Liverpool put seven past Crystal Palace and Manchester United brushed aside Leeds United with six goals on a bonkers weekend of Premier League action.

Reigning champions Liverpool are the first side to sit top of the tree at Christmas in three successive years since last achieving the feat themselves between 1978 and 1980 under Bob Paisley.

While a couple of scorelines stood out, it was business as usual for Jamie Vardy as he scored for the 11th time this season in Leicester City's 2-0 win at Tottenham, making some history in the process.

With the help of Opta, we take a look at some of the more unusual stats to have emerged over the weekend.

Palace plundered as rampant Reds cut loose

There was a magnificent seven for Liverpool at Selhurst Park in the early kick-off on Saturday, the reigning Premier League champions running up the score to move further clear at the summit.

It was the first time Liverpool have scored seven in an away game in the top flight since March 1991. Roberto Firmino bagged two of them, a year on from his last league brace for Jurgen Klopp's side.

Poor Palace, then. They had not conceded more than five at home in any competition since a 6-1 defeat to the Reds in August 1994.

They were 3-0 down at home by half-time for only the sixth time in the Premier League era. However, three of those occasions have come against Liverpool (also in August 1994 and October 2016).

Vardy starts the Christmas party early

Vardy likes Tottenham. Maybe not as much as certain alcopop drinks and kicking corner flags at Bramall Lane, but the striker does seem to relish a trip to Spurs.

His goal in Leicester City's 2-0 triumph on Sunday means he has completed the set when it comes to Spurs, having now scored against them at White Hart Lane, Wembley and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

He is the first player in Premier League history to score away to a specific opponent at three different grounds.

A Toby Alderweireld own goal made sure of all three points for the Foxes, who will be in the top two places of the table at Christmas in consecutive seasons for the first time in their history.

Next up for Brendan Rodgers' side: third-place Manchester United at home on Boxing Day.

Red Devils put on a (first-half) show

Man United and cross-Pennine rivals Leeds served up a pre-Christmas treat at Old Trafford in a game that saw Scott McTominay score the Premier League's quickest ever brace inside just 170 seconds.

A further three goals followed before half-time, making it the fourth game in the competition this season to see as many as five goals scored in the opening 45 minutes, along with Liverpool v Leeds, Aston Villa v Liverpool and Man United v Tottenham.

To put that into some context, five or more goals were scored in the first half of just three matches in the whole of 2019-20. 

The rampant hosts added another couple of goals to their tally in the second half, including a strike from Daniel James to end a 33-game wait since his last Premier League goal, a run spanning some 16 months.

James was also - harshly, in the view of boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - booked for simulation, making him only the second player in the Premier League this season to be cautioned for diving, along with Wolves' Adama Traore.

A bit of Mina time

Mikel Arteta's woes continue following an eighth defeat in 14 Premier League matches for Arsenal this season, this most recent setback coming at the hands of the under-fire manager's former club Everton.

Carlo Ancelotti's side took the lead through a Rob Holding own goal, the centre-back becoming the first Arsenal player to put into his own net in this Premier League fixture since, of all people, Arteta in April 2014.

That is the third own goal Arsenal have scored in the top flight this term - only in 2002-03 (four) and 2011-12 (five) have they scored more in a single season.

Nicolas Pepe temporarily levelled up for the Gunners from the penalty spot, only for Yerry Mina to head in what proved to be the winner in the 45th minute.

The timing of the goal should come as little surprise given that the last four league goals scored by the ex-Barcelona man have come in that exact minute, including stoppage time.

Only Chris Eagles has scored as many consecutive goals in the same minute before, notching four times in the 90th between 2007 and 2011.

Manchester United claimed just their second home win of the Premier League season in emphatic fashion as they swatted aside Leeds United 6-2.

Marcelo Bielsa's team have gone toe-to-toe with most teams this season, but came off on the wrong side of a rout in an encounter which saw 43 attempts on goal.

United leapfrogged Tottenham to move into the top four, with Jose Mourinho's side going down 2-0 to Leicester City earlier on Sunday.

Sam Allardyce got his West Brom tenure off to a losing start, while Brighton and Hove Albion denied Sheffield United their first victory of 2020-21.

Manchester United 6-2 Leeds United: McTominay sets the tone

Sunday's headline fixture wasted no time in serving up the entertainment. Man United shared the points with Manchester City in a dismal derby in their previous home match, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side mustered 26 attempts as they thrashed Leeds this time out.

Scott McTominay got things up and running with a quickfire double – his opener coming after just 66 seconds, with the midfielder then doubling his tally with a tidy close-range finish.

McTominay's efforts put Man United 2-0 within 170 seconds, the quickest a team has scored twice from the start of a Premier League game since Arsenal netted two inside 164 seconds against Newcastle United in February 2011, a 4-4 draw.

The double also made McTominay the first player in Premier League history to score twice in the first three minutes of a match, and Bruno Fernandes drilled in to make it 3-0 in the 20th minute, the earliest the Red Devils have scored three times from the start of a top-flight game since August 2006.

Goals from Victor Lindelof and Daniel James, combined with a penalty from Fernandes, saw United score six times in a Premier League game for the first time since their 8-2 win over Arsenal in 2011.

United have played more home Premier League games against Leeds without losing than against any other club (P13 W9 D4), while it is the first time a club side managed by Bielsa have conceded six goals in a competitive match since his Newell's Old Boys team lost 6-0 to San Lorenzo in the Copa Libertadores in February 1992.

Since his debut in February, Fernandes has both scored and assisted a goal in seven different Premier League games – only Matt Le Tissier in 1994 (eight) and Mohamed Salah in 2018 (nine) have done so on more occasions in a single calendar year in the competition's history.

Tottenham 0-2 Leicester City: No more Mourinho woe for Rodgers

Tottenham suffered a second straight Premier League defeat as Leicester returned to winning ways in style, with Brendan Rodgers claiming his first victory in all competitions against a Mourinho team.

Leicester's opener came from the spot, with Jamie Vardy lashing in his sixth penalty of the season after Serge Aurier's foul on James Justin was spotted by the VAR in first-half stoppage time. The Ivory Coast full-back has conceded four penalties in the Premier League since 2017-18, second only to David Luiz (five).

Vardy has now been directly involved in seven goals (five goals, two assists) in seven Premier League away games against Spurs, with the 33-year-old becoming the first player to score an away goal against an opponent at three different venues in the competition (White Hart Lane, Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium).

James Maddison had a goal disallowed by the VAR for a marginal offside, but Vardy was involved again as Leicester got their second midway through the second half, his header diverted in off Toby Alderweireld, who has scored three own goals for Spurs in the Premier League, a joint-high with Harry Kane.

The victory moved Leicester into second place, and the Foxes will be in the top two places of the top flight at Christmas in consecutive seasons for the first time in their history.

West Brom 0-3 Aston Villa: No Big Sam bounce for Baggies

A 1-1 draw at Manchester City was not enough to keep Slaven Bilic in the hot seat at West Brom, but his successor got off to a dismal start.

Allardyce's team went down 3-0 to Aston Villa, with captain Jake Livermore seeing red as goals from Anwar El Ghazi and Bertrand Traore claimed the points.

Villa's return of 22 points after 12 games is their best in the Premier League since 2001-02, when they finished eighth, while West Brom have only one win 14 games into a league season for just the third time, after 1985-86 and 2004-05.

It was only the second time Allardyce lost his first Premier League game in charge of a side (W5 D1), the previous occasion coming against West Brom as Sunderland manager in October 2015.

Allardyce has plenty of work to do. In England's top four tiers, only Southend United (-20) have a poorer goal difference than West Brom (-19).

Brighton and Hove Albion 1-1 Sheffield United: Ten-man Blades made to wait

Chris Wilder's Sheffield United looked set to clinch their first victory of the season, only to be denied late on by Danny Welbeck, who snatched a 1-1 draw for Brighton.

The Blades had John Lundstram sent off in the first half, but Jayden Bogle's goal on his Premier League debut put them ahead – three of the full-back's four league goals have come away from home.

Bogle joins Brian Deane (1992), Willie Falconer (1993), Rob Hulse (2006) and Billy Sharp (2019) in netting on his Premier League bow for the Blades.

Brighton, meanwhile, are winless in their past 11 league home games – only once in their league history have they gone longer without a win at home (12 games between October 1997 and February 1998).

United sit bottom on two points from 14 games. It is the lowest total by an English top-flight side at this stage of a campaign (counting three points for a win).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer lauded his "physical monster" Scott McTominay after the Manchester United midfielder made Premier League history in the demolition of rivals Leeds United.

Man United tore visitors Leeds apart at Old Trafford in a 6-2 success, with the first two goals coming inside three minutes.

McTominay scored both, the earliest brace ever in the competition, as he turned in a dominant individual display.

The Scotland international also assisted Daniel James for the fifth goal from one of three chances created, while he covered 10.8 kilometres - third-most among Man United players - and weighed in defensively with a game-high five clearances.

Although McTominay hobbled off in stoppage time, nursing a groin issue, Solskjaer pointed to the player's immense energy at the heart of the team as key; the notoriously hard-working Leeds ran only 2.6km further than the Norwegian's side.

"We knew they have high energy and intense moments," the manager said. "But the movements of the front lads and the cleanliness of some of the moves allowed Scott to have space in front of him with the ball at his feet.

"He's a physical monster. He does all his work, every single day meticulously. He never shirks anything.

"And he gets his reward for his fitness and his technical work as well. He's improving, with space in front of him he can run.

"He can do everything. He used to be a striker; he can score goals. I think he proved today that he's a handful in and around the box as well.

"So, I'm very pleased with him. That energy and pride in a derby like this were important."

Indeed, while a fast start meant Man United did not have to come from behind as they have in each away league game this term, Solskjaer referred to his team's fitness and ability to fight until the final whistle when analysing their progress over the past two years.

Solskjaer oversaw the win against Leeds a day after his two-year anniversary as manager at Old Trafford.

"Of course, it's easier to sit here today and say that I'm seeing more and more of a Man United team that I like," he said. "I think I've enjoyed the two years.

"I really enjoyed today because I think we matched them physically, which is one of the big points for me. As a footballer, you have to be fit. The fitter you are, the more you can do.

"That was one of the main things when I came in. I want a fit team and the attitude to go to the end. I think we've proven that lately.

"And of course, there are details to work on and we'll keep on improving."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer dedicated Manchester United's victory over Leeds United to the absent home fans, wishing they had been inside Old Trafford to witness a 'fantastic' display. 

The Red Devils moved up to third in the Premier League, within five points of leaders Liverpool with a game in hand, thanks to an emphatic 6-2 triumph on Sunday. 

Scott McTominay scored the competition's earliest ever brace in the first 170 seconds, while Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelof also netted before half-time. 

Daniel James and Fernandes, this time from the penalty spot, were on target after the break, helping Manchester United score six in a league game for the first time since thrashing Arsenal 8-2 in August 2011. 

"That was fantastic," Solskjaer told Sky Sports. "From the first minute we had a plan to get after them, go forward when we got the ball, and of course Scott gets two goals in the first three minutes - a great start to the game.

"Just imagine if that had 75,000 people here - it would have gone down in history as one of the great Manchester United performances against Leeds at home." 

Manchester United managed more goals in the first half against Leeds than they managed in their first six home Premier League games of the season (three), winning only one of those fixtures. 

Solskjaer's side scored from six of their 26 attempts, 14 of which were on target, in an end-to-end match that saw 43 efforts in total - the most in a Premier League match this season. 

"You have to earn the right to win it by running even more than them. That's the challenge against Leeds, who are one of the fittest teams in the league," Solskjaer said. 

"They man-mark, of course, so there was a couple of moves that we worked on, which worked at times. It should - it could - have been 12-4.  

"You know it's going to be frantic, hectic against them. No matter what the result, whether you're up 5-0 or 5-0 down, they have a certain attitude and style that makes you have to work, have to concentrate every minute." 

James, who was on the brink of joining Leeds from Swansea City in January 2019, was handed a first Premier League start in two months and scored his first goal in the competition in 33 appearances. 

He covered more distance and managed more sprints than any player on the pitch, which Solskjaer hopes is a sign of things to come from the Wales winger. 

"The goal will give Dan James a lot of confidence," Solskjaer told BBC Sport.

"He's been biding his time, been patient, been working hard and he's still as fit as a fiddle and I was very, very pleased for him." 

However, McTominay stole the headlines with his early double, profiting from some sloppy Leeds play as the visitors struggled to adapt to the fast-paced nature of the game. 

"It was a good game for me," McTominay told Sky Sports. "I'm used to playing high energy, high-tempo football matches. For us as a team, I thought we played really well today and deserved the six goals.  

"Everybody knows with Leeds that they are an amazing team with an amazing coach. I feel like the detail they go into both on and off the ball is high, and we knew it as well. We've done a lot of analysis on them. 

"For me, I feel like the manager fully trusted me to do a job today and obviously it pays off when you get six goals." 

United legend Gary Neville compared McTominay to a mixture between Roy Keane and Paul Scholes while on commentary for Sky Sports, but the Scotland international refused to get too carried away. 

"You just go on the pitch to do your job. It's nice to score two goals and the team did a really good job," he said.

Happy anniversary, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

In his two years and one day in charge, Manchester United's manager has made a habit of coaxing out big performances against stronger opposition. It's one common trait his maddeningly inconsistent team has: it's why he has only lost two of six games against Pep Guardiola but lost back-to-back home games to Crystal Palace.

It also explains why Leeds United left Old Trafford on Saturday having lost 6-2 and feeling fortunate it wasn't even worse.

Leeds' last visit to this ground was in the FA Cup nearly 11 years ago, when Jermaine Beckford caused an upset for a team that started the day 42 places behind their fierce rivals in the football pyramid.

This time, the gap before kick-off was six points; few would have considered another Leeds win a shock. Not this Leeds, the Leeds of Marcelo Bielsa, who brought Athletic Bilbao to this ground eight years ago and gave their opponents a hiding Alex Ferguson never forgot.

But amid all the praise flung at Bielsa, considered by FIFA to be one of the best three coaches in men's football in 2020, he and his players were outclassed by their old enemy. This was a day to celebrate for Solskjaer, and a day to celebrate Solskjaer's methods.

There have been critics, most recently Louis van Gaal, of his propensity to change tactics too often. And there were five alterations from their 3-2 win at Sheffield United, including starts for Scott McTominay and Dan James, who had played just three times in the league this season.

Solskjaer, barely containing a raised eyebrow and a maniacal grin, insisted to MUTV he had a cunning plan. That became clear inside 170 seconds. McTominay, nominally deployed to disrupt Leeds attacks, twice broke midfield lines to score sumptuous goals. James raced up and down the right to stop Ezgjan Alioski's overlap and pin him back where possible, and it was the Wales winger's interception that soon led to Bruno Fernandes smashing in a third from the left side of the Leeds box.

Solskjaer spoke pre-game about Leeds' man-marking set-up and he clearly fancied he could exploit it. Marcus Rashford dropped deep, dragged defenders away and then sprinted for gaps. Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof - who produced a poacher's finish from a corner - strode through the four-man Leeds attacking midfield at will, the men in white staring nonplussed at these lumbering lung-bursts, apparently clueless as to who should be stopping them. McTominay finished the half with nine sprints, fewer only than left-back Luke Shaw. Man United finished with four goals, more than they had managed in six previous home league games this season.

Most had anticipated a lightning start from Leeds, a frenetic spell of pressing and 'verticality' in their biggest league match for 14 years, but the men in red were the ones swarming around the pitch. Bielsa changed at the break, hauling off the overrun Kalvin Phillips, who, when predicting a memorable game for his family, presumably wasn't factoring in Leeds conceding four first-half goals for the first time in 482 Premier League matches.

Liam Cooper's strong header had given Leeds a foothold and there was a customary unease to the home side's defence, David de Gea producing a stunning reaction stop to deny Raphinha, but the visitors were astonishingly exposed every time they lost the ball, which they did 151 times. With another simple forward run, McTominay plundered the space, his pass controlled and finished expertly by James, the young man who came so close to joining Leeds in 2019.

A Fernandes penalty made it 6-1 with 20 minutes left, marking the first time Man United had scored six in a league game since battering Arsenal 8-2 in 2011. Had they been allowed in, fans may well have expected a repeat of that scoreline, given Anthony Martial, McTominay, Maguire and Edinson Cavani could all have easily scored another even after Stuart Dallas' consolation strike.

Bielsa would have been rightly heralded as a magician had he masterminded such a result, whereas Solskjaer is never likely to receive the same praise. That's partly his own fault, given Man United were on a run of one win in eight home league games before this one.

But after two mixed years, this was one heck of a ride with Ole at the wheel.

Scott McTominay scored twice in the opening three minutes as Manchester United cruised to a 6-2 win over Leeds United in Sunday's epic Premier League clash.

The midfielder drilled home inside 66 seconds and added a second with a calm finish 104 seconds later - the fastest a player has ever netted a brace in the competition.

Bruno Fernandes and Victor Lindelof joined the scoring at Old Trafford, before Leeds defender Liam Cooper pulled one back prior to half-time.

Daniel James and Fernandes - this time from the penalty spot - then made it six after the break, the first time Man United had tallied a half-dozen in the league since the August 2011 8-2 demolition of Arsenal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side climbed to third with the emphatic win, although it was Leeds' Stuart Dallas who rounded off the scoring with a consolation, bringing an end to a barmy encounter.

Man United were quick out of the blocks in the first league meeting between the two rivals in over 16 years, McTominay firing a low first-time shot past Illan Meslier after Fernandes carried the ball forward and teed up his team-mate.

Anthony Martial held off Luke Ayling and played in McTominay for a quickfire second, the Scotland international picking out the same bottom-right corner with his precise finish.

Leeds created some promising opportunities and Patrick Bamford correctly had a goal chalked off for offside, but they were three down when Fernandes ran onto a loose ball and fired across Meslier.

The visitors have made a habit of conceding from set-pieces this season and were again undone by a simple delivery into the box, with Martial helping on Luke Shaw's corner for Lindelof to poke in.

Cooper gave Leeds just a glimmer of hope with a header that David De Gea, restored to the line-up in place of Dean Henderson, could not keep out despite getting a hand to the ball.

Former Leeds transfer target James scored Man United's fifth midway through the second half, though, with a shot through the legs of Meslier after taking McTominay's pass - intended for Fernandes - in his stride.

Fernandes then piled on the misery from the penalty spot following substitute Pascal Struijk's challenge on Martial inside the box, rendering Dallas' sensational goal from 25 yards nothing more than a consolation. 

Scott McTominay became the first player in Premier League history to score twice in the first three minutes of a match as he put Manchester United 2-0 up against Leeds United.

In the first league meeting between the rivals in over 16 years, McTominay opened the scoring after just 66 seconds with a thumping strike into the bottom-right corner.

It was United's quickest opener in the Premier League since Robin van Persie scored after 31 seconds against West Ham in November 2012.

McTominay had his second just under two minutes later, driving into the area to latch onto Anthony Martial's pass and slotting a cool finish beyond Illan Meslier.

The Scotland international's double had United two ahead by the 170th second – it is the quickest a team has scored twice from the start of a Premier League game since Arsenal netted two by the 164th second against Newcastle United in February 2011, in what was ultimately a 4-4 draw.

United were 3-0 up by the 20th minute, with Bruno Fernandes drilling home to compound Leeds' misery. It is the earliest the Red Devils have scored three times from the start of a top-flight game since August 2006, against Fulham.

Fernandes' strike also saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side double their tally of home Premier League goals this season, moving them onto six at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is eager to pit his wits against a Leeds United team he feels will test Manchester United "to the limit" when the sides renew rivalries on Sunday.

There is little love lost between the cross-Pennine rivals, who have not met in the top flight since a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford in February 2004.

Since then, the teams have faced off in the FA Cup in 2010 – a famous 1-0 win for Leeds – and a 2011 EFL Cup tie that saw United triumph 3-0.

Red Devils boss Solskjaer is only all too aware of the importance of the fixture having featured in several contests himself as a player.

"I can't wait, it's been too long," Solskjaer said ahead of this weekend's fixture at Old Trafford. 

"Of course I know how much it means for our supporters, I know how much it means for our club. The other bit is it's a different kind of Leeds coming up with a coach that's really done a great job with them and will really test us to the limit."

Asked for his own memories of playing Leeds, Solskjaer replied: "Well there was fiery games, there was tackles flying in, players from both teams that were winners. 

"We had a few fights of course but Elland Road wasn't the quietest place when we got off the coach and walked into the stadium put it that way.

"I enjoyed scoring two goals in a win at Elland Road. I came on as a sub and it was a header at the back stick [in the home game that season] from a cross from Giggsy (Ryan Giggs) headed back to the other side.

"They were two good teams back in the day. I liked the build-up to the games and the quality they had tested us as a team as well. Loads of good memories."

Edinson Cavani has been unavailable for United's past three matches due to a groin complaint and could face a potential ban after being hit with a Football Association charge on Thursday in relation to a social-media post.

"Of course we have spoken to Edinson about it, he has apologised, we know it wasn't meant in a malicious way, it was explained, there are cultural and linguistic differences," Solskjaer added. 

"He's apologised, he hopes that mistake won't be costly. He's still working on his fitness, he's very meticulous on his rehab work. 

"It's not felt right, he couldn't play this game [against Sheffield United], let's see the last training session how he feels. It was a muscle injury that he felt in his groin."

Saturday marks two years since Solskjaer was first appointed as interim boss to replace the sacked Jose Mourinho but the Norwegian had little interest in stopping to reflect on his time at the helm thus far.

"I do not like, or I hate talking about what I think about what I've done or where we're at," he said. 

"I don't enjoy that bit looking back, I always look forward. I know there's a lot of work to be done still to get to the standard I want and the level I want, that's what we're working on every day. 

"But I've really enjoyed those two years."

United were 3-2 winners at Sheffield United on Thursday, leaving them sixth and five points adrift of leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.

Liverpool claimed a big win in the Premier League title race on Wednesday, as the champions saw off Tottenham to take a three-point lead at the top.

The Reds will look to extend their unbeaten run in the top flight to 10 matches when they face Crystal Palace on Saturday.

Mohamed Salah is likely to play a key role for Liverpool, while Raheem Sterling is aiming to set a record at Manchester City and the duo headline our Opta-powered Premier League fantasy picks for matchweek 14.

 

MOHAMED SALAH

Salah has scored in all three of Liverpool's games in December so far, and is averaging a goal or assist every 66 minutes in the month across his Premier League career.

It is the best ratio in any month in which he has played more than one match.

Salah already has 11 league goals to his name this term, sitting top of the charts along with Son Heung-min and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

RAHEEM STERLING

Sterling created City's goal on Tuesday, with a neat cross for Ilkay Gundogan to sweep home his first Premier League goal in nearly a year, but Pep Guardiola's team could only draw 1-1.

It left them eight points adrift of pace-setters Liverpool, though Sterling is well in the hunt for a club record.

The England forward has been directly involved in 148 goals under Guardiola in all competitions, and is looking to become the first player to reach 150 during the Spaniard's time at City.

 

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG

Arsenal are in dismal form heading into Saturday's contest with Everton, who have won their last two outings – against Chelsea and Leicester City respectively.

Mikel Arteta's team ended a three-game losing streak when they drew at home to Southampton, though it is now six matches without a top-flight win for the Gunners.

One positive is that Aubameyang netted the equaliser against the Saints – just his third league goal of the season. He has scored four times in as many starts against Everton – he only has more goals against Burnley (seven) and Watford (six) in the Premier League than the Toffees.

 

CALLUM WILSON

An alternative to Aubameyang could be Wilson, who has been directly involved in 10 Premier League goals in 11 appearances for Newcastle United.

His seven goals and three assists mean he has contributed to seven more goals than any other Magpies player so far.

Newcastle take on Fulham on Saturday, with Scott Parker's team having drawn their last two games - versus Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion.

 

HARRY KANE

Before bursting onto the Premier League scene with Tottenham, Kane spent time on loan with Leicester, and against no club has he scored more in all competitions.

Kane has netted 16 times against the Foxes – five more than against any other team.

With Spurs having failed to win their last two games, their talisman will be determined to continue that form and get Mourinho's men back on track, though Leicester will be no pushovers.

PATRICK BAMFORD

Leeds United forward Bamford moved onto nine league goals for the season when he drew Marcelo Bielsa's team level with Newcastle on Wednesday.

The Whites went onto win 5-2 and, since Bielsa took charge of Leeds in 2018, no player has scored more goals for the club than Bamford.

In 85 appearances across all competitions, the former Chelsea forward has 35 goals.

 

PEDRO NETO

Diogo Jota's departure to Liverpool and Raul Jimenez's head injury means there is extra onus on Wolves' remaining attackers, and Neto delivered the goods with a last-gasp winner against Chelsea last time out.

Neto has been directly involved in as many goals in 13 Premier League appearances this season – three goals, three assists– as he was in 29 games last season, when he scored four times and set up another two goals.

Jurgen Klopp has won The Best FIFA Men's Coach award for the second year running after Liverpool's breakthrough Premier League triumph.

Klopp oversaw the Reds' title success in 2019-20, ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight championship.

FIFA recognition for 2020 follows his win in the same award 12 months earlier after Liverpool won the Champions League.

The Liverpool manager pipped Hansi Flick, the Bayern Munich coach, and Leeds United's Marcelo Bielsa on this occasion.

Flick came up short despite guiding Bayern to the treble, with glory in the Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League.

Remarkably, he was still assistant to Niko Kovac on July 20, 2019 when the period under consideration for the award began.

Klopp clearly anticipated a Flick win in the top coaching award as he responded to Thursday's announcement with surprise.

"I am [shocked]," he said. "I was just sitting here because last year I won it, so then I show everybody the respect when I'm nominated and show up wherever it is."

Told again at the end of his acceptance speech that he was The Best FIFA Men's Coach, Klopp replied: "I'm not but I won the award, so that's good enough."

Liverpool moved back top of the Premier League on Wednesday with a dramatic 2-1 home win over title rivals Tottenham.

Manchester United and Leeds United meet in the top flight for the first time since 2004 and Sam Allardyce makes his Premier League return this weekend.

Leeds travel to Old Trafford on Sunday looking for a repeat of their stunning FA Cup win the last time they faced the Red Devils away from home almost 11 years ago.

Allardyce starts his reign as West Brom head coach with a derby against Aston Villa in a late kick-off at The Hawthorns on Sunday, while struggling Arsenal travel to Everton on Saturday and leaders Liverpool are on the road at Crystal Palace.

See if you can kick-start the weekend with maximum points in our Opta-powered quiz. Answers are at the bottom.

 

1. Paul Pogba made his senior debut for Manchester United as a teenager in a League Cup match against Leeds. What year did that match take place in?

2. Arsenal have failed to score in their last two games at Everton. Who was the last player to find the back of the net for the Gunners at Goodison Park, coming in a 5-2 victory in October 2017?

3. Southampton are eyeing back-to-back Premier League wins against Manchester City on Saturday. What was the score when the Saints beat Pep Guardiola's side in July?

4. Liverpool have won six consecutive matches against Palace. Who grabbed a double the last time the Eagles beat the Reds – 2-1 at Anfield in April 2017? 

5. Allardyce has taken charge of more different clubs in the Premier League than any other manager, with the Baggies being the eighth. He has only lost his first game in charge of a team in the top flight once. With which side did he making a losing start?

 

Answers:

1. 2011
2. Aaron Ramsey 
3. 1-0
4. Christian Benteke
5. Sunderland (a 1-0 loss to West Brom in October 2015)

Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool did their talking on the pitch as the reigning Premier League champions snatched a late 2-1 win over erstwhile leaders Tottenham.

The Reds moved three points clear of Tottenham at the summit while Southampton are up to third after drawing away to Arsenal, whose struggles under Mikel Arteta go on.

Arsenal's return of 14 points from 13 Premier League matches is their lowest tally at this stage of a top-flight season since 1974-75 when, adjusting to three points for a win, they had nine points.

West Ham and Crystal Palace also finished all square, as did Fulham against Brighton and Hove Albion, while Leeds United and Everton both picked up victories over Newcastle United and Leicester City respectively.

Here is the pick of the Opta facts from Wednesday's action in the Premier League.

 

Arsenal 1-1 Southampton: Walcott haunts ill-disciplined Gunners at Emirates

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended a run of 648 minutes without a league goal at Emirates Stadium but it was only enough to earn Arsenal a point against high-flying Southampton.

Former Arsenal man Theo Walcott put the visitors in front with his 38th Premier League goal at the ground - only Robin van Persie (46) and Olivier Giroud (40) have scored more.

It is now just one win in nine top-flight outings for the Gunners, who have conceded in 10 successive home league games for the first time since February 2002.

Arsenal perhaps could have taken more from the match but had Gabriel dismissed with an hour played - their seventh Premier League red card since Arteta took over on Boxing Day last year, which is four more than any other team in that period.

Another disappointing result in Arteta's 50th game in charge only increases the pressure on the Spaniard, the Gunners having won more cup matches (14 of 17) than league games (13 of 33) during his time at the helm.

 

Leeds United 5-2 Newcastle United: Hernandez makes huge impact for Bielsa's sharpshooters

Patrick Bamford was on target again for Leeds as they picked up a second win in seven Premier League matches, the Englishman overtaking Fernando Llorente (34) as the top-scoring player in Marcelo Bielsa's managerial career.

Rodrigo Moreno, Stuart Dallas, Ezgjan Alioski and Jack Harrison also netted as Leeds scored five goals in a home Premier League match for the first time since May 2001 when beating Bradford City 6-1.

Newcastle, who twice led at Elland Road thanks to goals from Jeff Hendrick and Ciaran Clark, had not previously conceded five goals against a newly promoted side in a top-flight match since August 1958 (5-1 vs. Blackburn Rovers).

Pablo Hernandez was only introduced in the 82nd minute but still set up two goals, becoming the oldest player - at 35 years and 249 days - to assist twice in a Premier League game for Leeds since Gordon Strachan in 1993.

Newcastle striker Wilson did not have much to celebrate but his assist for Hendrick's strike was the 10th goal he has been directly involved in for United in 11 Premier League games - one more than he managed in 35 games for Bournemouth in 2019-20.

Leicester City 0-2 Everton: Ancelotti continues dominance over Rodgers

Richarlison and Mason Holgate were on target in each half to inflict a fourth defeat on Leicester in seven home league matches this season - as many as they suffered in the whole of the last campaign.

It is the first time in nine Premier League away wins that Everton have won by more than a one-goal margin in a run stretching back to March 2019 when beating West Ham by the same scoreline.

The result would have come as little surprise to Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti as he has now won all four of his managerial meetings with Brendan Rodgers - twice with Real Madrid against Liverpool and now twice with Everton versus Leicester.

Holgate's goal was his first in the competition on his 69th appearance and came via a set-piece that Leicester failed to deal with, making it the seventh goal City have conceded via corner situations this term, two more than the entirety of 2019-20.

 

Fulham 0-0 Brighton and Hove Albion: Goalless at Craven Cottage despite Dunk's best efforts

A first goalless home league draw since August 2011 was enough to take Fulham out of the bottom three, ending a run of 196 such games without a stalemate at Craven Cottage.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ademola Lookman went close to scoring but Fulham failed to find the net for the sixth time in the Premier League this term - only Sheffield United (7) have a worse record.

Brighton struck the crossbar through Ben White's header and fellow centre-back Lewis Dunk had five attempts at goal, which is the most by a defender in a Premier League game this campaign.

The draw ultimately does neither side much good, Brighton having now won just one of their last 11 league games and Fulham stuck on four wins from 25 Premier League matches in December.

Liverpool 2-1 Tottenham: Salah and Son maintain hot streaks as Reds prevail

Liverpool extended their unbeaten home league record to 66 games and inflicted a first defeat in 12 top-flight outings on Tottenham thanks to a late 2-1 victory at Anfield.

Mohamed Salah put Liverpool in front in the entertaining encounter with his eighth goal against Spurs in all competitions, making them the team he has scored joint-most against in European football along with Bournemouth and Watford.

Tottenham were back on level terms seven minutes later via another Son Heung-min strike as he equalled his 11-goal tally from 30 league matches last season inside just 13 appearances this time around.

Twenty of Tottenham's 25 league goals this season have now been scored by either Son (11) or Harry Kane (nine), though they could not hold on for a point as Roberto Firmino headed home in the 90th minute.

It means Spurs have now won just one of their last 27 Premier League away games against Liverpool, losing 18 of those, while Jose Mourinho is winless away to Klopp's Liverpool in six attempts in all competitions.

West Ham 1-1 Crystal Palace: Benteke scores, sees red in derby draw

Sebastian Haller's stunning overhead kick earned West Ham a point from their London derby with Palace in a game that saw Christian Benteke score and get sent off.

Benteke opened the scoring with his 28th headed goal in the Premier League, placing him behind only Olivier Giroud (31) in that category since his debut campaign in 2012-13.

But Haller's seventh goal of the season in all competitions - three more than any team-mate - arrived 21 minutes later and Benteke was dismissed not long after for a couple of yellow card infringements.

Palace are now responsible for two of the last three players to have scored and been sent off in the same Premier League game, with Wilfried Zaha doing exactly that against Southampton in January 2019.

West Ham could not make the man advantage count but they have now avoided defeat on each of the last three occasions they have conceded first in a top-flight game, having lost 23 of the previous 25 instances.

Chelsea finished the day top of the Premier League for the first time since September 2018 after their win against Leeds United on Saturday.

The Blues came from behind to win in the late game, having seen Manchester United do the same at West Ham earlier on.

Manchester City also earned three points, but the spoils were shared between Burnley and Everton.

We reflect on another day of drama in the top flight with the help of Opta data.
 

Burnley 1-1 Everton: Dom frustrates Dyche in milestone match

Sean Dyche could not become the fifth English manager to win their 200th Premier League game in charge as Burnley were held 1-1 at home to Everton.

Dyche was the 35th coach to reach the milestone and the 16th English boss, but a stalemate at Turf Moor - the first in this fixture in the Premier League era - means his Burnley side have just one win in 11 matches.

Although the Clarets made a strong start and led inside three minutes through Robbie Brady, as Everton conceded for the 10th league game running to extend their wait for a first clean sheet at Burnley in the competition, Dominic Calvert-Lewin's 11th strike of the season secured a point.

Each of the England forward's goals have come from inside the penalty area - his 11 the highest such tally in Europe's 'top five' leagues - while this was his sixth from inside the six-yard box. No other Premier League player has more than three from that range.
 

Manchester City 2-0 Fulham: De Bruyne dominant in routine win

There were no surprises at the Etihad Stadium as City claimed a 10th win in a row against Fulham in all competitions.

City are unbeaten in 16 in this fixture and their 10 straight successes have come by an aggregate score of 29-3, as Fulham became the first Premier League side to concede in 10 different matches this season, shipping their 20th and 21st goals - a division high.

Raheem Sterling netted the opener and then won the penalty for the second, the record 20th spot-kick he has earned in the Premier League.

Kevin De Bruyne, the creator of the first, made no mistake from 12 yards to register a goal and an assist in a 16th Premier League game since moving to City in 2015, level with Mohamed Salah as the leader in that regard over this period.

De Bruyne has been involved in more shots than any other Premier League player this season (62 - 34 attempts, 28 chances created), including six efforts and two key passes on Saturday.

Victory meant a happier landmark for Pep Guardiola than Dyche, this the 700th match of his coaching career and 250th at City.
 

West Ham 1-3 Manchester United: Comeback kings strike again

United do not know when they are beaten away from home this season, as they proved again in a second-half fightback at West Ham.

The Red Devils claimed a fifth straight league away win from the start of the campaign for the first time since 1985-86, despite trailing to Tomas Soucek's first-half opener.

Goals from Paul Pogba, Mason Greenwood and Marcus Rashford ensured United came from behind to win again, as they had in each prior away game this term.

They have claimed 15 points from losing positions this season, 22 in 2020 and 385 in Premier League history - all division highs.

Pogba and Greenwood seized their opportunities, but United were aided by their substitutes as Bruno Fernandes assisted the equaliser and then Juan Mata teed up Rashford's clincher.

It was just the second time United have seen three substitutes contribute to goals after Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Marouane Fellaini did so against Leicester City in August 2017.
 

Chelsea 3-1 Leeds United: Giroud goal rush continues

Olivier Giroud again showed age is just a number as he became the oldest player to score in six straight Premier League starts - at 34 years and 66 days - as Chelsea went top of the table.

Giroud, named in the XI for the first time this season, is the first Chelsea player since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in October 2001 to net in half a dozen consecutive starts, following up his four-goal haul against Sevilla in the Champions League in midweek.

The World Cup winner's strike cancelled out an opener from Chelsea old boy Patrick Bamford, who has netted seven of his eight league goals this season away from Leeds' Elland Road.

Kurt Zouma continued his fine form in front of goal with the second, before Christian Pulisic got his first of the campaign - making him the 13th different Chelsea player to score in the Premier League this term, four more than any other club.

Leeds have now lost four consecutive away league games against Chelsea for the first time since August 1937.

Frank Lampard said Chelsea fans can dream of winning the Premier League title, though he warned the Blues must focus on improving after moving top of the table.

Chelsea climbed to the top of the summit ahead of Sunday's north London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal, and Liverpool's clash with Wolves after overcoming Leeds United 3-1 on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic scored for Chelsea, who moved a point clear of rivals Tottenham and defending champions Liverpool, albeit temporarily.

Chelsea are 13 games unbeaten across all competitions and nine in the Premier League amid a growing sense of belief at Stamford Bridge, where a limited number of fans were allowed to attend the match in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The club have not won the Premier League since former boss Antonio Conte delivered the trophy in 2016-17.

Speaking during his post-match news conference, Chelsea head coach Lampard – whose Blues finished the day top of the Premier League table for the first time since 2018 – told reporters: "There's certainly nothing wrong with the fans thinking that [winning title]. Great to have them back, their input was huge, the noise they made was huge.

"You can see how excited they are at the end that we are top of the league. My job and our job is to know that it's a long season and the next question is how consistent can we be with this form, how much we can improve, because I believe there is a lot more we can do and there will be a lot of challenges ahead. Enjoy the evening.

"I will have that small glass of wine, maybe a large one, but at the same time we need to make sure we stay grounded. But there were a lot of good things. To play against Leeds in the form they are in and the type of team they are and be that dominant in terms of chances was a real great performance from us."

Giroud continued his red-hot form after being named in the XI as he became the first Chelsea player to score in six consecutive Premier League starts since Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in October 2001.

Aged 34 years and 66 days, Giroud – who netted four goals in Chelsea's Champions League rout of Sevilla – is also the oldest player to ever score in six consecutive Premier League starts.

"I think his performance was great. Off the back of the Sevilla performance, the reference he is for us as a front man as and when balls come into an area he has the ability to be cool and clinical with his finishing," said Lampard, who also revealed Hakim Ziyech is battling a hamstring injury.

"He might have had two or three more today. The personality that he is in the team. I have said it before the game, people will always question me about who I play up front because I have options. When Oli is there I know I can rely on him. Today he was huge."

Pulisic was also on target in stoppage time against visiting Leeds – the United States star becoming the 13th different player to score for Chelsea in the Premier League this season. The Blues have had at least four more than any other side in the competition in 2020-21.

Lampard added: "Really pleased today. It's been a difficult period with the injury for him and he gets frustrated in a good way because he wants to play. Having played 60 plus minutes against Sevilla I knew this game would have needed a huge amount of energy for the players and thought it was wise to start him on the bench.

"My plan was probably to give him 30 minutes. But to play the period of the game he played, with the intensity of the game and to get his goal. He has an incredible gift, it sounds simple, but arriving in the six-yard box as a wide man, because that is where the goals are. So I was delighted that he got his goal and he is only going to get stronger now."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has urged his players not to "get caught up in the chat" after they went top of the Premier League table.

The Blues claimed a 3-1 win over Leeds United at Stamford Bridge on Saturday thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud, Kurt Zouma and Christian Pulisic to move, temporarily at least, to the Premier League’s summit.

Alongside second-placed Tottenham, who face Arsenal on Sunday, Chelsea are on the joint-longest unbeaten run in the division after their victory at Stamford Bridge made it nine games without defeat.

They are the league's top scorers with 25 goals and have also kept five clean sheets – than any other top-flight team.

Lampard, however, does not want his squad to get carried away despite the impressive numbers which appear to suggest they could be title challengers.

"It's early December and there's a long way to go. But we are progressing," he told Sky Sports.

"Whether it's this season we get to the heights we want, I don't know. But we are moving in the right direction.

"When you bring in new players, have young players, you're trying to integrate them. I'm really pleased. It's work on the training ground and staff behind the scenes.

"At our level, at Chelsea, people will always question us. Our job is to not get caught up in the chat.

"We have to keep our feet on the ground. There's a long, long way to go. At the minute we're in a patch."

Chelsea's variety of goalscoring options is reflected by the fact 13 of their players have now found the net this season – four more than any other club.

Among them is Zouma, whose powerful header midway through the second half put Chelsea ahead on Saturday after Giroud cancelled out Patrick Bamford's early opener.

France defender Zouma has four goals in 10 Premier League games this season, as many as he managed in his first 141 games in the competition, while Pulisic became the latest Chelsea player to find the net when he slid in to divert Timo Werner's cross home late on.

Lampard acknowledged the importance he has placed on improving their attacking threat in different areas, and especially from dead-ball situations.

He added: "We have worked on his finishing from set-pieces, but there's something about the group at the moment. They're really knuckling down and Kurt is full of confidence.

"He thinks he will score. Set-pieces are huge, if you want to do anything in the Premier League you have to be good at set pieces."

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