Man City could be boosted by return of John Stones and Gabriel Jesus

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Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola suggested John Stones and Gabriel Jesus could be ready to play a role in Saturday’s match against Brighton.

Jesus was expected to be sidelined until after the international break with a hamstring injury while Stones has missed the last two games with a thigh problem, but Guardiola said both were “much better”.

Leroy Sane remains a long-term absentee while Benjamin Mendy is working his way back to full fitness.

Brighton remain without suspended forward Florin Andone for their trip to the Etihad Stadium.

Romania international Andone serves the second game of a three-match ban after being sent off in last weekend’s defeat to Southampton, while Jurgen Locadia on Thursday left Albion to join German club Hoffenheim on loan.

Young striker Aaron Connolly will hope to be involved after scoring in the Carabao Cup win at Bristol Rovers but injured trio Ezequiel Schelotto, Jose Izquierdo and Yves Bissouma remain sidelined.

Man City provisional squad: Ederson, Bravo, Walker, Cancelo, Stones, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko, Angelino, Gundogan, Fernandinho, Rodri, De Bruyne, D Silva, B Silva, Foden, Sterling, Mahrez, Aguero, Jesus.

Brighton provisional squad: Ryan, Button, Montoya, Dunk, Duffy, Webster, Burn, Balogun, Bernardo, Bong, Stephens, Propper, Mooy, March, Jahanbakhsh, Trossard, Gross, Murray, Maupay, Connolly.

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Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker fire Wolves into Europa League group stage

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Raul Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker fired Wolves into the Europa League group stage after a 2-1 win over Torino.

Striker Jimenez struck his sixth goal in six European games to help send the hosts through 5-3 on aggregate in their play-off.

Andrea Belotti briefly levelled in the second half before Dendocker struck to cap victory at Molineux.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side now wait for Friday’s main draw in Monaco after battling through the qualifying rounds to extend their first European campaign since 1980.

Torino rarely looked like turning around a 3-2 first-leg deficit despite plenty of possession.

They tried to force the early running and Daniele Baselli volleyed well wide from the edge of the box.

Diogo Jota came in for heavy treatment from the Italians, who were snappy without following any of their early intent through.

The Serie A side were restricted to long-range efforts and, when a well-worked free kick was only half cleared, Tomas Rincon thundered a volley wide.

Molineux was nervous and Wolves’ sloppy distribution failed to ease the tension as Torino dominated the ball.

The hosts did, at least, create the first serious chance after 25 minutes only for Adama Traore to waste the opening.

The winger’s 50-yard run sent him powering into the area but, with just Salvatore Sirigu to beat, he fired at the goalkeeper from an angle.

It woke Wolves up, but it was still a surprise when they look the lead after half-an-hour.

Traore was granted space on the right and, when he delivered a low cross, Jimenez got across Temitayo Aina to poke in at the near post.

It was his seventh goal of the season, with the £32million striker justifying his summer price tag.

With a two-goal advantage on aggregate Wolves finally settled but still needed Rui Patricio to gather Simone Zaza’s free header.

Needing three goals to win Torino’s hopes were fading but Patricio had to be alert to turn Baselli’s angled free kick behind five minutes after the break.

Yet the goalkeeper was beaten in the 58th minute when Belotti glanced in Baselli’s whipped delivery from six yards.

Wolves hit back, though, to restore their advantage just 103 seconds later.

Jota scampered into the area and, when Sirigu saved his shot, Dendoncker fired in off a post from 16 yards.

It wrapped up the tie but Dendoncker should have grabbed a second with five minutes left only to shoot too close to Sirigu.

Soualiho Meite could have then levelled on the night soon after but shot wide with just Patricio to beat.

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Teemu Pukki and Ashley Barnes exceeding expectations among Premier League's early pace setters

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Pukki has made an instant impact in the Premier League.

Teemu Pukki and Ashley Barnes are among the players making waves early in the Premier League season – but can they be counted on to maintain their goalscoring form?

Pukki, who scored 29 goals as Norwich were promoted from the Championship last season, has five in just three games this term to match Raheem Sterling as the Premier League’s top scorer.

Barnes is alongside Sterling’s Manchester City team-mate Sergio Aguero on four, making this only the second Premier League season with four players at better than a goal a game for the first three games. In 2010-11, Chelsea pair Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda were on four apiece along with Theo Walcott, then at Arsenal, and Newcastle’s Andy Carroll.

Only Edin Dzeko, for champions Manchester City in 2011-12, has ever scored six in the first three games, with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney that same season and Robbie Fowler for Liverpool in 1994-95 matching Sterling and Pukki with five.

In all, 24 players prior to this season had notched four or more by this stage – the most recent being Riyad Mahrez in Leicester’s title-winning 2015-16 campaign.

The 24 players went on to score an average of 15.83 goals over the full season, ranging from Rooney’s 27 down to nine, Walcott’s final total as well as that of Teddy Sheringham for Portsmouth in 2003-04.

Teemu Pukki

The benchmark, then, would effectively be 16 goals – but there are reasons to believe most of this season’s fast starters can exceed that expectation.

Aguero has scored at least 20 in each of the last five seasons while the previous players with five or more through three games have averaged 22 for the season. Fowler finished with 25, two fewer than Rooney, though Dzeko managed only 14. Sterling has notched 18 and 17 in the last two seasons, while Pukki has shown no sign of his second-tier form deserting him.

Burnley striker Barnes is a harder case to judge – he was not a prolific Premier League goalscorer until midway through last season but has been a constant threat in 2019. Nine of his 12 goals last season came from New Year onwards, meaning he already has 13 this calendar year compared to 23 previously in the top flight.

There were two 10-goal seasons and four of 11 goals – the most frequent final tally, along with 18. Six players, or one out of every four, reached 20 or more for their respective seasons – Andy Cole the same season as Fowler, Dwight Yorke in 1999-2000 and Robin Van Persie the season after Rooney, all with United, and then Diego Costa for Chelsea in 2014-15.

Some of the lower-scoring seasons in years past show how a hot start can fall away – Walcott, for example, hit a hat-trick against minnows Blackpool and netted at Blackburn before the end of August but then did not score again before Christmas.

Carroll’s 13-goal season was perhaps the strangest of all. Starting with a hat-trick against Aston Villa, he had 11 by Boxing Day for Newcastle but after his big-money January move to Liverpool he scored only twice more – both in a 3-0 win over Manchester City on April 11.

Provided by Press Association Sports

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