Gabriel Jesus is setting the standard that is driving Arsenal's early-season charge at the top of the Premier League, and he came up trumps in his first north London derby.

Arsenal's win over Tottenham came in Saturday's early game and was followed by plenty of drama later, as Liverpool were held by Brighton and Hove Albion in a rip-roaring match at Anfield featuring a Leandro Trossard hat-trick.

Newcastle United earned a second win of the season, brushing off Fulham at Craven Cottage, while Graham Potter's Chelsea had substitute Conor Gallagher to thank for their late winner at Crystal Palace.

With goals and drama in abundance, here Stats Perform unpacks the pick of the data.

Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham: Ton up for Kane, but it's Partey time for Arsenal after derby win

Harry Kane became the first Premier League player to reach 100 away goals in the competition, but that was scant consolation for Tottenham after this derby defeat.

Arsenal were able to celebrate a third successive home league win over Spurs – the first time that has happened since 2013 – and they are unbeaten at home in this fixture for 12 games now (W8 D4).

It was a win to savour for Arsenal, with Thomas Partey's opening goal rounding off a 21-pass move, going down as the Gunner's sixth goal since December 26, 2019 to have come from a sequence of 20 or more passes. Only Liverpool and Manchester City have had more in that time. 

Jesus restored the Gunners' lead after Kane's penalty brought Spurs level, with Arsenal's close-season signing from City having managed five goals and three assists already in the Premier League. Only Erling Haaland (12) has had more goal involvements in the early weeks of this season.

It fell to Granit Xhaka to put the seal on the win, after Emerson Royal was sent off. The Arsenal midfielder grabbed his second Premier League goal of the season, with this the first campaign where he has managed more than one league strike since he netted four times in the 2018-19 season.

Liverpool 3-3 Brighton and Hove Albion: Trossard heroics stun Reds

Leandro Trossard became just the third opposing player to score a Premier League hat-trick at Anfield, joining former Coventry City winger Peter Ndlovu and ex-Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin in that curious club. Arshavin famously hit four in a 4-4 draw in April 2009, the highest-scoring Premier League draw at Liverpool's home ground.

Saturday's feat meant Belgium international Trossard became the first Brighton player to score a Premier League hat-trick, and it left Liverpool four points behind the Seagulls after seven games each, with this game quite the baptism for new boss Roberto De Zerbi.

Liverpool have just two wins from seven games, and they were thankful for Roberto Firmino's sharp finishing as he scored twice, taking his tally for the season to five Premier League goals, all coming at Anfield. He scored five across the 2021-22 season, all away from home.

Mohamed Salah remains stuck on two goals in this campaign but he marked his 200th Premier League appearance with a 50th assist when he set up Firmino to trim Brighton's lead to 2-1 in the first half. Salah becomes just the third African player to reach 50 assists in the competition, after Didier Drogba (55) and Riyad Mahrez (51).

 

Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea: Gallagher returns to rock Eagles

Conor Gallagher came off the bench to deliver a 90th-minute knockout blow with Chelsea's winner against the side they loaned him to last season.

It meant Crystal Palace's losing run against Chelsea extended to 10 Premier League matches, and also boosted the Blues' record to nine wins in their last 10 away London derbies against all teams.

New Chelsea boss Graham Potter watched on in his first Premier League game since joining from Brighton, and he saw former Barcelona and Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang mark his league debut for the visitors with a first-half equaliser. Aubameyang also scored in his first game for Arsenal (against Everton in February 2018).

Odsonne Edouard's opener in the seventh minute was the earliest goal Chelsea have conceded in a Premier League away game since January 2021, when Wilfred Ndidi scored for Leicester City in the sixth minute.

Fulham 1-4 Newcastle United: Magpies take flight thanks to Almiron's capital double

Miguel Almiron had been Newcastle's home boy of late, with his last seven Premier League goals coming at St James' Park, so Saturday's double at Craven Cottage bucked a trend.

A fine volley followed by a close-range finish from the Paraguayan helped Newcastle to their joint-biggest victory under Eddie Howe in the Premier League (also 3-0 vs Norwich City in April), and a biggest league win in London since beating Fulham 4-0 in May 2019.

Almiron last scored away from home in the Premier League in another 4-1 win for Newcastle – against Howe's Bournemouth in July 2020.

Fulham were hindered by a red card for Nathaniel Chalobah after seven minutes and 26 seconds, the earliest a player has been sent off for the club in the Premier League since Ian Pearce against Palace in October 2004 (sixth minute).

Eddie Howe has no interest in succeeding Gareth Southgate as England manager, with a move into the international game not appealing "at this moment in my life".

Three Lions boss Southgate has been hugely successful since his appointment in 2016, leading his team to the World Cup semi-finals, Nations League Finals and Euro 2020 final, but he heads into Qatar 2022 under pressure.

England are winless in six – their worst such sequence since 1993 and worst ever heading into a major tournament – and there have been calls for Southgate to move on.

As one of the leading English coaches in the Premier League, Newcastle United's Howe would appear an obvious candidate to replace him.

However, while praising Southgate, Howe said the England role was not one he would be interested in "in the short term", with his focus on Newcastle.

"I think Gareth's done an incredible job, I really do," Howe said on Friday. "I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

"I've been lucky enough to go in and see him work, I've spent time with him. I've got a lot of time for him and for Steve Holland and his team there.

"I think they've been amazing for England. I think you have to remember where England [were] when he took over and what he's done for the country.

"I never say never, I never say, 'no, it's not something I'd be interested in'. But certainly not in the short term. It's not on my radar at all. It's all Newcastle and investing and trying to make this team the best I can."

Explaining why that might be, Howe added: "I've always said I love the day-to-day coaching. I love being with my players on the training ground.

"In international football, you get that taken away for long periods. At this moment in my life, that's not something I want to do."

Howe still had an interest in England's Nations League matches against Italy and Germany, with Nick Pope starting in goal and Newcastle team-mate Kieran Trippier on Southgate's bench.

Pope, deputising for Jordan Pickford, made an awful error in the Germany game that gifted the visitors an equaliser at Wembley after England had recovered from two goals down to lead 3-2.

"[Pope] is in a good place," Howe said ahead of Saturday's game at Fulham. "He's aware how special those games are for him in his career.

"From where he's come from, to experience those moments is brilliant. But he's earned the right to get to the position in his career that he's at."

Howe described himself as "very proud" of Pope and backed his goalkeeper to recover.

"You need to be able to deal with mistakes. It's part of the job when you're in that position," the Newcastle coach added.

"Nick is a very calm, level-headed guy. He's incredibly focused. I've got no problem with him returning; I know he'll carry on where he left off for us."

Newcastle United have won the race for the signature of exciting 18-year-old Australian forward Garang Kuol.

Kuol, who debuted for the Socceroos in Sunday's 2-0 win over New Zealand, reached an agreement with the Magpies to join the Premier League outfit from A-League club Central Coast in January.

The Egypt-born forward scored five goals in 12 games in all competitions last season after bursting on to the scene with the Mariners.

Kuol dazzled in May's A-League All-Stars game against Barcelona, reportedly sparking interest from several top clubs, including the Blaugrana and Chelsea.

Newcastle United sporting director Dan Ashworth said: "Garang is a very promising young talent and we are excited that he'll be continuing his development as a Newcastle United player.

"Our philosophy is to invest in our Academy and in exciting young players for the future, as well as in players required to make an immediate impact in the first team."

Kuol is in the mix for Australia's World Cup squad, with the Socceroos grouped with France, Tunisia and Denmark.

The Premier League returns now the September international break is done and dusted, and it will be foot to the floor until the World Cup comes around.

With two disrupted months of the season almost gone, some teams are settling down at this stage, while others are continuing to tinker in the hope of igniting their campaigns.

The Qatar 2022 break is on the horizon, adding an extra dimension as many players jostle to earn tickets on the plane with their national teams.

Opta data points to familiar faces who may be primed to deliver those all-important fantasy football goals and assists this weekend, as well as a couple of less-vaunted prospects who could boost your points tally.

Jose Sa (West Ham United v Wolves)

Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa has seen his side struggle this term, with just one win so far meaning they sit a spot above the bottom three – but it has not been down to his own form, with only Manchester City's Ederson having kept more clean sheets than his three this term.

No side have scored fewer goals than Wolves' weekend opponents West Ham this season (three, tied with Wolves themselves) which suggests Sa could be on course to bank another strong performance between the posts.

West Ham have been wasteful with their chances, and are underperforming against their expected goals (xG) tally by 4.6 goals, the worst such record in the Premier League.

Kenny Tete (Fulham v Newcastle United)

Sitting sixth coming out of the international break, Fulham already look on course to avoid the drop back to the Championship, and that has come with a handy assist from their Dutch right-back.

No Premier League defender has more assists than Tete this season (three), with only Kevin De Bruyne (six) and Bukayo Saka (four) providing more among all players.

In addition, two of those assists from Tete have come in his last two games for the Cottagers, suggesting a rich chance he could maintain his form.

Son Heung-min (Arsenal v Tottenham)

Having endured a dramatic goal drought to start the season, South Korea international Son's freewheeling hat-trick off the bench last time out likely pushes him back to the forefront of Antonio Conte's plans.

If he bags three goals again in the north London derby, he would become the eighth player to achieve the feat in consecutive Premier League games.

What's more, he can continue to build on an exceptional 2022, where only team-mate Harry Kane leads him for overall Premier League goals (18) and involvements (24).

Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City v Manchester United)

While team-mate Erling Haaland has been tearing up the goalscoring charts, the Belgian heart of Pep Guardiola's side remains a surefire bet for any fantasy football player.

No player has provided more assists (6) or created more chances (25) than De Bruyne this season – and after his prior exploits against United in March, he'll be eyeing up another superb performance.

In a 4-1 City win on that occasion, he scored twice and assisted once. Only against Wolves in May, when he scored four times, has De Bruyne had more goal involvements in a Premier League game.

Jude Bellingham is attracting plenty of admirers with his impressive performances for Borussia Dortmund and England.

The 19-year-old midfielder joined Dortmund from Birmingham City in 2020.

Bellingham is contracted until 2025, but clubs are queueing up to sign the young prospect.

TOP STORY – BLUES JOIN QUEUE FOR BELLINGHAM

Chelsea are the latest club to join the race to sign Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham, reports the Telegraph.

Fabrizio Romano claims that Liverpool, Manchester City, Real Madrid and Manchester United along with the Blues are all pursuing a deal for the teenager.

Romano reports that Dortmund are not in talks with any clubs yet, instead deferring any discussions and decision on a price tag until after the 2022 World Cup. The Telegraph claims that Bellingham will cost around £130 million (€145m).

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Mail reports Manchester City want assurances from Bernardo Silva that he will not push for a move at the end of this season following links with Barcelona during the last transfer window. City are said to be planning talks with Silva in the coming months.

– Barcelona are interested in Ilkay Gundogan, who has less than a year remaining on his Manchester City contract, reports Sport. The German midfielder, who turns 32 in October, has been with City since 2016.

– Karim Benzema and Real Madrid are close to agreeing to an extension on his contract, locking him down at the club until 2024, reports Italian journalist Nicolo Schira.

– Tuttosport claims Milan have offered Rafael Leao an improved contract worth €6million per season plus bonuses, as they attempt to fend off interest from Chelsea and Manchester City.

– The Sun claims Arsenal will make a January move for Aston Villa midfielder Douglas Luiz after failing in an attempt to sign him on deadline day.

– Socceroos 18-year-old forward Garang Kuol has flown to England to sign with Newcastle United having reached an agreement with his Australian club Central Coast, claims Fabrizio Romano. Sky Sports reports that Kuol will be loaned out in January.

Newcastle United are reportedly prepared to launch a third bid for Leicester City midfielder James Maddison in the January window.

Maddison, 24, has had a strong start to the season despite Leicester sitting bottom of the table through seven games, with the midfielder registering three goals and an assist.

Newcastle reportedly placed bids of £40million and £45m in the last window – which prompted manager Brendan Rodgers to say "that might just cover three-quarters of his left leg" – but January will mark 18 months remaining on his contract, with a voluntary extension looking extremely unlikely.

 

TOP STORY – MADDISON OPEN TO NEWCASTLE UNITED MOVE

Maddison is said to be more open to the idea of leaving Leicester after failing to break back into the England setup for the World Cup, with his only international cap coming as a substitute during a win against Montenegro in 2020.

With Newcastle players Nick Pope and Kieran Trippier both being involved with the Three Lions, it is viewed as a more favourable situation to capture the attention of Gareth Southgate.

The report from The Times indicates Leicester do have the option to extend Maddison's contract by one extra season, which could give them the freedom to see out the remainder of the campaign.

However, if Newcastle are willing to move into the £60m range, that kind of spending power could fund some significant moves to address the Foxes' problems, and there is no guarantee his value will remain this high if they delay.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Spanish publication Beteve, Lionel Messi will refuse any contract extension and will leave Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this season.

– Kicker is reporting Tottenham's Harry Kane remains Bayern Munich's top target, and with only one more season left on his deal after this campaign, Tottenham could be forced to cash-in if he indicates he is ready to leave.

– Juventus will not renew the contracts of Angel Di Maria, Juan Cuadrado and Adrien Rabiot in order to reduce their wage bill, per La Gazzetta dello Sport.

– Calciomercato is reporting Roma will join Bayern Munich and Manchester United with interest in €30m Ajax centre-back Jurrien Timber.

– According to Fabrizio Romano, Newcastle United are monitoring highly regarded Vasco da Gama 18-year-old Andrey Santos.

Juventus have reportedly made contact with Christian Pulisic's camp as they begin the process of putting together a January offer for the out-of-favour Chelsea winger.

Pulisic, 24, has only started one game this season in all club competitions, and he was subbed off in the 60th minute. He also has made five appearances as a substitute, but the longest has lasted 26 minutes.

The United States international, who was signed from Borussia Dortmund for a £58million fee in January 2019, now finds himself on the outside looking in, and long-time admirers Juventus are seeking to capitalise on the potentially depreciated asset.

 

TOP STORY – JUVENTUS CONTACT PULISIC ABOUT SERIE A MOVE

According to Calciomercato, Pulisic has been "very fond of the Juventus management for some time" and he plans on leaving at the end of the season when he has one year remaining on his contract and more leverage.

While Pulisic may wish to see out the remainder of the season and give things a go with new boss Graham Potter, Chelsea are said to have set his price at a reasonable figure of £31m. If the Italian side view that as a fair price, and if Pulisic has not broken into a starting role by January, things could progress quicker than anticipated.

However, further Calciomercato reports claiming Juventus are eyeing moves for defenders Benoit Badiashile from Monaco and Evan Ndicka from Eintracht Frankfurt at the end of the campaign could imply they do not have the necessary funds to make any serious additions mid-season.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to iNews, Newcastle United are considering a £50m bid for Shaktar Donetsk's rising 21-year-old winger Mykhalo Mudryk

– Marca is claiming Real Madrid's "main target" at the end of the season will be Borussia Dortmund's prized English midfielder Jude Bellingham.

– Corriere dello Sport is reporting Chelsea plan to increase their previous offer of £44.5m for 26-year-old Inter defender Denzel Dumfries, and would be willing to loan him back to the Italian club for the remainder of the season if they can come to an agreement in January.

– With Manchester United reportedly ready to move on from goalkeeper David de Gea, Football Insider states they are monitoring Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez as a replacement.

– RAC1 claims Real Madrid's Marco Asensio has already signed a preliminary contract with rivals Barcelona, with his Madrid contract set to expire at the end of this season.

Arsenal are preparing for a busy January transfer window, with reports they are planning a £100million move for Juventus duo Dusan Vlahovic and Fabio Miretti.

Vlahovic, 22, arrived in Turin in January this year in a €70m transfer from Fiorentina, and after netting nine goals for his new club during the tail end of that campaign, he has hit the ground running with four goals from six starts this season.

Miretti, 19, is a product of Juventus' youth academy, and with three appearances for Italy's under-21 side under his belt, he has broken into Massimiliano Allegri's team, with four starts from their past five Serie A fixtures.

Both are likely seen as key pieces moving forward, regardless of Allegri's future with the club, so to pry them away Arsenal understand they will need to pay-up in a big way.


TOP STORY – ARSENAL TO LAUNCH £100M DOUBLE MOVE 

Arsenal have been linked with a number of significant January targets, with the Mail reporting they have made contact with Eintracht Frankfurt's Jesper Lindstrom, while Sport claim they are weighing up activating a €35m release clause for Villarreal's Alex Baena.

What separates the Calciomercato report about the Juventus duo is that they are the only team named in the story, while it also claims Mikel Arteta is pushing for a bid to be made.

Despite the pair's coveted status within the Juventus squad and the desperation for the team to turn their results around following five matches without a win, Calciomercato states that an offer of £100m would be "difficult to refuse".

ROUND-UP

– Corriere dello Sport is reporting Jose Mourinho's Roma will make a move for Chelsea defender Trevoh Chalobah in January.

– According to Birmingham Mail, Juventus are keeping an eye on Wolves striker Adama Traore for a potential January move, while Football Italia add that their wish-list includes Antoine Griezmann, Marco Asensio and Christian Pulisic

Newcastle United "retain an interest" in Leicester City midfielder James Maddison, and he could be a January target, according to the Leicester Mercury.

– Manchester Evening News is reporting Manchester City have joined Chelsea in their interest for potential £100m Milan forward Rafael Leao.

– According to 90min, scouts from Premier League teams including Arsenal, Chelsea, Newcastle, West Ham and Wolves made the trip to Scotland to get a closer look at 21-year-old Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk playing internationally for Ukraine.

Teenager Elliot Anderson has signed a new long-term contract at Newcastle United after breaking into the first team under Eddie Howe. 

The 19-year-old – who has represented both England and Scotland at youth level – made his Premier League debut in January 2021 as a substitute against Arsenal. 

The second half of last season then saw Anderson go on loan to Bristol Rovers, helping them secure promotion to League One as he contributed seven goals and six assists in 21 league appearances.

This term, Anderson has been used as an impact substitute by Howe, and his absence through injury was felt in Newcastle's 1-1 draw with Bournemouth on Saturday.

Speaking after committing his future to the Magpies, Anderson said: "I'm really happy. I love playing for Newcastle United, and committing my future to the club is something I've really wanted to do.

"It was my aim coming back into pre-season to work hard and earn the opportunity to stick around. I have really enjoyed being with the first-team group, so hopefully I can keep improving and contribute to the team."

Howe, who has given the versatile midfielder three league appearances from the bench this season, added: "We are all delighted with Elliot's development.

"He is a natural talent, but he also has an excellent work ethic and always wants to learn.

"He is just at the start of his journey at this level, but he has a very exciting future ahead, and we are delighted that his journey will continue here."

Harry Kane remains at the centre of significant transfer speculation after the Tottenham striker failed to secure a move to Manchester City last year.

The England star appears more settled under Antonio Conte but has been linked with Bayern Munich recently.

Kane has started this Premier League campaign strongly, netting six goals in seven appearances.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PLOTTING KANE-LUKAKU SWAP

New Chelsea boss Graham Potter wants to bring Harry Kane across town from Tottenham, claims Calciomercato.

The Blues boss is ready to offer Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku, currently on loan at Inter, as part of an exchange for Kane. The England forward's contract at Tottenham expires in 2024.

Chelsea are at the start of a new era after Potter replaced Thomas Tuchel, while they are set to appoint Salzburg's Christoph Freund as their new sporting director.

 

ROUND-UP

– Fichajes reports Atletico Madrid are desperate to add a versatile attacker to their squad next year, with Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, Brighton and Hove Albion's Leandro Trossard and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino on top of their wish list.

– Calciomercato claims Liverpool are considering a move for Shakhtar Donetsk winger Mykhaylo Mudryk. Newcastle United, Sevilla, Bayer Leverkusen and Ajax are also tracking the Ukrainian, according to CBS' Ben Jacobs. TalkSPORT reports that the Reds are also keeping an eye on Flamengo midfielder Joao Gomes .

– Manchester City are interested in a big-money move for Milan winger Rafael Leao next year, according to the Manchester Evening News.

– Football Insider reports West Ham have informed Manuel Lanzini he is free to leave the club in January.

– Former Italy international Fabio Cannavaro is close to a return to management with talks to take over at Serie B club Benevento progressing well, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Newcastle United head coach Eddie Howe said the media should "never write off" Callum Wilson making a late run for England's World Cup squad.

Wilson scored twice in three Premier League appearances at the start of the season, only to suffer a thigh injury in a thrilling 3-3 draw with Manchester City on August 21.

The 30-year-old has been plagued by persistent injury issues since he joined Newcastle from Howe's former club Bournemouth in 2020, with the Magpies spending a club-record fee on Alexander Isak late in the transfer window to bolster their attacking options.

Wilson is nearing a return, but Newcastle's meeting with Bournemouth on Saturday is likely to come too soon, while the injury also dashed any chances of him making Gareth Southgate's final England squad before the World Cup.

The last of Wilson's three caps came in November 2019, but Howe believes the striker could still be an option for Southgate heading to Qatar.

"I feel for Callum because he's not in the England squad," Howe said in a press conference on Friday.

"But it will just fuel his motivation, it will fire him even more, so when Callum returns to our team he will show how good he is.

"I think there's time for Callum to make the World Cup squad, and I know Gareth feels the same.

"What does he have to do? He has to return and score and be consistent in his availability. Maybe he has to have a bit of luck somewhere else to make that plane."

One of Wilson's potential rivals for a spot is Brentford forward Ivan Toney, who received a maiden international call-up on Thursday.

Toney excelled in Brentford's first Premier League campaign last season, scoring 12 goals as the Bees comfortably stayed up.

Only Manchester City star Erling Haaland (11) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than Toney this season (seven), with the Brentford striker averaging a goal or assist every 77 minutes, compared to one every 171 minutes last term.

Toney played for Newcastle between 2015 and 2018, but made only two league appearances for the club, having six loan spells at four separate clubs before leaving permanently for Peterborough United.

Howe thinks Newcastle, under sporting director Dan Ashworth, are now well set to avoid repeating such mistakes.

He said: "I'd love to think that wouldn't happen now. That's not a criticism of anyone here at that time; why Ivan left, I don't know.

"But when you watch him play now and see his attributes and what he can bring to his team, he's an outstanding player.

"His England call-up is a great thing for people that drop into the lower leagues. It gives them hope that it's not the end of their dreams."

Bournemouth caretaker boss Gary O'Neil is focusing on on-field matters amid reports Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley could complete a takeover of the Premier League club.

Foley has been credited with an interest in the Cherries as existing owner Maxim Demin attempts to sell the club, with a deal potentially set to be completed before the World Cup.

Bournemouth parted company with head coach Scott Parker just four games into the season last month, and takeover talks may mean O'Neil receives an extended audition for the top job.

However, speaking ahead of Saturday's trip to Newcastle United, O'Neil said: "Obviously, I'm not involved in any discussions like that. 

"I've been hard at work over on the other side, on the grass.

"Takeovers and discussions of that level are obviously a long way from my mind, and what I'm focused on at the moment, which is Newcastle. It's going to be a big test."

Saturday's game will be particularly notable for opposing coach Eddie Howe, who spent 11 years at Bournemouth across two spells, overseeing their initial rise from League Two to the Premier League, as well as representing the club as a player.

Howe used his own pre-match news conference to discuss the sense of occasion he feels ahead of the match at St James' Park.

"I personally feel a huge sense of gratitude to the club and everyone connected with it. I wouldn't be sat here now if it wasn't for AFC Bournemouth," the Newcastle coach said.

"We'll be competing to win the game and are desperate to do so, but it will be a special game for us."

Newcastle have suffered a number of injuries to key players in the season's early weeks, but Howe would not disclose information on the status of Bruno Guimaraes, Allan Saint-Maximin and Callum Wilson.

"Everyone has improved, but I'll leave my team news until the time we get it," he said. "It's been a slightly difficult period for us, but hopefully we're coming out of that. They are big players for us, and we need them back quickly."

After last weekend's postponements, round seven of the Premier League is finally upon us, but continental fixtures midweek could throw a spanner into team selection.

Now over a month into the season, things are beginning to take shape as managers make it clear who is in and out of favour, while struggling teams may feel the need for drastic changes in an effort to get back on course.

Whether they start every game, or they have worked their way into consideration, this is the time of the year when players can stake their claim as key contributors for the long season ahead.

This week's Opta data points out a couple of playmakers who have shined coming off the bench, as well as some safe prospects in the back half who are at the centre of their teams' plans, and could make the difference in your Fantasy Football plans.

 

Nick Pope (Newcastle United v Bournemouth)

Newcastle United goalkeeper Nick Pope is in fine form, boasting the most saves in the league this season with 28, while also owning the best save percentage (82.35 per cent) and being tied for the lead in clean sheets (three).

It is not just a small sample size, either. Since the beginning of the 2019-20 season, only Ederson (58) and Allison (45), widely considered the league's best two shot-stoppers, have kept more clean sheets than Pope's 38.

Also working in Pope's favour is the fact Bournemouth are one of six teams this season to average less than one goal per game, and have been held scoreless by Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Wolves.

Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest v Fulham)

Full-backs have always been a bit of a cheat code in fantasy football due to their ability to bank both clean sheets and a healthy dose of assists compared to centre-backs, and Nottingham Forest's Neco Williams is emerging as a quality creator of chances.

No Forest player has created more chances than the 21-year-old's nine – among defenders, only Trent Alexander-Arnold (13), Kieran Trippier (11) and Diogo Dalot (10) have crafted more. 

Williams has also played every minute of his side's six games so far. 

Bernardo Silva (Manchester City v Wolves)

Manchester City's Bernardo Silva is enjoying a rich run of form, with four goal involvements (two goals and two assists) from his past four matches.

City are the highest-scoring team in the Premier League this season with 20 in six games, and after coming off the bench in the first two fixtures of the season, Silva has now made four consecutive starts.

Silva's goal contributions have come from 1.33 expected goal involvements, with only team-mate Erling Haaland, Brentford's Ivan Toney and Liverpool's Roberto Firmino have outperformed their expected figure by more.

Richarlison (Tottenham v Leicester City)

After spending £60million this past transfer window to secure the 25-year-old from Everton, Tottenham awarded Richarlison with his first start in their last top-flight game against Fulham, and he came through with an assist and a disallowed goal.

It was his second assist from his past three games, after coming off the bench against Forest and teeing up Harry Kane.

Leicester City have been a team the Brazil forward, who scored his first two Spurs goals in a Champions League win over Marseille earlier in September, has feasted against during his time in the Premier League, with his five goals against the Foxes matching his best total against any team (also five against Southampton and Wolves).

Former England and Manchester United goalkeeper Ben Foster has announced his retirement from football despite an offer from Newcastle United.

The 39-year-old goalkeeper made the announcement via YouTube where he has become a sensation with The Cycling GK.

Foster's career, which dates back to 2000, ends after playing for clubs including Manchester United, West Brom, Birmingham City and, most recently, Watford. He managed eight caps for England, including being part of their 2014 World Cup squad.

"I've got an announcement to make, it's a big one. The time has finally come for me to announce my retirement," Foster said.

"I know for a fact if I'd have gone there I'd have had an amazing time, the lads would have been absolutely brilliant and I'd have buzzed off the stadium, the fans, all that kind of stuff, but the overriding sinking feeling was 'I don't want to do this.'"

Foster revealed he had been offered a deal by Newcastle in light of Karl Darlow's injury as understudy to Nick Pope, but opted to hang up the gloves for family reasons.

"I was just eating my dinner and I thought 'no, I’m not doing it'," he said.

"I've got to be happy and comfortable and I wouldn’t be able to do that so far away from my family. It would kill me.

"If I'm in an apartment in Newcastle away from my family by myself, I don't think people can understand, that's really hard to do. Especially at the age I am and everything I've got going on."

Liverpool and Newcastle United have seen members of their backroom teams issued with touchline bans following an altercation at the end of last month's Premier League meeting at Anfield.

Newcastle came close to taking a point from their trip to Liverpool on August 31, only for Fabio Carvalho to score a 98th-minute winner, sparking a touchline fracas.

At the end of a highly charged affair, Newcastle sports scientist Daniel Hodges appeared to throw a bottle into the Liverpool technical area, prompting the Football Association (FA) to investigate.

The FA subsequently brought charges against both Hodges and Liverpool goalkeeping coach John Achterberg, and it has now been confirmed the men will serve one-match touchline bans.

A statement released on Thursday said: "Coaches from Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC have been banned, fined and warned for breaching FA Rule E3 during their Premier League game on Wednesday 31 August 2022.

"John Achterberg and Daniel Hodges both admitted that their behaviour during the 98th minute was improper, and the Liverpool FC coach also accepted that he used abusive and insulting gestures. 

"An independent Regulatory Commission has fined the Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC coaches £7,000 and £6,000 respectively, banned them from the touchline for one fixture, and warned them as to their future conduct."

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