Chelsea once again downed Tottenham at Stamford Bridge in the headline clash of the weekend's Premier League fixtures.

Fellow title hopefuls Liverpool, who still have a game in hand, closed the gap on leaders Manchester City to nine points with victory over Crystal Palace in south London.

Staying in the capital, Arsenal were held to a goalless draw by lowly Burnley as they lost ground in the race for the top four, while Leicester City shared the points with Brighton and Hove Albion.

With the action all over for a couple of weeks, Stats Perform unpacks the pick of the data from Sunday's fixtures.

Crystal Palace 1-3 Liverpool: Reds down Eagles again as Robertson delivers

Liverpool reduced Manchester City's advantage at the top to nine points after a 3-1 victory over Palace, who have lost each of their last 10 league meetings with the Reds.

Virgil van Dijk placed Jurgen Klopp's side in control after just eight minutes at Selhurst Park with his 10th headed goal in the competition – only Sami Hyypia (17) has scored more headers for the Reds in the Premier League.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain added a second after the half-hour mark as he scored in back-to-back top-flight matches for the first time since February 2020.

Both of those goals were created by Andrew Robertson, who now sits joint-second with team-mate Trent Alexander-Arnold (both 43) for the most assists in the league since the start of the 2017-18 season, with only Kevin De Bruyne boasting more (52).

Odsonne Edouard halved the deficit in the second half, but Fabinho secured three points with Liverpool's 169th Premier League spot-kick – the joint-most awarded to a team in the competition's history along with Manchester United.

Arsenal 0-0 Burnley: Gunners fail to fire against Clarets

Arsenal have failed to win any of their opening five games of a calendar year for the first time since 1995 after being held to a 0-0 draw by Burnley.

Nick Pope was in excellent form, while Alexandre Lacazette spurned a glorious open-goal opportunity, as the Clarets conceded 20 shots – the most they have faced in the Premier League without conceding since May 2021 (21 versus Fulham).

Lacazette's profligacy meant the Gunners have failed to score in four consecutive matches across all competitions for the first time since December 2005.

Arsenal will be desperate to improve upon their torrid run of form to challenge for the top four, with this stalemate being the first time the Gunners have failed to beat the team starting the day bottom of the table at home for the first time since October 2008.

Leicester City 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Foxes tamed by away specialists

Leicester remained unbeaten at home to Brighton in the Premier League, though Brendan Rodgers may feel they should have claimed victory after a 1-1 draw.

Patson Daka broke the deadlock as he became just the second Foxes player to score in each of his first three home starts in the competition, after Leonardo Ulloa in the 2014-15 season.

The Zambia striker found the net just 26 seconds after the interval, the quickest goal scored in the second half of a top-flight game since February 2020.

However, Danny Welbeck levelled things up as he scored his fourth goal against Leicester in the Premier League, only bettering that haul in games with Aston Villa (five).

Neither side could find a late winner, ensuring the Foxes remain unbeaten at home to the Seagulls in the top flight since December 1980, while Graham Potter's side have only lost one of their last 11 away leagues games – a joint-low with Manchester City.

Chelsea 2-0 Tottenham: Blues make London derby history  

Chelsea registered their fourth win in all competitions this season – and third in January alone – over London rivals Tottenham with a 2-0 triumph at Stamford Bridge.

Harry Kane thought he had struck first before the break but a slight push on Thiago Silva saw his finish ruled out before Hakim Ziyech expertly curled in his fifth league goal for Chelsea – all five of those having come at different venues.

Silva added a second soon after as he became the oldest player (37 years, 123 days) to score in the Premier League since February 2013 to condemn Antonio Conte to his first top-flight defeat as Spurs head coach.

The defender's header was set up by a free-kick from Mason Mount, who provided his 20th assist since the start of the 2019-20 campaign – the most by any Chelsea player across all competitions in that period.

Spurs were unable to breach the Blues' goal, meaning they have now gone six matches across all competitions since last scoring against Chelsea, who became the first side to collect 500 points in Premier League London derby matches (501 points from 272 derbies).

Antonio Conte saw his unbeaten Premier League run as Tottenham boss end on familiar turf as Chelsea claimed a 2-0 derby win at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

A stunning finish from Hakim Ziyech and a Thiago Silva header early in the second half gave the Blues the victory as they became the first team to pass 500 points in London derby matches in the Premier League era.

Silva had earlier been involved in a controversial incident, Harry Kane seeing a goal disallowed at 0-0 after a hand in the back of the defender sent him tumbling to ground.

For Spurs, whose only win in their past 32 away league matches against Chelsea came against Conte's side in April 2018, it was a first league loss since the 3-0 reverse at home to Manchester United in October that brought Nuno Espirito Santo's short reign to an end.

Romelu Lukaku passed up the best early openings, slicing a shot over the bar in the first minute and missing the ball from a teasing Mason Mount cross when he should have done better.

Spurs had barely offered a threat until Kane gathered Steven Bergwijn's low cross and drilled home a finish on the turn, but the goal was was ruled out for a push on Silva.

The visitors were lucky not to go a man down before half-time, though, VAR deeming no further action was needed for a Matt Doherty foul on Malang Sarr and Japhet Tanganga somehow escaping even a free-kick for pulling back the shirt of Callum Hudson-Odoi after previously being booked.

It was Tanganga who was left for dead by Hudson-Odoi a minute after the restart, the winger then teeing up Ziyech to curl a sublime finish into the top-left corner and put Chelsea ahead.

Hugo Lloris denied Ziyech a second soon after as Chelsea ramped up the pressure, with Mount whistling a shot just over the bar from Hudson-Odoi's cut-back.

The Chelsea winger was proving a real handful for Spurs and, after Eric Dier tripped him down the left wing, the resulting Mount delivery was glanced in via the head of Silva.

 

What does it mean? Chelsea close on City as Spurs suffer top-four blow

The defeat means Spurs stay seventh, having missed out on the chance to leapfrog Arsenal, West Ham and Manchester United to climb into the top four.

Chelsea move to within 10 points of leaders Manchester City, having played a game more, with Liverpool a point further ahead.

Mercurial Mount

Mount was exceptional on the right of the Chelsea attack as he exploited space whenever Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was dragged out of position trying to break up passing lanes.

The England midfielder created a team-high four chances and found the target with five of nine crosses, including the head of Silva for the second goal.

Conte counts cost of Tanganga inaction

After Tanganga escaped a second yellow card, it looked likely Conte would substitute him at half-time to remove the risk of falling a man behind.

His decision not to proved key to Chelsea's breakthrough, as he allowed Hudson-Odoi to run clear for fear of being punished for any attempt to halt his run. It was 2-0 before he was finally replaced by Lucas Moura.

What's next?

Chelsea host Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup on February 5 after their winter break before their Club World Cup campaign begins. Spurs's fourth-round clash is at home to Brighton and Hove Albion on the same day.

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has admitted that Mason Mount was not happy with starting Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Manchester City on the bench, but insists that it will "not last long."

The Blues' defeat at City saw them fall 13 points behind the Premier League leaders, and eyebrows were raised when Mount was named among the substitutes, not coming on until the 81st minute of the clash at the Etihad Stadium.

The England international has the most goal involvements in all competitions for Chelsea this season (13 – seven goals and six assists) and has created the most chances (47), ahead of Marcos Alonso (42), Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James (both 38). 

Speaking at a news conference ahead of the European champions' trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday, Tuchel said that he received the "burning eyes" that previous Blues manager Frank Lampard had spoken about when he had dropped Mount in the past.

"Yeah, I get them and this is absolutely normal," Tuchel smiled. "But it's still within Mason's character of kindness and being polite and being respectful, so there is no harm in this.

"I get the eyes, I get the look. I know the look, of course. He is here to play these kinds of matches, but we were simply opting for runners. We thought we could break the line more often with Hakim [Ziyech] as a left foot on the left side and going for Christian [Pulisic] as a right side because of the arrival of Christian in the box.

"Normally, he is a bit more offensive, a bit more of a runner than Mason and we expected the spaces more behind the last line and not in front of the back four from City. So that was the decision.

"I felt Mason not 100 per cent in the zone where he is like untouchable, which he normally almost is. So we took that decision and it can happen from time to time. He's not happy about it, but it will not last long because everyone loves Mason – me included."

The former Borussia Dortmund head coach also suggested that Mount has missed playing with wing-back James, who has been missing with a thigh injury since the turn of the year, with the duo, along with N'Golo Kante, working well as a triumvirate since playing together at Stamford Bridge.

"Reece, N'Golo and [Mount] were so strong together," Tuchel added. "This is what we've been talking about. When you turn, you know without even looking he will come now or I will go and get the pass and he will come in, so I will be here.

"We are missing this. And I think, without asking him now, Mason is missing this. He has this genuine understanding with Reece and with Ben [Chilwell] on the other side."

Meanwhile, Emerson Palmieri, who Chelsea are rumoured to be attempting to recall from a season-long loan at French club Lyon to help solve their problems at left wing-back, has confirmed that he has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Italy international said on Instagram on Monday: "Hi everyone, just wanted to come here to say that I tested positive for COVID on Friday, and I truly feel fine and the rest of the family do too.

"Many thanks for all your caring messages. I hope to be back as soon as possible."

If Thomas Tuchel is after any advice on how to deal with the Romelu Lukaku issue, the Chelsea head coach could do worse than to have a brief word with the man he will come face-to-face with on Wednesday.

Under now-Tottenham boss Antonio Conte across two seasons with Inter, Lukaku enjoyed the best form of his career, scoring and assisting a combined 81 goals in 95 appearances.

Lukaku has not been as prolific since returning to Stamford Bridge in August, finding the net seven times in 18 games, and already his future at Chelsea has been called into question following an explosive interview in the Italian press that was published last week.

The Belgium international was subsequently dropped for Chelsea's crucial clash with Liverpool on Sunday but is in line return for the EFL Cup semi-final first leg with Spurs after holding clear-the-air talks with his manager, meaning a possible reunion with Conte.

Here, Stats Perform looks at how Conte got Lukaku out of the "deep hole" he found himself in at Manchester United, as the striker himself put it, and explores how Tuchel can go about getting the most out of Chelsea's all-time record purchase.


ROM AMONG EUROPE'S ELITE

As well as declaring an unhappiness with his role at Chelsea and expressing a desire to return to Inter as part of his 30-minute chat with Sky Sport Italia, Lukaku also opened up on the "hurt" he felt when Conte departed San Siro.

That is no surprise given the Belgian's form between arriving at Inter in August 2019 and departing two years later. 

The 47 Serie A goals scored by Lukaku in 72 games under Conte is his best return under any of the 11 managers he has played for at club level, followed by the 43 netted in 103 Premier League games when working with now-national team coach Roberto Martinez at Everton.

That includes a return of 24 goals in 2020-21 alone, on top of 11 assists, as he became the first player to score 20-plus goals and set up 10 or more in a single Serie A season since Opta started to record such data in 2004-05.

Indeed, only Cristiano Ronaldo (83), Kylian Mbappe (97), Lionel Messi (106) and Robert Lewandowski (121) were directly involved in more goals in all competitions among players from Europe's top five leagues than Lukaku's 81 across the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons.

 

FLOPPED IN FAVOURED FORMATION

That impressive form helped Inter end their 11-year wait for Scudetto success last time out, a year on from falling just short in the Europa League with defeat in the final, but Lukaku was not alone in inspiring the Nerazzurri to glory.

Alongside him was Lautaro Martinez, who was very much the perfect foil in Conte's preferred 3-5-2 formation, which the Italian used 31 times in 38 league matches last season.

It is a formation Tuchel has used on only two occasions in the Premier League this term – in September's 1-0 home defeat to Manchester City and the 1-0 victory at Brentford three weeks later. 

Lukaku started both games alongside Timo Werner and Chelsea's tally of five shots against City and five against Brentford are the fewest the Blues have managed in any league game this term – Lukaku responsible for just one of those – as were the four and two chances created respectively.

While City's quality and dominance of the ball must be factored in, Lukaku's minimal involvement against Brentford was surprising – and surely no coincidence.

That west London derby blank came in the midst of a 10-game run without a goal for Lukaku, not helped by niggling injuries and a COVID lay-off, which he has since put an end to with three goals in four matches.

Chelsea's formation in those three most recent games Lukaku has scored in, incidentally, came with three attackers spread across the frontline. And there was one other common denominator, too: Mason Mount being on the field.

 

MOUNT TO PLAY THE MARTINEZ ROLE?

Mount assisted Lukaku's most recent goal in a 1-1 draw against Brighton and Hove Albion from a corner and the pair have combined to create nine chances in total for one another in the league this term, making it easily Chelsea's most dangerous partnership.

No Chelsea player has combined more regularly with Lukaku than Mount, with the pair linking up 10.06 times per 90 minutes so far this season. While that may not appear a huge amount on the face of it, next on that list is Mateo Kovacic with 6.45 combined passes between himself and Lukaku per 90.

However, Mount still has some way to go if he is to match the 54 combined chances created for each other in Serie A by Lukaku and Martinez in their two seasons used in tandem at Inter, which equated to nine assists.

Lukaku's relationship with Mount does provide some promise, though, as does the Anderlecht academy product's goalscoring performances in his most recent two outings prior to being dropped against Liverpool, showing Chelsea do not necessarily have to replicate Inter's system to help their main man thrive.

 

TUCHEL WILL NOT SHIFT

Lukaku is averaging fewer passes, overall touches and touches in the opposition box this season compared to last, while also shooting less frequently, dribbling less and creating fewer chances for others.

Yet instead of attempting to find the perfect formula and personnel for Lukaku, Tuchel will not shift from his own way of thinking.

"We cannot just play like Inter in the hope that will bring the most out of Lukaku. The system they played not only suited Romelu but also Lautaro Martinez and others. If you don't have five players you can't play five defenders," Tuchel said on the eve of the Tottenham tie.

"It works both ways. It is more about principles of how we play. I feel he is more impatient than anything else. He wants to be involved more, wants more big chances. 

"Like with every transfer, you have to accept there is a change of environment, culture, team-mates, playing style, belief. He's not the first player to take time, but even while doing it he was scoring goals."

And maybe Tuchel has a point. After all, for all the talk of Lukaku's struggles and unhappiness, he is scoring at an almost identical rate to Cristiano Ronaldo (0.54 goals per 90 minutes compared to 0.56), and remains one of Europe's most prolific strikers of the past decade.

Now back from injury and a team exile brought on by his own actions, only Lukaku can ensure he avoids falling down another deep hole that he may this time be unable to escape.

Thomas Tuchel was left to rue Chelsea's missed opportunities in their Premier League stalemate with Everton at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea squandered the opportunity to cut the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City as their injury-hit opponents held out for a hard-earned 1-1 draw on Thursday.

Tuchel's Chelsea registered 80.3 per cent of the possession and 23 shots, but could only convert one courtesy of Mason Mount's fourth in as many games.

And the hosts were made to pay for their failure to capitalise while in the ascendancy; Jarrad Branthwaite equalising when he turned home Anthony Gordon's free-kick to secure a share of the spoils for the Toffees.

It also marked the third time in six games that Tuchel's side had dropped points from a winning position – and they are now four behind leaders and defending champions City.

"We gave away another lead. If we see in a match like this the effort we need to score one goal and the effort the opponent needs to score an equaliser, it’s hard to swallow," he told BT Sport.

"I think we missed big chances in the first half to get the result. In the second half, we did not find the rhythm consistently and tried to bring on some energy from the bench, but it was a bit hard. 

"We had the lead and gave it away with one free-kick.

"In football, there isn't a game where you can have one reason why things go this way. One big reason, for sure, is the chances we missed today; we could have been two or 3-0 up and playing with fire.

"We had enough chances and quality to win the game, and did not."

Chelsea are unbeaten in their last 27 Premier League home games against Everton (W15 D12), equalling their longest ever unbeaten home run against an opponent in their league history (27 against Tottenham between 1990 and 2016).

At (22years 340days), Mount is the youngest player to score in four consecutive Premier League appearances for Chelsea – the England international has scored seven times in the Premier League this season; his joint-best tally alongside 2019-20.

Chelsea had to rely on a stoppage-time penalty from Jorginho to finally overcome Leeds United in a dramatic 3-2 victory in the Premier League on Saturday.

Goals from Mason Mount and two penalties from the Italian cancelled out Raphinha's opener and Joe Gelhardt's late strike in a topsy turvy affair at Stamford Bridge.

Having lost top spot in the Premier League last week after losing 3-2 at West Ham, before also losing first place in their Champions League group following a 3-3 draw at Zenit, another setback was the last thing Thomas Tuchel's men needed.

The Blues almost had that setback as they threw away a lead for the third time in a week when substitute Gelhardt struck in the 83rd minute, but a foolish challenge by Mateusz Klich on Antonio Rudiger gave Jorginho the chance to win it in the 94th minute from the spot, and he made no mistake.

The hosts started brightly, determined to make amends for a sloppy week prior, but it was the visitors who took the lead when they were awarded a penalty in the 26th minute after Marcos Alonso brought down Dan James in the box.

Raphinha stepped up to outfox Mendy and put Leeds ahead with a penalty that would have made Jorginho proud had it not been against his team.

Alonso atoned for his indiscretion four minutes before half-time as he won the ball from Stuart Dallas and whipped a low cross into the near post, where Mount was waiting to equalise.

Just before the hour mark, Jorginho had a chance to replicate Raphinha after a VAR check deemed the Leeds goalscorer to have fouled Rudiger in the penalty area, and the Italian sent Illan Meslier the wrong way with a trademark effort from the spot.

Gelhardt thought he had snatched a point for his team when he turned home a Tyler Roberts cross with seven minutes to go, but Jorginho's second spot-kick of the day late on won it for the Blues.

What does it mean? Blues back to winning ways

After a defeat last week and the blow of drawing late in the Champions League in midweek, Chelsea looked particularly relieved to eventually find the win here, especially after title rivals Manchester City's victory against Wolves earlier in the day.

Tuchel will still not be pleased at how sloppy his team were when ahead, but Chelsea looked impressive when hunting the lead, managing five attempts at goal in the five minutes between Mount's strike and the half-time whistle.

Chelsea have now won their last five home league games against Leeds – the first time they have ever managed such a run against their historic rivals.

Mount impressive again

Mount has been in excellent form of late, both scoring and assisting a goal in three of his previous four Premier League starts before today.

He only managed a goal on this occasion but could easily have had an assist as well, such was his creativity, providing five crosses in another all-action display, the most of any Blues player.

Mount also has the most league goals (10) and assists (six) of any Chelsea player under Tuchel.

More London blues for Leeds

It was an unlucky afternoon at Stamford Bridge for Marcelo Bielsa's men, who had their chances and were within minutes of what would have been a well-earned draw.

The Whites have now won just two of their last 33 away matches in London in all competitions (D7 L24) and have lost three of their last four games when scoring first in the capital: also against Chelsea last December and against Tottenham in November (winning 2-1 in the other vs Fulham).

What’s next?

There's more Premier League action on the horizon as Chelsea host Everton on Thursday while Leeds travel to Manchester City on Tuesday.

Premier League games are coming thick and fast, with European competition now on hiatus until the New Year.

The next few weeks provide fantasy football managers with a great opportunity to quickly rack up the points, but smart selections will be more important than at any other point of the season as rotation takes place amid the congested schedule.

In our latest batch of picks, Manchester City and Chelsea are particularly well represented, while a Manchester United talent will be hoping to kick-start his campaign.

Squeezing all of these into your team might be a little costly, but there is plenty of evidence to suggest they will reward you handsomely.

EDERSON (Manchester City v Wolves)

Brazil international Ederson is usually a pretty safe bet between the posts in fantasy football – you could argue this weekend makes him an even more interesting option.

For starters, no one has more than his 26 Premier League clean sheets since the start of last season, and then there's the form of visitors Wolves.

Bruno Lage's men have scored just once in their past five league games, the fewest in the division. Is that clean sheet number 27 incoming?

JOAO CANCELO (Manchester City v Wolves)

For the reasons mentioned above and also the fact Wolves' 12 Premier League goals this term are the second-fewest after Norwich City, you might be inclined to get as many City defenders in your team as possible.

If that is your tactic, Joao Cancelo should be your first pick given he also offers a threat going forward. Granted, he's not scored yet this season, but the statistics would suggest it's only a matter of time.

Based on the quality of chances that have gone his way, Cancelo's 1.88 expected goals (xG) is the third-highest among players not to score in 2021-22 – he's also had the most shots (33) of all the goalless players. Surely his luck will turn soon?

REECE JAMES (Chelsea v Leeds United)

If we're honest, you should probably have Reece James in your team already given how good he's been this season – but if you've not got him, consider this your final warning.

The England international is thriving in Thomas Tuchel's wing-back-friendly system, boasting comfortably the most goal involvements per 90 minutes (0.98) among Premier League defenders. Ben Chilwell is second with 0.67.

He's creating 2.47 chances per 90 minutes, a figure only bettered by Kostas Tsimikas and Trent Alexander-Arnold, while he's level with Chilwell for the most touches in the opposition's penalty area (4.33).

MARCUS RASHFORD (Norwich City v Manchester United)

It's been a slow start to the season for Marcus Rashford, who missed the first few weeks due to injury and has subsequently struggled to build up sharpness.

But if there's any opposition he'd back himself to impress against, Norwich would be the one.

In 149 minutes played against the Canaries, Rashford has four goal involvements (three scored, one assisted) – that works out at one every 37 minutes.

Only against Sunderland, whom he's played only 26 minutes against, does Rashford have a better record.

MASON MOUNT (Chelsea v Leeds United)

A curious quirk of Tuchel's time at Chelsea has been the lack of goals scored by recognised strikers, but that's translated into a healthy spread across the squad.

Mason Mount is Chelsea's top scorer in the league since Tuchel took charge, his nine efforts three more than anyone else. Similarly, his six assists also represent a club-high.

Mount's recent purple patch has undoubtedly played a role in that, with the England international both scoring and assisting in three of his past four top-flight starts.

GABRIEL JESUS (Manchester City v Wolves)

He may not have been expecting to play such a regular role for City this term, but Gabriel Jesus has been quietly effective out on the right flank.

Jesus will be keen to build on his fine record in clashes with Wolves, too, having scored in all of his three previous league starts against the Molineux club.

That equates to a total of five goals – only against Everton (eight) has Jesus scored more, although he's played 256 more minutes in meetings with the Toffees.

JOSHUA KING (Brentford v Watford)

If Watford are going to avoid the drop, Joshua King will have to play an important role. He's certainly shown signs of his quality this season, such as his hat-trick at former club Everton back in October.

That's contributed to him registering nine goal involvements in his past nine away starts in the Premier League.

Granted, that run does stretch back to 2020 and his time with Bournemouth, so it only counts for so much, but at the very least it suggests he can be an effective option when Watford's backs are against the wall.

Mason Mount pointed to "tired minds, tired bodies" as he assessed the mistakes that cost Chelsea in their 3-2 Premier League defeat at West Ham.

Jorginho's poor back-pass played Edouard Mendy into trouble, leading to the goalkeeper conceding a penalty which Manuel Lanzini converted, before the shot-stopper made another error late on, allowing Arthur Masuaku's cross to sneak inside the near post.

Mount, who scored a superb volley to make it 2-1 to the Blues shortly before half-time, hinted the fact Chelsea have already played 23 fixtures across all competitions is starting to catch up with them.

"We have had a difficult week and the game midweek [a 2-1 win against Watford] we came away with three points where maybe we shouldn't have," Mount told the BBC.

"We made mistakes, the same today. We are making mistakes we haven't done for a while and need to bounce back now.

"A lot of games, it can take a toll, but that's not an excuse we can use – we come out here and want to win, it's a derby. We don't concede many, so that is something we need to look at."

He suggested the errors were only recently creeping in, and added: "Tired minds, tired bodies, but we need to keep the standard high. We regroup and come back next game."

Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel also bemoaned individual errors but felt his side's display was still good enough to have earned all three points.

"I don't think we did a bad match, it was okay, we can win with this performance," Tuchel told BT Sport.

"It is tough to play here, we did too many individual mistakes, we did already against Manchester United and Watford and got punished. If you want a result at this level you have to minimise mistakes. We talked about it before, it's obviously not helped."

Looking at the mistakes that led to conceding the penalty, Tuchel said: "Everybody is involved, the pass is not the best decision, the orientation is not the best. We can save it, but the decision-making is also not the best from Edou in this moment.

"We created a lot of half-chances, a lot of touches in the box, but sometimes you need a bit of luck, a deflected shot or loose ball that falls to our feet. Their third one is a strange one, the two big chances they had in the first half were our mistakes.

"We could not finish it with clear and better chances, be more ruthless; we struggled also in defending some situations.

"Every loss is a bump in the road, that will not hold us back from what we demand from us, but we need to play more accurate, more stable and reduce big mistakes."

The scoreline marks just the third time Chelsea have conceded more than once in a game in 53 outings under Tuchel and was the first such instance this season, with the Blues having shipped just six goals in the 14 league outings prior to the defeat by the Hammers.

Hakim Ziyech ensured Chelsea remained at the Premier League summit with a 2-1 victory over Watford at Vicarage Road on Wednesday. 

The Blues looked set to hand their title rivals a boost by dropping points for the third time in four games, but substitute Ziyech made a decisive impact in the 72nd minute.

Mason Mount gave Chelsea the lead after play was suspended for around half and hour when a fan suffered a cardiac arrest in the stands. Watford later confirmed the individual had been stabilised. 

Emmanuel Dennis equalised before half-time but Mount teed up Ziyech for his first Premier League goal of the season to remove the threat of Thomas Tuchel's men being overtaken by Manchester City or Liverpool.

Watford started brightly and Edouard Mendy had to react quickly to stop Cesar Azpilicueta scoring an own goal in the fifth minute, but there was a significant break in play when a spectator fell ill. 

Chelsea's first effort was cracked against the post by Mount shortly after play resumed but he did not fail at the second attempt, guiding home Kai Havertz's pass in the 30th minute after an exquisite touch from Marcos Alonso.  

Watford drew level on the stroke of half-time, with Moussa Sissoko dispossessing Ruben Loftus-Cheek and launching a break that ended with Dennis finding the bottom-left corner with the help of a deflection off Antonio Rudiger.  

Tuchel hooked Saul Niguez and moved Trevoh Chalobah into midfield for the second half but a hamstring injury meant he had to be replaced by Ziyech in the 60th minute. 

The game appeared to be heading for a draw until Mount picked out Ziyech in the centre of the box and the Morocco international's first-time effort had too much power for Daniel Bachmann to keep out. 

Bachmann did well to stop Ziyech doubling his tally in the closing stages but Watford were unable to come back a second time and salvage a result. 

What does it mean? A first for Chelsea 

Thanks to Ziyech's winner, Chelsea have been victorious in three successive league matches at Vicarage Road for the first time. 

It was the Blues' eighth win in nine Premier League meetings with Watford, with Claudio Ranieri unable to become the first former Chelsea boss to beat them in the competition with two different clubs. 

Mount in peak form 

Having been a substitute in Chelsea's previous two games, Mount excelled on his return to the starting line-up. His goal made him the first player to reach double figures in all competitions for the Blues under Tuchel. 

So long, Saul? 

In his first Premier League start since his debut back in December, Saul failed to impress. He had just 18 touches and made only nine passes – seven of which were completed. His loan from Atletico Madrid could well be cut short in January given his struggles at Stamford Bridge. 

What's next?  

Chelsea head to rivals West Ham for a derby at London Stadium, while Watford face another tough test with Manchester City visiting Vicarage Road. 

Mason Mount is impressed with the impact Thomas Tuchel has had on Chelsea's defence since replacing Frank Lampard in January.

The German led Chelsea to Champions League success last season just a few months after being hired, though there is every indication he is turning the Blues into a team that will challenge for the major honours on a consistent basis.

Chelsea went into the weekend with a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League – only Liverpool (35) had scored more than them, though Tuchel's side boasted the best defensive record with just four conceded in 12 games.

Manchester City (22) were the only club to have allowed fewer shots on target than the Blues (39) over the first 12 matchdays – similarly, Pep Guardiola's men (7.7) were the sole club with a lower xGA (expected goals against) than Chelsea (12.2).

During Lampard's only full season in charge, Chelsea conceded 54 times from an xGA of 38.95 – they let in 15.05 goals more than the average team would have expected based on the quality of chances, comfortably worse than the second-worst sides in that metric over 2019-20 (Norwich City and Everton, both 7.2 over xGA).

Their improvement defensively is not lost on Mount.

"[Tuchel] is brilliant to work under," Mount told Sky Sports ahead of Sunday's clash with Manchester United. "He is very intense when the games come around and in training, but off the field he is very relaxed, someone you can talk to and he puts his arm around you.

"So, it is the best of both, but when you don't perform, he will not be happy and will tell you. And that is definitely something that keeps us on our toes and keeps us going. We have set a very high standard, and we always want to keep that going and training is a big thing.

"We always look at the opposition a few days before we play them, but most of it is just focusing on ourselves. We know what we can do as a team and if we are doing those simple things the best we can, then we are always able to open up those pockets of space and create chances.

"Defensively, that has been a big change for us, and we do not really give many chances away and that starts from the front. The way we press at the front sets the tone and at the back, with the change of formation and the shape we do play, it helps at the back so the full-backs can press the side where the ball is, there is cover the other way and just move and that has really helped us."

While bossing Chelsea did not work out for Tuchel's predecessor Lampard, Mount enjoyed his breakthrough at the club under the Blues legend, having also played for him at Derby County.

Mount was one of the main beneficiaries of Lampard's season and a half in charge and has remained a key figure under Tuchel.

He still sees Lampard's playing style as a source of inspiration, with Mount putting significant work into his end product in attack.

"I always look at my game and think I can score or create more, be more of a threat going forward. That is something I've always looked at in training with finishing drills, how I get into the box, looking with (coach) Joe Edwards at how my runs into the box affect the play," he said.

"So that is a big part of my game that I want to improve. You look at how big stats are now – what crosses come in and the percentage of goals that come from different crosses we look at and what area of the box do you score most goals, it is around the penalty spot and in the six-yard box, you rarely see goals from outside the box, mostly 'worldies' now, but not many.

"So I'm just trying to get in the box as much as I can now."

He still has work to do, though.

Mount is touching the ball on average 4.2 times in the box every 90 minutes – although that is an increase on his figure for Lampard's final few months, it's the same amount he recorded over the course of 2019-20.

But he is getting more shots away in such areas. He averaged 0.9 shots on target every 90 minutes during Lampard's first season and then 0.6 in the first half of 2020-21, but that increased to 1.1 after Tuchel's hiring and then again to 1.2 this season.

Manchester United's managerial post is vacant after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was sacked on Sunday.

Solskjaer had led United since December 2018 but failed to win a trophy, finishing runners-up in last season's Premier League and Europa League.

The lean spell has United desperate to return to their former glories with their next managerial appointment.

 

TOP STORY – ZIDANE NOT KEEN ON MAN UTD JOB

World Cup winner and ex-Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is not interested in the vacant Manchester United job, reports BBC Sport.

Zidane left Madrid in May after failing to win LaLiga and has been linked with a host of roles since.

United have approached the 49-year-old about their vacant post but he is not interested in the position at this point.

 ROUND-UP

- Fichajes claims that reported United target Mauricio Pochettino would put Tottenham's Harry Kane at the top of his wishlist if he got the Red Devils job. The current Paris Saint-Germain boss is among those linked with the vacant post. The Telegraph claims that Pochettino is open to moving to Old Trafford at the end of this season.

- Ajax boss Erik ten Hag is United's second choice behind Pochettino reports Sky Sports, while The Sun claims the Red Devils have already approached Leicester City's Brendan Rodgers.

- Sport claims that new Barcelona boss Xavi wants to sign Al-Sadd's Algeria international striker Baghdad Bounedjah. Xavi coached Al-Sadd until taking over at Barca earlier this month.

- Tottenham may make a move for Roma midfielder Nicolo Zaniolo who is unhappy at the club, claims Calciomercato.

- Fichajes reports that Real Madrid have an interest in Mason Mount, who is currently in talks with Chelsea on a new deal. Manchester City and Bayern Munich are also interested in Mount's services.

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.

 

Gareth Southgate has confirmed that Mason Mount and Luke Shaw remain doubts for England's World Cup qualifier against Albania, but Jack Grealish is back in training and is set to be available for the clash at Wembley Stadium on Friday.

It will be the Three Lions' final home game of the year and a win will see them move within one point of qualifying for Qatar 2022 from Group I, assuming second-placed Poland do not fail to win in Andorra.

The England manager has already lost Marcus Rashford, James Ward-Prowse and Declan Rice to injury from his initial squad, with Emile Smith Rowe the only replacement called up.

Speaking at a media conference on Thursday, when asked about the availability of Mount (dental) and Shaw (concussion), Southgate said "I've got to check in with our medical staff for our update. The longer it goes, the more unlikely it is.

"Mason has to recover from his dental surgery. Luke didn't pass his [head injury assessment] after the first day and rightly, we have to follow the guidelines with that.

"Jack Grealish has trained and is ready if required."

Southgate was asked how Arsenal youngster Smith Rowe has settled into the squad after his first senior call-up.

"He has settled really well," he added. "He obviously knows a couple of his club teammates and Phil [Foden] from the U17s. This is a group that makes new players very welcome so it's not a difficult environment to settle in and his quality has been apparent from the way he has trained.

"We have always worked on the basis that we need a strong squad because you will get injuries. We have depth and we have players who have been waiting for opportunities to play."

England captain Harry Kane was also present at the media conference and emphasised the need for he and his team-mates to brush off the disappointment of their 1-1 draw at Wembley in their previous qualifier against Hungary.

Kane said "Whenever you have a disappointing game, or you don't reach the standards you normally reach, it kind of wakes you up a little bit and makes you realise there's still work to do, still more to improve on.

"Three points from that game would have really helped towards securing qualification, so now it's about turning it round and responding to that game. We've had a great week of preparation but it's all about performing when the pressure's on and the team have done that before."

Kane was also asked about his own start to the season, having scored only once in his first 10 Premier League games for Tottenham. He was heavily linked with a move to Manchester City in the last transfer window, but denied that it has had an influence on his performances.

"Losing a European final for your country at Wembley will probably stay with me the rest of my career. You never really get over those things, unless we go and win a major tournament. That always stings but I'm pretty used to getting back into things," Kane said.

"There was a lot of speculation over the summer, that's the first real time that's happened to me. But that's part and parcel of being a big player, having to deal with those situations, and I think I dealt with it well. Now it's about focusing. There's still a long way to go at club level and we've got these two games to finish off what's been a great calendar year [for England]."

It is all change in the England squad, with two players dropping out, and Emile Smith Rowe earning a first senior call up from Gareth Southgate.

Smith Rowe has been in excellent form for Arsenal this season, but was not initially included in Southgate's squad for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.

The midfielder, who was handed Arsenal's number 10 shirt for 2021-22, has appeared in every Premier League game for the Gunners this term.

His tally of 15 chances created ranks him second in Arsenal's squad, behind Bukayo Saka (19). He has provided two league assists and scored four goals, meaning he is the club's joint-top scorer in the top flight alongside captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

After initially arriving at St George's Park to be part of the England Under-21 squad, Smith Rowe will instead join the senior side after Marcus Rashford and James Ward-Prowse dropped out.

Rashford has only just returned from a long injury lay off following shoulder surgery, and will remain at Manchester United in order to work his way back to fitness, while Southampton's Ward-Prowse is ill.

Southgate might also be without regulars Luke Shaw and Mason Mount. The United full-back is following concussion protocol after sustaining a head injury in Saturday's derby defeat to Manchester City and will continue to be assessed by the club before being released for international duty. 

Mount, meanwhile, has had his arrival pushed back by dental surgery and will be monitored over the coming days.

England host Albania on Friday, before taking on San Marino three days later. Four points from the two matches will guarantee their place in Qatar.

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