EPL

Premier League data dive: Fernandes shines as Man Utd down Tottenham

By Sports Desk October 19, 2022

Bruno Fernandes' spectacular finish helped Manchester United make a statement of their top-four credentials with a 2-0 win over Tottenham in the Premier League on Wednesday.

The Portugal midfielder volleyed into the top-right corner to add to Fred's opener, lifting the Red Devils to a deserved victory over Antonio Conte's men, who they now trail by just four points.

Elsewhere, Newcastle United continued their fine start to the season and Chelsea were held by Brentford, as West Ham paid the penalty in a narrow loss to Liverpool at Anfield.

Here, Stats Perform picks out the best Opta facts from an intriguing Wednesday in the Premier League.

Manchester United 2-0 Tottenham: Fernandes continues Spurs' Red Devils hoodoo

Wednesday's headline clash saw United claim an important win over third-placed Spurs, Erik ten Hag's second win in as many home Premier League games against top-three opponents (also 3-1 v Arsenal in September).

That is as many home wins against sides in the top three as predecessors Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick managed between them in the competition.

Fernandes was the star of the show, creating nine chances – the most by a player in a Premier League match this season and most overall in the competition since Fernandes himself in September 2021 (10 v Aston Villa).

The hosts also kept Spurs' attackers quiet during a controlled display – Harry Kane has now failed to score in 13 of his 17 appearances against United in the Premier League, more than against any other opponent.

The victory is United's fourth in their last four Premier League meetings with Tottenham, the first time they have enjoyed such a run in the competition since April 2009-October 2010.

Liverpool 1-0 West Ham: Alisson and Nunez hand Reds hard-fought win

At Anfield, Liverpool built on Sunday's victory over Manchester City by clinching a 1-0 win over West Ham, extending their unbeaten run to 29 home league games (W22 D7).

Darwin Nunez headed home the only goal, which also represented Liverpool's 100th Premier League goal against West Ham – the fourth side they've reached a century against in the competition.

That goal was also the 800th West Ham have conceded in the Premier League – a tally only previously reached by Everton, Newcastle and Tottenham.

The Hammers were handed a chance to respond before the break, but Jarrod Bowen saw his penalty saved by Alisson. Since the start of the 2020-21 season, no team has missed more Premier League spot-kicks than West Ham's six.

Newcastle United 1-0 Everton: Solid Toon continue rise

Eddie Howe's Newcastle recorded a 1-0 win over Everton at St James' Park, posting their fifth clean sheet of the Premier League season – a tally only matched by Manchester City.

In truth, the Magpies' rearguard was never seriously tested: Everton's one shot in this match was their joint-worst tally in a Premier League game since data collection began in 2003-04 (also v Chelsea in November 2016).

Newcastle are sixth in the early-season standings after combining that solidity with an eye for the spectacular – only Leicester City (six) can better their tally of five Premier League goals from outside the penalty area this season. 

Match-winner Miguel Almiron, meanwhile, has netted five goals in 11 league appearances this term, matching his return from his previous 64 outings.

Brentford 0-0 Chelsea: Bees hold firm in West London Derby

Chelsea are yet to taste defeat under Graham Potter, but the Blues boss saw his team drop league points for the first time in his tenure at Brentford.

The Blues' familiar lack of creativity came to the fore as they hit the target with just five of their 14 shots (36 per cent), three of which came after the 85th minute.

Despite not starting the match, Mateo Kovacic was directly involved in seven of Chelsea's 14 shots, creating a game-high four chances as he outshone his team-mates.

However, the Croatian was unable to drive his side to a win, and Brentford have now kept consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League for just the second time – last doing so in their first two games in the competition in August 2021.

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    Messi, who turned 37 on Monday, and his team-mates are preparing to resume their Copa America title defence against Chile on Tuesday.

    The reigning champions, who began their campaign with a 2-0 victory over Canada, celebrated their skipper's big day by presenting him with a cake.

    Messi wrote on Instagram: "Thank you so much for all the greetings and congratulations! Another year that coincides with my birthday being with the National Team, so celebrating a little bit more and we keep getting ready for our next game."

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    "I know how hard it is for him to be away from home on his birthday," the head coach told reporters during his pre-match press conference.

    "We try to make sure he has the best time possible with his team-mates. We are used to it. He knows he has a whole country behind him.

    "The important thing is that Messi is here. He trained normally and is fit to play [against Chile]."

    Messi was part of the Argentina side that lost to Chile in successive Copa America finals on penalties in 2015 and 2016.

    The eight-time Ballon d'Or briefly retired from international duty following the latter, in which he missed his spot-kick, but overturned his decision before eventually leading his nation to Copa America and World Cup glory in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

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    "There is nothing left of [those finals]. Just as it is with last year’s World Cup, it's history. There's no point in going back.

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    The 2018 World Cup finalists looked set to finish as Group B runners-up behind Spain after Modric's 55th-minute strike - just moments after Gianluigi Donnarumma saved his penalty - put them a goal to the good in Leipzig.

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    "That was very stressful. We kept battling right until the end but, unfortunately, football was merciless with us tonight. It was cruel above all today, but also in our last match. when we also conceded a late goal.

    "But that's part and parcel of football. Often, it gives you plenty of smiles, but on other occasions, it makes you very sad as it did today, losing in the manner we did.

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