There is a team from Merseyside leading the way in the Premier League, but it is not the reigning champions.

Everton have started the 2020-21 season in outstanding form, making it four wins from four as they saw off Brighton and Hove Albion to move clear of neighbours Liverpool and Leicester City at the summit.

Manchester City are a little off the pace in the early stages after they were held by Leeds United, while Chelsea and Newcastle United were victorious on home turf in Saturday's action.

Now the dust has settled, relive the action with the help of some notable facts from Opta.

 

Chelsea 4-0 Crystal Palace: Chilwell impresses before Jorginho hits the spot

Talk about a game of contrasting halves. Chelsea struggled in the first 45 minutes, but everything changed when Ben Chilwell opened the scoring on his 100th Premier League appearance - his first for the Blues since arriving from Leicester.

The left-back also delivered the ball that allowed Kurt Zouma to double the advantage, making Chilwell just the third player to score and assist in a Premier League debut for Chelsea, a feat previously achieved by Deco and Alvaro Morata.

Jorginho converted twice from the spot to give the final score a lopsided look, meaning the midfielder has scored 10 of his 11 penalties in the Premier League (his solitary miss came against Liverpool last month, in case you happen to have forgotten).

Still, perhaps the outcome should have been expected. Chelsea have now won six straight in the league against Palace, who have been beaten in nine of their past 12 top-flight outings.

Everton 4-2 Brighton and Hove Albion: Inspirational James helps Toffees stay perfect

The good times continue at Goodison Park as Everton continue to impress. The previous time they won four in a row at the start of the season was back in 1969, when Carlo Ancelotti was 10 years old.

James Rodriguez is certainly rolling back the years since his arrival in England, scoring twice in this game to help down the Seagulls. He was one of three Colombians to appear in this fixture too, joined by team-mate Yerry Mina and Brighton's Steven Alzate.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin continued his scoring streak with the opener, becoming the first player to find the net in each of Everton's first four Premier League games of a season in the process.

Another error by Jordan Pickford is a concern - the England international has now made 11 that led to goals since his Everton debut in August 2107, more than any other goalkeeper in that time - but should not spoil the feel-good atmosphere on the blue half of Merseyside.

Leeds United 1-1 Manchester City: Pep makes his point as Rodrigo ends wait

The clash between stylists Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola did not disappoint, even with heavy rainfall throughout at Elland Road. Pep remains unbeaten against his fellow coach in four meetings, though he had to settle for a point as his depleted City side were pegged back.

Raheem Sterling broke the deadlock; he has scored more goals than any other Premier League player in all competitions since the start of last season (34), albeit this one was not enough to secure victory.

Rodrigo levelled, in the process becoming the first Spaniard to score for Leeds in the Premier League. It was not his first in the competition, though, as that came for Bolton nine years and 272 days earlier. Only Andy Johnson (nine years and 276 days) has had a longer gap between goals in the Premier League era.

Speaking of gaps, City have four points from three games so sit eight points behind Everton. Plenty of time left yet, of course, but the international break may come at a nice time for Guardiola and his squad, provided no players get injured while representing their countries.

Newcastle United 3-1 Burnley: Maximin effect helps give Bruce home comforts

Allan Saint-Maximin stole the show as Steve Bruce's side collected their first home league win in six attempts, while they are unbeaten in seven against Burnley at St James' Park.

Callum Wilson converted a late penalty to finish with a brace, making the striker the first Newcastle player to have four goals in his opening four Premier League games since Les Ferdinand in the 1995-96 campaign.

While Newcastle head into the break on a high, Burnley remain without a point to their name. The last time they lost three straight to start a top-flight campaign was back in 1927-28.

There was a reason to celebrate for Ashley Westwood, grabbing Burnley's goal as he became the eighth player to hit the 100-game mark in the Premier League for the club.

This, however, is a game that will be remembered for the excellence of Saint-Maximin, who both scored and assisted in a Premier League fixture for the first time.

Pep Guardiola accepted a 1-1 draw was a fair result for Manchester City after they were pegged back by Leeds United at Elland Road.

Raheem Sterling gave a depleted City side the lead in the 17th minute, with the visitors dominating for the majority of the opening half of Saturday's Premier League fixture.

However, Leeds weathered the storm amid heavy rainfall and, after the break, caused their opponents problems. Eventually, Rodrigo equalised, the Spaniard capitalising on an error by visiting goalkeeper Ederson.

The two teams then went toe-to-toe in pursuit of a winner and while City were unable to score again, Guardiola was pleased with the performance, considering some of the key players missing.

"It was a good game, a fair result," Guardiola told Sky Sports. "We made an incredible 30 minutes when we could have scored more goals, but we could not.  

"We knew this was a team that, until the final whistle, they will be there. But my team, with the situation that we have, without pre-season and a lot of players out, they showed an incredible behaviour. 

"Unfortunately, we could not win, but we move on from here."

City were without forward duo Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus, as well as midfielder Ilkay Gundogan, though new signing Ruben Dias featured from the start following his arrival from Benfica.

On the performance of the team, Guardiola added: "We played a good game, a different game to ones we're used to - more up and down, more transitions.  

"In the first half, before they had the chances at the end, we had chances to kill the game.  

"In the second half it was a little more equal - there was a part when they were better, then in the last 10 or 15 minutes we were better as we tried to win the game."

Guardiola admitted it is "not easy" to play against Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds, who have impressed in the early stages of the 2020-21 season following their return to the top flight.

"They put a lot of players behind our midfield line, they attack incredibly quick with the quality of players they have, fast players outside," the City boss said. 

"It's not easy to play against them. I think all the teams they played this season so far, and last season in the Championship, they've shown how good they are."

Raheem Sterling has been impressed at how Manchester City have coped without key players despite having to settle for a 1-1 draw against Leeds United. 

Sterling scored an impressive opener on Saturday, but City were ultimately denied victory in a thrilling Premier League encounter at Elland Road, Rodrigo equalising in the second half after a mistake by goalkeeper Ederson. 

The latest strike for England international Sterling meant he has scored 34 goals in all competitions since the start of last season, more than anyone else in the Premier League. 

He also has eight opening goals over that period, a record only bettered by Danny Ings (12) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (nine). 

As well as his impressive individual form, Sterling believes Pep Guardiola's squad have managed well without the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Ilkay Gundogan.

That positive assessment comes despite them dropping points against Leeds a week after a humbling 5-2 home defeat to Leicester City, though those league games were either side of a 3-0 EFL Cup win at Burnley in which Sterling netted twice. 

"There were a few setbacks that we have had like injuries," Sterling said to BBC Sport after City racked up 23 shots but managed to get just two of those on target. 

"I think we have done well with a short squad that we have had. 

"We have done fantastic, and after the international break we should have a fit squad and be ready to go." 

Sterling enjoyed an end-to-end battle with Leeds, who hit the woodwork twice, while City did the same through Kevin De Bruyne. 

"It was a difficult game," added the City forward. "The energy levels start to finish we impressive. 

"They were right in our faces. I prefer playing against teams like that instead of 11 men behind the ball."

Rodrigo capitalised on a bad mistake from Ederson to score his first goal for Leeds United and secure a 1-1 Premier League draw against Manchester City at Elland Road.

City, hammered 5-2 at home by Leicester City last weekend, made a blistering start in driving rain at Elland Road and Raheem Sterling deservedly put them in front.

Leeds grew into a pulsating contest, though, and record signing Rodrigo opened his account for the promoted side soon after coming on when goalkeeper Ederson made a mess of trying to deal with a corner.

Rodrigo also hit the crossbar twice as the Whites continued their impressive start to life in the top tier, although City felt they should have had a late penalty for a challenge on Sterling.

It meant Pep Guardiola and Marcelo Bielsa having to settle for a point apiece in a clash that was billed as the master against the apprentice.

Ruben Dias has been named in Manchester City's starting XI for the trip to Leeds United, giving the centre-back his club debut.

Dias' move to City for an initial £62million (€68m) was confirmed by Benfica last Sunday.

Nicolas Otamendi went the other way as part of the deal, and Dias – whose arrival was formalised by City two days later – comes straight into the starting XI at the first opportunity.

Dias was unavailable for the 3-0 EFL Cup win over Burnley on Wednesday, but he takes the place of Fernandinho in the line-up and partners Aymeric Laporte in what many believe will be City's long-term first-choice pairing at centre-back.

There is also a first Premier League start for winger Ferran Torres, another of City's new signings having joined for a reported initial fee of £20m (€22m) from Valencia in pre-season.

He started and scored in the win over Burnley.

This is City's first Premier League game since getting hammered 5-2 at home by Leicester City last weekend.

It sees Pep Guardiola go up against Marcelo Bielsa, one of his biggest influences as a coach.

Pep Guardiola has hailed new Manchester City signing Ruben Dias as "a natural leader" but insists he will not deviate from his preferred defensive system.

Dias joined City for an initial fee of £62million (€68m), with Nicolas Otamendi heading to Benfica as part of the deal, and he could make his Premier League debut against Leeds United on Saturday.

The centre-half's move was announced in the hours after City had lost 5-2 at home to Leicester City, marking the first time a Guardiola team had conceded five goals in a game in a coaching career spanning 686 matches.

The City boss warned Dias will need time to adjust to his new surroundings but is confident he will make a big difference when he is settled.

"We knew all about his personality before we tried to buy him," Guardiola told Sky Sports.

"He's not just a player with skills, he's a natural leader - you have to be to be captain of a team like Benfica, one of the greatest teams of all time in Europe, at 23. In a short time, he'll be captain of Portugal, too.

"He needs time - to know the players, to know the way we want to play, but he came here for six years; in that time he will become an important player for us."

City have spent in the region of £400million on defenders since Guardiola took charge in 2016, but defensive concerns over the past year have prompted doubts about their strength at the back.

They were punished for some suspect defending in their 2-1 FA Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal and 3-1 Champions League exit at the hands of Lyon last season, and they have kept only one clean sheet in their past six games in all competitions.

Concerns about the vulnerability of a high defensive line are not about to force Guardiola into a change, though.

"The high line has always been like this for me," he said. "My teams have conceded the fewest goals playing 40 metres away from our box. I've always believed the further you are from your goal, the less chance you have to concede.

"We have to control the counter-press as a team, we have to improve playing against the counter-attack. We have to have more passes to have more control in the game but I don't see it as a big issue right now. We didn't lose against Leicester because of the counter-attack.

"Every day I try to get the players believing in the message. Most of my backroom staff have remained the same and look what we've won in three seasons.

"If ever the players don't believe the message, it will be my fault. I have to keep doing my best to try and convince them. I know that when you're winning, everything you're doing is right, and when you lose, you have a problem. But they're pretty convinced by what we're doing."

City face Leeds United on Saturday, a team managed by Marcelo Bielsa, the man Guardiola says he admires the most "as a manager and also a person".

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss also looks to Bielsa as a reason never to abandon your principles "not even in the bad moments".

"Whether your career is long or short, you have ups and downs, but never in the downs do I doubt about the players or the way I feel. Nobody can assure you of a victory, nobody can assure you with one idea that you will have success," he added.

"You have to believe in your own convictions."

Pep Guardiola hailed Marcelo Bielsa as "the most authentic manager all the time" and a "gift" to the Premier League ahead of Manchester City's trip to Elland Road.

Guardiola has long since spoken of his huge admiration for the Leeds United boss, describing the wily Argentine as the best coach in the world.

Bielsa dismissed talk of being a mentor for City manager Guardiola as the two prepare to pit their wits against each other in the English top flight for the first time on Saturday.

Guardiola travelled to Argentina for an inspirational meeting with Bielsa back in 2006 and has since come up against the 65-year-old when Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao did battle in LaLiga.

There was huge praise from Guardiola for Bielsa on the eve of the showdown in West Yorkshire.

The Spaniard told the media: "He's probably the person I've admired the most in world football. As a manager and as a person.

"I think he's the most authentic manager all the time, in terms of how he conducts his teams. He's unique. Nobody can imitate him, it's impossible, Especially his behaviour as a person on the pitch, related to the media.

"I was fortunate, I don't see him every week, but the pleasure to when I can spend time with him, it's so inspirational for me.

"My theory is the manager is not about the titles, because I feel far away from his knowledge. My teams won more titles than his, but in terms of knowledge of the game, I am away from him. It is a good present, a good gift to have him in the Premier League."

Leeds have won two of their opening three matches on their return to top tier after a 16-year absence and only a late Liverpool goal consigned them to a 4-3 defeat at Anfield.

Guardiola knows what to expect from Bielsa's in-form side this weekend.

He said: "They do exactly what they have to do. They are a team, fight for each other, defend a lot around the box. They have good build-up.

"At the right moment, they arrive with a lot of players. I played three times against Marcelo at Bilbao, and every game was so difficult."

Pep Guardiola will decide after training on Friday whether new signing Ruben Dias will start for Manchester City at Leeds United on Saturday.

Dias joined City for an initial fee of £62million (€68m), with Nicolas Otamendi heading to Benfica as part of the deal.

City boss Guardiola said the Portugal centre-back has settled in well, but would not confirm if he will go straight into the side for the Premier League clash at Elland Road.

He said during a news conference on Friday: "He [Dias] trained two training sessions, yesterday and today.

"He's good, he's part of the team right now, we'll see tomorrow, training session this afternoon then we'll decide."


Gabriel Jesus will not face in-form Leeds as the striker continues to recover from knee surgery.

Asked about the Brazil international's condition, Guardiola replied: "He is not ready. Hopefully after the international break he will be ready."

Ilkay Gundogan, who tested positive for coronavirus last month, returned to the club on Friday but has not rejoined his team-mates for training.

Guardiola said of the midfielder: "Today was the first day he is back but he didn't train. He will train with us during the international break and we will see."

Guardiola's side were hammered 5-2 at home by Leicester City in the Premier League last weekend before responding with a 3-0 EFL Cup victory at Burnley.

Hansi Flick suggested Michael Cuisance and Javi Martinez could yet stay at Bayern Munich as he made it clear he wants a strong squad for 2020-21.

Cuisance has been linked with Leeds United, having started only three games in the Bundesliga since joining from Borussia Monchengladbach last year.

Martinez, 32, has been tipped to move back to Athletic Bilbao following eight hugely successful years in Germany.

However, head coach Flick appears happy to keep both players in his plans in order to give Bayern the best chance possible of competing on all fronts again this season.

They have brought in Alexander Nubel, teenager Tanguy Nianzou and Germany star Leroy Sane in the transfer window, but the latter will be out until after the next international break with a knee injury.

With David Alaba also struggling and the fixture list piling up – Bayern face Borussia Dortmund in the DFL-Supercup on Wednesday and Hertha Berlin in the league on Sunday – Flick wants as many options as possible.

"We last saw each other yesterday. We have no new information since Thursday. As long as he's in my team, I'll plan with him as well. Javi has done a lot for the club," he told reporters of Martinez on Tuesday.

"Both [Cuisance and Martinez] trained today, so I assume both will be in the squad tomorrow. We all know that, shortly before the transfer window closes, the situation is not easy.

"Hasan [Salihamidzic, sporting director] and I agree: the new season will not only be difficult for Bayern. We have until October 5. For now, the fact is that Mika and Javi are still in the squad. They are part of our team.

"One thing is also clear: we want to win trophies and games. The fact we lost to Hoffenheim is very far from my thoughts. But if we want to achieve objectives, we have to have a squad available.

"On October 15, we play in the DFB-Pokal; on October 17, we play in the Bundesliga. Before that, there are international matches. I didn't create those dates – you have to think about whether that makes sense."

Will he or won't he?

That's the question regarding Jadon Sancho and a possible move to Manchester United.

United, however, are reportedly bullish about their chances of prising the England international from Borussia Dortmund.

 

TOP STORY – SOLSKJAER CONFIDENT IN SANCHO PURSUIT

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho he expects the blockbuster transfer to be completed, according to Dagbladet.

United have so far been unable to prise Sancho from Dortmund, who refuse to budge on their £108million (€120m) asking price, with the transfer window set to close on October 5.

However, Solskjaer appears confident of landing his number one target.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona could announce the signing of Ajax full-back Sergino Dest on Tuesday, reports Fabrizio Romano. Bayern Munich are also trying to prise the United States international from Amsterdam.

- The Telegraph says Tottenham are eyeing Bournemouth forward Josh King, who was previously linked to United.

United are closing in on Porto full-back Alex Telles. Romano claims personal terms have been agreed, with final details and agents commission remaining as United and Porto negotiate a fee.

- The Guardian reports Tottenham have not given up on signing Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar. Inter are holding out for £55m (€60m) but Spurs are only prepared to pay between €30m-€35m. Napoli's Nikola Maksimovic could reportedly replace Skriniar in Milan.

- According to L'Equipe, Leeds United are nearing a deal to sign Bayern midfielder Michael Cuisance. Leeds have been unable to meet Udinese's demands for star Rodrigo De Paul.

Marcelo Brozovic has realised Inter want to sell him as the Croatia international eyes an exit, reports Calciomercato. It comes as Inter chase Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante, who has since been linked to United.

- Romano says Milan are confident of completing a deal for Bodo/Glimt star Jens Petter Hauge, who impressed during the Europa League qualifier at San Siro.

Manchester City shipped five goals in a home league match for the first time in 17 years as they were shocked by Leicester City on Sunday.

Brendan Rodgers' men were in rampant form at the Etihad Stadium and were inspired by Jamie Vardy, who is proving quite the scourge of Pep Guardiola defences.

Tottenham were denied a win over Newcastle United by another late, late penalty in a Premier League match in 2020-21, while Leeds United enjoyed Yorkshire bragging rights over Sheffield United.

West Ham, meanwhile, put Wolves to the sword as manager David Moyes watched on television while in self-isolation.

Here are some of Opta's top numbers from a scintillating day of play...

 

Manchester City 2-5 Leicester City: Guardiola in uncharted territory

Guardiola had gone 685 games in all competitions in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City without his team conceding five goals. Over to you, Jamie Vardy.

The striker scored three times, two of them from the penalty spot, to take his tally to eight league goals against City since Guardiola took charge – the most of any player against a team managed by the Catalan – and inspire Leicester to a 5-2 win.

City had never conceded five in a game at the Etihad Stadium before and last let in that many in a home Premier League match against Arsenal in February 2003.

As for Vardy, he is the only player to convert two hat-tricks against a Guardiola team. The only other man to score even one such treble is Lionel Messi.

Tottenham 1-1 Newcastle United: Kane assists not enough

Harry Kane is fashioning a new name for himself as Tottenham's assist king.

He teed up Lucas Moura to open the scoring against Newcastle, thereby reaching five Premier League assists already for 2020-21 – that's only two short of his record for a single season in 2016-17 and as many as in his previous 54 league appearances.

In fact, only Ruel Fox for Newcastle in 1994-95 and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Manchester United in 2017-18 have ever managed five assists in the opening three matchdays of a Premier League season.

Of course, it was Newcastle who got the real helping hand here, Eric Dier's unfortunate handball allowing Callum Wilson to equalise with a penalty after 96 minutes and 20 seconds, the latest any team has ever scored with their first shot on target in a Premier League match since at least 2006.

Sheffield United 0-1 Leeds United: Bamford loves the big time

Patrick Bamford only scored four Championship goals between February and late July last season. In the Premier League, he has three in three games. Some people just flourish on the biggest stages.

The striker is the first Leeds player ever to score in his first three top-flight games for the club and only the third person to net on the each of the first three matchdays for a promoted side in the Premier League. The others were Teemu Pukki for Norwich City last season and Michael Ricketts for Bolton Wanderers in 2001-02.

His header against Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United also saw Bamford become the first Leeds player to score in the first three matches of a top-flight campaign since Mick Jones back in 1968-69. They went on to win the title that season...

West Ham 4-0 Wolves: Bowen finds his feet

Jarrod Bowen scored twice against Wolves as West Ham romped to a mightily impressive win over Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves, while boss Moyes was unable to attend after testing positive for coronavirus.

Bowen got his first brace in league football since December 2019, converting two impressive finishes to put the Hammers 2-0 ahead. He had only scored once in his first 22 Premier League outings.

With a relative dry spell in the past year apparently behind him, don't bet against the 23-year-old to build on this performance. Since the start of 2017-18, only Liverpool star Mohamed Salah (50) and Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero (38) have scored more league goals at home across England's top four divisions than Bowen (36).

Leeds United have completed the signing of Diego Llorente from Real Sociedad for a reported £18.7million (€20m).

Sociedad announced on Tuesday that an agreement had been reached between the clubs and two days later Leeds confirmed Llorente had passed his medical and signed a four-year contract.

The 27-year-old is looking forward to working under Marcelo Bielsa and says he is ready to play against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday if required.

He told a news conference: "For me, this step is very important. I think that I am doing the right thing. I hope to help my team-mates and to improve my football.

"I want to learn a lot off the coach. I think we can have a great season and I will give my best.

"The coach has been an important factor to be here. I think I can learn a lot from him and improve my football, so it's an honour for me to train and learn from Marcelo.

"It was a difficult few days for me with a lot of change in a short time, but I am always ready to help the team. I'm always ready to help the coach if he wants me to play right now."

The former Real Madrid centre-back joined Sociedad in 2017 following successful loan spells at Rayo Vallecano and Malaga in LaLiga.

Spain international Llorente will likely have to compete with captain Liam Cooper and new signing Robin Koch for a starting place in the centre of defence.

Leeds have three points from their opening two Premier League games, having bounced back from losing 4-3 at Liverpool to defeat Fulham by the same scoreline.

Leeds United moved a step closer to the signing of Diego Llorente after Real Sociedad announced the teams have reached an agreement in principle.

The move is subject to Llorente passing a medical at Leeds in a deal that reportedly could reach £18.7million (€20m).

The former Real Madrid centre-back joined Sociedad in 2017 following successful loan spells at Rayo Vallecano and Malaga in LaLiga.

A statement issued by his club read: "Real Sociedad would like to thank Diego for the professionalism and commitment shown during the three years that he has been here, at the same time wishing him the best for his personal and professional future."

Spain international Llorente will likely have to compete with captain Liam Cooper and new signing Robin Koch for a starting place in the centre of defence.

Leeds have three points from their opening two Premier League games, having bounced back from losing 4-3 at Liverpool to defeat Fulham by the same scoreline.

The Premier League is in full swing after its second weekend of the 2020-21 season. How did we do without it for… about a month?

While fans remain barred from joining the players in the stadiums – which could yet be the case for much of the season – supporters are at least being treated to plenty of entertainment on TV.

The action certainly picked up where it left off from the previous week, as Saturday provided us with 21 goals across four matches, and that was followed by another 18 in Sunday's four – that's an average of nearly five per game.

Among those goals we saw James 'not Premier League proven' Rodriguez continue to impress and open his account for Everton, Wilfried Zaha down Manchester United and Son Heung-min score four, with each one set up by Harry Kane, remarkably.

An enthralling weekend brought about plenty of talking points and stats – read on for some of the quirkiest facts we could find with the help of Opta.

JAMES FINDS HIS RANGE

From the moment James arrived on Merseyside, the Colombian looked destined to provide plenty of excitement for Carlo Ancelotti's men.

His lovely 20-yard strike into the bottom-right corner during the Toffees' 5-2 win over West Brom meant 18 of his 53 goals scored in Europe's top five leagues have been from outside the penalty area. That's 34 per cent.

A fine record, though it's some way off the Premier League's deadliest from distance. Tom Huddlestone (10 of 12) has scored the greatest proportion of his top-flight goals (83.3 per cent) from outside the area among players to have reached double digits, while Frank Lampard (41) has the largest total.

 

DE GEA'S PENALTY WOES

When Zaha stepped up to a 74th-minute penalty in the hope of making it 2-0 to Crystal Palace at Old Trafford, few will have been banking on David de Gea's chances of making a save – not because the Palace star is great from the spot, but because of the Spaniard's shocking record in such scenarios.

Stopping a penalty is obviously tough, that's literally the point, but, after conceding Zaha's, De Gea has saved just 7.1 per cent (two of 28), with Paul Robinson (three from 49 for 6.1 per cent) the only goalkeeper to have a worse record among those who've faced 25 or more in the Premier League.

By contrast, Simon Mignolet faced the same number as De Gea but produced six more saves, giving him a 28.6 per cent save rate.

 

AWAY DAYS IN 'GOD'S OWN COUNTRY'

Yorkshire, or 'God's own country' as it is playfully dubbed by locals, is usually renowned for being friendly and welcoming – but perhaps less so when football's involved.

The omens weren't great for Fulham ahead of Saturday's trip to Leeds United, and as it happened they lost 4-3 in a belting contest, meaning they have lost eight successive Premier League matches away to Yorkshire clubs since their first – a 1-0 win at Elland Road in 2002.

Of clubs from outside the region, only Oldham Athletic (0) have a worse points-per-game record than Fulham (0.33). Newcastle United boast the best record of teams to have played more than 10 matches in Yorkshire, winning 1.76 points on average across their 29 games.

In a blow to religion fans everywhere, the Red Devils also tend to do pretty well in 'God's own country' - United have averaged 1.68 points in their 34 Yorkshire away days, losing just nine.

 

KNOWING ME, KNOWING UNITED (ZAHA)

Zaha had the decisive impact against his former club United on Saturday, with his brace effectively the difference in the 3-1 win Palace deservedly clinched.

Not only were they his first goal involvements against United in the league, he became the first player to net a brace against the Red Devils having previously represented them in the competition.

Zaha is now the joint-most prolific former United player in games against them, having drawn level with Fraizer Campbell, Keith Gillespie, Mark Hughes, Paul Ince and Danny Welbeck on two goals.

JAMAL LEWSES

Although Jamal Lewis impressed for Norwich City as they were relegated last season, he became rather familiar with home Premier League defeats and that has continued since moving to Newcastle.

A 3-0 loss to visitors Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday means Lewis has lost 12 of his 16 home matches in the top-flight – that's 75 per cent, and a joint-record for players with at least 15 home games played in the Premier League.

Kevin Kyle (20 games, 15 defeats) is other player with a 75 per cent losing rate, while Tommy Miller (18 games, 13 defeats – 72.2 per cent), Bruce Dyer (21 games, 15 defeats – 71.4 per cent) and Terence Kongolo (23 games, 16 defeats – 69.6 per cent) round out the bottom five.

Will Manchester City finally land Kalidou Koulibaly?

Pep Guardiola's City want defensive reinforcements and Napoli centre-back Koulibaly is reportedly at the top of the list.

If they are unsuccessful, Sevilla's Jules Kounde is next on the list.

 

TOP STORY – CITY NOT GIVING UP KOULIBALY

Manchester City are still in talks with Napoli to sign star defender Kalidou Koulibaly, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

City have been tipped to sign Koulibaly, who has also been linked to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

However, City are yet to reach an agreement with Napoli and Sevilla's Jules Kounde is the "backup option" but a bid has already been turned down.

 

ROUND-UP

- Romano says Wolves will complete the signing of Barcelona full-back Nelson Semedo on Monday. It comes as Barca eye Ajax defender Sergino Dest or Real Betis' Emerson to replace Semedo. Norwich City's Max Aarons has also been linked.

Milan have made Fiorentina's Nikola Milenkovic their number one defensive target ahead of Celtic centre-back Kristoffer Ajer, reports the Daily Record.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus are eyeing Real Madrid full-back Marcelo. The Brazilian has been repeatedly linked with a Cristiano Ronaldo reunion in Turin.

- The Telegraph says PSG are interested in Tottenham's Dele Alli. Out of favour under Jose Mourinho, Spurs are reportedly targeting Manchester United's Jesse Lingard as a replacement.

Roma remain interested in Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik but Madrid outcast Luka Jovic has emerged as 'Plan B', according to Calciomercato.

Leeds United are out of the race to sign Dinamo Zagreb sensation Josko Gvardiol, reports Romano. Wanted by Marcelo Bielsa, the Croatian teenager is now set for Bundesliga outfit RB Leipzig.

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