Gabriel Jesus came off the bench to spare strike partner Sergio Aguero's blushes following his penalty miss as Manchester City earned a late 1-0 win over Leicester City.

Kasper Schmeichel had already frustrated the visitors on a number of occasions in Saturday's clash prior to keeping out Aguero's 62nd-minute spot-kick.

But just as Leicester looked to be heading for a third draw in a row, substitute Jesus - brought on for Aguero - clinically converted 10 minutes from time at the King Power Stadium.

A second win in a row for City in what has been a difficult period off the field ensures they have a seven-point gap over third-placed Leicester, who hit the post through Jamie Vardy early on in their best chance.

Sergio Aguero has been named the Premier League's Player of the Month for a record seventh time, while Jurgen Klopp takes home the managers' gong for on an unprecedented fifth occasion in a single season.

Manchester City striker Aguero was in lethal form throughout January, scoring six times and registering an assist from just three matches.

In doing so, Aguero became the Premier League's highest-scoring foreign player, with his hat-trick in the 6-1 hammering of Aston Villa taking him beyond Thierry Henry's record of 175.

That treble also propelled him above Alan Shearer's haul of 11 hat-tricks, as Aguero set a new record.

Aguero also scored a brace in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace and got the only goal of the game as City beat Sheffield United 1-0.

Having previously been tied with Steven Gerrard and Harry Kane on six Player of the Month awards, Aguero is now out in front on his own – the 31-year-old beating out competition from Alisson, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Jack Grealish, Jordan Henderson, Ayoze Perez and Jack Stephens.

Klopp oversaw five successive wins in January to continue Liverpool's ominous march towards a first top-flight crown in 30 years.

It is the fifth time this term he has won the award, setting a new record for wins in a single season, taking that honour from Pep Guardiola.

Klopp has now won the award eight times, a haul beaten by only Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and David Moyes.

Steven Bergwijn scored a superb volley on his debut as Tottenham earned a 2-0 victory over Manchester City, who dominated possession but missed a penalty and had Oleksandr Zinchenko sent off.

Pep Guardiola's men were perhaps guilty of overplaying in front of goal across the course of a game that exploded into life when Hugo Lloris saved an Ilkay Gundogan spot-kick in a frenetic climax a tense first half at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

The champions remained on top until Zinchenko received a second booking and his marching orders, leaving Spurs to capitalise on their man advantage almost immediately with Bergwijn's memorable strike after 63 minutes.

Son Heung-Min's seventh top-flight goal of the season left City with too much to do in the final 20 minutes and they suffered a first defeat in six league outings that all but extinguishes their already faint title hopes with Liverpool 22 points clear at the top of the table.

Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero missed early chances in the Spurs box and Raheem Sterling escaped with just a yellow card after a dangerous challenge that almost buckled Dele Alli's ankle.

Riyad Mahrez turned his back on a shooting chance when he mistakenly thought he had been flagged offside but moments later his threaded pass sent Aguero through for a shot against the foot of the post as Spurs came under fire.

The half ended in chaos, with a belated VAR review overturning referee Mike Dean's decision not to award Aguero a penalty following a clumsy challenge by Serge Aurier.

After Gundogan's spot-kick was saved by Lloris, there was an angry melee as Tottenham's players fumed over Sterling's attempt to win another penalty when he tumbled over the goalkeeper's arms, with Toby Alderweireld and Zinchenko booked for their contributions.

A mix-up between Lloris and Japhet Tanganga allowed Aguero to loop a shot towards goal that was cleared as far as Sterling and he squared to Gundogan, who blazed over the crossbar with the net gaping.

Zinchenko was shown a second yellow card for barging Harry Winks as the Spurs midfielder broke towards the half-way line and shortly after the hosts were ahead.

Lucas Moura chipped the ball to the edge of the box where Bergwijn controlled it with his chest and volleyed into the bottom-right corner of the net with exquisite technique.

Eight minutes later, Tanguy Ndombele carved an opening for Son, whose deflected shot from just inside the box beat Ederson at his near post to double Tottenham's lead and the closest City came to pulling one back was a Davinson Sanchez header against his own crossbar at the death.

 

What does it mean? Liverpool's title party plans come forward

With City trailing so far behind, Liverpool need just 18 more points to clinch the Premier League title and at the rate they are winning games that will not take long.

Tottenham, meanwhile, are up to fifth in the table and will be confident of closing the four-point gap to Chelsea above them after beating the champions.

Winks fares well in De Bruyne battle

Kevin De Bruyne tends to control games from his position in the City engine room but Harry Winks broke up the play and put Spurs on the front foot at key moments to help turn the game.

Rodrigo fades after promising start

Rodrigo showed glimpses of his silky passing abilities early on but by the second half was little more than a bystander as Spurs turned the screw.

What's next?

City are back at Etihad Stadium on Sunday when West Ham are the visitors, while Spurs travel to Aston Villa in the league after their midweek FA Cup replay against Southampton.

Clashes between teams managed by Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola have affected many a title race over the years, but pride might take precedence over Premier League points during Sunday's meeting between Tottenham and Manchester City.

Mourinho has lost more games in all competitions against teams coached by Guardiola than against any other manager, and he will be desperate to send City packing after Tottenham ended a torrid run of Premier League results with a 2-1 win over Norwich City.

But Spurs were far from convincing against the Canaries, Son Heung-min's 79th-minute winner sparing them the ignominy of a fifth consecutive winless league outing after a lacklustre performance at home to the division's bottom club.

City arrive at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in buoyant mood, meanwhile, having recovered from a disappointing December and put together a five-game unbeaten streak in the Premier League that included a 6-1 thrashing of Aston Villa.

The title looks beyond City given Liverpool's comfortable lead at the top of the table, but with third-placed Leicester City faltering, Guardiola will be keen for his men to tighten their grip on second and remain poised to close the gap at the summit should the Reds suffer an unlikely blip.

 

GUARDIOLA GUNNING FOR NORTH LONDON RECORD

No top-flight team have ever won six consecutive away matches against Arsenal and Tottenham, but if City claim three points against Spurs on Sunday, Guardiola's side will claim that record.

City have won on their past five trips to North London - enjoying as many victories as they claimed in their first 40 Premier League games at Arsenal and Spurs - and another happy day in the capital looks well within their reach.

Victory for the champions would see defender Aymeric Laporte break the record for most wins (43) in his first 50 Premier League appearances, currently shared by Didier Drogba, Arjen Robben and Ederson (all 42).

Kevin De Bruyne provided the assist as Sergio Aguero scored the winner in City's 1-0 win at Sheffield United last time out in the league, and the Belgium international has averaged an assist every 180 minutes in the Premier League - the best ratio in the competition's history.

But Tottenham also have a man in form in Dele Alli, who has had a hand in nine goals in 16 games in all competitions under Mourinho - three times as many as he had registered under Mauricio Pochettino this season (two goals, one assist in 10 appearances).

HEAD-TO-HEAD: PEP GUARDIOLA V JOSE MOURINHO

Spurs are the fifth team Mourinho has taken charge of against Guardiola as the two coaches prepare to do battle for the 23rd time in their managerial careers.

Mourinho has tasted victory in home games against Guardiola's teams just twice, getting one over his old nemesis when Inter beat Barcelona 3-1 in April 2010 and when Manchester United edged out City 1-0 in October 2016.

But Guardiola is unbeaten on the road in league fixtures against Mourinho, overseeing three victories and one draw against teams managed by the Spurs boss.

Only against Manuel Pellegrini (6) and Unai Emery (5) has Guardiola faced a manager more times on the road without losing a league game.

FORM GUIDE

City are yet to win three consecutive Premier League away games this season, but that will change if they claim maximum points in North London.

The champions are in a rich vein of form, winning six and drawing one of their past eight league games. Although they lost to Manchester United in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, City still advanced into the final on aggregate.

Guardiola will be relishing the prospect of a chance to condemn Spurs to a third defeat in seven home league games under Mourinho, who is struggling to shore up a leaky defence.

Tottenham have kept just two clean sheets in their past 19 Premier League matches, during which time they have scored 27 goals and conceded 26, but they will aim to make home advantage count against City.

Only Norwich (71 per cent) and Everton (70 per cent) have claimed a higher percentage of league points from home games this term than Spurs (68 per cent), who have not earned back-to-back top-flight wins since they beat Burnley and then Wolves in early December.

HISTORY SAYS…

There was a time when Tottenham looked forward to Premier League clashes with Manchester City, who they have beaten 23 times in the competition.

But none of the past six league meetings between the two sides have resulted in a Spurs victory, the Lilywhites claiming two draws and suffering four defeats since beating City 2-0 in October 2016.

That defeat was the only game in City's most recent 18 clashes with Tottenham in which they have failed to score.

Spurs twice came from behind to draw 2-2 at Etihad Stadium when these sides last met in the league, and if the points are shared again on Sunday, it will be the first season since 2003-04 to produce two top-flight draws between them.

Manchester United have lined up another exciting midfield transfer target amid their ongoing pursuit of Bruno Fernandes.

As the wrangling over figures with Sporting CP continues, the Red Devils have reportedly submitted a sizeable offer to Birmingham City for teenage talent Jude Bellingham.

But making the first move might only spark a European bidding war.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SUBMIT BELLINGHAM BID

Birmingham youngster Bellingham's clear potential has convinced United to launch an offer worth more than £30million, reports the Sun and Sky Sports.

The 16-year-old midfielder has burst onto the scene this season and the Old Trafford outfit are understood to be keen to test him in the Premier League.

However, they could face stiff competition from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and other heavyweight clubs across the continent.

The Mirror, meanwhile, claims United have made a "breakthrough" in negotiations for Portugal international Fernandes, having reached a "compromise" transfer fee in the region of £55m.

 

ROUND-UP

- David Beckham's Inter Miami have contacted Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero to assess his interest in a switch to MLS, adds the Sun.

- Tottenham have enquired about Real Madrid winger and former Spurs star Gareth Bale, according to Spanish television programme El Chiringuito.

- Barcelona, still searching for a new striker, have ruled out RB Leipzig's Timo Werner and Lille's Victor Osimhen, suggests Mundo Deportivo, with Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno a more likely target.

- Serie A side Roma are set to discuss personal terms with Matteo Politano after agreeing a €25million fee with Inter, according to Sky Sport Italia.

- Inter, meanwhile, are said to be in discussions with United youngster Tahith Chong, who is also on Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning's radar as his contract runs close to expiring, says Sky Sport Italia.

- Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali is interesting Premier League champions City and Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain, reports SportMediaset.

Chelsea failed to make the most of their numerical advantage as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Arsenal at Stamford Bridge in a thrilling London derby that included a late goal from either side.

Much of the pre-match focus was on the two managers, with Frank Lampard beginning to come in for a bit of criticism after a difficult run, while Mikel Arteta has been accused of doing little to improve Arsenal's fortunes since coming in.

And there were plenty of hints as to why the sides are out of form, with the two sets of defences failing to inspire a great deal of confidence. 

Manchester City avoided dropping points, however, with a substitute sparing their blushes in a 1-0 win at Sheffield United, while there was plenty of drama at the bottom of the table.

DAVID LUIZ SEES RED BUT ARSENAL CLING ON

It was an unhappy return to Stamford Bridge for former Chelsea defender David Luiz, who was given a frosty reception and then sent off for a cynical foul that led to a penalty.

From that spot-kick, Jorginho opened the scoring in the 28th minute, suggesting Chelsea were set to cruise.

But a wonderful solo effort from Gabriel Martinelli restored parity just after the hour, leaving Lampard looking a little nervous.

Chelsea retook the lead with what they thought was a winner from Cesar Azpilicueta, the captain turning in a left-wing cross.

But Hector Bellerin's well-placed left-footed effort from the edge of the box found the bottom-left corner and secured the Gunners a share of the spoils, a commendable achievement given their disadvantage. The draw moves Arsenal up to 10th, while Chelsea go six points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United.

AGUERO THE DIFFERENCE FOR CITY

City handed Aymeric Laporte his first appearance since August at Bramall Lane, the Frenchman having recovered from a serious knee injury.

But he was given some rough treatment by the Blades – with Muhamed Besic catching him with a heavy challenge early on.

City did enough in the first half to take the lead, but Dean Henderson was in excellent form between the United posts, making several impressive saves and keeping out Gabriel Jesus' penalty.

But the visitors' persistence paid off. Sergio Aguero came off the bench to get the winner 17 minutes from time, finishing clinically after a glorious pass from Kevin De Bruyne.

That moves them six clear of Leicester City in third, though the 13-point gap behind leaders Liverpool remains daunting.

CHERRIES STOP THE ROT

After six matches – five of which ended in defeat – without a victory, Bournemouth finally got back to winning ways against Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday.

Harry Wilson got the ball rolling with a driven effort from the edge of the box after Dominic Solanke teed him up in the 36th minute.

Pascal Gross then put past his own goalkeeper just before the break, diverting in after a Bournemouth corner caused havoc in the visitors' box.

Callum Wilson then wrapped up a comfortable win 16 minutes from time, rounding Mat Ryan and slotting in unchallenged, with Aaron Mooy's late effort a mere consolation in a 3-1 defeat for the Seagulls.

It was not enough to move Bournemouth out of the bottom three, though – Aston Villa's last-gasp 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Watford decisive in that sense, as Tyrone Mings got the all-important clincher.

NEWCASTLE STUN EVERTON WITH COMEBACK

Everton looked to be easing to a 2-0 win over Newcastle United – but it all went wrong in stoppage time.

Moise Kean initially put Everton in front in the 30th minute with his first Premier League goal, though he required a little luck, as he capitalised on Newcastle's inability to clear the ball and then shot under Martin Dubravka, who probably should have done better.

The in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin got his 10th top-flight goal of the season early in the second half, but that two-goal cushion was insufficient.

Florian Lejeune was Newcastle's hero, first scoring with an acrobatic attempt after a Jordan Pickford error, then restoring parity with a volley that just about found its way over the line amid a scramble in the penalty box, both goals coming in stoppage time.

There was no such drama at Selhurst Park, however, as Southampton managed to hang on to their 2-0 lead in an ill-tempered affair, moving them into the top half of the table.

Palace's Wilfried Zaha might find himself in danger of retrospective action as well, after television cameras caught him poking James Ward-Prowse in the face during a half-time altercation.

Pep Guardiola admits Manchester City's repeated spot-kick failures will force him into a rethink over how penalty takers are picked.

Gabriel Jesus saw his first-half effort repelled by Dean Henderson in City's hard-earned 1-0 Premier League win at Sheffield United on Tuesday.

It was the Brazilian's third miss from five top-flight efforts from 12 yards, but he is not the only guilty party in the City ranks, with Raheem Sterling and even talisman Sergio Aguero - who scored the winner at Bramall Lane - also fluffing their lines.

Asked if it was a cause for concern, Guardiola replied: "Definitely.

"I have to reflect on it. I always have the confidence in the players to take it, but I have to reflect on maybe how they take the decision on who will take it.

"Not [just] for Gabriel today, because Sergio missed two and Raheem missed one and a half against Wolves [a twice-taken, twice-saved penalty, with Sterling netting the rebound from the second].

"We are not safe. In that level it's so important, it makes the difference most of the time.

"I have to take a decision with the guys over who is going to take the penalty."

Asked if he had someone in mind, Guardiola said he did but would not reveal a name, except to jokingly add: "Ederson is the best. Believe me, Eddie is the best taker we have on the penalties.

"He has no blood in his brains, he's so calm, so he could do it."

Pep Guardiola was delighted to see Manchester City overcome a resilient Sheffield United after Sergio Aguero came off the bench to score the only goal of the game.

It had looked set to be an evening of frustration for the Premier League champions at Bramall Lane on Tuesday, with Blades goalkeeper Dean Henderson in inspired form.

Gabriel Jesus saw a first-half penalty saved and Raheem Sterling also missed an excellent chance before Aguero sealed the points, converting Kevin De Bruyne's pinpoint cross in the 73rd minute. 

"It's a difficult place to come, they are so physical," Guardiola told BT Sport. "It was a solid performance, we only conceded two chances. In the first half the keeper made two incredible saves.

"I am so happy with the team. I know what it's like to play here, it is a tough, tough place.

"We controlled it well and in the end we created chances to win."

Guardiola was able to hand Aymeric Laporte his first start since August following a knee injury, the Frenchman managing 78 minutes in a system designed partly for his benefit.

"We knew that Aymeric couldn't play for 90 minutes, that's why we played five at the back to to protect him a little bit," said Guardiola. "He's a crucial player for us, we've missed him, it's good for us to have him back."

The winning goal came from the most obvious source, with Aguero quickly to the fore after replacing Jesus, who fluffed his lines after Riyad Mahrez had earned a spot-kick.

Aguero surpassed 250 goals for City in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last Saturday and now has eight in his past five outings in all competitions, leading to warm praise from his manager.

"Sergio is on fire right now," said Guardiola. "Strikers need momentum. It's good for us to have strikers in this form."

Sergio Aguero stepped off the bench to secure a 1-0 win for Manchester City after Dean Henderson had threatened to frustrate the Premier League champions at Bramall Lane. 

Goalkeeper Henderson's stellar showing was highlighted by a superb stop from Gabriel Jesus' first-half penalty, with Raheem Sterling also finding the former Manchester United man in inspired form.

It needed the introduction of Aguero, who surpassed 250 goals for City in the 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace last time out, to get the job done for Pep Guardiola's side, with Kevin De Bruyne once again supplying the ammunition.

Further comfort for the visitors came in seeing the return of Aymeric Laporte to the starting line-up for the first time since August following a knee injury, his presence contributing to a clean sheet that represents somewhat of a rarity for City these days.

The result puts City 13 points behind champions-elect Liverpool, who have two games in hand.

United carved their visitors open early on but Billy Sharp failed to pick out a team-mate after being set free by Oli McBurnie's pass.

There was a moment of concern for Laporte when he went down under a strong challenge from Muhamed Besic, who was booked, although the Frenchman was soon back to his feet. 

He might have been jumping for joy had Henderson not produced a stunning stop to deny a disbelieving Sterling, who really ought to have converted from Riyad Mahrez's pass.

The Blades goalkeeper was alert again to thwart Nicolas Otmanedi, who executed an eye-catching bicycle kick as City stepped up the pressure. 

And after Mahrez had been felled by Chris Basham in the box, Henderson continued his one-man resistance as he leapt to his right to push away Jesus' spot-kick, albeit he had clearly come off his line.

The hosts continued to hold firm in the second half, surviving a scare when Rodri's flicked header from De Bruyne's corner dropped wide of the far post.

It was not all one-way traffic and Lys Mousset's clever back-heel attempt after Ederson had tipped Basham's cross into his path tested the Brazilian's reflexes.

Guardiola hauled off Jesus and threw on Aguero in the 67th minute to show his fellow striker how it is done, with the City legend responding by tapping in De Bruyne's pinpoint delivery six minutes later to seal the points. 

 

What does it mean? Hard work but job done for City

The Premier League title has long since been prized from City's grasp, but Guardiola's high expectations remain and a strong finish to the season will help to alleviate some of the pain of missing out this time around. It was hard work, but Chris Wilder's warriors have proven a tough task for many opponents.

Henderson the hero

Such was the brilliance of Henderson's performance that there was almost an air of inevitability about him saving Jesus' penalty. Then again, the striker has now missed three of his five attempts in the top flight. 

Jesus fluffs his lines

That supposed air of inevitability would surely not have been present had Aguero been the man standing over the penalty. And that may be Jesus' biggest problem – it's not that he isn't good, because he clearly is; it's that he is not Sergio Aguero. When he fails to score, misses a penalty and then comes off and watches on as Aguero promptly finds the net, that fact only becomes more apparent.

What's next?

Knockout competitions take centre stage for City, who continue the defence of their FA Cup and League Cup titles against Fulham and Manchester United respectively, not returning to Premier League action until next month's trip to Tottenham. For the Blades, it is back-to-back trips to south London to face Millwall in the FA Cup and then Palace in the top flight. 

Dreams of Premier League glory began to feel like an inevitability at Anfield as Liverpool beat Manchester United on a weekend that saw Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester City drop points.

Jurgen Klopp's side dispatched their old rivals with goals from Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah, leaving Reds supporters full of confidence after Burnley came from behind to beat third-placed Leicester 2-1 at Turf Moor.

There was a surprise result at St. James' Park on Saturday, Frank Lampard's Chelsea dominating for long periods against Newcastle United but succumbing to a late Isaac Hayden goal in a 1-0 defeat.

There were late goals at the Etihad Stadium, where Sergio Aguero thought he had won it with a brace, only for Fernandinho to put through his own net in a 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

The weekend's Opta data offers detailed insights into the stories behind those results, as well as Wolves' dramatic 3-2 comeback victory over Southampton at St. Mary's.

 

ANFIELD FULL OF HOPE AFTER BACK-TO-BACK HOME WINS OVER UNITED

They are no longer saying it quietly: Liverpool fans firmly believe the title is theirs after watching their side beat United on Sunday.

The victory marked the first time Liverpool have claimed consecutive home Premier League wins over the Red Devils since winning three in a row between September 2008 and March 2011 and there was an air of invulnerability around Anfield at the final whistle.

Liverpool have taken 91 points from a possible 93 in their last 31 Premier League matches, winning 30 and drawing just one, while United have now lost nine of their last 16 top-flight away games (W3 D4 L9).

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have failed to score in eight of those games and they gave Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson little to do despite creating a number of goalscoring opportunities.

Alisson kept himself busy by becoming the first Reds keeper to assist a Premier League goal since March 2010, when Pepe Reina laid on a goal against Sunderland.

 

 


LATE HAYDEN WINNER LEAVES LAMPARD'S BLUES REELING

Chelsea have lost as many Premier League games this season as they did in the entirety of 2018-19 after Hayden scored in the 94th minute to snatch victory for Newcastle over Lampard's inconsistent Blues.

Four of Chelsea's eight league defeats this season have come in their last eight matches and supporters making the trip to Tyneside had reason to be fearful of their side coming unstuck.

Chelsea have now lost five of their last seven top-flight trips to St. James' Park but defeats to teams managed by Steve Bruce have been a rare occurrence - this was only the second time he has beaten the Blues in 23 games against them as a manager (D5 L16).

Prior to Hayden's strike, Newcastle had not scored a last-minute winner since Ayoze Perez struck against Tottenham in December 2015.

It was Hayden's third Premier League goal and came in his 70th appearance in the competition, his last coming in February 2019 against Wolves.

 

POROUS CITY PAY FOR ERRORS AT THE BACK

City came from behind to lead with three minutes left in their clash with Palace but conceded at home in the Premier League for the 12th time this season as the Eagles secured a point at the death.

Pep Guardiola's men have now conceded as many goals at home in the league as they did in the whole of last season and this was their third draw of the 2019-20 season - in their title-winning campaign last term they only drew twice.

Aguero's double inside five minutes marked the Argentina international's 250th and 251st goals in all competitions for the club in his 360th appearance, but Fernandinho became the first City player to score a Premier League own-goal since Nicolas Otamendi against Huddersfield Town in November 2017.

The scoring was opened by new signing Cenk Tosun, who netted in the 39th minute to become the fourth Turkish player to reach 10 Premier League goals after Muzzy Izzet, Tuncay Sanli and Tugay.

Palace are ninth in the table after four consecutive draws - the last time they drew as many Premier League games in a row was in 1992-93 when they started the season with the same sequence.

 

WOLVES EMERGING AS COMEBACK SPECIALISTS

When Raul Jimenez scored from the penalty spot at St. Mary's he pulled Wolves level after they had been two goals down, but there was even better to follow for Nuno Espirito Santo's men.

Jimenez scored again in the 76th minute, taking his tally to 19 goals in all competitions this season and clinching three points for Wolves that means they have now picked up 18 from losing positions in the Premier League this season - seven more than any other side.

Falling behind after 15 minutes to a Jan Bednarek goal was nothing new for the visitors, who have conceded first in 16 league games this season including each of their last seven in a row.

But Jimenez has been directly involved in 28 goals this season and after Shane Long netted his 54th Premier League goal to make it 2-0 to the Saints, Pedro Neto scored for the second time in his last three league appearances to tee up the Mexico international for a memorable brace.

Jimenez now has 19 goals and nine assists to his name in all competitions this season, giving him more direct goal involvements than any other top-flight player in 2019-20.

Borussia Dortmund enjoyed a hefty instant return on their €20million investment in Erling Haaland as the 19-year-old wonderkid produced a debut to savour on Saturday.

Introduced as a second-half substitute with Lucien Favre's side 3-1 down at Augsburg, Haaland promptly scored a hat-trick to inspire a 5-3 victory.

The Norway international's first moments in Dortmund colours are sure to live long in the memory and he is in good company when it comes to elite strikers announcing their arrival with a bang.

Here, we look back at some other standout debuts.

Wayne Rooney

The 18-year-old Rooney arrived at Manchester United from Everton amid huge fanfare after starring for England at Euro 2004, but he also suffered a metatarsal injury early in the Three Lions' quarter-final defeat to Portugal. Fenerbahce's September visit to Old Trafford was his first match back and it proved an unforgettable Champions League debut, with Rooney tucking away two terrific finishes before completing a hat-trick with a delicious free-kick. United won 6-2, the Stretford End had a new hero, and the rest is record-breaking club history.

Sergio Aguero

Aguero's club record-breaking run on the other side of Manchester began on a balmy August evening in 2011. A Premier League campaign that would end with City's then club-record signing snatching the title in career-defining style began with him on the bench and his new team-mates labouring, 1-0 to the good against newly promoted Swansea City. He slid in Micah Richards' cross within 10 minutes of his second-half introduction and, after a clever overhead assist for David Silva, Aguero brought the house down by sealing a 4-0 triumph with a 30-yard piledriver.

Romario

A hat-trick with all three assists coming from home favourite Pep Guardiola ensured Romario was an instant hit at Barcelona. The pick of the bunch saw him spring the offside trap and control a Guardiola pass on his chest before looping a volley over Alberto Lopez from 20 yards to seal a 3-0 home victory over Real Sociedad in Barca's 1993-94 LaLiga opener. The Blaugrana went on to win the title and Romario took the Pichichi with a tally of 30 goals.

Ronaldo

After a memorable but injury-plagued spell at Inter, Ronaldo returned to Spain in 2002 and joined former club Barcelona's arch-rivals Real Madrid. Following concerns about his weight and fitness, he made his highly anticipated debut against Deportivo Alaves over a month after signing. Ronaldo replaced Javier Portillo and took just 61 seconds to make his mark before slotting home a second to complete a 5-2 triumph at a jubilant Santiago Bernabeu. He finished the season with 23 goals and silverware in LaLiga and the Intercontinental Cup.

Fabrizio Ravanelli

The Riverside Stadium was treated to a thriller in August 1996 when £7m signing Fabrizio Ravanelli scored a hat-trick on his Middlesbrough bow in a 3-3 draw with Liverpool. Having joined from European champions Juventus, the 'White Feather' brought Boro back on terms three times, first lashing home a penalty and celebrating in trademark shirt-over-head style, and then sliding home a second from close range to make it 2-2. Robbie Fowler's second-half strike looked to have won it for the Reds until Ravanelli guided in his third of the game 10 minutes from time.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Dortmund and Augsburg fans could be forgiven for feeling a strong sense of deja vu on Saturday after Aubameyang's exploits when the sides met in 2013. After joining from Saint-Etienne his first attempt on goal in the Bundesliga resulted in a goal as he converted a diving header. Aubameyang followed that up after the break with a lovely turn of pace and strike into the far corner. He made it a hat-trick by coolly rounding the goalkeeper as Dortmund thumped Augsburg 4-0.

Christian Vieri

The term "much-travelled" is one that very much fits for Vieri, who joined Inter for a then world-record sum of £32million after helping Lazio win the Cup Winners' Cup in 1999. They were his ninth different club in as many professional seasons. Reuniting with Marcello Lippi, who he played for at Juventus, the man affectionately known as 'Bobo' started a prolific spell at San Siro with a treble against Hellas Verona and went on to score 123 goals in 190 Nerazzurri appearances.

Fernandinho's stoppage-time own goal gave Crystal Palace a 2-2 draw at Manchester City, while Wolves fought back from two down to beat Southampton and Norwich City claimed a huge Premier League win on Saturday.

Cenk Tosun's first Palace goal put the London club in front, but Aguero equalised with his 250th for City eight minutes from time before putting the second-placed champions in front at the Etihad Stadium.

Pep Guardiola's side were unable to see it out, though, as Fernandinho turned the ball into his own net to leave City 13 points behind leaders Liverpool, who play Manchester United in one of their two games in hand on Sunday.

Resurgent Saints looked set to move into the top half when they were two up at St Mary's Stadium, but Raul Jimenez's double after a Pedro Neto strike moved Wolves up to sixth.

Norwich striker Teemu Pukki scored the only goal against second-bottom Bournemouth, who had defender Steve Cook sent off for a spectacular save, while fellow strugglers Aston Villa drew 1-1 at Brighton and Hove Albion.

John Fleck rescued a 1-1 draw for Sheffield United at Arsenal, while it was the same scoreline in the clash between David Moyes' West Ham and his former club Everton.

 

CITY SLIP UP DESPITE AGUERO BRACE 

Palace claimed a stunning 3-2 win at City last season and looked like picking up another three points until Aguero intervened with a late brace.

New boy Tosun headed the Eagles into a first-half lead with his first goal for the club, but the leading overseas scorer in Premier League history levelled to take his City tally to 250 and struck again with time running out.

VAR overturned a penalty decision after Jairo Riedewald was penalised for handball before Aguero equalised and there was more drama when Wilfried Zaha squared the ball, with Fernandinho turning it into his own net.

 

WOLVES BRING SAINTS BACK DOWN TO EARTH

Saints, on a high after five wins and a draw from their last six games, appeared to be making further strides up the table after Jan Bednarek and Shane Long put them in command at half-time.

But Wolves were transformed after the break, Neto giving them hope and the clinical making Jimenez no mistake from the penalty spot following a VAR intervention for Jack Stephens' challenge on Jonny.

Jimenez was on target again to win in 13 minutes from time, Adama Traore setting the striker up with his second assist, to give Wolves a first win in five in all competitions.

 

CHERRIES PAY THE PENALTY FOR IMPULSIVE COOK STOP

Norwich claimed their first top-flight win since November courtesy of a Pukki penalty as Bournemouth endured another miserable afternoon at Carrow Road.

Pukki converted from 12 yards 33 minutes in after Cherries defender Steve Cook made an acrobatic one-handed stop to keep out Kenny McLean's goal-bound shot.

Cook was given his matching orders and there was no way back for Bournemouth, who have picked up only four points from their last 12 games, as Norwich held on despite Ben Godfrey's dismissal 13 minutes from time.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lamented the poor defending that allowed Crystal Palace to escape with 2-2 draw after a thrilling finish at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.

The hosts were behind for the bulk of the contest after Cenk Tosun's 39th minute opener but Sergio Aguero punctuated the frustration with his 250th goal in City colours eight minutes from time.

Aguero duly headed home Benjamin Mendy's cross to put Guardiola's men ahead but there was a sting in the tail and Wilfried Zaha tore past the timid efforts of John Stones and forced Fernandinho to put through his own goal.

"We have to avoid the mistake we have made on the second goal," Guardiola told a post-match news conference.

"Just do not allow Zaha to run, it’s that simple. And we allowed it.

"No [it was not a loss of concentration], it was a decision. Concentration was always there. We are going to solve it and improve it.

"In those positions we need to have the back four there and not let them run on this counter-attack."

Although he did not name the England international specifically, this felt like a damning indictment of Stones' efforts in what has been a difficult campaign for a centre-back frequently short of form and fitness.

At the end of his forlorn pursuit of Zaha, Stones appeared to jar a knee but Guardiola could not offer a fitness update.

"I didn't see the doctors. Now we are going to see," he said.

Champions City are 13 points behind leaders Liverpool having played two games more and Guardiola gave a weary response to a question over whether the title race was still alive – suggesting he might be better served preparing for his team's Tuesday assignment at Sheffield United as opposed to watching Manchester United's trip to Anfield on Sunday.

"I answered the question millions of times in the past few weeks," he added.

"Maybe I will watch it, maybe I will see Sheffield United. I don't know."

City thought they had a penalty at 1-0 down, only for referee Graham Scott to overturn his decision after a VAR review of the incident when Jairo Riedewald deflected Raheem Sterling's cross on to his own arm.

Guardiola said of the incident. "I don’t know the rule of the hands, honestly. It looks like hands, but…"

Sergio Aguero's phenomenal goalscoring exploits for Manchester City make him one of the best in world football, but Pep Guardiola maintains Lionel Messi still stands apart.

Aguero fired a hat-trick in City's 6-1 demolition of Aston Villa on Sunday, replacing Thierry Henry as the most prolific overseas player in Premier League history.

A 12th treble in the competition represents a new all-time best mark, edging City's record goalscorer ahead of Alan Shearer.

Asked afterwards whether Aguero was the best he has worked with, City manager Guardiola felt compelled to highlight his alliance with six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi at Barcelona.

"The best is Messi," he smiled, before a follow-up enquiry pondered whether Aguero was the finest out-and-out striker he had handled in his decorated career.

Guardiola added: "Messi is [the best] number nine, number 10, number 11, number seven, number six, number five, number four…

"But Sergio, [among] the rest, he is certainly one of them. I said many times, he will die scoring goals. It is his talent."

It has proved a tempestuous few days at Barcelona, with club great Xavi reportedly turning down the chance to replace the under-fire Ernesto Valverde.

Guardiola expressed sympathy with the former Athletic Bilbao boss, who has won LaLiga in each of his two full seasons in charge, with the Blaugrana joint-top this time around.

"Barcelona is a special place, because wining the league is not enough," he said.

"I am so sorry for Ernesto. I think he doesn't deserve that.

"Hopefully we can solve it soon, as an associate of this club."

Liverpool continued their relentless march towards the Premier League title with a 1-0 victory over Tottenham while Sergio Aguero sent records tumbling in Manchester City's resounding win at Aston Villa.

The Reds moved 16 points clear at the top thanks to Leicester City's defeat to Southampton – as Danny Ings kept up his superb form – though the gap was reduced slightly when City thrashed Villa on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Manchester United ended a three-match winless streak with a resounding 4-0 triumph over lowly Norwich City.

We review the key top-flight matches with the help of Opta data.

 

CHAMPIONS-ELECT SET NEW BENCHMARKS AS TITLE TILT CONTINUES AT PACE

Barring a collapse of epic proportions, it seems certain that the Premier League title will be Liverpool's for the first time come the end of the season – or earlier, at this rate.

Roberto Firmino's fifth goal in his past six appearances handed Jurgen Klopp's side the points at Tottenham, who lost successive league matches for the first time this season, and have also conceded 20 goals in 13 matches under Jose Mourinho.

Liverpool sit on 61 points at the top of the pile, the most any side has ever registered after 21 matches in a single season across Europe's big five leagues.

Klopp's team have amassed 104 points across their past 38 Premier League games, winning 33 times and drawing on five occasions; this is a record total by any team across a 38-match run in the competition's history.

It is 38 league games since Liverpool last suffered a defeat. In the same amount of time, Spurs have lost 16 matches – including three defeats to the Reds.

AGUERO SMASHES RECORDS IN SIX-GOAL ROMP

It was a waltz in Villa Park for City on Sunday, as Aguero's hat-trick and a masterclass from Kevin De Bruyne propelled Pep Guardiola's side to a 6-1 win and up into second place.

With his second goal – which came early in the second half to put City 5-0 up – Aguero became the highest-scoring non-British player in Premier League history, moving ahead of Thierry Henry.

Aguero moved onto 177 top-flight goals when he thumped in his third, making the former Atletico Madrid forward the outright record holder for hat-tricks in the Premier League with 12 to his name – one ahead of Alan Shearer's tally of 11.

After his first-half double and assist for Aguero's hat-trick goal, Riyad Mahrez is the only Premier League player to both score and assist 20 goals or more since the start of last season in all competitions. 

De Bruyne, meanwhile, is now on 15 assists for this campaign after teeing up two of City's goals.

INGS KEEPS GETTING BETTER

Two of the Premier League's leading scorers went head-to-head at the King Power Stadium, but while Jamie Vardy failed to inspire Leicester City to victory, Southampton's Ings proved the match-winner as the Saints gained revenge for their 9-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.

Ings' effort nine minutes from time was his 14th of the season and his ninth goal in his past 10 top-flight appearances.

It means 40 per cent of Ings' 35 Premier League goals have come in this campaign, while he is also the highest-scoring Southampton player since Jay Rodriguez in 2013-14.

Dennis Praet put Leicester ahead and is the 14th different player to have scored for the Foxes in the Premier League this term, while Brendan Rodgers suffered successive home defeats for the first time since he took over.

UNITED'S FORWARDS RUN RIOT IN OLD TRAFFORD ROUT

Missing leading scorer Teemu Pukki, Norwich City never looked likely to trouble United, who cruised to a convincing win to lift themselves into fifth place.

It is the first time United have scored four goals in consecutive home games in the league since September 2017, while the Canaries have not won in nine Premier League matches.

Marcus Rashford scored twice and is now on 19 goals in all competitions this season – only Raheem Sterling, with 20, has more among Premier League players.

Juan Mata set up two goals, the first time he has provided two assists in a league match since October 2012 – also against Norwich – while Mason Greenwood has scored four top-flight goals this term, more than any other teenager in the competition.

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