Harry Maguire has paid tribute to Paul Pogba following his match-winning goal in the 2-1 victory at Fulham, commending him for his form.

It was not so long ago that Pogba's United future appeared to amount to little, as his form at the start of the season was poor and his agent Mino Raiola claimed he was "finished" at Old Trafford.

Raiola's comments came as recently as December 7, two days after Pogba had played a pivotal role in a 3-1 comeback win at West Ham and on the eve of a crucial Champions League trip to RB Leipzig, that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men ultimately lost and suffered elimination.

At the time, that West Ham game was Pogba's first Premier League start in over a month due to a foot injury, but since then he has rarely been out of the team, the time off seemingly doing him some good after Solskjaer had suggested his slow start to the season was caused by his contracting of coronavirus.

He almost won the weekend game against Liverpool as he saw a fine opportunity thwarted by Alisson, but he did deal the decisive blow at Fulham on Wednesday, a wonderful left-footed strike from distance leaving Alphonse Areola helpless, and United captain Maguire was thrilled.

"Paul doesn't have a weak foot," Maguire told MUTV. "You can see Paul, over the last month or so, he's starting to get his fitness back and credit to Paul.

"Coming back into the team and doing what he's doing at the moment is great for us. He's a big part of the dressing room, he's a big player for us.

"We know he can produce moments of brilliance. For sure, I hope he carries on and I'm sure he will."

POGBACK IN BUSINESS

Opta data backs up Maguire's assertion that Pogba is proving himself a "big player" for United at the moment.

Since kick-off in the West Ham win, only Marcus Rashford (five) and Bruno Fernandes (four) have scored more than Pogba's three in the Premier League, but two of those have also been winners.

Pogba is stepping up when others are not, dragging United over the finish line in some cases, while his influence in the aforementioned West Ham win was significant. He took the game by the scruff of the neck with a glorious equaliser that set the tone for one of many United turnarounds this term.

There has been more to him than just scoring the occasional goal, however. The Fulham win showed how his overall influence has grown, as his 85 passes was a high among United players and his 106 touches of the ball was second only to Aaron Wan-Bissaka (109).

Since December 5, he is averaging 53.2 successful passes and 84.9 touches per 90 minutes played in the Premier League – the only United players with better averages in those metrics (Nemanja Matic and Alex Telles, respectively) have played less than half as many minutes as Pogba.

Before December 5, Pogba was making 46.1 accurate passes every 90 minutes and having 79.4 touches on average – while not a huge increase in the latter, there were several players seeing more of the ball than him, now there are not.

While Pogba's future is bound to become a bone of contention again sooner or later and provide another irritating distraction in the soap opera that has been his association with United, for the time being at least he is giving Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a dependable alternative to Bruno Fernandes in midfield.

With the Portugal star's performances on the wane a little lately amid suggestions of fatigue, Pogba's resurgence is a timely boost as the Red Devils look to firmly plant themselves atop the Premier League table.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Paul Pogba is "happy" again after hailing the star midfielder following his match-winning display against Fulham.

Pogba scored the winning goal as United returned to the top of the Premier League table with a 2-1 victory at Fulham on Wednesday.

Edinson Cavani cancelled out Ademola Lookman's fifth-minute opener with a poacher's finish 16 minutes later in London, where Pogba stepped up for United.

Pogba fired a stunning left-foot effort past Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola in the 65th minute as United extended their unbeaten streak away from home to 17 games in the Premier League – matching the club's longest ever run set back in 1999.

The future of Pogba has dominated headlines since his outspoken agent Mino Raiola claimed the France World Cup winner was not happy in Manchester amid links with former club Juventus, LaLiga champions Real Madrid and Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain.

But when asked if Pogba is happy again at Old Trafford, Solskjaer told reporters: "I would like to say so yeah, he's enjoying his football, he's happy, he is mentally very happy, physically in very good shape. And we know all about his talents. Today, we decided to play him in midfield, and it was worth it."

Since his return to the club in 2016, no United player has scored more league goals from outside the box than Pogba (six).

"I'm very happy with his performance. You know, sometimes impressed is a strong word, but I know what he can do. And it was all about getting Paul fit, running fit, match fit. And today, he's played in the centre midfield role. He made some good runs into the box as well, he made challenges," said Solskjaer, whose United are two points clear atop the table, though neighbours Manchester City have a game in hand.

"He got an early yellow card, which always is dangerous, but he kept his discipline really well, and he won tackles for us. And he does everything, we know Paul can do more or less everything that's asked of a midfielder. Now he's putting all the elements together the same performances, which is great to see."

Solskjaer also hailed veteran forward Cavani after PSG's all-time leading scorer – who arrived on a free transfer at the start of the season – became the first United player whose first four Premier League goals for the club were all scored away from home.

"He's a centre forward you want in the box, his movement is incredible. It's for everyone to learn from you know. It's almost like I get frustrated at times when he goes wide to put the crosses in because he's the one that you want in there. And sometimes I have to ask him to do less running," Solskjaer added.

"Even in the second half, the header, the great save by Areola. A couple of other times and his movement is spot on. So, he's a type of centre forward we've been looking for and he complements Marcus [Rashford] and Mason [Greenwood] and Anthony [Martial] really well."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hailed a "fantastic" winning goal from Paul Pogba at Fulham but refused to be drawn on Manchester United's chances of winning the Premier League.

United returned to the top of the table with a 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage after Manchester City briefly moved to the summit a 2-0 win over Aston Villa earlier on Wednesday.

Ademola Lookman capitalised on poor United defending to give Fulham an early lead, but Edinson Cavani equalised in the first half and Pogba won it with a stunning left-foot strike after 65 minutes.

The Red Devils are unbeaten in 17 away games in the top flight, matching their longest ever run set back in 1999, and lead City by two points, although their neighbours have a game in hand.

United again showed their character to mount a fightback and have won seven Premier League games this season after going behind.

Solskjaer told BT Sport: "I think we started slow but after their goal I felt we played well. We needed to wake up and after that we played really well.

"We don't do offsides really, we should follow the run. We had not woken up but good reaction."

Pogba has scored the winner in two of United's last three games after coming in from the cold and Solskjaer is pleased with the progress the France midfielder has made.

"It was a fantastic goal by Paul and we had some other chances to finish the game but of course when it is just one goal and the players they put on it is going to be like heart in your mouth," said the United boss.

"He [Pogba] has really come on. He is fit, he can play in midfield and he can play wide. That is key with Paul, getting him match fit and running fit and he is at the moment. He played very well."

It is now 13 Premier League games without defeat for United, but Solskjaer again fended off talk of a title challenge.

The former United and Norway striker said: "It is always going to be talked about that when you are halfway through and top of the league.

"But we are not thinking about this, we just have to go one game at a time. It is such an unpredictable season."

Paul Pogba will continue to play with a smile on his face as long as Manchester United keep winning, he explained after another decisive Premier League strike.

United reclaimed top spot with a 2-1 victory at Fulham on Wednesday, moving back ahead of Leicester City and Manchester City after their wins over Chelsea and Aston Villa respectively.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men triumphed having conceded first away from home for the seventh time in seven attempts this term with Pogba striking the winner after Edinson Cavani had cancelled out Ademola Lookman's early opener.

Pogba's effort was a fine left-footed blast from outside the area, his first league effort with his weaker foot from this range since January 2015 when he was still at Juventus.

It was a goal the midfielder revelled in, as he told BT Sport: "I hit it well. I didn't expect the left foot would be like this, but we try.

"If you don't shoot, you don't know what's going to happen. I'm really glad that the ball went in. It was a beautiful goal and a beautiful victory - that's the most important."

That strike marked the second time this month Pogba has fired United to victory, also netting the only goal at Burnley.

Yet he has also missed big chances - opportunities Opta would expect him to score - against Aston Villa and Liverpool since the start of 2021, with a wasteful attempt at Anfield on Sunday costing United two points.

Explaining his emotions after responding with a big goal, Pogba said: "It's not like I apologised, but I was really mad; I was really mad that I was close to the goal and maybe I should have done better.

"Today it went in so I'm really happy for that. The most important is that we had the win today, because it was a hard one, a very mature one.

"We had to defend and we knew it would be like this. We knew it and we've done it the hard way, the beautiful way. It's beautiful to win like that."

The broadcaster suggested Pogba, maligned for much of his United career, looked to be enjoying himself on the pitch in an all-action display that included more passes (80) and more passes in the opposition half (56) than any other player while leading the Red Devils in tackles (four), interceptions (three) and possession gains (nine).

"I love winning," he replied. "It's all about winning. I will always be happy when I win and I will always be happy when I'm on the pitch.

"Today we won, so I'm happy; the day we lose, I will be angry again. This is me."

And United cannot afford any slip-ups, with City, who have played a game fewer, and Leicester just two points back.

"We just know that we have to get our result. We knew we had to win and that's it," Pogba said.

"It's the Premier League, so you know it's always hard. It will never be easy. These are big teams as well, very close on points, so we have to do us. That's it."

Paul Pogba's sensational strike sent Manchester United back to the top of the Premier League as a 2-1 victory at Fulham extended their unbeaten away run to a record-equalling 17 matches.

United had slipped below both Leicester City and rivals Manchester City in the prior 24 hours but had a response at Craven Cottage despite trailing again to Ademola Lookman's early effort on Wednesday.

It was the seventh time Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side had conceded first on the road in the league this season, yet goals from Edinson Cavani and, in spectacular fashion, Pogba ensured this encounter ended in the same fashion as the previous six with a United win.

The Red Devils have not lost a league fixture away from Old Trafford in more than a year and their 17-game streak now matches the club's Premier League benchmark, set in 1999 when Solskjaer was a player under Alex Ferguson.

That sequence stretched across consecutive title-winning campaigns and United will hope to be celebrating again come May, although they were given another scare by Fulham with just five minutes on the clock.

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa's pass exploited a gaping hole in the visiting defence to find Lookman onside and in the clear, able to steady himself before finishing beyond David de Gea.

But Bruno Fernandes led the United response. They kept their attack alive after his left-footed shot bounced back out off the post and the midfielder's low cross was spilled by Alphonse Areola for Cavani to prod in.

Areola was rather more impressive in turning away another Fernandes effort moments later but was not worked again before half-time and Lookman might have restored Fulham's lead at the start of the second period, only to this time shoot straight at De Gea.

It was a squandered opportunity that proved costly as Pogba produced his moment of magic, cutting inside from the right and arrowing a left-footed drive across Areola into the far corner.

Areola again followed the goal with a super stop, denying Cavani from close range, but De Gea also had to be alert to block from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and protect the points for United.

Edinson Cavani has urged Manchester United to not let arrogance creep into their game as they look to mount their first title challenge since Alex Ferguson's departure.

United retained their place at the top of the Premier League table with Sunday's 0-0 draw at Liverpool, with this the furthest into the season that they have been at the summit since winning the title in 2012-13.

Leicester City's win over Chelsea on Tuesday momentarily put the Foxes in first place, but United know they will go straight back above them with a victory at struggling Fulham on Wednesday.

United are on a remarkable run away from home in the Premier League – avoiding defeat on Wednesday will see them equal a club-record 17 games unbeaten on the road in the top flight, equalling the feat achieved by Ferguson's treble-winning side in 1998-99.

But while the odds will be stacked against Fulham, who are 18th in the table, Cavani had a few words of caution for United ahead of the trip to Craven Cottage.

"I believe that one of the most important things that we need to be aware of whenever we go into any game is that we are Manchester United, and, irrespective of whether we are top of the league or in any other position, every other team that plays against Manchester United tries to do their absolute best to try to beat them," he told United Review.

"It was also a similar situation for me when I was at PSG. Teams try to do the impossible to get a victory against one of the most legendary and best teams in the world. So ensuring we are focused and concentrated on this should give us the energy to want to fight for this badge and be top of the league, fighting to stay right where we are.

"For all that, we need to be ready and mentally prepared to compete. Like I always say, the important thing isn't just winning a couple of games, it's having that consistency of always competing; competing in every game and for every ball, and concentrating to the absolute maximum for every situation that comes up in the game. And that's what, in the end, allows you to achieve your ultimate goal.

"Fulham will know very well that they have Manchester United coming up next, and they'll be going all out to try to beat us, like they have done in the past and just like what we've seen with other teams like Burnley, who always give their utmost.

"So we need to be aware that it's going to be a tough game and that we have to be 100 per cent focused in order to take care of all the details so we can try to win the game in order to [return to the top of the table]." 

Manchester United's 0-0 draw away to Liverpool on Sunday left Ole Gunnar Solskjaer "disappointed", the Norwegian adamant they did enough to end the Reds' remarkable long-standing unbeaten home run.

But there were two silver linings; firstly, United remained top of the Premier League, and secondly, the point preserved their own exceptional streak without a defeat.

It ensured United's run without a loss away from home in the Premier League would surpass a full year, having last suffered a domestic defeat on the road at Anfield on January 19, 2020.

Liverpool's win on that occasion took them 30 points clear of United in the table, but the obvious gulf between the two last season has not carried into 2020-21.

United are away from home again on Wednesday as they go to Fulham, and avoiding defeat again will see them equal a club record.

EMULATING THE TREBLE WINNERS

The last United team to go 17 away games unbeaten in the Premier League was Alex Ferguson's famous treble-winning side in 1998-99.

United's run started on December 5 and lasted until the following September, therefore playing a major role in the Red Devils securing the Premier League title ahead of Arsenal, pipping Arsene Wenger's men to the crown by a point.

They scored 34 goals and claimed nine wins in those 17 games and conceded 16.

Should United avoid defeat to Fulham, statistically they appear set to improve of the 1998-99 team's run, as the current crop have already scored 36, conceded just 13 and won 12.

But even if they ultimately fall at the final hurdle at Craven Cottage, they are safe in the knowledge that no other post-Ferguson United side registers in the top seven for the club's all-time top-flight unbeaten away runs.

Whether or not this run would have occurred if fans were in the stadiums is another matter, but it's unquestionable that progress is being made at Old Trafford - or, you know, away from Old Trafford...

RESILIENT REDS

A key factor in United's impressive run has been the character and resilience shown by them.

They have rescued 18 points from losing positions on the road in 2020-21, which is already a record for a single Premier League season, bettering the 17 accumulating by Aston Villa (1993-94) and Newcastle United (2001-02). The previous best posted by United was 16 in 2002-03.

Certainly the pick of United's away comebacks this season was the 3-2 win at Southampton on November 29, as they fell 2-0 down before Edinson Cavani inspired a brilliant turnaround with two goals and an assist off the bench.

A WAYS TO GO

As laudable as United's current away form is, they are still some way off matching the Premier League's all-time record, however.

Arsenal's 'Invincibles' hold that honour, having gone 27 matches unbeaten away from home in the top flight.

That stretched from April 2003 to September 2004, spanning well over a full season as they comfortably beat the 23-game record they themselves set between August 2001 and September 2002.

The closest any team has got to either streak is Liverpool, who between January 2019 and February 2020 went 21 away games without defeat before they suffered a shock 3-0 loss at Watford.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted the Premier League giants only sign players that fit the club's long-term strategy amid ongoing transfer links.

With the January transfer window open, United have once again been linked to Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, Bayern Munich's soon-to-be free agent David Alaba and Lens defender Facundo Medina among others.

During the previous window, United signed 33-year-old forward Edinson Cavani, Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles, Facundo Pellistri and teenage sensation Amad Diallo – who arrived from Atalanta this month.

As United eye their first Premier League title since 2012-13, Solskjaer discussed the club's transfer plans.

"Whenever you get the chance to speak to players or learn about their personalities, what you get through a chat when you've been put together, that is very important," Solskjaer said ahead of Wednesday's trip to Fulham.

"And of course, we've been here, we know where we want to get to at Manchester United. Do you want to be part of bringing us back to the successful times - that's always been one of the topics that we've discussed.

"We're not here for a quick fix, we have players who have a long-term role to play. Even if it's, say Edinson [Cavani] coming in at the age of 33, he still has a part-long term by who he is, and how he comes in and what he does to the club and to the players."

United are second in the Premier League but can reclaim their two-point lead atop the table with victory at Fulham midweek.

Solskjaer's United are unbeaten in their last 16 Premier League away games. In their top-flight history, they have only once gone longer without defeat on the road – 17 matches between December 1998-September 1999.

Luke Shaw has played a key role for United following his man-of-the-match display in Sunday's 0-0 draw against defending champions Liverpool at Anfield.

Form and fitness have hampered Shaw since his big-money arrival from Southampton in 2014, but the 25-year-old full-back is returning to his consistent best.

"Luke has immense quality," Solskjaer said. "He has a very good technique, good quality. You see against Liverpool, he takes the ball and drives forward, that is something that I have pushed him more to do because we know he can do it.

"It is generally down to the boy himself, mentally he is very good at the moment, he has become a dad. He is physically very good, his fitness is so much better and he keeps beating his high-intensity stats and his total distance stats. He has been consistently up there with what a full-back should be doing.

"When you have the talent of Luke, when that fitness and the mental bit is sorted then you are always going to get good performances."

United are the only side without an away defeat in the Premier League this season (W7 D2), while the Red Devils have picked up the most points (23) and scored the most goals (22) on the road in the competition this term.

The Manchester team are unbeaten in their last eight Premier League games against promoted sides (W6 D2), scoring 25 goals in those games since a 2-0 loss to Cardiff City in May 2019.

Meanwhile, of all clubs to have played more than two Premier League games on Wednesdays, United have the highest win rate (62 per cent - 70/113).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United's rapid climb up the Premier League table has shown why the Old Trafford board stuck with him.

United will go top of the standings again if they beat Fulham on Wednesday, in the game that will see the Red Devils reach the 19-game halfway mark in the 2020-21 campaign.

Despite relinquishing top spot to Leicester City after the Foxes beat Chelsea on Tuesday, United have played one fewer game and can go two points clear of Brendan Rodgers' men.

The transformation in United's Premier League fortunes has been astounding since early November, with a 3-1 win at Everton coming at a time when Solskjaer was looking on rocky ground.

Although a Champions League exit in December was a jolt, on the domestic front they have taken 30 points from the last 36 available in the Premier League to hurtle up the table, and United have been rewarded for the faith they have shown the manager.

They had stood a lowly 15th after six games, with only seven points, and Solskjaer said on Tuesday: "Hopefully I have proven that I can help the club going forwards.

"Personally I have felt very strong backing and leadership from the club, which has made the journey that we've been on - ups and downs - clear.

"The position we are in now is due to loads of hard work by everyone. We are halfway through the season and we are up there."

Solskjaer, given his 11-year playing career with United, knows that sustained excellence is demanded at the club, and he accepts that the hard work is just beginning.

United have shown they can hit a hot streak and barrel their way up the league, but now comes the challenge of showing they belong in the upper reaches.

The size of the club is not in doubt, but the team have only exceeded 70 points once in a Premier League season since Alex Ferguson left almost eight years ago.

"It is not about getting there once," said Solskjaer, whose United have not won the Premier League since 2012-13. "That is the easy bit, to go up the league.

"Staying there is the challenge and that is the challenge we are looking forward to - focusing on every game and building this squad and hope that in the end we can lift the trophy. That is when you can talk about moving the team where it should be."

Willy Boly had an eventful derby and there was a penalty double for Matheus Pereira as West Brom boss Sam Allardyce maintained his unbeaten record against the team he used to support as a boy.

Albion claimed a huge victory in their bid to avoid relegation from the Premier League at Molineux on Saturday, beating bitter rivals Wolves 3-2.

There was no such entertainment at Anfield on Sunday, with a hugely hyped clash between Liverpool and leaders Manchester United ending goalless, while Antonee Robinson's red card was costly as Fulham were beaten by Chelsea.

Ilkay Gundogan matched his best Manchester City goal tally for a season in a 4-0 rout of Crystal Palace, while Tottenham captain Harry Kane made his mark in Yorkshire yet again 

With the help of Opta data, we take a look at some of the quirkiest stats from the top-flight action over the weekend.

 

Boly in thick of the action as Wolves pay the penalty 

West Brom ended an eight-match winless run to claim three precious points against their big rivals Wolves.

Defender Boly became the first Wolves player to concede a penalty, provide an assist and score in a Premier League game since Adlene Guedioura in May 2011 - which was also against West Brom at Molineux.

Baggies midfielder Pereira was on target with two spot-kicks, becoming the fifth player to score a brace of penalties in a top-flight game this season. The last time there were so many penalty doubles was back in the 2010-11 campaign.

Allardyce was a Wolves fan as a youngster, but his allegiances have long gone out of the window, as the Albion head coach has not lost in 12 Premier League games against Wanderers - his longest unbeaten streak against any side.

 

Gun firing on all cylinders

Kevin De Bruyne sparkled once again as in-form City hammered Palace to go second in the table.

The midfield maestro laid on one of two goals for John Stones, taking his tally of assists for City to a landmark 100.

Gundogan is another midfielder who has caught the eye this season and the Germany international was on target with a sublime long-range finish at the Etihad Stadium.

The former Borussia Dortmund playmaker has scored four goals in his past six Premier League games, as many as he could muster in his previous 55 matches in the top flight. His tally of six for the season is the joint-most he has scored for City.

 

Kane comes up smelling of White Roses again

Prolific Spurs skipper Kane led by example yet again in a 3-1 win at bottom-of-the-table Sheffield United.

Kane scored his 19th goal of what is proving to be another outstanding season in Tottenham's first league win at Bramall Lane since 1975, having failed to secure maximum points in their previous seven visits.

England captain Kane has scored in each of his past six Premier League games in Yorkshire, a run that former Leeds United striker Mark Viduka was the last to achieve in 2003.

Leeds will have to be wary of the talismanic striker when Jose Mourinho's men return to the White Rose county for a clash at Elland Road on May 8.

 

Dire States: Rash Robinson costs Fulham

Fulham full-back Robinson was sent off late in the first half of the London derby at Craven Cottage for a rash lunge on Cesar Azpilicueta.

Chelsea had to be patient as they pushed for a winner, but Mason Mount struck to consign Scott Parker's relegation-threatened side to a 1-0 defeat.

Robinson was the eighth player from the United States to be given his marching orders in the Premier League.

The former Wigan Athletic left-back's dismissal also made Fulham the first club to have two players from the USA see red, Carlos Bocanegra being the other.

Harry Kane scored his 19th goal of the season and Tanguy Ndombele struck with a sublime finish as Tottenham beat bottom of the table Sheffield United 3-1 on Sunday.

Jose Mourinho's side were held by Fulham in midweek, but secured all three points at Bramall Lane to go fourth in the Premier League - although Manchester City could go back above them when they face Crystal Palace later on Sunday.

Serge Aurier opened the scoring with an early header and Kane added a second to put Tottenham in command at half-time.

David McGoldrick halved the deficit, but Ndombele scored one of the goals of the season to give the London club breathing space as they extended their unbeaten run to seven games and left the beleaguered Blades on just five points.

Spurs were rewarded for starting so positively when Aurier capitalised on slack defending by nodding in a whipped corner from Son Heung-Min inside five minutes.

Son ought to have doubled their lead when he dinked the ball over Aaron Ramsdale, but struck the outside of the post after being sent clear by Kane.

Kane was causing the Blades all sorts of problems and the captain put Tottenham two up with a clinical finish five minutes before the break, turning sharply as he took a pass from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and beat Ramsdale with a measured right-foot strike from 20 yards out.

Ramsdale denied Kane a second goal when he tipped the striker's rasping long range drive over the crossbar early in the second half.

The Blades were back in it just before the hour mark, with McGoldrick heading home John Fleck's inviting cross, but Ndombele restored Spurs' two-goal advantage with a moment of magic three minutes later.

Steven Bergwijn played a one-two with the French midfielder, picking him out with a clever chipped pass, and Ndombele found the far corner from inside the penalty area with a cheeky flicked lob running away from the goal.

Kane blazed over the bar at the end of a slick Tottenham move in stoppage time, but the victory had long been wrapped up by then.
 

Chelsea needed a late intervention from Mason Mount to overcome Fulham 1-0 on Saturday, relieving the pressure on boss Frank Lampard. 

Brendan Rodgers - a man tipped to take over at Stamford Bridge if Lampard is removed as boss - saw his Leicester City side climb up to second in the table with a 2-0 win over Southampton. 

There were also wins for Brighton and Hove Albion, West Ham and struggling West Brom. 

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

 

Fulham 0-1 Chelsea: Mount settles west London derby

Chelsea left it late to overcome Fulham at Craven Cottage, Mason Mount scoring with 12 minutes remaining to end the Blues' run of three straight away Premier League defeats. 

The scoreline perhaps should not come as a surprise, given Chelsea have won 131 Premier League games by that margin - the most common winning score for a single team in the competition's history. 

The result also marked Chelsea's fourth away clean sheet of the season - a feat they managed just once last season. 

It could have been a different outcome had Antonee Robinson not seen red shortly before half-time for a wild lunge on Cesar Azpilicueta. That dismissal was Fulham's third in the Premier League this season - no side has had more so far this term. 

Defeat for Scott Parker's side means they are winless in their last 19 top-flight London derby matches since a 2-1 win over West Ham in January 2014.

Leicester City 2-0 Southampton: Maddison and Barnes on target for flying Foxes

Leicester moved up to second in the Premier League after earning their first home league win against Southampton since April 2016, ending a run of four without a win against the Saints at the King Power Stadium. 

They were set on their way by James Maddison, who has now scored in consecutive top-flight games for the Foxes for the first time since October 2019, matching his goal tally at the King Power Stadium from each of the previous two campaigns.

Harvey Barnes' 10th goal of the season sealed all three points, the winger equalling his best ever goals return in a single campaign. 

Southampton, meanwhile, have now failed to score in four of their last five Premier League games, as many as they had in their previous 34 in the competition.

The Saints' first 12 Premier League games this season saw 41 goals scored (F24 A17), at an average of 3.4 per game, while their last six games have seen just six goals scored (F2 A4).

Wolves 2-3 West Brom: Pereira brace gives Allardyce lift off

Sam Allardyce got off the mark with his first win as West Brom boss to revive his side's survival hopes against out-of-form Wolves.

The veteran manager, previously without a win in five matches in all competitions since taking over, is now without defeat in six Premier League games against Wolves - his best unbeaten return against any side in the division.

Matheus Pereira gave West Brom the lead from the penalty spot early on - the ninth league game in a row Wolves have conceded first - before Fabio Silva and Willy Boly turned the game in the home side's favour.

In doing so, Boly became the first Wolves player to concede a penalty, assist and score a goal in the same Premier League game since Adlene Guedioura in May 2011 - also against West Brom at Molineux.

Semi Ajayi levelled the game up with his ninth headed goal since the start of 2018-19 - no defender in England's top four tiers has scored more, level with Virgil van Dijk and Aaron Pierre - and Pereira scored the winner with another spot-kick.

Wolves, who last lost successive home league games against West Brom between 1929 and 1931, are without a clean sheet in 12 Premier League matches - the longest ongoing run among sides in the division.

Leeds 0-1 Brighton: Maupay haunts Bielsa's men again

Brighton ended a nine-game winless run in the Premier League with a narrow victory at Leeds thanks to Neal Maupay's close-range finish after 17 minutes.

Maupay rounded off a slick team move for his 10th away goal for Albion in the competition, making him just the second player to reach that tally for the Seagulls after Glenn Murray (11).

It was the striker's fourth goal in five league appearances against Leeds and ensured a first ever away top-flight victory in this fixture for his side at the fourth attempt.

Leeds, whose two shots on target was their second fewest in a home match under Marcelo Bielsa, have lost their first three games in a calendar year for the first time since 2014.

West Ham 1-0 Burnley: Antonio hits milestone goal in narrow win

Michail Antonio made the difference as Burnley fired another blank, the versatile forward becoming the fourth West Ham player to reach the 40-goal mark for the club after Paolo Di Canio (47), Mark Noble (46) and Carlton Cole (41).

All 40 of those goals have been scored inside the penalty area - only Tim Cahill (56), Javier Hernandez (53), Gabriel Jesus (43) and John Terry (41) have netted more with 100 per cent coming inside the box.

No team has failed to score in more different Premier League games than Burnley this season (10), while no team has netted in more different games than West Ham (15).

It was also a third successive clean sheet in the league for David Moyes' men for the first time since September 2019 as they picked up an eighth win of the campaign in their 18th game, a tally it took them 32 games to reach last time around.

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has expressed his delight at Mason Mount's performance against Fulham and Callum Hudson-Odoi's recent form.

Mount scored the winning goal in the Blues' narrow 1-0 victory at Fulham, who played more than half the match a man light following Antonee Robinson's sending off just before the break.

That goal was just the tip of the iceberg for Mount, who laid on a remarkable seven key passes – only three times in the Premier League this season has a player produced more in a single game.

Lampard was overjoyed with the England international's display and highlighted the midfielder's already considerable experience despite only just turning 22, before suggesting Mount is even playing at a higher level than he was at a similar stage of his career.

"I thought Mason's performance all round was fantastic," Lampard told reporters. "He has been very, very good for us in the past year, this year. He is a big example of why I talk about youth.

"Mason turned 22 years old last week, the age I came to Chelsea at. I wasn't blowing the world away in my first year or so, Mason already has so many games under his belt.

"Across out frontline, we've got; Christian Pulisic – similar age bracket, Kai Havertz – similar age bracket, Callum Hudson-Odoi – younger age bracket, Tammy [Abraham], Timo [Werner] – they're all young.

"But to go back to Mason, his effort, attitude and quality of play today was outstanding."

Hudson-Odoi was bright after coming off the bench in the final 15 minutes, though he was seemingly unfortunate not to start.

The winger endured a difficult 2020 due to fitness problems and a lack of form, but he is starting to show why he had been so highly rated in his teenage years.

In the past month, only Mount and Pulisic have created more Premier League chances than his six among Chelsea players, despite Hudson-Odoi playing just 176 minutes.

That means he is averaging 3.1 key passes per 90 minutes in that time – Mount (4.2) is the only other player with a tally of more than two, and Lampard has been impressed by the 20-year-old's attitude.

"There has been a real uplift in his form," Lampard added. "That's a sign of his development, he is coming on, going by people and showing confidence. And a lot of that will be down to the injury he had to get over last season.

"Hakim [Ziyech] obviously gives us something different and was outstanding when fit. Christian [Pulisic] is always a threat. When I have the three, there is one who maybe can't start the game, but they must then come on and impact the game. Generally, a winger is where you make your changes.

"Yes, I had Leicester in mind [when selecting the team] and we will see how players react in the next day or two. In this busy, busy period players will have to accept to be an impact player sometimes and then come in and start.

"For Callum, I am delighted with how he is playing at the minute and he is approaching it in the right way. He will get many, many minutes for us."

Frank Lampard is remaining patient amid Timo Werner's Premier League goal drought despite the striker missing a glorious chance late on in Chelsea's 1-0 win over Fulham.

Although Germany international Werner scored in the recent FA Cup win over Morecambe, he went into Saturday's match without a goal in his previous nine league games.

That was already his longest run without a goal since going 11 matches without netting in 2016.

He had a fine chance to finally end that difficult spell in the latter stages when he was put through on goal by Christian Pulisic, but he missed the target when one-on-one with Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

Luckily for Chelsea and Lampard, the excellent Mason Mount had already netted what proved to be the winner.

Lampard put on a brave face for Werner at full-time, though he did not completely hide his disappointment.

When asked if he was worried about Werner's dry spell, Lampard told Sky Sports: "I think it's normal.

"If you don't score as regularly as you want – he scored last week in the FA Cup. Those are the goals I've seen him score many times, his bread and butter is going through like that and scoring.

"He has to keep on working, that's the only way out of it. We've all been there. If you're a goalscorer or striker, get back on the training pitch, be pleased that you're getting in there and go again.

"It will go in for him, because he's high quality. We're getting him in positions there when he came on, and he will score."

Chelsea's winner came 12 minutes from time, rather late in the day considering struggling Fulham were reduced to 10 men in the 44th minute when Antonee Robinson was sent off for a wild lunge on Cesar Azpilicueta.

But Lampard insists he had faith they would get the job done and he paid tribute to Mount, whose seven key passes in a single match has only been bettered three times in the Premier League this term.

"I trust in the quality of the players," he added. "Mason, I thought, was outstanding in the game anyway, so he deserves the accolades for how he played.

"I did have a feeling we were going to get the goal because it was constant pressure. It was just staying patient, staying quick with our passing, which I think we did.

"I changed it to bring Tammy [Abraham] on to get him and Oli [Olivier Giroud] up front. I wanted to bring Callum [Hudson-Odoi] on for his one-versus-one [abilities]. Callum could have deserved to start today, to be fair.

"It's not easy selections for me on that side of the pitch at the moment, so he added, Tammy added and Timo added, just disappointed he didn't get his goal.

"Mason was in a slightly deeper role at that point, but he arrived in the box. He needs to score more goals and he knows that, but his quality is brilliant and his attitude is brilliant."

Victory moved Chelsea up to seventh in the Premier League, and they are in action again on Tuesday as they go to Leicester City.

Mason Mount scored a late winner as Chelsea scraped to an unimpressive 1-0 win at a struggling Fulham side that played half the match a man light. 

Frank Lampard's side went into the match without a win in any of their three previous Premier League games, a run that had seen their coach come under increased pressure. Although they were able to end that streak, the performance was by no means vintage. 

Chelsea had the better of the first half but did not begin to exert genuine control until after Antonee Robinson's dismissal in the 44th minute left the Blues with a numerical advantage. 

They had great difficulty making the most of that sending off, but eventually Mount struck 12 minutes from time to move Chelsea back up to seventh in the table. 

Chelsea briefly appeared to find their groove when they created a flurry of chances in quick succession before the half-hour mark of the contest. 

Alphonse Areola had to be alert twice, saving from Olivier Giroud and Antonio Rudiger either side of Mount striking the crossbar during what was a promising three-minute spell from the visitors. 

While that was not the start of a prolonged onslaught, Chelsea's chances were helped just before half-time when Robinson was shown a straight red for a wild tackle on Cesar Azpilicueta that completely missed the ball and sent the Spaniard flying. 

Despite having an extra man, Chelsea's chance creation frequency did not appear to increase, two of their better opportunities ultimately resulting in offside calls. 

A defensive calamity just past the hour then almost saw Chelsea fall behind, as Azpilicueta's poor pass forced Edouard Mendy to stretch and nudge the ball to Ivan Cavaleiro, but luckily Thiago Silva was in attendance to block his shot in front of an empty goal. 

Chelsea finally found a way through in the latter stages, Mount drilling a volley low past Areola after the Frenchman had diverted a left-wing cross right to him.

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