Leandro Trossard and Casemiro were two of the standout players in Sunday’s Premier League action – though for contrasting reasons.
Belgium international Trossard was inspirational as Arsenal’s title tilt remained on track, while Casemiro was shown a second red card in three Premier League appearances as Manchester United slipped up again.
Miguel Almiron was Newcastle United’s hero, Eddie Howe’s men closing on the Champions League places again, and Ollie Watkins continued his fine form for Aston Villa in their draw with West Ham.
After the conclusion of the day’s drama, Stats Perform highlights the pick of the Opta numbers.
Manchester United 0-0 Southampton: Another Casemiro red threatens to derail Ten Hag’s men
Casemiro has undoubtedly been one of United’s best players this season, but if they now miss out on the top four, the Brazil international will have to take part of the blame.
His sending off in the first half on Sunday for a heavy challenge on Carlos Alcaraz proved costly, with United only able to scrape a point thereafter.
That made him the first United player to receive two red cards in one Premier League season since Nemanja Vidic in 2013-14, and just the second to earn a pair of reds in his first campaign for the club after Darren Fletcher (2003-04).
He will now miss their next four matches – at the end of that run, he will have been suspended for eight games this year alone.
While some United fans might have had the perception this was always going to be the risk that came with signing a player like Casemiro, he had never been shown a straight red in his entire senior career before moving to Old Trafford.
Of course, for Southampton, Casemiro’s dismissal proved helpful. While they could not get the win they might feel they deserved, Saints managed to keep a third clean sheet in four games under Ruben Selles – that is one more than in their previous 34 league games.
Fulham 0-3 Arsenal: Trossard inspirational as Gunners continue to deal out capital punishment
Arsenal’s comprehensive win at Craven Cottage was their fifth successive away London derby win without conceding a goal.
That is a feat no club has managed previously in the Premier League.
Trossard played a vital role with a unique feat of his own, setting up all three of Arsenal’s goals, with each one coming in the first half.
Thus, the Belgian became the first player to ever tally a hat-trick of assists in the first half of a Premier League away game.
Trossard’s second was a looping cross that found Gabriel Martinelli for a close-range header, the Brazilian nodding in his 23rd top-flight goal for the club.
He is now only one away from surpassing Nicolas Anelka as the foreign player with the most Premier League strikes for the club before turning 22.
That first-half flurry keeps the Gunners on track in the title race, five points clear of Manchester City in second.
West Ham 1-1 Aston Villa: Watkins in a groove
Unai Emery has certainly managed to steady the ship at Aston Villa since replacing Steven Gerrard in the dugout, and the form of Watkins has been among the most notable improvements.
The striker netted again on Sunday, opening the scoring at London Stadium as he headed in from Alex Moreno’s cross.
Since the World Cup, only Marcus Rashford (10), Erling Haaland (10) and Harry Kane (eight) have scored more Premier League goals than Watkins (seven).
That includes goals in each of his past four Premier League away games, which is the longest such scoring run by a Villa player since Dwight Yorke between March and May 1998 (also four).
Unfortunately for Villa, West Ham levelled just nine minutes later through Said Benrahma, who was lively throughout.
His penalty continued his 100 per cent record from the spot in English league football, with that his third from three for West Ham having also converted 4/4 at Brentford.
Over the course of the 90 minutes, Benrahma had 10 shots, which is the joint-most on record (since the 2003-04 season) for a West Ham player in a single Premier League game.
He could not single-handedly inspire a turnaround, however.
Newcastle United 2-1 Wolves: Almiron comes up trumps yet again
Almiron has stepped up this season, becoming a key player for Newcastle and a regular source of goals.
A recent dip in form saw him dropped from the starting XI for the visit of Wolves on Sunday, but he responded well.
Eleven minutes after his second-half introduction, he found space in the right side of the box and saw a deflected effort beat Jose Sa following Joe Willock’s well-timed pass.
That was his fourth winning goal of the season – the most among Newcastle players – and his 11th goal in total in the Premier League, which is four than his previous four campaigns combined.
Earlier, Hwang Hee-chan had equalised just 57 seconds after coming off the bench, making it the second-fastest substitute goal of the season.
But the day belonged to Almiron as Newcastle ended a five-match winless streak.
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