Gallagher brings a lot of energy and I needed people to link up with."

City defender Dias was downcast about the result and questioned whether Laporte's challenge on Zaha was worthy of a red card, with Leicester City's Jonny Evans shown only a yellow for a similar offence against Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earlier in the day.

"The reaction is that we have a game in a short period of time and we are already thinking about it," Dias said. "Today we lost three very important points, but it is football. We are not happy but looking forward. Today we were not at our best, but even so the team fought and gave everything and it was not enough."

On the dismissal of Laporte, Dias said: "It was a little bit strange to see a red. I was walking back thinking it was a yellow. I never thought [the referee] would go for a red but we have to accept it."

Crystal Palace earned a stunning 2-0 win at Manchester City as Wilfried Zaha and Conor Gallagher spoiled the party in Pep Guardiola's 200th Premier League game.

City suffered a first home league defeat of the season and had Aymeric Laporte sent off, the defender having earlier committed the error that gifted Zaha his sixth-minute opening goal - his 50th in the league for Palace.

Spain international Laporte struggled to deal with the Eagles' star forward and was caught out again in first-half stoppage time, denying Zaha a goalscoring opportunity as the last man with a clumsy challenge and being shown a red card.

Gallagher put the result beyond doubt with two minutes of normal time left to play, emphatically finishing off a counter-attack after good work from Zaha and Michael Olise.

Zaha gave Palace a shock early lead as Gallagher caught Laporte on the ball at the back before finding the Ivory Coast forward, who scuffed a low shot beyond Ederson and into the bottom-right corner.

City struggled to find their rhythm for most of the first half and Laporte's afternoon went from bad to worse just before the break as the centre-back was shown a straight red card for hauling Zaha down as the Eagles forward was set to go clean through on goal.

The hosts thought they had drawn level on the hour mark as substitute John Stones – a minute after his introduction – picked out Phil Foden with a terrific raking pass and the 21-year-old clipped a ball to the back post where Jesus squeezed home from a tight angle, but the goal was ruled out for a marginal offside after a VAR check.

City pushed for an equaliser in the remaining half-hour, but Palace remained resolute and stung the hosts in the 88th minute. Zaha held the ball in the box before squaring to Olise, who laid it off for Gallagher with one touch, allowing the midfielder to thump into the top-right corner and ensure Guardiola's landmark game ended with the Spanish boss empty-handed for once.

Patrick Vieira got one over on Tottenham as the former Arsenal captain savoured a London derby win with Crystal Palace over his old foes.

Gunners great Vieira, a key member of the 2003-04 'Invincibles' team, had seen his Palace side take just two points from their opening three Premier League games.

However, a thumping 3-0 victory over out-of-sorts Spurs showed what they might be capable under French manager Vieira.

The outstanding Wilfried Zaha rolled in a penalty to give Palace the lead in the 76th minute, and Odsonne Edouard's late double, after coming off the bench to make his debut, made it a comfortable win.

Tottenham had defender Japhet Tanganga sent off just before the hour mark, but their goal was already coming under siege and their attacking was barely a factor, Harry Kane making no impact.

"Today, everything was perfect," Vieira said. "The atmosphere of the stadium, the quality of the game we played. We took the three points and I'm really pleased about that.

"Wilfried is part of the leaders and when he is at this level that he was today, other players behind just follow him.

"There is a really good team spirit, players who are prepared to work hard because they want to do well for this football club."

Vieira told BT Sport he was "really pleased" for Edouard, a late transfer window acquisition from Scottish giants Celtic.

Edouard called it "a dream debut" and his boss concurred.

"The way he finished, it just showed he's a proper goalscorer," Vieira said. "I think he's a player inside the box who will take his chances. He's a goalscorer and I think there's more to come from him."

Vieira hopes star winger Zaha can kick on too and enjoy a memorable campaign.

Before this game, Zaha had faced Tottenham more often without registering a single goal or assist than he had any other side in the competition (12), but his penalty and his pass that set up Edouard's first goal put paid to that statistic.

Zaha hit a career-high 11 Premier League goals for Palace last season, and Vieira is looking for another healthy haul.

"I would like him to score more goals. I think he can do that," Vieira said. "Today, he was unstoppable, I think he worked fantastically well. Wilfried can score a lot of goals for us."

Zaha converted both penalties that he took in the league last season, and although Luka Milivojevic has a history of success from the spot, the time may have come for the Ivory Coast man to be Palace's regular taker.

"I've been practising," Zaha said. "I don't see why I can't take penalties so I'm happy I managed to take one and score for the team."

Wilfried Zaha scored against Tottenham in the Premier League for the first time and Odsonne Edouard hit a late debut brace as Crystal Palace comfortably saw off their lacklustre visitors 3-0 at Selhurst Park.

Flying winger Zaha had faced Tottenham on 12 occasions in the league without registering a single goal or an assist, but he capped a fine display with a 76th-minute penalty before then setting up Edouard.

By the time he rolled his spot-kick past Hugo Lloris, Tottenham were down to 10 men having lost Japhet Tanganga in the 58th minute after the defender lost his cool and picked up two yellow cards for chopping down Zaha and Jordan Ayew.

Tottenham had arrived in south London as Premier League leaders, but they were poor, Harry Kane practically anonymous as the visitors had just two attempts at goal all game.

Substitute Edouard, newly arrived from Celtic, made sure of the points when he fired in from Zaha's pass in the 84th minute just seconds after coming off the bench before getting a second deep into stoppage time.

You could be forgiven for thinking the lines between reality and fantasy had blurred into one this week with the seemingly doomed experiment of the European Super League.

But fans of actual fantasy football can rest assured we have still scoured the best prospects to help you in your quest to top your private leagues and earn bragging rights among your pals.

With Premier League leaders Manchester City not in action due to playing the EFL Cup final against Tottenham this weekend, there are sure to be a few transfers needed in several teams.

That being said, take a look at our hand-selected picks, powered as always by Opta data…

ROBERT SANCHEZ

Brighton and Hove Albion have a poor record against teams in the Premier League's bottom three, winning only four of 24 such games – the 17 per cent win rate representing the lowest return of any team in the competition to have played a minimum of 10 such games.

However, Sheffield United are the lowest scorers in the division this season (17) and have failed to score in 18 different games, a league worst.

Moreover, Brighton's Robert Sanchez has eight Premier League clean sheets to his name in 2021. Only Ederson (10) has managed more.

VLADIMIR COUFAL

West Ham have won three of their last five home league encounters against Chelsea and another victory would significantly boost their chances of a top-four finish.

Hammers full-back Vladimir Coufal could well be a valuable source of fantasy points this weekend.

Coufal has four home assists in the Premier League this season, which represents the best in the division among defenders.

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

Dropped by England manager Gareth Southgate for the latest round of international fixtures, Trent Alexander-Arnold has responded in impressive fashion.

The dangerous full-back has been involved in three goals in Liverpool's last three fixtures (two assists, one goal) – as many as he managed in his previous 24 games in the competition.

With Liverpool unbeaten in 24 home matches against Newcastle United, Alexander-Arnold is sure to feature heavily in many fantasy sides this weekend.

JESSE LINGARD

Another player for Chelsea to be extremely wary of this weekend, Jesse Lingard has been in the form of his life since moving to West Ham on loan from Manchester United in January.

The attacking midfielder has been involved in 12 West Ham goals so far in the Premier League (nine goals, three assists) to become a key component in their battle to qualify for the Champions League.

Only Mick Quinn (Coventry City), Les Ferdinand (Newcastle United) and Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United) have had more goal involvements in their first 10 appearances for a club in the competition (all 13).

MASON GREENWOOD

Mason Greenwood has found form at an ideal time as he aims to be a part of Southgate's England squad for the rescheduled Euro 2020.

And fantasy football fans perhaps should be looking to make room for a player who has scored four goals across his most recent three top-flight appearances for Manchester United.

Not since Francis Jeffers in the year 2000 has a teenager managed to score in four consecutive Premier League games. Can Leeds United stop the Red Devils' own fox in the box?

WILFRIED ZAHA

Crystal Palace have beaten Leicester City eight times in the Premier League, earning more wins than they have achieved against any other side, while their four away victories against the Foxes is also a joint-high for them in the competition (also four at Everton).

Leicester are also a side who Eagles dangerman Wilfried Zaha has traditionally flourished against, so a trip to the King Power Stadium could be up his street on Monday.

The tricky forward has been involved in six goals in his last six appearances against Leicester (five goals, one assist). Palace won three of those games with Zaha scoring in each.

JAMIE VARDY

On the flip side, Leicester have their own reasons to be optimistic against Roy Hodgson's men.

Jamie Vardy's record against Palace is very favourable, with the experienced striker involved in six goals in his previous nine versus the Eagles (five goals, one assist).

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

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

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

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

DEAN HENDERSON

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

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

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

AARON CRESSWELL

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

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

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

CESAR AZPILICUETA

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

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

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

WILFRIED ZAHA

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

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

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

RAHEEM STERLING

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

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

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

GARETH BALE

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

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

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

DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

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

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

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

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

Jose Mourinho agrees with Jurgen Klopp that club duty must be the top priority for players but is waiting to see how the coming weeks pan out amid uncertainty regarding the upcoming international break.

Liverpool manager Klopp said he could not allow Reds stars to join up with their national teams if it meant a period of quarantine and missing Premier League matches.

"The players are paid by the clubs so that means we have to be the first priority," he said.

Premier League players travelling to 'red list' countries during this month's break would be forced to quarantine for 10 days when they return to England.

Klopp's sentiments have been met with approval by other top-flight coaches, including Spurs boss Mourinho.

But the Portuguese is still waiting to see the impact of the international matches, believing late changes to the schedule could yet ease the burden.

"In this moment, I don't want to speak," Mourinho said. "In this moment, I want to see what is going to happen.

"Do you know, for example, if Argentina-Brazil is going to be played in South America or if it's going to be played, for example, in London? I don't know.

"I know little things; I know Portugal will play in Turin, I know Norway will play in Spain. I don't know much.

"Let's see what is going to happen, where the matches are going to be played.

"Of course, the clubs have the right to protect themselves, because Jurgen is right: the clubs pay the players."

The break comes after a key stretch in Tottenham's season, with Thursday's narrow win at Fulham their first of six games prior to the international fixtures.

Spurs are five points off the top four and Sunday's meeting with Crystal Palace is their only home league match this month.

Palace – 11 points clear of the bottom three – at least tend to make for polite guests, last winning away at Tottenham in 1997. Manager Roy Hodgson has only one victory from 18 attempts against Spurs in the Premier League.

"I think we need the points more than them," Mourinho said.

"If their objective is to be quiet and stable in the middle of the Premier League, they're going to have that anyway. If we want to go up the table, we need points.

"Of course, March is going to be so hard for us: only one match at home, Palace, and then everything after that is away, plus two Europa League matches, plus national team with all the controversy and the problems we may face with that.

"March is going to be very, very hard. If we can add three points to our table, that would be great."

Mourinho expects Serge Aurier to be back involved this weekend, but Giovani Lo Celso is not anticipated to return until Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg against Dinamo Zagreb.

Meanwhile, Palace may be able to call on Wilfried Zaha for the first time since he hobbled out of a victory at Newcastle United on February 2.

The Eagles' league win rate this season drops from 42.1 per cent to 12.5 per cent when without Zaha, their leading scorer with nine goals, and Mourinho suggested his potential return for this match was typical of Tottenham's misfortune.

"He's a very good player," Mourinho said. "It doesn't surprise me that he's fit to play against us because everybody plays against us.

"Everybody is fit and the goalkeepers always play amazing against us. It doesn't surprise me."

Zaha has not scored or assisted a Premier League goal in his 11 career games against Spurs.

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