The Premier League title race took another twist on Saturday, with Arsenal now back atop the pile.
Manchester City’s 3-1 win at Emirates Stadium in midweek had seemingly given them control of the two-horse race for the trophy.
But City’s failure to build on that success and Arsenal’s late heroics on the road at Aston Villa mean the Gunners have a two-point lead over Pep Guardiola’s men with a game in hand.
Elsewhere, Liverpool boosted their top-four aspirations while denting those of Newcastle United, who have now won just one of their last seven Premier League games.
Here, Stats Perform looks at Saturday’s biggest games through the lens of Opta data.
Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal: Jorginho and Martinelli produce late show
Saturday saw Arsenal reassume command of what is fast becoming an engrossing title race, but it looked for a long time as if they would suffer another setback.
The Gunners appeared set to settle for a 2-2 draw at Villa Park, only for Jorginho’s rasping injury-time drive to cannon off the crossbar and then deflect in off Emiliano Martinez. Gabriel Martinelli made it 4-2 in the 98th minute.
It marked the first time Arsenal have scored a 90th-minute winner away from home in the league since Martinelli netted against Crystal Palace in May 2021, which was also the last time they scored twice in the 90th minute in the same game in the competition.
Arsenal’s joy should be tempered somewhat by defensive concerns.
Indeed, Arsenal have now conceded the opening goal in four of their last five Premier League games, one more than they did in their first 18 games of the 2022-23 campaign (3).
Chelsea 0-1 Southampton: Saints pile pressure on Potter
The result was overshadowed by the head injury suffered by Cesar Azpilicueta, but it was an extremely significant one for Southampton, who boosted their survival hopes by completing the league double against Chelsea for the first time since the 1987-88 season.
Defeat for Chelsea was their first at home against the team starting the day bottom of the Premier League table for the first time since April 2014 vs Sunderland (1-2).
The Blues have lost three of their last six Premier League home games (W2 D1), as many defeats as in their previous 25 league games at Stamford Bridge combined (W13 D9), that run piling the pressure on manager Graham Potter.
Chelsea’s latest home loss was engineered by James Ward-Prowse, who in scoring his 17th direct free-kick goal in the Premier League moved just one behind record holder David Beckham (18), netting 13 of them away from home.
17 – Only David Beckham (18) has scored more direct free-kick goals in the Premier League than James Ward-Prowse (17); each of Ward-Prowse’s last eight direct free-kick goals have come away from home. Prowess. pic.twitter.com/V53Fte84qm
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 18, 2023
Nottingham Forest 1-1 Manchester City: Forest hold champions at bay
If Forest do manage to stay up, their home from will be a significant reason why. They are unbeaten in eight home games in the Premier League (W4 D4), their best home unbeaten run in the top-flight since a 20-game stretch between February 1995 and January 1996.
Prior to this stalemate, Forest had lost their last seven Premier League games against the reigning champions, by an aggregate score of 29-3, including a 6-0 defeat to Man City earlier this season. They avoided defeat against the reigning champions for the first time since December 1994, when they beat Manchester United.
Bernardo Silva’s fine opener initially looked like it would be enough for City to take all three points and return to the top of the league, and continued a recent theme for the Portugal international, who has 32 Premier League goals for the club. Three of his last four goals in the competition have been scored from outside the box, with only three of his first 28 coming from distance.
Jack Grealish laid on the assist for Silva. Grealish has been directly involved in six goals (2 goals, 4 assists) in the Premier League since the conclusion of the World Cup. Grealish had one goal and no assists in eight league appearances this season prior to the World Cup break.
Newcastle United 0-2 Liverpool: Pope sends Magpies hopes up in smoke
Newcastle have an EFL Cup final with Manchester United to look forward to next Sunday, but they will be without goalkeeper Nick Pope after his red card in this one for handling the ball outside the area.
Pope’s red card was the fifth instance of a Newcastle goalkeeper being sent off in the Premier League, with only Liverpool and Aston Villa (6 each) seeing more keeper reds in the competition.
1500 – Liverpool’s win over Newcastle was the 1,500th 2-0 victory in Premier League history, the third most common result in the competition (1-0 x 2136 and 2-1 x 1779). Information.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 18, 2023
He conceded twice before being sent off in the 22nd minute – the earliest a goalkeeper has conceded twice and been sent off in a Premier League game.
Those two goals came inside 17 minutes and were as many as Newcastle had conceded in their previous eight Premier League games combined, proving enough to extend the Magpies’ winless league run against Liverpool to 13 matches (D4 L9) and end their 17-game unbeaten run in the competition.
The Reds are the only team to beat Newcastle in the Premier League this season, with victory coming on the back of just their second away clean sheet in 2022-23.
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