Manchester City claimed their biggest-ever top-flight victory with an 8-0 thrashing of Watford on Saturday to move within two points of Premier League leaders Liverpool thanks to Bernardo Silva’s hat-trick.

A 3-2 defeat away to Norwich City last time out had raised questions about the hunger in Pep Guardiola's squad, but they responded with a brutal dismantling of the Hornets on home turf.

Liverpool will restore their five-point cushion at the top if they beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, with Leicester City two points behind Guardiola's side after a 2-1 win over Tottenham.

In the day's other matches, Burnley moved up to seventh with a routine 2-0 home win over Norwich, while Everton lost 2-0 at home to Sheffield United.

DEVASTATING CITY BACK TO THEIR BEST

City's defeat against Norwich at Carrow Road had been their first since January, but any concerns it was anything more than a minor blip were pointedly answered by Guardiola's men against Watford.

The swagger with which City brushed aside Watford to take a 5-0 lead inside 18 minutes was a reminder of the defending Premier League champions' quality and ruthlessness.

David Silva opened the scoring in the first minute of the game and that was followed by a Sergio Aguero penalty six minutes later – his 100th league goal at the Etihad Stadium.

Watford's defenders were left in a daze by City's slick interchanges as three goals – scored by Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo and Nicolas Otamendi – blew the visitors away.

The second half could have been something of an anti-climax, but Bernardo notched his hat-trick before the sensational Kevin De Bruyne rounded off the scoring.

LEICESTER FIGHT BACK DESPITE VAR

Mauricio Pochettino's 250th Premier League game in charge of Tottenham ended in defeat as his side's away day blues continued at the King Power Stadium in a match dominated by VAR.

Spurs have been memorable beneficiaries of the VAR review system in draws against Manchester City – most famously in a dramatic climax to their Champions League quarter-final second leg last season.

However, when Serge Aurier's goal was disallowed at the King Power Stadium because of the tightest of offside decisions against Son Heung-min when they were 1-0 up thanks to Harry Kane, it took the wind out of their sails.

Leicester were re-energised and after they equalised through Ricardo Pereira they took all three points thanks to a sublime low strike from James Maddison.

The Foxes themselves had earlier been denied a goal when the score was 0-0, after Wilfred Ndidi bundled in from close range only for it to be chalked off by VAR for offside against Ayoze Perez.

BLADES SLICE THROUGH TOFFEES

It was a tetchy day at Goodison Park as Everton suffered back-to-back defeats in the Premier League against newly promoted Sheffield United.

An own goal from Colombian defender Yerry Mina, who headed in an Oliver Norwood corner, came against the run of play, but the Toffees were unable to find a way back despite long spells of pressure.

When Lys Mousset slotted in his first goal for the Blades with 11 minutes to go it was start of grumbles from the Everton fans about whether Marco Silva is the man to take them forward as they started to stream towards the exits. They became boos when the full-time whistle was blown.

Chris Wilder's side, meanwhile, leapfrogged the Blues into the comfort of mid-table.

CLARETS ENJOY HOME COMFORTS

Burnley's ability to punch above their weight in the Premier League in recent seasons has been largely down to their impressive results at Turf Moor. 

A typically dogged and disciplined display from Sean Dyche's men secured another three points and lifted them up to seventh in the table.

Victory was secured thanks to two goals in four minutes from powerful striker Chris Wood, as Norwich failed to hit the heights of their previous win over Man City.

Sheffield United owner Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Sa'ud says the club could take investment from the 'very respectable' Bin Laden family.

One of Saudi Arabia's most influential and richest families, the Bin Laden name will always be indelibly associated with Osama Bin Laden's terrorist acts.

According to reports, the Bin Laden family previously loaned Sheffield United £3million and Saudi Arabia's Prince Abdullah, who this week won an ownership battle with Kevin McCabe, could turn to them again.

"I really am offended when the Bin Laden family are given a bad name," Prince Abdullah told a news conference. "They are a very respectable family.

"It is a really good family. It had a black sheep, as most families do, but it's a really respectable family and if I do business with them again, I'd be happy to.

"It's not a disgraced name.

"The [Bin Laden] family were looking to buy Kevin's shares, and the money they put was a down-payment to give them time to do due diligence.

"If they decided not to buy, the money was to be used as a loan for a year without any interest.

"I'm usually tolerant but when people talk about Bin Laden as a dirty family I get offended. It's not my family to support but I think it's the right thing to say."

Prince Musa'ad bin Khalid bin Musa'ad Al Sa'ud, Prince Abdullah's 26-year-old son-in-law, becomes Sheffield United chairman after McCabe lost his battle for Blades ownership in the High Court.

Prince Abdullah bin Musa'ad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has won a High Court case to settle the ownership of Sheffield United.

The Saudi prince and businessman had been involved in a lengthy dispute with co-owner Kevin McCabe over the majority ownership of the Premier League club.

McCabe gave Prince Abdullah a 50 per cent stake in United's parent company Blades Leisure Limited (BLL), but the Englishman attempted to mount a takeover bid after a breakdown in the pair's relationship.

Prince Abdullah lodged a counter bid, which McCabe refused to process, but after three months to consider the evidence presented in the case, Mr Justice Fancourt published his findings in the prince's favour.

"This morning [Monday], the High Court issued its judgement requiring Sheffield United Limited (SUL) to sell its shares of Blades Leisure Limited to me and dismissing all of the claims which SUL has made against me and my lawyer," a statement from Prince Abdullah read.

"I am delighted that this judgement brings to an end the uncertainty over Sheffield United's future. Our manager Chris Wilder and the team are off to a promising start and we can now focus on this vital Premier League season under stable ownership.

"When I first became involved with Sheffield United, I said that the Premier League should be our target, even though we were in League One.

"I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved together over the past six years. As we turn a new page at Bramall Lane, my first priority is to secure our position in the top tier for many years to come.

"To help realise that ambition, I am fully committed to continued investment in both the first team and the academy and to bringing best practices and the highest standards of management to the club."

 

During June's hearing, it was revealed a member of the bin Laden family had been in discussions with the prince regarding financial support, and McCabe remains sceptical that Abdullah is an "appropriate" owner of the club.

"Kevin McCabe is bitterly disappointed with the outcome of today’s judgment," the spokesperson said.

"Kevin feels a deep sense of betrayal and is in a state of shock about the way that he has been treated by Prince Abdullah and he now deeply regrets going into business with him.

"Mr McCabe sincerely hopes that he is proved wrong in relation to his deep misgivings about the suitability of Prince Abdullah as an appropriate custodian of Sheffield United."

Manchester City lost in the Premier League for the first time since January as a 3-2 defeat at injury-hit Norwich City left them five points behind leaders Liverpool in the title race.

The Reds extended their perfect run to five wins from five with a 3-1 comeback victory at home to Newcastle United in Saturday's early kick-off.

And that victory was given even more importance when the Canaries rocked the champions at Carrow Road despite being without 11 players who are in the treatment room.

There were also big wins for Tottenham and Chelsea, Manchester United handed Leicester City their first defeat of the season, Southampton won at 10-man Sheffield United and Burnley struck late to claim a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion.

LAPORTE LOSS HURTS CHAMPIONS

Aymeric Laporte has been ruled out for six months after surgery on his right knee and City's diabolical defensive performance indicated the centre-back will be horribly missed.

Kyle Walker, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi were all at fault at various times as goals from Kenny McLean, Todd Cantwell and August's Premier League player of the month Teemu Pukki earned Norwich a deserved victory against massive odds.

Pep Guardiola began with Kevin De Bruyne on the bench ahead of the Champions League starting next week and the decision backfired as City looked lost without their midfield talisman, although Sergio Aguero and Rodri struck to spark hopes of a comeback.

It is early days in the title race, but Liverpool are already looking very strong while City's weaknesses were ruthlessly exposed by Norwich in their second home win of the season.


FIVE IN A ROW FOR REDS

Newcastle United took a shock early lead at Anfield thanks to a thunderbolt from left-back Jetro Willems, but that proved as good as it got for Steve Bruce's men as they went down 3-1 to leaders Liverpool.

Sadio Mane was inspirational as the Senegal star scored twice to turn the game on its head, his second thanks to poor goalkeeping from Martin Dubravka, before Mohamed Salah wrapped things up.

With a perfect record from their five fixtures in 2019-20, Liverpool are up to 14 straight wins in the Premier League – and they are the first team in the competition's history to do so scoring more than once in each game.

This result moved them five points clear at the top and the European champions could hardly be in better shape ahead of beginning their Champions League defence away to Napoli on Tuesday.


SPURS AND CHELSEA RUN RIOT

At half-time, Spurs were 4-0 up at home to Crystal Palace while Chelsea were 3-0 up away to winless Wolves, Fiyako Tomori netting a stunner with Abraham scoring at least twice for the third Premier League game in a row.

He went one better after the break to set a record for the Blues, though a touch of the shine was taken off his performance when he put through an own goal to hand Wolves a consolation, which they added to through Patrick Cutrone.

Abraham, now the top scorer this season with seven strikes, is the first player in the history of the Premier League to score a hat-trick as well as an own goal in the same game, with fellow England talent Mason Mount also on target late on.

Son Heung-min proved unstoppable for the Eagles, with the South Korea star involved in Spurs' first three goals before Harry Kane set up Erik Lamela to make it four.

It was a much-needed three points for Spurs, who were on a three-game winless run, with a trip to Olympiacos in the Champions League to come next for Mauricio Pochettino's side.


RASHFORD PENALTY SEES UNITED BOUNCE BACK

Like Spurs, United had failed to win any of their three league games going into the international break, but they showed resilience to edge a slim victory at home to Leicester despite being without Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard.

Rashford won an early penalty when he was clumsily brought down by Caglar Soyuncu and, unlike in their 2-1 loss at home to Palace, this time he converted from 12 yards to condemn the Foxes to their first defeat of the season.

Moussa Djenepo's excellent goal earned Southampton a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane, where the Blades were cut down to 10 men when substitute striker Billy Sharp was dismissed for a challenge on Stuart Armstrong.

Brighton looked to be heading for their first home league win since March 2 thanks to Neal Maupay's controlled volley but Burnley substitute Jeff Hendrick marked his 100th Premier League appearance with a stunning late equaliser.

In the first minute of added time, the Republic of Ireland midfielder collected a lay-off from Matej Vydra to rifle a first-time drive into the bottom-right corner from 25 yards.

Tammy Abraham hit his first Premier League hat-trick as Chelsea routed Wolves, while Liverpool extended their 100 per cent record at the top of the table.

The England striker became Chelsea's youngest hat-trick scorer in the Premier League era and also netted at the wrong end as Nuno Espirito Santo's side crumbled to a 5-2 loss at Molineux.

There was a heavy victory for Tottenham, who hammered Crystal Palace 4-0 at home, and Harry Maguire helped Manchester United beat his old club Leicester City 1-0 at Old Trafford.

Elsewhere, Southampton triumphed 1-0 at 10-man Sheffield United and Burnley struck late to claim a 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion on another busy Saturday of Premier League action.


FIVE IN A ROW FOR REDS

Newcastle United took a shock early lead at Anfield thanks to a thunderbolt from left-back Jetro Willems, but that proved as good as it got for Steve Bruce's men as they went down 3-1 to leaders Liverpool.

Sadio Mane was inspirational as the Senegal star scored twice to turn the game on its head, his second thanks to poor goalkeeping from Martin Dubravka, before Mohamed Salah wrapped things up.

With a perfect record from their five fixtures in 2019-20, Liverpool are up to 14 straight wins in the Premier League – and they are the first team in the competition's history to do so scoring more than once in each game.

This result moved them five points clear at the top, although Manchester City are at a depleted Norwich City later in the day, and the European champions could hardly be in better shape ahead of beginning their Champions League defence away to Napoli on Tuesday.


SPURS AND CHELSEA RUN RIOT

At half-time, Spurs were 4-0 up at home to Crystal Palace while Chelsea were 3-0 up away to winless Wolves, Fiyako Tomori netting a stunner with Abraham scoring at least twice for the third Premier League game in a row.

He went one better after the break to set a record for the Blues, though a touch of the shine was taken off his performance when he put through an own goal to hand Wolves a consolation, which they added to through Patrick Cutrone.

Abraham, now the top scorer this season with seven strikes, is the first player in the history of the Premier League to score a hat-trick as well as an own goal in the same game, with fellow England talent Mason Mount also on target late on.

Son Heung-min proved unstoppable for the Eagles, with the South Korea star involved in Spurs' first three goals before Harry Kane set up Erik Lamela to make it four.

It was a much-needed three points for Spurs, who were on a three-game winless run, with a trip to Olympiacos in the Champions League to come next for Mauricio Pochettino's side.


RASHFORD PENALTY SEES UNITED BOUNCE BACK

Like Spurs, United had failed to win any of their three league games going into the international break, but they showed resilience to edge a slim victory at home to Leicester despite being without Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Luke Shaw and Jesse Lingard.

Rashford won an early penalty when he was clumsily brought down by Caglar Soyuncu and, unlike in their 2-1 loss at home to Palace, this time he converted from 12 yards to condemn the Foxes to their first defeat of the season.

Moussa Djenepo's excellent goal earned Southampton a 1-0 win at Bramall Lane, where the Blades were cut down to 10 men when substitute striker Billy Sharp was dismissed for a challenge on Stuart Armstrong.

Brighton looked to be heading for their first home league win since March 2 thanks to Neal Maupay's controlled volley but Burnley substitute Jeff Hendrick marked his 100th Premier League appearance with a stunning late equaliser.

In the first minute of added time, the Republic of Ireland midfielder collected a lay-off from Matej Vydra to rifle a first-time drive into the bottom-right corner from 25 yards.

Frank Lampard revealed Chelsea are set to speak to social media companies in a bid to crack down on racism after Kurt Zouma became the latest Premier League player to suffer appalling abuse on Twitter.

Zouma scored an 89th-minute own goal on Saturday as Chelsea threw away a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge.

In the immediate aftermath of the equaliser, a number of racial slurs against Zouma could be seen on Twitter.

Fellow Chelsea player Tammy Abraham and Manchester United's Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford have been subjected to similar abuse this season after missing penalties for their respective teams.

Asked if Chelsea would meet with social media companies in light of the latest posts, Lampard said in a news conference: "I think we have plans to do that."

He added: "I am probably going over old ground from Tammy. Firstly it is [the responsibility of] the person who does it, whoever is hiding.

"Then it is on the social media platforms, to give them some accountability to people who register and can be chased down for it. It is important.

"If there is no culpability to anybody then anyone can say anything. I don't care if it's racism, calling names, homophobia, sexism, everything. Unfortunately among society it is out there and it has to be dealt with."

Earlier this week, United midfielder Pogba uploaded a Twitter post in response to racism directed towards him.

"My ancestors and my parents suffered for my generation to be free today, to work, to take the bus, to play football," wrote the World Cup winner.

"Racist insults are ignorance and can only make me stronger and motivate me to fight for the next generation."

A disgruntled Frank Lampard knows Chelsea simply cannot afford the sort of slip-up that saw them give away a two-goal lead against Sheffield United on Saturday.

The Blues looked set to ease to victory over their newly promoted opponents when the in-form Tammy Abraham scored twice before the break at Stamford Bridge. 

However, Callum Robinson pulled one back in the first minute of the second period and Chelsea were left stunned when Lys Mousset's effort went in off Kurt Zouma in the 89th minute to earn the Blades a 2-2 draw.

"It was under control, it is our fault because we gifted them a goal in the first minute of the second half and then it makes the game more difficult," said Lampard, whose side have picked up just five points from their first four Premier League matches.

"We gave away a game that should have been very, very comfortable.

"There is no chance that game should be able to swing like that from our point of view. We shouldn't give them an opportunity to come back in the game. In fact we should be taking it further away from them.

"That's no disrespect to Sheffield United, they're a good team and we gave them the possibilities to hurt us. We allowed that when really we should have been closing the game out. The players know that very well now."

Much has been made of Chelsea's reliance on youth this term as the club cope with a transfer ban.

Their starting line-up on Saturday had an average age of 24 years and 158 days, their youngest in a Premier League match, but Lampard said that could not be used an excuse for Chelsea failing to claim victory.

"We want to win games, so the emergence of youth is one thing but winning games for Chelsea is another and when you are 2-0 up at half-time at home, you should win the game, it's as simple as that," he added.

"Of course there's going to be a process... we know that maybe with younger players there will be moments where we have to be a little bit patient, but we had more than enough on the pitch to win a game that we're 2-0 up in."

In contrast to Lampard, United boss Chris Wilder was predictably delighted.

He told BBC Sport: "After being 2-0 down, a point is a great result for us. That shows you what the character in this team is like."

Manchester United and Chelsea fell further off the pace in the Premier League as they lost leads in disappointing draws on Saturday.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men were unable to retain their advantage as they drew 1-1 at Southampton, while Chelsea slipped from 2-0 up in a dramatic encounter with promoted Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge.

Manchester City thumped Brighton and Hove Albion 4-0, while Liverpool will meet Burnley in the last game of the day.

Crystal Palace, Leicester City and West Ham were also winners, while Newcastle United and Watford drew 1-1.

 

BLADES COMEBACK STUNS CHELSEA

Frank Lampard is still waiting for his first home win as Chelsea boss after the Blues somehow failed to hold on against Sheffield United.

Kurt Zouma's own goal one minute from time saw the Blades claim a famous point. Callum Robinson had earlier reduced the deficit for the visitors, while he and substitute Lys Mousset were involved as the ball diverted in off Zouma's shin with the clock ticking down.

Tammy Abraham had scored twice before half-time to seemingly put Chelsea on course for victory, but instead they remain behind their opponents in the table on just five points from four games.


MAN UNITED DENIED AFTER SUPERB JAMES OPENER

Daniel James produced an excellent finish to score his third Manchester United goal and give his side a 10th-minute advantage at Southampton.

But the 10-man hosts ensured Solskjaer has now gone three straight league games without a win as Jannik Vestergaard sent in a towering header just before the hour mark.

United could not find a winner even after Kevin Danso's dismissal in the 73rd minute, the left-back picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Scott McTominay.


LAPORTE A WORRY AS AGUERO INSPIRES MAN CITY

City's win over Brighton was straightforward from the moment Kevin De Bruyne gave them the lead after 68 seconds.

The Belgium international then set up the first of two goals for Sergio Aguero either side of half-time, the other created by David Silva, who had also laid on the opener.

Aguero, who now has six goals in four games, then turned provider with 11 minutes remaining as he set up Bernardo Silva.

However, City's win came at a cost, with defender Aymeric Laporte leaving the field on a stretcher due to a suspected knee injury after colliding with Adam Webster.

City later confirmed Laporte had been hospitalised, with a diagnosis on the severity of his problem to follow.

 

VARDY BOOSTS IMPRESSIVE LEICESTER 

Elsewhere, Jamie Vardy's double inspired Leicester to a 3-1 win over Bournemouth at the King Power Stadium.

He scored in each half as well as assisting Youri Tielemans' goal for the unbeaten Foxes, with the former England striker's first effort a wonderful lob. Callum Wilson netted for Bournemouth, who have won only one of their first four games.

Crystal Palace followed up their win over Manchester United last week with a 1-0 home victory over Aston Villa, which arrived courtesy of Jordan Ayew's strike 17 minutes from time. Trezeguet was sent off for the visitors early in the second half.

It is three wins in a row across all competitions for West Ham after in-form Sebastien Haller and Andriy Yarmolenko gave them a 2-0 home triumph over Norwich City.

Will Hughes scored after 78 seconds for Watford, who had to settle for a first point of the season rather than a maiden victory after Fabian Schar cancelled out his effort for Newcastle.

Frank Lampard was denied his first home win as Chelsea manager as Kurt Zouma's 89th-minute own goal enabled Sheffield United to complete an unexpected comeback and claim a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea had looked in a comfortable position on Saturday when striker Tammy Abraham scored twice before half-time.

However, Callum Robinson pulled a goal back for United with a close-range finish in the first minute of the second period.

French forward Lys Mousset, a 79th-minute substitute, then played a key role in earning the Blades a surprise point when he connected with a Robinson cross and saw the ball deflect in off Zouma's shin.

Abraham opened the scoring as Chelsea made their superiority in the early stages of the game count.

United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, under pressure from Christian Pulisic, fumbled Abraham’s initial header from Cesar Azpilicueta’s high floating cross. Abraham was the quickest to react and from just outside the six-yard box he hooked the ball into the net on the half volley.

The Blades missed a great chance to equalise when Robinson's diving header from Chris Basham's cross went wide and Chelsea made them pay just before half-time as Abraham struck again.

Blades defenders Jack O'Connell and John Egan collided with each other as they challenged for the same ball, which allowed Abraham to break clear and crisply strike the ball past Henderson.

Robinson made up for his earlier miss when he pulled one back for the Blades almost immediately after the restart.

Enda Stevens got past Azpilicueta and delivered a teasing low cross into the box, which Robinson steered past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Robinson then turned provider when his low cross was met by Mousset, who saw his effort go into the net off Zouma to deny Chelsea victory.

 

What it means: Chelsea unable to generate momentum

A 4-0 defeat to Manchester United on the opening day of the season was a nightmare start to Lampard's tenure as Chelsea manager.

With only two draws and a victory since then, things are not looking that much rosier.

Chelsea will face much sterner tests than Chris Wilder's newly-promoted side but they were unable to secure a first win on home soil and generate some positive momentum for Lampard in their battle to secure a top-four spot.

United can be proud of a disciplined performance and Wilder would no doubt have settled for five points from their first four games. 

Abraham looking lethal

Loan spells at Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa in the past few seasons have helped Abraham smooth out the rough edges and he now looks a polished striker.

Lampard might have been tempted to sign a centre forward, had Chelsea not been hit by a transfer ban, which would have most likely restricted Abraham's opportunities.

However, if the 21-year-old can maintain this kind of form, he looks to have saved the Chelsea boss a fortune. 

The departure of Eden Hazard undoubtedly left a large void at Stamford Bridge, but Abraham showed he can go some way to filling the Belgian's boots.

Robinson catches the eye

Robinson missed a good chance towards the end of the first half and the Blades striker could easily have sulked and bemoaned his luck.

Instead, he quickly put the miss behind him as he chased, harried and continued to try to sniff out goalscoring chances.

His quick-wittedness was rewarded a minute after the break as he equalised to give United a foothold in the game when perhaps the game might have become a formality for Chelsea.

The 24-year-old former Preston forward might not be the most prolific goalscorer but will get his fair share if he continues to display such positive intent.

What's next?

After the international break, Sheffield United host Southampton at Bramall Lane on September 14. 

Chelsea are in league action on the same day with a difficult away trip to Wolves. Three days later they welcome Spanish side Valencia to Stamford Bridge in their opening Champions League fixture.

Crystal Palace recorded the biggest shock of the new Premier League season by winning away to Manchester United thanks to Patrick van Aanholt's stoppage-time strike.

Roy Hodgson's men had taken only one point from their opening two games but triumphed 2-1 at Old Trafford, with Marcus Rashford missing the first penalty of his career.

Chelsea recorded their first victory under Frank Lampard by winning 3-2 away to Norwich City in the early game, with table-toppers Liverpool and Arsenal facing off in the late kick-off.

Prior to the game at Anfield, all five away teams won in the top flight on Saturday - Southampton, Leicester City and West Ham defeated Brighton and Hove Albion, Sheffield United and Watford respectively.

PENALTY PROBLEMS PERSIST FOR SOLSKJAER'S SIDE

United dominated at home to Palace, yet lost Luke Shaw to injury and found themselves beaten by a pair of goals scored on the break – securing Palace their maiden Premier League victory at the home of the Red Devils.

Having been pegged back at Wolves on Monday, United again struggled for attacking fluency. Rashford endured a difficult day in attack and Jordan Ayew's first-half goal opened the scoring against the run of play.

Replays appeared to show United should have been given a penalty when Martin Kelly seemed to drag Anthony Martial to the ground in the box, but they could not take advantage when Paul Tierney did point to the spot when Luka Milivojevic felled Scott McTominay.

Paul Pogba failed to score a penalty at Molineux after Rashford threw him the ball and this time the England striker stepped up, his effort crashing back off the inside of the post.

United did level late on, Daniel James curling home a beauty after he was booked for simulation for the second time this term, but Palace snatched it at the death when David de Gea let Van Aanholt's drive through his hands.


YOUNG LIONS GET LAMPARD UP AND RUNNING

Chelsea were winless in their first three games under Frank Lampard but triumphed in a five-goal thriller at Carrow Road thanks to two of their youngsters.

Mason Mount scored for the second Premier League game in a row yet it was Tammy Abraham who grabbed the headlines with a brace, including the winner.

Norwich equalised twice, the second time thanks to Teemu Pukki's fifth Premier League goal of the season, but were overpowered by the Blues in the end.

HALLER OFF THE MARK AS WATFORD LOSE AGAIN

Sebastien Haller scored his first Premier League goals as he scored twice in West Ham's 3-1 win at Watford, with Javi Gracia's side bottom of the table following a third straight defeat.

Southampton were also without a point after two matches but Moussa Djenepo inspired them to a 2-0 victory at Brighton, scoring within two minutes of his arrival as a second-half substitute. Nathan Redmond wrapped up the result in added time.

Harvey Barnes' stunning strike earned Leicester their first Premier League win of the season, firing home a first-time thunderbolt after Oliver McBurnie's header cancelled out Jamie Vardy's opener at Bramall Lane.

Sheffield United have started well on their return to the big time, gaining four points from their opening two Premier League games.

The Blades have been to League One and back since they were last in the Premier League in 2007, spending six seasons in the third tier before gaining promotion to the Championship in 2017 under Chris Wilder's stewardship.

Wilder, a Blades fan and former player, has ushered in a new style of play at Bramall Lane, which bore plentiful fruit as his side edged out Yorkshire rivals Leeds United to finish second in the Championship last term.

Over the course of last season, Wilder adopted a 3-5-2 system, encouraging his team to play out from the back and get forward in numbers.

A key feature of United's play their overlapping centre-backs and, using Opta data, we have assessed just how the Blades' system works.

 

Three at the back... with a twist

Wilder's switch to a back three propelled United up the Championship and it is a fascinating, inspired approach.

The Blades' centre-backs are commonly Jack O'Connell, John Egan and Chris Basham, while Phil Jagielka rejoined the club in the off-season and provides an experienced head from the bench if required.

United's defenders are all comfortable with the ball at their feet and, while in possession, the two wider centre-backs – typically O'Connell and Basham – are given license to push on.

That allows the wing-backs to drive further forward, forcing opposing full-backs and wingers to defend, while rival midfielders must also draw wide to cover the advancing centre-backs.

Space is subsequently opened up in the middle of the park, with Oliver Norwood often dropping deep to dictate the play.

John Lundstram – whose goal earned a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Sunday – and John Fleck press high to join the strikers, providing United with six attacking options within their opponents' half.

High risk, high reward

The decision to commit so many players forward does, of course, leave United open on the counter-attack.

However, Wilder's side play with pace and aggression once over the halfway line, a fact reflected by their attempted 12,579 passes in the opposition half over the course of the 2018-19 Championship campaign – the most of any team in the second tier.

Of those attempted passes, 8,720 were successful, while United's players had 1,251 touches in the opposition box, a tally which ranked behind only Leeds and champions Norwich City.

Though United's wing-backs do push further up the field, Wilder's men are not overly reliant on crosses into the area, with their total of 720 coming in as the sixth highest in the Championship last term.

Once United do have the ball in the area, last season's top scorer Billy Sharp is often the player to wrap up the move, though club-record signing Ollie McBurnie may be expected to fill that role this season. 

Basham had 78 touches in the opposition box last season, ranking at 11th in the Championship, while the centre-back also created 29 chances. Only Enda Stevens provided more goalscoring opportunities for United. 

Defensive solidity

Wilder's system may allow United's attacking players to thrive, but it also enables the Blades to remain steady in defence.

Though the centre-backs may get caught out by a pass in behind, the three defenders do remain in their shape while in possession, screening the width of the pitch.

While defending, the wing-backs tuck inside, with Norwood and the two more advanced midfielders dropping back to provide a barrier in front of the back three.

United's lack of pace up top could prove an issue if the Blades are pushed deep into their third, though the arrival of Callum Robinson from Preston North End does mean an out ball is available, while McBurnie or David McGoldrick are capable of holding up the play.

Against stronger teams, Wilder's system may well be found out, but so far United's commitment to their style of play is working out just fine.

Chelsea were denied a first win under Frank Lampard after Leicester City fought back to draw 1-1 on Sunday, while Sheffield United recorded a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace.

Wilfred Ndidi cancelled out Mason Mount's early opener at Stamford Bridge to leave Chelsea with a solitary point in the early stages of Lampard's regime.

Leicester looked the side more likely to win the game after equalising in the 67th minute, but a couple of good chances went begging and they had to settle for a second successive draw.

Like Chelsea, Palace have also made a slow start to the new campaign after going down to a John Lundstram goal at Bramall Lane in the early kick-off - the Blades securing their first top-flight win in more than 12 years.


REDEMPTION FOR NDIDI 

Lampard's first taste of Premier League management ended in a heavy 4-0 loss to Manchester United last weekend, followed up by a penalty shoot-out defeat to Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup, and his home bow also ended in disappointment.

Chelsea got off to a positive start as Mount was rewarded for pressuring Ndidi high up the field, the English youngster taking the ball away from his opponent and powering a shot past Kasper Schmeichel for his first goal in Chelsea colours.

But Ndidi went on to atone for his error by converting the impressive James Maddison's corner, heading his team level.

Perhaps tired following their midweek exertions in Istanbul, Lampard's side were left holding on in the final quarter of the match, Maddison firing over from a good position and Jamie Vardy also passing up a presentable opportunity.


LUNDSTRAM FIRES SHEFFIELD UNITED PAST PALACE

Promoted Sheffield United marked their first Premier League game at Bramall Lane since 2007 with all three points thanks to Lundstrum's 47th-minute strike.

The 25-year-old fired home from 10 yards after Luke Freeman had been denied by Vicente Guaita, in the process joining the list of players to have scored in the top four divisions in England.

Despite having Wilfried Zaha in their starting XI, Palace struggled for attacking inspiration following last week's stalemate with Everton.

United, by comparison, are seventh in the early standings after adding to the point they claimed at Bournemouth.

Roy Hodgson says Wilfried Zaha could still leave Crystal Palace despite the Premier League's transfer window closing.

Before last week's deadline Palace rejected bids from Everton for Zaha, who was also said to be a target for Arsenal, with the winger handing in a transfer request in an attempt to force a move away from Selhurst Park.

Zaha scored 10 league goals for the Eagles last season after he signed a fresh five-year deal in August 2018.

Palace have reportedly set a value of £80million on the 26-year-old, and though a move to an English club failed to materialise in the most recent window, a transfer abroad could still go through.

The transfer window across the continent remains open until September 2 and, with clubs including Borussia Dortmund and Napoli having been previously credited with an interest in Zaha, Hodgson knows there could be another twist in the saga.

"You can never rule out the possibility that it might happen because the transfer window in Europe is still open until the end of the month," the former England manager told reporters ahead of Palace's trip to Sheffield United.

"It's not something I'm going to worry about because it's something that I cannot affect. There's not too much point worrying about it, if you ask me would I welcome it, the answer is no.

"I would rather that he gets his head down and commits himself to the season that we've got in front of us and commits himself to helping me, the coaching staff and the players into having another season that we can regard as a good one. That's what I would like."

Zaha, who returned late to pre-season training following Ivory Coast's Africa Cup of Nations campaign, was not deemed ready to start Palace's opening-day clash with suitors Everton, though he came on as a second-half substitute in the goalless draw.

Raheem Sterling scored a hat-trick as Manchester City made a stunning start to the defence of their Premier League title by hammering West Ham 5-0.

City watched last season's runners-up Liverpool romp to a 4-1 win over Norwich City on Friday and answered with an emphatic triumph of their own.

Saturday's top-flight action also saw Burnley and Brighton and Hove Albion cruise to victories over Southampton and Watford respectively.

Crystal Palace and 10-man Everton played out a goalless draw, while Sheffield United grabbed a late equaliser to claim a point at Bournemouth.

Tottenham will host Aston Villa in the last game of the day.

STERLING GIVES CITY IDEAL START

Sterling's treble inspired a five-goal away win as City commenced their quest for a third straight league crown. The England star's goals all came in the second half after Gabriel Jesus prodded the champions ahead in the 25th minute of a one-sided affair.

Sterling's well-worked first goal came six minutes after the interval and though a VAR review found he was offside before Jesus tapped in, City did get their third when he struck 15 minutes from time.

The former Liverpool player could have added the third from the spot after Issa Diop fouled the excellent Riyad Mahrez but he gifted the penalty to Sergio Aguero. The substitute's initial attempt was saved before he converted a re-take due to VAR showing Declan Rice encroached before clearing the rebound.

Sterling was not to be denied the match ball, though, as he raced clean through to convert a pass from Mahrez in added time.

MISERABLE STARTS FOR SAINTS AND WATFORD

Ashley Barnes' double was key as Burnley scored three times in the space of 12 second-half minutes to stun Southampton in a 3-0 win at Turf Moor, Johann Gudmundsson's impressive solo goal putting the icing on the cake.

New signing Neal Maupay, who arrived for a reported £20million, scored on his debut to help Brighton defeat Watford by the same scoreline at Vicarage Road.

The former Brentford striker followed fellow substitute Florin Andone by netting in the second half, Abdoulaye Doucoure's dreadful own goal after 28 minutes having set Graham Potter's new side on their way.


SHARP GRABS LATE POINT FOR BLADES

Substitute Billy Sharp finished off a goalmouth scramble with two minutes remaining to earn newly promoted Sheffield United a 1-1 draw away to Bournemouth.

Chris Mepham had earlier put the hosts in front when he converted a close-range rebound, but Sharp ensured the Blades got something from their first Premier League game since 2007.

There was also a draw as Crystal Palace held Everton at Selhurst Park, with the visitors having Morgan Schneiderlin sent off with 14 minutes remaining.

The midfielder picked up a second yellow card for a high foot Luka Milivojevic, while Wilfried Zaha - who reluctantly had to stay at Palace having been heavily pursued by Everton in the transfer window - played the last 25 minutes after coming off the bench.

Romelu Lukaku has at last secured his move to Inter from Manchester United, having signed a five-year contract.

The Belgium international said the Nerazzurri were the only club he wanted to join after United accepted an €80million (£73m) deal.

Arsenal have finally managed to bolster their defence - and twice, too. Kieran Tierney moved from Celtic with around 11 minutes of the window to go, while David Luiz's transfer from Chelsea for a reported £8m was announced later.

Tottenham have completed the signing of Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham in a package that saw them pay around £25m and send Josh Onomah to the Championship club.

Spurs also managed to get Giovani Lo Celso over the line on a season-long loan with the option to buy, although talks for Paulo Dybala ended in frustration, the Argentina star instead staying at Juventus.

Watford broke their transfer record for Rennes winger Ismaila Sarr after landing Danny Welbeck on a free and tried to get Danny Rose in at left-back, but they were unable to get it done.

Spurs have allowed Cameron Carter-Vickers to leave, though, with the 21-year-old heading to Stoke City on loan.

Danny Drinkwater should get the chance for some first-team football - at least until January 6 - after Chelsea sent him to Burnley on a half-season loan.

Leicester City did not manage to replace Harry Maguire, but they did strike a late deal for Sampdoria midfielder Dennis Praet.

Manchester City could not resist signing one more full-back before the window closed - they splashed out a reported £11m (€12m) on Pedro Porro of Girona, who is expected to spend the season on loan with Real Valladolid.

The Premier League champions also brought in goalkeeper Scott Carson on loan from Derby County for the season.

One player who did not move was Wilfried Zaha, with Crystal Palace refusing to sanction a sale to Everton. It marked a positive day for Roy Hodgson's side, who signed James McCarthy and Victor Camarasa to bolster the midfield.

Instead, the Toffees turned to Arsenal's Alex Iwobi and are believed to have got the formalities of a deal concluded before the deadline - although they have not yet announced his arrival - while they have loaned Muhamed Besic to Sheffield United.

Aaron Mooy joined Brighton and Hove Albion on a season-long loan from Huddersfield Town, who got Trevoh Chalobah from Chelsea for 2019-20. West Brom secured Charlie Austin on a two-year deal and Grady Diangana on loan, and Leeds United snapped up Eddie Nketiah from Arsenal to boost their promotion push.

There was also a notable homecoming at Newcastle United, as free agent Andy Carroll finalised terms before the deadline, while Jacob Murphy left St James' Park for a loan move to Sheffield Wednesday.

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