Aston Villa received a pre-match message from Prince William before their much-needed 1-0 win over Southampton in the Premier League.

Jacob Ramsey's first-half strike was enough to give Villa the home victory on Friday, and manager Steven Gerrard said his players had received a royal message.

Former Liverpool midfielder Gerrard revealed the Prince, who is a fan of the Midlands clubs, had said he would have liked to have been present at Villa Park, but was understandably busy following the recent passing of his grandmother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Speaking at his post-match press conference, Gerrard said: "He messaged in the week, to the club, and that shows everything about what he thinks of this club. For us to reward that with a result and clean sheet, I'm sure he will be proud.

"It was along the lines of 'would love to be there'. He is consistently in touch. He is very supportive of the boys individually, he loves them. It's really impressive, his knowledge, and how much he is in to it.

"It certainly took me back. He is very much involved in Villa. For him to message in the situation he is in is really impressive."

The win in the largely forgettable contest was just Villa's second of the season, moving them up to 13th in the Premier League table.

"Where we were before the game, in terms of our league position, it was about the result," Gerrard added. "It wasn't pretty or stylish, but was all about resilience, guts, character and owning the pitch."

Todd Boehly's suggestion for the creation of a Premier League 'All-Star' game attracted plenty of ridicule, but he certainly can't be accused of a lack of vision or creativity.

The new Chelsea co-owner – and chairman and interim sporting director – was speaking at a conference on Tuesday when he proposed the Premier League 'Americanised' (or should that be 'Americanized'?) itself a bit.

A relegation play-off tournament between the bottom four teams was one idea; but the other, which attracted most of the headlines, was for a North v South 'All-Star' game, pointing out Major League Baseball (MLB) in his native United States made $200million from such an event this year.

A potential Premier League 'All-Stars' game was the talk of football media on Tuesday, so at Stats Perform we decided to have a look at who might line up for the North and South.

It was decided the north-south cut-off point would see Nottingham Forest qualify for the North, ensuring each All-Stars team had 10 clubs to select from.

First up, we have unrestricted squads, so essentially the very best teams possible; then, we have squads that are limited to three players from each club and every single Premier League must have at least a single player selected. So, without any further ado, let's see who made the cut…

NORTH ALL-STARS (unrestricted)

4-3-3: Ederson (Manchester City); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool); Rodri (Manchester City), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Phil Foden (Manchester City); Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Erling Haaland (Manchester City), Luis Diaz (Liverpool).

SUBS: Alisson (Liverpool), Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Joao Cancelo (Manchester City), Raphael Varane (Manchester United), Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Fabinho (Liverpool), Casemiro (Manchester United), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United).

You knew the starting XI was going to look like that even before reading, didn't you? Manchester City and Liverpool obviously dominated the first team here, but it feels difficult to argue with almost any selection here.

The goalkeeper choice was probably the toughest, but only because Ederson and Alisson are both so strong and simultaneously significantly better than any other eligible shot stoppers in terms of their all-round game – Ederson ultimately got the nod owing to 13 more clean sheets over the past three-and-a-bit years, but either could've got the gig.

Similarly in defence, many of the North's options pick themselves. The centre-backs, Van Dijk and Dias, have each won the Premier League Player of the Season award in the past four years, while Alexander-Arnold and Robertson have at least 12 most assists than any other defender since the start of the 2019-20 season.

While the defence had a distinctively Liverpool look to it, City dominate the midfield because… well, they tend to dominate the midfield. Rodri provides the control and defensive protection, while Foden and De Bruyne can wreak havoc going forward and towards the flanks.

Salah and Haaland were obvious picks in attack. The Egyptian has been involved in 96 goals (66 scored, 30 assisted) since the start of the 2019-20 season, more than anyone else, while Haaland is arguably the most in-form striker in world football, having already netted 12 times in seven games for City.

Luis Diaz was perhaps the most uncertain one, but he's quickly become a key figure at Liverpool. His ability to cut inside or head for the byline makes him an unpredictable asset, and he's something of a double threat in terms of goals and creativity.

Cristiano Ronaldo's appearance on the bench owes much to his solid goal-scoring form last season.

SOUTHERN ALL-STARS (unrestricted)

4-2-3-1: Hugo Lloris (Tottenham); Reece James (Chelsea), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal); Declan Rice (West Ham), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea); Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Son Heung-min (Tottenham); Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal).

SUBS: Edouard Mendy (Chelsea), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Marc Cucurella (Chelsea), Jorginho (Chelsea), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Martin Odegaard (Arsenal), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Ivan Toney (Brentford).

This team has it all. A World Cup-winning goalkeeper, a defence with an ideal blend of youth and experience, a combative midfield and four world-class attackers.

Lloris gets the nod in net. He's been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in the league since his arrival from Lyon 10 years ago, and based on Opta's expected goals on target (xGOT) conceded metric, Lloris has prevented 3.8 goals since the start of the 2020-21 season, significantly better than his South All-Stars back-up, Chelsea's Edouard Mendy (-3.8).

Chelsea star James is the right-back, with his 16 goal contributions (six goals, 10 assists) since the start of last season topping the charts for a defender. Koulibaly and Romero are a formidable centre-back pairing, while Zinchenko has four Premier League titles to his name from his time at Manchester City.

James and Zinchenko are brilliant attacking full-backs, but the defence will need screening, and that is where Kante and Rice come into their own. Both super ball-winners, Kante's relentless energy will be complemented by Rice's ability on the ball, as he has demonstrated at West Ham.

That midfield protection will be needed, with a four-pronged attack ready to lay waste to the North's defence.

Sterling might not have made a flying start at Chelsea but is the best pick on the right wing, with Son – who shared the league's golden boot award last season – on the opposite wing. Kane will play a slightly deeper role, behind Jesus, who has had more touches in the opposition box (66), attempted more dribbles (34), more dribbles in the box (8) and won more fouls (21) than any other player in the Premier League this season.

NORTHERN ALL-STARS (restricted)

4-2-3-1: Jordan Pickford (Jordan Pickford); Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Vigil van Dijk (Liverpool), Ruben Dias (Manchester City), Andrew Robertson (Liverpool); Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City); Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United), Pedro Neto (Wolves); Erling Haaland (Manchester City).

SUBS: Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa), Diego Carlos (Aston Villa), Lisandro Martinez (Manchester United), Renan Lodi (Nottingham Forest), James Maddison (Leicester City), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City), Jack Harrison (Leeds United), Antony Gordon (Everton), Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United).

Our self-imposed restrictions of no more than three players from a given team gives the North All-Stars a distinctly different feel – nevertheless, Van Dijk, Dias, Robertson, De Bruyne, Salah and Haaland retain their places, for obvious reasons.

Probably the biggest casualty is Alexander-Arnold, but the North benefits from having another excellent forward-thinking option at right-back in Trippier, while Jordan Pickford starts between the posts – David de Gea was another option here, but the England international is better with his feet.

Bruno Guimaraes comes into the midfield, offering a valuable combination of bite and craft, while Fernandes will take up the number 10 position with De Bruyne dropping a little deeper – this shouldn't stifle the team's creativity too much given the Belgian is the only player with more chances created (239) than Fernandes (224) since the latter's Premier League debut.

The other new face in attack is Pedro Neto. Perhaps a wildcard choice, but the Portugal international is an exciting winger with lots of pace and trickery. While Salah will cut in off the opposite flank, Neto looks to get crosses into the box, and that could be an effective route to goal knowing the predatory instincts Haaland has.

Again, Ronaldo is held back in reserve.

SOUTHERN ALL-STARS (restricted)

4-3-3: Robert Sanchez (Brighton and Hove Albion); Reece James (Chelsea), Cristian Romero (Tottenham), Joachim Andersen (Crystal Palace), Oleksandr Zinchenko (Arsenal); James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Declan Rice (West Ham), Mason Mount (Chelsea); Raheem Sterling (Chelsea), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Son Heung-min (Tottenham).

SUBS: Neto (Bournemouth), Ben Mee (Brentford), Tariq Lamptey (Brighton and Hove Albion), Joao Palhinha (Fulham), Lucas Paqueta (West Ham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace), Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford).

Robert Sanchez has been a standout performer for Brighton under the now Chelsea boss Graham Potter, and he replaces Lloris now the restrictions have come into play. He has kept 24 league clean sheets since making his debut in November 2020, which trails only four other goalkeepers.

James, Romero and Zinchenko all keep their places in defence, though Koulibaly does not. He makes way for Joachim Andersen, who has been excellent since signing for Crystal Palace in 2021.

We have switched to a midfield three for this side, with Rice staying in the team but playing a deeper, anchoring role. Alongside him are two new faces in the form of England team-mates Ward-Prowse and Mount. Both provide energy and creativity in abundance.

Ward-Prowse's set-piece quality – no midfielder has scored more goals or created more chances from set plays since the start of last season as the Southampton captain – is a huge threat, while Mount has contributed to 21 league goals since the beginning of 2021-22.

Jesus is the unlucky striker to drop out of the starting XI, though he is on the bench, with Sterling, Kane and Son leading the line.

Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers has warned Graham Potter he can expect a "different pressure" at Chelsea but believes it is a "fantastic move".

Potter has been named as Thomas Tuchel's successor at Stamford Bridge, following the axing of the Champions League-winning boss on Wednesday.

New Blues owner Todd Boehly has been extremely active since taking over from Roman Abramovich, splashing vast amounts of money in the transfer market, and has now made his first managerial appointment.

Chelsea received permission from Brighton and Hove Albion to speak to Potter on Wednesday and confirmation of his appointment followed on Thursday.

Rodgers, who has experience in high-pressure clubs following his time with Liverpool, has told Potter he will encounter different challenges than his time at Brighton but feels it is the right move.

"It's a different pressure," Rodgers said in the press conference ahead of Saturday's clash with Aston Villa.

"He's done fantastic at Brighton, they've really developed. They're strategically well run behind the scenes. 

"It's that next step and it will be a fantastic move for him."

Premier League champions Manchester City may be willing to do more business in January.

Pep Guardiola's side added Erling Haaland, Kalvin Phillips, Sergio Gomez and Manuel Akanji in the last transfer window.

But City may be looking to further strengthen their squad amid a chaotic schedule in 2022-23.

TOP STORY – CITY CONSIDERING KROOS MOVE IN JANUARY

Manchester City are plotting a January move for Real Madrid midfielder Toni Kroos, according to El Nacional.

The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of this season and he has rejected Madrid's offer of an extension.

As a result, Los Blancos may consider selling Kroos in January and Pep Guardiola is a long-time admirer.

ROUND-UP

Galatasaray are set to clinch a loan deal to sign Paris Saint-Germain forward Mauro Icardi, reports Fabrizio Romano. The final details of the move are being discussed, with Icardi set to undergo a medical in Turkey soon. The Turkish transfer window closes on Thursday.

– After being heavily pursued prior to the transfer window closing, Aston Villa's Brazilian midfielder Douglas Luiz is planning to leave the club when his contract expires at the end of this season, according to UOL.

– The Telegraph reports that Wolves will consider signing ex-Newcastle United forward Andy Carroll should their move for Diego Costa collapse. Carroll is a free agent after leaving West Bromwich Albion.

– Southampton's Nathan Redmond will fly to Turkey to complete a move to Besiktas on a one-year deal, claims Fabrizio Romano.

Athletic Bilbao forward Inaki Williams has been called up by Ghana for the first time, as the Black Stars look to finalise plans for the Qatar 2022 World Cup.

The Spain-born attacker is eligible through his parents, who hail from the nation's capital Accra, and his inclusion comes after he made himself available in July for this month's friendlies with Brazil and Nicaragua.

Williams is a former Spain international, but with just one friendly cap to his name, against Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2016, the 28-year-old was able to switch his allegiance.

Ghana qualified for their fourth World Cup appearance earlier this year after edging Nigeria on away goals in the CAF play-offs.

Other inclusions include Southampton's Mohammed Salisu, who reportedly refused previous call-ups, and Brighton and Hove Albion's Tariq Lamptey, a former England youth international.

The Black Stars will feature in Group H at Qatar 2022, and will face Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay.

The upcoming friendies see them play Brazil in Le Havre, France, on September 23, before the Nicaragua game follows in Larca, Spain, four days later.

Chelsea were one of the big spenders during the transfer window with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headlining their deadline-day business.

The Blues also signed Wesley Fofana and Denis Zakaria over the past week after losing several key players.

Chelsea have started the new Premier League season with mixed results, with Saturday's 2-1 win over West Ham improving their record to 10 points from six games.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA LODGED AUDACIOUS DEADLINE DAY LAVIA BID

Chelsea tried to sign Belgium youth international Romeo Lavia from Southampton on deadline day less than two months after he joined the Saints from Manchester City, reports the Daily Echo.

The Blues were one of the big spenders late in the transfer window, and submitted a £50million proposal for the 18-year-old midfielder.

Southampton rejected the proposal having signed Lavia from City for £12m in July. City retain a buy-back clause for Lavia who has played five times for Southampton this season.

ROUND-UP

– El Nacional reports Arsenal attempted to sign Barcelona's Ferran Torres with an audacious €30m bid before the close of the transfer window on Thursday. The Spaniard joined Barca from Manchester City in January but has not been a regular starter and the Gunners tried to convince the Catalans to let him go.

Tottenham tried to sign Ukrainian midfielder Ruslan Malinovskyi from Atalanta but the Serie A club refused to sell him, claims Fabrizio Romano. Spurs may re-open the situation in January.

Besiktas are in discussions with Sassuolo's Turkey international centre-back Kaan Ayhan about a move to Turkey according to Ajansspor. The Turkish transfer window is open until September 8.

– L'Equipe claims that former Everton and Lille full-back Djibril Sidibe will join Greek club AEK Athens , having left Monaco when his contract expired at the end of last season.

 

The transfer window has been gently eased shut, and there were plenty of last-minute deals to keep fans across Europe captivated.

Southampton were busy, adding Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Duje Caleta-Car to their ranks, among others, while Barcelona allowed Martin Braithwaite to join Espanyol on a free transfer and sold Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Chelsea.

As the seconds ticked down, clubs dotted their i's, crossed their t's and blew the dust off their fax machines, and here is just some of what took place in the closing hours.

Busy Saints bring in four, lose one

As far as the Premier League goes, it was Southampton who got up to the most activity in the final moments, signing Maitland-Niles on loan from Arsenal and Caleta-Car permanently from Marseille on a four-year deal, as well as adding two Manchester City youngsters in Juan Larios and Sam Edozie. They let defender Yan Valery to Ligue 1 side Angers.

Brighton and Hove Albion completed the signing of Billy Gilmour from Chelsea and released Romanian striker Florin Andone, while Chelsea let Ethan Ampadu join Serie A side Spezia on loan and finally allowed Kenedy to depart Stamford Bridge after seven years to join Real Valladolid in LaLiga.

Carlos Vinicius returned to the Premier League after a loan spell with Tottenham in 2020-21, having joined Fulham from Benfica on a permanent deal. The Cottagers also completed a loan deal for Leeds United winger Daniel James.

The Whites were frustrated in their attempts to sign Bamba Dieng from Marseille, but instead clinched a deal for Italian youngster Wilfried Gnonto from FC Zurich for an undisclosed fee.

Nottingham Forest added signings number 20 and 21 of the window in Josh Bowler from Blackpool and Loic Bade from Rennes, with free agent Serge Aurier potentially making it 22, though a reported late move for Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi failed to materialise.

Jan Bednarek had been linked with a move to West Ham earlier in the day but ended up leaving Southampton on loan to another team in claret and blue as Aston Villa brought in the Polish defender.

Brooks was here, now he's in Lisbon

On the continent, Benfica completed the signing of American defender John Brooks from Wolfsburg, while Maxi Gomez left Valencia for Turkish side Trabzonspor.

Los Che brought in a replacement for Gomez in Justin Kluivert on loan from Roma after his move to Fulham fell through due to work permit issues.

In France, highly rated forward Amine Gouiri swapped Nice for Rennes in a reported club-record fee apparently worth €28million, while Lille secured a loan deal for Everton midfielder Andre Gomes.

As well as signing Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin and losing Braithwaite, Barcelona also said goodbye on a temporary basis to Ez Abde, who joined Osasuna on loan.

Deadline day has seen major transfers aplenty, with clubs across Europe pushing to complete final pieces of business before the window slams shut until 2023.

Barcelona have terminated Martin Braithwaite's contract, the forward widely expected to join Espanyol, while in France, Abdou Diallo completed a switch to RB Leipzig to begin an exodus from Paris Saint-Germain.

Further deals for both clubs are also on the cards, with a frantic end to the window expected in the final hours.

Premier League's power push

PSG's exodus was of benefit to English sides, Fulham signing Layvin Kurzawa on loan and Everton bringing Idrissa Gueye back to Merseyside three years after he left for the French capital. Gueye said: "There is no better feeling than coming back home. I've followed the team every week and watched how they play. For me, there is no better place than Everton so that's why I chose to come back here."

Fulham have also signed former Chelsea and Arsenal playmaker Willian on a free transfer.

Nottingham Forest hit number 19 for the window, drafting in Willy Boly from Wolves, while Southampton saw Jack Stephens move across the south coast to join Bournemouth on loan.

Arsenal's quest for a new midfielder has seen attention turn to Aston Villa's Douglas Luiz, though the Gunners face a stern test with bids reportedly rebuffed from the side they defeated 2-1 on Wednesday.

Chelsea look set to bring one of the long-running sagas of the window to a close, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang poised to join from Barcelona. Marcos Alonso is expected to move to Camp Nou as part of that deal and the Blues may sell Billy Gilmour to Brighton and Hove Albion.

One player not on the move, however, was Joao Pedro as he confirmed he would remain at Watford amid reported interest from Newcastle United and Everton.

Europe's eye for business

On the continent, Julian Weigl moved to Borussia Monchengladbach on loan from Benfica. 

Free agent Florian Grillitsch has joined Ajax, who are said to have turned down approaches from Chelsea and Everton for Edson Alvarez and Mohammed Kudus respectively.

Krzysztof Piatek also departed Germany, leaving Hertha Berlin for Serie A side Salertina, and was followed to Italy by Aster Vranckx, joining Milan on loan from Wolfsburg.

The Serie A champions are not yet finished, with an announcement confirming the capture of Sergino Dest from Barcelona expected imminently.

In Spain, Luca Zidane, son of Zinedine Zidane, joined second-tier outfit Eibar on a free transfer following his exit from Rayo Vallecano and Ilaix Moriba joined Valencia on loan from Leipzig, with Gennaro Gattuso's side also closing in on signing Justin Kluivert from Roma following the collapse of a proposed move to the Premier League.

Real Sociedad were also in on the late action, landing forward Umar Sadiq from Tenerife, the Nigerian likely to be a replacement for Alexander Isak.

Manchester United and Manchester City got deals over the line early on deadline day – but there was plenty of time still to go before the transfer market closed.

The Premier League north-west giants strengthened, with United sealing the big-money signing of Ajax winger Antony and City adding another asset in Manuel Akanji from Borussia Dortmund.

Many others were looking to do business in the market before time ran out.

Premier League teams race to wrap up big deals

As well as Antony moving to United for a fee thought to be around £81.3million (€95m), and Akanji fortifying City's defensive ranks, a host of their English rivals were also pushing to bring in new faces.

Liverpool looked set to bring in Brazil midfielder Arthur from Juventus on loan for the season.

With Wesley Fofana having made the leap to Chelsea, Leicester City found a replacement in Belgian defender Wout Faes who arrived from Reims on a five-year deal.

That will be a move that sets the Foxes back around £15million, but manager Brendan Rodgers will hope the 24-year-old can help to revive their struggling season.

Southampton had been pursuing a move for PSV Eindhoven's Cody Gakpo, but while their approach has been reportedly rebuffed, Saints have parted company with Oriol Romeu.

The Spaniard returns home to LaLiga, joining Girona for an undisclosed fee after seven years at St Mary's.

European markets busy in early trading

Barcelona were expected to be busy later in the day, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang looking set to join Chelsea and Martin Braithwaite reportedly close to signing for Espanyol.

Sevilla secured a loan move for Kasper Dolberg from Nice, with the Denmark forward looking to secure his place in the national squad ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. That followed Sevilla loaning Lucas Ocampos to Ajax on Wednesday, and the LaLiga side signing free agent Adnan Januzaj.

Ligue 1 side Troyes announced the signing of Manchester City's Colombian forward Marlos Moreno on a two-year deal.

Chelsea are expected to be one of the major players on deadline day, having completed a deal for Wesley Fofana on Wednesday.

The Blues have been one of the big spenders during the transfer window and owner Todd Boehly is eager to bolster his squad after a slow start to the season.

Barcelona forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been linked with the Blues, along with Anthony Gordon, although Everton boss Frank Lampard insists he is not for sale.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA OFFERED CHANCE TO SIGN PSG'S NEYMAR

The Daily Mail claims Chelsea have been offered the chance to sign Neymar, but the Times reports that Paris Saint-Germain are now refusing to sell him in an apparent U-turn.

The 30-year-old Brazil international had been linked with a move away from Paris during the off-season, although nothing substantial materialised.

Chelsea were approached about Neymar, with PSG potentially open to letting him go as they seek to avoid any issues with UEFA's Financial Fair Play guidelines.

ROUND-UP

Chelsea have made a €50 million (£43m) bid for Ajax centre-back Edson Alvarez, according to the Telegraaf. The Blues have already added Fofana but want more reinforcements, with the Mexican able to also play in midfield.

Chelsea are also interested in Aubameyang, with Fabrizio Romano claiming negotiations are progressing with Marcos Alonso involved in a deal with Barcelona. The Blues have also been linked with Milan's Rafael Leao, according to The Times.

– Mundo Deportivo reports that Barcelona and Inter have agreed to a deal for full-back Jordi Alba to join the Nerazzurri on loan. The deal is on the basis that Robin Gosens leaves Inter for Bayer Leverkusen.

Milan are set to win the race to sign Barcelona's Sergino Dest, beating out interest from Manchester United, claims Gianluca Di Marzio. Dest will join the Rossoneri on a season-long loan with the option of a permanent deal.

Newcastle United are in the race to sign Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans, claims the Mail. Arsenal are also interested in the Belgium international.

Fulham have submitted a bid for Blackburn's Chile international Ben Brereton Diaz according to The Athletic. Rovers boss Jon Dahl Tomasson has said he would cost a lot of money, with Fulham's offer not disclosed.

– PSV have opted against selling 23-year-old Netherlands international Cody Gakpo amid interest from Leeds United and Southampton, reports The Athletic.

Chelsea are looking to make another massive long-term investment, with reports they are aggressively moving for 20-year-old RB Leipzig defender Josko Gvardiol in a deal that would cost £77.4million (€90m).

Gvardiol, who has 10 senior international caps for Croatia to his name, has established himself as one of the most exciting young defenders in Germany.

He has been linked to a host of elite clubs, but Chelsea appear to be at the front of the queue and would allow the centre-back to stay at Leipzig until next year.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA PLAN ANOTHER CENTRE-BACK SPLURGE FOR GVARDIOL

The Stamford Bridge club have made a number of big defensive signings in this window, with Kalidou Koulibaly and Marc Cucurella set to be followed by Wesley Fofana.

Koulibaly is 31, though, and has joined veteran Thiago Silva at the heart of the defence, explaining why Chelsea may already be looking at a succession plan.

Fabrizio Romano says the Blues are "in advanced talks" with Leipzig over a deal that would be completed now but only see Gvardiol make the move in 2023.

ROUND-UP

– PSV forward Cody Gakpo appears destined for the Premier League, with The Telegraph reporting Everton, Leeds United and Southampton are all interested in a player believed to be valued around £30m.

– The Telegraph has named a list of potential Fulham targets, including former Chelsea winger Willian, Paris Saint-Germain defender Layvin Kurzawa, Roma winger Justin Kluivert and Marseille forward Bamba Dieng

– The Daily Mail is reporting Brighton and Hove Albion are investigating a move for Billy Gilmour, although Chelsea's lack of depth in midfield could complicate matters.

– Aston Villa forward Douglas Luiz has some high-profile admirers, with Matheus Leal reporting Liverpool have submitted a £20m bid, and The Telegraph adds Atletico Madrid are also prepared to make the same offer.

Leicester City are negotiating a deal for their potential Fofana replacement in 24-year-old Reims centre-back Wout Faes, believed to be worth £17.2m, according to the Daily Mail.

Chelsea continued their frustrating start to the Premier League season with a disappointing loss at Southampton – which had previously been a happy hunting ground.

The Blues took an early lead but could not hold off a Southampton comeback, leaving Thomas Tuchel's side with just two wins from their opening five league games.

Brighton and Hove Albion's unbeaten start came to an end against Fulham at Craven Cottage, Crystal Palace conceded a late equaliser against Brentford, while Leeds United and Everton shared the spoils in a fiery 1-1 draw at Elland Road.

Here, Stats Perform unpacks the pick of the data from Tuesday's fixtures in the English top flight.

Southampton 2-1 Chelsea: Sterling delivers but Saints finally sink Blues at home

Romeo Lavia and Adam Armstrong cancelled out Raheem Sterling's opener as Southampton beat Chelsea at home in the Premier League for the first time since March 2013.

Saints were winless in nine games at St Mary's against Chelsea in the competition and would have feared a familiar fate after Sterling poked home in the 23rd minute.

That marked the forward's 169th goal involvement (112 goals, 57 assists) in the top flight, a tally bettered by only Harry Kane (230) Sergio Aguero (209 and Jamie Vardy (175) since Sterling made his debut in March 2012.

But Lavia soon hit back as he became the fourth youngest Southampton player to score in the Premier League, with the recent arrival aged just 18 years and 236 days.

A smart Armstrong finish then inflicted consecutive top-flight away defeats on Chelsea for the first time under Tuchel, who may have reasons for concern after an underwhelming start to the new campaign.

Indeed, Chelsea (W2 D1 L2) have lost two or more of their first five games in a Premier League season for just the second time this century. The last time it happened, they finished 10th in 2015-16 after opening with three losses in five games.

Fulham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Mitrovic ends Seagulls' flying start

Brighton headed to Craven Cottage unbeaten in nine league games, winning six of those, but were undone by Aleksandar Mitrovic and a Lewis Dunk own goal.

Mitrovic continued his fine form in front of goal for his 48th-minute opener, scoring for a fourth time in the Premier League against the Seagulls, more than he has managed against any other side in the competition.

The Serbian's strike also marked his 100th league goal in Fulham colours before Dunk turned into his own net – his sixth Premier League own goal, more than any other player since the start of the 2016-17 season.

Richard Dunne (10), Martin Skrtel (7), Phil Jagielka (7) and Jamie Carragher (7) are the only players to find their own net more in Premier League history than Dunk, who endured a night to forget.

Alexis Mac Allister offered brief hope of sparing Dunk's blushes with a penalty, but Fulham held on to reach eight points from five games, their best start to a top-flight season since the 2012-13 term (nine points).

Crystal Palace 1-1 Brentford: Zaha-reliant Eagles suffer more London derby frustration

Wilfried Zaha continued to carry the hopes of Selhurst Park on his shoulders, but his curling effort was not enough to see Palace to a rare London derby victory.

The Ivory Coast international found the top-right corner in the 59th minute to open the scoring, his 13th goal in 20 appearances in the Premier League in 2022, as many as he managed in his previous 45 games in the competition.

Zaha has also scored six of Palace’s last seven home league goals, but the Eagles could not hold out for what would have been just a third win in their last 20 top-flight London derbies.

Yoane Wissa denied Palace in the 88th minute with a fourth league goal in his last eight games on the road.

Brentford have now avoided defeat in five of their last eight Premier League games where they conceded first (W2 D3 L3), while Palace have won just one of their last five when opening the scoring in the league.

Leeds 1-1 Everton: Lampard's men let another lead slip

Everton remain winless this season in the Premier League (D3 L2), despite taking the lead at Elland Road through Anthony Gordon. Expecting Everton to hold a lead has become a fool's game.

Luis Sinisterra's leveller means that since Frank Lampard's first league game in charge of Everton in February, only Leicester (16) and Wolves (14) have dropped more points from winning positions than the Toffees (13).

Leeds would have seen this as an opportunity to put three more points on the board, but at least their unbeaten run at home continues. They have earned eight points from their last four league games at Elland Road (W2 D2), which is as many as they had mustered from their previous 11 (W2 D2 L7).

Will Gordon stay with Everton beyond Thursday's transfer deadline, or could the links to Chelsea see him move on? He has now scored two goals in his last two Premier League games, having netted just four in his first 52 appearances. His last two strikes have been away from home, with each of his first four coming at Goodison Park.

Thomas Tuchel declared Chelsea must improve "as fast as possible" after claiming "it does not take a lot" to beat the Blues at present after their underwhelming Premier League start continued at  Southampton.

Chelsea took the lead through Raheem Sterling on Tuesday, but goals from Romeo Lavia and Adam Armstrong turned the contest on its head as Southampton secured a 2-1 success.

Having been thrashed 3-0 by Leeds United on their last road trip, Chelsea have now suffered back-to-back away league defeats for the first time since December 2020.

Tuchel, meanwhile, has suffered consecutive league losses on the road for the first time since he was coaching Paris Saint-Germain in August 2019.

After Southampton moved level with the disjointed Blues in the early-season Premier League table, Tuchel was at a loss to explain their troubles.

"I don't know if concerned is the word, I absolutely dislike to lose and it's the second time in the season, very early," he told BT Sport.

"I think it does not take a lot to beat us. This is what I don't like. We are humble enough to understand that we can lose matches and of course, away matches.

"We don't like it and we try to win every match but the way we do this is something we need to understand as fast as possible and to change.

"It's difficult, I don't know why, we start well in all the games almost, and obviously we struggle with our focus and consistency in matches.

"It's not enough to play 20 minutes good, we did the same in Leeds. Then one thing goes against us, and we struggle to find answers and fight our way back if things don't go in our direction."

Meanwhile, Sterling has now scored each of Chelsea's last three goals, and while Tuchel is concerned by his team-mates' attacking struggles, he emphasised the importance of rediscovering their defensive composure. 

"It is what it is and it's the reality. We played with four offensive players now many, many times," Tuchel said.

"I think in the first 20 minutes we created chances, half-chances but we struggled to score, which is also not brand new for us and does not necessarily need to have the consequence that you lose matches.

"You can also win 1-0 or 2-0 with a late goal, so no problem. But then you need to have a clean sheet, you need to be more focused. 

"The amount of individual errors, the lack of concentration is simply too high at the moment to win football matches consistently. We can win, of course, but it's not consistent enough." 

Chelsea were without Reece James due to illness and the injured N'Golo Kante on the south coast before sustaining another blow when Ruben Loftus-Cheek was withdrawn at half-time after suffering discomfort.

Tuchel was visibly frustrated with the injury woes that have hampered Chelsea as he added: "It's a hamstring injury, so the next midfielder is out and nobody is left.

"The recommendation for Mateo Kovacic was 20 minutes, we made 45 out of it. That's the situation.

"I also don't understand why we are in this situation regarding the injuries, and the injuries like all players in midfield. But that's the way it is, and we need to find solutions."

Southampton came from behind to stun Chelsea 2-1 as Adam Armstrong's goal dealt Thomas Tuchel's men their second defeat of the Premier League season.

Chelsea hit the front through Raheem Sterling after 23 minutes, but Romeo Lavia's powerful long-range strike dragged Southampton level five minutes later before Armstrong put the hosts ahead on the stroke of half-time.

With Reece James missing through illness, Chelsea struggled to create throughout a disjointed performance, and Kai Havertz squandered their best chance to level after the break.

The result saw Ralph Hasenhuttl's men draw level with Chelsea in the early Premier League table after a lively display, as the Blues' unconvincing start to the campaign continued.

Sterling produced a tame attempt when presented with Chelsea's first chance 13 minutes in, but he made amends to hand the Blues the lead, turning to poke home at the second attempt following good work from Mason Mount.

Chelsea's lead did not last long, however, with Lavia latching onto Havertz's clearance to open his Premier League account in spectacular fashion by drilling a vicious 18-yard strike past Edouard Mendy.

Southampton then hit the front through a well-worked goal as half-time approached, Armstrong controlling Romain Perraud's cross before composing himself and firing into Mendy's top-left corner.

Marc Cucurella kept Chelsea in the contest with an incredible goal-line block from Mohamed Elyounoussi's header after the break, before Havertz headed over from six yards when left unmarked as he met Cesar Azpilicueta's cross.

That represented Chelsea's clearest opportunity to find a leveller, with Thiago Silva forced to clear Mohammed Salisu's 73rd-minute header off the line as Saints went close to a third.

What does it mean? Away-day blues continue for Tuchel

Chelsea never looked entirely comfortable on the south coast despite taking an early lead, and the meek loss means they have lost consecutive Premier League away matches for the first time since December 2020 under Frank Lampard.

Tuchel, meanwhile, has been dealt his first back-to-back league losses on the road since he was coaching Paris Saint-Germain in August 2019, and his attentions will now turn to attracting much-required reinforcements before the transfer deadline.

Sterling shows his value

Having fired Chelsea to a hard-fought victory over Leicester City last time out, Sterling maintained his strong start at Stamford Bridge by opening the scoring.

Since Sterling made his Premier League debut for Liverpool in March 2012, he has 169 goal involvements in the competition, putting him level with Mohamed Salah with the joint-fourth highest tally in that time.

Armstrong ends drought

Armstrong had endured a long wait for a Premier League goal, with his composed strike marking his first time on the scoresheet in 18 games since he netted against Aston Villa last November.

The striker has only scored three times in 43 appearances in the competition overall, and Tuesday's strike is sure to be remembered as his most crucial to date.

What's next?

Chelsea welcome West Ham to Stamford Bridge for a London derby on Saturday, while Southampton go to Wolves on the same day.

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag could not be certain Cristiano Ronaldo will still be at the club after next week's transfer deadline.

Ronaldo returned to Old Trafford a year ago and, although he finished the 2021-22 season as United's top scorer with 18 Premier League goals, he could not prevent the club having a dreadful campaign.

United registered their worst points tally in Premier League history and failed to record a positive goal difference for the first time in over 30 years.

As a result, United comfortably missed out on Champions League qulification for this season, which seemed to be the root of widespread pre-season reports suggesting Ronaldo wanted to leave.

He was linked with several clubs, including Bayern Munich, Chelsea, Napoli and Atletico Madrid, but no move materialised and he eventually linked up with Ten Hag's squad towards the end of pre-season after missing their tour of Australia and Thailand.

Although there are reportedly no clubs currently interested in him, uncertainty stoked by press speculation continues to cloud Ronaldo's future; and while Ten Hag says he wants the Portugal striker to stay, he was hardly convincing when asked if that will be the case.

Speaking following Saturday's 1-0 win at Southampton, during which Ronaldo endured an error-strewn second-half cameo, Ten Hag said: "We plan with him. So we want him to stay. So that is what we want."

Ten Hag was then asked if Ronaldo would definitely remain if he wanted him to stay, and the Dutchman looked unsure as he hesitated to answer.

With something of a shrug, he replied: "I hope so."

The transfer window closes on Thursday, and United are expected to be active in the market before then.

Ajax's Antony and Cody Gakpo of PSV are the two attackers who have been most prominently linked with United in recent weeks, with the former publicly pleading for his club to sell him on Friday.

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