Thomas Tuchel has challenged Callum Hudson-Odoi to have the same impact from the bench as he does when starting games for Chelsea, though insists there is no issue between the pair. 

Hudson-Odoi came on as a substitute at the start of the second half as the Blues trailed 1-0 at Southampton on Saturday, only to then be taken off himself as he made way for Hakim Ziyech in the 76th minute. 

Mason Mount's penalty pulled the Blues level at St Mary's Stadium, but the decision taken by Tuchel to replace the replacement was the major talking point from a game that finished 1-1. 

The former Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund coach explained the England international was not "sharp enough" during his time on the pitch, but was his criticism fair? Even Tuchel admitted afterwards that it may have been an unfair call. 

"You cannot play at 99 per cent, it's not possible. You play in the Premier League, and it's our standard to ourselves, to be 100 per cent sharp," Tuchel told the media.  

"I did not feel it with Callum. Maybe it's unfair, maybe I misjudged him. But it was my feeling on the sideline when he played close to me.   

"I did not feel him sharp enough, did not feel he was really into this game like everyone else.   

"I took a hard decision on him, yes, but it is the decision for today, for the game. There is no need to worry for him, I trust him a lot.   

"He has had some very, very good games, both mentality wise and in terms of effort when he started, two not-so-good games when he came on from the bench. Let's improve together."

Hudson-Odoi did have a limited impact on proceedings when sent on against Southampton, completing seven of his 10 attempted passes while failing to create a chance or take a shot during his brief outing. 

The 20-year-old has started five of Tuchel's seven games in all competitions and starred in the home win over Burnley in particular, setting up a goal and creating four chances in total.  

While not quite able to provide the same threat in the following game, when he featured for just over an hour at Tottenham, Hudson-Odoi did seem to make a difference when coming on as a sub in the 2-1 triumph over Sheffield United, laying on two opportunities as he completed all 13 of his attempted passes during a 28-minute cameo. 

Still, Tuchel clearly wants more consistency when utilising Hudson-Odoi from the bench, though made clear what happened on Saturday will have an impact on the player in the future. 

"It's absolutely not a big thing for me, and hopefully not for Callum," Tuchel said. "I talked to him and talked to the whole group, this is sometimes possible and not a big thing. 

"If you want to make it that, and people want to talk like it's a big thing, then it's like that, but for me it's not a big thing. 

"It's on Callum to show that he's a reliable guy from the bench, like he is when he starts – and he starts a lot.   

"You cannot even create the slightest cut between me and Callum. It takes a hard decision; swallow it, then be there for tomorrow when you have all chance to start against Atletico."

Chelsea face a tough run of fixtures in the coming weeks, starting with Atletico Madrid in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.

They then host Manchester United in league action at Stamford Bridge next Sunday, followed by a trip to Anfield to take on struggling champions Liverpool on March 4.

Manchester United's opening-day 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace was a chastening reminder of the team's frailties, but there was a somewhat surprising voice behind the subsequent call-to-action for the club's hierarchy.

Luke Shaw provided undoubtedly the most honest assessment of the situation among United players, this from a player who had rarely come across as a natural leader during his time at the club.

"We have a very good group, but personally I think we need more players to strengthen the squad," he told Norway's TV2. "It can give us a boost. When you look around at how other teams are strengthening their teams, then we must also do it to keep up with the others."

Perhaps the fact he wasn't speaking to a British outlet resulted in a more relaxed, open response from Shaw, who then also went on to criticise their pre-season.

But it was a new, authoritative look for a player who has always seemingly preferred to keep away from the media spotlight, and few United fans would have disagreed with him.

What happened next, however, he probably didn't expect – among the four players signed on deadline day in October was a new left-back, a Brazil international with the kind of attack-minded profile many had hoped Shaw would develop at United.

While Shaw definitely showed signs of progress in 2019-20, Alex Telles' arrival was the clearest sign that his position was no longer assured – he needed to respond.

 

A SHAW THING

The fact Telles has made just six Premier League starts in his debut season at Old Trafford is as good a starting point as any when highlighting Shaw's improved standing, and in fairness to the new signing, he's hardly put a foot wrong.

Telles has looked a solid acquisition and certainly fits the bill as a forward-thinking full-back who is also capable defensively, but Shaw has reached a level he has arguably never shown before in his career.

As an attacking outlet, Shaw's output has improved almost across the board, as such he has made himself almost undroppable.

 

His five assists is already a personal high for a Premier League season, having only managed seven in total before 2020-21, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. He is creating 2.3 chances per 90 minutes, which is up from one last term and well clear of his previous best of 1.2 each game for an entire campaign.

Undoubtedly one reason for that is the fact he is taking more set-pieces, yet his average of 1.4 open play chances created per 90 minutes remains a frequency he has never matched before over the course of a season, proving his increased familiarity with dead-ball duties isn't skewing the data.

A quick glance at his average position activity maps shows his involvement in the left-hand channel of the attacking third is up on each of the past two seasons, as well as his final year with Southampton.

 

This shows Shaw is embracing greater attacking responsibility, and where that is reflected most is the number of passes (including crosses) he is playing into the box each game (7.4). His last season with Saints had been his best in this regard (4.4), yet he's way up on that, and his productivity here is more than two-and-a-half times what it was in 2019-20 (2.9).

Shaw's early days with Southampton appeared to promise much. Finally, he appears to be back on track, not that it's been smooth sailing.

 

COPING, OUTLASTING, PROGRESSING

Shaw's relationship with Jose Mourinho became something of a distraction at times during the Portuguese's ill-fated reign.

Granted, Shaw wasn't the only player Mourinho seemed to have a problem with, but his treatment of Shaw in particular did leave a sour taste.

In two-and-a-half years playing for Mourinho, Shaw only made 33 Premier League appearances. While he did have injury and fitness problems, the manager's attitude seemingly did little to endear himself to the player.

Mourinho publicly criticised him after a 2016 defeat to Watford, saying: "For the second goal, [Nordin] Amrabat on the right side, our left-back is 25 metres distance from him, instead of five metres. But even at 25 metres, then you have to jump and go press. But no, we wait."

Mourinho then used Shaw's positive performance against Everton in 2017 against him. He said: "He had a good performance, but it was his body with my brain. He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him."

This isn't to say Shaw has been faultless this season. In fact, his defensive focus has been questionable at times in 2020-21, such as against Tottenham and Manchester City, for example.

But it's fair to say the greater attacking impetus he is showing this term compared to under Mourinho means he is more than making up for the occasional defensive lapse, and it's not like he's being beaten time after time – on average Shaw is dribbled past once every two games, the second lowest frequency for a single season in his entire career.

The difference? Well, according to the man himself, belief and competition.

"I feel really good, obviously big credit to Ole for that for believing in me and pushing me," Shaw said last month. "Alex [Telles] as well, we have a great relationship and he pushes me each day in training. We get on really well. It's nice to have that type of competition, but we push each other to get the best from ourselves. When he plays, I want the best for him, and it's the same the other way round. It's a positive way for both of us to look at it and push each other."

 

THE BEST?

There was a time – not even that long ago – when the very suggestion of Shaw being among the Premier League's best full-backs would have drawn a chuckle of derision in response.

Granted, across the four seasons prior to 2020-21, Shaw's best record of open play chances created per 90 minutes was 0.2, but there can be no doubt he is now at least in the conversation.

 

Liverpool's Andy Robertson is generally seen as the standard-bearer for left-backs in England's top flight, and Shaw compares well from an attacking sense with the Scotland international.

Shaw's 40 chances created this term is one more than Robertson, while the latter is just ahead in terms of key passes in open play (29 to 24) – though the United man has made 20 appearances to his rival's 24.

Robertson is proving a more regular source of service, with his 213 passes into the box and 201 total crosses/corners far more than Shaw's respective numbers (129 and 105), but the United left-back's deliveries are far more reliable.

Shaw's 37 successful crosses/corners is just five fewer than Robertson despite playing almost half the amount of overall deliveries.

But what really highlights Shaw's growth is his xA (expected assists) figures. His xA per 90, so the amount of assists he would ordinarily be expected to get per game, is 0.21 in 2020-21. Not only is that better than his previous best by some distance (0.12), Joao Cancelo (0.24) is the only full-back doing better here this term.

 

Shaw has made himself almost indispensable to United, his influence all the more important given Aaron Wan-Bissaka isn't particularly refined as an attacking outlet and they very rarely play with conventional wingers on either flank.

Therefore, Shaw offers the kind of threat from the wings that arguably no one else in the United squad does – and as his xA record shows, he is proving a consistent danger that marks him out as one of the league's best.

After being plagued by questions relating to his mentality for years, it's fair to say he is responding in the ideal fashion, with Telles' signing seemingly an important catalyst.

While it might be a little early to declare him outright the Premier League's best, his current trajectory at least shows that to be a realistic aim.

Everton ended over 21 years of hurt as they beat Liverpool at Anfield for the first time this century in Saturday's headline Premier League game.

That triumph over defending champions Liverpool came after Chelsea had drawn with Southampton, while Burnley and West Brom also shared the spoils at Turf Moor.

In the day's other game, Fulham boosted their survival bid with a 1-0 victory over lowly Sheffield United.

Using Opta data, we look at key facts from the four Premier League games.

LIVERPOOL 0-2 EVERTON: RICHARLISON AND SIGURDSSON SEAL DERBY BRAGGING RIGHTS

Everton picked up their first win over Liverpool in 24 meetings in all competitions (D12 L11) – ending what was Liverpool's longest ever unbeaten run against a single opponent.

Richarlison's third-minute goal was teed up by James Rodriguez, who has provided more assists in all competitions this season than any other player for Everton (eight). It was the Toffees' second-fastest Premier League goal scored against Liverpool, behind only Olivier Dacourt's first-minute strike in April 1999.

Brazil forward Richarlison became only the third Everton player to score in successive Premier League appearances at Anfield for the club, after Tim Cahill in March 2006 and Kevin Campbell in October 2000.

Liverpool dominated possession, with Jordan Pickford making six saves, including standout stops from Jordan Henderson and Mohamed Salah.

Meanwhile, Liverpool have lost four consecutive home league games for only the second time, last doing so back in December 1923 – when they were also defending top-flight champions. The result ended Everton's run of 23 winless Anfield clashes with Liverpool without a win in all competitions (D10 L13) since a 1-0 victory in September 1999.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp has suffered four consecutive league defeats for the first time since November 2014 when he was in charge at Borussia Dortmund, while he has lost four in a row at home in league competition for the very first time in his managerial career.

Gylfi Sigurdsson's penalty settled the contest, and the Iceland playmaker has now scored five away goals against Liverpool in all competitions – more than he has away at any other opponent in his career in England.

SOUTHAMPTON 1-1 CHELSEA: SAINTS HALT LOSING STREAK AS TUCHEL STALLS

Southampton ended a run of six successive Premier League defeats, the club's worst losing run in their league history, as they earned a point against Chelsea.

Blues boss Thomas Tuchel became the 16th manager in Premier League history to avoid defeat in his first six games in the competition (W4 D2) and the first since Maurizio Sarri in September 2018, also with Chelsea. However, he did see his side's four-match winning streak come to an end.

Southampton took the lead through Takumi Minamino, who became the first opposition player to score against Tuchel's Chelsea in all competitions, ending a run of 572 minutes without such a goal for the German manager (Antonio Rudiger scored an own goal against Sheffield United).

The draw means Saints have lost 18 points from leading positions in the Premier League this season, more than any other side.

Mason Mount's penalty pulled Chelsea level – Southampton have now conceded five goals from the spot this term. Only in 1993-94 and 2016-17 (both six) did Saints concede more goals from the spot in a Premier League campaign.

Mount became the 25th different player to score a penalty for Chelsea in the Premier League, with the Blues having more penalty scorers than any other team in the competition's history.

FULHAM 1-0 SHEFFIELD UNITED: LOOKMAN LIFTS COTTAGERS

Fulham's resurgence continued as they picked up just their second victory in 14 Premier League home games (W2 D4 L8) and first since beating West Brom in November.

Scott Parker's team have now taken seven points from their last three league matches and are just three points from safety.

Lowly Sheffield United, meanwhile, missed out on the chance to move off the bottom, and the Blades have only won two of their 28 Premier League games in London (D8 L18), winning at Chelsea in October 1992 (2-1) and Crystal Palace in February 2020 (1-0).

Ademola Lookman scored the winner, and the on-loan winger has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other Fulham player this season (four goals, three assists).

BURNLEY 0-0 WEST BROM: NO GIVE AT TURF MOOR

A clean sheet finally arrived for West Brom, as they registered their first in 15 Premier League games since a 1-0 win at home to Sheffield United in November.

The Baggies had the best chances to snatch a much-needed win, but ultimately Sam Allardyce – whose side lost Semi Ajayi to a red card in the first half – had to settle for a draw.

The last two occasions West Brom have received a red card and avoided defeat in a Premier League game have both been against Burnley (they won 1-0 in August 2017).

Burnley have won just one of their eight Premier League meetings with West Brom (D4 L3), earning a 2-1 success at the Hawthorns in March 2018.

Since the start of last season, Burnley have kept 24 clean sheets in the Premier League – only Manchester City (31) have had more in this period.

Thomas Tuchel insisted hauling off substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi at Southampton should not harm the player's confidence, telling the Chelsea winger to "swallow it".

Hudson-Odoi came on at half-time to replace Tammy Abraham, only to then be taken off in the 76th minute as Tuchel summoned Hakim Ziyech.

That change did not pay dividends, with Chelsea unable to complete the turnaround after Mason Mount had cancelled out Takumi Minamino's opener, with the points shared in a 1-1 draw at St Mary's.

During his time on the pitch, Hudson-Odoi had just 18 touches, attempted 10 passes – completing seven – and did not register a single effort on goal or create a chance.

Hudson-Odoi has been a success story of Tuchel's time at Chelsea so far, but the Blues boss insisted the 20-year-old must show an improved level and attitude.

However, Tuchel is not concerned that Hudson-Odoi's confidence will have taken a hit.

"No, no. Absolutely not," Tuchel told a news conference. "You have to understand that sometimes I take the decisions to win games. It is not a problem if he makes mistakes, has a bad game or misses a chance, but we cannot lack energy. It is not possible.

"I know what he can give and that's why I trust him a lot. This will not change, but he knows exactly what I demand from him. When he doesn't reach this level then maybe we have a hard decision like today.

"We don't need to think in old-fashioned terms that this is the worst thing that can happen. Okay, it happened today but it is already over and maybe he starts against Atletico [Madrid] where maybe we need his qualities, but he needs to be trusted and reliable and this is the next step for him.

"Always when he doesn't start, he is a bit in trouble when he comes on from the bench. It was like this against Sheffield United and today, he needs to improve on that because we need him from the bench.

"He needs to do it in a different way, now it is forgotten, he needs to step up, learn from it, swallow it and then there's no problem."

As has been customary under Tuchel so far, Chelsea dominated possession against Southampton, controlling 70.8 per cent of the ball.

However, that possession translated to just three attempts on target – including Mount's 54th-minute penalty – and nine shots in total, half the amount they managed against Newcastle United last time out.

Tuchel once again utilised a 3-4-3 system, but he does not believe the formation or structure of his team was to blame for their profligacy.

"We will work on it but you will score in any structure or concede in any structure," Tuchel added.

"The structure is never the problem or the solution. It is always the input of the players, the structure is fluid.

"We think day and night about scoring and creating chances, we play high up the pitch and the statistics from the last matches I know we don't score enough for the amount of touches in the box and the amount of creating.

"In the moment it is a lack of precision, not a lack of opportunities or lack of touches in the box.

"It is a lack of quality in decision making, today I did not feel in the last 10 metres that we would kill the game when it is there to be done. I will analyse and it is my job to create more or bigger chances."

Thomas Tuchel took off substitute Callum Hudson-Odoi for a poor attitude in the draw with Southampton, with Chelsea's boss unhappy with his side's attack throughout.

The Blues' five-game winning run under Tuchel came to an end at St Mary's Stadium, with Mason Mount's second-half penalty enough only for a point after Takumi Minamino's good finish.

Southampton, who were on a six-game losing run in the league, had just 29 per cent of the ball and one shot on target.

However, they defended resolutely against a Chelsea side who failed to hit the target in the second half after Mount's 54th-minute equaliser.

Hudson-Odoi was brought on at half-time for Tammy Abraham but was himself substituted for Hakim Ziyech after a little over half an hour in which he failed to have a shot or create a chance, completed only seven passes and did not once win back possession for his side.

Tuchel, who was animated throughout on the sidelines, confirmed the young forward was hauled off due to his apparent lack of effort as part of an attack that left the former Paris Saint-Germain coach deeply frustrated.

"We had all the chances. It would have been a deserved win, but sometimes it's like this in football," Tuchel told BT Sport.

"We were very, very good in the first 80 metres of the pitch but, in the last 20, I was not happy. We were not decisive enough, not aggressive enough, not clinical enough to be ahead, to create more big chances where you cannot miss.

"The decision-making was not good today. After a match like this, if you need a penalty to score once, it tells the story.

"We allowed once chance I think in the first half. There were no counter-attacks because we were high up the pitch and controlled the counter-attacks very well. For me, what was frustrating was the last 20 metres.

"We had so many opportunities, half-chances, and I had the feeling we ended our own attacks with bad choices, balls that are overhit, balls that are underhit, then we slipped, then we cannot take a two against one.

"I missed the aggressiveness and the determination in the box to finish this game early, because we had all the opportunities, but the last 20 metres was not good enough today."

He said of his changes: "It was hard for [Abraham] to show his quality. Tammy could not put his stamp on this game, so we changed a little bit the formation.

"We brought in Hudson, but with Hudson, I was not happy with the energy, and the attitude in counter-pressing, so we decided to take him off again because we demand a lot, we demand 100 per cent, and I had a feeling he is not right in this shape where he can help us.

"It's the decision for today. It's a hard decision, I know, for the players to come on and off, but tomorrow it's forgotten and he has all the possibility to start against Atletico Madrid."

For Ralph Hasenhuttl and Southampton, effort was certainly not a concern as they won their first league point since beating champions Liverpool in January.

"It was an important point for us. We played the maximum we can at the moment," said the Saints boss.

"I didn't see that many chances for them and with a little more luck at the end we can win it with the header for Jannik [Vestergaard].

"It's like a win for us today. Normally, we're struggling after letting in an equaliser, but this time we stepped it up after 65 minutes.

"It's a tough time now [with four away games in a row], which is why it's important to take a point against such a strong side."

A second-half penalty from Mason Mount secured a 1-1 draw for Chelsea away to Southampton on Saturday.

Saints took the lead with their first shot of the game at St Mary's Stadium, Takumi Minamino becoming the first opposition player to score against Chelsea under Thomas Tuchel 33 minutes in.

Mount won and converted a spot-kick in the second half to reach four Premier League goals for the season – all of which have come on Chelsea's travels – as the Blues edged into the top four.

Jannik Vestergaard hit the woodwork with a header but Southampton did at least end their six-match losing run, with a healthy gap of 11 points to the bottom three.

Many of Chelsea's early attacks came through Marcos Alonso, who scuffed a volley wide from a good position after being picked out by Reece James.

The visitors enjoyed 73 per cent of the ball in the first half-hour but their only attempt on target was a speculative strike from Antonio Rudiger that was easily saved by Alex McCarthy.

Southampton then snatched the lead with their first chance of the match, Minamino sitting down keeper Edouard Mendy and the covering Cesar Azpilicueta before prodding the ball in after Nathan Redmond's pass split the defence.

Saints were keeping Chelsea at bay well until 54 minutes in, when Mount converted from the spot after Danny Ings' careless lunge brought him down in the penalty area.

Ralph Hasenhuttl's men reacted well to the goal and nearly went back in front when Vestergaard's stooping header came back off the crossbar, with Mendy beaten.

Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi threatened late on, but Chelsea ended the half with just one shot on target at the end of a somewhat blunt attacking display.

 

What does it mean? Blues into top four but winning run ends

Chelsea were on a five-game winning run under Tuchel in all competitions but not all have been plain sailing and they are yet to score more than twice in a game under the German.

They were mostly frustrated by a resolute Southampton here, who brought their six-game losing run in the top flight to an end.

They are 13th, while Chelsea move a point above West Ham and into fourth, having played a game more.

Jannik on his Gaard

Southampton's losing run, and that 9-0 obliteration by Manchester United, had prompted plenty of worry about the state of their defence.

They were far stronger and more organised here, with Vestergaard immaculate, making seven clearances, four interceptions and regaining possession eight times.

Ings can only get better

Ings has the best minutes-per-goal ratio of any Southampton striker with at least 15 goals in the Premier League, averaging one every 161 minutes before this game.

However, with chances scarce, he offered little as an outlet to the Saints defence, touching the ball just 29 times and conceding the penalty with a reckless tackle.

What's next?

Chelsea's attention now turns to Tuesday's Champions League trip to Atletico Madrid. Saints are in league action the same day at Leeds United.

Thomas Tuchel's view of football was changed by Ralf Rangnick and in Ralph Hasenhuttl he is looking forward to going up against another coach who worked alongside him.

Chelsea head to Southampton on Saturday and Tuchel will pit his wits against Hasenhuttl, who coached RB Leipzig during Rangnick's time as director of football at the Red Bull Arena.

Tuchel was a defender at Ulm for Rangnick between 1997 and 1998 and, following the premature end to his playing career due to a knee injury, was hired as a youth coach at Stuttgart by him two years later.

Rangnick is credited with revolutionising German football by introducing an intense high-pressing, counter-attacking style that was widely adopted.

His influence on Tuchel is clear, with Chelsea allowing the fewest opposition passes per defensive action (PPDA) in the Premier League since his first game in charge against Wolves on January 27.

Across the entire season, Southampton rank fourth in the league with a PPDA of 10.7, behind only Liverpool (10.4), Chelsea (10.3) and Leeds United (8.9).

"I was a player with Ralf Rangnick. I played in the third and second division and learned from Ralf that it's not necessary to follow the striker to the toilet," Tuchel told the media.

"He made a third-division team stronger than we actually were with brand new tactics, the back four not man marking but defending in the space in a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1.

"That was a gamechanger for me to watch football games after my experience with Ralf. It was different because I had a totally different view of what's going on.

"Ralf had his influence at Leipzig when he worked with Ralph as more or less the father of everything that happened in Leipzig.

"There are many coaches influenced by this philosophy, but I truly believe everybody has to find his own style, everybody needs to be authentic. You need to be yourself. You cannot copy anybody.

"The way from Ralph is very impressive. He had a very good season at Ingolstadt, very successful at Leipzig and now a big impact with his aggressive style of playing at Southampton.

"This is the challenge that we have to face. I cannot give you a reason why there is a trend, this is too much of a question for me right now."

Tuchel is unbeaten in six games since taking over at Chelsea, winning five straight since a 0-0 draw with Wolves in his first match.

Olivier Giroud found the back of the net in their 2-0 success over Newcastle United last Monday and Tuchel intends to give the France striker time to stake his claim for a new deal, with his contract due to expire at the end of the season.

Tuchel said: "No decision is made because it's too soon to make these decisions. [It's] too soon in the season and I haven't had enough time to make these decisions because I just started three weeks ago and we need more time to get to know the group better. Everybody deserves more time to show their value.

"What I can say is that I am super happy that he's here. He's one of the top strikers in the box, he's physically strong, he has an incredible first touch and he's strong in headers.

"He did an amazing game against Newcastle. He's very strong, very positive in training, very impressive.

"Right now, he plays a key role in the squad with a lot of young offensive players. He is a key figure, maybe not because he plays every three days 96 minutes, but because of the way he behaves and with his experience on a daily basis, he has a huge impact in the most positive way.

"This is what I can say. When the decision arrives, we will make it."

Thomas Tuchel is optimistic Tammy Abraham will be in the squad for Chelsea's trip to Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday.

Abraham had been a major doubt for the visit to St Mary's Stadium after suffering an ankle injury in Monday's 2-0 win over Newcastle United.

But Tuchel, who has overseen five wins on the bounce in all competitions, revealed the striker would train on Friday with a view to being involved at the weekend, along with Kai Havertz.

However, the match will come too soon for Thiago Silva (muscle problem) and Christian Pulisic may miss out with a calf issue.

"We are very happy that Tammy is good and free for training," said Tuchel. "If things go well then he is in the squad.

"Thiago will be out for the game, he's not ready. And we have some issues with Christian Pulisic's calf, it feels tight.

"There's a big question mark for Christian. Kai Havertz is back in training and can join the squad."

The victory against the Magpies saw Timo Werner end his long goal drought, which stretched back to November 7.

The former RB Leipzig forward had set up the opener for Olivier Giroud and doubled the lead by scoring for the first time in 1,000 minutes and after a run of 31 unsuccessful attempts.

Tuchel insists he never lost faith in his fellow German and expects the 24-year-old to continue to grow in confidence, having initially impressed under Frank Lampard.

"Everybody has a right to their own opinion," he said, with Werner having been involved in more Premier League goals this season than any other Chelsea player (10 – five goals, five assists). 

"I think Timo had a very good start and very clinical, efficient under Frank. I could not see any problem.

"Frank was a big reason for Timo to join the club. Like every player, a change of club, culture and environment takes its time. 

"I can only speak on how I feel Timo; I feel Timo day by day gaining confidence.

"For me, without a doubt, [I knew] Timo would come back and he has the quality to play in more than one position."

The Blues tend to enjoy trips to the south coast, where they have suffered only two defeats in the past 28 visits, although one of those was against the Saints in 2013.

Tuchel, whose 13-point return from his first five Premier League games at the Chelsea helm is bettered only by Carlo Ancelotti and Maurizio Sarri (15), will be hoping to emulate the former by winning his opening three top-flight away fixtures in charge.

Manchester City appear to be cruising towards the Premier League title and will look to extend a 17-match winning run away to Mikel Arteta's Arsenal.

While top spot is firmly in their hands, the chasing back have plenty to play for, with Manchester United in need of a win at home to Newcastle United and Tottenham heading to West Ham for a tough London derby.

Chelsea's winning streak under Thomas Tuchel has put them firmly back into top-four contention, and Timo Werner's welcome return to goalscoring could have come at a critical time.

That said, fantasy football managers would also be wise to consider Danny Ings, whose impressive scoring record will be of concern to Tuchel's men.

 

EMILIANO MARTINEZ

Aston Villa's reported £20million spend on Emiliano Martinez is a candidate for the best piece of Premier League business this season.

Martinez kept his 12th clean sheet of the season to help Villa grind out a draw at Brighton and Hove Albion last time out.

The former Arsenal man is just the fifth Villa keeper in the Premier League era to keep at least 10 clean sheets in a season and is only three short of Brad Friedel's tally set back in 2009-10. Leicester City's impressive attack could have met its match.

 

LUKE SHAW

Manchester United left-back Luke Shaw has enjoyed perhaps his best season for the club, with his form rarely affected despite his team's up-and-down recent results.

He has provided an assist in each of his previous three appearances, registering five in total this term, his best tally in a single league season.

Against a struggling Newcastle side, Shaw could become only the fourth United player to assist a goal in four consecutive games, after Ryan Giggs, Nani and Antonio Valencia.

LEWIS DUNK

Brighton have not conceded more than one goal in any game since drawing 3-3 with Wolves on January 2.

On Saturday, they host a Crystal Palace side who have failed to score in a higher share of their away league games this season (58 per cent) than in any other campaign in the competition's history.

A clean sheet for Brighton and Lewis Dunk looks likely, and given the centre-back has scored more goals (six) than any other defender except Virgil van Dijk (also six) since the start of 2019-20, he could be worth the captaincy this weekend.

 

RAHEEM STERLING

If Arsenal are to stop City's run, they will need to keep Raheem Sterling quiet.

The England forward has scored seven times in the league against the Gunners – he has only scored more often against Watford, West Ham and Bournemouth.

Sterling has netted in all three of his previous league meetings with Arsenal and has registered four goals and two assists in his most recent five games against them.

SON HEUNG-MIN

West Ham have rarely gone into recent games with Tottenham as favourites, but they are six points ahead of Jose Mourinho's men in the table, after playing a game more.

However, they will have to contend with Son Heung-min if that points gap is going to grow. The South Korea star has been involved in six goals in his past five league games with the Hammers and assisted in each of the last three.

In fact, he has assisted more goals (four) against West Ham than he has against any other side in the Premier League.

 

TIMO WERNER

Timo Werner ended his league goal drought against Newcastle United last time out, scoring exactly 1,000 minutes after his previous effort against Sheffield United in November.

Despite that much-publicised goal drought, Werner has actually been directly involved in more goals (10) in the league than any other Chelsea player this season, while only Mason Mount (105) has had a hand in more shots (73).

With his confidence beginning to grow, this could be a good time to back the Germany striker in your selection.

DANNY INGS

Southampton have lost six games in a row since knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup in the fourth round, so backing a win over Chelsea would seem a little bold.

Still, expecting Danny Ings to be among the goals is usually a safer bet.

The striker has the best minutes-per-goal ratio of any Saints player with at least 15 in the competition, averaging one every 161 minutes.

Premier League action coincided with Valentine's Day this weekend and Southampton ended a long drought of a particular kind on the most romantic day of the year.

There was also an impressive scoring feat for an Arsenal striker to enjoy on February 14, as the Gunners sent the White Roses of Leeds United back to Yorkshire with their tails between their legs.

A Valentine's Day chocolate variety set was the only box Harry Kane got near this weekend after a tricky time of it against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City, as Ilkay Gundogan continued his remarkable run.

All the above feature in our quirky facts from the weekend's top-flight action!

SAINTS' VALENTINE'S CARD AND AUBA'S RETURN TO FORM

It's usually nice to receive a card or two on Valentine's Day – the only exceptions are if they're tokens of sympathy from your mother, or handed out to you by a referee.

Until this year, Southampton were the only Premier League side to play a match on Valentine's Day and not receive a card, but that changed when Graham Scott booked Oriol Romeu in Saints' 2-1 defeat to Wolves. Coincidentally, that was the Spaniard's 51st Premier League yellow card since the start of 2015-16, 11 more than any player.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had a rather more enjoyable Valentine's Day, however, as the Arsenal man scored his first Premier League hat-trick in their 4-2 defeat of Leeds United.

He joined Michael Owen and Matt Le Kissier, sorry, Le Tissier as the only players to net trebles in the Premier league on Valentine's Day.

GUNDOGAN GUNNING FOR GOALS

To say anyone predicted Ilkay Gundogan establishing himself as one of the Premier League's deadliest marksman would be a heinous lie… Yet, here we are – he is.

In fact, the German's form isn't bettered by anyone else across Europe's top five leagues in 2021, as his brace against Tottenham took him to nine goals since the turn of the year.

Andre Silva of Eintracht Frankfurt is the only player to match that haul across the same period, but his conversion rate is nothing compared to Gundogan's.

The City star, who has been playing a more advanced role lately, has converted 47.4 per cent of his shots since January 1 – among players to have scored at least five times this year, that is the fifth highest. It is a better record than those of Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.

Given the rate he's going at, Gundogan may now have an eye on the all-time record for German players in a single Premier League season – Jurgen Klinsmann (20) and Uwe Rosler (15, both in 1994-95) are the only ones to score more than 11.

KANE FORCED TO THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

It was another miserable outing for Tottenham at the weekend as their 3-0 loss at City consigned them to a fourth defeat in five Premier League games, as many as they had suffered in their previous 28.

Harry Kane endured a particularly frustrating day, as he was starved of service and found himself roaming as a result, hardly conducive to getting opportunities in the danger area.

In fact, he failed to touch the ball once inside the penalty area, which is practically unheard of for Kane.

It was only the fourth occasion of Kane failing to touch the ball in the box in a league game he started.

SAKA'S TEENAGE KICKS

Bukayo Saka has been a standout performer for Arsenal for quite a while, not just this season. However, in 2020-21 he has arguably taken his influence up a level.

He was a livewire against Leeds at the weekend, winning Arsenal's first-half penalty shortly after he was perhaps cruelly denied another by the VAR.

His performance further highlighted how much influence he has despite not turning 20 for more than six months – he is the youngest player in the Premier League this term to score five goals, be involved in at least seven goals, create 25 chances and complete 30 dribbles.

There has been plenty of talk recently about whether he will get himself into the England squad for the delayed Euro 2020 later this year – at the moment, you'd have to say he'd be unlucky to miss out.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit a personal milestone as his first Premier League hat-trick saw Arsenal past Leeds United on Sunday.

Aubameyang and Hector Bellerin put Arsenal 4-0 up by the 47th minute at Emirates Stadium, though Leeds did strike back twice to make things a little more uncomfortable for Mikel Arteta's side.

That match followed on from Wolves beating Southampton in the day's early kick-off, and West Brom holding Manchester United to a 1-1 draw – Bruno Fernandes' stunner earning the Red Devils a point.

In the late game, lowly Fulham picked up a much-needed win by seeing off a lacklustre Everton 2-0 at Goodison Park.

ARSENAL 4-2 LEEDS UNITED: DOUBLE CENTURY UP FOR AUBA

On his first league start since January 18, Aubameyang was in sparkling form against Leeds.

Having opened the scoring after 13 minutes, Aubameyang netted from the penalty spot shortly before half-time, bringing up his 200th goal across Europe's "top five" leagues.

It was the 31-year-old's 369th appearance across spells at Lille (two goals), Monaco (two), Saint-Etienne (37), Borussia Dortmund (98) and Arsenal (62).

Since his Ligue 1 debut in 2009, he is one of just nine players to score 200 or more goals across the continent's five leading divisions.

Arsenal scored four (or more) goals at the Emirates for the first time in the Premier League this season, having last done so in a 4-0 win over Norwich City in July of last year.

Leeds, meanwhile, have won just one of their last 24 away league games in London (D6 L17), losing all four such matches this season by an aggregate 14-4 score, and the Whites remain without a win in nine meetings with Arsenal in all competitions (D2 L7).

Aubameyang was also the third player in Premier League history to score a hat-trick on Valentine's Day, after Matt Le Tissier vs Liverpool in 1994 and Michael Owen vs Sheffield Wednesday in 1998.

WEST BROM 1-1 MANCHESTER UNITED: MORE BRUNO BRILLIANCE SAVES LACKLUSTRE RED DEVILS

The Red Devils' only win from their previous five top-flight matches was the 9-0 hammering of Southampton at Old Trafford (D3 L1), while the Baggies have just one win in 11 under Sam Allardyce and have conceded nine more goals than any other team since his first game at the helm.

The ever-reliable Fernandes scored United's leveller just before half-time at the Hawthorns, with the Red Devils now recovering 22 points from losing positions this term – 10 more than any other team.

The Portuguese playmaker has 38 goal involvements in as many games for United – the only player with more in their opening 38 in Premier League history is Andrew Cole (46 in 1993-94 for Newcastle United).

West Brom's goal was scored after just 83 seconds by Mbaye Diagne – the earliest conceded by United in a Premier League game since Christian Eriksen's 11-second strike for Spurs in January 2018. He is the 12th different Senegalese player to score under Allardyce.

United full-back Luke Shaw has five league assists for the season, the most he has managed in a single campaign – he only had seven in total prior to the start of this season.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are unbeaten in all 12 away Premier League matches this season (W8 D4), only the fourth time a team has avoided defeat in their first 12 away Premier League games of a season: Arsenal in 2001-02 and 2003-04, and Liverpool in 2019-20, all of whom went on to win the title.

SOUTHAMPTON 1-2 WOLVES: SAINTS MARCH INTO CLUB-RECORD WORST RUN

It has been a miserable time for Southampton recently with Sunday's defeat to Wolves at St Mary's settled by second-half goals from Ruben Neves and Pedro Neto, which cancelled out Danny Ings' 25th-minute opener.

The Saints have now lost six consecutive league matches for the first time in their history, while they have led in each of their last four top-flight matches against Wolves without winning any of them (D2 L2), resulting in 10 points lost – the most points one side have dropped against another since the start of last season.

Only Liverpool (14) and Manchester United (12) have won more Premier League matches after going behind than Wolves' 10 since the start of 2018-19.

Meanwhile, winger Neto has been directly involved in nine Premier League goals this season (five goals and four assists), which represents the most of any under-21 player in the competition this campaign.

On the opposition side, Ings is one of only four players to score 30 Premier League goals since the start of last season, along with Mohamed Salah (36), Jamie Vardy (35) and Harry Kane (31).

EVERTON 0-2 FULHAM: MAJA MAGIC BOOSTS COTTAGERS

It was a first Premier League start to remember for Josh Maja, who is the second-youngest player to score on his full debut for Fulham in the competition, after Collins John versus Blackburn Rovers in April 2004 (18y 178d).

Maja is also the first Nigerian to mark his first Premier League start with a brace since Efan Ekoku for Norwich City back in May 1993 (v Middlesbrough).

It helped Fulham pick up their first-ever away win at Everton in league competition, on what was their 28th attempt. Coming into the game, they had lost each of their last 22 away league games against the Toffees.

The Cottagers consequently have a first Premier League victory since November, ending a run of 12 games without a win in the competition.

Everton have now lost three of their last four Premier League games at Goodison Park (D1), as many defeats as they suffered in Carlo Ancelotti's first 17 home games in charge in the competition (W8 D6).

Roses are red, violets are blue, have we got the perfect Valentine's Day content for you!

Questionable rhymes aside (okay, very questionable), love is in the air as long-standing couples and newly formed relationships celebrate the day of romance on Sunday.

The world of football is certainly no stranger to the language of love, so before you crack open a bottle of red and exchange cheap knock-off gifts with your significant other why not get some inspiration for love with our Valentine's Day facts with some help from Cupid!

(Well not Cupid, Opta – but the team at Opta are full of love!)

MATT LE KISS-IER LOVES TO SCORE ON VALENTINE'S DAY

Valentine's Day is of course a day for love (and overpaying for those last-minute flowers and cards you forgot to buy…).

Two players have been particularly good at spreading the joy on February 14th with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier and ex-Liverpool striker Michael Owen each scoring three times in the Premier League on this date – the most of all players.

Here's something even more interesting about that stat, though – each man's tally is a result of scoring a Valentine's Day hat-trick.

Le Tissier registered three against the Reds back in 1994, while Owen took home the match ball with a treble versus Sheffield Wednesday four years later.

Owen's three goals are part of 12 Liverpool have tallied on the day of love – comfortably the most by a team. Arsenal follow on seven, with Aston Villa and Southampton on four.

A ROSE FOR THE LADY?

Flowers are synonymous with Valentine's Day but none more so than the rose.

Two players named Rose have plied their trade in the Premier League – Danny (194 appearances) and Matthew (five appearances). The former, of course, is an England international who with his marauding runs from full-back has often been a, ahem, thorn in the side of opponents…

There are other love-themed names to have featured in the top flight. Valentino Lazaro played 13 times in the Premier League for Newcastle United on loan last term, while Valentin Roberge made 10 appearances for north east rivals Sunderland.

The Black Cats also had Donald Love on their books, the defender having previously represented Manchester United once in the top flight.

FOXES RACK UP THE CARDS

Whether from a partner or a secret admirer, it's always nice to receive a card or two on Valentine's Day.

Unless of course you're playing in the Premier League, in which case you want to see the referee keep their cards in their pockets.

In this regard, Leicester City have not been overly successful – the seven yellow cards representing the most received by a team on Valentine's Day. Arsenal follow closely behind with six, with Manchester City on four.

The Foxes also fare badly when it comes to red cards, having picked up two on February 14th – Danny Simpson and Hamza Choudhury account for those dismissals. The only other player to have been sent off on Valentine's Day is Everton hero Duncan Ferguson ... no, we weren't shocked either.

THE BEST BROMANCES

It goes without saying that we don't need to confine our love sharing to one manufactured day of the year…

No, we should be spreading the joy in our hearts all year round and these strike partnerships certainly succeed in that category.

Going back to the start of the 2015-16 season, no two players have combined for more goals than Spurs duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min (33).

In fact, Kane features three times in the top-five – also ranking third with Christian Eriksen (19), and sharing 18 with Dele Alli.

Manchester City pairing Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne are second with 20, while Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez (18), who fired Leicester to shock title glory in 2015-16, also feature.

The race for Premier League glory may have tipped in Manchester City's favour but Liverpool are hoping to beat their title rivals in the race for a new star midfielder.

Germany international Florian Neuhaus is the player in demand and his club Borussia Monchengladbach may not be able to hold on to one of Europe's brightest talents.

The 23-year-old is being closely monitored by five major Champions League clubs and there is set to be a battle for his signature in the off-season.


TOP STORY – GERMANY ACE NEUHAUS WANTED BY CITY AND LIVERPOOL

It is understood that Neuhaus has a €40million (£35m) release clause in his contract with Gladbach, according to German media outlet Kicker.

That means Neuhaus will have the pick of his suitors, believed to be City, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Italian champions Juventus.

He has already clocked up 81 appearances in the Bundesliga and the Reds see him as a potential replacement for the outgoing Georginio Wijnaldum.

Manchester City and Manchester United have been handed away draws against fellow Premier League sides in the FA Cup quarter-finals.

City, who won their sixth FA Cup in 2018-19 but were knocked out in the semi-finals by eventual victors Arsenal last season, will play Everton at Goodison Park.

While City claimed a serene 3-1 win over Swansea City in the fifth round on Wednesday, Carlo Ancelotti's team overcame Tottenham 5-4 after extra-time in an instant FA Cup classic.

The teams will have a dress rehearsal for the last-eight clash on February 17, when they face off at Goodison in a Premier League match which was due to be played in December but had to be rescheduled due to a coronavirus outbreak at City.

Like their local rivals, United also fell short of reaching last season's final, going down to Chelsea in the last four.

United beat West Ham 1-0 after extra time on Tuesday and now face a trip to face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium. Brendan Rodgers' Leicester side are flying high in the Premier League along with United and leaders City, who are five points clear of their neighbours at the top.

Last season's runners-up Chelsea went into Thursday night's match at Barnsley knowing the winners would be rewarded with a home tie against Sheffield United, who beat Bristol City at the last-16 stage.

The other quarter-final tie throws up a south-coast clash, with Southampton travelling to Bournemouth.

Games are due to be played across the weekend of March 20 and 21.

FA Cup quarter-final draw in full:

Everton v Manchester City
Bournemouth v Southampton
Leicester City v Manchester United
Barnsley or Chelsea v Sheffield United

Steve Bruce has called for social media companies to better police "absolutely vile and obscene" online abuse from "idiots and morons", having revealed he has been targeted himself.

Newcastle United head coach Bruce does not use social media but learned this week of death threats through his son Alex. 

Bruce, a Premier League-winning captain with Manchester United, was discussing the topic after top-flight referee Mike Dean reportedly asked not to officiate a match this week due to threats directed his way. 

Dean sent off West Ham's Tomas Soucek in the final seconds of their draw with Fulham last week, a decision that was later overturned. 

His dismissal of Jan Bednarek for Southampton earlier in the week, in a 9-0 defeat at Manchester United, was also rescinded on appeal. 

Football authorities are attempting to clamp down on online abuse amid a series of incidents - many of them including racist comments. Facebook, which also owns Instagram, has announced new penalties relating to the matter. 

Bruce, who came under scrutiny as Newcastle endured an 11-match winless run in all competitions across December and January, condemned the threats on Thursday. 

"Social media is a really, really powerful weapon for everybody concerned," Bruce said. "For me, these big companies have got to police it better. 

"The abuse that I've had - death threats, all this sorts of stuff - and then you see a referee wanting to come away from it because he's made a mistake, people threatening him with his life and all the rest of it, it's just absolutely obscene and totally ridiculous. 

"They need to clamp down on it and they need to police it better, and we need to stop it, basically. If there are vulnerable people out there, it's absolutely - in my opinion - vile, some of it." 

Asked to confirm he had been the subject of similar abuse, Bruce told reporters: "I don't go on it [social media], but of course people close to me do, who are sensitive towards their father, of course. Yes, we've had that to deal with." 

The Newcastle boss added: "When I see some of the nature of it, it is totally and utterly vile. Some of the stuff that I've had is absolutely obscene. It fuels a hatred. I don't know. 

"When I see an experienced referee - like him, loathe him, whatever you want with Mike Dean - nobody deserves that because he gets a decision wrong. 

"Let's be fair, as well, it was in the last 30 seconds of the game, nothing really hinged on it, yet he feels he has the need to step down this weekend. 

"For everybody, these big companies have got to police it better and find out these idiots and morons who write such vile abuse and make them be punished. 

"In conversations I've had with the family over the last few days - we were talking about Mike Dean and the situation he feels - it was brought to my attention that I've had it, too. 

"Horrible stuff, which I couldn't really get my breath with: they hope that I die of COVID and all this. It's absolutely vile and obscene. 

"It has to be stopped. These big companies have to start policing it better than they've been doing, that's for sure." 

Bruce was speaking at a news conference ahead of Newcastle's trip to Chelsea, where he confirmed 10-goal striker Callum Wilson is facing up to eight weeks out with a hamstring tear. 

A knee injury for Fabian Schar had already been announced, with a similar lay-off anticipated for both the Switzerland defender and Javier Manquillo, who suffered an ankle issue. 

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