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Erling Haaland silences haters as Man City beat broken Man Utd on derby day - Premier League hits and misses

Plus: Dominik Szoboszlai looks like a complete midfielder as Liverpool beat Nottingham Forest 3-0; unrest builds at West Ham after their defeat at home to Everton; Joao Palhinha is powering Fulham after their 1-1 draw at Brighton

Haaland haters silenced as striker shows his strengths

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Manchester City’s win against Manchester United in the Premier League

A slow start? Not up to his levels of last season? But still Premier League top scorer and a nightmare opponent for Manchester United's defenders on derby day at Old Trafford.

One goal in five appearances before the international break had the quick critics out for Erling Haaland but on Sunday he showed his class and it's now five goals in his last three since returning from Norway duty. Critics silenced.

His penalty required composure, his header showed how he can adapt in a game, adjusting his finish from a similar opening which Andre Onana saved, and he demonstrated his awareness to roll the ball across for Phil Foden to add a third when he could have gone for his hat-trick.

Haaland isn't always in the thick of the action - he had the fewest touches of any player who was on for more than 45 minutes - but he stretched that United back line, found space with his movement and delivered when it mattered. With the likes of Foden, Bernado Silva and Jack Grealish in the fluid form they were in here, helping Haaland to four clear-cut chances, the striker is a fearsome prospect.
Peter Smith

Man Utd are broken

Manchester United
Image: Manchester United players react to their defeat at Man City

Question marks were already there when the Man Utd line-up for the Manchester derby was announced.

Raphael Varane available, but Jonny Evans starts. Sergio Reguilon the only left-back option but centre-back Victor Lindelof shoehorned into that role. No natural right winger in the starting line-up but Antony sat on the bench.

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Those three calls for the City game were tactical ones made by Erik ten Hag and so was the half-time introduction of Mason Mount, making the summer signing one of three 'No 10s' on the Old Trafford pitch for the second half with Bruno Fernandes and Christian Eriksen.

It was a decision branded "brave" by Gary Neville, and City picked United off with 14 second half shots - twice as many as the first half. United were just too open from that point.

Then go further up the pitch and you can only look at one goal from United's forwards this season.

There are some injuries with Casemiro, Luke Shaw and Lisandro Martinez the high-profile ones. But in summary: with players out of position and the squad inside out, Manchester United are currently broken.
Sam Blitz

Szoboszlai looks a complete midfielder

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool’s win against Nottingham Forest

It was a day for Liverpool's front three to feast as Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah's goals helped see off Nottingham Forest but Dominik Szoboszlai was the star performer.

The 23-year-old is proving to be one of the signings of the season in the Premier League and his display at Anfield on Sunday summed up just how much he is giving Jurgen Klopp's side.

Szoboszlai has usurped Trent Alexander-Arnold as the team's creative force, with only Bruno Fernandes, Kieran Trippier and James Maddison fashioning more chances in the Premier League this season. That creativity yielded two assists against Forest.

The first saw him pick out Nunez with a precise cut-back following a trademark run into the box. The second, for Salah, underlined his passing range as his long pass outfoxed Forest goalkeeper Matt Turner.

Szoboszlai's attacking threat is only one part of his offering. He is just as important off the ball. Against Forest, he won possession more times than anyone else. In fact, he ranks second only to Luton's Marvelous Nakamba in that metric in the Premier League this season.

His physical intensity is proving invaluable. Only Alexis Mac Allister covered more ground among Liverpool players on Sunday, according to tracking data, while only Nunez registered more sprints.

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Peter Smith and Richard Morgan discuss whether Mohamed Salah is better now than ever before.

He was relentless and he has been all season. Szoboszlai is the only outfield player to have played every minute of Liverpool's Premier League campaign so far. His completeness has rapidly made him indispensable to Klopp.
Nick Wright

Resolute Everton grab win for Kenwright

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Everton's win against West Ham

"That was for Bill."

Jenny Seagrove, the partner of the late Everton chairman Bill Kenwright, said it all.

Jordan Pickford celebrates Everton's win at West Ham
Image: Jordan Pickford celebrates Everton's win at West Ham

Sean Dyche admitted in his post-match press conference following the win at West Ham that it had been a difficult week for Everton Football Club following the passing of Kenwright.

West Ham boss David Moyes, who worked under Kenwright at Everton, described him as someone who had "blue blood running through his veins". Kenwright's love for Everton is unquestioned.

And at the London Stadium, the Everton players put the difficulties of the week and the emotional tributes ahead of kick-off behind them to put in a performance that the late chairman would have loved.

West Ham vs EVerton
Image: West Ham vs Everton

It wasn't pretty, that's for sure. However, led by the likes of captain James Tarkowski, player of the match Jarrad Branthwaite and England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, Everton were resolute and determined not to let West Ham through.

It allowed Dominic Calvert-Lewin to be the matchwinner and the scenes at the full-time whistle between the manager, the players and the Everton fans would have had Kenwright beaming from ear to ear.
Oliver Yew

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Everton manager Sean Dyche hails the character of his players for their 1-0 win at West Ham after what has been a difficult week following the passing of Chairman Bill Kenwright

DCL: 'I know he will have been watching'

Everton forward Dominic Calvert Lewin to Sky Sports:

"Nobody was prepared for what happened this week [the passing of Bill Kenwright] and it saddened everyone at the club and that one was for Bill.

"I know he would have been watching today very proud of us and more so proud of the way we won. We got the lead and then dug in to a man, we worked so hard for each other and then to go over at the end, just the atmosphere, it was a very good day."

Unrest building at West Ham?

Jarrod Bowen reacts to a missed chance after beating Vitaliy Mykolenko
Image: Jarrod Bowen reacts to a missed chance after beating Vitaliy Mykolenko

There was plenty of expectation at West Ham at the start of the season following their Europa Conference League success last season.

Declan Rice may have departed but there was positivity around the signings that came in and a four-game unbeaten run at the start of the campaign, which saw them spend a short time at the top of the table, only added to the good feeling around the club.

Mohammed Kudus holds off James Tarkowski
Image: Mohammed Kudus holds off James Tarkowski

However, fast forward a couple of months and there feels like a mood change in east London.

Travelling to the London Stadium you could over supporters questioning team selection and questioning the work-rate of the players. It carried on into the game with the home fans subdued. There were groans and gasps at every mis-placed pass, while boos rang out when defeat was confirmed at the final whistle.

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West Ham manager David Moyes reflects on his side's defeat to Everton

After a run of three consecutive victories in the Premier League, the Hammers have won just one of their last six, drawing one and losing four. It's also three defeats in a week in all competitions.

David Moyes was asked in his post-match press conference if he was concerned by his side's recent form but he chose not to bite. However, with the negative noise starting to build around West Ham, he will want to find a way to improve his sides fortunes in the coming weeks, especially with winnable league games coming up against Brentford, Nottingham Forest and Burnley.
Oliver Yew

West Ham failed to score in a Premier League game at the London Stadium for the first time in 2023, ending a run of 14 consecutive home games with a goal.

Are Villa top-four contenders?

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa's win against Luton in the Premier League.

Unai Emery has had a transformative effect at Aston Villa in his first year in charge. The former Arsenal boss has more than repaired his own reputation and re-established Villa as a force to be reckoned with.

But just how far can they go? Emery feels his side have what it takes to keep up with the pack chasing Champions League football.

Their home form certainly suggests that is a realistic possibility. They haven't dropped a point at Villa Park in the Premier League for more than eight months.

Aston Villa's astonishing run at home in PL

  • March 4: Aston Villa 1-0 Crystal Palace
  • March 18: Aston Villa 3-0 Bournemouth
  • April 8: Aston Villa 2-0 Nottingham Forest
  • April 15: Aston Villa 3-0 Newcastle
  • April 25: Aston Villa 1-0 Fulham
  • May 13: Aston Villa 2-1 Tottenham
  • May 28: Aston Villa 2-1 Brighton
  • August 20: Aston Villa 4-0 Everton
  • September 16: Aston Villa 3-1 Crystal Palace
  • September 30: Aston Villa 6-1 Brighton
  • October 22: Aston Villa 4-1 West Ham
  • October 29: Aston Villa 3-1 Luton

To truly consider themselves contenders though Villa need to break their flimsy away form. Two heavy defeats at Newcastle and Liverpool show there is work still to be done.

The big test will be next month's trip to league leaders Spurs, who are just four points ahead. If Emery and Villa can take the next step then there is nothing stopping them from challenging.
Zinny Boswell

Palhinha power firing Fulham

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from the 1-1 draw between Brighton and Fulham in the Premier League

The best piece of business Fulham have done in many years was tying down Joao Palhinha to a contract until 2028.

The 28-year-old came close to joining Bayern Munich in a £56.5m (€65m) deal which collapsed on Deadline Day before committing his future to Marco Silva's side.

And future suitors will have to pay big money for the Portugal midfielder as his contract does not have a release clause. There are few clubs that would not want Palhinha in this form.

His stunning equaliser at Brighton earned Fulham a point, another important goal to add to his previous three that have either drawn his team level or put them ahead.

Joao Palhinha equalises for Fulham at Brighton
Image: Joao Palhinha equalises for Fulham at Brighton

But Palhinha also did what he does best, winning the most duels (16) of any player and winning possession the joint-most (11). And he can still get better.

"He leads by his attitude," said manager Marco Silva. "He is not the most vocal guy, I want him to be more vocal. It's important he keeps improving his English.

"His attitude, his commitment, the way he lifts the others around him and he has something that is not easy to find in football - moments that we lose the ball his reaction is impressive."

Fulham will want him on a lifetime contract soon.
David Richardson

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