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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

N'Golo Kante is playing like a midfield boss again for Chelsea and Frank Lampard could not be happier for the two-time Premier League winner.

The midfield dynamo, who played a big part in Leicester City's title success before repeating the feat with Chelsea, has shaken off ankle and muscle injury strife to shine this season.

He captained the side in a comfortable 2-0 win at Newcastle United on Saturday, as Chelsea at least briefly went to the top of the table.

It was a frustration to Lampard that Kante missed large part of the 2019-20 campaign, because the manager knows the World Cup winner brings proven quality and valuable experience.

Kante is playing a key role for a Chelsea side that are unbeaten in nine games across all competitions, winning five in a row.

Lampard said: "I'm really, really happy with how he’s playing.

"Last year he missed 50 per cent of the games with injuries, he had a tough time for different reasons and we are working very hard on that to get him as fit and fresh [as possible]. 

"Now we are managing his training and game time, but his levels of performances are really high."

Lampard sees Kante as not so much an organiser and a disrupter of play, which are clear strengths, but as a footballer with a broad, under-rated range of qualities.

"I keep saying every time I get asked about N'Golo that I have so much faith in him and the top midfield player that he is in world football," said the Chelsea boss. "Not just at breaking up and winning balls back, as we know that is a huge quality of his, but his passing and supporting in midfield and playing in that deeper role now."

Kante made four tackles and three interceptions against Newcastle, which were both team-highs. He played 75 passes - 70 short and five long - and had 93.8 per cent accuracy with his 48 passes inside the Newcastle half.

Such data draws perhaps less attention than the goals and assists Chelsea will also require to sustain a challenge at the top of the table, but Lampard appreciates the significance.

Another title tilt is something that the manager is reluctant to talk about, but should Kante stay fit then it might be a realistic ambition.

Lampard knows Chelsea are better off with the 29-year-old in their team, which is why he has been starting almost every game this term, and the Blues certainly hope the worst of Kante's injury troubles are over.

“I don't want to tempt fate because at the minute he is going well," Lampard said. "We have had a better period of him to get him in a place where we are really happy."

For Chelsea, it is a case of ensuring Kante does not over-stretch himself.

Nobody ran further in Chelsea's team than Kante's 11.33 kilometres at St James' Park, and the impact of his exertions is closely monitored.

"We're very aware and we keep check on his training and his numbers and how much distance he travels, because every time you train and allow him off the leash in training he makes ridiculous output because that’s the way he plays," Lampard said.

"We are very careful with that and at the minute we are in a good place and hopefully that continues."

Chelsea shrugged off the early Saturday start that Frank Lampard wants scrapped as they cruised to a 2-0 victory at Newcastle United in the Premier League.

An own goal from Federico Fernandez and a second-half finish from Tammy Abraham gave the visitors a comfortable win against opponents who barely threatened.

Victory took Chelsea to the top of the Premier League, for a few hours at least, as they returned from the international break with a lively display at St James' Park.

A stumbling Fernandez turned in a cross from Mason Mount for the opener in the 10th minute, with the largely quiet Abraham striking midway through the second half.

Karl Darlow made a sharp early save from Timo Werner's low shot and the goalkeeper excelled for a second time when he touched Abraham's powerful header over the bar after an excellent cross from the left by Hakim Ziyech.

The Newcastle goalkeeper did not get near a whipped cross from Mount moments later, though, when the ball came in from the right and Fernandez put the ball into his own net.

Newcastle, weakened by the absence of injured leading scorer Callum Wilson, had won five of their last seven Premier League home games against Chelsea.

But Werner should have doubled Chelsea's lead in the 30th minute only to slip the ball wide and half-chances continued to come the way of the visitors, who had 78.9 per cent of possession in the opening 45 minutes and played 439 passes against a meagre 109 from Newcastle.

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles took a blow late in the first half and was replaced by Fabian Schar for the second 45 minutes, with the replacement soon caught napping by Werner who yet again ought to have scored.

The Germany international raced in from the left and had only Darlow to beat, but he tried to give Ziyech an easier finish and made a mess of his pass.

Abraham's goal essentially ended the contest, as he rifled home off the inside of the right post from Werner's pass, with Sean Longstaff denied a stunning consolation when his strike bounced off the bar.

Werner was denied by an offside flag after rounding Darlow to net, but two was enough for Chelsea.

Frank Lampard insists Christian Pulisic can be hugely influential for Chelsea once the club solve the hamstring problem that hangs over the American winger.

The United States international missed the start of the season but was looking set for a run in the Chelsea side until he suffered a twinge in the warm-up before the October 31 match at Burnley.

A hamstring injury ended Pulisic's involvement in August's FA Cup final against Arsenal, after he scored the game's opening goal, and he continues to be troubled in that area.

The £58million signing from Borussia Dortmund has been ruled out of Saturday's trip to Newcastle United, three weeks after his Turf Moor setback was described by Lampard as "very minor", and it remains to be seen when he will be next available for selection.

There is no doubt the situation is frustrating to all concerned at Chelsea, with the club's medical staff working to help Pulisic back to full strength.

"With Christian, we're still searching," said Lampard. "He's in a position at the moment where he's had a problematic injury.

"Christian had a history before coming to us of some muscular injuries and he's had them again.

"Everything about Christian and how he is around the training ground, and how he prepares and how much he wants to play, is perfect.

"We need to try to find the right balance between playing and resting and maintenance during the week to try to get the best out of him.

"He's a young player still. It's not abnormal and we will find a solution. I don't want to make more of it than it is, because we want as many games out of Christian as we can possibly get because of his ability.

"But at the minute he's injured so in the short term it's a work in progress.

"But we have a great medical team here and we're very much joined up in the idea of getting the best of Christian, to get him fit as much as we can."

HOW IMPORTANT HAS PULISIC BEEN SO FAR?

Given the stop-start nature of his Chelsea career, it could be some time before we get the full picture of what the 22-year-old will bring to the Blues.

He has made just three Premier League appearances in the 2020-21 campaign, while last season's figures illuminated his threat but were inconclusive in a wider sense.

Although Pulisic scored nine goals in 25 league outings, of which just 19 were starts, Chelsea's results were stable whether he was in Lampard's XI or not.

Of those 19 games that he started, Chelsea won 10, drew three and lost six, and their record was identical for the 19 games that Pulisic either sat out or appeared as a substitute.

With him in the starting team, Chelsea scored 32 times and conceded 26, while without him from the first whistle they netted 37 goals and shipped 28.

Pulisic has great attributes, with his pace, dribbling and eye for a strike, but Chelsea are the Premier League's top scorers with 20 goals this term and he has not contributed to that tally, or had an assist.

He did score in the Champions League win at Krasnodar, after coming off the bench, but injury struck three days later.

Lampard naturally wants the USA star back in his matchday ranks, but Chelsea have found a way to flourish without him.

WAS IT ALWAYS THIS WAY WITH PULISIC?

As Lampard says, Pulisic is no stranger to an injury, but Chelsea plainly bought a class act. Opta data tells us that Dortmund were more prolific with Pulisic than without him in 2018-19, his final year at the club.

When he started in the Bundesliga - albeit just nine times in that season - they averaged 3.0 goals per game compared to 2.2 without him in the line-up, while their goals against figure held steady at 1.3 whether he was selected from the off or not.

In the games where Pulisic started, the numbers of shots and crosses per game, as well as passing accuracy in the opposition half, all climbed.

In the 20 games in which he played a part, Dortmund won 14, drew four and lost twice for a points-per-game average of 2.3, while that dipped to 2.1 when he was absent.

Frank Lampard has warned that the Premier League is undermining its own product by asking Chelsea to travel to Newcastle United for an early Saturday kick-off straight after the international break.

The Chelsea boss is amazed league chiefs expect his players to return from duty with their countries, some flying in from different continents, and then face another sapping journey before their feet have barely touched the ground.

Chelsea have a curiously poor recent record at Newcastle, having lost on five of their past seven visits to St James' Park (W1 D1), and their hopes of improving on that have not been helped by the timing of this weekend's game.

A 12:30 GMT start on Saturday is distinctly unhelpful, Lampard believes, at a time when he feels the Premier League should be doing all it possibly can to guide clubs through the difficult pandemic period.

He said Chelsea have been training with just four first-team players while their leading lights have been away with their countries over the past fortnight. They also have a Champions League trip to Rennes next week on their busy agenda.

"The majority of our squad have been travelling. Some are travelling just now, just landed now, they will travel again to fly up to Newcastle, they'll travel back from Newcastle, they'll fly to Rennes on Monday and they'll fly back from Rennes," Lampard said.

He struggles to see the sense in having the 12:30 match slot at all.

"When you look at the scheduling, for me it's just a common sense factor of the broadcasters have never had as many slots as they have now. That 12:30 slot, how much does it need to be there?" Lampard asked.

"It's absolutely not the optimum way to have players preparing for a Premier League game, which is an incredible brand all around the world.

"You want the best of the brand and it's very difficult for us to prepare for this game anywhere near where we are preparing to our best. I want us to play to our best but it's very difficult circumstances."

He sees injury tolls mounting as clubs and players struggle with an increased workload after the later than usual start to the season, adding to his argument.

"I'm concerned because it's across the Premier League. The injuries are going up - muscle injuries are going up and the numbers are there if the Premier League want to look at them closely," Lampard said.

"So it's clear. It's game after game after game, zero pre-season, the schedule is tighter, throughout the season there'll be these really busy patches, and if we want to handle them the best we can, if we want to look after the players and get the product as well as we can, change the time from 12:30.

"That's not a difficult conversation for me to have. The amount of things we changed due to COVID and Project Restart, and now in this season we had to change because these are incredible times, then we have to look for the best way to change it. So the answer is stop talking and act upon it."

Lampard also said Premier League clubs should band together to insist on being allowed to make five substitutions, as was permitted in the closing weeks of the coronavirus-disrupted 2019-20 season.

That has been denied them this term, with only three substitutes allowed to be used in each game, but Lampard says for the sake of player welfare that should go back up to five.

"I don't want anyone to cry their eyes out for players because we know how lucky we are to do this job," he said.

"But everywhere else in Europe, and the world it seems, have five subs and we at the moment don't and we have to revisit that in my opinion."

Sheffield United fans can be forgiven for fearing the worst after Saturday's 3-1 reverse at Chelsea left Chris Wilder's men still rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table.

The Blades confounded expectations to finish ninth last season having gained promotion from the Championship in the 2018-19 campaign.

But the defeat against Frank Lampard's Blues means the men from the Steel City have just a solitary point through eight matches this time around, and only on four occasions have teams had such a record at the same stage of a Premier League season.

So, are Sheffield United – who have scored just four top-flight goals so far – already doomed for the drop?

Well, history suggests perhaps not. Below, we remember some of the Premier League's worst starts to decipher whether the Blades can recover from their perilous position.


Manchester City 1995-96

Points after eight games: 1

Relegated? Yes (18th)

This was back in the days when City still resided at Maine Road and the Abu Dhabi fortunes were years away from arriving. Alan Ball described taking on the manager's job as the "envy of millions" but few were looking on with green-eyed jealousy as City took until their 12th game to register a league win. Although a bleak situation improved and back-to-back 1-0 wins over Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa gave City a fighting chance heading into the final day, a 2-2 draw at Liverpool saw the Citizens relegated on goal difference.


Southampton 1998-99

Points after eight games: 1

Relegated? No (17th)

A 5-0 loss at newly promoted Charlton Athletic was a miserable low, the second of five straight defeats to start the season under Dave Jones for a Saints side who looked like marching straight out of the top flight. A first three points did not arrive until the 10th attempt, against Coventry City, and Southampton had just 14 points from 20 games. Although they continued to be plagued by inconsistency, three wins and two draws from their final five matches ensured survival at the expense of Charlton.


Sheffield Wednesday 1999-00

Points after eight games: 1

Relegated? Yes (19th)

The Blades do not have to look too far for warning signs about abysmal starts, with derby rivals Sheffield Wednesday enduring misery two decades ago. The Owls scored just three goals and shipped a whopping 23 in their opening eight matches, including an 8-0 hammering at Newcastle United in a game where Alan Shearer scored five. A 5-1 win against Wimbledon proved a false dawn as Wednesday spent the majority of the campaign in the bottom three, sacked manager Danny Wilson in March, and eventually succumbed to the drop after failing to beat Arsenal in their penultimate game.


Sunderland 2013-14

Points after eight games: 1

Relegated? No (14th)

A torrid start saw Sunderland struggling in the drop zone but a 2-1 win over fierce rivals Newcastle United in October finally brought some joy to the Stadium of Light. Unfortunately for Paolo Di Canio, he had already departed by then and successor Gus Poyet looked in trouble as the Black Cats hit another bleak spell in the second half of the campaign. But a surprise 2-2 draw at eventual champions Manchester City was followed by a shock 2-1 win at Chelsea – the first of four straight wins that helped to a seal an eventual 14th-place finish.


Tottenham 2008-09

Points after eight games: 2

Relegated? No (8th)

If the Blades really want an optimistic outlook they can point to this Tottenham season. A shoddy start under Juande Ramos, which yielded a measly two points from eight games, led to the appointment of Harry Redknapp, who steered Spurs to an eventual finish of eighth and an EFL Cup final where they were beaten by Manchester United on penalties.


Sunderland 2016-17

Points after eight games: 2

Relegated? Yes (20th)

Sorry Sunderland fans, but if your team appears on this list twice the chances are one of them is likely to end in tears. Such was the case in the 2016-17 season as a return to the second tier beckoned. Sam Allardyce had engineered a great escape the campaign before but did not return to continue the job and a season of despair followed under David Moyes. A run of four wins in seven games between November and December was about as good as it got and there were just two league victories after the turn of the year.


Newcastle United 2018-19

Points after eight games: 2

Relegated? No (13th)

Newcastle's second season back in the top flight under Rafa Benitez did not initially make for pretty reading. Indeed, it took until November to register a first league win, but that sparked a run of three in a row. Things particularly improved from mid-January as Newcastle won eight games to finish comfortably away from the bottom three.


Cardiff City 2018-19

Points after eight games: 2

Relegated? Yes (18th)

Sadly for Cardiff City, it was a different story under Neil Warnock – a well-loved figure at Bramall Lane incidentally – in that same season. Blades fan Warnock had earned Cardiff promotion back to the top flight the campaign before but they were beaten eight times in their opening 11 league games. Ultimately, Cardiff finished only two points shy of safety, having impressively won 2-0 at Manchester United in their final game, but it was an immediate drop back into the Championship.

Southampton defeated Newcastle United 2-0 on Friday to move to the top of the Premier League for the first time in their history.

Che Adams and Stuart Armstrong struck in each half at St Mary's to seal a straightforward victory for Ralph Hasenhuttl's men.

The win - Southampton's fifth in eight matches this term - takes them above Liverpool on goal difference to the summit of the English top flight.

It is the first time the Saints have been top of the pile at the end of a day since September 1988.

"It's amazing what my team is doing," Hasenhuttl told Sky Sports. "Congratulations to everybody around the pitch and the team. It's amazing. 

"Everybody was on the highest level. It is a little scary what we are doing at the moment to be honest but not surprising when I see what we are working on.

"I just told the guys in the dressing room that we invested so much in this together. We made so many big steps forward. We are now a strong side. That is not a coincidence."

There is one more weekend of Premier League action to go before the final international break of the year and some mouthwatering fixtures lie ahead.

Faltering Everton look to get their season back on track at home to lowly Manchester United on Saturday, while the previous two champions Manchester City and Liverpool do battle on Sunday.

But who can you trust to deliver fantasy points in these mammoth clashes? Use our Opta-powered weekly guide to find out.


HUGO LLORIS

The brilliance of Harry Kane, Son Heung-min and Gareth Bale has prompted title talk at Tottenham, but keeping goals out is just as important. For that, they – and you – can rely on Lloris.

Of Premier League goalkeepers to have played at least 500 minutes since the start of last season, the Spurs captain has the best save percentage at 75.8.

Lloris ranks second in that time, behind Dean Henderson, for goals prevented. He has conceded just 28 (excluding own goals) from shots worth 40.6 xG, a difference of 12.6.

CONOR COADY

When selecting players for a fantasy team, the first guarantee you might look for is that they will indeed play. There are no concerns in that regard when it comes to Coady.

The Wolves skipper is one of just four outfielders in the Premier League to play every minute of every match since the start of last season.

This helps Coady regularly collect points for clean sheets, too, managing more (17) than any other outfielder over the same stretch.

KURT ZOUMA

Chelsea's vastly improved recent defensive form makes a Blues defender an obvious selection, so why not opt for a man who also does the business at the other end?

Zouma has three Premier League goals already this season, the best return of any defender.

And that makes this already the Frenchman's most prolific campaign in the competition, trumping his two in 2018-19 – although he also weighed in with a pair of assists that season.

MOHAMED SALAH

Sometimes it's worth just going for the obvious option.

Diogo Jota might be Liverpool's man of the moment, but Salah has also netted in each of the Reds' past three games and has proven he can sustain this form over an extended period.

Indeed, since moving to Anfield in 2017, Salah has a competition-high 80 Premier League goals in 115 games, nine clear of next best Harry Kane over the same period.

BRUNO FERNANDES

Consistency is another key component in fantasy football, allowing you to transfer a player in and not have to worry about moving him out again the following week.

In this regard, Fernandes is surely king. The Manchester United midfielder has been involved in 12 goals (scored eight, assisted four) in his nine away games so far in the Premier League.

In only one of those nine matches – the 2-0 win at Crystal Palace in July – has Fernandes failed to register either a goal or an assist.

TIMO WERNER

Interest in Werner might have dimmed after he failed to record a goal or assist in his first four Premier League games, but the Chelsea man is now showing he was worth sticking with.

Werner has three goals and an assist over his past three games, suddenly finding his feet in England.

After netting a brace from the spot in Chelsea's midweek Champions League game, the German also looks to now be the Blues' penalty taker, ensuring more fantasy points.

CALLUM WILSON

Reliable Southampton scorer Danny Ings might be out injured, but Friday's opponents Newcastle United have another man steadily supplying the goals.

Wilson struggled as Bournemouth were relegated last season but has already proven invaluable to the Magpies and a host of fantasy managers.

With six strikes in seven league games this term, the forward has netted more than he managed in his final 30 Bournemouth matches (five), while his goals have been worth six points to Newcastle.

Arsenal have endured a frustrating run at Old Trafford in recent times, but they ended a 13-game winless streak in Premier League visits to the stadium on Sunday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a penalty to secure a 1-0 win over Manchester United.

Gareth Bale got off the mark in his second spell at Tottenham to earn the points against Brighton and Hove Albion, and there were also wins for Southampton and Newcastle United.

Using Opta data, we take a look at the key facts from Sunday's four Premier League fixtures.

 

Manchester United 0-1 Arsenal: Aubameyang ends Gunners' Old Trafford hoodoo

Aubameyang's second-half penalty was enough to clinch the points for Arsenal against United, as the Gunners clinched their first Premier League victory at Old Trafford since September 2006.

It was also the first time Arsenal have won away at a 'big six' Premier League side since January 2015, when they beat Manchester City 2-0 – a run of 29 games.

Only Chelsea (18) have won more Premier League games against United than Arsenal, with Sunday's win being their 16th victory in meetings with their old rivals.

Though United thrashed RB Leipzig 5-0 at Old Trafford in midweek, there has not been much in the way of home comfort for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side in the Premier League as of late, and they have failed to win any of their opening four top-flight games at the Theatre of Dreams for the first time since 1972-73.

They finished 18th in a 22-team First Division in that campaign, while their haul of seven points from six Premier League games so far this term is their lowest tally at this stage since 2013-14, when David Moyes was in charge.

Arsenal's spot-kick – conceded by Paul Pogba – was the fifth United have given away in their last seven home league matches; the previous five penalties they had conceded at Old Trafford in the competition came over a period of 101 games.

Pogba has now conceded three penalties in the Premier League under Solskjaer – no other United player has committed more than one foul leading to a spot-kick.

Tottenham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Bale is back

Seven years and 166 days after scoring on his farewell appearance for Tottenham against Sunderland, Bale struck his first Spurs goal since embarking on his second spell at the club.

The 31-year-old scored with his second touch, just 200 seconds after coming on against Brighton, to secure a 2-1 win which sent Jose Mourinho's side into second place.

Bale's winner came after a contentious equaliser from Tariq Lamptey, whose goal was allowed to stand after a long VAR check for a possible foul from Solly March.

Pascal Gross played a neat pass into young full-back Lamptey, and the German has now assisted 16 Premier League goals for Brighton, double that of any other player at the club.

Spurs, who have now won four of their six Premier League games since their opening-day defeat to Everton – their joint-longest unbeaten run under Mourinho – hit the front through Harry Kane's early penalty.

Their second-place finish to the day is the highest spot they have achieved since February 2019, under Mauricio Pochettino.

At the other end of the table, only the current bottom three sides have lost more games in the Premier League this season than Brighton, while only league leaders Liverpool (15) have conceded more goals than Graham Potter's side.

Aston Villa 3-4 Southampton: Ward-Prowse into Saints' record books

Southampton were 4-0 up heading into the final half-hour at Villa Park, though Dean Smith's side rallied to give the visitors a late scare.

Jannik Vestergaard put Southampton in front after 20 minutes, heading his second goal in as many league away games as he connected with James Ward-Prowse's cross.

Ward-Prowse had Southampton three goals to the good by half-time, scoring two superb free-kicks. The midfielder, who also netted in the win over Everton last time out, is the ninth player in Premier League history to score directly from two free-kicks in a game, and the first since Christian Eriksen for Tottenham in 2015.

Birthday boy Ward-Prowse, who turned 26 on Sunday, has also now overtaken Matt Le Tissier as the player with the most free-kick goals for Southampton in the Premier League, with eight.

Danny Ings made it 4-0 in the 58th minute, and the former Liverpool striker has now netted 27 Premier League goals since the start of 2019-20, with only Jamie Vardy (29) having scored more, while no player has netted more from outside the box in the same period.

Tyrone Mings pulled one back from Jack Grealish's cross, with Ollie Watkins netting his fourth Premier League goal with a penalty before Grealish, Villa's captain, made it 4-3 in the final minute.

Southampton have picked up 13 points from their opening seven Premier League games – that is the Saints' most at this stage of a campaign since 2014-15 - while Villa have lost consecutive Premier League games for the first time since July.

Newcastle United 2-1 Everton: Wilson double inflicts Ancelotti's second straight defeat

Without key men James Rodriguez, Richarlison and Lucas Digne, Carlo Ancelotti named a makeshift team against Newcastle, and his Everton side were not up to the task.

Having gone eight games unbeaten in all competitions at the start of the season, the Toffees have now lost their last two after Callum Wilson's double secured the points for the hosts at St James' Park.

Wilson scored from the penalty spot before tucking in his second from close range – the ex-Bournemouth forward has now scored six goals in his first seven Premier League appearances for Newcastle, with only Les Ferdinand having reached that tally in fewer games (six) for the Magpies in the competition.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin pulled one back for Everton late on and, though it could not inspire a comeback, the 23-year-old has scored more top-flight goals against Newcastle (five) than he has against any other opponent.

Newcastle have won two of their last three league matches at home, as many as Steve Bruce's side had managed in their previous 11 such matches (D4, L5).

Ancelotti, meanwhile, has lost successive league games for the first time since September 2014, when his Real Madrid side went down 4-2 and 2-1 to Real Sociedad and Atletico Madrid respectively.

Jordan Pickford was also dropped to Everton's bench for the first time in the Premier League, after the England goalkeeper had started 120 successive games.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford has been "rested" by Everton for their trip to Newcastle United, Carlo Ancelotti said.

Pickford was a surprise omission from the Everton line-up on Sunday, taking his place instead among the substitutes with new signing Robin Olsen brought in for a Premier League debut.

Pickford's form has come under increasing scrutiny this season after a series of errors and a rash challenge on Virgil van Dijk that caused a long-term injury to the Liverpool defender.

The former Sunderland keeper had started 120 consecutive league games since joining Everton in 2017, but Ancelotti insisted there was "no technical reason" for the decision.

The Everton manager assured Pickford would return for their next match.

"There is no technical reason," Ancelotti told Sky Sports. "I just want to give him a rest for this game, just to give the opportunity to Olsen to have minutes.

"Jordan will be back for the next game against [Manchester] United."

Pickford has committed 25 errors leading to goals since joining Everton, one of those coming at St James' Park in the 2018-19 season as the Sunderland supporter also conceded a penalty against the Black Cats' rivals Newcastle in a rash display.

Since the start of last season, only Pickford and injured Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka have had as many as five errors leading to goals.

Everton are also missing Seamus Coleman and James Rodriguez to injury on Tyneside, with Lucas Digne and Richarlison suspended.

Digne was sent off last week against Southampton as Ancelotti complained the fury following Pickford's challenge on Van Dijk contributed to the decision.

Richarlison was dismissed in the Merseyside derby after Pickford had escaped censure.

It is that time of year again - Halloween is here!

October 31 is a date synonymous with apple-bobbing, costume parties, carving pumpkins and trick-or-treating. And football, too, of course.

This Saturday sees three Premier League fixtures take place, so can we expect to see plenty of ghouls - sorry, goals - during proceedings?

Manchester City host Sheffield United in the early kick-off, Chelsea travel to Burnley and the schedule concludes with champions Liverpool welcoming West Ham to Anfield.

With help from Opta, take a (scary) trip down memory lane with a look at Halloween through the years in the English top flight, including some be-witching scoring feats and those left having nightmares.

 

HAT-TRICK TREATS

Three players have scored a Premier League hat-trick on the final day of October, the most recent being Demba Ba in a 3-1 win over Stoke City for Newcastle United nine years ago.

Newcastle were responsible for another of the trebles, with Kevin Nolan finding the net three times in a famous 5-1 win over, fittingly, the Black Cats – their bitter rivals, Sunderland – one year beforehand.

The other three-goal haul came via Aruna Dindane for Portsmouth against Wigan Athletic in 2009. A spook-tacular feat, indeed!

 

THE UNLUCKY 13

It is perhaps somewhat appropriate that 13 red cards have been dished out on Halloween down the years.

Stuart Pearce had a nightmare in Newcastle's meeting with West Ham in 1998 in the first of those incidents, the Toon going on to lose that match 3-0.

Liverpool have had more players dismissed on October 31 than any other Premier League side, with Jason McAteer, Philipp Degen and Jamie Carragher all seeing red.

Kenwyne Jones, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Radoslav Kovac, Carlos Cuellar, Geovanni, Jlloyd Samuel, Titus Bramble and, most recently Russell Martin and James Collins in 2015, are the others to be given their marching orders on Halloween.

OG HORRORS

Arguably the biggest horror show a player can endure is scoring for the opposition, something only four players have done on this day since the Premier League was incepted.

Alfie Mawson could not mask his misery in Swansea City's 3-1 loss to Stoke City in 2016, turning Ramadan Sobhi's shot into his own net.

Craig Short did likewise for Everton against Manchester United 22 years ago, while Gary McAllister and Ian Brightwell – both in 1992 – complete the set.

LONG LIST OF GHOUL-SCORERS

Halloween is not all about chills, though - there are the occasional thrills, too!

Eighty-eight different players can hold claim to scoring on the spookiest day of the year, 17 of those bagging more than once.

As well as the aforementioned hat-trick heroes, the likes of Riyad Mahrez, Philippe Coutinho, Robin van Persie, Odion Ighalo and Ian Wright have scored multiple times.

Ighalo and Mahrez are two of six current Premier League players to have found the net on Halloween, along with Branislav Ivanovic, Olivier Giroud, Christian Benteke and Jamie Vardy. 

But Christian Benteke has the special honour of being the only one of those 88 goal-scorers from whose name you can create the words 'trick' and 'treat'.

The unpredictability of the new Premier League season continued over the weekend.

Everton's defeat at Southampton saw the last unbeaten record fall, Sunday's result at St Mary's Stadium coming after the previously perfect Aston Villa had lost to Leeds United on Friday.

Chelsea and Manchester United combined for no goals but plenty of talking points, Liverpool's ongoing issues with VAR continued and West Ham were a nuisance again for a member of the 'big six'.

Leicester City may sum up the early stages best, though. The Foxes have now won on their trips to Arsenal and Manchester City, but have also lost twice in three home games.

The conclusion to draw from it all is this: draw conclusions at your peril. Instead, here are some of the more interesting Opta facts from the latest round of action.

 

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Pep Guardiola had won all nine of his previous matches against West Ham in his managerial career, but there was to be no perfect 10.

Manchester City had to settle for a 1-1 draw as they became the latest team to struggle to contain Michail Antonio, a player who certainly has a sweet spot when it comes to goals. Well, less of a sweet spot and more of an area, actually.

Antonio's 39 Premier League goals have all come inside the penalty area. Only Gabriel Jesus (42) has managed more than that out of the current players in the division, though both are still short of the leader in this particular category, Tim Cahill.

The Australian's total of 56 tops the list, ahead of a former Hammer in Javier Hernandez (53). They are the only two to reach a half-century of goals when only scoring inside the box, while other notable penalty-area experts include John Terry (41), David Unsworth (39) and Kevin Doyle (37).

VARDY PARTY IN NORTH LONDON

Jamie Vardy likes playing against Arsenal. The striker's late winner for Leicester City on Sunday was his 11th goal against the Gunners in 12 Premier League games. Only Wayne Rooney has netted more against them – and his tally of 12 came in 29 outings.

It was also Vardy's fifth time on the scoresheet at Emirates Stadium, the most by any visiting player. Tottenham's Harry Kane has managed four, by the way, and has also scored 10 in 11 north London derby appearances.

Only one other player in Premier League history has managed double-digit goals when facing Arsenal. Robbie Fowler scored 10 in 18, including a hat-trick inside five minutes at Anfield in August 1994.

DRAWING CONCLUSIONS... AGAIN

We should have seen the result coming from Molineux. When Wolves and Newcastle United meet in the top flight, a draw is seemingly on the cards. Well, it is 73 per cent of the time.

Jacob Murphy cancelled out Raul Jimenez's 80th-minute opener, meaning for the eighth time in 11 Premier League matches, this fixture resulted in a drawn outcome. All those games have also seen both sides score, making it the most played tie in the competition in which neither side have kept a clean sheet.

Wolves had 63.4 per cent of the possession, yet it turns out they do not need more of the ball to be successful. Under Nuno Espirito Santo, they have won just one of the 11 games in which they have reached at least 60 per cent possession, with the solitary success coming against a Manchester City side that played for over 75 minutes with 10 men.

You win some. You lose some. Yet when it comes to Wolves against Newcastle, you mainly just draw.

"I NEED YOU TODAY, OH MENDY!"

Is Edouard Mendy the answer to Chelsea's goalkeeping conundrum? Well, one dodgy pass aside, there were positive signs from the Senegal international at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Mendy repelled Manchester United's occasional attempts that were on target (there were four, in case you had nodded off during proceedings), making him the first keeper for the Blues to keep a clean sheet in his opening two Premier League outings since new team-mate Petr Cech in August 2004.

Edinson Cavani became United's oldest player to make his Premier League debut since Zlatan Ibrahimovic when sent on in the second half, but the Uruguayan was unable to find a breakthrough. A point for the Red Devils, then, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad have failed to win any of their opening three home games in the league – that has not happened for United since the 1972-73 season.

Everton and Liverpool played out a thrilling and controversial Merseyside derby on Saturday, while Pep Guardiola brought up his 500th managerial win.

Mohamed Salah and Dominic Calvert-Lewin both continued their scoring streaks in a dramatic encounter at Goodison Park, which finished 2-2 in contentious fashion.

Manchester City then saw off Mikel Arteta's Arsenal 1-0, after Chelsea had been pegged back to a 3-3 draw by Southampton, with Manchester United bouncing back from their 6-1 defeat to Tottenham with a comprehensive 4-1 win at Newcastle United in the late match.

Here, using Opta data, take a look at the key stats from Saturday's games.

Everton 2-2 Liverpool: Salah reaches century as Calvert-Lewin keeps on scoring

The reigning champions were humbled against Aston Villa before the international break, though Jurgen Klopp's side responded in force at Goodison Park.

Yet their efforts were not enough to claim a win over their rivals, who had Richarlison sent off late on, with Jordan Henderson's late strike contentiously disallowed by VAR.

Salah netted the 100th goal of his Liverpool career in his 159th appearance to put Liverpool 2-1 up – only Roger Hunt and Jack Parkinson have made it to the century in fewer appearances for the club. 

Salah's partner in crime Sadio Mane opened the scoring early on. It was the Reds' fastest ever goal in a Premier League derby, though Everton have done it quicker in the fixture , with Olivier Dacourt scoring after just one minute in April 1999.

Andrew Robertson provided the assist, the full-back's 14th since the start of the 2018-19 season. Only Kevin De Bruyne (21) has managed more in the English top flight, yet the lead did not last for too long, Michael Keane heading in James Rodriguez's delivery, with the Colombian having set up three league goals for the Toffees so far.

Calvert-Lewin got Everton's second and what proved to be the encounter's final goal, with his 12th headed goal in the top flight since the start of last term.

Having also struck on his England debut, the forward continued his fine start to the campaign, becoming the first Everton player to score in the first five league games of a season since Tommy Lawton, way back in 1938-39. 

Chelsea 3-3 Southampton: Walcott back with a bang

Kai Havertz's first Premier League goal looked set to be enough to secure a 3-2 win for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, but Jannik Vestergaard snatched a point for Southampton.

Though Timo Werner and Havertz broke their Premier League ducks, becoming the fifth and sixth Germans to score for Chelsea in the competition in the process, Frank Lampard's defensive issues once again came to the fore.

With Danny Ings and Che Adams having already capitalised on defensive lapses, Theo Walcott, making his first Saints appearance in 14 years and 276 days, lashed in a stoppage-time shot which Vestergaard headed in.

It means Southampton have lost just one of their last eight away Premier League games (W4 D3) after losing two in a row directly before that in February.

Chelsea, meanwhile, have conceded an average of 1.5 goals per game in the Premier League under Lampard (63 in 43 games), the Blues' worst rate under any boss to oversee more than one game in the competition.

In the process of getting off the mark in the Premier League, Werner has now scored 30 league goals since the start of last season – only Robert Lewandowski, Ciro Immobile and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored more goals in Europe's top five leagues.

Manchester City 1-0 Arsenal: Sterling brings up Pep's 500th win

Raheem Sterling's fourth goal in his past three games got Manchester City back to winning ways, and sealed a landmark victory for Guardiola in the process.

Sterling sat out England's recent matches with a hamstring issue but was back in action to score midway through the first half in Manchester.

Guardiola has now won 500 games in all competitions as a manager (including Barcelona B), winning 172 as City boss.

City are unbeaten in their last 10 Premier League encounters with Arsenal (W8 D2), since a 1-2 loss in December 2015, though Arteta did guide the Gunners to a win in last season's FA Cup semi-final.

Arsenal are winless in their last 29 Premier League away games against "big six" opponents (D10 L19), however, and have lost each of their last seven top-flight games against City, their longest such run against an opponent since losing seven in a row to Ipswich Town between 1974-1977.

Ederson has kept 53 clean sheets in the Premier League since his debut in August 2017; 15 more than any other goalkeeper in this time, while Sterling has been directly involved in each of City's last five goals in all competitions (four goals, one assist).

Newcastle United 1-4 Manchester United: Fernandes strikes again despite penalty miss

After their dismal defeat to Spurs at Old Trafford, United needed a response, though matters looked bleak when Luke Shaw's early own goal put them behind at Newcastle.

However, Harry Maguire – after a tumultuous time with England – struck back, with Bruno Fernandes missing a penalty before scoring a wonderful goal to restore United's lead.

Fernandes' penalty miss was his first for United on what was his 11th spot-kick since his debut on February 1, with those 11 six more than any other Premier League player has taken in that time.

However, with his goal and subsequent assist for Marcus Rashford, who added a fourth after Aaron Wan-Bissaka had made it 3-1 in emphatic fashion, Fernandes has been directly involved in 20 goals in his 18 Premier League appearances for United (11 goals, nine assists).

Newcastle conceded four goals at home in the Premier League for the first time since April 5, 2014, also against the Red Devils.

United enjoyed their 10th comeback win against Newcastle in the Premier League, the most by any side against a single opponent in the competition, while Steve Bruce's side are now without a clean sheet in seven top-flight games, their longest such run without a shut-out on home soil since February 2014.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side have been awarded 17 penalties in the Premier League since the start of last season, five more than any other side in the competition (12 scored).

With his brilliant strike, Wan-Bissaka became the 116th different player to score for United in the Premier League in what is his 38th league appearance for the club, as Rashford registered three goal involvements in a top-flight match for the third time.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted Donny van de Beek will get game time as he tries to balance his starting XI.

Van de Beek came off the bench as struggling United overturned an early deficit to rout Newcastle United 4-1 in Premier League action on Saturday.

The Netherlands international swapped Ajax for United before the transfer window closed amid much fanfare but he is yet to start a league match for the Red Devils.

Solskjaer resisted calls to start Van de Beek following United's 6-1 drubbing at the hands of Tottenham prior to the international break – the Dutch midfielder replacing Daniel James 14 minutes from the end at St James' Park.

Asked about Van de Beek as he attempts to accommodate Bruno Fernandes, Paul Pogba, Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay, Solskjaer told reporters: "He'll get his game time. He's been fantastic in the group.

"I think you see today and in training, he's so neat and tidy, I don't think he lost the ball once.

"It's about finding the balance in the team. We've won 4-1 today and you're asking why I didn't start one of the players.

"He'll have a very good impact on the team."

Under-fire United captain Harry Maguire headed in a 23rd-minute equaliser to cancel out Luke Shaw's second-minute own goal before Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford scored during the closing stages.

The Red Devils had lost two of their opening three Premier League fixtures before enjoying their 10th comeback win against Newcastle in England's top flight – the most by any side against a single opponent in the competition, per Opta.

United are 14th in the Premier League table through four games, seven points adrift of leaders Everton.

Solskjaer's United will open their Champions League campaign at last season's finalists Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

Bruno Fernandes heaped praise on "big player" Harry Maguire after the under-fire defender responded to criticism by scoring in Manchester United's 4-1 Premier League victory at Newcastle United.

Maguire entered Saturday's showdown under the microscope and his position in question following a red card for England during their Nations League loss to Denmark during the week.

But the world's most expensive centre-back bounced back amid his struggles for club and country at St James' Park, where he headed in a 23rd-minute equaliser to cancel out Luke Shaw's second-minute own goal before Fernandes, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Marcus Rashford scored during the closing stages.

Fernandes, who missed a penalty, hailed Maguire in the midst of external and social media noise, which came to a head during the previous transfer window as fans demanded new signings.

"We are happy for Harry. Harry is a big player. He is playing for the one of the biggest teams in the world, he is captain of one of the biggest teams in the world and he plays for a big national team," Fernandes – directly involved in 19 goals in his 18 Premier League appearances, scoring in each of his last three matches – told MUTV.

"I think it's bad to be under fire but he has a great mentality. He needs to keep doing what he did today, not about the goal he scored because it's not what he has to do but defending like he has to do and giving us the chance up front to be secure when we lose the ball. We have a great defence with him and the guys who played today and the others who were on the bench or at home.

"Everyone is talking about we need a defender, midfielder, a striker, a winger, it's easier talking from outside saying we need everything without being on the pitch. I think, us, we need to look for each other, help each other and be positive as a team.

"We can defend ourselves on the pitch, not on social media. It was important for me to talk in that moment after the national team, I have no problem talking openly about nothing. The most important thing was the response we gave on the pitch."

United also responded collectively from their 6-1 humbling at the hands of Jose Mourinho's Tottenham prior to the international break.

The Red Devils had lost two of their opening three Premier League fixtures before enjoying their 10th comeback win against Newcastle in England's top flight – the most by any side against a single opponent in the competition, per Opta.

"I think the team has big characters and big players," Portugal international Fernandes, who missed his first penalty for United in what was his 11th spot-kick taken since joining from Sporting CP in January, added.

"What happened against Tottenham can't happen again. We play for such a big club and such a big team. This club deserves better than that. Everyone needs to be better, starting with me, I need to look at myself first and then at what the group needs to do better.

"Today it was perfect, after that defeat. I think we need to continue improving, don’t concede goals, as I said before, and keep scoring."

United are 14th in the Premier League table through four games, seven points adrift of leaders Everton.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United will open their Champions League campaign at last season's finalists Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday.

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