Premier League

Weekend In Stats: Great Starts For Morata and Mkhitaryan

 • by Thomas McIlroy
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Just three weeks into the Premier League season and there is already talk of managerial sackings and teams’ title challenges being written off.

The domestic season is taking a break for international football, and we’ve looked back on this weekend’s action to bring you the key statistics from all ten of the top flight fixtures in England.

Raheem Sterling loves playing Bournemouth

There was late drama at the Vitality Stadium as Raheem Sterling scored a last-gasp winner before being sent off for a second yellow due to his celebrations with the away fans.

It was the Manchester City winger’s sixth Premier League goal against the Cherries – that’s more than against any other club in the league.

The red card was also his first sending off in the Premier League – he’d gone 161 appearances without one before Saturday.


Bournemouth Vs Manchester City 1-2 Goals… by juniorrosenfeld

The game’s first goal was a cracker from Charlie Daniels – it was his eighth in the Premier League, but his first from outside the box.

Gabriel Jesus equalised soon after though, and that takes him up to being directly involved in 12 goals in his 11 Premier League starts for City with eight goals and four assists.

Only West Ham United (41) have dropped more points from winning positions in the Premier League since the start of the 2015/16 than Bournemouth (39 – alongside Liverpool).

It’s not been a great start to the season for Bournemouth, they’ve lost their first three league games in a campaign for the first time since 1994/95, when they were in the third tier of English football.

But perhaps the result wasn’t a surprise given that, before the game, Bournemouth had lost all four of their Premier League meetings with City, with a combined scoreline of 1-15.

And perhaps least surprisingly, City’s 70 per cent possession was the highest of any side in the top flight this weekend.

They have now had a possession figure of at least 55 per cent in all 41 of their Premier League games under Pep Guardiola.

De Boer’s nightmare start continues

Frank de Boer continued his 100 per cent losing start in the Premier League as Crystal Palace lost 2-0 to Swansea City, thanks to goals from Tammy Abraham and Jordan Ayew.

De Boer isn’t the first Dutchman to lose his first three Premier League games as manager, though: it happened to Martin Jol at Tottenham Hotspur too.

But it’s the first time the Eagles have started a top-flight season with three successive defeats.

It is the second time Palace have started a campaign by failing to score in their opening three league games of the season – it also happened in 2008/09 in the Championship.

If you go back to last season, the’ve now lost seven of their last eight Premier League matches, failing to score in every defeat.

Before today, Swansea weren’t doing too well on the goalscoring front either, though.

Abraham’s opener was their first shot on target in the Premier League this season, ending a run of 223 minutes without one.

Swansea have now kept three clean sheets on the bounce away from home, though, equalling their club record.

A goalless draw was to be expected at Huddersfield

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The Secrets Of Southampton’s Success

At full-time in Huddersfield Town’s goalless draw with Southampton, the home side were top of the league, given that Manchester United weren’t playing until the evening kick-off.

For a team that many expected to struggle, that’s no mean feat.

And the stats about this game are all about clean sheets and staying unbeaten, with neither side having lost this season yet.

Huddersfield are only the second promoted side to keep a clean sheet in each of their three opening games – the first was Charlton Athletic.

In fact, it is the first time since the 1965/66 they have kept a clean sheet in each of their opening three games to a league season.

It’s only the second time in Southampton’s history that they are unbeaten after the first three Premier League games.

It’s no surprise this was a goalless draw, as since the start of the 2015/16, no other Premier League side has recorded more 0-0 draws than Southampton’s 12.

They’ve have failed to score in eight of their past 11 Premier League games, scoring just seven goals from 144 shots in these matches.

And since the start of the 2014/15 season, Fraser Forster has kept 35 Premier League clean sheets – that’s more than any other English keeper.

Newcastle pile pressure on Bilić

It’s not just de Boer who’s under pressure after his first three games – Slaven Bilić’s job at West Ham must surely be coming into doubt after a 3-0 defeat to previously pointless Newcastle United.

Goals from Joselu, Ciaran Clark and Aleksandar Mitrović were the Magpies’ first since returning to the top flight this season.

Yet, perhaps it’s no surprise they won looking at their previous record against the Hammers: it’s was their 18th Premier League win against West Ham, they’ve only won more versus Aston Villa (22) and Tottenham (21).

Joselu has now scored in five different Premier League matches and has ended on the winning side on each occasion, so Newcastle will want him to carry on finding the back of the net.

The new signing from Stoke became the fourth Spaniard to score in the Premier League for the Magpies, after Ayoze Pérez (13), Albert Luque (one) and Xisco (one).

The omens aren’t good for West Ham though, the last time they lost their first Premier League games before this season was in 2010/11, when they finished bottom.

It was also the 18th time (in 79 games) that they have conceded three or more goals in a Premier League match under Bilić, including all three games this season.

With the international break now upon us, there will be question’s over England’s No.1 spot.

If you compare Joe Hart’s record to Forster’s, it isn’t great.

It is now 22 league appearances without a clean sheet for Hart – both in the Premier League and Serie A – he last kept one on January 8 for Torino against Sassuolo.

In fact, Hart has conceded 20 goals in his last six league appearances.

Watford are the Premier League bad boys

Brighton & Hove Albion claimed their first ever Premier League point with a goalless draw at Watford, despite the home side being reduced to ten men.

Miguel Britos was sent off for a horror challenge on Anthony Knockaert – the third time he’s been dismissed since the start of last season. No other Premier League player has been sent off so often in that time.

Watford have now been given six league red cards since the start of last season; a joint-high alongside Manchester City and West Ham.

The Hornets didn’t attempt a single shot on target – Brighton only had two.

In both 2015/16 (vs Southampton) and 2016/17 (vs Hull City), Watford only did this once at Vicarage Road, so perhaps this will be the only time at home in 2017/18.

A bizarre glimmer of hope for Brighton, who are yet to score since promotion. Before this season, 11 teams had done this and none of those sides ended the season in the relegation zone.

Subs keep Manchester United top of the table

Manchester United have now spent 15 nights at the top of the Premier League table after their 2-0 win against Leicester City.

In 2015/16 and 2016/17 combined, it was just 14 nights.

And that’s because they’ve maintained their 100 per cent league record and are yet to concede.

Marcus Rashford and Marouane Fellaini came off the bench to score, taking the Red Devils’ total goals scored by substitutes this season to four, twice as many as other Premier League team.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is now on five assists for the season, equalling Ruel Fox’s 1994/95 record for the most assists in the first three games of a Premier League season.

Premier League assists

But there is some bad news for United: they have kept a clean sheet in their opening three league games of a season for the sixth time in their history and fourth in the Premier League era. That might sound great, but they failed to win the title in those previous five campaigns (1927/28, 1991/92, 1997/98, 2005/06 and 2015/16).

There was also a missed penalty from Romelu Lukaku, the second of his last three he has failed to find the back of the net from.

It was due to a great save from Kasper Schmeichel, though, who made his first spot-kick stop in the Premier League almost ten years to the day since his last – from Robin van Persie against Arsenal on August 25, 2007.

Morata’s record-breaking start

After their shaky start to the season which saw them defeated in the Community Shield by Arsenal and lose 3-2 to Burnley, Chelsea look like the side that were champions last season.

They destroyed Everton 2-0 at Stamford Bridge thanks to goals from Cesc Fàbregas and Álvaro Morata, with the visitors failing to even manage a shot on target.

It was another poor performance from the Toffees at Stamford Bridge, who haven’t won in 23 league matches their, going back to November 1994 (drawn ten, lost 13).

In fact before the 85th minute, Ronald Koeman’s side has just three touches in Chelsea’s box – after then they managed four.

Everton have conceded ten goals against Chelsea under Koeman, more than twice as many against any other opponent during his tenure.

It was no surprise Morata scored with his head, eight of his 17 league goals since the start of 2016/17 have been headers.

Both of his Chelsea goals have been scored with his head and both of his assists have been headed passes.

The Spaniard is the first player in Premier League history to both score and assist a goal in each of his first two Premier League goals.

Seeing Fàbregas on the scoresheet should also have been expected, he now has five Premier League goals against Everton – only against Sunderland has he scored as many.

He has had a hand in ten goals in his last nine top-flight games against the Toffees (five goals and five assists).

Always rely on Crouch in the air

Peter Crouch’s headed equaliser after Jay Rodriguez’s opener ensured a 1-1 draw at The Hawthorns between West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City.

It was West Brom’s first Premier League draw at home since October 2016, and Tony Pulis is still yet to lose a league game against former side Stoke – he’s won five and drawn two.

Rodriguez now has three top-flight goals against Stoke – against no other side has he scored more (he also has three against Newcastle).

Only six players have scored more Premier League goals as a substitute than Crouch, but no-one has found the back of the net with their head more than him.

He now has 51. In 2017, only Fernando Llorente has more with six. Crouch has four.

Sadio Mané continues good record vs Arsenal as Liverpool destroy them

It was a destruction at Anfield as Liverpool beat Arsenal 4-0 thanks to goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge.

The Gunners didn’t register a single shot on target in this match. It was the first time they haven’t had one in a league game since October 2014 against Chelsea.

It was Arsenal’s heaviest top-flight defeat since a 4-0 loss to Southampton on Boxing Day 2015, and now four of their eight Premier League defeats by a margin of four or more goals have come against Liverpool at Anfield.

And for their much maligned backline, it’s not the first time Liverpool have kept four clean sheets in a row in the league at Anfield since September 2013.

Like Morata did against Burnley, Firmino scored and assisted a goal.

It was the eighth time the Brazilian has done so since his Premier League debut in August 2015 – Diego Costa and Lukaku also are on eight.

Mané’s goal means he’s now only the third player to score in the first three Premier League games of a season for Liverpool, after Robbie Fowler in 1994/95 and Sturridge in 2013/14), and the former Southampton man has now scored in all three of his league appearances for the Reds against Arsenal.

The game also showed you possession doesn’t count for everything.

Arsenal had more possession (51 per cent), made more passes (538 to 508), as well as only two fewer touches in the opposition box (24 to 26).

Kane’s August woes continue

Chris Wood’s late equaliser for Burnley ensured Tottenham’s Wembley hoodoo continued – it was the first time they’d failed to beat the visitors at home since October 1974.

That was Wood’s first Premier League goal for 1107 days – his last was for Leicester against Everton in August 2014.

Dele Alli had given Spurs the lead and they still haven’t lost when he’s scored in the Premier League, winning 20 and drawing six.

It was the first points Mauricio Pochettino’s side had dropped after going ahead in a top-flight game since November 2016, when they lost to Chelsea. Before yesterday they’d won 21 consecutive matches after taking the lead.

Harry Kane has failed to score in every Premier League match he has played in August, despite attempting 42 shots in those 13 games.

Tottenham have now dropped more points at home – five – than they did in the whole of last season at White Hart Lane – four. Perhaps the Wembley curse is real? They’ve now only won one of their last 11 matches played there (drawing three and losing the other seven).

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