As always, there was plenty of drama as the Premier League continued on Sunday.

Ralf Rangnick made a winning start to life in the Old Trafford dugout as Manchester United saw off Crystal Palace.

Tottenham and Aston Villa, meanwhile, continued their resurgences under Antonio Conte and Steven Gerrard respectively.

Spurs enjoyed a commanding win over bottom side Norwich, with Villa coming from behind to defeat Leicester City.

And despite Patrick Bamford's last-ditch goal, Leeds United dropped more points from a winning position against Brentford at Elland Road.

With lots to reflect on, Stats Perform takes an in-depth look at the pick of Opta's post-match facts from Sunday's action…

Manchester United 1-0 Crystal Palace: Rangnick makes winning start

Fred's second Premier League goal of the season gave Rangnick the perfect start to life in the Old Trafford dugout.

Including caretakers, six of the last seven managers have now won their first game in charge of the Red Devils in all competitions.

Rangnick, though, became the first German manager to win his maiden Premier League match; succeeding where Felix Magath, Jurgen Klopp, Jan Siewert, Daniel Farke and Thomas Tuchel failed.

It also marked United's first clean sheet at Old Trafford in 16 attempts, having last kept out Granada in the Europa League back in April.

Leeds United 2-2 Brentford: Last-gasp Bamford denies Bees

Brentford were denied only a second league victory at Elland Road in 15 attempts as Bamford marked his return from injury with a dramatic 95th-minute equaliser.

Tyler Roberts' first home Premier League goal put Leeds on course for a ninth successive win over a promoted side.

But the Bees bit back. Shandon Baptiste became only the third Grendian to score in the English top-flight, before Sergi Canos completed the turnaround.

Bamford ensured a share of the spoils for the hosts, who have now scored three Premier League goals in the 90th minute or later this season – more than any other side.

Nevertheless, Marcelo Bielsa's men have now dropped 12 points from winning positions this term – already twice as many as they did in the whole of last season.

Tottenham 3-0 Norwich City: Three out of three for Conte

After Harry Redknapp and Ryan Mason, Conte became the third Tottenham manager to win his first three Premier League home games following a commanding victory over Norwich.

Son Heung-min scored and assisted in a single game for the 19th time since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015, with only Mohamed Salah (22) doing so more often during that time.

The South Korea international has been directly involved in 50 per cent of Tottenham's Premier League goals this season, with only Teemu Pukki (63 per cent) and Emmanuel Dennis (55 per cent) involved in a higher share of their side's goals.

There was also a rare goal for Davinson Sanchez. Indeed, it was 1,029 days since the defender last found the net in this competition; doing so against Leicester in February 2019.

Norwich became the first side since Arsenal in 2008-09 to name five players aged 21 or under in their starting 11 for the third time in a single season.

However, the Canaries remain bottom of the table following a 12th defeat in 13 Premier League games in London.

Aston Villa 2-1 Leicester City: Gerrard continues to revitalise Villa

Villa made it three wins in four games under Gerrard – as many as they managed in their first 11 matches of the campaign.

Though they took the lead, Leicester lost having scored first for only the second time in 13 Premier League away games.

Ezri Konsa was the unlikely hero for the hosts. In his 216th professional appearance in all competitions, the centre-half scored twice in a game for the first time.

He also became the first defender to score a brace for Villa in a Premier League match since Ciaran Clark against Arsenal in November 2010.

One of his goals was provided by Emiliano Buendia. It was the Argentine's 37th assist since arriving in England in 2018, with only Trent Alexander-Arnold (39) registering more in the top four divisions during that time.

Ralf Rangnick hailed Fred as a ray of sunshine after a fine strike from Manchester United's much-maligned midfielder gave the interim boss a winning start.

A 77th-minute strike from United's Brazil international clinched a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace as Rangnick took charge from the dugout for the first time.

The former Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig boss watched from the stand when United beat Arsenal 3-2 on Thursday, and it was a first day in the frontline for the German on Sunday.

Among a plethora of likely match-winners, Fred was way down the list, but it was his stylish strike, with his unfavoured right foot, that saw off Patrick Vieira's Eagles.

Fred's deep-lying midfield role has been frequently cited by United observers as a weak point in their team, but on this occasion he was a hero. He has scored twice in 12 Premier League matches this season, as many as he managed in 76 appearances across his first three campaigns in the competition.

Rangnick said: "I think everybody loves Fred. You have to love Fred. I've got to know him for only two days now but he's a sunshine."

A United training session on Saturday had to be brief due to grotty Manchester weather, reducing Rangnick's already limited opportunity to work on the pitch with his new players.

The 63-year-old still managed to piece together a tactical plan that just about paid off, with United pressing heavily at times and showing a subtle change in shape, Marcus Rashford, Cristiano Ronaldo, Jadon Sancho and Bruno Fernandes given fresh instructions.

Rangnick made the point in his Friday news conference that a priority would be to keep the opposition away from United's penalty area, and he felt his players came good on following that instruction.

The outcome means United have lost just two of their 25 Premier League matches against Palace (W18 D5), keeping a clean sheet in their last two league games against the Eagles.

In an interview on United's official website, Rangnick said: "Obviously it was about keeping them away from our goal, keeping them consistently under pressure and chasing balls and winning balls.

"We decided to go for a slightly different formation but only slightly different. We played with two strikers, Marcus and Cristiano up front with Jadon and Bruno on the 10 position and for the rest of the team it was the same position as usual. I just thought it might be better to have control in the centre of the pitch with Cristiano having a partner up front and I think it worked out well."

United nudged up to sixth place in the Premier League and have taken seven points from three games since being thrashed 4-1 at Watford, the result from which there was no coming back for former boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Rangnick added: "In quite a few games I saw on TV and also against Arsenal, we were a bit shaky in certain times of the game but today we had the feeling that we controlled the game."

Ralf Rangnick praised Cristiano Ronaldo's work-rate and admitted he was surprised by Fred's match-winning strike after Manchester United beat Crystal Palace in his first game in charge.

United looked set to be held to a frustrating and goalless Premier League draw until Fred picked out the far corner of the net with a sweet right-footed strike after 77 minutes at Old Trafford on Sunday.

The Red Devils had swarmed all over the Eagles in the first half with an intense high-press approach that interim manager Rangnick will demand during his tenure.

They struggled to break down a well-drilled Palace though, until Fred came up with the only goal of the game, the 1-0 win moving United up to sixth – three points behind fourth-placed West Ham.

Questions have been asked over whether Ronaldo would put in the sort of shift Rangnick will expect off the ball, but the German doffed his cap to the prolific forward as he delivered his verdict on United's performance.

"I am very happy with the way the team performed, especially the first half-hour, with the pressing, it was exceptional. The only thing missing was the 1-0 or 2-0," Rangnick told the BBC's Match of the Day.

"The way we defended, we had control of the whole game, the clean sheet was the most important part. These are the things we must improve. We need to keep clean sheets. With just the one training session, I was really impressed. We did much better than expected.

"We always tried to be on the front foot. We were never not, apart from maybe the last five minutes. At all other times we were trying to keep them away from our goal.

"We wanted to play with two strikers, especially in the central position. By the way, Cristiano Ronaldo's work off the ball, chapeau."

Rangnick had to be patient for the first goal of his tenure and he raised eyebrows over Fred's decisive strike.

"I had to ask my assistant coach if that was Fred's right foot. I thought he could only shoot with his left. I'm happy for him," Rangnick said.

"It's always easier to build on things after you're successful. We must produce further clean sheets and get better at creating chances for our attack. Overall I was very pleased with the way we played today."

Fred scored the only goal of the game as Manchester United started Ralf Rangnick's reign with a 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.

United made a blistering start to their first game under interim manager Rangnick, but they were frustrated by a well-drilled Palace side for much of the game.

Alex Telles struck the crossbar before Fred's clinical finish secured all three points for the Red Devils on Sunday.

Victory for United boosted their bid to secure a Champions League spot as Palace suffered their first defeat at Old Trafford for over four years.

United showed the intensity Rangnick demands from the start with a high-press approach and Telles flashed an early shot narrowly wide.

The Red Devils were relentless as they continued to pen Palace in, James Tomkins blocking a well-struck drive from Fred before Vicente Guaita denied Bruno Fernandes.

Patrick Vieira's side weathered the storm but Diogo Dalot wasted a chance to open the scoring on the stroke of half-time, failing to hit the target when he let fly with his left foot from inside the penalty area.

United did not muster such a threat early in the second half and Rangnick replaced Jadon Sancho with Mason Greenwood just after the hour mark.

Telles clipped the top of the crossbar with a whipped free-kick from wide on the right and Jordan Ayew missed a glorious chance to put Palace in front from close range.

Fred produced the quality in the final third that had been lacking to send the United fans into raptures, finding the far corner with a measured right-foot finish from just outside the box.

Ralf Rangnick believes Manchester United should focus on signing younger players as the interim Red Devils manager outlined his transfer strategy.

Rangnick will take charge of his first match when United welcome Crystal Palace to Old Trafford in Premier League action on Sunday.

The 63-year-old has been appointed until the end of the season, with former RB Leipzig boss Rangnick set to move into a consultancy role until 204.

Rangnick has earned a reputation for identifying young talent during his work with Red Bull-owned clubs Leipzig and Salzburg and as the January window approaches, he provided an insight into how he operates.

"One does not exclude the other. The team has, with Mason [Greenwood] and Marcus [Rashford], two players who are homegrown and have come from the youth ranks," said Rangnick after United signing 36-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo and 28-year-old Raphael Varane ahead of the 2021-22 campaign, having also lured Jadon Sancho, 21, to Manchester.

"It's about recruitment but also at a club like Man United, with a top academy, we should make sure that every year we have one or two players who are good enough to make it into the first team.

"On the other hand, with signing players for transfer fees, it's a question of what you want. If you pay big money for a 30-year-old and he's still good enough to make you successful, I don't mind that.

"But you have to be aware the money you invest is only being invested in the potential success over the next two or three years, you won't get any return.

"This is where I always think it always makes more sense to sign a player at 21 or 22 and if you then have to pay a big fee, at least you have the chance to develop him into a player who is worth even more."

At Leipzig, after spells with the likes of Hoffenheim, Hannover and Schalke, Rangnick – known for his high pressing – took charge of the team in two different spells, having initially joined parent company Red Bull as director of football in 2012.

Under Rangnick's leadership, Leipzig had gone from the regional league to Champions League qualification by 2017.

Rangnick – who will become only the sixth German to manage in the Premier League – was promoted to the head of sport and development for Red Bull in 2019, before eventually joining Lokomotiv Moscow earlier this year.

Rangnick has never managed outside of his native Germany, taking charge of five different teams in the German Bundesliga in his career. The last side he managed was Leipzig, winning promotion with them from 2.Bundesliga in 2015-16 before returning to the club for the 2018-19 top-flight season and leading them to third place.

Across 294 Bundesliga matches, Rangnick has a winning percentage of 41. He first took charge in the top flight in May 1999 at Stuttgart, losing 2-0 to Bayern Munich, while his last game in charge in the competition came 20 years later in May 2019 at Leipzig, a 2-1 defeat to Werder Bremen.

His best top-flight finish as a coach is second, achieved in 2004-05 with Schalke, a side he took over mid-season and led to a runners-up position and also to the final of that season's DFB-Pokal, ultimately losing 2-1 to Bayern.

Compared to countryman and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp due to their high-octane brand of football, Rangnick addressed the comparisons.

"Well my football is definitely not a slow waltz!," said Rangnick, whose United have already been linked with Leipzig pair Christopher Nkunku and Amadou Haidara. "I am not that far apart from Jurgen in terms of our ideas about a style of football. That’s no secret.

"But you have to be aware of what kind of players you have and where they stand. I cannot ask things of them that they can’t deliver right now.

"I have to take them and accept where they currently are. They are experienced and smart enough to know that. I cannot turn the players we have into the pressing monsters I want them to be within two, three or four weeks.

"The same happened to Jurgen when he came in the middle of the season and they finished eighth or ninth. Liverpool had a lot of injuries in that time - muscle injuries - because they were not used to that kind of training. So we have to be smart."

United are seventh in the Premier League standings and 14 points adrift of leaders and defending champions Manchester City.

The Red Devils have conceded in 15 consecutive home games in all competitions, their second-longest ever such run, after a 21-game streak ending in March 1959.

Rangnick added: "I am more than optimistic, but I also have to be realistic. Five weeks ago, our team lost 5-0 against Liverpool - and it could have been a lot more if we are honest.

"Against City it was 2-0 - but it could also have been more. It was important to win the point at Chelsea but the performance? I don't know. They had 24 shots on goal and we had three.

"So right now, to say I will challenge the top Premier League managers in the next few weeks or months, is not realistic. Right now my focus is on Crystal Palace and then on Young Boys, then Norwich, then Brighton and Hove Albion and then Brentford.

"The games against Chelsea, Liverpool and Man City will be in March and April - and that’s when I will answer the question about challenging them."

Ralf Rangnick will take charge of his first match as Manchester United's interim manager against Crystal Palace on Sunday after his work visa was approved.

United announced on Monday that an agreement had been reached with Rangnick over a relationship that is set to span two and a half years.

Initially, Rangnick will take charge until the end of the season before moving into a consultancy role, suggesting significant changes to the club's football operations could be on the horizon given the German's background and reputation.

The 63-year-old's start at the club was delayed due to work permit issues – according to reports, Rangnick did not meet the criteria for an automatic visa because he has only coached one season out of the past five.

But United confirmed his paperwork was approved on Thursday and he will address the media the following day.

A widely reported statement read: "As all paperwork has now been completed, we will hold an in-person press conference with Ralf Rangnick at Old Trafford at 9am [Friday] morning."

United will still be working under the guidance of caretaker manager Michael Carrick for Thursday's visit of Arsenal, but Rangnick is expected to be at Old Trafford having been in the country for the past few days.

Rangnick will take charge of his first game on Sunday when Palace make the trip north.

Manchester United will again be led by caretaker boss Michael Carrick in Thursday's game against Arsenal as the club wait for Ralf Rangnick to receive a work visa.

It means Carrick will be in charge for a third successive game, having already led the team to a 2-0 win at Villarreal in the Champions League and a 1-1 draw away to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

United's hopes of upgrading from caretaker Carrick to interim boss Rangnick in time for the Old Trafford clash with the Gunners have been hit by red tape.

As the team went through their preparations for the game at the Carrington training base, Carrick told United's players he would be giving out the orders once more.

In a statement on their official website, United said: "Ralf Rangnick was announced as interim manager on Monday but, while the club follows the regulatory process around a work visa, Carrick will continue at the helm.

"Michael has communicated this to players and staff at Carrington in a busy week for the club."

United announced on Monday an agreement had been reached with Rangnick over a relationship that is set to span two and a half years.

Initially, Rangnick will take charge until the end of the season before moving into a consultancy role.

Rangnick has previously shaped German clubs such as Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig from top to bottom, with his future advisory position at Old Trafford suggesting United are planning an overhaul of their football operations, which have long appeared outdated compared to their rivals.

He has been working most recently at Lokomotiv Moscow, but the 63-year-old is now set to step into the highest-profile position of his career.

Carrick has been at the helm since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dismissal on November 21, which followed a dismal run of form that saw United lose five of seven Premier League games.

They sit eighth in the table, five points behind fifth-placed Arsenal, having won just five of 13 domestic league games this season and with a goal difference of minus one.

United are at home again on Sunday when they host Crystal Palace, seemingly a more realistic target for Rangnick's first game.

Manchester United have confirmed new interim manager Ralf Rangnick's work permit is still processing, meaning he is likely to be absent for Thursday's match against Arsenal.

Following much speculation, United announced on Monday an agreement had been reached with Rangnick over a relationship that is set to span two and a half years.

Initially, Rangnick will take charge until the end of the season before moving into a consultancy role.

Rangnick has previously shaped German clubs such as Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig from top to bottom, with his future advisory position at Old Trafford suggesting United are planning an overhaul of their football operations, which have long appeared outdated compared to their rivals.

Since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's dismissal, his former assistant Michael Carrick has been in charge and presided over a 2-0 Champions League win at Villarreal and a 1-1 draw away to Premier League leaders Chelsea.

United are next in action at home to Arsenal on Thursday, though it seems Rangnick will not be present.

An update posted to United's website read: "[It] will be the first game since Ralf Rangnick was appointed interim manager, even though the new man is still waiting for his work visa to be processed."

To further complicate matters, people travelling to the United Kingdom are required to take a coronavirus test within two days of entering the country, and individuals must quarantine until their result has been returned.

As such, even if Rangnick received his visa on Wednesday, the likelihood of him taking a coronavirus test and getting the result in time to attend Thursday's match is remote.

United are at home again on Sunday when they host Crystal Palace, seemingly a more realistic target for Rangnick's first game.

Liverpool were in typically ruthless form on Saturday as they brushed aside Southampton 4-0 at Anfield.

The result meant Jurgen Klopp's men became just the second English top-flight team to score two or more goals in 17 consecutive games in all competitions, after Sunderland in 1927.

Elsewhere, rock-bottom Newcastle United's winless start to the Premier League season continued as they were beaten 2-0 by Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.

Steven Gerrard secured his second consecutive win since taking over as Aston Villa boss, with his side sealing a 2-1 away win at Crystal Palace.

Brighton and Hove Albion and Leeds United played out a goalless draw at the Amex Stadium, as did Norwich City and Wolves at Carrow Road.

Here, Stats Perform looks through the pick of Saturday's Opta facts…


Liverpool 4-0 Southampton:Jota at the double for rampant Reds

Liverpool have now scored 39 goals in their 13 Premier League games this season – their highest total at this stage of a top-flight campaign.

Diogo Jota got them on the way with their earliest goal in the Premier League (one minute and 37 seconds) since Naby Keita netted against Huddersfield Town in April 2019 (15 seconds).

Another from Jota and a strike from Thiago Alcantara put Liverpool 3-0 up at the break, before Virgil van Dijk rounded off the scoring early in the second half.

Netherlands international Van Dijk's goal was created by Trent Alexander-Arnold, who earned his 40th Premier League assist. Only Wayne Rooney (22 years and 200 days) and Cesc Fabregas (21y 188d) have reached such an assists total in the competition at a younger age than the Liverpool right-back (23y 51d).

Salah reached 150 Premier League goal involvements by setting up Jota's second, reaching that total (108 goals, 42 assists) in just 171 games. Only Alan Shearer (148 games) and Thierry Henry (163) have got there in fewer games.

Southampton, meanwhile, have lost more away games (14) and conceded more away goals (47) than any other side in the Premier League side this calendar year.


 

Arsenal 2-0 Newcastle United: Gunners cruise against Howe's beleaguered men

The Gunners continued their fine home form under Mikel Arteta with a routine win against Eddie Howe's struggling side.

Since Arteta's first home game in charge in December 2019, only Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have won more points at home in the Premier League than Arsenal (67).

Bukayo Saka got them on their way before Gabriel Martinelli added a second just 93 seconds after coming on as a substitute. It was just Martinelli's second Premier League goal at the Emirates Stadium and his first since January 2020 against Sheffield United.

The Magpies, meanwhile, became the sixth different team to fail to win any of their opening 13 games to a Premier League season, with four of the previous five sides suffering relegation (only Derby County in 2000-01 survived).

Crystal Palace 1-2 Aston Villa: Gerrard's winning start continues

This victory meant former Rangers boss Gerrard became only the second manager to win his first two Premier League games in charge of Villa, after John Gregory in February-March 1998.

Matt Targett scored the opener for Villa with his first Premier League goal in his last 75 appearances in the competition, the full-back having not netted since getting a late winner against Brighton in October 2019.

John McGinn then added a second, the Scotland international already equalling his best goal tally for a full Premier League season (three in both 2020-21 and 2019-20).

Marc Guehi pulled one back in stoppage time, but it was too late to prevent the Eagles suffering a first defeat in their last eight Premier League games (W2 D5), since a 3-0 away loss to Liverpool in September.

Norwich City 0-0 Wolves: Smith maintains unbeaten start

Dean Smith followed up a win in his first game in charge of the Canaries last weekend with a hard-fought point at home.

Norwich have now taken seven points from their last three Premier League games (W2 D1), more than they had in their previous 25 in the competition (W1 D3 L21).

The Canaries have also kept two clean sheets in their last four Premier League home games – as many as in their previous 26 at Carrow Road in the competition.

It is perhaps no surprise they could not find a way past Wolves, with only Chelsea (five) and Liverpool (four) keeping more away clean sheets in the Premier League this season than Bruno Lage's men (three).

International football is officially over for another year. *Pauses for cheers or jeers*

With the November international break done with, we turn our attention back to domestic football, with a hectic period set to begin in the Premier League.

More fantasy points will be available over the next seven weeks or so than at any other period in the season, such is the jammed nature of the schedule, and there's no better time to get ahead of the curve.

Stats Perform has delved into the Opta data to pick out seven picks for this week, hopefully giving you the edge...

EDOUARD MENDY (Leicester City v Chelsea)

Leicester City may represent a tricky opponent for any team, particularly given their good options going forward, but if anyone can keep them at bay, it's Mendy.

Not only has the Senegal international conceded the joint-fewest goals (four, excluding own goals, minimum of three appearances) in the Premier League, he also leads the way with 3.4 goals prevented, according to expected goals on target data.

In terms of form goalkeepers this season, Aaron Ramsdale runs him close, but Mendy is the outstanding candidate.

JOAO CANCELO (Manchester City v Everton)

City's versatile Portuguese full-back enjoyed an exceptional 2020-21, but he seems to have stepped things up even further this term.

In 17 games in 2021-22 across all competitions, Cancelo has already reached seven goal involvements (two goals, five assists), just one fewer than his haul of eight in 43 outings last term.

He has been hugely influential at City, while it would also hardly be a surprise if they keep a clean sheet against an out-of-sorts Everton.

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD (Liverpool v Arsenal)

Liverpool's right-back became something of a scapegoat – fairly or not, that's a discussion for another day – in 2020-21. It is safe to say his critics are rather quieter at the moment.

Only Bruno Fernandes (37) can better Alexander-Arnold's 30 chances created in the Premier League this term, while no defender has more than his four assists.

A resurgent Arsenal could cause Liverpool issues, so a clean sheet is no guarantee, but there is no defender more likely to nab you an assist or two.

CONOR GALLAGHER (Burnley v Crystal Palace)

On-loan Chelsea youngster Gallagher has been a revelation for Palace this season, with his all-action style proving a great addition to Patrick Vieira's team.

He has also provided plenty of quality in the final third, having a hand in a team-high six goals (four goals, two assists).

Gallagher has already beaten his combined tally (two goals, two assists) from 2020-21 when he was on loan at West Brom, and he won his first England cap against San Marino earlier this week.

BRUNO FERNANDES (Watford v Manchester United)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men have seemingly hobbled from 'crisis' to 'crisis' this season, and while Fernandes arguably has not been as impressive as last season, he is still essential to the Red Devils.

He leads the way with the most chances created (37) in the league this term, and that fits into his wider excellence ever since joining United, a period that has seen him supply the most assists (22) and craft the most goal-scoring opportunities (162) of anyone in the competition.

Additionally, only Mohamed Salah (55) has been involved in more goals than Fernandes (52) in the same period. Regardless of perceptions of his form, the Portugal star is a must-have, particularly given United will fancy their chances of bouncing back at Vicarage Road.

GABRIEL JESUS (Manchester City v Everton)

While he may not be playing in the striker role many might have expected before the season started, instead featuring largely as a right-sided winger, Jesus has made a strong start to 2021-22.

With the South American World Cup qualifiers not extended to a triple-header this month, Jesus is also less of a selection risk than he was after the international breaks in September and October.

But above all, he loves playing Everton. In eight Premier League games against them, Jesus has scored eight times, or roughly one every 69 minutes, and he will be aiming to give the Toffees plenty to chew on yet again this weekend.

SON HEUNG-MIN (Tottenham v Leeds United)

Among the players Antonio Conte will be hoping to get more out of after a slow start to the season, Son is surely near the top of the list.

Since the start of last season, no player has outperformed their expected goals (xG) tally by a greater margin than the South Korean (8.2), with 21 goals from 12.8 xG.

Obviously that can suggest a degree of unsustainable fortune on Son's part, but we all know he is an exceptional player capable of the extraordinary. Leeds are a side who let other teams play, and that might be just what the doctor ordered for Son and Spurs.

Gareth Southgate is hopeful Jordan Henderson and Jack Grealish "won't miss too much football" after the duo withdrew from the England squad ahead of Monday's World Cup qualifier against San Marino.

The Three Lions' manager confirmed that both players suffered minor injuries in Friday's 5-0 win over Albania.

Grealish did manage to train the following day, but he has now returned to Manchester City for further assessment, while Henderson has headed back to Liverpool.

England only need to avoid defeat against the lowest-ranked team in the world to qualify for Qatar 2022.

Speaking at a media conference on Sunday, Southgate said: "With Henderson it was within the [Albania] game. With Jack, we think a little bit perhaps within the game, but he trained yesterday. As a precaution, we scanned them both, so there are small injuries on the scans.

"We just hope that they're not going to miss too much football ball from here on. It shouldn't be too bad in either case, but we just have to see how that progresses."

Southgate confirmed that Raheem Sterling has also withdrawn from the squad for personal reasons.

He also ruled Chelsea's Mason Mount (dental) and Manchester United's Luke Shaw (concussion) out of contention, with the pair having also missed the Albania game.

It was confirmed earlier on Sunday that Crystal Palace's on-loan midfielder Conor Gallagher has been drafted in from England's U21 squad for his first senior call-up.

Southgate insisted that both he and Arsenal's Emile Smith Rowe – who made his senior debut off the bench against Albania – had been called up on merit.

When asked about older players like James Maddison, Callum Wilson and Patrick Bamford being overlooked, he said: "We haven't had an opening for a forward, and Patrick's been injured as well. In terms of the others, we think Conor and Emile are playing better than others that we could have called in, simple as that.

"The door is never closed. I like the idea of bringing young players in because you're investing in England's future.

"It would be easier perhaps in the short term to bring in an older player, but I'm not certain there are older players who are playing better than those two at this current moment in time in the positions they are playing."

Conor Gallagher has been rewarded for his fine form at Crystal Palace with his first call-up to the senior England squad.

The Chelsea-owned midfielder enjoyed a promising debut campaign in the Premier League last season with West Brom, impressing despite their relegation.

He won the Baggies' Young Player of the Year award and subsequently secured another temporary move within the top flight, joining Patrick Vieira's Palace.

At Selhurst Park, Gallagher has been a standout performer, earning a nomination for the Professional Footballers' Association's Player of the Month award for October.

A regular at under-21 level, Gallagher will link up with the senior squad in the hope of featuring against San Marino on Monday, with England requiring a point to seal their qualification for the World Cup.

Several players will not be available for Gareth Southgate, however. Jordan Henderson and Jack Grealish have returned to their clubs for injury assessments, Mason Mount will miss out due to dental surgery, Luke Shaw has concussion and Raheem Sterling has a "personal matter" to attend to.

Nevertheless, it offers Gallagher a great opportunity to stake a claim with Qatar 2022 a little over a year away.

He was arguably unlucky not to be called up ahead of Friday's win over Albania, such has been his start to the season with Palace.

Gallagher has been involved in six goals, four of which he has scored himself, and created another 17 opportunities – no other Palace player can better him in any of those metrics.

There are also only eight Premier League midfielders to attempt more tackles (26) and complete more dribbles (12) than Gallagher this term, while his 65 wins in duels see him ranked third, evidence of the well-rounded qualities he will bring to Southgate's squad.

 

Wilfried Zaha has once again called for action to be taken after he was racially abused online following Crystal Palace's surprise 2-0 win at Manchester City on Saturday.

Zaha scored the opening goal in Palace's stunning victory over the Premier League champions at the Etihad Stadium.

The Palace forward might have had a second goal if he was not dragged down by Aymeric Laporte in the first half, a professional foul that resulted in the City defender being sent off.

Zaha posted screenshots of abuse he was subjected to on his Instagram account following the win over Pep Guardiola's side.

The Ivory Coast international challenged social media companies to take strong action against people who abuse others online earlier this year and the 28-year-old reiterated that the issue must be taken more seriously.

"This message isn't for me to get a million messages saying we stand with you and it's disgusting or about me getting sympathy," Zaha posted on an Instagram story.

"I'm not here for all the nonsense that is being done instead of fixing the actual problem!

"I don't mind abuse because nowadays it comes with doing the job I do even though it's not an excuse, but my colour will always be the real problem, but it's fine because I'll always be BLACK AND PROUD!

"Speak to me when you actual take this issue serious."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was unhappy with the decisions to send Aymeric Laporte off and disallow Gabriel Jesus' goal as his side slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace.

Wilfried Zaha scuffed in an early opener before Laporte was shown a straight red card for hauling the Ivory Coast forward down in a promising position.

Jesus thought he had snatched an equaliser despite City's man disadvantage, but the strike was ruled out for a marginal offside after a VAR check, and Conor Gallagher made it 2-0 late on to seal the result.

Leicester City defender Jonny Evans committed an almost identical offence to the one Laporte was dismissed for against Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earlier in the day, but was only shown a yellow card.

Guardiola, who was unable to mark his 200th Premier League game with a victory, revealed his frustration with the inconsistency of the decisions made and claimed that his team played well for long spells, despite the error that led to the opening goal.

"Many things went wrong," Guardiola said to the BBC after the game. "We conceded an early goal, played a good first half but at the same time there was the sending off and the interpretation from the referee.

"The fans were behind us but unfortunately the goal was disallowed. This afternoon, Jonny Evans with the same action got a yellow card. It is an interpretation from the referee. We made a mistake for the goal and the second one a yellow or red card it depends on the referee.

"It's VAR. I don't know the line. It was a yellow card in Leicester a red here. The referees are the bosses and they decide. The goal we conceded was our mistake."

Palace manager and former Arsenal and City midfielder Patrick Vieira, meanwhile, declined to pass judgement on whether the decisions were accurate, but said that luck was necessary to overcome difficult opponents.

"I wasn't really well-positioned to make a call [on Laporte's red card]," Vieira told the BBC. "That went in our favour, the offside went in our favour. You need that if you want to win at City and we will take it because in the last couple of games we have not had that luck."

The Frenchman also hailed his side's defensive work as a unit, while also singling Zaha out for special praise after a superb showing from the forward.

"You have to defend well and we did it," Vieira continued. "You have to take your chances and we did it and you need a bit of luck because of the quality of their players. When you have those three aspects you have more chance but I am really proud of the way we fought.

"We could not come to a place like this and not have players taking part of the defensive work. Everyone worked really hard. When you sacrifice yourself like that you are really pleased when you get a win.

"What is important is to keep improving ourselves. This is a group that needs to play more games together and believe more in themselves. I am pleased with the step we made today. We have started to have confidence in ourselves but there is still a lot they can give.

"When Wilf is like that, taking his chances and working really hard, he is somebody who is really strong on one versus one. His personality, his character he is a winner. He worked really hard and this is what I expect and want from him."

Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha heaped praise on manager Patrick Vieira after a shock 2-0 victory over defending Premier League champions Manchester City.

Zaha opened the scoring in the sixth minute, becoming the first player to reach 50 goals in the Premier League for Palace, before Aymeric Laporte was sent off for bringing him down and Conor Gallagher wrapped up the points late on.

The unexpected win at the Etihad Stadium saw the Eagles end their run of four consecutive draws and rise to 13th in the table, and Zaha was quick to credit Vieira for the team's positive form.

Vieira ended his playing career at City and then began his coaching career with the north-west club, bossing the reserve team before moving on to sister club New York City FC. He had a spell with Nice and joined Palace in July of this year.

"I feel like we have had a threat [before] but the difference now is that we keep the ball from the back and build and make our chances," Zaha said after the game. "We are exploiting our talent.

"[Vieira] knows what he is talking about and we have all seen him do it. It's surreal because he was an amazing player. Every player is buying into it and slowly the results will come."

The Ivory Coast forward was pleased with how Palace disrupted City and revealed delight at his growing connection with on-loan Chelsea midfielder Gallagher.

"It was about getting in their faces and not letting them play," said Zaha, according to the BBC. "We know how good they are, we wanted to show them what we could do."

His goal was not a clean strike, as Zaha admitted.

"I scuffed it, but a goal is a goal," he said. "I was just buzzing to see it go in, so I was happy. Conor Gallagher brings a lot of energy and I needed people to link up with."

City defender Dias was downcast about the result and questioned whether Laporte's challenge on Zaha was worthy of a red card, with Leicester City's Jonny Evans shown only a yellow for a similar offence against Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earlier in the day.

"The reaction is that we have a game in a short period of time and we are already thinking about it," Dias said. "Today we lost three very important points, but it is football. We are not happy but looking forward. Today we were not at our best, but even so the team fought and gave everything and it was not enough."

On the dismissal of Laporte, Dias said: "It was a little bit strange to see a red. I was walking back thinking it was a yellow. I never thought [the referee] would go for a red but we have to accept it."

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