Premier League team news: predicted lineups for the weekend action | Manchester City

Bournemouth v Everton

Saturday 3pm Venue Vitality Stadium Last season n/a

Referee Craig Pawson This season G7 Y31 R0 4.43 cards/game

Odds H 19-10 A 7-4 D 9-4

Bournemouth v Everton


Subs from Dennis,Christie, Marcondes, Rothwell, Stacey, Lowe, Stanislas, Zemura, Dembélé, Pearson, Hill, Anthony

Doubtful Zemura (knock)

Injured Brooks (thigh, 26 Dec), Kelly (ankle, 26 Dec), Neto (thigh, 26 Dec)

Suspended Mepham (one match)

Discipline Y22 R0


Leading scorer Billing 4


Subs from Begovic, Jakupovic, Lonergan, Patterson, Mina, Keane, Holgate, Vinagre, Doucouré, Garner, Davies, Rondón, McNeil, Welch, Mills, John, Cannon

Doubtful Holgate (knee)

Injured Calvert-Lewin (hamstring/knee, 26 Dec), Godfrey (broken leg, 26 Dec), Townsend (knee, 26 Dec)

Suspended None

Discipline Y33 R0


Leading scorer Gordon 3

Liverpool v Southampton

Saturday 3pm Venue Anfield Last season Liverpool 4 Southampton 0

Referee Simon Hooper This season G9 Y26 R0 2.88 cards/game

Odds H 3-11 A 11-1 D 6-1

Liverpool v Southampton


Subs from Adrián, Kelleher, Davies, Ramsay, Matip, Tsimikas, Phillips, Milner, Jones, Elliott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bajcetic, Carvalho, Gomez

Doubtful Matip (calf), Milner (concussion)

Injured Keïta (thigh, 26 Dec), Díaz (knee, 26 Dec), Jota (calf, Jan), Arthur (thigh, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y12 R1


Leading scorers Firmino, Salah 6


Subs from Caballero, McCarthy, Caleta-Car, A Armstrong, Mara, Djenepo, Edozie, Diallo, Walcott

Doubtful xnamex (xreasonx), xnamex (xreasonx)

Injured Walker-Peters (thigh, 26 Dec), Livramento (knee, Jan), Larios (groin, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y22 R0


Leading scorer Adams 3

Nottingham Forest v Crystal Palace

Saturday 3pm Venue City Ground Last season n/a

Referee John Brooks This season G6 Y24 R0 4 cards/game

Odds H 11-5 A 16-11 D 2-1

Nottingham Forest v Crystal Palace

Nottingham Forest

Subs from Hennessey, Smith, Soh, Williams, Colback, Awoniyi, Surridge, Cafú, Kouyaté, Dennis, McKenna, Badé, Boly, Taylor

Doubtful Kouyaté (knock), McKenna (knock)

Injured Richards (calf, 26 Dec), Toffolo (thigh, 26 Dec), Biancone (knee, unknown), Niakhaté (thigh, unknown)

Suspended Mangala (one match)

Discipline Y34 R0


Leading scorer Awoniyi 3

Crystal Palace

Subs from Butland, Johnstone, Whitworth, Milivojevic, Tomkins, Mateta, Clyne, Hughes, Édouard, Ebiowei, Ferguson, Balmer, Riedewald, Gordon, Wells-Morrison, Phillips, Goodman, Rodney

Doubtful Édouard (thigh)

Injured McArthur (groin, unknown), Richards (thigh, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y29 R0


Leading scorer Zaha 6

Tottenham v Leeds

Saturday 3pm Venue Tottenham Hotspur Stadium Last season Tottenham 2 Leeds 1

Referee Michael Salisbury This season G6 Y31 R0 5.16 cards/game

Odds H 11-17 A 43-10 D 17-5

Tottenham v Leeds


Subs from Forster, Austin, Doherty, Spence, Sánchez, Tanganga, Bissouma, Skipp, Sarr, Lucas Moura, Gil

Doubtful Lucas Moura (tendon)

Injured Romero (calf, 14 Nov), Sessegnon (knock, 14 Nov), Son (eye, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y25 R1


Leading scorer Kane 11


Subs from Klaesson, Robles, Ayling, Llorente, Firpo, Hjelde, Gelhardt, Greenwood, Harrison, Gyabi, Drameh

Doubtful Gelhardt (knock), Harrison (knock)

Injured Bamford (hip, 26 Dec), Forshaw (knee, 26 Dec), Gray (ankle, 26 Dec), Klich (knee, 26 Dec), Sinisterra (ankle, 26 Dec), Dallas (broken leg, Jan)

Suspended None

Discipline Y25 R1


Leading scorer Rodrigo 7

West Ham v Leicester

Saturday 3pm Venue London Stadium Last season West Ham 4 Leicester 1

Referee Jarred Gillett This season G6 Y24 R0 4 cards/game

Odds H Evs A 11-4 D 5-2

West Ham v Leicester

West Ham

Subs from Areola, Randolph, Johnson, Coufal, Fornals, Antonio, Lanzini, Downes, Ogbonna, Aguerd, Coventry, Ashby

Doubtful None

Injured Cornet (calf, unknown), Palmieri (knock, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y16 R0


Leading scorers Antonio, Benrahma, Bowen, Scamacca 2


Subs from Iversen, Smithies, Ward, Vardy, Albrighton, Iheanacho, Pérez, Amartey, Vestergaard, Mendy, Soumaré

Doubtful None

Injured Pereira (calf, Jan), Justin (achilles, May), Bertrand (knee, unknown), Soyuncu (hamstring, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y17 R0


Leading scorer Maddison 6

Newcastle v Chelsea

Saturday 5.30pm Sky Sports Premier League Venue St James’ Park Last season Newcastle 0 Chelsea 3

Referee Robert Jones This season G8 Y28 R1 3.63 cards/game

Odds H 7-5 A 2-1 D 28-11

Newcastle v Chelsea


Subs from Darlow, Gillespie, Karius, Lascelles, Targett, Manquillo, Lewis, Shelvey, Anderson, S Longstaff, Wood, Fraser, Murphy

Doubtful Darlow (ankle), Fraser (calf), Wilson (illness)

Injured Isak (thigh, 26 Dec), Ritchie (calf, 26 Dec), Krafth (knee, Aug), Dummett (calf, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y20 R0


Leading scorer Almirón 8


Subs from Bettinelli, Jorginho, Pulisic, Broja, Zakaria, Ziyech, Gallagher, Koulibaly, Soonsup-Bell, Hall

Doubtful Jorginho (ankle)

Injured Arrizabalaga (ankle, 26 Dec), Kanté (thigh, Feb), Chilwell (thigh, unknown), Chukwuemeka (thigh, unknown), Fofana (knee, unknown), James (knee, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y31 R2


Leading scorers Havertz, Sterling 3

Brighton v Aston Villa

Sunday 2pm Sky Sports Premier League Venue Amex Stadium Last season Brighton 0 Aston Villa 2

Referee Chris Kavanagh This season G4 Y16 R0 4 cards/game

Odds H 9-10 A 10-3 D 3-1

Brighton v Aston Villa


Subs from McGill, Steele, Lamptey, Colwill, Welbeck, Sarmiento, Enciso, Undav, Gilmour, Van Hecke, Veltman

Doubtful None

Injured Moder (knee, Feb)

Suspended None

Discipline Y17 R0


Leading scorer Trossard 7

Aston Villa

Subs from Olsen, Steer, McGinn, Sanson, Ings, Chambers, Augustinsson, Young, Nakamba, Bednarek, Guilbert, Archer, Kamara

Doubtful None

Injured Coutinho (thigh, unknown), Diego Carlos (calf, unknown)

Suspended None

Discipline Y30 R1


Leading scorers Bailey, Ings 3

Fulham v Manchester United

Sunday 4.30pm Sky Sports Premier League Venue Craven Cottage Last season n/a

Referee Paul Tierney This season G11 Y43 R2 4.09 cards/game

Odds H 3-1 A Evs D 3-1

Fulham v Manchester United


Subs from Rodak, Kurzawa, Adarabioyo, Duffy, Chalobah, James, Mbabu, Harris

Doubtful None

Injured Solomon (knee, Jan), Kebano (calf, unknown), Mitrovic (ankle, unknown)

Suspended Reed (one match), Tete (one match)

Discipline Y35 R1


Leading scorer Mitrovic 9

Manchester United

Subs from Dubravka, Heaton, Jones, Maguire, Ronaldo, Fred, Sancho, Pellistri, Van de Beek, Elanga, McTominay, Mengi, Shoretire, Garnacho

Doubtful Antony (match fitness), Ronaldo (illness), Sancho (illness)

Injured Varane (hamstring, 22 Nov), Tuanzebe (match fitness, unknown), Wan-Bissaka (match fitness, unknown), Williams (match fitness, unknown)

Suspended Dalot (one match)

Discipline Y36 R0


Leading scorer Rashford 4

James Justin injury mars Leicester City’s easy win against Newport | Carabao Cup

Whether Gareth Southgate intended to call up James Justin to his England World Cup squad on Thursday may forever be a mystery after the Leicester defender was carried off on a stretcher during the second half of a routine Carabao Cup victory over Newport County. Southgate is already fretting over his full-back options with Ben Chilwell ruled out and Reece James and Kyle Walker major doubts. Justin, who is thought to have been on Southgate’s 55-man long-list for Qatar, was forced off after an innocuous collision. He made his comeback from injury in January after missing almost a year of action with an anterior cruciate ligament injury.

It was a cruel way for Justin’s night to finish given the 24-year-old defender, who is comfortable playing on both flanks, had set Leicester on the path to victory with a stunning left-foot shot that cracked in off a post before Jamie Vardy scored two second-half goals as Brendan Rodgers’s side eased into the last 16 of the competition. Perhaps Justin took inspiration from Kevin De Bruyne, whose recent match-winning free-kick for Manchester City also pinged in off the upright.

Three and a half years ago Leicester learned the hard way about Newport’s appetite for a cup upset and the Leicester chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, alluded to that shock FA Cup third-round exit at Rodney Parade under Claude Puel in his programme notes, citing how those still in the squad would be well-versed on the standards required to advance here. Jonny Evans was the only survivor from the starting lineup that day, with Rodgers making seven changes from the team that earned a third win in four league matches at Everton on Saturday. James Maddison was among those rested altogether, while Youri Tielemans began on the bench.

Newport are 18th in the fourth tier but arrived for their first visit to Filbert Way on a five-match unbeaten run that began when Graham Coughlan took charge last month. The early signs under the former Bristol Rovers and Mansfield manager are encouraging but this was always unlikely to be an evening whereby they could express themselves. For much of the first half Newport, in green, had seven or eight players camped behind the ball. Leicester dominated possession and quickly began to stamp their authority. Jamie Vardy thought he had put the ball on a plate for Ayoze Pérez on eight minutes only for the Liverpool loanee Adam Lewis to intervene.

In swirling wind and rain, Leicester’s enthusiasm would not be dampened by stubborn opponents. Dennis Praet skewed wide after Vardy chested the ball into his path and seconds later Wilfred Ndidi looked to the skies after pulling a shot past Nick Townsend’s right post.

Jamie Vardy goes past Nick Townsend to score Leicester's third
Jamie Vardy goes past Nick Townsend to score Leicester’s third. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

Vardy then supplied Harvey Barnes with a deft touch, freeing the winger to surge towards goal but Townsend made a smart save to prevent Barnes from a tight angle. But just as Newport could scent half-time, Justin played a give-and-go with Praet, decided to drive inside from the right flank and curled a brilliant left-foot shot in off the upright. Cue the goal music to turn up the volume on a flat evening.

Upon taking over Coughlan said the mantra for his players had to be “crawl, walk and then run” and his side spent most of this game doing the latter, often in the shadows of the Leicester players, whose class eventually told. Barnes tested Townsend with a swerving right-foot shot midway through the second half and Vardy doubled Leicester’s lead soon after with a superb glancing header from the substitute Marc Albrighton’s cross. Townsend will perhaps feel he should have done more than get fingertips to the ball. Approaching the hour the Newport defender Mickey Demetriou saw a header from a Matt Dolan free-kick cannon against a post but the centre-back was correctly flagged offside.

Vardy took his second goal superbly too. Barnes slipped the Leicester No 9 through on goal and Vardy toyed with the Newport goalkeeper before rounding Townsend and then fooling Priestley Farquharson, who ended up skidding on the turf before Vardy slammed the ball home. Vardy stuck his tongue out in celebration but a good night’s work was soured by Justin’s injury.

Premier League: 10 talking points from the weekend’s action | Football

1) Saka should take heavy tackles as a compliment

Officially, Bukayo Saka is the 33rd most fouled player in the Premier League. Unofficially, Arsenal fans will tell you that their man is the victim of some sinister conspiracy between opposition left-backs and referees to get him hacked out of the game. So, a valid concern or the usual tribal tinfoil nonsense? It’s actually more complex than it looks. What sets Saka apart is his unique close dribbling style, the ball almost wedged between his feet as he runs. So when he buys the contact – because all wingers buy contact – the tackle often takes ball and man together, making it hard to see which impact came first. Simply put, referees need to do better here. But it also needs a recognition from Arsenal fans that Saka isn’t being deliberately victimised or singled out: he’s just really, unusually good. Jonathan Liew

2) Can Emery nurture Villa’s stars-in-waiting?

It feels a long time ago now but Unai Emery gave Arsenal debuts to Gabriel Martinelli, Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe. It is a slice of history that would appear to bode well for Aston Villa, whose academy graduateJacob Ramsey completed the scoring in victory over Manchester United on Sunday. Ramsey replaced Ashley Young in Villa’s only change and he repaid Emery’s faith with a vibrant midfield display, smartly combining with Ollie Watkins, Emiliano Buendía and Leon Bailey, and the way the 21-year-old, who joined Villa aged six, has started under Emery suggests he will be in the thick of things. Emery referenced Villa’s academy at his unveiling last week and in the Spaniard the club believe they have one of the the best coaches in the world to nurture talent. Ben Fisher

3) Núñez looks ill-suited to wide role

It’s fair to say that Darwin Núñez is not the world’s most silky-smooth footballer, and indeed his doomed, ungainly scurries down the left provided Spurs fans with some rare levity in the first half. If the target man’s bungled dribbles raised the question of what he was doing out on the wing, then perhaps Mohamed Salah’s two goals – dispatched after stealing into central positions – provided the answer: an attack spearheaded by Roberto Firmino gives Liverpool’s best finisher licence to drift infield. Not that this will be much consolation to Núñez, who remains the jigsaw piece that doesn’t fit. The lineage of Liverpool players signed as thrilling goalscorers only to labour painfully out wide is a long one that stretches from Heskey to Aspas via Diouf, Cissé and Babel. If the Uruguayan is to avoid joining that list, his manager must find an effective way of playing him centrally. Whether such a solution exists, on current evidence, is far from certain. Alex Hess

Darwin Núñez in possession
Darwin Núñez played on the left against Tottenham. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

4) Howe’s first year has been a revelation

While it seems increasingly unlikely Ralph Hasenhüttl will make it as far as a fourth anniversary at Southampton, the man opposite him in the dugout at St Mary’s celebrates 12 months with Newcastle job this week. The turnaround in that time has been remarkable, from a relegation battle to genuine top-four contenders. Their win on the south coast was Eddie Howe’s 20th in 41 league matches – and 19 have come in the last 32 games. For all the inevitable talk of Saudi riches, Howe has also coached a set of individuals into a fine collective: 13 of his latest match-day squad predated his arrival. When one press member made a comparison with Leicester’s 2016 title winners, Howe smiled. “I remember that Leicester team very well. But I just think we are trying to be ourselves.” Sam Dalling

5) Gnonto changes the game for Leeds

Wilfried Gnonto. Remember the name because Jesse Marsch’s 19-year-old Italy forward is very good indeed. It is no exaggeration to say that Gnonto altered the entire topography of a game Bournemouth had been in control of after he came off the bench at half-time. No matter that Leeds swiftly fell 3-1 behind, Gnonto – along with his fellow substitute Sam Greenwood and Marsch’s inspired switch from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 – recalibrated the power balance. After goals by Greenwood and Liam Cooper levelled the score, Gnonto created Crysencio Summerville’s second winning goal in two games with a wonderful run and beautifully weighted through pass. “Wilfried’s a very intelligent young man,” said Marsch. “Wherever you play him you see his savviness and clarity of thought. He speaks multiple languages, understands tactics and has quality. He’s making a big case for more minutes.” Louise Taylor

6) Guardiola’s recipe for City success

Manchester City refused to accept anything less than a win despite João Cancelo’s first-half red card. Pep Guardiola was asked if his team take an elixir to feed their addiction to victory. “A magic potion like Asterix and Obelix?” he said. “No but I see Fulham, they do good things and I made warnings to the players, they trained incredibly well, I saw how focused they were, so I went to sleep confident.” Kevin De Bruyne was again in fine form, claiming the 95th-minute penalty that Erling Haaland dispatched. His manager’s contract expires in the summer and the Belgian seemed no more informed than anyone else about how the situation might play out. “After seven years maybe it is more calm for him. To be honest I don’t know [about his future], I don’t think you’ll get too much out of him. And that is fine.” Jamie Jackson

7) Lallana looks a natural leader for Brighton

Roberto De Zerbi says he needs clever footballers who fully understand his complex tactics and style. One player who is helping his teammates is Adam Lallana. The 34-year-old was briefly part of the coaching staff between Graham Potter’s exit to Chelsea and De Zerbi’s arrival, offering an indication of his future plans. “Lallana is a teacher on the pitch,” De Zerbi said after defeating Wolves 3-2. “I think he will become a very good coach. I hope not now because I want him on the pitch but he is very intelligent, very smart.” While working with the squad, his “enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism” impressed the chief executive, Paul Barber. On the pitch, he looks perfect operating behind Leandro Trossard and excels with the one-touch play in and around the area. He has a few years left in his legs but when the time comes to hang up the boots, he will have options. Will Unwin

In the second half came one of those moments common to these pre-World Cup times. Lucas Paquetá screamed out after a tackle from Jordan Ayew, rolling over several times. Was his Qatar dream dead? The Brazilian, his ankle checked over, continued and played out the 90 minutes. “If anybody was maybe going to create or craft us a goal late in the game it was probably going to be Lucas,” said David Moyes, putting the anguish down to cramp. The Hammers are yet to see the best of a player counted among Brazil manager Tite’s chosen ones, suggesting the problems of recruiting in this interrupted season. Paquetá did not look much interested in physical battles with Crystal Palace and is back in the team after a shoulder problem. Moyes, like so many other Premier League managers, is forced to rely on players whose focus is drifting – a suboptimal situation. John Brewin

Lucas Paqueta in action against Crystal Palace
Lucas Paqueta is yet to peak at West Ham. Photograph: Tom Dulat/Getty Images

9) Foxes find form at both ends of field

“How are you lot behind us?” asked one incredulous Evertonian of a Leicester City video analyst sat in the Goodison Park press box on Saturday night. It was a reasonable query on the final whistle, given the superiority of Brendan Rodgers’ team in every department over their error-strewn hosts, although Leicester are now above Everton on goal difference and heading in a different direction. Creatively, the contributions of James Maddison, Harvey Barnes, Youri Tielemans and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall eclipsed anything Everton had to offer. And their defence made Frank Lampard’s team appear impotent, particularly after Dominic Calvert-Lewin departed with another injury. Leicester conceded 22 goals in the first seven Premier League games of the season; they have conceded three in the last seven. “The summer was tough for us,” said Rodgers, who reserved special praise for his only outfield summer signing. “But I always said that with patience and hard work on the training field we could get back to our level. It’s great to see them playing with joy and quality and you can see the difference that Wout Faes is making.” Andy Hunter

10) The joy of a good goalmouth scramble

Amid the glitz and glamour of the Premier League – a division of otherworldly finesse and scarcely believable skill – there’s nothing like a horribly messy goalmouth scramble to remind us that we’re all human after all. Nottingham Forest’s 96th-minute equaliser against Brentford had a bit of everything: a desperate flap from David Raya, several seconds of human pinball, a helpless last touch from Mathias Jørgensen and, finally, a heroic clearance from Ben Mee – only for goalline technology to intervene and leave him with his head buried in the turf. Thomas Frank’s side have played some excellent football this season, but they have also been highly inconsistent. Without a victory in four, they are now on their longest winless run of the campaign and face an unenviable trip to Manchester City before the World Cup. They have not tasted victory away from home in the league all season; going on their wildly unpredictable form, they’ll probably win 3-0. Will Magee

Tielemans and Barnes strikes continue Leicester revival with win at Everton | Premier League

The Leicester revival continues, and in spectacular style. Youri Tielemans added another superb goal to his rich catalogue as Brendan Rodgers’ side soared out of the relegation zone with a highly accomplished victory at Everton.

Harvey Barnes added a late second after starting and finishing a devastating counterattack in which he received James Maddison’s ball inside the area, spun away from Abdoulaye Doucouré, and swept an emphatic finish beyond Jordan Pickford. Maddison impressed throughout as Rodgers’ savoured his first Premier League win at Goodison Park, a third victory in four matches and yet another clean sheet.

It was remarkable the game remained goalless until Tielemans’ fabulous strike just before half-time. The glut of clear-cut chances started within seconds of kick-off when Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall broke down the left and crossed for the lively Maddison, who side-footed wide of the far post.

There was still an opportunity for Patson Daka to convert but, unmarked and at full stretch, the striker was just unable to connect. Maddison and Dewsbury-Hall combined again to play Daka through an exposed defence. His low shot on the turn was stopped by the fingertips of Pickford.

The hosts should have led from their first genuine attack. Idrissa Gana Gueye engineered it with a sharp tackle to dispossess Boubakary Soumaré just outside the Leicester area.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin collected the loose ball and sent Alex Iwobi scurrying into space behind Wout Faes. Iwobi had only Danny Ward to beat but placed his shot inches wide of the far post.

Youri Tielemans scores his stunning opener for Leicester
Youri Tielemans scores his stunning opener for Leicester. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

The former Leicester winger Demarai Gray, his every touch jeered by the visiting supporters, and Calvert-Lewin missed half chances before Ward saved from James Tarkowski’s towering header and Iwobi had a diving header blocked by his own number nine.

It was a flowing, ridiculously open contest with both sides looking to move the ball forward as quickly as possible. Chaos in the Everton defence, with Pickford’s kicking repeatedly erratic and Tarkowski enduring a rare off day, also aided the Leicester cause.

Maddison swept just wide from the edge of the area, Barnes miscued when well placed and Tarkowski blocked from Dewsbury-Hall as the visitors poured forward in numbers. Maddison had a goal-bound shot deflected just wide by Gana Gueye and Pickford saved from Daka following an error by Tarkowski, but the England goalkeeper was powerless to prevent Tielemans volleying Leicester into a stunning, deserved lead.

After a brief interruption when what appeared to be a firework landed on the pitch, prompting the referee, David Coote, to speak with a police officer, Dewsbury-Hall released Barnes down the left with a fine first time ball.

From his low cross Daka had a shot blocked by Tarkowski but Conor Coady under-hit an attempted clearance and allowed Maddison to tee up his captain 25 yards from goal. Tielemans controlled on his thigh, then sent a superb volley arching over Pickford and into the top corner.

Everton were almost level early in the second half when Iwobi played Calvert-Lewin in behind the Leicester defence.

Ward was off his line quickly to smother his shot, and Calvert-Lewin’s frustrations deepened when he was forced off injured on the hour. Any outside chance of the Everton striker making England’s World Cup squad may have disappeared with this setback.

Maddison could not have delivered a better audition, however. The playmaker was inches away from doubling Leicester’s lead when beating Dwight McNeil before hitting a post with a shot from the edge of the area.

Frank Lampard introduced Anthony Gordon, Neal Maupay and Nathan Patterson in a bid to inject fresh energy into Everton’s play but they were unable to break a resilient Leicester defence that preserved a fourth clean sheet in five games.

De Bruyne’s terrific free-kick gives Manchester City edge against Leicester | Premier League

Manchester City may have been without Erling Haaland but Pep Guardiola’s side are so awash with talent that it just meant another of their stars came to the fore. The pass-o-meter was heavily in the visitors’ favour but in the end Kevin De Bruyne’s majestic second-half free-kick proved the difference as the champions clinched victory and moved top of the pile.

Guardiola spent much of the three minutes of second-half stoppage time crouched on the edge of his technical area as if about to thunder from the starting blocks. City had a brief fright when John Stones’s headed clearance cannoned off Rúben Dias and just wide of Ederson’s goal but the visitors swept upfield on the counter from the resulting corner. De Bruyne raced down the right flank and sent a teasing ball across the six-yard box that just eluded Ilkay Gündogan.

Leicester had to work overtime in their 4-5-1 shape merely to make it into the City half and when they did it was a cause for celebration. Midway through the first half Youri Tielemans, again wearing the Leicester captain’s armband in the absence of the injured Jonny Evans, fizzed a pass into Jamie Vardy. The striker was soon hounded and shifted the ball to Harvey Barnes, whose shot was parried by Ederson. James Maddison ambled over towards the corner flag to take the subsequent set piece, determined to enjoy the rare scope for a breather.

Danny Ward made smart stops to deny Bernardo Silva and Julián Álvarez in a one-sided first half, but three minutes into the second period Leicester’s resistance was broken. Nampalys Mendy replaced Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall at half-time and his first contribution was a cheap foul on Jack Grealish 25 yards from goal. What happened next was nothing short of sublime.

The Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson gets a glove to Youri Tielemans’s long-range effort
The Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson gets a glove to a spectacular Youri Tielemans effort. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

De Bruyne took a moment to compose himself as Maddison lay down behind Leicester’s wall and flighted a right-foot free-kick in off Ward’s right upright. Warming up on the sidelines, three of City’s substitutes had the best view in the house and all three applauded as the ball cannoned off one post and nestled in the opposite corner of the goal. Rodri, shirt tucked into his shorts, hoisted De Bruyne into the air.

Tielemans was typically clean in possession and went close to finding a peach of an equaliser four minutes later. Maddison sprayed a corner out to the edge of the D and the Belgian was there to meet the ball. He smacked a shot goalwards but Ederson got the fingertips of his left hand to the strike and helped the ball on to the crossbar to gasps from the crowd. The visitors had a couple of sniffs of goal as they went in search of a second but the Leicester substitute Kelechi Iheanacho and the full-back Timothy Castagne passed up chances for the hosts.

Leicester out of bottom three after Tielemans kickstarts win over Wolves | Premier League

When Jamie Vardy tapped home from close range in the 79th minute, it was only Leicester’s fourth shot of the match but also their fourth goal.

Wolves dominated play and created a plethora of chances but never truly looked like scoring, to leave them with five goals in 12 games and an increasingly toxic atmosphere at Molineux.

Wolves-supporting caretaker manager Steve Davis will have been pained by chants of “we are fucking shit” from the crowd after Youri Tielemans, Harvey Barnes and James Maddison had shown that scoring was possible, further proved by Vardy.

Davis is, in theory, living his dream by managing his boyhood club but he will have preferred injured trio Raúl Jiménez, Sasa Kalajdzic and Pedro Neto to be available to give him a chance of succeeding. He will stay in charge of the first-team until 2023, a reward that looks less appealing by the week.

A promising Wolves start was quashed when Maddison’s free-kick from the left flank was headed partially clear by Jonny Otto – the man booked for the foul that led to the set piece – but straight to the waiting Tielemans who quickly did the mathematics on the angles and rifled the bouncing ball into the top corner.

Maddison ran over, gobsmacked by what his teammate had just achieved, a feeling felt throughout Molineux. The goal was against the run of play, Wolves had dominated possession before Tieleman’s incredible strike, and continued to do so after.

Matheus Nunes ran through on goal, forcing Danny Ward to come out and save, while Max Kilman flicked a corner inches over. Going behind is a huge problem for Wolves because they are yet to score twice in a single Premier League game this season. The crowd are fully aware of Wolves’ record and their apprehension once the deficit was established was understandable.

Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring the fourth goal
Jamie Vardy celebrates scoring the fourth goal as Leicester moved out of the relegation zone. Photograph: Andrew Couldridge/Action Images/Reuters

If things were tense in the stands at that stage, they were exacerbated when Barnes and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall played a neat interchange inside the box, allowing the winger to wander into space, aided by Jonny slipping, and slot the ball across José Sá into the bottom corner.

Wolves are reliant on emergency signing Diego Costa for goals, a striker who had not played for nine months prior to joining on a free last month. Starting his third game in eight days, the 34-year-old’s fitness and form were being put under pressure. It is obvious what qualities he maintains from his peak: his clever feet and aggression are there but his inadequacies in the role outweighed the positives. Costa knows where he needs to be to reach passes but he does not have the speed of thought or foot to get there in time. When behind his frustration grew, whacking into the back of Wout Faes for no gain.

The Costa tribute act almost pulled one back when Kilman flicked a João Moutinho free-kick to the back post where the Brazilian was waiting to seemingly tap home from two yards, only to see his sidefooted effort repelled on the line by James Justin’s dangling boot at the last second.

Moments later a clever Costa dummy allowed Podence through but Ward’s outstretched left hand ensured the ball did not end up in the corner.

The rhythm of the game did not change after the break; Wolves dominated possession, spending much of their time in the final third. Ruben Neves curled a free-kick from the edge of the box half a yard wide and Costa headed a dangerous cross straight at Ward, one of 21 unsuccessful efforts from Wolves in 90 minutes, compounded by Maddison and Vardy extending the lead.

There were calls from the home supporters for the removal of Wolves technical director Scott Sellars. A failure to find a replacement for Bruno Lage and a paper thin squad has brought disquiet at Molineux. It is understandable considering they now sit joint on points with bottom club Nottingham Forest. And the worst could still be to come.

Barnes goal seals win over Leeds and moves Leicester off bottom of the table | Premier League

Brendan Rodgers has long been preaching that things will click for Leicester City and this was one of those nights when everything came together. By the time Jamie Vardy walked out for the start of the second half slurping a can of Red Bull, the damage was already done, an own goal by Robin Koch and a Harvey Barnes strike paving the way to only Leicester’s second league win of the season. Barnes celebrated capping a slick team move by pretending to putt a golf ball into the corner flag but the relief of this victory was more akin to leathering a drive down the fairway.

Victory for Leicester lifts them off the bottom of the table and plunges Leeds deeper into trouble. Jesse Marsch’s side, who host Fulham on Sunday, are now seven games without a win. The last time they tasted victory Boris Johnson was still in office as prime minister. Leicester remain in the relegation zone but they are three games unbeaten at home before a trip to Wolves on Sunday.

At times it has felt as though the walls have been closing in on Rodgers, who last weekend was jeered by a section of Leicester supporters calling for his dismissal, but his chairman, Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, has been determined to give him time to turn things around. The Leicester owner alluded to the power of momentum and the commitment of Rodgers and his players to turn the tide. Leicester were not flawless – Youri Tielemans stormed in to prevent Patrick Bamford from running clear on goal after a mistake by Daniel Amartey – but they played with freedom.

Leicester relaxed from the moment they took the lead on 16 minutes. Dennis Praet, who replaced the suspended James Maddison on the right side of midfield, preyed on Koch’s clunky touch and pickpocketed the ball from the defender. Vardy was then fouled by Marc Roca but the referee, Peter Bankes, allowed play to run and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall freed Praet with a first-time pass.

Praet played a wonderful teasing ball in between Meslier and Koch, across the six-yard box, and with Barnes lurking behind him Koch panicked and slid in to intervene, only to inadvertently put the ball past his own goalkeeper. Rodgers, hands in pockets, returned to his seat.

It was a night built on fine margins. Tielemans’s shot being blocked on the edge of the box on the half-hour was the trigger for Leeds to counter through Luis Sinisterra. The ball pinballed back where it came from and Sinisterra piled forward before curling a shot on to the crossbar from the edge of the D.

Leeds United’s Robin Koch (left) puts the ball past Illan Meslier for an own goal during the Premier League match against Leicester City.
Robin Koch (left) puts the ball past his own goalkeeper Illan Meslier in the first half to give Leicester the lead. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP/Getty Images

Moments later Sinisterra was allowed to playfully surge upfield before dropping a shot wide. Marsch was kicking his heels on the touchline and Rodgers was left shaking his head at the manner in which Leeds continued to tap into space in front of the Leicester back four.

Five minutes later the Leicester goal music sounded once more. Leicester shifted the ball from right to left and Vardy backheeled it into the path of Dewsbury-Hall. He swept the ball towards Barnes, who sent his shot through the legs of the exposed Illan Meslier. Marsch hooked Koch and Roca at the interval, with club captain Liam Cooper and Rodrigo introduced in their place. Koch had endured a miserable first half, which was typified by a swipe at Barnes that earned the Germany defender a booking.

Marsch’s decision to drop Cooper and Rodrigo did not seem too clever at the break. Rodrigo’s cross on the hour caused concern in the Leicester box, leading Wout Faes to fling a leg and then James Justin to head over his own goal. Crysencio Summerville was bright on his first league start but Bamford struggled to get into the game and was replaced by Jack Harrison on 65 minutes.

Praet missed a chance to put the game to bed after being slipped in by the substitute Patson Daka, an opportunity that left Marsch cussing on the touchline. The feeling was echoed in the away end, where Leeds supporters vented their anger as Sinisterra was withdrawn.

Little respite for Brendan Rodgers as Leicester draw blank with Crystal Palace | Premier League

Even the boos felt a touch halfhearted as apathy reigned at the final whistle, when a section of Leicester supporters made their disdain clear, calling for Brendan Rodgers to be sacked. The hosts played out a lethargic draw with Crystal Palace that does little to ease the pressure on their manager, whose side remain marooned in the relegation zone after one win from 10 games.

Gareth Southgate was in the stands but this was an afternoon when nobody did themselves any favours, with James Maddison booked for a dive deep into four minutes of second-half stoppage time.

Rodgers acknowledged the onus was on his players to rouse supporters with a performance to get behind, preempting the predictably subdued atmosphere that filled this stadium before and after the final whistle, and this stalemate surely sapped any glimmer of enthusiasm. Leicester were not dreadful but they were painfully harmless, probing with little joy and lacking conviction when it mattered.

Harvey Barnes came alive in the first half, darting inside Joel Ward and playing a one-two with Patson Daka, again preferred to Jamie Vardy in attack. But the Leicester winger ran out of road and Vicente Guaita rushed out of goal, skidding on his knees to put the barriers up.

The Leicester manager, Brendan Rodgers, on the touchline during the match against Crystal Palace.
The Leicester manager, Brendan Rodgers, tries to encourage his players. Photograph: Peter Powell/Reuters

Palace also underwhelmed and aside from Odsonne Édouard forcing a fine save from Danny Ward, who clambered low to his right to prevent a second-half shot that went through the legs of Daniel Amartey squeezing in at his near post, they barely worked the worst defence in the league.

Eberechi Eze lashed a shot over after Wilfried Zaha, who was muted, shifted the ball infield and Édouard earlier squared without finding a Palace shirt in the six-yard box. Leicester’s crowd were understandably restless and Patrick Vieira cut a weary look as stoppage time loomed. He was not the only one.

Leicester’s Wout Faes: ‘Chelsea called me but I never really thought to go’ | Leicester City

Wout Faes is in full flow, his appetite for the Premier League clear as he reflects on his first few weeks at Leicester City. “For me to be here now is a dream,” he says. “Everything that I thought the Premier League would be, it is. The most-viewed, everything around it … also on the pitch, the intensity is something I quite like. They [officials] let the game play a little longer than I was used to. I like it because you can go 100% in every duel. You have to, actually, because otherwise you lose it. Every time I step on the pitch, I’m like: ‘OK, yeah, this is the real proper football.’”

Faes has quickly become a popular character in the dressing room since arriving from Reims on deadline day in September and, with an unmistakable mop of hair, something of a cult hero among supporters. Brendan Rodgers stressed that his only outfield signing this summer could not be expected to invigorate an entire squad but his initiation song, John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads at the team hotel before Leicester played Brighton certainly proved a crowd-pleaser. “Everybody knows Country Roads so they were singing along a little bit,” Faes says, tapping the table.

Faes is warm company at Leicester’s vast Seagrave training complex, as he discusses facing Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1, playing alongside an 18-year-old Martin Ødegaard on loan at Heerenveen, pike fishing with his uncle in Belgium, and growing up in Mol, the town in which the cyclist Tom Boonen was born. “He is a legend,” Faes says. “It is a very small place. When I was young and signed for Anderlecht [at the age of 14] people were like ‘wow’ but I was still young. Now I am playing at the highest level you notice people are proud and that’s nice.”

Then there are those comparisons to David Luiz, another defender with a mane of natural curly hair. Faes could have followed in the Brazilian’s footsteps but turned down an offer from Chelsea in his mid-teens after being spotted playing for Belgium Under-17s at a tournament in Scotland. When Faes turned 16, Chelsea sent him a signed shirt from David Luiz. “We have similar hair so maybe that is why … since then, people who I don’t really know always ask the same questions. I can understand it because he was a very big player and he’s played for almost all of the big teams in England but for me it’s important to make my own name.”

David Luiz in March 2021, while playing for Arsenal at West Ham
David Luiz in March 2021, while playing for Arsenal at West Ham. When Wout Faes turned 16, Chelsea sent him a shirt signed by the Brazilian Photograph: Justin Tallis/Reuters

The 24-year-old insists staying in Belgium was the right call. “They [Chelsea] called me and they wanted to have me but I never really thought to go, because I knew at Anderlecht I was [in a] very, very good [place]. Maybe if I had gone there, maybe I would have got more money but that was not important. I wanted to have the best education and I knew at Anderlecht they were really counting on me and saw me as a future talent. It was more important to stay there and progress there. I never thought: ‘I should have gone to Chelsea.’ I have no regrets to not have signed there.”

When Faes is not on the pitch or spending time with his wife, Linde, there is a good chance he will have his head buried in a book. At the moment he is reading about Warren Buffett, how the highly successful American investor managed his money – “The Wolf of Wall Street? I’m not going to be that! I don’t think so, but it’s interesting” – and has read all seven Harry Potter books. Twice. “I’m a big fan,” he says. “I love the stories so much. My favourite one was the Half-Blood Prince. I saw that Harry Potter World is near London and that is on our list to visit very soon.”

If Faes and Leicester, who have won once in nine attempts this season, are feeling the pressure before hosting Crystal Palace on Saturday, you would never know it. The defender is not fretting about Leicester’s ominous position at the bottom but acknowledges the importance of creating a winning habit. “It’s more the mental aspect that is going to make the difference. It’s about staying together, all noses in the same direction. As a sportsman, you live from winning. We are doing intense sessions in training where we play one v one to get that pride of not being passed, or the pride of scoring a goal if you’re a striker, to really get this [feeling] in our blood. We have to take that into the game.”

Wout Faes battles with Harry Kane during Leicester’s defeat at Tottenham
Wout Faes battles with Harry Kane during Leicester’s defeat at Tottenham. Photograph: Vincent Mignott/EPA

For Faes, it is a case of friends reunited at Leicester, with the centre-back among four Belgium internationals on the books with hopes of making Roberto Martínez’s World Cup squad. Faes attended the same school as Youri Tielemans in Anderlecht, Institute Saint Nicolas, and played alongside him after joining the Brussels club. “It is quite funny to be in the same club now a few years later. Sometimes Youri went to a higher age group but as he did, I did the same, so we didn’t play a lot of games together. We trained a lot and in daily life we saw each other almost every day.”

Faes is still unpacking after his £15m move but he and his wife have settled in the east Midlands, where he is enjoying exploring the picture-postcard countryside. “We’ve been to Oakham, which is quite nice. We live in Rutland – I think it’s the smallest county in England – and it’s cosy. When we wake up we see the fields and the sun come up; it’s like the picture of England that you have when you read books in Belgium. We are very happy to be here.”

Faes’s focus is on hoisting Leicester up the league and potentially playing for his country in Qatar. “It is the dream of every player to be there,” Faes says of the World Cup. “I’ve been in the squad the last four or five times and that gives you the taste for more. Now being in the Premier League, it’s going to help because I’m now at the highest level. The most important thing is to perform here. If they see me play I hope they will give me more chances.”

Premier League: 10 things to look out for this weekend | Premier League

1) Reds know benchmark for City showdown

One “freak” result – as Jürgen Klopp put it – has transformed the mood inside Liverpool after they condemned Rangers to the joint-heaviest defeat in their history at Ibrox on Wednesday. The next, and more onerous, challenge is to ensure an emphatic first away win changes the momentum of an inconsistent season. Manchester City and a rested Erling Haaland pose the most formidable threat but the 7-1 win in Glasgow, or certainly the standard of the second-half display, has to be the benchmark for a team that comfortably beat Rangers at Anfield last week before underperforming in defeat at Arsenal. With 13 points separating the two teams who have dominated the title race in recent years, Liverpool cannot afford another false dawn. Their intensity will be key, according to Andy Robertson. “We need to get consistency back into our game, back into our performance,” said the fit-again full-back. “We have to play with that intensity again. At our best we know we can cause problems to any team. Anything below that and it will be a difficult afternoon.” Andy Hunter

2) Another chance for Casemiro to shine

Casemiro began Sunday’s first Premier League start at Everton being mugged by Amadou Onana, whose intervention led to Alex Iwobi’s opener. From this quasi-disastrous moment the Brazilian showed character and class to become Manchester United’s star act in a comprehensive performance that featured tackles, interventions, metronomic passing and the precisely weighted 40-yard ball that created Cristiano Ronaldo’s winner (and his 700th career strike). Here was evidence of why the 30-year-old was pivotal in Real Madrid’s five Champions League triumphs since 2013-14 and an encouraging sign of how influential he may prove in Erik ten Hag’s rebuild. Particularly old news is how the 20-times champions have struggled for a generation – since Michael Carrick was signed in 2006 – to sign a midfielder of requisite quality so maybe, at last, Casemiro will be the man. It’s very early days, but after having to wait for his chance due to Scott McTominay’s form it will be a surprise should Casemiro not again be in the XI for the visit of Newcastle United. Jamie Jackson

Casemiro shares a joke during Manchester United training.
Casemiro shares a joke during Manchester United training. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

3) Rodgers and out?

The internet is renowned as a reliable source of information, Twitter in particular. As such, we have no reason and certainly no desire to disbelieve the story that broke on the platform this week – that Leicester have banned all Tannoy birthday greetings, after requests that regards be passed on to “Zak Rodgers” and “Brenda Nout”. In a sense, though, its veracity doesn’t actually matter, because the reality remains the same: many Leicester fans have lost faith in the man who just last year brought them the only FA Cup win in their 138-year history. Moreover, it is unarguably the case that few managers turn such antipathy around. And it seems likely that, with Leicester bottom of the table and few obvious relegation candidates immediately above them, there are only so many more reverses the club are likely to allow. As such, another against Palace – whose speed and quality makes them a suboptimal opponent for any side, never mind one in desperate need of a win – may mean the end. Daniel Harris

4) Doherty’s chance to regain Conte trust

Remember this game in early March? Frank Lampard does. “Lampard’s going down,” taunted the Tottenham support, jumping in two-footed on the Everton manager, whose team were hammered 5-0. To the Spurs crowd, Lampard will always be a villain due to his Chelsea connections. On a lower-profile level, Matt Doherty will remember this game. Trusted by Antonio Conte at right wing-back, it was something of a turning point. Doherty was outstanding, providing two assists and revelling in the freedom to get forward. Conte would count on him thereafter – until a knee ligament tear ended his season in mid-April. Doherty has struggled to recover his levels from that purple patch, mainly for fitness reasons. But with Emerson Royal banned after his red card against Arsenal, Conte started Doherty in last Saturday’s win at Brighton, when he was solid. The manager could prefer Ivan Perisic on the right against Everton, which would be a blow to Doherty. What he craves is the opportunity to regain momentum. David Hytner

5) A lesson in the Blues for Villa

It doesn’t edify the clubs involved in it, but never has The Battle for the Top FourTM been as intense as this season. Which makes things difficult for Graham Potter who, as well as handling Todd Boehly’s multi-dimensional ego, must also contend with managers more experienced in life at the top end of the table. But so far, he’s doing a pretty decent job – in large part because he quickly decided that Raheem Sterling, Mason Mount and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are his go-to attackers, so picks them in nearly every game. Villa, on the other hand, are struggling to score, and though Steven Gerrard was right to demand more from his creators, he is also part of the problem, constantly tinkering having built a strong squad with no obvious first team. Now it is time for him to settle on an XI and allow it to groove; the same wrong team playing together every week will be better than playing an altogether different team every week. DHa

Tyrone Mings and Emi Martínez during Villa’s 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest.
Tyrone Mings and Emi Martínez during Villa’s 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest. Photograph: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

6) Leeds’ future bright but present depends on Bamford

Leeds may have collected only two points from their last possible 15 and could arguably do without facing Arsenal at Elland Road but at least their longer-term future looks bright. They possess one of England’s best academies, and already this season Sonny Perkins, Mateo Joseph, Joe Gelhardt, Wilfred Gnonto, Crysencio Summerville and Sam Greenwood have shone for the Under-21s. Foremost among that little lot have been Perkins and Joseph: the two 18-year-old strikers cannot stop scoring, with Perkins having registered eight goals in eight games this term and Joseph nine in eight appearances. Gnonto and Gelhardt are currently ahead of that duo on the path towards Jesse Marsch’s first team but Perkins and Jospeh may not be all that far behind. For the moment though, everything hinges on Patrick Bamford returning to full fitness. It is no exaggeration to say his ability to remain on the pitch could represent the difference between success and failure for Leeds this season. Louise Taylor

7) More Midlands desperation

Of the Premier League’s bottom five, four are from the Midlands – bad for the area but great for those who enjoy the needle, desperation and devastation that only football rivalries provide. Both Forest and Wolves have made the news in the last week: the former handed Steve Cooper a surprise new contract before firing the head of recruitment and head scout, and the latter were rejected by Julen Lopetegui, their choice to replace Bruno Lage. Generally speaking, this is no big deal – no one knows whether he was right for the job – but more specifically, it feels problematic. Given the story broke on Tuesday, it’s now Friday and Wolves remain managerless, the likelihood is that the formulation of a thorough contingency plan was not deemed necessary. Ultimately, both of these clubs look set for a long winter. DHa

8) Hammers the latest Hasenhüttl threat

West Ham made a slow start to the season, winning just one of their first seven league games, but in recent weeks there have been signs of improvement. It’s true that their two victories came in home fixtures against Wolves and Fulham, but they are a much better side now than the one which subsided to meek defeat at Forest. Declan Rice looks more like his usual self and Jarrod Bowen has rediscovered the form of last season, while Gianluca Scamacca has settled and Lucas Paquetá is showing the class that prompted his signing. That makes them difficult opponents for a Southampton side that followed victory over Chelsea by scoring just once in the process of losing four on the trot and, while defeat against Manchester City can be excused, consecutive reverses against Wolves, Villa and Everton cannot. Consequently, they now sit 17th, a position it is hard to see them improving this weekend – or in the near future. DHa

9) First win could get De Zerbi era up and running

One point from meetings with Liverpool and Spurs probably goes down as par for Roberto De Zerbi’s first two games in charge of Brighton. They were arguably worth more than a narrow defeat in the latter but did not quite click in attack and, in any case, the Italian’s methods will take time to sink in. “He wants us to dictate play from the back and it is all about how we react to the pressure that is coming on us, to make spaces,” said the defender Adam Webster. “We have to take risks but, as long as we’re in the right positions, we can get out.” High risk and high reward have characterised De Zerbi’s career so far; he will hope for plenty of the latter against Brentford, who have only won one in six since demolishing Manchester United. A first win for the new regime would suggest Brighton can stick around in the table’s other reaches and ease any uncertainty about destabilising effects of Graham Potter’s departure. Nick Ames

Roberto De Zerbi during Brighton’s defeat to Tottenham last weekend.
Roberto De Zerbi during Brighton’s defeat to Tottenham last weekend. Photograph: Javier García/Rex/Shutterstock

In August, there weren’t many who expected these sides to still be in the top division come next season, so the current table – in which Bournemouth are eighth and Fulham ninth – is both surprising and affirming. It is not clear whether Bournemouth are a Championship side with Championship players enjoying a new-manager bounce against opponents unfamiliar with what they do, or whether the two wins and three draws since Gary O’Neil took temporary charge is their standard. Fulham, on the other hand, boast individuals whose work may just keep them up. João Palhinha was an excellent acquisition, Andreas Pereira is thriving with regular football in his favourite position and Aleksandr Mitrovic seems, finally, to have cracked the Premier League. We don’t know whether he has recovered from an injury sustained on international duty in time to play – and, with the World Cup imminent, it would be no surprise if he was circumspect – but either way, a reliable goalscorer looks the major point of difference between the sides. DHa