Erling Haaland will reportedly cost a suitor €75million next year, while Dele Alli could be set for a Tottenham exit.

Haaland is linked with a move away from Borussia Dortmund after dominating with the Bundesliga giants.

And the 20-year-old could be available for an affordable fee next year.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND AVAILABLE FOR €75M NEXT YEAR

Haaland can leave Dortmund for €75m next year, according to Esport3.

Real Madrid have been most heavily linked with a move for the forward, while Manchester United and Liverpool are also credited with interest.

Haaland, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury, has scored 33 goals in 32 games since arriving at Dortmund from Salzburg in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- Struggling for game time at Tottenham, Dele Alli could make a move in January. The Daily Mail reports Paris Saint-Germain are set to make another loan bid for Alli next month. Alli has played just 67 Premier League minutes this season.

- Amid inconsistent form and with injury worries, Barcelona may also be looking to strengthen in January. Sport reports Eric Garcia wants to join the club from Manchester City but may have to wait until the club's presidential election, which is due to be held on January 24. Garcia and Lyon star Memphis Depay feature on the cover of Mundo Deportivo, which says Ronald Koeman wants signings in January for Barca, who are ninth in LaLiga.

- Manchester United are considering their defensive options. The Manchester Evening News reports United are huge admirers of Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White, who is among their options alongside Real Madrid's Raphael Varane and RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano.

- A player who could exit Manchester United is Marcos Rojo. The Sheffield Star reports Sheffield United are interested in the defender.

Lionel Messi reportedly remains a target for Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi, 33, is contracted at Barcelona until the end of the season, having stayed at the club after sensationally requesting to leave earlier this year.

With uncertainty still surrounding his future, the Barcelona star is apparently wanted by PSG.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EXPLORING POSSIBILITY OF SIGNING MESSI

PSG are exploring the possibility of signing Barcelona star Messi, according to ESPN.

Along with Manchester City and Inter, PSG have been among the clubs most heavily linked with a move for the Argentina international.

The report says Neymar and sporting director Leonardo have discussed bringing Messi to PSG.

It comes just days after Neymar said he wanted to play with Messi again and was keen for it to happen "next season".

 

ROUND-UP

- Still linked with Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, Manchester United could look elsewhere. The Sun reports United are eyeing Leicester City winger Harvey Barnes as a possible alternative.

- Staying at Manchester United and manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been under some pressure. Bild reports the Premier League giants are interested in PSG coach Thomas Tuchel if they decide to sack Solskjaer.

- With Christian Eriksen seemingly set for an exit, Inter are considering their midfield transfer targets. CalcioMercato reports Chelsea midfielder N'Golo Kante remains Inter's dream signing, but Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum is also an option with his contract expiring at the end of the season. However, the report also says Inter could challenge Liverpool for the signing of Brighton and Hove Albion midfielder Yves Bissouma.

- Also at Liverpool, the Premier League champions are reportedly still eyeing a centre-back amid their injury woes. Bild reports RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano is on their list, as is his 21-year-old team-mate Ibrahima Konate.

- Atlanta United could be close to appointing a new coach. TyC Sports says former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Argentina defender Gabriel Heinze, most recently in charge of Velez Sarsfield, is a step away from taking over at the MLS club.

Spectators will be allowed back into some grounds for this weekend's round of Premier League fixtures, which means Tottenham will have the backing of 2,000 fans when they take on Arsenal in Sunday's north London derby.

December promises to be a hectic month for every team, and Premier League leaders Spurs will be aiming to keep themselves in pole position.

Using Opta data, we've come up with our latest weekly selection of fantasy picks, which might give some aspiring managers an edge heading into the festive period...

 

LUKASZ FABIANSKI

West Ham have shot up the table after a run of three straight wins, and sit in fifth place.

Goalkeeper Fabianski, who has conceded 11 times in total, has been crucial, with David Moyes' side conceding just once over the course of their winning run.

The former Arsenal keeper has prevented more goals (2.21) than any other Premier League goalkeeper this season, and seems set for another busy game when Manchester United visit London Stadium.

 

BENJAMIN MENDY

Given he is such an attack-minded full-back, it is hard to believe it took Mendy until last Saturday to score his first goal in English football, as he side-footed Manchester City into a three-goal lead during their 5-0 rout of Burnley.

Mendy may have only just broken his goalscoring duck, but the former Monaco left-back is a regular provider for his City team-mates.

He has registered eight assists in his 40 Premier League appearances – among top-flight defenders to play more than 10 games since his debut in the competition in August 2017, only Liverpool pair Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have more assists per game – and will be relishing going up against a leaky Fulham defence on Saturday.

LUKE AYLING

Leeds United's versatile defender Ayling looked set to go off injured early on against Everton, yet battled on to help Marcelo Bielsa's side clinch a 1-0 win at Goodison Park last time out.

Ayling has made more tackles than any other defender in the Premier League this season, registering 30 in total ahead of this weekend's clash with high-flying Chelsea.

The full-back has also proved his worth going the other way, with only two defenders – Joao Cancelo and Liverpool's Robertson – having created more chances from open play this term than Ayling's tally of 11.

 

KEVIN DE BRUYNE

A no-brainer of a fantasy pick, De Bruyne was in rampant form against Burnley, creating two of City's five goals and almost getting himself on the scoresheet with a wicked effort which rattled the woodwork.

Since his Premier League debut for Chelsea in August 2013, De Bruyne has provided 71 assists in the Premier League, at least eight more than any other player – this despite the Belgian playing just three games across the first two seasons in that run.

De Bruyne is joined in the top 10 list for assists in the last seven years by City stars Raheem Sterling (43) and Riyad Mahrez (41), while former team-mate David Silva is in second, with 63 to his name. 

 

JAMES WARD-PROWSE

A clever, cheaper fantasy alternative to De Bruyne could well be Ward-Prowse, who has been in sensational form for Southampton this term.

Ward-Prowse has scored four goals and set up a further two, taking his total tally to 26 goals and 24 assists in the Premier League for the Saints – one of just four players to register 50 or more goal involvements for Southampton in the division.

Southampton head to Brighton and Hove Albion for a south-coast derby on Monday, and their captain will be eager to deliver a match-winning display.

 

DANNY WELBECK

Going up against Southampton and Ward-Prowse will be Welbeck, who has made a bright start to his Brighton career.

After netting his first goal for the club in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa, former Arsenal and Manchester United forward Welbeck won a point-saving penalty against Liverpool.

Welbeck has an impressive record against Southampton, having been involved in six goals in his last three starts against the Saints in all competitions (four goals, two assists). 

 

HARRY KANE

It has been more about creating than scoring so far for Spurs talisman Kane this season, with the England captain having provided nine assists in 10 league appearances; crafting 21 chances in total.

Goals have of course come too, with Kane on seven for the campaign, and should he score against Tottenham's rivals Arsenal, he will be the outright highest goalscorer in competitive north London derbies.

Kane is tied on 10 goals with Tottenham great Bobby Smith and Emmanuel Adebayor, who of course played for both clubs. He has been struggling with an injury, but Jose Mourinho expects him to feature.

Arsenal and Tottenham are reportedly lining up moves for Salzburg star Dominik Szoboszlai, while three Premier League giants are monitoring Ben White.

Szoboszlai, 20, has been linked with a move from Salzburg after starring for the Austrian club.

And several European heavyweights are eyeing the Hungary international.

 

TOP STORY – ARSENAL, TOTTENHAM PUSH FOR SZOBOSZLAI

Arsenal and Tottenham are ready to push to sign Salzburg star Szoboszlai, according to Eurosport.

But the report says RB Leipzig look likely to win the battle to sign the star, despite interest also coming from Milan and Atletico Madrid.

Contracted until 2022, an offer of around €20million will reportedly be enough.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea are monitoring Brighton and Hove Albion defender White, according to Sky Sports. Liverpool have also been linked with the 23-year-old previously.

- Eyeing a defender in January amid an injury crisis, Barcelona have two targets in the Premier League. Mundo Deportivo reports Arsenal defender Shkodran Mustafi and Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger are among the players on Barca's list.

- After starring for Inter, Milan Skriniar is linked with a move. Football Insider reports Tottenham are still keeping tabs on the defender.

- Other Premier League giants could also be set for a transfer fight. The Daily Star reports Manchester United and Chelsea are facing a battle with Manchester City to sign Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria.

- Set to re-sign with Ajax, Nicolas Tagliafico could still be on the move. The Daily Mail reports the Manchester City and Leicester City target will still be allowed to leave the Eredivisie giants if a suitable offer arrives, despite re-signing.

- Catching the eye with Cagliari, Nahitan Nandez is being targeted by Roma and Napoli, according to CalcioMercato.

James Milner claimed to be "falling out of love with the game" after more VAR controversy in Liverpool's 1-1 Premier League draw with Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday. 

Diogo Jota's 60th-minute strike appeared to be sending the visitors three points clear at the top of the Premier League but VAR, which had earlier disallowed goals for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, intervened in stoppage time. 

Andy Robertson swung out a foot and clipped Danny Welbeck in the penalty area, and though referee Stuart Attwell did not spot the infringement initially, he changed his mind after viewing the pitch-side monitor.

Pascal Gross slammed home from the spot to seal a point for the Seagulls and extend the Reds' winless run on the road in the top flight to four games.

Milner, who went off with a hamstring injury with 16 minutes remaining, was furious with the decision and took to Twitter to express his frustration with a sardonic reference to the "clear and obvious" error protocol to which VAR supposedly adheres. 

"It's 'clear and obvious' we need a serious discussion about VAR," he wrote. "Sure I'm not alone in feeling like they are falling out of love with the game in its current state."

While Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said "the decisions were correct," Jordan Henderson claimed Welbeck conceded the late spot-kick should not have been given.

"Danny Welbeck said to me it wasn't a penalty,” he told BT Sport. “There were four or five [Brighton players] who felt it wasn't a penalty.

"To overturn it, it has to be clear and obvious. Is that a clear and obvious penalty, to go to the screen and overturn it?"

Liverpool, who are a point clear at the top of the league after playing a game more than Tottenham in second, host Ajax in the Champions League on Tuesday before Wolves visit Anfield in the Premier League on Sunday.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson was left seething after the Reds were penalised late on in a dramatic 1-1 draw at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Diogo Jota's 60th-minute strike – his eighth goal in his past eight Liverpool appearances in all competitions – appeared to be sending the visitors three points clear at the top of the Premier League.

However, after VAR had intervened to disallow goals for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, Liverpool were delivered a hammer blow by the technology in stoppage time.

Andy Robertson swung out a foot and clipped Danny Welbeck in the area, and though referee Stuart Attwell did not spot the infringement initially, he changed his mind after viewing the pitch-side monitor.

Neal Maupay became the first Premier League player to start, miss a penalty and then be subbed off before half-time since Dennis Bergkamp for Arsenal in April 1998 when he failed to hit the mark from 12 yards in the first half, but Pascal Gross made no such mistake.

Liverpool have now dropped six points from winning positions this season, more than they did in the entirety of 2019-20 (five), but Henderson – who had a late winner contentiously ruled out in October's Merseyside derby – was furious with the penalty award.

While Klopp diplomatically said "the decisions were correct," Henderson told BT Sport: "It was ours. It should be three points, in my opinion.

"I've seen the replay. Who would be happy? It's not a penalty. It feels like we're standing here every week and discussing incidents. I don't want to get into trouble, but for me it's not a penalty.

"Danny Welbeck said to me it wasn't a penalty. There were four or five [Brighton players] who felt it wasn't a penalty.

"To overturn it, it has to be clear and obvious. Is that a clear and obvious penalty, to go to the screen and overturn it? Obviously, the referees know better than us, but I thought the lads were brilliant today and deserved the three points.

"We had a couple of goals ruled off for offside. Overall, we've got to be positive and take the performance out of it, because the result isn't anything else but an error in my opinion.

"You'd rather get beat by two or three than end up like that. It feels like two points taken away from us."

Though Henderson claimed Welbeck said it was not a penalty, the former Manchester United and Arsenal forward seemed to take a different stance.

"We tried to stick in it until the end, we knew we could create some opportunities and in the end, we got a soft penalty, but it's one that we'll take," Welbeck told BT Sport.

"In today's game, with the VAR, I've touched the ball before him and wanted to get round him, but he's kicked me and then the ball.

"The referee's been over to the screen and made his decision."

Jurgen Klopp was involved in a heated exchange with BT Sport reporter Des Kelly after Liverpool dropped points in Saturday's 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion.

Pascal Gross scored a 93rd-minute penalty at the Amex Stadium after referee Stuart Attwell overturned his initial decision and pointed to the spot following intervention by VAR.

Andy Robertson clipped Danny Welbeck when attempting to clear the ball late on and the officials decided the contact was worthy of a spot-kick – Brighton's second of the match, with Neal Maupay becoming the first player to start a Premier League game, miss a penalty, and be subbed off before half-time since Dennis Bergkamp in April 1998.

The drama came at the end of a game in which Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane had goals disallowed for offside, but Klopp, whose side have dropped six points from winning positions this season, accepted the decisions.

"The two offsides I didn't see back but our analysts said yes [they were off]. They were really close," he said. 

"With Mo I think it was a foot but we are used to armpits and club badges so, if it's a toe, then it's obviously offside and the other one with Sadio was clear I heard.

"The penalty, that's how it is. I think the decisions were right, yes"

When it was put to him by interviewer Kelly that skipper Jordan Henderson said some Brighton players had agreed it should probably not have been a penalty, Klopp reacted angrily.

"Look, you try to create again, at my cost, again, a headline, you do," he said. "Because t hat's how it is, if I say now it was not, but the ref whistled it.

"Don't look like this, you try, always, all the time, but I say today it was a penalty. But you are not happy with that answer, so what do you want to hear? Give the answers to yourself...

"I said it was a penalty because the ref whistled it after watching it."

Klopp then took a swipe at the broadcaster's decision to select Liverpool for the early kick-off, three days on from the Reds' Champions League meeting against Atalanta.

Kelly explained it was a Premier League decision to televise matches at 12:30 GMT, to which the German coach replied: "I say it a lot – you picked the 12:30pm kick-off.

"You did. Not you personally. I'm not having a go at the broadcaster, I'm just saying how it is. It is really dangerous for the players.

"When we had a talk between the managers a week ago, most wanted five subs. Since then nothing happened."

Klopp then turned focus to Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder, who this week labelled Klopp "selfish" for his stance on the planned return of supporters to certain Premier League grounds.

"Chris Wilder or whoever says constantly than I am selfish... I think all the things he said show that he's selfish," Klopp said.

"For example, if we have five subs today, I take off Robbo (Robertson) to protect him and bring on Kostas Tsimikas.

"I only go for the broadcasters when we have to play Wednesday and 12:30pm on a Saturday. Only seven managers have a similar problem and they all agree. 

"In this season it's a bigger problem, and it's not okay. We've had this slot three times. Look who else had it three times: nobody."

After Diogo Jota's ninth Liverpool goal had put the Reds ahead, Brighton equalised through one of only two shots on target they mustered, as the Reds' winless away run in the top flight stretched to five games – their longest since March 2017.

Liverpool lost James Milner to a hamstring injury in the second half but a bigger talking point was Salah's reaction to being subbed off with a little over 25 minutes to go.

Salah threw his arms up in unhappiness when his number went up on the board and appeared to blank Klopp as he made his way to the bench.

"If Mo is smiling when leaving the pitch then something is wrong," Klopp said. "He was out for 10 days with coronavirus. We have to be careful – he doesn't like it. But that's all it is."

Liverpool were denied victory by VAR as Andrew Robertson was penalised late on to allow Brighton and Hove Albion to rescue a 1-1 Premier League draw at the AMEX Stadium.

Diogo Jota's ninth Liverpool goal looked set to prove enough for the Reds to move three points clear of Tottenham at the top of the table, but the Reds' work was undone in stoppage time.

Robertson swung out a foot and clipped Danny Welbeck and, though referee Stuart Attwell spotted no infringement, he changed his decision once he checked the pitch-side monitor.

Unlike Neal Maupay, who drilled wide from 12 yards to let Liverpool off the hook in the first half, Pascal Gross made no mistake.

It was a third VAR call of the game that went against Liverpool, with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane having goals rightly ruled out for offside as Jurgen Klopp was left to rue the technology once more.

Sadio Mane has been afforded a rest for Liverpool's Premier League trip to Brighton and Hove Albion, and is joined on the bench by the returning Jordan Henderson.

Liverpool captain Henderson last played for the club in their 1-1 draw at Manchester City at the start of November, subsequently suffering a hamstring injury on international duty.

Henderson's return is a welcome boost for boss Jurgen Klopp, who is without a host of players across the pitch, including fellow midfielders Naby Keita, Xherdan Shaqiri, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara.

Mane's move to the bench is slightly more surprising but is likely a decision made with next week's Champions League clash with Ajax in mind – the 2-0 home defeat by Atalanta meaning the Reds are still yet to secure their place in the last 16.

Takumi Minamino gets his first Premier League start of the season in Mane's place, while youngsters Neco Williams and Nathaniel Phillips come into their depleted defence.

Former Red Adam Lallana is among the Brighton substitutes.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says rivals should not see the return of fans to certain English football stadiums as providing any "advantage or disadvantage", but as a step in the right direction.

Supporters have been unable to attend top-level football matches in the United Kingdom since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but stadiums are due to begin reopening next week.

The United Kingdom government on Thursday announced a return to a tier-based system for the exit from a second national lockdown on December 2 – areas in tier three will impose the strictest coronavirus-prevention methods, but those in the middle tier will be allowed to welcome up to 2,000 fans to games.

There will initially be an exact split between the number of Premier League clubs able to allow fans in and those that cannot – Brighton and Hove Albion, Everton, Liverpool, Southampton and the six London clubs are all set to reopen their respective stadiums.

Some have criticised a lack of consistency across the board, with Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa and Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce suggesting it gives certain clubs an "unfair" advantage for at least a couple of weeks.

But Klopp thinks people should look at it as a positive step regardless.

"We are all really waiting for little steps in the right direction, not just football, all parts of life," Klopp told reporters.

"Tiers is the best idea at the moment in the country, so it depends how many people are infected over a specific period of time.

"I understand obviously some discussions about how it's an advantage for some clubs - but it's not about advantage, it's about small steps.

"This is a sign – I'm happy we can bring in 2,000 people. Nobody knows how long [for] or even the first game yet, but I think we shouldn't discuss this on a basis of advantages or disadvantages for teams. It's a step in the right direction."

Liverpool go to Brighton on Saturday and could restore Mohamed Salah to their starting XI – the Egyptian missed their past two matches after contracting coronavirus on international duty.

It gives Klopp a selection dilemma given Diogo Jota started in Salah's place in the recent 3-0 win over Leicester City and scored.

That was the fourth successive home league appearance in which Jota had scored, a club record for a player's first four Anfield games, while he has eight in 13 outings across all competitions.

Klopp commented that Jota's swift adaptation has been a significant boost, particularly considering he did not think there was much hope of improving on their forward options.

"Diogo has obviously settled in nicely, true, it's very important for us because we cannot play our 'usual' front three all season," Klopp said.

"It was difficult to improve us there but Diogo looks like he can, it's massively helpful and I'm pleased with that."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp called his side's fixture schedule "a crime" as he prepared to face Brighton and Hove Albion in the Premier League less than three days after suffering a 2-0 Champions League loss to Atalanta.

Second-half goals from Josip Illicic and Robin Gosens helped secure an unexpected win for Serie A visitors Atalanta, who Liverpool thrashed 5-0 just three weeks earlier, as the Reds missed the chance to qualify for the Champions League knockout stage.

Wednesday's result left Premier League champions Liverpool with one win from their last three games as they approach a run of four matches in 12 days.

Klopp predicted his players would not be alone in suffering dips in form as a result of the congestion, telling BT Sport: "I'm afraid to say I think it could happen not only to us but to other teams as well.

"You ask us to go on Saturday at 12:30, which is nearly a crime to be honest. That's nothing to do with our game tonight.

"Now my only interest is I got thumbs up, nobody is injured. Now let's recover immediately. The boys are disappointed and frustrated but we don't have time for it, to be honest.

"It's just get fresh legs as quick as possible and go again."

Klopp selected a number of fringe players in his side to face Atalanta and saw them struggle to find any rhythm, with Mohamed Salah's shot in the 44th minute Liverpool's first of the game.

For the first time since Opta had shot data available in the Champions League since 2003-04, Liverpool failed to record a single shot on target in a home game in the competition.

Up against 19-year-old full-back Nico Williams, Atalanta's Papu Gomez enjoyed a successful night on the wing, providing the cross for Ilicic to score the opener and then making a second assist in the build-up to Gosens' goal.

Klopp – whose side lost a competitive home fixture by a margin of more than one goal for the first time in 137 matches at Anfield – admitted his players struggled with the intensity of the game, saying: "Both teams didn't create a lot until they scored the goals. We saw it coming a little in the first half but couldn't avoid it or defend it anyway.

"The ref brought a lot of tempo in the game, he didn't whistle a lot. That makes it even more difficult on both sides. It was unbelievably intense for the boys; you need one or two breaks.

"We changed five times, that always costs rhythm, that's normal. Usually when the first half is gone it settles a bit but you could see for some players who hadn't played for a while it was very intense for them.

"So we didn't really find a way in the game. We didn't find ways to create."

Manchester City are reportedly set to extend the contracts of Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus as they consider another forward.

Pep Guardiola signed a two-year extension at City this week, keeping him at the Premier League giants until 2023.

And more re-signings look set to follow.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY SET TO OFFER NEW DEALS TO STERLING, JESUS

Manchester City are set to offer Raheem Sterling a new deal, according to the Mirror.

Sterling, 25, is contracted at City until 2023, but the club are hopeful he will renew on improved terms.

Also under contract until 2023, Jesus is set for a bumper new deal, the Daily Star reports.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Manchester City and Pep Guardiola is considering Benfica and Uruguay forward Darwin Nunez as a successor to Sergio Aguero, according to The Telegraph. Aguero is out of contract at the end of the season.

- Also coming out of contract at the end of the campaign is Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum. Corriere dello Sport says Inter are eyeing the midfielder in January, while the Serie A giants are also looking at Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul as they consider selling Christian Eriksen.

- As Olivier Giroud struggles for game time at Chelsea, the striker is linked with a move. The Mirror says David Beckham's Inter Miami are considering making an offer for the France international in January.

- Yet to play in the Premier League this season, Dean Henderson may look to leave Manchester United. The Sun reports the goalkeeper wants a January loan move to boost his chances of keeping his spot in England's squad for next year's European Championship. It says Leeds United and Brighton and Hove Albion are interested.

- Another Manchester United goalkeeper seeking an exit is Sergio Romero. The Mirror reports United are prepared to accept £2.5million for Romero in January, having wanted double that during the close season.

Pole position in this unpredictable Premier League season changed hands twice on Saturday as Jose Mourinho's Tottenham moved to the summit.

Leicester City – not in action until Sunday – started the day on top of the pile, but victories for Chelsea and then Spurs saw the Foxes nudged down to third.

Elsewhere, Manchester United belatedly got up and running at Old Trafford, while Brighton and Hove Albion also triumphed.

We reflect on another topsy-turvy day of top-flight action with the aid of Opta data.

 

Newcastle United 0-2 Chelsea: Tammy and Timo team up

Chelsea had taken top spot in the day's early fixture thanks to a 2-0 success at St James' Park, their 26th Premier League win over Newcastle United.

It was a familiar sinking feeling for Newcastle and Federico Fernandez, who put through his own net for the opener. The former Argentina defender has scored a joint-high five own goals since his 2014 top-flight debut, while this was the Magpies' fifth home defeat in seven.

Tammy Abraham wrapped up victory with his 23rd goal in all competitions since the start of last season, 11 more than any other Chelsea player.

Timo Werner could not get on the scoresheet despite a host of chances but teed up Abraham's strike, his 11th goal involvement in his past 10 appearances in all competitions.

Edouard Mendy was scarcely troubled at the other end and kept his seventh Chelsea clean sheet in nine games. The Blues have three in a row away in the Premier League.

 

Aston Villa 1-2 Brighton and Hove Albion: More Welbeck woe for hosts

Brighton landed their second Premier League win of the season and just their fifth in 27 attempts as Aston Villa went down 2-1 at home.

It should have come as no surprise to see Danny Welbeck break the deadlock, however, as he netted his fifth top-flight goal against Villa, a career high. Only Robbie Fowler (five) has more Premier League strikes at Villa Park as a visiting player than Welbeck's four.

Ezri Konsa responded, a league-high ninth set-piece goal conceded by Brighton this term, before Solly March's fine strike earned the points despite Tariq Lamptey's late red card.

England's Jack Grealish was the subject of praise during the international break and of Brighton's attentions on Saturday. He was fouled seven times and has earned at least one foul in each of his past 102 league appearances.

 

Tottenham 2-0 Manchester City: A night for Spurs to savour from the summit

Tottenham finished a day on top of the Premier League for the first time since August 2014 after beating Manchester City 2-0 at home.

And not since January 1985 had Spurs enjoyed the view from the summit overnight in the top flight after at least nine games of a season.

They were set on their way by Son Heung-min's fifth goal in his past five games against City in all competitions, arriving after just four minutes and 19 seconds – the earliest City have conceded in the Premier League since Theo Walcott netted after four minutes and six seconds in December 2016.

The second – created by Harry Kane's ninth assist of the campaign – came courtesy of Giovani Lo Celso, just 35 seconds after his arrival as a substitute. The only other Tottenham player to score within a minute of coming off the bench in the league since 2006-07 was Lucas Moura in August 2019, also against City.

City lacked the same clinical touch and have lost consecutive games against Spurs without scoring despite attempting 41 shots across the two fixtures.

 

Manchester United 1-0 West Brom:  Home comforts return for Red Devils

United were aided by penalty controversy as they defeated West Brom 1-0 to finally win at home in the Premier League this season, their first such victory in seven attempts going back to last term.

An apparent foul on Conor Gallagher looked to have given the Baggies a chance from 12 yards, but that decision was overturned on review and United instead had a spot-kick following a handball. Bruno Fernandes' attempt was saved, only for a re-take to be granted and dispatched.

That strike was United's first home league goal in 324 minutes – since Fernandes' penalty against Tottenham – and proved enough for a much-needed success.

It was perhaps inevitable a spot-kick should provide the Red Devils' salvation, as 16 per cent of their Premier League goals since the start of last season – including seven of Fernandes' 14 – have been penalties.

West Brom had not been beaten on their previous two trips to Old Trafford but have now failed to win any of their opening nine games to a league season for the first time since 1985-86.

Darwin Nunez only joined Benfica in September, but his future is already making headlines.

Nunez has hit the ground running at Benfica, where head coach Jorge Jesus has tipped the 21-year-old forward to surpass Joao Felix as the club's most expensive sale following the latter's €126million transfer to Atletico Madrid last year.

Barcelona are reportedly targeting the Uruguay international.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA STEP UP NUNEZ INTEREST

Barcelona are eyeing Benfica star Darwin Nunez as a replacement for Luis Suarez, according to ESPN.

Nunez became Benfica's most expensive signing when he arrived from Almeria in a €24m deal in September, and the 21-year-old has scored four goals since moving to Portugal.

Barca wanted to sign Nunez from Almeria and the LaLiga giants are prepared to rekindle their interest.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport1 claims Bayern Munich are considering RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano as a replacement for David Alaba. Bayern withdrew their offer of a new contract for Alaba, who is in the final year of his deal with the Bundesliga and Champions League holders. He has been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, BarcaJuventusParis Saint-Germain and Manchester City. Premier League pair United and Liverpool are believed to be interested in Upamecano.

Atletico are battling Bayern for Brighton and Hove Albion sensation Tariq Lamptey, reports the Daily Mail. Sevilla are also reportedly interested in the former Chelsea full-back.

- Barca are preparing a January bid for City centre-back Eric Garcia following their unsuccessful attempt to re-sign the Spaniard during the previous transfer window, says Sport.

- MilanNews claims Milan will offer Franck Kessie a new contract. Kessie's current deal expires in 2022 as the Rossoneri also look to re-sign Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu, who has been linked to Manchester United.

- Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai is at the top of Inter's wish list as they eye youth, according to Calciomercato. Szoboszlai reportedly has a €25m release clause. The 20-year-old has previously been linked to Arsenal and Napoli.

Chelsea are not courting Juventus star Paulo Dybala as owner Roman Abramovich looks to protect new investments Kai Havertz and Hakim Ziyech, says Calciomercato. Contract negotiations are ongoing between Dybala and Juve as the likes of PSG, Madrid, Tottenham and United reportedly monitor the situation.

Jose Mourinho hailed Gareth Bale's "personality" after his winning goal against Brighton and Hove Albion and said he is looking forward to hearing Real Madrid's take on his match-winning display for Tottenham.

Bale's first Tottenham goal since re-joining Spurs on loan from LaLiga champions Madrid in September sealed a 2-1 victory over Brighton on Sunday to move them up to second in the Premier League, two points behind leaders Liverpool. 

Harry Kane had earlier scored his 149th top-flight goal from the penalty spot to move level with Les Ferdinand in 10th position on the all-time Premier League goals list, before Tariq Lamptey drew Graham Potter's side level shortly before the hour mark. 

Bale sealed maximum points in the 73rd minute, though, heading home from eight yards just three minutes after replacing Erik Lamela in London.

Spurs head coach Mourinho was delighted with the Wales international's all-round contribution and could not resist a dig at his parent club, whose boss Zinedine Zidane had a public falling out with Bale. 

"For a week or so now, he's been improving," Mourinho told a media conference. "It's not just from watching him, the data supports that as well. We knew, Gareth knew. We share ideas and feelings.

"He deserves that [the goal]. When I have five minutes I'm going to look at the Real Madrid website to see what they say about him.

"He showed great personality and had a great impact, scoring a very important goal for us. He also joined Harry in a very experienced way to play the last 15 minutes for us.

"They were very clever, very intelligent, especially at holding the ball up and bringing it into zones where they couldn't hurt us. 

"He knows that we care about him and he cares about the club. I think he's a perfect fit. He's very calm, very intelligent. I'm very pleased for him to score the winning goal."

Bale has started just one game and made three substitute appearances since his return to north London as he slowly works his way back to full fitness. 

Mourinho revealed he would start Thursday's Europa League game against Ludogorets, although he said the club will not rush him.

"He doesn't have 90 minutes in his legs yet," he added. "We are using the Europa League to get him minutes and when we can in the Premier League. 

"He is, of course, getting better and better and better. He will start again on Thursday but he will not play 90 minutes. I will use him in the right way."

Lamptey's goal was given after referee Graham Scott undertook a lengthy pitch-side video review to assess if there had been a foul on Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the build-up.

Mourinho would not be drawn on whether he thought it was a foul, but believes referees should have to explain their decisions after a match.

"There are decisions that I think they should explain and not leave us in front of you [journalists] explaining things we don't have any explanations to," he said. 

"I prefer not to talk about it. I see Scott as a good referee. He went to the screen and he saw what we saw on the bench. He should explain it but I know that is not going to happen."

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