Saturday, September 25, 2021

Premier League data dive: Xhaka sees red as Arsenal sink to the bottom, Vardy ends goal drought

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 28 Aug 2021


The only way is up for Arsenal after another humbling defeat, this time at Manchester City, who saw two potential Premier League title rivals draw at Anfield.

Mikel Arteta endured a miserable return to the Etihad Stadium, with the latest poor result seeing the Gunners end the day at the bottom of the English top-flight table having played at least three league matches for the first time since October 1974.

The rest of the fixtures were much closer, including a lively capital clash and a four-goal draw in the north east that saw late, late drama.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform takes a look at the key statistics from some of Saturday’s most notable fixtures.

Manchester City 5-0 Arsenal: Gunners, or goners? Champions show no mercy to Arteta

To say it has been a tough start for Arsenal is putting it mildly. A heavy loss at the home of the reigning champions without mustering anything in reply created a piece of unwanted club history: they have lost their first three league games in a season without scoring a single goal for the first time ever.

It is not too surprising that the Gunners drew a blank considering they mustered just one shot, their lowest tally in a Premier League match since Opta started recording such data in the 2003-04 season.

Granit Xhaka’s first-half dismissal for serious foul play made it 10 red cards since Arteta took charge in December 2019, four more than any other club in the competition. As for Xhaka, it was the fourth time he has been sent off since the start of the 2016-17 campaign, putting him level at the top of the naughty list with former team-mate David Luiz and City midfielder Fernandinho.

While Arsenal’s slump continues, City have bounced back impressively after losing on the opening weekend to Tottenham. They have won their opening two home games by a combined score of 10-0 (a feat never previously achieved in the Premier League era), while they have now won nine on the spin against their opponents from north London.

Gabriel Jesus grabbed one of the goals – the Brazilian has still not lost in 43 league games he has scored in for City, who demonstrated why signing Cristiano Ronaldo was perhaps not a big priority.

Norwich City 1-2 Leicester City: Vardy ends road drought as Canaries clipped at home

Norwich have lost three to open a season for just the fourth time in their history (the other occasions were in 1938-39, 1963-64, 1976-77 and 1997-98).

Jamie Vardy ended of a run of 11 away Premier League appearances without a goal, netting on the road in the competition for the first time since December 20, when he was on target against Tottenham. His top-flight tally now stands at netted 120, a haul only Harry Kane (163) and Sergio Aguero (130) can better since the ex-England international’s Premier League debut in August 2014.

Norwich equalised via a penalty converted by Teemu Pukki, who has seen his past three Premier League goals come from the spot. Indeed, the Finn has not scored in the top tier from open play since December 2019 against Leicester.

It should be no surprise to see a penalty in a game involving Leicester, though. Since the start of 2019-20, their fixtures have seen 34 given, more than any other club across that time (the split is 19 for Leicester, 15 against them).

West Ham 2-2 Crystal Palace: Antonio reaches half-century as both teams draw positives

Crystal Palace twice fought back to get a point against West Ham, though the result means the Eagles have now gone 11 London derbies without a win.

Michail Antonio set up West Ham’s first and then scored the second himself, seeing him become the first player to reach 50 top-flight goals for the club since Tony Cottee in the 1985-86 season.

Conor Gallagher only has four Premier League goals to his name, having doubled his tally with a brace. The on-loan Chelsea midfielder is only the second player in Premier League history to score two or more goals across his first two games in the competition for Palace, after Bakary Sako (August 2015).

Both sides have scored in each of the last nine league clashes between these clubs, too. This is Palace’s longest run of consecutive games against a single opponent in the competition where they both scored and conceded, while it is now West Ham’s joint-longest such run (also nine games against Chelsea).


Newcastle United 2-2 Southampton: Every second counts for Saints

Newcastle were denied a first win of the season as James Ward-Prowse converted a penalty after 95 minutes and 51 seconds to make sure it finished level at St James’ Park.

The spot-kick was the latest goal conceded by Newcastle since exact times were available in 2006-07. It means Steve Bruce’s side have dropped five points from winning positions through three games, the exact same number as their opponents.

This was the first Premier League match to see both teams score in the 90th minute or later (the hosts had gone 2-1 up through Allan Saint-Maximin) and end in a draw since Watford 1-1 Leicester in June 2020. At least Callum Wilson is a positive for Newcastle; he is the first English player to score for the club in the opening two home games of a top-flight season since Scott Parker 15 years ago.

Liverpool 1-1 Chelsea: Salah the spot-kick king but Cesar rules at the back for Blues

There was little doubting Jurgen Klopp as a glass-half-empty person after he praised his side for their performance in a 1-1 draw with Chelsea, a result that extends Liverpool’s unbeaten run to 13 matches – only Brentford (15) have gone longer without defeat in English football’s top four tiers.

However, Reece James’ dismissal for handball left Liverpool with the entire second half to capitalise on having an extra player. They failed to do so, though Edouard Mendy was called on to make six saves at Anfield, his most in a single appearance since joining Chelsea in any competition.

Cesar Azpilicueta marked his 300th Premier League game for Chelsea by keeping Liverpool’s attack at bay after the break, having become only the fourth player to reach the milestone for the club after John Terry (492), Frank Lampard (429) and Petr Cech (333).

Kai Havertz had headed Chelsea in front, but the Reds drew level when Mohamed Salah converted his 14th penalty in a row after James had seen red. Only Matt Le Tissier (23 in succession between 1994 and 2000) has had a longer consecutive run of scoring from the spot without missing in Premier League history.


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