The centrepiece of the latest round of Premier League fixtures was Manchester City’s 4-1 humbling of Tottenham Hotspur. In a fascinating tactical battle between two of the country’s finest sides, City won out thanks in part to the astonishing technical quality of their goalkeeper, Ederson.
Elsewhere, West Ham United’s revival continued as the pressure on Stoke City and Mark Hughes went up, Liverpool returned to winning ways by hammering Bournemouth away from home, Crystal Palace countered Leicester City with an ironic effectiveness, and Manchester United clung on to defeat West Bromwich Albion.
Here, we at Football Whispers round up the latest Premier League weekend by looking at all the key statistics.
ARSENAL 1-0 NEWCASTLE UNITED
Rafa Benítez’s side have earned a reputation for being comfortable without the ball, but rarely have they been as defensive as they were against Arsenal. In total they obtained just 29 per cent of possession, 16.5 per cent less than their seasonal average. They particularly struggled to contain Mesut Ozil – the brilliant German completed eight key passes and scored a magnificent goal.
BOURNEMOUTH 0-4 LIVERPOOL
Liverpool have averaged 9.9 interceptions per game in this Premier League season, but they went well above that on Sunday evening. Set up to cut out Bournemouth’s passes out from the back, they made a remarkable total of 19 interceptions.
While their defensive style has previously been hailed for its intensity and aggression, the Reds were more passive on this occasion, but it worked. Their hosts were simply unable to build possession effectively, enjoying 4.8 per cent less possession than they have averaged this term.
BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION 0-0 BURNLEY
A 0-0 draw was perhaps the ideal outcome for two sides who put defence first, and often do so successfully. Brighton are one of the harder teams to score against in the Premier League – only Liverpool have put more than two past them in a single game so far – while Burnley have one of the best defensive records in the division. In what was a demonstration of both team’s specialisms, two clean sheets were unsurprisingly kept.
CHELSEA 1-0 SOUTHAMPTON
While they have been linked to Alex Sandro of late, Chelsea may not need to sign another top left wing-back. Marcos Alonso has performed well since arriving in 2016 and his latest display was yet another reminder of what he is capable of.
As well as curling in what proved to be the winning goal from a free kick, the Spaniard completed one dribble, made two key passes and attempted six shots, 50 per cent of which hit the target. His individual outing ultimately assisted his side up to third in the Premier League table.
LEICESTER CITY 0-3 CRYSTAL PALACE
Claude Puel’s arrival at Leicester has led to a change in playing style. While a rough 4-4-1-1 shape remains, the individual players’ responsibilities are different. Now, both full-backs must get forward down their respective flanks to support attacks, while the wingers are expected to drift infield and combine more centrally.
The new strategy didn’t work out at home to Crystal Palace, who pulled off an away performance the Leicester of 2015/16 would have been proud of. Despite having just 44 per cent of possession, Roy Hodgson’s side had three times as many shots as their hosts, finding the net with 50 per cent of their efforts. Soaking up pressure well, they countered ruthlessly to seal a massive win.
MANCHESTER CITY 4-1 TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR
Pundits are running out of superlatives with which to describe Manchester City’s performances. Tottenham were supposed to provide them with a serious examination, but the match proved to be one-sided thanks to Pep Guardiola’s tactical mastery.
In their previous 17 Premier League fixtures, Spurs had conceded 0.82 goals per game on average. However on this occasion they let in four, with City managing to find the target a remarkable 11 times. The numbers tell a tale of total dominance that began from goalkeeper Ederson, who had more touches (41) than any of the away side’s attacking trident of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Son Heung-min.
STOKE CITY 0-3 WEST HAM UNITED
David Moyes has turned West Ham’s fortunes around since arriving as manager. The Hammers are now unbeaten in three league games, having picked up seven points from a possible nine. One of the key players in the revival, Aaron Cresswell, shone once again away to Stoke.
The English left-back has been transformed into a centre-back within a three-man defensive line, where his quality distribution can be fully utilised. On Saturday he completed 14 more passes than his two central defensive team-mates – James Collins and Angelo Ogbonna – combined; he also had a higher success rate (82.9 per cent), made one key pass and completed five of his seven attempted long balls.
WATFORD 1-4 HUDDERSFIELD TOWN
Huddersfield have averaged more tackles per game than any other Premier League team this season (19.7). This statistic reflects their intense defensive style, something that was on show once again as they overwhelmed Watford away from home. They made a phenomenal 22 tackles on the day collectively, refusing to allow their hosts comfortable possession.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1-2 MANCHESTER UNITED
Oliver Burke received his first Premier League start for West Bromwich Albion as they lost at home to Manchester United on Sunday afternoon. And, in spite of his team’s negative result, he performed well enough to suggest more starts could be on the horizon. He completed two dribbles, one key pass and succeeded with 85 per cent of his attempted passes – a higher rate than any of his attacking team-mates achieved.