Liverpool blew Everton away in the Merseyside derby and Jose Mourinho suffered his first loss as Tottenham head coach on his return to Manchester United.

Jurgen Klopp's Premier League leaders have an eight-point cushion at the top after a 5-2 win at Anfield on Wednesday that increases the pressure on the Toffees' beleaguered boss Marco Silva.

Leicester remain the Reds' nearest challengers after Brendan Rodgers' side saw off his old club Watford 2-0 thanks to second-half goals from Jamie Vardy and James Maddison.

Chelsea, Southampton and Wolves completed a clean sweep of home wins with victories over Aston Villa, Norwich City and West Ham respectively.

 

Divock the derby hero again

Divock Origi and Sadio Mane were the stars for Liverpool as their 5-2 victory in the Merseyside derby left stricken Silva surely on the verge of losing his job.

A remarkable first half saw six goals – Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri helping the Reds race ahead, though Michael Keane pulled Everton back into contention.

Another for Origi – his fifth Merseyside derby strike – restored Liverpool's two-goal advantage with Mane slotting home their fourth before Richarlison reduced the deficit again.

That effort failed to lift Everton and Georginio Wijnaldum delivered a likely final blow to Silva as counterpart Klopp claimed his 100th Premier League win.

Unhappy return for Mourinho

Spurs had won three games out of three under Mourinho but fell to a 2-1 loss away to Manchester United with Marcus Rashford scoring both goals for the Red Devils.

Rashford scored either side of a superb individual effort from Dele Alli to take his Premier League tally to nine for the season, with Spurs well off the pace.

United move into the top six, leapfrogging Mourinho's men, thanks to a much-needed victory that ends their run of three matches without a win in all competitions.

Abraham nets again for Blues

Tammy Abraham returned from injury to help sink former club Aston Villa as Chelsea got back to winning ways with a 2-1 victory on John Terry's return to Stamford Bridge.

Back from a hip problem, Abraham opened the scoring with a first-half header and provided a chested assist that allowed Mason Mount to volley a superb winner after Trezeguet's fortuitous equaliser.

Willian excelled throughout on the right flank and Chelsea, who had lost their past two league games to Manchester City and West Ham, should have won by more against opponents who had Blues legend Terry on the bench as assistant manager.

Penalty drama for Leicester

A 2-0 home win against managerless Watford was routine for Leicester, but striker Vardy was booked for diving when he seemed to be clearly fouled, despite the incident being checked by the VAR.

Vardy later converted from the spot, scoring for the seventh straight league game, and Leicester's winning streak also stretched to seven matches in the league after Maddison netted deep into added time.

Elsewhere, Southampton moved out of the bottom three at Everton's expense with Ralph Hasenhuttl's side sealing successive home wins with first-half strikes by Danny Ings and Ryan Bertrand setting up a 2-1 victory over Norwich at St. Mary's.

Wolves are fifth after goals from Leander Dendoncker and Patrick Cutrone downed West Ham 2-0. Nuno Espirito Santo's side are now unbeaten in 10 Premier League matches.

Liverpool have been drawn at home to Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup third round, while holders Manchester City will start the defence of their title at home to third-tier Port Vale.

The Toffees face Jurgen Klopp's side on Wednesday in the Premier League and will make the short trip to Anfield for a second time this season during the first week of January.

Pep Guardiola's City thumped Watford 6-0 in last season's final and have been given a favourable draw to kick-start their 2019-20 campaign, with John Askey's League Two side pitching up at the Etihad Stadium.

Manchester United face a difficult away tie against Premier League rivals Wolves, who knocked them out of the competition last season's quarter-finals, while Arsenal welcome Championship leaders Leeds United to the Emirates Stadium.

New Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho takes his side to Middlesbrough, managed by former Spurs defender Jonathan Woodgate, and Chelsea host Nottingham Forest.

Ties will take place between January 3 and 6.

Watford have placed Under-23s coach Hayden Mullins in charge for Wednesday's Premier League trip to Leicester City following the sacking of Quique Sanchez Flores.

Flores' second spell at Vicarage Road was brought to an end at the weekend on the back of a 2-1 loss to Southampton that left the club bottom of the division.

Watford hope to bring in a permanent successor "imminently", but Mullins will be in the dugout for the midweek clash with the high-flying Foxes.

The 40-year-old has been a coach at Watford since July 2016 and was brought in to oversee first-team training on Monday, alongside head of academy goalkeeping Graham Stack.

Former Newcastle United and Brighton and Hove Albion boss Chris Hughton is rumoured to be one of the frontrunners for the Hornets post.

Brendan Rodgers insists he is "very happy" at Leicester City amid speculation Arsenal want to appoint him as their new manager.

The Northern Irishman is reportedly Arsenal's preferred choice to take over from Unai Emery, who was sacked on Friday after a torrid start to the season.

Rodgers only assumed the helm at the King Power Stadium in February but has wasted little time stamping his authority on the club.

He has masterminded a stunning start to the season, guiding the second-place Foxes to 10 wins in their opening 14 Premier League games.  

Speaking after his side's last-gasp win over Everton on Sunday, Rodgers hinted he has a release clause in his contract.

However, he has now moved to silence suggestions that was an indication of his interest in the job at the Emirates Stadium, claiming he plans to be at Leicester for the long haul.

"I have a contract here until 2022 and thus far – and I know managers are losing their jobs – but the club have not indicated to me that they are going to sack me," said Rodgers.

"I think they're pretty happy with how we are working and like I said, I'm very happy, and I have no reason to look elsewhere.

"I think logic would tell you – I know in your job it's not always logical, there's gossip and speculation – but why would I want to leave Leicester City, at this moment in time?

"I'm working with a young group of players that's got so much potential and want to improve and develop.

"I was asked a question about my contract, talking about clauses and stuff like that, and I gave an honest answer which was based on most managers probably have something in their contract. And by all accounts that opened the door for something.

"I repeat, I'm very happy here. I think there is a lot for us to develop over the next few seasons. We are moving to a new training facility.

"I respect that there'll always be this speculation around jobs and there is probably for a number of managers.

"For me, I repeat, I'm happy here, very happy and have great relations with all the people and I feel I want to continue with that. Take from that what you want."

Rodgers will hope to guide his side to a seventh consecutive Premier League win on Wednesday when bottom club Watford are the visitors. 

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers hinted a release clause exists in his contract amid links to the Arsenal vacancy, though he is fully focused on delivering on the Foxes' potential.

Rodgers is reportedly Arsenal's preferred choice after Unai Emery was sacked on Friday, with speculation claiming the former Liverpool and Celtic boss has a £14million release clause.

After Leicester edged Everton 2-1 to stay second and eight points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool, Rodgers was asked about the rumours.

"There probably is [a clause] in most managers' contracts. It's all hypothetical – all these types of situations," Rodgers, who moved to Leicester in February, told Sky Sports.

"For me, at this moment, we've had a brilliant win today. My focus is very much with Leicester because I made a change eight or nine months ago, and I've been so happy since I came here.

"I feel, with the players, we still have a lot of work to do. Most managers' contracts will have something in that but, for me, my only concentration is with Leicester.

"I've been very fortunate in my career to work with some brilliant clubs and great institutions. It was an ambition to come here to help the club arrive in the top six. Everything's been great since we've worked together.

"My ambition is to help this club, a responsibility to share that with the others and move the club forward. There's great potential here at Leicester City to push on in the next few years."

Kelechi Iheanacho benefitted from a huge VAR assist as Leicester City continued to hang on to the coattails of Liverpool on a day when Arsenal started the post-Unai Emery era with a draw.

With Manchester City and Chelsea suffering unlikely setbacks on Saturday, Liverpool took the opportunity to extend their lead to 11 points and it appeared the Foxes were not well placed to cut that gap after falling behind at home to Everton. 

However, a last-gasp technological intervention sparked wild celebrations at the King Power Stadium as Leicester completed a come-from-behind 2-1 triumph.

Also on Sunday, there was more frustration for Manchester United and interim boss Freddie Ljungberg saw Arsenal twice come from behind at Carrow Road.


FOXES GRATEFUL TO VAR

Leicester were in danger at the break after Richarlison headed home to put Everton into a half-time lead, while Ben Chilwell saw a penalty for a trip from Mason Holgate overturned by VAR.

Jamie Vardy's neat strike – his 13th in the league this season – brought Leicester level, though, before drama ensued deep into second-half stoppage time.

Iheanacho latched on to Ricardo Pereira's excellent throughball and rifled his shot past Jordan Pickford, only for the linesman to curtail his knee-sliding celebration.

But a check with the video assistant showed Yerry Mina had played the striker onside to leave Leicester in outright second and pile more pressure on under-fire Toffees boss Marco Silva.


SAME OLD ARSENAL

Emery may have departed Arsenal but it was a familiar story for the Gunners defensively under Ljungberg.

Norwich stole ahead when Kenny McLean was afforded too much space to pick out Teemu Pukki, whose deflected effort beat Bernd Leno after David Luiz had backed off the striker.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelled from the penalty spot at the second attempt having been handed a reprieve when his first attempt was saved by Tim Krul, only for VAR to spot an encroachment.

Aubameyang levelled again in the second half but only after more poor defending had seen Todd Cantwell put Norwich in a 2-1 half-time lead. 


RED DEVILS STRUGGLE AT HOME

Manchester United were again off the pace in a 2-2 draw against Aston Villa, who led through Jack Grealish's stunning curling opener.

Marcus Rashford saw a header from Andreas Pereira's whipped cross cannon off the post and hit Tom Heaton on the back before nestling in the goal to bring United level and they led when Victor Lindelof nodded home in the 64th minute.

Just two minutes later, United were caught napping when Matt Targett clipped a second ball in from a cleared corner and Tyrone Mings volleyed past David de Gea.


DOHERTY PAYS TRIBUTE TO AFOBE

Two teams impressing in the top half of the table played out a 1-1 draw at Molineux as Wolves came back against Sheffield United – the visitors leading through Lys Mousset's second-minute goal.

Matt Doherty levelled in the second half and celebrated by kissing and raising his black armband, which was being worn in honour of former Wolves striker Benik Afobe, who announced the tragic loss of his two-year-old daughter Amora on Sunday. 

Pep Guardiola will not allow his focus to drift towards the bigger picture of the Premier League title race as Manchester City chase victory at Newcastle United.

The defending champions but find themselves third after 13 matches, already nine points behind leaders Liverpool, who defeated Guardiola's men at Anfield this month.

City kick off the latest weekend of Premier League action against Newcastle on Saturday, giving them a chance to leapfrog second-placed Leicester City - albeit possibly only temporarily.

That will be Guardiola's aim at St James' Park, with the former Spaniard insisting he does not like to think about the season as a whole.

"I'm not thinking about how many games we have to win - I know we cannot lose games," he told a news conference.

"I'm not thinking honestly about winning the Premier League right now. I never thought about it, even in the years we won.

"To win the Premier League, we have to be close to Leicester, first of all, and then to Liverpool.

"The target, when you play games in different competitions every three days, is the next one. You choose the best players possible for this specific game and try to win."

City came unstuck at Newcastle last season, having had to settle for a slightly nervy win during the previous campaign.

Guardiola added: "The last two seasons, we won 1-0 and, last season, we lost 2-1. Newcastle away is always one of the nicest environments and stadiums in England.

"Obviously, it's a tough test, but next Tuesday we have Burnley and then the derby against [Manchester] United, so we know the situation we are in.

"We trained really good today [Friday]. I saw the team were ready. We fly this afternoon and then tomorrow, 12.30, we try to do a good game."

Sunday's Premier League showdown between Leicester City and Everton pits two ambitious clubs with sharply contrasting recent fortunes against one another.

Leicester are the closest challengers to leaders Liverpool, sitting eight points shy of Jurgen Klopp's men and a point better off than champions Manchester City after 13 matches.

An ambitious managerial appointment in the form of Brendan Rodgers has paid dividends, with evergreen striker Jamie Vardy in sparkling form.

Marco Silva, a much-trumpeted arrival at Goodison Park before the start of last season, has work to do to turn around an increasingly dismal situation on Merseyside.

Last weekend's defeat to Norwich City means Everton have now lost 2-0 to all three of last season's promoted sides and they languish in 16th ahead of a tough run of fixtures.

VARDY PARTY GOES ON AND ON

Much of Leicester's charge to the upper-reaches of the table has been powered by the prolific Vardy.

The ex-England striker is the top scorer in the Premier League with 12 this season. He also has 12 in his past 12 home games and is closing in on a half-century at the King Power Stadium in the top flight (48 in 94 matches).

The alliance between Rodgers and Vardy has proved reinvigorating for the 32-year-old, who averages a goal every 98 minutes under the former Liverpool boss.

If Vardy's threat comes predominantly from open play, Leicester will also be keen to test Everton's set-piece vulnerability.

Despite facing the fifth fewest number of corners (55) and the joint-second fewest number of shots (14) from them, no side has conceded more goals from such set-piece situations this season than Everton's four.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: JAMES MADDISON v GYLFI SIGURDSSON

Maddison and Sigurdsson arrived at Leicester and Everton before the 2018-19 campaign to be the creative fulcrum of their sides.

Maddison has broken into the England set up and his form suggests he could yet be a star of Euro 2020.

In 47 starts out of 48 Premier League appearances for the Foxes, the former Norwich star boasts a goal involvement every 195.1 minutes thanks to 11 goals and nine assists.

He has created a phenomenal 128 chances and an 83.71 per cent completion rate from 1,977 passes is evidence of a man who cherishes possession.

A dribble success rate of 61.2 per cent shows another manner in which Maddison can hurt the opposition, while his 110 fouls won are more than double Sigurdsson's number (47).

The set-piece specialist edges Maddison in goal involvements thanks to 14 goals and 7 assists form 46 starts.

Sigurdsson has also created 100 chances, another impressive return that makes it tempting to wonder what he might achieve if his team-mates and manager can collectively pull themselves together.

FORM GUIDE

Leicester have won five consecutive Premier League matches, racking up an aggregate scoreline of 17-1.

The Foxes are aiming for six consecutive top-flight wins for the first time since 1963. They have only lost once in 12 games at home under Rodgers, winning nine.

October's 2-0 win over fellow strugglers West Ham snapped a run of four straight league losses for Everton.

Silva's side have taken four points from their four subsequent games, winning 2-1 over a Southampton side Leicester dispatched 9-0 last month.

HISTORY SAYS…

Everton have been defensively flimsy at times this season and they will have their work cut out to keep Vardy and co at bay.

The Toffees have only managed one clean sheet in their past 13 Premier League meetings with Leicester (W5 D4 L4), which came in a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium in December 2016.

The corresponding fixture last season also finished in an Everton victory. Leicester have not lost consecutive home league games to the Merseyside club since December 1997.

None of the previous eight meetings between Leicester and Everton have been drawn, with each team winning four apiece.

Jose Mourinho marked his first game as Tottenham head coach with a 3-2 victory at West Ham on Saturday, while Manchester City returned to winning ways with a 2-1 success against in-form Chelsea.

Spurs scored freely for 49 minutes in the lunchtime game at London Stadium but were pegged back by West Ham as errors crept in. Later in the day, City recovered from a goal behind to end Chelsea's winning run, which spanned six league matches heading into the early-evening kick-off.

Arsenal laboured in a 2-2 home draw against lowly Southampton, a late Alexandre Lacazette goal sparing Unai Emery's blushes at the Emirates Stadium.

Crystal Palace were sunk by a late goal in a 2-1 defeat to leaders Liverpool. Brighton and Hove Albion lost to Leicester City and Everton were beaten by Norwich City, both at home by 2-0 scorelines.

Wolves extended their unbeaten run to eight games with a 2-1 win at Bournemouth, and Burnley beat Watford 3-0 to clinch back-to-back league victories for the first time this season.

SPURS FIRE FOR JOSE BUT DEFENSIVE QUESTIONS LINGER

Three goals in 13 minutes put Spurs on course for a resounding result against West Ham but Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna took the sheen off the Mourinho era curtain-raiser.

The visitors were marginally the better side of a tepid first half until the 36th minute when Dele Alli played in Son Heung-min whose angled drive from the corner of the six-yard box beat the flailing Roberto Jimenez for power.

Alli released Son down the left and he sent over a low cross that Lucas Moura bundled into the net at the far post to double Tottenham's advantage two minutes from half-time.

West Ham's defensive frailties came to the fore once again four minutes into the second half when Serge Aurier's cross picked out Harry Kane, who was given an easy ride by Issa Diop as he sent a header past Roberto's outstretched hand.

But when Spurs needed to close out the win, they allowed Antonio to pull one back from close range and Declan Rice had another ruled out for offside before Ogbonna converted from Robert Snodgrass' cross deep into stoppage time.

FIRMINO FIRES WINNER FOR RELENTLESS REDS

Liverpool's three-game winning streak was under threat when Wilfried Zaha scored for Crystal Palace in the 82nd minute to make it 1-1 at Selhurst Park, but the Eagles failed to keep Roberto Firmino at bay late on.

The Brazilian striker poked home in during an 85th-minute penalty box scramble amid heavy Reds pressure, typical of the never-say-die attitude that makes the Premier League front-runners so difficult to stop.

Sadio Mane's eighth league goal of the season had put Liverpool 1-0 in front, the Senegal international advancing into the box four minutes after half-time before unleashing a shot that hit both posts before finding the net.

Zaha's low, angled drive from 12 yards put Palace on course for a point their battling performance would have merited but Roy Hodgson's men failed to park the bus when a Liverpool onslaught was inevitable.

CITY SHOW FIGHTING SPIRIT

Manchester City lost 3-1 at Anfield before the international break to fall nine points adrift of Liverpool, and the Reds' lead over last season's champions was briefly extended on Saturday following their dramatic victory in south London.

Pep Guardiola's side welcomed goalkeeper Ederson back from injury, but the slender win over Chelsea was somewhat soured by Rodri, David Silva and Sergio Aguero all hobbling off.

Kicking off around 40 minutes after full-time at Selhurst Park, City's dwindling title hopes looked set to take another dent when N'Golo Kante marked his 150th Chelsea appearance with a deserved opening goal.

But Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez struck before half-time to give the hosts the lead and, despite Raheem Sterling having a late strike ruled out by VAR, City held on to deny Chelsea a club record of eight straight victories away from home in all competitions.

LACAZETTE BRACE KEEPS EMERY ERA HANGING BY A THREAD

Arsenal looked like a side taking victory for granted before Danny Ings opened the scoring for Southampton after eight minutes at Emirates Stadium.

It was only by virtue of Alexandre Lacazette's work rate and quality that the Gunners gave the home support anything to cheer, and the France international equalised after 18 minutes following scrappy Southampton defending.

The goal should have put the wind in Arsenal's sails, but Emery's men lacked cohesion and consistency, allowing Southampton to break repeatedly. The visitors restored their lead 19 minutes from time through James Ward-Prowse who scored at the second attempt after Bernd Leno saved his penalty.

Again it fell to Lacazette to spare Arsenal's embarrassment and he duly obliged, succeeding where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil failed by converting a late chance at close range, rifling home from Gabriel Martinelli's cross to clinch his side a point they barely deserved.


Burnley, meanwhile, won 3-0 for the second game in a row with second-half strikes from Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and James Tarkowski earning a victory at bottom side Watford that lifted the Clarets to sixth in the table.

 

Jose Mourinho won his first game in charge of Tottenham but had his satisfaction tempered by a late West Ham fightback in a 3-2 victory at London Stadium, while rivals Arsenal laboured in a 2-2 home draw against Southampton.

Spurs scored freely for 49 minutes in the lunchtime game at London Stadium but were pegged back as errors crept in. Arsenal needed a late Alexandre Lacazette goal to avoid joining six other Premier League teams who lost at home on Saturday.

Crystal Palace were sunk by a late goal in a 2-1 defeat to leaders Liverpool. Brighton lost to Leicester City and Everton were beaten by Norwich City, both at home by 2-0 scorelines.

Wolves extended their unbeaten run to eight games with a 2-1 win at Bournemouth and Burnley won 3-0 at Watford to clinch back-to-back league wins for the first time this season.

SPURS FIRE FOR JOSE BUT DEFENSIVE QUESTIONS LINGER

Three goals in 13 minutes put Spurs on course for a resounding result against West Ham but Michail Antonio and Angelo Ogbonna took the sheen off the Mourinho era curtain-raiser.

The visitors were marginally the better side of a tepid first half until the 36th minute when Dele Alli played in Son Heung-min whose angled drive from the corner of the six-yard box beat the flailing Roberto Jimenez for power.

Alli released Son down the left and he sent over a low cross that Lucas Moura bundled into the net at the far post to double Tottenham's advantage two minutes from half-time.

West Ham's defensive frailties came to the fore once again four minutes into the second half when Serge Aurier's cross picked out Harry Kane, who was given an easy ride by Issa Diop as he sent a header past Roberto's outstretched hand.

But when Spurs needed to close out the win, they allowed Antonio to pull one back from close range and Declan Rice had another ruled out for offside before Ogbonna converted from Robert Snodgrass' cross deep into stoppage time.

FIRMINO FIRES WINNER FOR RELENTLESS REDS

Liverpool's three-game winning streak was under threat when Wilfried Zaha scored for Crystal Palace in the 82nd minute to make it 1-1 at Selhurst Park, but the Eagles failed to keep Roberto Firmino at bay late on.

The Brazilian striker poked home in during an 85th-minute penalty box scramble amid heavy Reds pressure, typical of the never-say-die attitude that makes the Premier League front-runners so difficult to stop.

Sadio Mane's eighth league goal of the season had put Liverpool 1-0 in front, the Senegal international advancing into the box four minutes after half-time before unleashing a shot that hit both posts before finding the net.

Zaha's low, angled drive from 12 yards put Palace on course for a point their battling performance would have merited but Roy Hodgson's men failed to park the bus when a Liverpool onslaught was inevitable.

LACAZETTE BRACE KEEPS EMERY ERA HANGING BY A THREAD

Arsenal looked like a side taking victory for granted before Danny Ings opened the scoring for Southampton after eight minutes at Emirates Stadium.

It was only by virtue of Alexandre Lacazette's work rate and quality that the Gunners gave the home support anything to cheer, and the France international equalised after 18 minutes following scrappy Southampton defending.

The goal should have put the wind in Arsenal's sails, but Unai Emery's men lacked cohesion and consistency, allowing Southampton to break repeatedly. The visitors restored their lead 19 minutes from time through James Ward-Prowse who scored at the second attempt after Bernd Leno saved his penalty.

Again it fell to Lacazette to spare Arsenal's embarrassment and he duly obliged, succeeding where Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mesut Ozil failed by converting a late chance at close range, rifling home from Gabriel Martinelli's cross to clinch his side a point they barely deserved.


Burnley, meanwhile, won 3-0 for the second game in a row with second-half strikes from Chris Wood, Ashley Barnes and James Tarkowski earning a victory at bottom side Watford that lifted the Clarets to sixth in the table.

VAR controversy, Leicester City's swashbuckling style, Liverpool's unrelenting charge to the title – these are all among the most prominent themes of the opening months of the 2019-20 Premier League season.

But arguably trumping all of them in terms of column inches has been Chelsea's use of young players, with Frank Lampard's return to the club as head coach coinciding with a new-found desire to bring youngsters into the first-team.

Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Christian Pulisic have all featured regularly, while Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James have recently returned from serious injuries.

Eden Hazard, Graeme Le Saux, Sean Dyche, Roy Hodgson and Petr Cech are just a few of the army of people to lavish Chelsea and Lampard with praise for this philosophy.

Although it is difficult not to be cynical of Lampard's insistence that he would have had the same approach even if Chelsea were not banned from signing new players, the fact remains they are giving young players a chance.

But how does their use of under-23 players compare to the rest of the teams in Europe's top five leagues?

PREMIER LEAGUE

It might surprise supporters to learn that among Premier League clubs, Chelsea don't lead the way for appearances (60), minutes (4,164) or assists (8) for players who were under 23 on matchday.

Manchester United have racked up the highest number of matches for players younger than 23 (84), one more than Leicester. The next highest is Bournemouth (67), while Arsenal and Norwich City are also ahead of Chelsea.

As such, United have given 5,801 minutes of Premier League football to young players, though Leicester lead the way with 6,164 and are also on top in terms of assists (15).

Chelsea's 20 goals from qualifying players is a division high, however, four more than United. Leicester are the third and final side to reach double figures.

And the Blues' average starting XI age of 25 years and 115 days is among the youngest, though Bournemouth are ahead on that front (25y 88d).

LALIGA

In Spain's top flight, only Real Sociedad (84) and Real Mallorca (68) have given more matches to young players than Chelsea. They're also the only clubs to accumulate more minutes played by youngsters than the Blues (5,341 and 5,944, respectively).

La Real also top the charts for goals (10), assists (8) and average starting XI age (25y 235d) in Spain, though none of those records better Chelsea's.

Therefore, it's fair to say LaLiga, renowned for its development of young players, is lagging behind Premier League in that regard at the moment.

SERIE A

Chelsea's 60 appearances by young players would put them fourth on those terms in Serie A, with Fiorentina (79), Genoa and AC Milan (both 72) out in front.

Those three have also given more minutes to under-23s, with Fiorentina (5,837) setting the bar again.

Genoa have had 11 goals set up by under-23 players, three more than Chelsea, while Milan's average starting XI age (24y 203d) is much lower than Lampard's men.

But in each of those two parameters, Chelsea would be second in the chart. They would lead for goals from under-23s, with Fiorentina top in Italy on 10.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig (80), Mainz, Schalke (both 70) and Borussia Monchengladbach (63) have been the most open to playing under-23s in the Bundesliga

Similarly, all four clubs have seen those players feature in more than 4,500 minutes this season – Leipzig unsurprisingly leading the way with 5,259.

Leipzig are also Chelsea's closest challengers in terms of goals. Their record of 17 may be slightly less than the Blues, but their 11-assist haul - level with Gladbach - takes them to 28 involvements, exactly the same as Lampard's side.

Julian Nagelsmann's Leipzig are also the youngest side in the Bundesliga, with their starting XI's average age just 24 years and 340 days. Mainz (25y 38d) are the only other top-flight German club to beat Chelsea in this regard.

LIGUE 1

France's Ligue 1 is by far the most accessible of the five major leagues for young players, with a total of 1,360 appearances from under-23 players across the 20 clubs, an average of 68 per team.

In comparison, the Premier League (871) averages 43.55 appearances per club and the Bundesliga's 18 sides afford under-23s 45.28 outings (815 total).

Nice make up the biggest share of the Ligue 1 appearances with a massive 121, but Lille (116), Lyon (99), Reims (96), Nimes (83), Toulouse (82), Rennes, Bordeaux (both 75), Metz (74), Monaco, Dijon (both 65) and Strasbourg (62) have all allowed youngsters to play more than 60 matches.

Of course, a key element of this is the lack of funds at many of these clubs and French football in general with the exception of Paris Saint-Germain, who, perhaps unsurprisingly, have entrusted the fewest games (30) to under-23 players in the division.

Nevertheless, only Nice (24y 41d), Lille (24y 111d) and Lyon (24y 288d) have a younger starting line-up on average than Lampard's Chelsea.

Are we about to see a Jose Mourinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic reunion?

Mourinho and Ibrahimovic worked together at Inter, before the Portuguese manager brought the Swedish star to Manchester United in 2016.

Now, new Tottenham boss Mourinho is reportedly eyeing the 38-year-old striker.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO TARGETING IBRA

Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho is poised to make a move for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, according to the Telegraph.

Ibrahimovic is on the lookout for a new club after opting to leave MLS outfit LA Galaxy following two seasons in the United States.

The 38-year-old has been linked to AC Milan, Bologna, Napoli, Manchester United and Australian team Perth Glory; however, Mourinho reportedly wants to reunite with Ibrahimovic at Tottenham.

 

ROUND-UP

- Spanish newspaper Sport reports a close friend of Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus predicting he will get the Barcelona job if his side win Saturday's Copa Libertadores final against River Plate, who are led by another reputed Catalan target in Marcelo Gallardo. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at the LaLiga champions.

Real Madrid are set to open talks with star striker Karim Benzema over a new contract, Marca reports. The 31-year-old's current deal expires in 2021.

- Out-of-favour Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic is wanted by LaLiga's Atletico Madrid, according to ESPN FC. Matic has struggled for game time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with AC Milan and Inter also interested.

- With Tottenham reportedly looking to hijack AC Milan's pursuit of Ibrahimovic, Sky Sport Italia says the Rossoneri are rivalling Inter and Borussia Dortmund for Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud.

- The Daily Mail reports that Leicester City have opened talks with James Maddison over a new contract. The 22-year-old England international has been heavily linked to Manchester United.

- Partizan Belgrade sensation Strahinja Pavlovic is on the verge of joining Ligue 1 outfit Monaco. Sportski Zurnal says the 18-year-old defender has undergone a medical ahead of a €10million transfer plus add-ons.

Jose Mourinho seemingly has Gareth Bale in his Tottenham plans, but he will have to wait until before the start of next season.

Mourinho was named Spurs head coach on Wednesday, a day after the Premier League club sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

Unsurprisingly, there is plenty of talk around his potential movements in the transfer market – including a Tottenham return for Bale.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES BALE, BUT CAN'T SPEND IN JANUARY

Mourinho's arrival at Tottenham offers Bale the perfect escape route from Real Madrid, according to AS.

The star attacker left Spurs for Madrid in 2013, but is set to leave the LaLiga giants at season's end, the report says.

Marca reports Madrid have ruled out a January exit for Bale. That would suit Mourinho, who has been told there is no money to spend in the January window, according to The Guardian.

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- Mourinho has more pressing matters at Spurs. The Mirror reports Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, who are out of contract at season's end, are intrigued by the prospect of working under Mourinho and are open minded about their futures.

- It could have been different for Spurs. According to the Daily Mail, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers was Tottenham's first choice before they turned to Mourinho.

- Meanwhile, the sacked Pochettino may not be out of management for too long. Barcelona and Bayern Munich are ready to pounce for the former Spurs manager, according to The Sun. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at Camp Nou, while interim boss Hansi Flick will coach Bayern until at least the end of the year.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be getting closer to sorting out his future. Sky Sport reports AC Milan spoke to the departing LA Galaxy striker's agent Mino Raiola on Wednesday about the possibility of a return to San Siro.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in no rush to renew his Arsenal contract and with good reason. Sport reports the forward is waiting to find out how serious Barcelona's interest in him is before extending a deal that runs until 2021.

- Needing a striker, Manchester United are considering a January move for Roma's Edin Dzeko, according to ESPN FC. Dzeko has scored five goals in 12 Serie A games this season, and United are looking to finally bolster their attack after losing Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the close season.

- Olivier Giroud has made just one Premier League start for Chelsea this season and the striker could be set for a January exit. La Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are considering a move for Giroud in January as they look for a back-up for Lukaku.

With Barcelona and Real Madrid keen to strengthen their defences, one Inter star is attracting interest.

Milan Skriniar is reportedly wanted by LaLiga champions Barca and Spanish rivals Madrid.

Will Inter be able to retain the centre-back?

 

TOP STORY – SKRINIAR WANTED BY LALIGA GIANTS

Barcelona and Real Madrid have set their sights on Inter defender Skriniar, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Skriniar – contracted to Inter until June 2023 – has established himself as one of the world's best defenders since moving to Milan from Sampdoria in 2017.

The likes of Manchester City and Manchester United have also been linked to the 24-year-old Slovakia international.

 

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Manchester United are desperate to strengthen their squad and ESPN claims the Premier League side have an eight-man shortlist, which includes Leicester City's James Maddison, Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho, Salzburg's goalscoring machine Erling Haaland, West Ham midfielder Declan Rice, Bournemouth's Callum Wilson, Lyon forward Moussa Dembele, as well as Aston Villa pair Jack Grealish and John McGinn.

- Staying at Old Trafford and The Mirror says United are monitoring Sporting CP's Matheus Pereira, who is on loan at Championship outfit West Brom. It comes as The Sun reports the Red Devils could sign Gareth Bale and send Paul Pogba to Real Madrid.

- Bild says Borussia Monchengladbach have no plans to sell midfielder Denis Zakaria in January. Zakaria has reportedly attracted interest from United, Bayern Munich, Dortmund and others.

Manchester City are circling Inter midfielder Stefano Sensi, according to Calciomercato. Sensi moved to Inter on loan from Serie A side Sassuolo and the 24-year-old has starred at San Siro.

- Calciomercato claims Juventus are looking at Paris Saint-Germain's Thomas Meunier and Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri amid their injury crisis in Turin.

- Brescia sensation and Italy international Sandro Tonali is being chased by Serie A champions Juve and LaLiga side Atletico Madrid, reports Corriere di Torino.

Inter have a fight on their hands to retain the services of star forward Lautaro Martinez.

Martinez has been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona as they search for Luis Suarez's long-term replacement.

But Manchester City and United are both reportedly interested in the Argentina international.

 

TOP STORY – CITY & UNITED TARGET MARTINEZ

Manchester City and Premier League neighbours United want to sign Inter star Martinez, according to The Mirror.

Martinez – who is only in his second season in Milan after joining from Racing Club in 2018 – has flourished this term with eight goals across all competitions for Antonio Conte's Inter.

LaLiga champions Barcelona have been linked, while the two Manchester clubs are also reportedly targeting the 22-year-old forward.

 

ROUND-UP

- Unhappy at Barcelona, Ivan Rakitic could remain in LaLiga. The Croatia international has attracted interest from the likes of Inter, United and Paris Saint-Germain in his pursuit of more game time. However, Movistar+ claims Atletico Madrid are willing to meet Barca's €40million valuation of Rakitic. Marca adds that Atletico do not plan to replace Diego Costa due to salary constraints.

- The Mirror says Arsenal scouted Leicester City defender Caglar Soyuncu during Turkey's Euro 2020 qualifier against Iceland on Thursday. Soyuncu moved to Leicester from Freiburg in 2018 and the 23-year-old has stepped up to fill the void left by Harry Maguire, who joined United in a world-record deal.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic out and Edinson Cavani in for LA Galaxy? According to Gianluca Di Marzio, MLS side the Galaxy are targeting Paris Saint-Germain's Cavani following Ibrahimovic's exit. The Uruguay forward is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked to David Beckham's Inter Miami franchise, who will open their inaugural season against the Galaxy next year.

Inter will need to fork out €30m if they want to sign Udinese's Rodrigo de Paul in January, reports Calciomercato. The Express also reports that Inter are ready to offer out-of-favour Chelsea striker Olivier Giroud an 18-month contract. Conte is determined to add depth up front, with Martinez and Romelu Lukaku leading the way in the absence of injured loanee Alexis Sanchez.

- Corriere dello Sport claims Roma have joined the chase for Everton forward Moise Kean. The 19-year-old has struggled since moving to the Premier League from Juventus, and the likes of Sampdoria and AC Milan are lining up to bring the teenager back to Serie A on loan.

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