It was another day of drama as Chelsea became the first team for nine years to avoid a Premier League defeat after being three goals down at half-time and Manchester United rocked Brighton and Hove Albion.

West Brom led Frank Lampard's side 3-0 after only 27 minutes, but Tammy Abraham's stoppage-time goal rescued a 3-3 draw at The Hawthorns.

A Bruno Fernandes penalty 10 minutes into stoppage time snatched a 3-2 victory for United at Brighton following a VAR check, which took place after the final whistle had blown, for handball against Neal Maupay.

Everton have made their best start to a season for 27 years after a controversial 2-1 win at Crystal Palace, while Southampton striker Danny Ings scored the only goal of the game at his former club Burnley.

With help from Opta data, here is a recap of the four fixtures to take place on a pulsating Saturday.

 

Brighton and Hove Albion 2-3 Manchester United: Fernandes stuns luckless Seagulls

To say it was one of those days for Brighton would be a massive understatement, with Fernandes snatching all three points from the penalty spot right at the death.

The midfielder, who has now been involved in 17 goals in 16 Premier League games (9 goals, 8 assists), slotted in the latest goal in the top flight since Juan Mata's strike for Chelsea against Norwich City after 100 minutes and three seconds nine years ago.

Brighton hit the woodwork five times, more than any team since Opta started recording the data in 2003-04, and were left to rule their luck after it seemed Solly March had secured a draw five minutes into time added on.

Leandro Trossard was particularly unfortunate, becoming the first player to hit the woodwork in a Premier League match three times since Cristiano Ronaldo versus Newcastle United in 2006.

Lewis Dunk will also want to forget the five-goal thriller in a hurry, having scored his fifth own goal in the competition - two more than any other player since his Premier League debut in August 2017.

 

Crystal Palace 1-2 Everton: Richarlison keeps Toffees perfect

Everton have won their first three games of a Premier League season for the first time since the 1993-94 campaign but they were fortunate to beat Palace.

All the goals came in the first half at Selhurst Park, the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin putting Carlo Ancelotti's side in front to become the first player to score in each of Everton's opening three games of a season since Steven Naismith six years ago.

Cheikhou Kouyate brought Palace level but Richarlison won it with a penalty after a hugely contentious decision saw Joel Ward adjudged to have handled.

Brazil striker Richarlison has scored 31 of his 32 Premier League goals from inside the penalty area and the winner was his first from the spot in the competition. One concern for Everton is that they have shipped more goals (18) from set-pieces than any other side since the start of last season.

 

West Brom 3-3 Chelsea: Abraham completes comeback after Blues' defensive horror show

Chelsea looked to be heading for back-to-back defeats when a Callum Robinson double and Kyle Bartley put Albion three up.

Marcos Alonso and Premier League debutant Thiago Silva gave the Baggies a big helping hand with errors that took Chelsea's number of mistakes directly leading to goals this season to three, as many as they made in the entire 2019-20 campaign.

The Blues have only kept one clean sheet in 21 Premier League away games under Frank Lampard, while they have conceded more goals (42) on their travels than any other side since the start of last season.

They were able to salvage a point, though, courtesy of second-half goals from Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Abraham.

Slaven Bilic's side are the first team to ship 11 goals in the opening three games in the top flight since Arsenal in 1963-64 (12).

 

Burnley 0-1 Southampton: Ings returns to haunt toothless Clarets

Prolific striker Ings was on target early on to give Southampton their first Premier League points of the season.

It was Saints' first win at Turf Moor in the league since back in 1971, ending a six-match winless run.

Burnley fans will not want to know that the last time they lost their opening two matches of a Premier League season was in a 2014-15 campaign that saw them relegated.

The 400th match of Sean Dyche's managerial career proved to be one to forget, with Ings netting his 10th goal in 12 Premier League appearances since the resumption in June following a hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With all 20 Premier League teams now back in action, fantasy football managers around the world are tinkering and tweaking as they look to find that perfect balance of solid but deadly.

It's fair to say that we've already had a few surprises (for the fantasy football world, at least) this season, with Manchester United players barely making a splash at home to Crystal Palace (looking at you, Bruno Fernandes), Liverpool shipping three to promoted Leeds United on day one and Dominic Calvert-Lewin leading the scoring chart.

Everything's been all over the place – you need as much help as you can get, and hopefully that's where we can help.

Using Opta data, here are a few tips that might enable you get back on track, or even – for those of you lucky enough – build on an emphatic start…

RUI PATRICIO

Despite the disappointing 3-1 defeat to Manchester City, Wolves appear set for another encouraging season, having seemingly recruited well and retained most of their key players.

Among those is Rui Patricio, who is second only to Ederson (0.45) in terms of goals conceded per game (0.82) since the Premier League resumed in June, while the Portugal international's six clean sheets in that time is also the second best in the division.

Up next for Wolves is a trip to West Ham, who have lost both of their first two games of the season, scoring just one goal in the process.

MICHAEL KEANE

Goal-scoring perhaps isn't a key factor for many when considering which defenders to choose in their fantasy team, but picking one who has a habit of finding the net can give you the edge.

Michael Keane heads into the weekend having scored twice since the June resumption, a record beaten by no other defender, while he also boasts the best shot conversion rate (40 per cent) among defenders to have attempted at least five in that time period.

Everton are looking impressive at the moment, and with quality deliveries from James Rodriguez and Lucas Digne floating in regularly, who's to say Keane won't find the net again at Crystal Palace?

SADIO MANE

This one's quite simple – Sadio Mane loves playing against Arsenal.

In 12 matches against the Gunners, he has scored six times. He has only managed more in meetings with Palace (nine in 11), and he goes into the game on the back of a match-winning brace at Chelsea last time out.

Matches between two of the big guns can prove a little risky in terms of captain selection, and Mane's certainly not cheap – but few have his record in such games.

MATHEUS PEREIRA

It's been a difficult readjustment to the Premier League for West Brom, who host Chelsea next having conceded eight times in two matches and scored just twice.

But those two goals should pique the interest of fantasy fans, given Matheus Pereira was involved in both (one goal, one assist) and won't break the bank.

The Brazilian will surely be key if the Baggies are to avoid the drop this term, having had a hand in 11 more goals (nine scored, 17 set up) than any other player for the club since the start of 2019-20.

RAUL JIMENEZ

Two games, two goals – Jimenez has picked up right where he left off last season, the Mexican continuing to be the go-to man in attack for Wolves.

There's every chance that will continue at West Ham as well, given his penchant for scoring against the Hammers.

Jimenez has three goals in his past three Premier League clashes with West Ham, including a brace in January.

He also has four in six domestically, though a word of caution – Jimenez hasn't netted in three successive games since November last year.

GABRIEL JESUS

With Sergio Aguero out for the time being, Gabriel Jesus has the chance to find some form and enjoy a run of regular starts – he'll likely be encouraged by what's to come as well.

Leicester City are the visitors to the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, and in five previous league outings against the Foxes, Jesus has four goals.

Only against Everton (seven) has Jesus netted more frequently, and given City's impressive season-starting 3-1 win at Wolves, they will be favourites when Brendan Rodgers' table-toppers (on goal difference) come to town.

On the face of it, Jesus looks a strong choice for the captaincy this week.

 

DANNY INGS

Under Ralph Hasenhuttl, Danny Ings really is in the form of his life.

Since the start of last season, his haul of 24 goals is second only to Jamie Vardy in the Premier League, while he has scored 45 per cent of Saints' league goals in that time.

Up next is former club Burnley, and although notoriously difficult to play against, they conceded four to Leicester last time out.

Liverpool ruthlessly capitalised on playing against 10 men in the second half as they eased to victory over Chelsea on Sunday.

The reigning champions have won two from two at the start of the new campaign, as is also the case for Leicester City after they saw off Burnley in the late kick-off.

Brighton and Hove Albion are up and running after a worthwhile journey north, while Tottenham leaned heavily on two of their superstars to put Southampton to the sword.

With help from Opta data, here is a recap of the four fixtures to take place on another busy day in the Premier League.

Chelsea 0-2 Liverpool: Thiago makes debut as champions triumph

A close contest at Stamford Bridge changed complexion when Andreas Christensen was sent off in first-half stoppage time.

Sadio Mane, the player fouled by the defender, went on to score twice after the break, making him just the third Liverpool player to get a brace of goals at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League era. The others? Steve McManaman, back in December 1995, and Philippe Coutinho, who did so in October 2015.

However, the scorer was overshadowed somewhat by new team-mate Thiago Alcantara, who replaced the injured Jordan Henderson at half-time having only completed his move on Friday.

Still, the Spaniard managed to complete more passes (75) than any Chelsea player in the entire match. Indeed, since full passing data became available for the Premier League in the 2003-04 season, his total number of successful passes is the most by a player who featured for a maximum of 45 minutes.

Jorginho missed a penalty for Chelsea too, his first failure in nine attempts for the Blues in all competitions. Alisson not only produced his first save from the spot for Liverpool since joining the club but also his first save of the season.

Southampton 2-5 Tottenham: Bale force! Son and Kane steal the show 

Saturday was all about a returning hero for Spurs fans, as the club confirmed Gareth Bale was coming back from Real Madrid on a season-long loan. Less than 24 hours later, Son Heung-min became the headline act for Tottenham, aided by Harry Kane playing a sublime supporting role in a comprehensive win.

Son scored four of his side's goals at St Mary's Stadium. All of them were set up by Kane, who became just the sixth player to assist four goals in a single Premier League game. No Englishman had previously achieved the feat.

To put that into context, Kane – who also scored Spurs' fifth in the rout – only provided two assists in the 2019-20 season, albeit he did miss a large chunk of that due to injury. 

All this came after Southampton had taken the lead, though their failure to hold onto the advantage given to them by Danny Ings should hardly be a surprise. Since Ralph Hasenhuttl took charge in December 2018, no side has squandered more points from winning positions in the Premier League. 

Still, this was a day to admire the victors, not the vanquished. Son and Kane were simply too much for Southampton; the dynamic duo have now combined for more league goals (24) than any other pairing in the competition since the South Korean joined in August 2015. 

Newcastle United 0-3 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls soar thanks to Maupay

What a difference a week makes. Newcastle United were so impressive in their opener at West Ham, while Brighton were well beaten at home by Chelsea. However, the Seagulls' long journey provided plenty of positives, Graham Potter's team running out comfortable winners against accommodating hosts who failed to muster a shot on target. 

Neal Maupay had Brighton two ahead inside seven minutes, the earliest brace for a player in the Premier League since Manchester City's Edin Dzeko scored twice in the opening four minutes against Norwich City back in December 2012. 

Maupay also set up Aaron Connolly for a third goal late on, with the only disappointment for the visitors the late red card shown to the impressive Yves Bissouma, who had more touches (65) than any other player while also recording a 92 per cent passing accuracy. 

Leicester City 4-2 Burnley: Flying Foxes make it two from two

Could history be repeated this term? Leicester have won their first two games of a Premier League season for the first time since their famous title-winning campaign in 2015-16.

For Brendan Rodgers, there was a personal milestone. The Foxes boss recorded his 100th victory in the Premier League, becoming the 23rd different manager to reach a century and needing 210 games. Alex Ferguson (162 games), Kenny Dalglish (197) and Kevin Keegan (209) are the only British managers that did it faster.

James Justin scored his first league goal for Leicester while Harvey Barnes was also on target, meaning he has now been directly involved in five goals in his past three Premier League games against Burnley.

The visitors did not help themselves with Erik Pieters' own goal, Burnley's sixth in the Premier League since the start of the 2018-19 season; the most of any current team in the competition.

Son Heung-min and Harry Kane's phenomenal link-up play put Southampton to the sword on Sunday as Tottenham ran out 5-2 winners at St Mary's.

Danny Ings goals bookended the contest but in between - especially after half-time - Jose Mourinho's side ran riot, thanks almost exclusively to the two elite attacking stars who will imminently be joined on the field by a returning Gareth Bale.

Son levelled matters with Spurs' only shot and touch inside the Saints box before half-time and he made merry during the second period.

Kane assisted every one of the South Korea international's goals before Son returned the favour for number five.

Here, we have a look at how the pair's collective brilliance sits within Premier League history.

FIVE STAR SHOWING FROM KANE ONCE AGAIN

Sunday's exploits meant Kane became the first Premier League player to be involved in five goals in the same match since Liverpool hero Mohamed Salah against Watford in March 2018, when he scored four and laid on the other for Roberto Firmino in a 5-0 win.

Indeed, it is the second time Kane has accomplished the feat, having done so with his famed goalscoring to the fore as he netted four and grabbed a solitary assist against Leicester City in May 2017. Son got the other two goals in a 6-1 victory.

Kane is the third player to have chalked up four assists among five goal involvements, following Cesc Fabregas for Arsenal against Blackburn Rovers in October 2009 and Emmanuel Adebayor for Spurs versus Newcastle United in February 2012.

England captain Kane is the third player to manage five goal involvements in a game more than once, sitting in elite company with Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry.

THE SON SHOW'S FAMILIAR SUPPLY LINE

Son's hat-trick was the fourth time a player claimed a Premier League matchball thanks to assists from the same player - and the first to do so for 17 years.

Liverpool came from behind to defeat Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield in December 1995, with Stan Collymore setting up each of Robbie Fowler's goals.

Earlier that year in September, Shearer owed a debt to Blackburn strike partner Mike Newell as the then-reigning champions thumped Coventry City 5-1.

The last time such a collection of assists were produced was back in 2003, when Henry assisted Freddie Ljungberg's treble in Arsenal's 4-0 defeat of Sunderland.

However, Son is the first Premier League player to have four goals in one match all created by the same player.

AN EXCLUSIVE NORTH LONDON CLUB

Kane is the first Englishman to supply four assists in the same Premier League game and the sixth player in history to do so overall.

This statistic remains exclusively the preserve of north London, with all of the players to record four assists having done so for either Spurs or Arsenal.

Along with the efforts of Adebayor and Fabregas mentioned above, Dennis Bergkamp (vs Leicester City, February 1999), Jose Antonio Reyes (vs Middlesbrough, January 2006), and Santi Cazorla (vs Wigan Athletic, May 2013) fashioned four goals inside 90 minutes for the Gunners.

THE PREMIER LEAGUE'S MOST FRUITFUL LINK-UP

Since Son's Tottenham debut in September 2015, no Premier League pairing has combined more frequently for goals than he and Kane.

Their alliance has yielded 24 overall and the Southampton game saw them overhaul and open up a gap on the players in second place.

Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero should be expected to add to their 20 combinations for goals at Manchester City, although not in the immediate future as the Argentina striker continues his recovery from knee surgery.

Kane is involved in both of the next two most fruitful duos, alongside Christian Eriksen (19) and Dele Alli (18). Eriksen left to join Inter last season and current speculation suggests Alli's days at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could also be numbered.

Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, now at Manchester City, were the heroes of Leicester's sensational 2015-16 title triumph and combined for 17 goals during their time together in the east Midlands.

Son Heung-min expressed his gratitude to Tottenham team-mate Harry Kane after explaining he was "buzzing" to score four times against Southampton.

An unbelievable Premier League contest on Sunday saw Spurs come from behind to win 5-2 at St Mary's.

All four of Son's goals were assisted by his fellow forward Kane, who went on to score the fifth himself and also had two goals disallowed.

The phenomenal link-up play meant it was the first time in Premier League history that one player has assisted another four times in the same match.

"I'm buzzing to score four goals in the Premier League for the first time," Son said in a message to Spurs fans on the club's Twitter account.

"But I'm really grateful to my team-mates who gave me the opportunity to score, especially to H [Harry Kane].

"It was an amazing performance from Harry, amazing passing.

"To score my first hat-trick in the Premier League with Spurs is a big honour for me, I'm very proud and very grateful.

"The lads did a really good job, an incredible job – we completely deserved the win. We go again on Tuesday [against Leyton Orient] now.

"Thanks for your support, come on you Spurs."

Manager Jose Mourinho also paid tribute to Kane, interrupting a post-match interview the striker was involved in to call the England captain his man of the match.

Mourinho added further praise in his post-match media conference, saying: "In the second half Harry Kane in my opinion changed the game. 

"His movement was tremendous, his link play was absolutely incredible and he allowed Sonny to play in a different position on the pitch. 

"Gio [Lo Celso] and [Erik] Lamela, I just love when players come from the bench and add something to the team. The second half was a really strong performance for us."

Gareth Bale was given a glimpse of the forward line he has joined as Son Heung-min's fantastic four-goal haul and a Harry Kane effort earned Tottenham a 5-2 Premier League victory over Southampton.

Real Madrid forward Bale returned to the North London club on Saturday having agreed a season-long loan deal, though he might have been having second thoughts when Danny Ings scored at St Mary's to give another of the Welshman's former clubs a 32rd-minute lead.

However, Son levelled before half-time following a cross from Kane, who then provided another two assists for the South Korean to complete a hat-trick just after the hour mark.

The duo then combined for a fourth time as Son scored again in the 73rd minute before Kane added a fifth prior to a late penalty consolation from Ings, with Spurs claiming a win that must have left Bale, currently out injured, itching to make his comeback.

The game began at a frenetic pace as three goals were ruled out in the opening half an hour.

Kane thought he had scored a third-minute opener only for VAR to spot an offside against Son in the build-up.

Shortly after Hugo Lloris brilliantly saved from Che Adams, the Frenchman failed to clear his lines with a bizarre header when rushing out and Ings applied the finish, only to be denied as the ball struck his arm first.

Moussa Djenepo struck a post and Kane had another effort chalked off for an offside against Lucas Moura before Southampton scored the game's first legitimate goal, Ings collecting Kyle Walker-Peters' ball over the top and rifling into the net.

However, Spurs would go into the break level when Son turned home Kane's cross after good work from Tanguy Ndombele - who was surprisingly substituted at half-time having made his first start since March.

Son's touch to steady himself and his finish were Tottenham's only touches in the Saints' box in the first half, and their next made it 2-1.

Again Kane found Son and this time he scored with his left foot to put Jose Mourinho's side ahead less than two minutes after the restart.

The pair were not done, though, and Kane found his fellow forward twice more, with Son beating Alex McCarthy on each occasion to take the game away from Saints.

Kane got the goal his performance deserved too, following up in the 82nd minute after substitute Erik Lamela's effort came off a post, meaning Ings' late penalty - awarded following a handball against Matt Doherty - only reduced the eventual margin of defeat for Southampton.

Dele Alli was left out of Tottenham's matchday squad to face Southampton on Sunday, with Jose Mourinho admitting he was simply down the pecking order in his attacking options.

Alli was hauled off at half-time of Spurs' season-opening 1-0 loss to Everton last weekend and was left at home when Mourinho's men travelled to Bulgaria in midweek for their Europa League tie against Lokomotiv Plovdiv.

And there was still no way back for the England international at St Mary's, where Mourinho handed a start to Tanguy Ndombele in midfield and persisted with a front three of Lucas Moura, Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

Giovani Lo Celso, Moussa Sissoko, Erik Lamela and Steven Bergwijn were all on the bench and Mourinho explained Alli - who was linked with Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday - was a victim of what he feels is a bloated squad.

Asked if Alli had an injury, Mourinho told BT Sport before kick-off: "No, we have a huge squad, a squad with numbers that are very difficult to manage.

"I never had it, I don't like to have it and it's not easy for me to be here with 18 players and to have 10 training in the training ground - too many players.

"I start with Son, with Lucas, with Harry and on the bench I still have Moussa Sissoko and Lamela and Bergwijn.

"We have too many players for some positions and some of them they are paying the price of this."

The outlook is unlikely to get any better for Alli after Gareth Bale returned to the club on a loan deal from Real Madrid on Saturday, though the Wales forward is currently injured.

Following kick-off in Sunday's clash, reports subsequently emerged that Paris Saint-Germain had started talks with Spurs over signing the 24-year-old.

Alli started the Mourinho era in fine form when the Portuguese arrived in November, scoring four times and providing two assists in his first seven league appearances under the Spurs boss.

Yet he scored just twice after Boxing Day and was not named in England's squad for the recent Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark.

It has been a fall from grace for Alli, who Mourinho's predecessor Mauricio Pochettino called the best player in the world for his age just two years ago.

Jose Mourinho described the hectic schedule facing Tottenham as a "total joke" ahead of Sunday's trip to Southampton for a midday kick-off.

Spurs laboured to a 2-1 Europa League qualifying win against Lokomotiv Plovdiv in Bulgaria on Thursday, securing a trip to Macedonia to face Shkendija next week.

That will come two days after taking on Leyton Orient in the EFL Cup, while victories in both of those knockout ties would ensure a similarly packed run of fixtures the week after.

While Mourinho wants to be fighting for silverware on multiple fronts, he is not happy with the governing bodies who organise the calendar.

"I hope it is [a busy schedule], because I wouldn't like to be knocked out of the Europa League or even the Carabao Cup," he said.

"But the people who make these decisions...forgot this situation is not possible, this is a joke, a total joke.

"We were very, very lucky that Leyton [Orient] beat Plymouth, because Plymouth would be very, very far for us.

"We're in Bulgaria, then Saturday in Southampton, then Wednesday we will be again flying to Macedonia, and so on and so on.

"It's quite dramatic but I prefer the drama of being in these competitions, so let's fight while we can."

Southampton head into this weekend's Premier League clash having lost back-to-back matches.

Following defeat to Brentford in the EFL Cup, boss Ralph Hasenhuttl cited the squad's disrupted preparations for the new campaign as a factor in their slow start.

It is something Mourinho identifies with, having seen his Spurs side suffer a lacklustre 1-0 opening-game loss to Everton before leaving it late to overcome nine-man Plovdiv.

"I read Ralph's comments after the game and I would say my words are very similar to his words," said the Portuguese.

"A lot of players that are not at the top of their game, at the top of their condition. The pre-season was not good, many of the players didn't even have a pre-season.

"And we're using these matches also for the evolution of the players and the team.

"But the reality is we are playing for big things. If you lose a match in the Premier League, you lost three points; if today we lost, we would be out of the Europa League.

"It's difficult to manage both things at the same time. We are going to try to recover the best we can.

"The game could be five or six o'clock to give us a bit more time, but no it's 12 o'clock – that's another great decision.

"In this moment, to prepare is to recover."

Liverpool and Manchester United could be set for another transfer battle.

The Premier League rivals were both reportedly interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who is set for a move to Anfield.

Now it seems they could be targeting the same player once more.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, MAN UTD TARGET SARR

Liverpool have enquired about Watford star Ismaila Sarr, according to the Daily Mail.

It reports Watford want at least £36million for the 22-year-old forward, who scored five goals and provided four assists in 28 Premier League games last season.

Meanwhile, The Independent says Manchester United are looking at Sarr as they continue to be frustrated in their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho.

 

ROUND-UP

- What is next for Luis Suarez? Goal reports Roma striker Edin Dzeko is set to join Juventus on a two-year deal, dashing Barcelona forward Suarez's hopes of heading to the Serie A champions. Fabrizio Romano says Atletico Madrid are considering a move for Suarez, while he also claims Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik is getting closer to a Roma switch.

- Gareth Bale's return to Tottenham is almost done. Sky Sports reports the Real Madrid attacker will fly to London from Spain on Friday after completing a medical, returning to Spurs after leaving for the LaLiga giants in 2013.

- Staying at Tottenham and The Sun claims Spurs had a transfer enquiry for forward Danny Ings rejected by Southampton. Ings enjoyed a prolific 2019-20 season, scoring 22 Premier League goals.

- After a difficult first season at Real Madrid, Luka Jovic is apparently considering his options. According to Marca, the Serbian forward is studying a temporary loan move from the LaLiga champions.

- At Madrid's rivals, Barcelona, more movement is also expected. Mundo Deportivo reports Ronald Koeman wants Ajax full-back Sergino Dest if Nelson Semedo leaves the club.

- Could Chelsea's spending spree continue? The Independent reports West Ham star Declan Rice is yet to decide whether to push for a move to Stamford Bridge, where the likes of Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell, Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Silva are new arrivals.

Real Madrid have made no secret of their admiration for Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe himself has flirted with the possibility of working with fellow Frenchman Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu.

A blockbuster transfer could be getting closer…

 

TOP STORY – MADRID WAITING FOR MBAPPE

Real Madrid are prepared to target Kylian Mbappe next year as the Paris Saint-Germain forward wants to leave the Ligue 1 champions, according to reports in Spain.

Mbappe has reportedly told PSG he wants to depart the French capital at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Monday's editions of Marca and Diario AS are dominated by Mbappe, with the front pages saying Madrid are waiting to pounce for the France star in 2021.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Telegraph claims Manchester United have shown an interest in Inter's Ivan Perisic as the Red Devils struggle to negotiate a deal with Borussia Dortmund for Jadon Sancho. Perisic spent last season on loan at Bayern Munich.

Tottenham have set their sights on Southampton striker Danny Ings, says Football London. Spurs are desperate to bolster their attacking stocks, though it will be tough to prise the former Liverpool man to London.

- Sportitalia claims Roma have agreed personal terms with Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, who has also been linked with Tottenham and Juventus. Milik's possible arrival in Rome could see Edin Dzeko leave for Serie A champions Juve.

Milan are confident of signing Federico Chiesa from Fiorentina, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport. Milan's faith is based on the likely exit of Lucas Paqueta and Chiesa's dropping price tag.

- Mundo Deportivo says Liverpool star Georginio Wijnaldum is set to stay at Anfield despite interest from LaLiga champions Barcelona. Ronald Koeman's Barca could now rival Liverpool for Bayern's Thiago Alcantara, who has also been linked with United.

Roma are struggling to reach a deal with United for defender Chris Smalling, claims Calciomercato. Roma had hoped to sign the former loanee by the weekend, but the Italian club are now turning to Torino centre-back Armando Izzo as a possible alternative.

- Madrid defender Sergio Reguilon prefers another loan move to Sevilla rather than a United transfer, according to Diario AS. Despite United's interest, Reguilon wants to remain in Spain as he eyes a possible return to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of 2020-21.

Mohamed Salah turned on the style as Liverpool fended off Leeds United in a seven-goal thriller on the first day of the Premier League season.

The Reds' 4-3 victory over their promoted visitors came on the back of two penalties and a sumptuous finish from Salah, whose hat-trick was an opening-day rarity.

As last season's top-flight champions launched their season in dramatic style, so others began to show what they might offer in the months ahead.

FA Cup holders Arsenal are targeting a much-improved league campaign in 2020-21, and their 3-0 win at Fulham was a promising start, with new signing Willian playing a key role.

Crystal Palace made an early breakthrough and made it count against Southampton, while Newcastle United's recent investments began to pay off as they earned a win at West Ham. We take a look at that and more thanks to Opta.

Liverpool 4-3 Leeds United: Super Salah

Egyptian striker Salah became the first Liverpool player to mark the beginning of a league season with a hat-trick since John Aldridge 32 years ago.

Aldridge's treble came at the start of a 1988-89 season that was overshadowed by the tragedy of the Hillsborough disaster. The then-Republic of Ireland star grabbed all three in a 3-0 away win over Charlton as the defending league champions made a flying start. They would go on to finish second in the First Division and win the FA Cup. It has taken Liverpool three decades to put together a team to match the peak Reds sides of that era, but there can be little doubting Jurgen Klopp's side would be a match for the best XI Kenny Dalglish could put together. Against Leeds, Salah was a titan of the Reds attack, attempting nine shots at goal, having more touches of the ball (88) than any other Liverpool player and playing more passes (44) in the Leeds half than anyone else on the home team.

Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: Willian, that was really something

New boy Willian was on fire for Arsenal, becoming the first player to have two assists on debut in the Premier League for the north London giants since Ray Parlour in 1992.

Back in west London, former Chelsea midfielder Willian showed just why Mikel Arteta wanted to bring him to Arsenal. His experience could be key this season, and his creativity has always been a danger to opponents, with the Brazilian playing a key role in second-half goals from Gabriel and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Just like 'Romford Pele' Parlour all those years ago, Willian could soon establish himself as a favourite of Arsenal supporters. He hit the post too, with a 94.7 per cent passing accuracy in the Fulham half wreaking damage.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton: Ahead at the break, Palace take some stopping

When Roy Hodgson's Eagles go to the dressing room ahead at half-time, invariably they will have a good day. In the past 15 Premier League games when they have led at the break, Palace have won 13 times and drawn twice.

Wilfried Zaha – and isn't it so often him – put Palace in front against Southampton after 13 minutes, and they held on to that lead to snatch a welcome opening three points on Saturday. The last time Palace led at half-time in the Premier League and lost was in January 2019, when at Anfield they got ahead thanks to Andros Townsend but lost a helter-skelter match 4-3 to Liverpool. At home, they have won six consecutive games when armed with a half-time lead, last losing from such a position at Selhurst Park against Watford – also in January 2019.

West Ham 0-2 Newcastle United: Signed, sealed, and already delivering

Callum Wilson loves playing against West Ham. At least that's what the numbers tell us. The former Bournemouth striker has now netted eight goals in nine league appearances against the Hammers.

Newcastle boss Steve Bruce might just be having an outstanding transfer window. Only time will prove that theory, but Newcastle could hardly have made a brighter start as they launched their campaign with a win courtesy of goals from new arrivals Wilson and Jeff Hendrick. Wilson has scored more goals against West Ham than he has managed against any other team in his league career, and his close-range effort on Saturday helped Newcastle end their run of slow starts. Arriving at the London Stadium, Newcastle had lost six out of their past seven league season openers, drawing the other, with their last win on the first day of a campaign having come against Tottenham in 2012. Yet of course they traditionally enjoy trips to West Ham, with their away record against the Hammers now showing 10 wins. Only against Tottenham – also 10 wins – have Newcastle won as many matches away from St James' Park in the Premier League era.

While some get a slightly longer break, the Premier League returns this week for the majority.

Champions Liverpool get going against Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds United, back in the big time for the first time since 2004, while plenty of eyes will be on Frank Lampard's lavish new Chelsea side.

With the Manchester clubs, Aston Villa and Burnley not involved, this is an opening matchweek where you can afford to be a little more selective as you look for names to get you up and running.

If you need a little advice, then look no further - this Opta-powered selection is sure to get you off to a flying start.

HUGO LLORIS

While there might be one or two too many of those 'rare errors' in Hugo Lloris' form over the past two years, he is undeniably still a hugely capable goalkeeper.

Don't believe me? Well, based on Expected Goals figures, he prevented 9.5 goals for Spurs last season, the most of any keeper in the Premier League. He also had the highest save percentage (79) in the competition. And he only played in 21 games.

Given Spurs are unbeaten in 15 league matches against Everton, Jose Mourinho has managed 10 opening-day Premier League games without losing, and the Toffees have won once in 19 top-flight visits to London, Lloris looks a pretty safe bet between the posts.

 

MATT DOHERTY

A goalscoring defender in a Jose Mourinho team? You'd be mad not to consider him.

Matt Doherty has scored 15 goals in all competitions since 2018-19, more than any other Premier League defender in that time. Looking at goals and assists (eight each) in just the league in the same time frame, only Andrew Robertson (25) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (30) have more goal involvements than Doherty's 16.

Given Spurs' recent good form against Everton (see above), Doherty represents a solid selection.

 

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

Yes, he's expensive, but really, there are few reasons to leave him out.

With five goals and 25 assists since 2018-19, Trent Alexander-Arnold leads the way in Europe's top-five leagues for goal involvements from a defender. He's hit double figures for assists (12 and 13) in each of the past two seasons, too.

Liverpool have not lost on the opening day of the top flight as reigning champions since 1924, and while Leeds United could make things tricky, Alexander-Arnold is almost certain to be involved in the Reds' best moments.

SON HEUNG-MIN

There's a real Spurs flavour to this week's picks - as we've established, Everton have a pretty lousy recent record against them - and Son Heung-min is another worth considering.

So often Spurs' go-to attacking star when Harry Kane is sidelined, last season saw Son register 21 goal involvements (11 scored, 10 assisted) in 30 games, his best record in England's top flight.

That works out at 118.3 minutes per goal or assist, which is enough to make the Everton defence feel more than a little nervous.

 

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG

Look no further for your first-week captain.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been directly involved in 16 goals in 13 Premier League games against newly promoted opponents. In two matches against Fulham in 2018-19, he scored three and set up another across 5-1 and 4-1 victories for his side.

The Gunners have lost once in 13 league meetings with Fulham and are unbeaten in 24 matches in all competitions in September, so it seems like now is the time to give Aubameyang the armband - assuming he stays at the club, of course.

TIMO WERNER

Brighton, beware: only four players scored more goals than Timo Werner (28) in all of Europe's top-five leagues last season.

A very expensive new starting line-up is likely to be fielded by Lampard against Brighton and Hove Albion and you can bet Werner will be front and centre (or maybe front and left - we're not second-guessing your formation, Frank).

Chelsea's defence might not be trustworthy, but backing Werner to hit the ground running is a safer bet.

 

DANNY INGS

Danny Ings got 22 goals in the Premier League last season, the most by a Southampton player since James Beattie in 2002-03. And Beattie was a real fantasy favourite.

Southampton start away at Crystal Palace, where they have won in each of their past three visits without conceding a goal, and their nine away wins last season (a tally bettered only by Liverpool and Manchester City) suggest a fourth in a row at Selhurst Park is forthcoming.

With Ings having been directly involved in 14 goals (12 scored, two assisted) in 14 top-flight away games, there is every chance he could be matchweek one's top performer.

Southampton captain James Ward-Prowse has signed a new five-year contract with the Premier League side.

The 25-year-old joined the club as an eight-year-old and has spent the past eight seasons as part of their first team.

He played every minute of the Saints' Premier League campaign in 2019-20 and took over the captaincy from Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in the closing stages of the campaign.

Southampton confirmed on their official website on Monday that twice-capped England international Ward-Prowse has now agreed to stay on until 2025.

"I think it's the most excited that I've been as a Southampton player for a few years now, not just because of the captaincy and how things are going, but from a team perspective and for the club," he said.

"We're part of a team that's developing all the time, in all different areas, and for a player that's really exciting. I think we came away from last season a little bit gutted that it ended, because we were in a real good run of form and momentum.

"But I think everybody would be equally excited to get back to it and to carry on from where we left off last season, and to be with a manager who's had a real good impact on the club." 

Southampton have completed the signing of centre-back Mohammed Salisu from Real Valladolid for a reported £10.9million (€12m).

The 21-year-old, who made 32 appearances for Valladolid in all competitions in 2019-20, has signed a four-year deal at St Mary's Stadium.

Salisu is Southampton's second signing of the close season following the arrival of Kyle Walker-Peters from Tottenham on Tuesday.

Manchester United, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid were all linked with the highly rated defender, but he is pleased to have joined Ralph Hasenhuttl's side.

"It is a very good feeling to be a Southampton player. I am very happy to be part of the club and I am looking forward to starting here," Salisu said in a Southampton statement.

"Southampton is a club with a very rich history in developing young players, so it is a very good club for me to develop my skills and to learn a lot as a young player.

"I know that the team expects a lot from me and I'm going to try to give all I can to help the team."

Southampton finished 11th in the Premier League last season and are looking to rebuild, having also sold midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg to Tottenham for £20m.

Hasenhuttl is pleased with his latest capture and is expecting Salisu to slot straight into the side. 

"This is an important signing for us, Mohammed is a player who fits our profile well," the Austrian said.

"He is young and has a great amount of potential, but he is also someone who has the qualities to come in and help the team as soon as he is up to speed with our way of playing.

"I like what I have seen of him so far in his games with Valladolid. He is strong defensively, is calm with the ball - something that is important in our team - and he has good speed too.

"I think he will fit in well with us and that this will be a good place for him to develop his game further. We have some good centre-backs here and this will be another strong option for us."

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg has completed his move to Tottenham from Southampton, who have signed Kyle Walker-Peters from the north London club on a permanent deal.

 

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