Ole Gunnar Solskjaer warned Manchester United must "sharpen up" at Old Trafford after they came from behind once again to beat Sheffield United 3-2 in the Premier League.

Dean Henderson's early howler against his former club gifted the Blades, bottom of the table with only a solitary point, an early lead at Bramall Lane on Thursday, David McGoldrick punishing the goalkeeper's mistake.

The Red Devils came storming back to go sixth in the table, though, Marcus Rashford grabbing a brace either side of Anthony Martial's first Premier League goal of the season before McGoldrick's late second set up a tense finale.

Solskjaer's side held on to become only the fourth side to win 10 consecutive top-flight matches on their travels and they have had to come from behind to win all six away from home this season.

In contrast, they have just one victory at home in the Premier League in the current campaign and Solskjaer says they must address that ahead of a showdown with Leeds United on Sunday. 

The Manchester United boss told BBC Sport: "It wasn't comfortable at all towards the end. We made it difficult for ourselves again after a slow start but then we played some brilliant stuff.

"When they get that second goal it's not comfortable at all."

He added: "We need to sharpen up at home. Sunday will be a massive test for us. It's a big derby for us. We've been waiting for years to get this game on."

Henderson, making his second Premier League start for the club with David de Gea on the bench, had a nightmare start when he was caught in possession taking far too long on the ball and Oliver Burke robbed him to set up McGoldrick for a tap-in.

He made amends in stoppage time, though, showing great reflexes to palm away Lys Mousset's strike and deny the club he excelled for in a loan spell last season a second point. 

Solskjaer said of the England international: "He dillied and dallied on the ball for the first goal. We saw the good and bad from him today because he made a great save towards the end."

Victory for United leaves them five points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand.

Marcus Rashford was on target again for Manchester United as they came from behind to win in a sixth consecutive away Premier League game, piling more misery on record-breakers Sheffield United.

A 3-2 victory at Bramall Lane, after trailing in the fifth minute, made the Red Devils the first team to concede first before winning six times on the road across any Premier League season.

Remarkably, United have done so in their first half-dozen fixtures of the campaign, staying perfect away from Old Trafford.

To achieve this feat, they have needed to become the first side in the competition's history to score two or more goals in 10 straight away games - a run that stretches back to last season - and the first to do so in the top flight since Tottenham in October 1960.

Either side of an Anthony Martial goal, Rashford scored twice, maintaining his record of only netting away in the league this term - also striking in comeback wins at Brighton and Hove Albion, Newcastle United and West Ham.

Rashford's tally under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now stands at 43 goals, the most by any United player under a single manager since Alex Ferguson's 2013 retirement.

But while the visitors revelled in another recovery, opponents Sheffield United plumbed new depths.

The Blades have just a single point after 13 matches, which equates to the outright worst start to a campaign in top-flight history and tied for the poorest record in any English league, level with Newport County in the fourth tier in 1970-71.

It was a familiar tale of woe for Chris Wilder's men, albeit only after Dean Henderson's dismal error had gifted the opener to David McGoldrick, who also added a late consolation.

Henderson made just one error leading to a goal in 36 league games on loan at the Blades last season but has now matched that tally in three matches (two starts) back at his parent club.

Only Newcastle (15) have made more errors leading to goals in the Premier League than United (10) since the start of last season.

Marcus Rashford scored twice to spare Dean Henderson's blushes as Manchester United yet again came from behind to beat beleaguered Sheffield United 3-2 and go sixth in the Premier League.

A terrible mistake from goalkeeper Henderson, replacing David de Gea against his former club, put an early opening goal on a plate for David McGoldrick at Bramall Lane on Thursday.

Yet it was deja vu for the Red Devils as they produced another fightback, Rashford equalising and Anthony Martial scoring his first top-flight goal of the season to put them in front at half-time.

The visitors were a huge threat on the break as they bossed the second half and Rashford took his tally for the season to 12 as they made it 10 consecutive Premier League away wins, despite McGoldrick's late second ensuring a nervy ending.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have had to come from behind to win all six top-flight matches away from home, while the Blades remain rooted to the bottom of the table with just one point from 13 games.

Henderson gifted the Blades the lead just five minutes in when he was caught dwelling on the ball by Oliver Burke, who set up McGoldrick for a tap-in.

An unmarked John Fleck should have doubled the bottom side's lead when he fired wide from just inside the penalty area after Phil Jagielka replaced the injured Sander Berge.

The ruthless Red Devils turned it around with two goals in the space of seven minutes, Rashford timing his run to perfection and controlling Victor Lindelof's ball over the top with a great first touch before clinically rifling home with his right foot.

Paul Pogba then set up France team-mate Martial with a brilliant first-time pass to put United in front at the second attempt 33 minutes in.

Pogba's brilliant skill and pass started a devastating counter-attack that gave Solskjaer's side a two-goal cushion six minutes into the second half, Aaron Ramsdale at fault as he allowed Rashford's shot to go under his body.

Only desperate Blades defending denied Martial a second goal before Lindelof's header from a corner hit McGoldrick on the head and went in to give the Blades hope, but they could not salvage a point after Henderson produced a brilliant save to deny Lys Mousset in stoppage time.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes the Red Devils have to improve "quite a bit" to be among the Premier League title challengers.

United are ninth in the Premier League, eight points adrift of defending champions and leaders Liverpool but with two games in hand ahead of Thursday's fixture at Sheffield United.

The Red Devils finished 33 points off the pace last season but Solskjaer cannot see a title rival streaking away like Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool did in their record-setting 2019-20 campaign.

United are about to embark on a run of six matches in 15 days, including a trip to face high-flying Leicester City and a long-awaited Yorkshire derby against Leeds United.

Solskjaer insisted the race to be crowned 2020-21 Premier League champions is still wide open but admitted his players must raise their game to mount a bid for title glory.

"This is a big run of games for us," Solskjaer said. "I'd be disappointed if the players didn't think we can put a challenge up because at the moment anything goes in the league.

"There's different reasons for different results. I feel we are getting better but we have to improve quite a bit to take the next step.

Edinson Cavani looks set to remain sidelined for Manchester United's trip to Bramall Lane on Thursday due to a muscle injury.

The Uruguayan striker had to be withdrawn at half-time in United's 3-1 win at West Ham earlier this month due to the issue and has not played since.

He missed the games against RB Leipzig and Manchester City, but did return to training last week.

An update on the 33-year-old on United's official website earlier on Wednesday said Cavani's recovery "appears to have progressed well".

Yet Solskjaer seems doubtful that he will be able to feature on Thursday.

He told reporters: "We have to be mindful of little strains and niggles and decisions have to be made from kick-off of Sheffield United to kick-off at Aston Villa, so it's going to be very tight.

"Edinson has done well in rehab, we still have to make the decision if we should risk him, it is a little risk to go too early, so I doubt he'll be available to pick tomorrow."

Although United's recent games against Leipzig and City were concerning, victory at the Blades will see them become only the fourth side in top-flight history to win 10 away league games in a row.

They will fancy their chances too, seeing as Sheffield United have lost seven home matches in the league in 2020 and have accumulated just one point in 2020-21.

But the Blades' troubles were not focused on by Solskjaer, who instead expressed his gratitude to the club for their handling of Dean Henderson during his two-year loan spell prior to returning to Old Trafford in pre-season.

"Well, it just shows how beneficial some loan deals are," he said. "Dean has worked his way up through the ranks, through the system and the two years at Sheffield United, it's made him come back as a mature, quality keeper.

"He had experiences with a great promotion and his year in the Premier League was valuable for us and him.

"He's made his England debut, he's learning more and more the Manchester United style, our play is a bit different, we have a couple of different demands of him, but we're very grateful to Sheffield United and Chris [Wilder, manager] that they gave him a chance to develop as they did."

There were several European hangovers in the Premier League as an already congested title race tightened up over the weekend. 

Tottenham still lead Liverpool on goal difference after respective 1-1 draws at Crystal Palace and Fulham respectively on Sunday, less than 24 hours after Chelsea were beaten at Everton. 

Manchester United and Manchester City played out an insipid derby, while Arsenal's miserable domestic campaign continued with a home defeat to Burnley. 

Leicester City and Southampton were the big winners, as victories over Brighton and Hove Albion and Sheffield United left them firmly on the heels of the leading duo. 

Amid all the action, there are always some points of interest you may have missed. Here are some of the quirkier facts, courtesy of Opta.


KANE SOARS LIKE AN EAGLE AT PALACE

It was not the result league leaders Spurs were looking for at Crystal Palace on Sunday, home goalkeeper Vicente Guaita recovering from a first-half error to frustrate Jose Mourinho's side. 

Harry Kane was, perhaps not too surprisingly, the man to put Tottenham in front - he has now scored five goals in seven Premier League visits to Selhurst Park. 

That is the joint-highest tally by any player against Palace at the ground, alongside Jermain Defoe, but it is still some way short of the best away goals record in the Premier League. 

Alan Shearer is the man in possession of that benchmark, scoring 10 times against Leeds United at Elland Road. Les Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney netted nine times away at Everton and Newcastle United respectively, while Andrew Cole celebrated eight times at Anfield versus Liverpool.


VINTAGE JAG UNABLE TO DRIVE UNITED TO FIRST WIN

It continues to be a miserable old time to be a football fan in Sheffield, with United and Wednesday struggling in the Premier League and Championship respectively. 

The Blades are only the fourth team in all levels of English football to have taken just a single point from their first 12 games of a season, the added experience of Phil Jagielka unable to help Chris Wilder's men out of their malaise in a 3-0 loss at Southampton. 

Aged 38 years and 118 days, former England defender Jagielka is the oldest English player to have appeared in the top flight since Paul Scholes (38y 177d) for Manchester United against Swansea City in May 2013. 

Teddy Sheringham (40y, 272d), Bryan Robson (39y, 356d), Dean Windass (39y, 269d), Ray Wilkins (39y, 234d) and Nigel Winterburn (39y, 53d) are the oldest English outfield players to have played in the Premier League, while John Burridge (43y 162d) has the record as the oldest goalkeeper.


LONG SHOTS BOOSTING LONG-SHOT SAINTS?

Ralph Hasenhuttl's Southampton side continue to impress and their convincing defeat of the Blades leaves them just two points off top spot. 

Stuart Armstrong scored the second goal in the home triumph, albeit with a huge piece of luck via a deflection off Jagielka. He is one of three players to have managed four or more goals from outside the box in 2020...incredibly the other two also play for Southampton! 

Danny Ings (5) and James Ward-Prowse (4) have also prospered from distance. Kane and Bruno Fernandes have also scored three from outside the penalty area in the Premier League in the calendar year. 


ARTETA SEEING RED OVER POOR DISCIPLINE

It was another desperately disappointing outing for Arsenal, whose 1-0 loss at home to Burnley represented a fourth straight Premier League defeat at Emirates Stadium as their winless top-flight run stretched to five.

The dismissal of midfielder Granit Xhaka did not help the Gunners' cause; since the midfielder's Premier League debut in August 2016, only Fernandinho (4) has received more Premier League red cards. 

Indeed, since Mikel Arteta's first game in charge of Arsenal, his side have received six Premier League reds - double that of any other top-flight team across the same period of time.


JURGEN'S REDS RECOVER

It was far from a textbook Liverpool display in the 1-1 draw at Fulham, but the reigning champions have a healthy habit of responding to adversity. 

Since Jurgen Klopp's first match in charge of the Reds in October 2015, Liverpool have recovered 85 points from losing positions - more than other side in the Premier League during this time. 

Tottenham Hotspur (79), Manchester United (64), Arsenal (62), Leicester City (59), West Ham United (59) are next on the list.

Another week, another home defeat for Arsenal as Mikel Arteta's men were humbled 1-0 by Burnley on Sunday, increasing the pressure on the former Gunners captain.

On the other side of the north London divide, Tottenham are enjoying a strong campaign – though a 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace will likely frustrate Jose Mourinho.

Nevertheless, they will have been relieved to see Liverpool also drop points once again, with this being the first matchday since January 2016 in which none of the so-called 'big six' managed to win.

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

Arsenal 0-1 Burnley: Arteta losing control of ill-disciplined Gunners

This is not how it was supposed to go. When Arteta became Arsenal head coach late last year, he was billed as the next big thing, Pep Guardiola's protégé was coming in to preside over and establish a new era at Emirates Stadium.

But the 1-0 loss at home to Burnley on Sunday was another reminder of the sorry state of affairs at the club – they have now lost four successive home league games, their worst such run since 1959.

Added to that, they have scored just 10 goals in 12 Premier League games in 2020-21, their lowest figure at this stage of a top-flight campaign in 39 years.

While Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's first ever goal own at club level was decisive, Arsenal certainly weren't helped by Granit Xhaka's foolish red card, which was the Gunners' sixth dismissal in the league during the Spaniard's short tenure. No other Premier League side has had more than three in the same period.

Media reports of divisions in the dressing room began to appear in the wake of this defeat, and the indiscipline on show lately certainly does Arteta's cause no favours.

Fulham 1-1 Liverpool: Reds resilient but Cottagers buck the trend

Premier League shocks involving Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool and newly promoted teams – certainly in the past few years – are something of a rarity.

But Fulham became the first promoted team to avoid defeat to the Reds since Newcastle United in October 2017 (which was also a 1-1 draw), ending an 18-match winning run for Liverpool in such contests.

Nevertheless, it might have been far worse for Liverpool, who needed a late equaliser from Mohamed Salah to rescue a draw – that was the 85th point the Reds have recovered from a losing position under Klopp in the Premier League, more than any other team in the same period.

But that does not detract from the fact Liverpool are winless in five away league games after Sunday's stalemate, their joint-longest such streak under their German manager.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Tottenham: Kane-Son combination pays dividends but Eagles breach the wall

Tottenham look a good shout for the Premier League title if Harry Kane and Son Heung-min stay fit, with Mourinho's key forwards so often devastating in tandem.

Kane was the one on the scoresheet at Selhurst Park on Sunday, with Son getting the assist, making it 12 Premier League goals they have combined for this term. Only Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton (13 in 1994-95) have teamed up for more in a single season.

Additionally, that was Kane's fifth Premier League goal at Selhurst, making him the most prolific visiting player against Palace along with former Spurs star Jermain Defoe.

The England striker has arguably found another level under Mourinho, with his 43 goal involvements (29 scored, 14 set up) across all competitions more than any other Premier League player since the Portuguese coach took over.

But, frustratingly for Spurs, they were unable to keep Palace out, as Jeffrey Schlupp's goal was the first conceded by Tottenham in 475 minutes in the competition – this run went back to the start of November.

Southampton 3-0 Sheffield United: Bleak outlook for blunt Blades

The 2020-21 season just gets grimmer every week if you are a Sheffield United player or fan. Southampton dished out their latest defeat on Sunday, the 3-0 loss ensuring the Blades became only the fourth side in English professional football history to have no more than one point from their opening 12 games to a season.

The most recent team to endure such misery was Newport County (one point) in the fourth tier in 1970-71 – before that, you have to look back to the 1930s for the other examples; Manchester United (no points) in the 1930-31 top-flight season and New Brighton (one point) the following campaign in the Third Division North.

They are also only the seventh side to lose each of their opening six away games in a Premier League season, the first since Palace in 2017-18, while their 74 first-half passes were the fewest by a team in the opening 45 minutes of a Premier League game since February 2007.

But that shouldn't distract from the Saints' excellent form – they reached 23 points with this win, the second-highest figure they've managed after 12 top-flight games after 2014-15 (26 points).

Leicester City 3-0 Brighton and Hove Albion: Foxes show their fangs

Everything is looking rather rosy for Leicester City and Brendan Rodgers, who are consistently impressing and – more importantly – consistently winning.

Their comfortable dismantling of Brighton on Sunday was their eight Premier League win of the season, the most in the division and their joint-highest tally at this stage of a top-flight season (with 2019-20).

Jamie Vardy scored between James Maddison's first ever Premier League brace, with the striker taking his haul to 10 for the season. He's also got four assists to his name.

His effort here was Vardy's 113th in the top flight, though 108 of those have come since the start of 2015-16 – in that time, only Harry Kane (128) has outscored him.

As for Brighton, the defeat leaves them with just two wins from their first 12 league matches this term, a joint-low for them in the top division (also in 1979-80 and 1980-81).

Erling Haaland will reportedly cost a suitor €75million next year, while Dele Alli could be set for a Tottenham exit.

Haaland is linked with a move away from Borussia Dortmund after dominating with the Bundesliga giants.

And the 20-year-old could be available for an affordable fee next year.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND AVAILABLE FOR €75M NEXT YEAR

Haaland can leave Dortmund for €75m next year, according to Esport3.

Real Madrid have been most heavily linked with a move for the forward, while Manchester United and Liverpool are also credited with interest.

Haaland, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury, has scored 33 goals in 32 games since arriving at Dortmund from Salzburg in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- Struggling for game time at Tottenham, Dele Alli could make a move in January. The Daily Mail reports Paris Saint-Germain are set to make another loan bid for Alli next month. Alli has played just 67 Premier League minutes this season.

- Amid inconsistent form and with injury worries, Barcelona may also be looking to strengthen in January. Sport reports Eric Garcia wants to join the club from Manchester City but may have to wait until the club's presidential election, which is due to be held on January 24. Garcia and Lyon star Memphis Depay feature on the cover of Mundo Deportivo, which says Ronald Koeman wants signings in January for Barca, who are ninth in LaLiga.

- Manchester United are considering their defensive options. The Manchester Evening News reports United are huge admirers of Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White, who is among their options alongside Real Madrid's Raphael Varane and RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano.

- A player who could exit Manchester United is Marcos Rojo. The Sheffield Star reports Sheffield United are interested in the defender.

Tottenham responded to Chelsea's victory on Saturday by claiming north London bragging rights with a 2-0 win over Arsenal.

Champions Liverpool soon joined Spurs on 24 points at the top as Mohamed Salah inspired an emphatic defeat of Wolves at Anfield.

Jamie Vardy gave Leicester City a late, late win at Sheffield United, while Roy Hodgson returned to West Brom to deliver a crushing defeat after Matheus Pereira was sent off.

Here is the pick of the Opta facts from another enthralling Sunday in the Premier League.

West Brom 1-5 Crystal Palace: Hodgson haunts old club once again

Palace scored five goals in a top-flight away game for the first time in their history as they thrashed struggling West Brom.

It was the most goals the Eagles have scored away from home since they hit five at Watford in the Championship way back in January 2004, when Hodgson's time in charge of the United Arab Emirates was just coming to an end.

Hodgson has now won 11 Premier League matches against teams he used to manage, which puts him level with Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce at the top of that particular pile.

Of course, the match swung in Palace's favour when Pereira became the 12th player to be shown a straight red card in the Premier League this season. The Baggies will have feared the worst: they have lost 21 of the 31 Premier League games they have played in which they have had a player sent off, the highest percentage (68 per cent) among the 18 teams to have a player dismissed in at least 30 matches.

Sheffield United 1-2 Leicester City: Vardy's having a (Yorkshire) party

Sheffield United were moments from winning just a second point of the season until Vardy struck late at Bramall Lane.

The striker became just the third player to score in five consecutive Premier League games in Yorkshire, following in the footsteps of Wayne Rooney (2002-2013) and Harry Kane (2014-2020). He even shattered a corner flag in his celebration, just to rub salt into the wound.

James Maddison set up Vardy's winner to end a wait of 363 days for a Premier League assist, although that barren run was not for the want of trying: he has created 56 goalscoring chances in that time, including three against the Blades.

As for Chris Wilder's men, they are only the ninth different team in English league history to lose 10 or more of their first 11 games in a season, and the first in the top flight since Newcastle United in 1977-78. Leicester also condemned them to their 10th defeat last term - although that was on matchday 36.

Tottenham 2-0 Arsenal: Mourinho leaves Gunners at Premier League low point

Jose Mourinho loves playing Arsenal - he has gone 11 home games in all competitions without losing to the Gunners. Mikel Arteta does not seem to enjoy this fixture, though: he is just the second Arsenal boss to lose his first two north London derbies, after Bertie Mee in 1966-67.

This encounter was vintage Mourinho. For the 11th time in a Premier League match, his team had 35 per cent or less of the possession, but this was the ninth of those games he has won. That is in part down to the brilliance of Harry Kane - who now has 250 career goals and a record 11 in this fixture - and Son Heung-min.

Spurs ended the weekend top of the table, but Arsenal are 15th, with just 13 points from their opening 11 games. That is their lowest return at this stage of a top-flight season since they mustered 12 by this point in 1981-82.

Liverpool 4-0 Wolves: Salah in truly esteemed company

Liverpool's resounding defeat of Wolves took them to 31 wins from 32 home league games, in which time they have scored 93 goals and conceded only 25.

Impressively, the champions have now kept six clean sheets in the 11 games Virgil van Dijk has missed through injury this season, as 22-year-old Caoimhin Kelleher became the youngest Reds goalkeeper to record a shutout when making a first Premier League start.

Salah broke the deadlock to move onto 52 league goals at Anfield since he arrived from Roma in 2017. The only players in Europe's top-five leagues with better single-venue numbers in that time are Barcelona's Lionel Messi (63 at Camp Nou) and Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (59 at the Allianz Arena).

Salah's goal was gifted to him by a poor chest touch from Conor Coady. The Wolves captain has only made three errors leading to goals in 87 Premier League appearances, and two of those have come on Merseyside.

It was another Premier League weekend dominated by VAR disputes, fixture scheduling complaints and a timely discussion on concussion protocols.

Liverpool dropped two points away to Brighton and Hove Albion after video technology intervened in a match that saw another of their players, James Milner, sustain an injury.

Tottenham capitalised on that result by reclaiming top spot with a goalless draw at Chelsea that very much falls into the 'tactical game of chess' category.

The result of the weekend belonged to Wolves as they earned a first win at Arsenal since 1979, though Raul Jimenez's sickening clash of heads with David Luiz – later confirmed as resulting in a fractured skull for the striker – overshadowed that 2-1 scoreline.

Away from the major topics of discussion to emerge over the past few days, we use Opta stats to pinpoint some of the quirkier talking points. 


The return of Fergie time?

The half-time introduction of Edinson Cavani proved an inspired change for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the prolific striker scored twice in Manchester United's 3-2 comeback win at Southampton.

Cavani's second goal at St Mary's Stadium arrived with 91 minutes and 55 seconds on the clock as United won for an eighth successive away top-flight match for the first time in their history.

Solskjaer's men have scored in the 90th minute or later in the last five of those victories, smashing the previous record of three in a row which United jointly held with Liverpool and Arsenal.

United, famed for their never-say-die spirit under legendary former boss Alex Ferguson, have now netted 25 stoppage-time winners in the Premier League – level with Tottenham but one fewer than Arsenal.

Liverpool may have been denied a victory in the final stages this weekend but they lead the way in terms of all-time 90-plus-minute winners, scoring 35 of them in total.

Blunt Blades still without a win

West Brom prevailed in the battle between the division's bottom two sides, both of whom were seeking a first victory of the Premier League campaign.

Conor Gallagher's strike means last term's surprise package United are the third side in English top-flight history to earn as meagre a tally as one point after 10 matches, and the first in Premier League history.

The Baggies also had only one point from a possible 30 in 1985-86 and, somewhat intriguingly, record 20-time English champions Manchester United were pointless at the same stage in 1930-31.

Manchester City and Sunderland are the next two worst-performing sides in Premier League history after 10 games, amassing two points each in 1995-96 and 2016-17 respectively.

Chelsea play into Tottenham's hands

Tottenham arrived at Stamford Bridge with a plan to frustrate Chelsea and that tactic clearly paid off for Jose Mourinho, who will be more than happy with a point against his former employers.

Spurs had a little under 40 per cent of the ball but as we have come to learn, that often counts for little when it comes to Mourinho-managed sides.

Indeed, they tend to do better in games where they have very little possession compared to matches in which they dominate the ball.

In seven games in which they have had 40 per cent or less possession, Spurs have won four and drawn two. That compares to three wins and two draws from the seven games when they have had 60 per cent or more possession.

Bend it like... Ward-Prowse

James Ward-Prowse put Southampton into a two-goal lead before United's impressive fightback, scoring from yet another free-kick.

The England international has perfected the art of converting from set-pieces, even if opposition keeper David de Gea could have done more to keep out this latest effort.

Ward-Prowse also scored twice from a similar range against Aston Villa and is the first player since Wayne Rooney in September 2013 to find the net from three direct free-kicks in a single month.

After an international break that seemed to go on for months rather than days, the Premier League was back with typical gusto this weekend.

Tottenham and Liverpool earned impressive wins over Manchester City and Leicester City respectively to sit top of the pile on 20 points, with Chelsea and the Foxes hot in their wake.

But away from the more obvious facts and figures there are always some hidden gems that you may have missed.

With help from the geniuses at Opta, we have delved into some of the quirkier things to emerge from the Premier League these past few days.


Reds pass the test

Diogo Jota made history by becoming the first Liverpool player to score in each of his first four home top-flight appearances for the Reds.

More impressively, his goal in the beating of Leicester came at the end of a sequence of 30 passes – the first time they have tallied so many in the build-up since Opta began collecting such data in the 2006-07 season.

In that same period, the most a team has had leading to goal was Tottenham when Nacer Chadli netted against QPR in August 2014 with a whopping 48 passes.

Manchester United (Juan Mata 45 versus Southampton), Manchester City (Ilkay Gundogan 44 versus Manchester United), Southampton (Morgan Schneiderlin 40 versus Newcastle United), and Manchester United again (Ashley Young 37 versus Blackburn Rovers) complete the top five in the metric.

Relief for Ole

A poor run of form had seen the pressure grow on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Manchester United but back-to-back Premier League wins has helped his cause a little.

Saturday's 1-0 win over West Brom – secured by Bruno Fernandes' second-half penalty – ended a run of 323 minutes without a Premier League goal at Old Trafford.

Only twice have United gone longer without celebrating at home in the competition, the longest being 361 minutes between March and August 2002, while they went 334 minutes between April and August 2007.

Worryingly for Solskjaer, he has another streak in the top five with United going 235 minutes without a Premier League home goal between January and February earlier this year.

Grim reading for the Steel City

Chris Wilder and his Sheffield United side have little to smile about right now as a 1-0 home defeat to West Ham on Sunday left them with just one point from their opening nine matches.

Only three teams have ever accrued such a paltry sum at the same stage of a Premier League season.

Coincidentally, Steel City rivals Sheffield Wednesday did so in 1999-00, while Manchester City are the other unfortunate side in 1995-96. In a potentially bad omen for the Blades, both sides went on to be relegated.

With Wednesday mired in relegation trouble of their own in the Championship, both sides of the Sheffield divide will hope for a boost in fortunes as we edge towards Christmas.

Own goal-woe for Fernandez and Evans

Come on admit it…we all love it when a player ends up with egg on their face and scores past their own goalkeeper. In fact, the more comical the own goal the better.

Over the weekend, two particularly luckless players continued their rotten luck in this regard.

Federico Fernandez was on the scoresheet for the wrong team as Newcastle United were beaten by Chelsea. Since his Premier League debut in 2014, no other player has more own goals than his five – level with Lewis Dunk.

Jonny Evans racked up a sixth Premier League own goal as Leicester City were outclassed by Liverpool. Only Richard Dunne (10), Jamie Carragher (7) and Martin Skrtel (7) have put more in their own net.

Fulham paying the penalty

There are never any guarantees that a penalty will bring a goal…just ask poor Fulham fans.

Ivan Cavaleiro's miss from 12 yards in the 3-2 loss to Everton on Sunday means the Cottagers have missed five of their past eight Premier League penalties, with three different takers in that time.

Both Arsenal and Leicester City have missed five in a row in the competition before (the Gunners between October 1992 and November 1993, and the Foxes August 1994 to September 1996).

The most recent example of a side failing with four in a row was Manchester City last season.

Liverpool made light work of Leicester City to move level on points with Premier League leaders Tottenham on a day that saw a couple of records broken at Anfield.

Inspired by another impressive Diogo Jota showing, the Reds eased to a routine victory to keep their positive momentum going at a time when their squad is getting more depleted by the week.

Merseyside rivals Everton were also victorious in Sunday's top-flight action with a narrow win at Fulham, while West Ham saw off Sheffield United and 10-man Arsenal were held by toothless Leeds United.

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

 

Fulham 2-3 Everton: Calvert-Lewin at the double as Toffees inflict more capital punishment

Dominic Calvert-Lewin maintained his impressive scoring run with a couple of goals as Everton returned to winning ways in the early kick-off at Craven Cottage.

The England international scored after just 42 seconds – the earliest league goal Everton have netted since April 2017 – before Bobby Decordova-Reid's temporary leveller.

That made it goals in back-to-back home league games for Decordova-Reid for the first time since April 2018 when he was playing in the Championship with Bristol City.

Calvert-Lewin restored Everton's lead for his 10th league goal in nine outings this term, Lucas Digne setting up both that goal and Abdoulaye Doucoure's six minutes later.

Since making his competition debut in August 2018, only Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson (both 26) have more assists among defenders than Digne's 15.

A struggling Fulham side wasted a chance to get back into the game when Ivan Cavaleiro became the latest player for the south London side to miss from the penalty spot.

They have missed five of their past eight top-flight penalties, including the previous three, which have each taken by different players (Aleksandar Mitrovic, Ademola Lookman and Cavaleiro).

Ruben Loftus-Cheek did pull one back but Everton, who have conceded twice or more in six straight league games for the first time in 12 years, held on for a third straight league win in London – their best such run since April 1987.

Sheffield United 0-1 West Ham: Blunt Blades still seeking first victory

Sebastien Haller scored from outside the box for the first time in his top-flight career, on what was his 190th such appearance, to earn West Ham a slender victory at Sheffield United.

The striker, who has also previously played in the Eredivisie and Bundesliga, scored from range after 56 minutes for his sixth goal in all competitions this season – double the number of any other West Ham player.

United were unable to respond and are now without a win in 13 games in all competitions, making this their worst run since October 2013.

Chris Wilder's men have lost four top-flight matches in a row and are only the third side in Premier League history to pick up one point or fewer from their opening nine games, after Manchester City in 1995-96 and Sheffield Wednesday in 1999-2000.

West Ham are now unbeaten in their past 12 Premier League games against sides starting the day bottom, winning five in a row, and they are the first London club to win at Bramall Lane in the competition in 12 attempts since October 2006.

Leeds United 0-0 Arsenal: Hot-headed Gunners fire another blank

Arsenal failed to score for the fourth time in five Premier League outings as they played out a stalemate with Leeds at Elland Road.

Firing blanks has become the norm for Arsenal but there was nothing usual about the scoreline from Leeds' perspective – only their third goalless draw in 101 league games under Marcelo Bielsa.

Leeds now have 41 clean sheets across those 101 matches, not including play-offs, which is more than any other side in the top four tiers of English football in that period.

The Gunners have scored just nine league goals in the same number of league games in 2020-21 – their lowest tally at this stage since 1986-87 when scoring six times.

Mikel Arteta's side had to play almost an entire half with 10 men after Nicolas Pepe was given the first red card of his career in Europe's top five leagues, this being his 146th such appearance.

That was the fifth red card Arsenal have received in the league since Arteta took over in December 2019 – at least two more than any other club.

A point can be considered a good result on the balance of things given Leeds had 25 shots – the third most a team has managed in the Premier League this term, behind only Manchester United v Newcastle United (28) and Leeds v Aston Villa (27).

Liverpool 3-0 Leicester City: Rampant Reds win again at fortress Anfield

A lot has been made of Liverpool's depleted backline but makeshift centre-back pairing Fabinho and Joel Matip withstood everything Leicester chucked at them, the Reds keeping a fourth clean sheet in seven games and conceding only three times in that run.

Jonny Evans' own goal after 21 minutes put Liverpool on their way – the sixth time the former Manchester United defender has put into his own net in the Premier League, which is behind only Richard Dunne (10), Jamie Carragher and Martin Skrtel (both seven)

Jota doubled the hosts' advantage before half-time against his favourite opponents to become the first Liverpool player ever to score in his first four home top-flight league appearances.

It was a special goal in more ways than one, too, as it came after a sequence of 30 passes – the most in the build-up to any goal by the reigning champions since Opta started collecting data in 2006-07.

Jurgen Klopp's side added a deserved third goal to their tally late on through Roberto Firmino, who has now scored in two of Liverpool's five home league matches this term, compared to one in 19 such outings in 2019-20.

The routine home win makes it 64 home league matches without defeat for Liverpool – now officially the longest run in the club's history, with 53 of those games ending in victory.

It was another unhappy reunion with Liverpool for their former boss Brendan Rodgers, meanwhile, as he has lost all three league encounters with the Reds since taking charge of Leicester, conceding nine goals in the process.

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.

Frank Lampard praised Hakim Ziyech's start to his Chelsea career as "remarkable" after the forward's starring role in the 4-1 win over Sheffield United.

The Blues recovered after conceding for the first time in 459 minutes in all competitions through David McGoldrick's ninth-minute effort to keep pace at the top of the Premier League table.

Goals from Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Timo Werner ensured a victory that puts Chelsea a point behind leaders Southampton and second-placed Liverpool.

Ziyech had a hand in three of the goals at Stamford Bridge, supplying two assists, and creating a game-high six chances.

The former Ajax man created the most chances of any player in the league this season, and Lampard is particularly impressed with how he has adapted given the 2019-20 Eredivisie season was abandoned back in April.

"We played against [Ziyech] in the Champions League last year - he's a top-class player," Lampard told Sky Sports. "He impresses you even more when you work with him.

"The Dutch league finished a long time ago, then he had an injury so to hit the ground running like he has, he has been remarkable.

"He will be a big player for us. I need players who can come in and lift the level. That's hard. The midfield were great with their driving runs."

Chelsea boss Lampard was impressed with his side's response to going behind, adding: "Sheffield United are a really strong team.

"They are really good at putting you under pressure. We didn't deal with it brilliantly but the reaction from the team for the rest of the game was spot on."

Chelsea kept pace at the top of the Premier League as they came from behind to beat Sheffield United 4-1 at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues had kept clean sheets in each of their last five matches, but saw their goal breached in the ninth minute by David McGoldrick.

However, Tammy Abraham equalised and Ben Chilwell gave Chelsea a lead they would not relinquish as their defensive solidity returned thereafter.

Thiago Silva's first goal for Chelsea made sure of the victory before Timo Werner made the margin of triumph even more comfortable. 

The win means Frank Lampard's men are a point behind leaders Southampton and second-placed Liverpool, who have a game in hand. The winless Blades are bottom with one point from eight games.

 

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