A week on from the drama, controversy and anger surrounding the European Super League, it felt like football – rather than its potential ruin – was at the front of the agenda this weekend.
However, the spectre of the Super League continued to loom over much of the action, with many of the so-called “big six” seeing it used as a stick to beat them with as they largely stuttered to underwhelming results.
Of those in league action over the weekend (Manchester City beat Tottenham in the EFL Cup final), only Chelsea emerged victorious, as Manchester United and Liverpool were held, while Arsenal lost at home to Everton.
Using Opta data, we look at some of the quirky facts from the latest Premier League matches…
Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle United: Reds to join exclusive list?
It was another underwhelming weekend for defending champions Liverpool, as their 1-1 draw at home to struggling Newcastle United saw them lose further ground in the fight for Champions League places.
Jurgen Klopp’s men are four points adrift of Chelsea in fourth, after the Blues beat top-four rivals West Ham 1-0 at the London Stadium.
Liverpool have five matches to close the gap otherwise they face the prospect of an ignominious achievement.
Only five times before have the reigning Premier League champions failed to qualify for the Champions League the season after winning the title.
Manchester United were the first in 1994-95, also doing so in 2013-14. The other teams do this were Blackburn Rovers (1995-96), Chelsea (2015-16) and Leicester City (2016-17).
“In the end, it was not enough.”
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 25, 2021
Wolves 0-4 Burnley: Wood and New Zealand join the United Nations of hat-tricks
Chris Wood enjoyed a weekend to remember as he netted his first Premier League hat-trick in Burnley’s 4-0 win over Wolves.
In doing so, he became the first New Zealand national to score a treble in the competition, meaning there have been hat-tricks scored by 46 countries in the Premier League.
New Zealand has joined Gabon, South Korea, Venezuela, DR Congo, Japan, Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Paraguay, Iceland, Sweden, Costa Rica and Serbia on one.
England, unsurprisingly, leads the way with 154 hat-tricks from 69 individuals. Joint second with 18 each are Netherlands and Argentina, while France (17) and Spain (11) are the only other countries into double figures.
1 – Chris Wood is the first player from New Zealand to score a Premier League hat-trick, with New Zealand now the 46th different nation to be represented by a hat-trick scorer in the competition, and the first new nation since Gabon (Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang). Explorer.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 25, 2021
Leeds United 0-0 Manchester United: ‘Boring, boring Man United’
Fans expecting a repeat of Manchester United’s 6-2 thrashing of Leeds United will have been sorely disappointed, not just with the 0-0 draw, but also given it was a fairly drab encounter.
Sure, United have excited on occasion this season, that previous win over Leeds and the 9-0 demolition of Southampton immediately coming to mind.
But Sunday’s stalemate was United’s seventh 0-0 draw of the season, more than any other team in the Premier League.
On top of that, 2020-21 has now seen United play out more goalless draws than any other Premier League season.
They previously played out six in 2004-05 and 2016-17, but 2020-21 now leads the way.
7 – Manchester United have drawn more Premier League games nil-nil than any other side this season (7) – only in 1980-81 (8) have the Red Devils been involved in more goalless draws in a single league campaign. Stalemate.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 25, 2021
West Ham 0-1 Chelsea: Tuchel’s at home on the road
Thomas Tuchel has made a fine impression at Chelsea since replacing Frank Lampard in January. The achievements seem to be piling up.
Chelsea’s latest win saw them leave London rivals West Ham with a 1-0 win that moved them back into the top four at the expense of David Moyes’ boys.
As such, he became the first Chelsea manager to avoid defeat in his first 10 away games across all competitions.
The previous club record was set by William Lewis over 100 years ago in 1906-07, when they went nine unbeaten on the road.
Tuchel also matched the record set by Luiz Felipe Scolari for the number of clean sheets (10) in his first 14 Premier League matches.
What’s even more impressive about that is it’s a league record, rather than just relevant to Chelsea.
10 – Thomas Tuchel is unbeaten in all 10 away matches with Chelsea (W8 D2) and is only the second manager in Premier League history to remain unbeaten in his first 10 away games in all competitions with a club, after Claudio Ranieri with Leicester City in 2015 (11). Accomplished.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) April 24, 2021
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