Winning the Champions League will be the "focus point" for Pep Guardiola after extending his Manchester City stay, says his former assistant Mikel Arteta.

City announced on Thursday that Guardiola has signed a new two-year contract that will keep him at the Etihad Stadium until 2023.

The extended terms mean the Catalan is set to be with the Premier League club for seven years, surpassing his four seasons with Barcelona – his longest stint in charge of one club.

Guardiola cited "unfinished business" as a key reason for his decision to prolong his relationship with City and Arteta, who worked under the former Bayern Munich coach for three years before departing for Arsenal last December, believes Champions League success will be his top priority.

"I'm very pleased for him as he's never been so long at a football club, so the fact he's extending his contract means he's extremely happy there, that he's found his place, that he feels valued there and has the chemistry with players, fans and ownership," said Arteta.

"I want the best for him and if he's extended it means he's very happy and he feels that's the best place for him to continue his career, so congratulations.

"Knowing him and his ambitions and how competitive he is, unfinished business means he wants to win every competition every year for sure.

"If he needs to win the four domestic trophies again and he can do it I'm sure he's going to try. Obviously, Europe is a massive thing and he wants to move the club towards the Champions League win and that's his way.

"In the medium to long term that was one of the things he wanted to achieved, so I'm sure it will be a focus point."

Arsenal will look to bounce back from a 3-0 home defeat against Aston Villa when they face Leeds United in the Premier League at Elland Road on Sunday.

However, they will be without Mohamed Elneny and Sead Kolasinac after the duo tested positive for coronavirus, while Thomas Partey remains sidelined with a thigh problem.

Asked if he knew when Partey will return, he said: "No. Well he picked up an injury very early in the [Villa] game. He tried to carry on and wanted to continue the second half and we knew it was a significant injury.

"He's working very hard, he wants to be available. Hopefully we can get him back soon but it's an area we have to be careful with and a bit protective of the player."

International football is largely over for 2020 and the Premier League is returning for the run-up to Christmas.

The next five weeks are jam-packed with action both domestically and in Europe, and hitting the ground running this weekend could give plenty of sides a timely boost.

If you're getting that fantasy team primed once more, cast your eye over our Opta-powered top tips...

 

EDOUARD MENDY

Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy finally conceded a goal in the Premier League in his last appearance, although the Blues still recovered to beat Sheffield United 4-1.

There's no reason to lose faith in the Senegal international ahead of the visit to Newcastle United this weekend.

In fact, Mendy has saved six of the seven shots on target he has faced in England's top flight, giving him a save percentage of 85.7. No keeper in the division can boast such a figure this season.

 

BEN CHILWELL

Chelsea's new-found stability means filling the backline with Blues defenders is no longer a risk to your fantasy success.

Of course, Ben Chilwell is someone who can provide plenty of points regardless of doing any actual defending.

He has been directly involved in four goals (two scored, two assisted) in five league games this season, more than any other defender.

AARON CRESSWELL

However, the prize for 2020-21's most creative defender goes to West Ham's Aaron Cresswell.

His three assists and 17 chances created are the top figures in the competition among defenders and he has been a part of three clean sheets to boot.

With the Hammers facing struggling Sheffield United this weekend, Cresswell is well worth considering.

 

JACK GREALISH

Now that doubts about his place in the England team appear well and truly dismissed, Jack Grealish can focus on the more improbable task of keeping Aston Villa in the race for Europe.

Only Harry Kane (eight) has more assists this term than Grealish (five), and only Mohamed Salah (20) has created more chances from open play (17). The Liverpool star is also the only player with more touches in the opposition box (85) than the Villa captain (70).

What's more, Grealish has scored in each of his past four appearances in all competitions against Brighton and Hove Albion, including in all three meetings last season. They are his favourite opposition.

WILFRIED ZAHA

Crystal Palace's four wins from their first eight games owes much to the form of Wilfried Zaha.

With five goals and two assists, he has already equalled the number of goal involvements that he managed in 38 league games in 2019-20.

Palace face winless Burnley on Monday.

 

GABRIEL JESUS

No Sergio Aguero? No problem. Gabriel Jesus has been involved in 11 goals in his past 11 matches in all competitions (eight scored, three assisted).

The Brazil striker has also scored in each of his previous three games and will look to stretch that run to four for the first time since April 2018 when Manchester City face Tottenham.

 

PATRICK BAMFORD

Only four players have scored more goals in the Premier League this season than Patrick Bamford - and they are only one ahead of the Leeds United striker.

Bamford has hit seven in his eight league games in 2020-21, a scoring run not seen at the club since the days that Mark Viduka graced Elland Road (he managed nine in his first eight appearances).

Given Arsenal's inconsistencies, there is every chance Bamford will pick up where he left off prior to the international break.

Mikel Arteta believes he joined an Arsenal that was "damaged and hurt badly" and the Spaniard was shocked by the disconnect between the team and supporters when he was appointed.

Arteta was hired by Arsenal in December last year, taking over as the permanent head coach following the sacking of Unai Emery at the end of the previous month.

In the intervening period, Freddie Ljungberg presided over just one win in five matches as caretaker, with Arsenal sat 10th in the Premier League upon Arteta's arrival.

A former Arsenal captain, Arteta had earned a burgeoning reputation working under Pep Guardiola at Manchester City and expectations of him were high.

He is widely thought to have elicited a positive response from the Arsenal squad, while he has made demonstrable strides towards implementing a style of play and philosophy, something Emery was routinely accused of failing to achieve.

But although some recent performances have given fans cause for concern, particularly the 3-0 loss at home to Aston Villa prior to the international break, Arteta has reminded supporters of the turmoil he found Arsenal in less than a year ago.

"You cannot build something new [quickly], when something has been damaged and hurt badly, that you can see a big split between even our own fans and the team," he told Arsenal's official website. "When you were in that stadium 10 months ago, I was shocked.

"You have to rebuild that [bond]. In order to do that you have to build some foundations, and afterwards start a process. You have to prioritise that process at the start, and where you are going to get to.

"To do that you need some pieces that you have to fill in there and you have to start to create a puzzle and try to manage it because there will be bad moments and you don't want to break it.

"All the time you have to be very alert because it takes very little to break what you are building."

Additionally, Arteta accepts playing in empty stadiums is not helping matters, suggesting it is having a negative mental impact on players, particularly the feeling of purpose.

Fans have been unable to attend Premier League games since March due to the coronavirus pandemic, and although there were plans in place earlier this season to begin reopening stadiums this term, they have since been put on hold due to a second wave of COVID-19 sweeping across the United Kingdom.

"It is definitely affecting the players," he said. "Now, for example with the lockdown: you win at Old Trafford, you feel excited, your adrenaline is really high, you go home and you want to celebrate, you want to do something, but you just go home, by yourself - some of the players live by themselves - and you go home, sit on the sofa, and that's it.

"To find that purpose and say, 'Okay, I work so hard for this moment, I want to enjoy it, I want to have people around me' but you have nothing, so it is a completely different life.

"In our case, when you try to build a new project, you need to engage the fans with the team. They have to see live what the team is transmitting. It is completely different on the TV, you are not able to do that.

"Without creating that chemistry between players and fans, for them to believe, for them to see live what we are trying to do, it is complicated. We need that.

"The players have to feel, 'Wow, these guys are really behind us, they are really pushing, they are liking what we are trying to do... I feel more motivated, more engaged, I want to participate' - and we are lacking that."

Arsenal return to Premier League action on Sunday at Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United.

Lionel Messi first represented Barcelona's senior side 17 years ago, on November 16, 2003. It's difficult to adequately describe the impact and influence he's since gone on to have on one of the world's most illustrious clubs.

A six-time Ballon d'Or winner and long-established as Barca's all-time leading scorer, virtually every major decision that is made at the club ultimately appears to be taken with Messi in mind.

Perhaps the reality is different, but the way the Barca soap opera is played out in Spanish and Catalan media, one comes to assume it isn't just on the pitch that Messi pulls the strings.

It was this situation that made the pre-season tug of war between Messi and the club all the more damaging – while the player was adamant he could leave for free, then-president Josep Maria Bartomeu seemingly reneged on a previous agreement and stood firm.

Seventeen years on from his first appearance in the Barca team, during a friendly with Porto, it seems an opportune time to consider where Messi might go next if he allows his contract to expire next year.

So, just for a minute, let's imagine money is no object and Messi could play for anyone he chooses. What if the thrill of the game were more important to him than winning a fifth Champions League? What if he threw caution to the wind and went somewhere just for fun?

We've imagined such a scenario, and these are the teams we'd love to see him play for...

AJAX

The link between Ajax and Barca goes beyond the basics of football: it's a shared ideology, a philosophical connection, a spiritual understanding.

From Johan Cruyff to Ronald Koeman, plenty of players and coaches have shared the love of both clubs, but Messi moving to Amsterdam would turn the romance up to 11.

Messi as the focal point of an Ajax side - who are beautiful to watch as it is - is a wonderful idea, and there is even the faint prospect of Luis Suarez going back to his old club to join him one day.

Plus, given the players they have signed from Ajax in the past - Frenkie de Jong and Sergino Dest the latest - Barca probably owe the Eredivisie club a transfer favour in return.

ATALANTA

Gian Piero Gasperini's side captured the hearts of the football world in 2019-20, threatening a title challenge in Serie A and coming close to reaching the Champions League semi-finals.

They did all this on a modest budget, playing vibrant, attacking football, and all during a global pandemic that struck Bergamo and the Lombardy region harder than almost anywhere else in Europe.

The way Argentine Alejandro Gomez pulls the strings for Atalanta is a joy to watch, but imagine if Messi were doing it alongside him. Imagine them facing Cristiano Ronaldo and Juventus. Imagine Marten de Roon's Twitter feed.

Glorious, isn't it?

COLOGNE

The GOAT and the Billy Goats - what could be better?

Cologne are going through some tricky times. Markus Gisdol did a brilliant job in steadying the ship in the Bundesliga last season and was rewarded with a new contract until June 2023, though they're struggling in the bottom three this term.

They might not have won the title since 1978, but they are among Germany's most esteemed clubs, with an ardent fan base and a beautiful home city. As unlikely as it would be in any scenario, if Messi could lead them to challenge the might of Bayern Munich, it would be an unforgettable story.

If not... well, they have a goat as a mascot, for goodness' sake. It's too perfect.

NEWELL'S OLD BOYS

What could be more magical than Messi returning to where it all began? A lifelong Newell's fan, Messi was on their books as a youngster until they – and River Plate afterwards – were unable to pay for necessary growth hormone treatment.

Before then, as the story goes, Messi had scored nearly 500 goals in youth football for the club, and throughout his days as a professional he has been linked with a future move to Newell's prior to retiring.

As recently as last year Messi expressed doubt that such a "dream" could ever happen due to the needs of his family.

It is the move football romanticists will want to see and, while unlikely, Messi did leave the door open: "I will try to convince the family."

LEEDS UNITED

It might be too early for Messi to return to Newell's Old Boys, but what if he joined up with Rosario's other most famous football export in Yorkshire?

Leeds United are back in the Premier League at last, having swept all before them in the Championship in 2019-20 under the stewardship of Marcelo Bielsa and his big blue bucket.

The chance to help awaken a sleeping giant of the English game while playing for the man who inspired Pep Guardiola sounds like an opportunity that's too good to miss.

Plus, if he wanted to visit Sergio Aguero, Manchester is less than an hour away by train.

Neymar has tried, without success, to return to former club Barcelona in previous transfer windows.

The Brazil forward wanted to reunite with Lionel Messi.

Now, it seems Neymar is content in the French capital.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR HAPPY IN PARIS

Neymar wants to sign a new deal with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, according to Telefoot.

PSG superstar Neymar has long been linked with a return to Barcelona after leaving Camp Nou in a world-record Є222million transfer in 2017.

But Neymar – contracted until 2022 – is reportedly happy in Paris and is prepared to prolong his stay.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United star Paul Pogba has emerged as Real Madrid's alternative to Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, reports Diario AS. Camavinga tops Madrid's midfield wish list following his exploits for Rennes and France. But with his transfer value continuing to rise, Madrid could turn to Pogba, who is reportedly available for €60m (£54m) in 2021. Camavinga has also been linked to PSG and United, while Pogba is reportedly being eyed by former club Juventus.

- Calciomercato claims PSG have joined Barca and Juve in the race to sign Ajax star Ryan Gravenberch.

Bruno Fernandes could leave United if the Premier League giants continue to struggle for consistency, reports Fichajes.net. Madrid, Barca, Juve and Bayern Munich have been credited with interest in the Portugal international.

- Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are eyeing Udinese star Rodrigo de Paul, who was previously linked with Leeds United.

Juve are interested in Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli, according to Tuttosport. Sassuolo will not sell the former Milan sensation for less than €40m.

Rodrigo Moreno has been ruled out of Leeds United's clash with Crystal Palace on Saturday and Spain's three forthcoming internationals after he tested positive for COVID-19.

The 29-year-old forward has made three Premier League starts for Leeds in 2020-21, scoring his first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City at Elland Road in October.

After missing Leeds' 4-1 defeat at home to Leicester City on Monday because he was isolating following contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case, he confirmed his own diagnosis in a post on Instagram.

"Unfortunately I have tested positive for COVID-19 after being in contact with a family member that had been infected without us knowing," said Rodrigo.

"As per the protocol I will be self isolating and will miss the game with Crystal Palace.

"Both my family and I feel great, we are lucky enough to feel healthy and we are keeping a positive attitude.

"From home I will support Leeds and the Spainish National team as a supporter and I will be back on the pitch soon. Thank you for all those who have shown concern."

Rodrigo started for Spain in their most recent fixture, a 1-0 defeat to Ukraine in the Nations League, but will not now be able to link up with Luis Enrique's squad for a friendly against Netherlands and Nations League matches at Switzerland and at home to Germany.

Patrick Bamford emulated Eric Cantona as he continued his prolific start to the season with a hat-trick in Leeds United's 3-0 win over Aston Villa on Friday.

Leeds striker Bamford opened the scoring in the Premier League clash at Villa Park in the 55th minute when he pounced on the loose ball after Emiliano Martinez saved an effort from Rodrigo Moreno. 

The 27-year-old then lashed a stunning 20-yard drive into the top-right corner for his second and showed great feet and composure in the box before digging out a fine finish to complete a 19-minute treble. 

Bamford's tally for the season now stands at six, with Cantona (1992-93) the only other Leeds player to have reached that amount after the first six games of a Premier League campaign. 

The former Chelsea forward became the ninth Leeds player to net a Premier League hat-trick and only the second for the club to score in each of their opening three away games in a top-flight season, after Gordon Hodgson in 1937-38. 

Marcelo Bielsa's side handed Villa their first Premier League defeat of the season and ended an eight-game unbeaten run for Dean Smith's side that stretched back to last term. 

Zinedine Zidane led Real Madrid to LaLiga glory last season as Los Blancos dethroned bitter rivals Barcelona.

But, Zidane's position is far from certain amid a run of consecutive defeats in 2020-21.

Madrid are reportedly willing to part with their head coach if he cannot arrest the club's slump.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE FACING SACK

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane could be sacked if results do not improve in the team's next two games, according to L'Equipe.

Zidane is under mounting pressure following back-to-back defeats after Madrid were stunned by newly promoted Cadiz in LaLiga and shocked by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

The Frenchman – in his second spell in charge of the Spanish capital club – is facing a crucial period ahead of Saturday's Clasico against Barcelona and a Champions League date with Borussia Monchengladbach.

Madrid great Zidane has guided Los Blancos to two LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies during his time in charge.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato says Barcelona are ahead of Serie A titleholders Juventus in the race to sign Wolves star Adama Traore. The Spanish speedster has also been linked to Premier League champions Liverpool and Manchester City.

Manchester United and Chelsea are set to rival Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich for Gladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria, reports Bild.

- Calciomercato reports Milan are looking to sign Dinamo Zagreb midfielder Lovro Majer. The 22-year-old has already been linked with Borussia Dortmund, Fiorentina, Leeds United, Valencia and Sevilla.

Leeds United and England midfielder Kalvin Phillips is facing up to six weeks out with a shoulder problem. 

Phillips sustained the injury during Leeds' 1-0 defeat at home to Wolves on Monday, though he played the entire 90 minutes. 

The 24-year-old is consequently expected to be unavailable for England's Nations League games against Belgium and Iceland in November. 

A club statement read: "Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips suffered a shoulder injury in last night's Premier League defeat to Wolves at Elland Road.  

"Whilst we are pleased to confirm that surgery is not required, the Leeds born England International could still face up to six weeks on the sidelines. 

"Kalvin began his rehab at Thorp Arch this morning and will be working hard with the medical team to return to action as soon as possible."

Phillips has missed just 15 games in all competitions for Leeds since Marcelo Bielsa took over ahead of the 2018-19 season. 

They have suffered six defeats in those matches (eight victories, one draw), with their win percentage dropping to 53.3 per cent from 54.9 per cent when Phillips is in the team. 

Leeds on average score fewer goals (down to 1.5 from 1.6) and concede more (up to 1.1 from 1.0) when playing without the England midfielder.

Will Manchester City land Lionel Messi?

City were reportedly close to luring Messi to the Premier League during the previous transfer window.

Messi remains at Barcelona, but City are believed to be planning another move.

 

TOP STORY – CITY CONTEMPLATING MESSI MOVE

Manchester City are considering an offer to prise Lionel Messi from Barcelona in January, according to the Daily Star.

Messi handed in a transfer request at the start of the season and the Barca captain was tipped to join City before opting to remain at Camp Nou.

Pep Guardiola's City, however, have not given up on Messi as they eye a £15million (€16m) bid for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner – who was also linked to Juventus, Inter and Paris Saint-Germain previously.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror claims Barca are eyeing January moves for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum and City defender Eric Garcia. Lyon captain Memphis Depay has also been linked.

Liverpool and Tottenham are set to battle it out for the signing of Leeds United's £50million midfielder Kalvin Phillips, reports the Mirror.

- The Sun says Manchester United are circling for Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde. United believe a swap deal involving Paul Pogba could be possible due to Valverde's £640m (€705m) release clause.

N'Golo Kante has no intention of leaving Chelsea, according to Le10 Sport. The France international has been linked to Inter and Madrid.

It was impossible to make a case for the defence as Liverpool and Manchester United were humiliated after Everton's Colombia duo made history on another extraordinary weekend of Premier League action.

Champions Liverpool were demolished 7-2 at Aston Villa on Sunday after 10-man United had slumped to a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of rampant Tottenham.

Jurgen Klopp's side and the Red Devils are by no means the only ones needing to get a grasp of the art of defending during the international break, as the goals continue to flow far too easily in the top flight.

There was a Colombian first at Goodison Park, where surprise leaders Everton beat Brighton and Hove Albion 4-2 to maintain their perfect start.

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

 

LETHAL WATKINS STUNS FRAIL REDS

Villa's big-money signing Ollie Watkins capitalised on Liverpool's defensive frailties in a remarkable encounter.

The striker had a hat-trick inside 39 minutes at Villa Park, where the Reds endured a nightmare and were fortunate to trudge off after only conceding seven.

Watkins was the 10th player to score a Premier League hat-trick against Liverpool and the first since Dimitar Berbatov in September 2010.

His treble was the 26th to be completed in the first half of a top-tier game in England, Harry Kane the last man to achieve that feat against Stoke City in February 2017.

AT SIXES AND SEVENS

A stunning Sunday of Premier League action saw giants Liverpool and United ship at least six goals on the same day for the first time.

It was also the first time the fierce rivals had both lost by a five-goal margin on the same day.

Liverpool conceded seven times for the first time since a 7-2 capitulation at Spurs back in 1963, while it was also the fifth time reigning top-flight champions let seven in during a league game and the first since Arsenal in September 1953.

It was the third occasion in which United had conceded six in the Premier League, with Southampton thumping them 6-3 in October 1996 and Manchester City dishing out a 6-1 battering nine years ago.

SWEET DAY FOR TOFFEES' COLOMBIANS

Everton are riding on the crest of a wave under Carlo Ancelotti, and James Rodriguez has already become a big fans' favourite.

Rodriguez scored twice in an impressive victory over Brighton at Goodison Park to keep the Toffees marching on.

The former Real Madrid man also provided an assist for Yerry Mina, the first time in the competition that a goal has been scored and laid on by Colombians.

Steven Alzate's presence in the Seagulls' starting line-up made it the first time three Colombian players had started a Premier League game.

 

RODRIGO BACK IN BUSINESS 

Leeds United's record signing Rodrigo Moreno pounced on a mistake from Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson to secure a 1-1 draw in Saturday's thrilling contest at Elland Road. 

The forward scored his first goal for Leeds since his big-money move from Valencia and also struck the crossbar twice. 

Rodrigo scored during a loan spell at Bolton Wanderers in January 2011 and his strike against City came nine years and 272 days later.

Only Andy Johnson has had a bigger gap between his first two Premier League goals, at nine years and 276 days.

It was no real surprise to see Ruben Dias come straight into the Manchester City team for his Premier League debut at Leeds United.

Pep Guardiola's men were returning to league action for the first time since a humiliating 5-2 defeat at home to Leicester City last weekend – the centre-back pairing of Nathan Ake and Eric Garcia on that occasion were subsequently dropped.

Dias, a Portugal international, arrived from Benfica this week in a deal worth an initial £62million (€68m) following several months of speculation linking City with new centre-backs.

After being comfortably beaten to the Premier League title last term, Guardiola was certain what area of his team needed improving and he has been backed.

At Elland Road on Saturday, Dias did little wrong, but the match did highlight another issue with City's defence.

Dias a cool customer

The second half saw tactics pretty much go out of the window, a particularly novel and entertaining element of the encounter given it was a contest between two of the game's most highly thought of tacticians.

But Dias, put straight into the starting XI, was the embodiment of composure throughout.

He was right into the thick of it as well – Dias had a header from a corner deflected wide after just four minutes and then nodded agonisingly wide from another set-piece soon after.

His distribution, while by no means spectacular, was solid – his 82 per cent success rate an improvement on the 77 posted by Aymeric Laporte, who was the sloppier of the two City centre-backs.

Dias also showed his ease in possession after 34 minutes as he cut out a long ball by controlling with his thigh, before nudging possession off to Rodri despite being put under pressure – while not necessarily an incident for a highlight reel, it was one of numerous moments that suggested his suitability for City's style of play.

But defensively he was also solid, making a team-high four clearances and two blocks, one of which halted a Helder Costa delivery across the face of goal, subsequently winning a free-kick from the winger with a clever side-step in the immediate aftermath.

Mendy run ragged

Mendy did actually start the thrilling encounter well with some forward runs, but there was a hint of things to come just before half-time when the left-back's issues with concentration were laid bare.

The Frenchman attempted to bring down Kalvin Phillips' cross-field pass as he tracked back towards goal, but his relaxed touch was pounced upon by Luke Ayling, only for Ederson to bail out his full-back.

Half-time will have given him a chance to compose himself, but the start of the second period coincided with the introduction of former City youngster Ian Poveda.

Within a minute of his entry Poveda was straight at Mendy and Raheem Sterling, tricking his way past the latter before running at the former and getting a cross into the danger zone, which was met by Patrick Bamford who saw his effort deflected wide.

That was just a sign of things to come for Mendy and he was all over the place to the extent that he was withdrawn for centre-back Ake with 19 minutes to go.

One tackle and a solitary clearance was all Mendy managed in terms of defensive actions during his 71 minutes on the pitch, while he failed to deliver a single cross – given attacking output is considered his strong side, that is not a good look for him.

City are rumoured to be chasing another left-back, with Nicolas Tagliafico and David Alaba said to be targets, and on the evidence of this match it is easy to see why.

Substitutes change the game for Leeds

Leeds struggled initially, particularly in the first 20 minutes. Although they did improve until the break, the hosts still only managed four shots in the first period but then had double that after the interval.

Poveda was the first to be introduced and certainly made an impact, running at the City left flank almost every time he got the ball.

A January signing from City, Poveda won two fouls thanks to his direct style of play, while his one key pass had City on the back foot right at the start of the second period, setting the tone for Leeds' improvement.

The 20-year-old winger attempted six dribbles and completed four of them, highlighting the problem he posed Mendy and Sterling.

But he wasn't the only Leeds sub to test the visitors – Rodrigo Moreno was similarly lively off the bench, getting the equaliser as he reacted quickest to an Ederson error at a corner.

The Spain international looked in the mood as soon as he came on, with his first action seeing him run at Dias and work just enough space for a shot that took a slight deflection on to the crossbar and out for a corner – it was this set-piece, just three minutes after Rodrigo was brought on, that brought the Leeds goal.

He continued to be a pest, however, with the last of his three attempts forcing Ederson to tip his header on to the crossbar, while he also produced a couple of key passes – firstly teeing up Helder Costa, before then finding Bamford, who was denied by the City keeper.

Leeds won't always play against teams as open as City, but with schemers like Rodrigo – and, seemingly – Poveda, unlocking packed defences certainly won't be beyond them.

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.