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Weekend in Stats: De Bruyne Shines

 • by Matt Gault
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Hands up if you wish it was still the international break? Didn’t think so. After a two-week slumber, the Premier League swung back into action this weekend, bringing with it plenty of thrills and spills, whetting our appetite ahead of the return of the Champions League this week.

As with any action-packed Premier League programme, this weekend produced an interesting array of stats, some surprising, others not so.

Here, Football Whispers takes a detailed look at the key stats from another busy and exciting weekend of Premier League football.

De Bruyne Brilliant Once Again

There is no better place to start than the weekend’s headline fixture when the Etihad Stadium became the Saturday slaughterhouse for Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Kevin De Bruyne attracted plenty of plaudits for his performance as the Belgian put on a clinic of incisive, imaginative passing to carve Liverpool open for Sergio Agüero’s opener.


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City may have an enviable Silva double-act but De Bruyne continues to score and create with commendable consistency. Two assists against the Reds took him to 56 since the start of the 13/14 season, more than any other player in Europe’s top leagues.

With such impressive numbers, it’s easy to see why Pep Guardiola rates him so highly. De Bruyne has also won possession five times in the final third this season, the joint-highest in the league, the kind of tenacity and energy Guardiola loves to see from his more advanced players.

Another interesting stat from City’s victory centred on Gabriel Jesus, their Brazilian dynamo in attack. The 20-year-old added two more goals to his portfolio, which meant that he has now scored 10 goals from 19 shots on target in his Premier League career – a thoroughly impressive return.

Furthermore, so-called informed onlookers said he and Agüero couldn’t play together. Well, they have six starts together and that has seen five Aguero goals, five Jesus goals, and five assists between them.

Not only can they play together, they seem to relish the prospect of terrorising defences as a double-act, rather than when they get the chance to fulfill a solitary striking role. Every other team in the league, be warned!

One final stat: John Stones completed more passes than any Liverpool player. Yes, definitely not a good day at the office for the Reds.

Morata Heading For Glory

Chelsea edged a thrilling showdown between the league’s two most recent champions by beating Leicester City 2-1 at the King Power Stadium.

Álvaro Morata continues to impress for Antonio Conte’s Blues, filling that Diego Costa-shaped hole in attack. He scored again. In fact, he scored with his head again. That makes it three headed goals already this season.

The Spain international offers Conte a different dimension up top. Whereas Costa favours a more muscular approach with the ball at his feet, Morata loves to show off his hang time. It’s going to give Chelsea an aerial edge this season. Shades of Tore André Flo, you could say.

One of the key takeaways from the game was Chelsea’s brilliance in the middle. Much has been made of Chelsea’s foolishness in letting Nemanja Matić go to Manchester United, but in Tiémoué Bakayoko they seem to have found a worthy replacement, or perhaps even an upgrade.

The 23-year-old Frenchman completed all five of his take-ons, highlighting what a surging, powerful presence he is in midfield.

Combine that with another imperious display by N’Golo Kanté, Chelsea’s resident ball-winner. He routinely won 100% of his tackles, made three clearances, three interceptions, creating three chances and even chipping in with the winner.

Very tidy indeed.

Eriksen and Davies Excellent For Spurs

There aren’t many defenders in recent memory that have enjoyed a more sure-footed debut than Davinson Sánchez. The 21-year-old Colombian slotted seamlessly into Mauricio Pochettino’s back-three, making ten clearances, three interceptions and winning two aerial duels to help his side keep a clean sheet.

At the other end, another goal saw Christian Eriksen become the joint-highest scoring Danish player in Premier League history, with 32 goals, placing him alongside Nicklas Bendtner.

Eriksen has been in scintillating form lately and seems to be on a mission to prove that he is this league’s most effective playmaker. Performances like this certainly make it difficult to argue otherwise.

Ben Davies, meanwhile, continues to deputise efficiently in Danny Rose’s absence. He was a relentless presence down the left for Spurs, bombarding the Everton box with a whopping ten crosses, creating three chances.

His haul of crosses is more than any other player this weekend. Pochettino likes his full-backs high up the pitch and bombarding the box with crosses and that’s precisely what Davies offers. Rose certainly will not walk back into this Spurs side.

Spurs have now won four successive league games on the road, the first time they’ve managed that since January 2014. Oh yes, and just to complete a rather injudicious week for Wayne Rooney, he became only the second player ever – after Gareth Barry – to receive 100 Premier League yellow cards.

Zouma Impresses For Plucky Potters Against United

We’ll come to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in a moment, but Kurt Zouma deserves a mention. With last season’s cruciate ligament injury, the centre-half has been through hell but has come out even stronger at the end of it.

Zouma made nine clearances against United, the most of anyone on the pitch, and stood up admirably to the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Paul Pogba throughout.

Kevin Wimmer impressed on his debut, too, making five clearances as he marshalled Lukaku and tracked Marcus Rashford’s runs.

But it’s hard to ignore Choupo-Moting’s contribution to this game. In the 1-0 win over Arsenal, it was Jesé’s time to shine. Here, the German-born Cameroonian struck twice to end United’s 100% record, but his overall play was exemplary.

Finishing with six shots, four take-ons, three aerial duels won and two clearances, outlining both his work in the attacking and defensive thirds.

Credit, too, must go to United’s proficiency from set-pieces as the equaliser came from a corner, meaning they have now scored from a dead-ball at least once in each of their four games this season. They are certainly utilising all that height Mourinho has packed into the team.

Welbeck Coming Good For Wenger

Danny Welbeck is often assessed as a hard-working, hard-running striker that can’t put the ball in the net. That’s largely true, but he did put the ball in the back of the net against Bournemouth. Twice.

With three to his name this season, he’s already eclipsed his total from last season. He also notched an assist against the Cherries as he continues to vindicate Arséne Wenger’s faith in him.

Mesut Özil was looking happier, too, creating three chances to help banish some of the painful memories of the 4-0 defeat to Liverpool.

Sead Kolašinac was an enterprising wing-back, getting forward at every opportunity. He may be the answer to Arsenal’s left-back problems, with two chances created and one assist to show for his day’s work.

Brighton Finally Find Their Shooting Boots

Brighton & Hove Albion clinched their first Premier League win thanks to an impressive 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion. But, make no mistake, this was a case of Brighton winning the game as opposed to the Baggies rolling over.

Chris Hughton’s side showed plenty of endeavour, registering six shots on target, levelling their entire total for the previous three games.

Carillo Catches Eye For Hornets

Watford continued their impressive unbeaten start to the season with a 2-0 win over Southampton, and André Carrillo certainly stood out.

The Peru international, making his full debut after moving from Benfica on loan, showed a genuine willingness to take defenders on, succeeding in seven out of his eight dribbles.

He also made three out of four tackles and won two aerial duels, suggesting that his future in England may be a fruitful one. Keep an eye on him.

Palace Owners Of Unwanted Record

An early Chris Wood goal lifted Burnley to a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace, condemning the crestfallen Eagles to a fourth straight defeat.

In fact, in failing to score once again, Frank de Boer’s side are now owners of an unwanted record in that they became the first team to start a season with four straight defeats while failing to score a single goal. They are also the only team in England’s top four leagues still waiting on to find the back of the net.

Palace created 13 chances and had 23 shots, but just couldn’t find that elusive breakthrough, much to their manager’s frustration. Andros Townsend tried his best to engineer something as the winger completed eight take-ons and made five key passes.

Swansea need to get Bony firing

Swansea City have the fewest shots of all 20 clubs in the league so far. They managed four against Newcastle United, which was certainly an improvement on the three they managed in the first three games, but Paul Clement will know that getting Wilfried Bony fully fit and firing will be key to their survival this season.

Jamaal Lascelles’ winner for Newcastle was significant in that it was their first goal scored from a set-piece this season, having managed 25 in the Championship last year. Rafael Benitez will hope there is plenty more to come after Lascelles’ towering headed goal at the Liberty Stadium.

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