Steve Bruce's days at Newcastle appear to be numbered.

Rumours of possible replacements are swirling, with plenty of managers having been mentioned. 

Frank Lampard may well lead the race.

 

TOP STORY – LAMPARD FAVOURED TO REPLACE BRUCE

Frank Lampard is the leading candidate to step in once Steve Bruce is inevitably shown the door at Newcastle, The Sun reports. 

The Telegraph claims Lampard and former Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre top the new owners' wish list.

The 43-year-old Lampard was sacked by Chelsea in January 2021, about six weeks after Favre, 63, left Dortmund. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Liverpool are keeping a close eye on Ousmane Dembele, who is out of contract at Barcelona at the end of the season, Mundo Deportivo reports.

- Dortmund and RB Leipzig are the top potential landing spots for 19-year-old Salzburg striker Karim Adeyemi, reports Sky Sport Germany.

- Feyenoord will make another effort to prise Amad Diallo from Manchester United in January, according to The Sun, after a potential loan move fell through due to injury during the last transfer window. 

- Club Brugge and Belgium midfielder Charles De Ketelaere is drawing interest from Milan and Napoli, says Calciomercato, with Everton and West Ham also monitoring the 20-year-old.

- Former Manchester United goalkeeper Sergio Romero is expected to finalise his deal with Venezia on Tuesday, reports Fabrizio Romano. 

Newcastle United look set to enter the transfer market in January following their change of ownership.

The Magpies are 19th in the Premier League, with no wins and three draws from seven games this term.

The Saudi-led ownership takeover at St James' Park was officially completed on Thursday.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE ENTER CHASE FOR ICARDI

Following their big-money buyout, Newcastle have entered the race to sign Argentine forward Mauro Icardi from Paris Saint-Germain, reports Calciomercato.

Tottenham and Juventus are reportedly already interested in the 28-year-old former Inter player, who joined PSG permanently in 2020 on a four-year deal after a loan spell.

The Telegraph claims Newcastle could spend up to £190m in January without breaking Financial Fair Play rules.

ROUND-UP

- Spanish newspaper Sport claims former Liverpool winger Philippe Coutinho could join Newcastle as Barcelona seek to offload the Brazilian in January.

- Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger is Real Madrid's number one transfer target next year, claims Spanish newspaper ABC. Rudiger's contract is due to expire at the end of this season.

- Calciomercato reports Juventus are open to a swap deal with Everton which would see Aaron Ramsey and Brazilian midfielder Allan exchange places.

Liverpool are ahead of Arsenal and Everton in the race to sign Olympiacos' Senegalese centre-back Pape Abou Cisse according to the Daily Mail.

Arsenal are considering a move for Zenit's Iranian forward Sardar Azmoun as they seek a replacement for Alexandre Lacazette, according to Onze Mondial.

- Cristiano Ronaldo wants former Juventus team-mate Federico Chiesa to join him at Manchester United, claims Calciomercato.

- The Sun reports that ex-Chelsea manager Antonio Conte would decline the chance to replace Steve Bruce as Newcastle boss.

France will be without Lucas Digne for the Nations League final after the defender withdrew from Les Bleus' squad due to a hamstring injury.

Digne was an unused substitute on Thursday as France fought back from 2-0 down at half-time to beat Belgium 3-2 in Turin.

After goals from Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe levelled matters, full-back Theo Hernandez completed the turnaround with a superb 90th-minute winner.

The stunning comeback from Didier Deschamps' side booked a final showdown with Spain on Sunday, though Digne will now miss that match.

Everton issued a statement revealing the 28-year-old is returning to Merseyside to have a minor hamstring issue assessed by the club's medical team.

Rafael Benitez will hope to have the player available when Everton return to domestic action on October 17, hosting West Ham at Goodison Park.

Digne has started all seven Premier League games so far in the 2021-22 campaign, which is his fourth at the club since arriving from Barcelona in July 2018.

Arsenal spent almost £150million on new recruits during the last transfer window.

But the club are reportedly set to let Alexandre Lacazette go, leaving them short in experienced attacking options.

Manager Mikel Arteta is known as a meticulous planner and wants to be ready for Lacazette's departure.


TOP STORY – GUNNERS SET SIGHTS ON DCL AND WATKINS

Arsenal have Everton's Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins in their sights as they plan for Lacazette's exit, so say The Sun.

Lacazette is in the final year of his contract and the Gunners are unlikely to offer him a new deal, meaning he will depart either in January or at the end of the season as a free agent.

Arteta wants back-up to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and has the England forwards on the club's shortlist.

 

ROUND-UP

– Cash-strapped Barcelona have €16m to spend in the January transfer window according to Mundo Deportivo, with the publication also claiming Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling is among their top targets, potentially on loan given their financial challenges.

Robert Lewandowski appears to have had a change of heart and will renew his deal with Bayern Munich, reports Fichajes. The star striker had been linked with a move away from the Bundesliga champions.

– MilanNews.it reports that Milan are in negotiations with head coach Stefano Pioli about extending his contract following a bright start to the season.

– Man City are keeping an eye on Barcelona's 19-year-old midfielder Nico Gonzalez, according to Fichajes.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is adamant he will be able to get the best out of his Manchester United squad this season despite an erratic start to 2021-22.

Solskjaer's time in charge at United has generally been seen in a positive light among supporters, with first-team recruitment improving and many players considered deadwood under previous managers finally offloaded.

Additionally, the Norwegian secured back-to-back Champions League qualifications in his two full seasons at the helm — Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal only managed one each, while David Moyes was sacked before the conclusion to 2013-14, with United ultimately finishing seventh.

But arguably for the first time since becoming United manager, Solskjaer is now under pressure to challenge for the biggest titles following the recent arrival of big-name recruits Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.

Performances so far in 2021-22 have fallen short of expectations, however, with United winning just five of their 10 matches across all competitions — only two were by more than a single goal, and those were against a Leeds United side that is notoriously open and Newcastle United, who have not won any of their first seven league games.

United's latest disappointing result was the 1-1 draw with Everton on Saturday, which made it nine home league matches without a clean sheet, one shy of equalling a club record.

Everton were the more threatening team in that match, their 1.22 expected goals (xG) an improvement on United's 0.88 xG while the Toffees also had a goal disallowed, but Solskjaer retains belief in his team and staff.

Asked if he should be getting better results from the squad at his disposal, a prickly Solskjaer said: "That's the same question you asked on Wednesday night… Of course, I'm very confident we'll get the best out of this squad.

"A lot has happened this month. We've had Raphael, Cristiano and Jadon with us since August — well, Cristiano only September.

"We've loads to work on, we need to improve. We know that, I know that, but I do believe in this group of players and the coaching staff I've got. Yes, is the short answer."

A gruelling sequence of matches awaits after the international break, with United set to face Leicester City, Atalanta twice, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City in a six-game spell.

While Solskjaer's record against Liverpool is not great, with him yet to beat the Reds in the league, he has at least had some joy in meetings with City, against whom he has won more games (four) than lost (three) across all competitions.

But some consider this upcoming sequence to be a make-or-break run for Solskjaer, and he stresses that past results against those opponents need to be disregarded.

"I believe in these players, in the coaching staff. I believe we have something going," he continued. "But the proof is in the pudding, so we need results and you have to turn up.

"We can't say we did well against City and Tottenham last year, we need to do it during the 90 minutes, that's the challenge.

"Every game in the Premier League and Champions League is a big game against a good team, and every game at Man Utd is a potential banana skin because we're expected to win every one."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he had no regrets starting Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench as Manchester United were held by Everton on Saturday.

The Red Devils boss made five changes to the side that beat Villarreal in the Champions League on Wednesday courtesy of a last-gasp Ronaldo goal.

The decision appeared to have been vindicated when Anthony Martial, making his first Premier League start since August, scored in the top flight for the first time since February to put United ahead.

Martial had to come off after picking up a knock, and less than 10 minutes after Solskjaer introduced Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho, Everton equalised as Andros Townsend buried only their second shot on target of the contest.

United could not find a way to take all three points and only avoided defeat when Yerry Mina's tap-in was correctly disallowed for offside by VAR, while they have now won just two of their past six games in all competitions.

Ronaldo looked clearly frustrated as he headed straight for the tunnel muttering to himself after the final whistle, but Solskjaer, who earlier cited the physical and emotional fatigue from their Champions League exploits, defended his team selection.

Asked if he regretted not starting Ronaldo, he replied: "No. You make decisions throughout a long, long season, you have to manage the players' workload and the decision for me was the correct one.

"Anthony Martial did well, scored a good goal. Edinson [Cavani] needed minutes and could have had a goal. We have to make those decisions at the time."

United had nearly 72 per cent of the possession, but they could only manage 13 shots to Everton's 12 and rarely looked like scoring after Townsend's leveller.

Solskjaer was left frustrated at the manner in which his side conceded on the counter-attack following their own corner.

"We got hit on one break that cost us and we lacked that cutting edge to get the important second goal," he said. "We made a couple of decisions that cost us. We had players behind the ball when the ball was delivered and we should have dealt with it. We need to work on it because we are facing more and more opponents who allow us to have possession."

With games against Leicester City, Atalanta (twice), Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City to come after the international break, Solskjaer insisted he has confidence performances and results will improve.

"It's a big month. We have to be focused and make sure we use the international break well, come back with energy and [with a] clear focus," he said.

"The mindset is good, the players are hungry to improve. We dominated the game but just couldn't get the second goal you need in games like this.

"I'm confident we will get the best out of this squad. A lot has happened this month [player arrivals]. We have loads to work on but I do believe in these players and this coaching staff. I believe we have something going but the proof is in the pudding."

Andros Townsend insists his goal celebration during Everton's 1-1 draw with Manchester United was a mark of respect towards Cristiano Ronaldo, rather than mockery.

Townsend netted a second-half equaliser as the Toffees left Old Trafford with a well-earned point.

The winger rounded off a rapid counter by the visitors in the 65th minute, latching onto Abdoulaye Doucoure's pass before drilling past David de Gea.

Townsend marked his strike with his own interpretation of the signature celebration performed by Ronaldo.

But the former Crystal Palace man says the celebration was simply a tribute to one of his idols.

"Not imitating, it's just a mark of respect to a guy who influenced my career," he told BT Sport.

"I spent many hours on the training pitch and in the video room trying to analyse his free-kicks and his step-overs and the way he dedicated himself to football. 

"So, it wasn't an imitation; it was a mark of respect to one of my idols. 

"I probably didn't do the celebration justice and didn't execute it properly!"

For Townsend, the equaliser marked his fifth goal in nine appearances since swapping Selhurst Park for Goodison Park, as many as he scored in his final 79 appearances for Palace.

It was his third consecutive goalscoring appearance in the Premier League, a career first for the former England winger.

Bruno Fernandes vented his frustration at Manchester United's form after their draw with Everton, acknowledging silverware will be a pipe dream unless they improve.

Fernandes became the joint-fourth quickest player to reach the 50 goals involvements landmark in the Premier League as he teed up Anthony Martial for United's opener on Saturday.

But Everton were good value for their second-half equaliser, as Demarai Gray twice shrugged off Fred before feeding Abdoulaye Doucoure, who then teed up Andros Townsend for a straightforward finish.

United have now won just two of their past seven home league games, while their run of nine successive top-flight matches at Old Trafford without a clean sheet is the second-worst in the club's history (10, 1970-71).

Everton created better quality chances as well, with Rafael Benitez's men recording 1.22 expected goals (xG) to United's 0.88, which suggests the hosts were perhaps slightly lucky to even score once.

Understandably, Fernandes was frustrated.

"We should win this game," the Portugal international told BBC Sport.

"We should create more chances, we should not concede that kind of goal. It's not the first time and we have to look at our mistakes and see what we can do."

Victory for United would have taken them top, even if just temporarily. Despite such fine margins, Fernandes is concerned about their form, having also lost to Aston Villa last time out in the Premier League.

In his opinion, their silverware chances will be in doubt if they do not improve.

"We don't look at the league table at this moment but of course we should have more points," he continued.

"We drop points at home and we should not do that. These last two games at home were not good enough in the Premier League.

"If we want silverware at the end of the season, we have to do much better."

United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has come under pressure in recent weeks, with some once again suggesting he is not the right man to turn the Red Devils into title contenders.

And his comments may increase the cause for concern among some fans, with the Norwegian suggesting United did not afford Everton many chances despite the Toffees managing 10 shots inside the box – the hosts managed nine.

"We didn't concede many chances today but we conceded a goal, so sometimes you have to deal with one or two moments and we didn't," he told BT Sport. "In that break we got outmuscled, we should've cleared it.

"We gave them a few counterattacks. I don't know the stats but I know we had the ball most of the time. They didn't play through us at all really. How not to be counterattacked is the key lesson here.

"Every game in the Premier League, you can work on a system, on defending, but that [counter] has to be dealt with."

Manchester United fell short of expectations once again as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Everton at Old Trafford, with Andros Townsend continuing his brilliant start to the season.

United were bailed out by a late Cristiano Ronaldo winner after an unimpressive performance against Villarreal in midweek, though there was no such drama this time as the Red Devils lacked cohesion in the final third.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer sprung something of a surprise by benching Ronaldo in favour of Edinson Cavani, and although that change may not have had the desired effect, United did go into the break leading thanks to Anthony Martial's first league goal since February.

Ronaldo was introduced from the bench for his 200th Premier League appearance but Everton refused to go away and deservedly levelled thanks to Townsend's fifth goal of the season, that equaliser preventing United from briefly going top.

The hosts survived a late scare as Yerry Mina saw a goal ruled out for offside following a nervy VAR check for the home faithful.

Everton were arguably the better team for most the first half and went close to the opening goal in the 16th minute with a Michael Keane header that went just wide.

Demarai Gray then forced David de Gea into a great save with a fine long-range effort shortly after a Cavani header that tested Jordan Pickford.

It took a little longer for United to click into gear, but when they did the deadlock was broken. Mason Greenwood picked out Bruno Fernandes, who turned before feeding Martial into the left side of the area and the Frenchman converted via a slight deflection.

Solskjaer introduced Ronaldo and Jadon Sancho as United went in search of the clincher, but Everton caught them on the break to level.

Gray twice held off flimsy tackles from Fred before feeding Abdoulaye Doucoure, and he set Townsend up for a straightforward finish just past the hour.

Everton thought they had a winner as Mina tapped in from Tom Davies' pass, but United's blushes were spared as replays showed the Colombian had strayed just offside.

Cristiano Ronaldo will have to wait for his 200th Premier League appearance after being named on Manchester United's bench for Everton's visit on Saturday, with Edinson Cavani making his first start of the season.

Cavani has had to be patient at the start of 2021-22, with the experienced Uruguayan absent for much of the first six weeks of the season.

His pre-season was delayed by his Copa America duties and subsequent extended holiday, while he has also missed games due to injury.

Cavani appeared as a substitute in last weekend's defeat to Aston Villa and Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League win over Villarreal, taking his appearances tally to three for the season.

But he looked sharp against the Yellow Submarine, with his trademark tirelessness key to winning the ball back in the build-up to Ronaldo's dramatic late winner, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has rewarded him.

For Ronaldo, this will be the first time since returning to United that he has had to contend with a spot on the bench in the Premier League, having previous started three games and scored as many goals.

Should he appear as a substitute, the 36-year-old will clock up a landmark double century of outings in the Premier League.  

Ronaldo first appeared in England's top flight in 2003 after joining United from Sporting CP as a teenager, with this first spell at Old Trafford seeing him establish himself among the world's best.

He returned to United in August after 12 years at Real Madrid and Juventus, and he has hit the ground running for Solskjaer's men.

While United themselves have been rather erratic, winning three and losing three of their six games since Ronaldo returned, the Portugal great has proven a typically reliable source of goals.

He has scored five times already, including that late winner against Villarreal.

His goalscoring form has helped Ronaldo overtake Solskjaer in the standings for most goals scored at the club as of their first 200 Premier League matches.

Ronaldo is on 87 heading into the Everton game, with Solskjaer having scored 84 in his first 200 league games for United.

But it will take something special if Ronaldo is to be top of the pile in that respect after the Everton game given Rooney holds the record with 93 goals. No other play managed more than 47 (Paul Scholes).

Joining Ronaldo on the bench are Paul Pogba and Jadon Sancho, the latter of whom has endured a difficult start to life at United.

Youri Tielemans has not yet committed his long-term future to Leicester City.

Tielemans is only contracted with the Foxes until the end of the 2022-23 season.

And Leicester may consider selling their FA Cup final hero at the end of this season if they cannot strike a new deal.

 

TOP STORY – SPANISH GIANTS KEEN ON TIELEMANS

Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are circling for Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans, reports The Athletic.

The 24-year-old Belgium international publicly said he is "keeping his options open" as he negotiates a new Leicester deal.

Barcelona and Madrid would be interested in Tielemans, who has also been linked with Liverpool, should he become available next off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider reports Tottenham are still planning to sell Dele Alli, although they will wait until the end of this season. Spurs are hoping Alli's value will rise throughout the season to land a significant transfer fee.

– Everton are considering moves for Real Madrid pair Isco and Luka Jovic in January on six-month loan deals, according to Defensa Central.

– Liverpool are keeping an eye on Porto's Colombian star Luis Diaz, reports The Independent, with the two sides having met in the Champions League on Tuesday.

– Juventus have joined Chelsea in showing interest in Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, claims the Daily Mail.

– Newcastle attacker Allan Saint-Maximin has interest from Chelsea and Liverpool, according to the Express.

Manchester United are in the market for a midfielder. 

With a long-rumoured target looking unlikely, United are shifting their gaze from one England midfielder to another. 

Could they prise another up-and-coming star from Leeds United? 

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SHIFT SIGHTS TO PHILLIPS

Kalvin Phillips is Manchester United's latest target in an effort to shore up the midfield, the Daily Star reports. 

The Leeds star has gained favour at Old Trafford as United have given up hopes of adding West Ham's Declan Rice thanks to his reported £90million price tag.

Phillips, 25, is under contract at Elland Road through 2024 and reportedly is valued at £60m. 

 

ROUND-UP

– Barcelona are still in pursuit of Matthijs de Ligt and are prepared to offer Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Memphis Depay to Juventus in a deal for the Netherlands defender, who is valued at €75m, according to Calciomercato.

– Franck Kessie has turned down Milan's latest contract offer and is eyeing a move to the Premier League, 90min reports, with United and Liverpool said to be interested. 

– Juan Mata is considering a move away from Old Trafford in January due to a lack of playing time this season, the Manchester Evening News reports. 

– Everton are considering loan deals with Real Madrid for Isco and Luka Jovic, claims Defensa Central.

– West Brom teen Reyes Cleary is drawing attention from Borussia Dortmund and Hoffenheim, says the Daily Mail. 

– Steven Nzonzi is nearing a move from Roma to Al Rayyan, Calciomercato reports. 

Manchester City made something of a statement in their 1-0 win over potential title challengers Chelsea on Saturday, whereas Manchester United seemed to take another step back as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's reign stuttered again.

But Solskjaer is certainly not the only top-flight manager feeling the heat – Nuno Espirito Santo's honeymoon period as Tottenham boss is well and truly over, with the Portuguese now among the favourites to be the first Premier League boss sacked this season following a 3-1 defeat in the north London derby.

Without any further ado, here are some of the more curious facts and stats from across the Premier League this past weekend…

City defence putting the 'guard' in Guardiola

It may not have been the thrill ride neutrals were likely hoping for, but City's 1-0 win at Stamford Bridge was another impressive indicator of just how good Pep Guardiola's team is as a unit.

Of course, they won the Premier League only a few months ago, so saying City are "good" probably won't cut it for analysis – but what is really making people sit up and take note at the moment is how their unity and cohesion is translating into defensive solidity.

City have conceded just one goal in their six Premier League games this term, the fewest they've ever shipped at this stage of any league campaign.

Let's not forget that Chelsea had been widely praised for their own start to 2021-22, yet on Saturday they were prevented from having a single shot on target in a home league game since November 2012, which coincidentally was also against City.

But even more impressive from City's perspective was the fact Chelsea's expected goals (xG) value was just 0.2, the worst they've recorded in a home Premier League game since Opta records began in 2008-09.

While Chelsea fans will understandably be frustrated, it would seem their struggles on Saturday were more down to City being in a groove defensively.

They've only faced six shots on target this season, a record no Premier League has bettered over the first six matches in a campaign since at least 2003-04. If they keep this up, the title will surely be staying at the Etihad Stadium.

Fernandes' penalty miss not Man Utd's big issue

It was another day to forget for United on Saturday as they lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa.

They were presented with a great opportunity to equalise in second-half stoppage time, but Bruno Fernandes sent his penalty over the crossbar.

Much of the focus afterwards was on Fernandes and his miss, though it would be unfair to pin the blame on him – after all, of the 23 spot-kicks he has taken since his United debut, he's only failed to convert two.

In the same time period, Cristiano Ronaldo – seemingly Fernandes' main penalty rival now – has taken 22 and missed four. This is not a problem that United need to dwell on much.

Instead, they'd be wise to look into their glaring tactical inefficiencies, with Solskjaer's team sorely lacking identity, cohesion and a defined playing style. Too often they are bailed out by moments of individual brilliance, which is an unsustainable approach to solely rely on in a title challenge.

Against Villa, those instances of individual excellence never arrived, despite United mustering 28 shots. That was the most efforts attempted by United without scoring in a home league game since October 2016 (38 shots in 0-0 draw with Burnley).

They have now conceded in each of their past eight league games at Old Trafford, their worst such run in 49 years, and lost three successive home matches (all competitions) for the first time since 1962.

Norwich set new benchmark for worst start

With every match that passes, the light at the end of the tunnel seems to become ever dimmer for Norwich City.

A 2-0 defeat at Everton on Saturday leaves Norwich pointless and with a -14 goal difference after six matches – that makes their start to the season the worst after six matches in Premier League history.

Only twice before had a Premier League side begun a campaign without a single point from six games, the last of which was Frank de Boer's infamous Crystal Palace team in 2017-18 – the Dutchman was sacked after the fourth match in that sequence.

Norwich have at least been a little more patient than Palace, with Daniel Farke's record of overseeing two promotions seemingly ensuring he retains some good will at the club, even if he now has the highest loss percentage (75 per cent, 33/44) of any manager to take charge of at least 20 games in the Premier League.

Most would already consider Norwich to be doomed for relegation, though perhaps there is some reason for optimism.

There have only been nine teams to start a top-flight season (prior to 2021-22) with six or more successive losses, but four of them – including Palace – have avoided relegation.

Vardy joins exclusive club

Jamie Vardy ended up having a peculiar day when Leicester City drew 2-2 with Burnley on Saturday, the former England striker scoring three of the four goals.

It was his own goal that gave Burnley an early lead, while he also got both Leicester equalisers, including one late in the day.

That was his first own goal ever in 360 appearances for Leicester, while he became the first player to net at both ends for the club in a single Premier League game.

It's happened to some of the best, though. He joins an illustrious list containing 11 others who have scored at least 100 goals but also put past their own goalkeeper, with Harry Kane, Steven Gerrard, Paul Scholes, Frank Lampard and Wayne Rooney among them.

On top of that, Vardy is now only one of five players in Premier League history to score at least twice at the right end and an own goal in the same game after John Barnes (Liverpool v Spurs 1995), Niall Quinn (Sunderland v Charlton Athletic 2001), Rooney (Man Utd v Stoke City 2012) and Tammy Abraham (Chelsea v Wolves 2019).

But he is still doing more than his fair share at the other end, his brace in this game taking him to eight goal involvements in his past seven league games, which is 89 per cent (8/9) of Leicester's goals in that time.

Bad omens stacking up for Nuno

After three wins from his first three Premier League games in charge, everything was looking rather rosy for Tottenham boss Nuno.

Three matches and three defeats later, some will doubt whether he'll still be in charge this time next month, let alone this time next season.

Sunday's north London derby was his 10th in charge of Spurs and the 3-1 loss made him the first manager to lose as many as four of his first 10 matches at the helm of the club since Glenn Hoddle in 2001.

Hoddle was also the last Spurs boss to conceded at least three goals in three consecutive league games in September 2003, and he was sacked after that run.

Nuno will probably make it to the next match but the last team to begin a season with three wins and then lost the next three (Everton, 1993-94) finish as low down as 17th.

His future arguably rests on getting something out of Kane, who's failed to score in five straight league games for the first time since August 2016, but things aren't looking great given Spurs' 35 open-play shots is the second fewest in the division and their expected goals (xG) total is just 3.2, only higher than three teams.

While a lack of quality chances might usually be masked by Kane's excellence, he's not bailing them out any longer – if that continues, it's difficult to see Nuno keeping his job for the long term.

The Premier League table already looks to be taking shape, with a thrilling title race potentially in store.

Two of the favourites meet early on Saturday, as Chelsea welcome Manchester City to Stamford Bridge.

At the same time, Manchester United – joint-top alongside the Blues and Liverpool – host Aston Villa at Old Trafford.

With the season really kicking into gear, so are the title races in fantasy leagues. So, to avoid getting left behind, take heed of our Opta-powered picks for matchday six...

 

DAVID DE GEA (Manchester United v Aston Villa)

Despite their EFL Cup defeat to West Ham on Wednesday, United remain unbeaten in the league and moved onto 13 points thanks to some late drama last Sunday, also in a match against David Moyes' Hammers.

Jesse Lingard came off the bench to score against the club for whom he starred on loan last term, but West Ham were awarded a last-gasp penalty and a chance to rescue a draw. However, substitute Mark Noble, with his first touch, saw his penalty saved by David de Gea.

It ended a run of 40 penalties without a save from De Gea, who has now this season prevented more goals (2.5) than any other keeper in the Premier League, according to expected goals on target data.

SHANE DUFFY (Crystal Palace v Brighton and Hove Albion)

Has Graham Potter's luck at Brighton and Hove Albion finally changed? His team have impressed over the past few seasons, yet a clinical edge was often missing. Now, though, the Seagulls have won four of their five games and sit pretty on 12 points.

A key figure in their strong start has been Shane Duffy. The centre-back's career looked to be petering out after a poor loan spell at Celtic last season, but he has come back strong this term.

No Premier League defender has had more shots (10) or scored more goals (one) than Duffy so far this season, while only Man City have faced fewer shots on target than Brighton in 2021-22.

REECE JAMES (Chelsea v Manchester City)

Reece James is of course an expensive option for fantasy players, though it is an investment worth making, given his ability going forward and the fact he plays for one of the competition's strongest teams.

Despite only playing 158 minutes so far in the league, James has been directly involved in three goals, more than any other defender.

He has scored once and provided two assists, averaging a goal involvement every 53 minutes.

BRUNO FERNANDES (Manchester United v Aston Villa)

Given the hype around Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Old Trafford, it would be understandable if many fantasy players had elected to sacrifice his compatriot Bruno Fernandes in order to free up funds for the former Real Madrid and Juventus superstar.

But Fernandes is still one of the most reliable players in the league when it comes to accumulating fantasy points, and he would have had an assist in the win over West Ham had Ronaldo's initial effort gone in before he netted the rebound.

Fernandes has scored in all three of his Premier League appearances against Villa, with all three of his goals coming from the penalty spot. Only one player has scored more goals against an opponent with 100 per cent of them being penalties in the competition – Troy Deeney against United (four). No player has more goal involvements (49) than Fernandes since he made his debut in February 2020.

DEMARAI GRAY (Everton v Norwich City)

Rafael Benitez's unbeaten start at Everton came to an end at Aston Villa last week, before the Toffees then crashed out of the EFL Cup in midweek, with James Rodriguez's departure to Qatar completing a difficult few days.

Benitez, a contentious pick as Everton manager, could do with a win on Saturday against Norwich City, who are on a 15-match losing streak in the Premier League.

With Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison likely to miss the game through injury, Everton need Demarai Gray to carry on his fine form. He has scored three goals so far this season from just three attempts on target. Only in 2018-19 has the winger scored more goals in a single top-flight season (four).

RAUL JIMENEZ (Southampton v Wolves)

After winning at Watford to finally get their first points on the board, Wolves went down 2-0 at home to 10-man Brentford last time out.

Wolves have played some exciting football under new boss Bruno Lage, but they need to start converting their chances, and Raul Jimenez coming back into form would be key to doing just that.

Although he has yet to score or assist in the Premier League this season, Jimenez has been directly involved in 29 shots (14 shots, 15 chances created). Only Mohamed Salah (37) and Sadio Mane (31) have been involved in more. The Mexican has created the most chances without an assist and taken the joint-most shots without a goal, so surely his luck will change soon. 

JAMIE VARDY (Leicester City v Burnley)

It has not been a flying start to the season for FA Cup holders Leicester City, who have had some inconsistent results and performances to match.

They lost to Brighton last week, going down 2-1, with Jamie Vardy scoring his 150th goal in all competitions for the Foxes.

Vardy has been directly involved in six goals in his past six Premier League games (five goals, one assist), with these involvements accounting for 86 per cent of Leicester's total goals in that run (six of seven).

James Rodriguez has left Everton to join Qatari side Al-Rayyan for an undisclosed fee.

The Colombia playmaker, who did not make his nation's squad for the Copa America due to concerns over his fitness after missing the end of Everton's 2020-21 campaign, had not featured in a competitive game for the Toffees so far this season.

Rafael Benitez reportedly did not see the 30-year-old as a key player in his squad and confirmed earlier this month that Everton had been open to offers for the former Real Madrid man, who won the Golden Boot at the 2014 World Cup.

Signed on a free transfer from Madrid by previous manager Carlo Ancelotti, James made 26 appearances in all competitions for Everton last season, scoring six goals and creating a further eight.

However, with the Qatari transfer window still open, Al-Rayyan – coached by former Paris Saint-Germain and France boss Laurent Blanc – have now signed the Colombian star. 

Blanc took over Al-Rayyan in December 2020 and guided them to a third-placed finish in the Qatar Stars League, behind Al-Duhail and Al-Sadd, coached by Barcelona legend Xavi.

James' signing represents a coup for the league ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, though he will still have to fight his way back into Reinaldo Rueda's Colombia squad.

Though injuries did limit his game time, James was a creative fulcrum for Everton under Ancelotti, forging 54 chances, placing him second in the squad behind Gylfi Sigurdsson (60), who made 18 appearances more.

James led the way for Everton with chances created from open play (38) and when it came to crafting big chances (14) – defined by Opta as situations where players should reasonably be expected to score. 

Per 90 minutes played, James created 0.56 big chances in the Premier League, putting him just below Jack Grealish and Bruno Fernandes (0.58), ranking sixth in the competition among those who played 20 or more matches.

Everton went unbeaten in their first five games under Benitez but lost 3-0 to Aston Villa last Saturday before heading out of the EFL Cup with an 8-7 penalty shoot-out defeat to Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday, following a 2-2 draw at Loftus Road.

"To be fair, I don't have too much information," Benitez said when asked about James after the EFL Cup exit. "I know he is already there [in Qatar].

"Don't forget, we are talking about a special situation from this club, the financial fair play rules have to manage everything in the best way we can."

Everton have been operating under tight financial constraints this season, with four of the five arrivals under Benitez coming on free transfers, while Demarai Gray cost a reported £1.7million from Bayer Leverkusen.

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