EPL

Premier League data dive: Arsenal follow Man City's mark in title race

By Sports Desk April 01, 2023

Arsenal and Manchester City matched each other stride for stride and goal for goal on Saturday.

The Gunners restored their eight-point advantage over Pep Guardiola's side with a 4-1 victory over Leeds United at Emirates Stadium, shortly after City had downed Liverpool by the same scoreline in the early Premier League kick-off.

Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford continued their tussle for European football with an entertaining 3-3 draw – Alexis Mac Allister's 90th-minute penalty levelling the scores.

Meanwhile, it was another grim day for Graham Potter's Chelsea, who lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to Aston Villa.

Man City 4-1 Liverpool: Pep hits century to end Reds' run

City successfully navigated a potential stumbling block with relative ease, responding after falling a goal behind to secure Guardiola's 100th Premier League win at the Etihad Stadium.

Those wins came from just 128 matches (D16 L12), with Guardiola becoming the fastest manager to reach a century of home wins in the competition, beating Arsene Wenger's previous record of 139 games with Arsenal.

Ahead of kick-off, all the focus was on the absence of Erling Haaland, but it is not wise to overlook his understudy Julian Alvarez, who took his tally to six goals in seven starts for City in the Premier League – five of which have come at home.

For Liverpool, the loss represents an eighth away defeat of the season, their most in a single season since 2014-15 (also eight).

The Reds also saw a run of 44 matches unbeaten when scoring first in the Premier League snapped, having won their last 22 such matches in a row, with the loss their first in that regard since a 3-1 defeat to Leicester City in February 2021.

Jurgen Klopp's side have now conceded 30 Premier League goals against City, 11 more than they have against any other opponent.

Arsenal 4-1 Leeds United: Gunners no April's Fools

City laid down the marker with their win against Liverpool but Arsenal are a forced to be reckoned with on April 1, winning all seven of their Premier League games on the date with a 25-3 aggregate score – the best 100 per cent win record for any side on any date.

The Gunners are in their stride, scoring three or more goals in three consecutive league matches for the first time since October 2015.

With Bukayo Saka rested, Mikel Arteta's supporting cast shone. Leandro Trossard claimed his seventh assist since his January switch, more than anyone else in that timeframe, while Gabriel Jesus' brace took his season tally to seven – all of which have come in London.

It was Leeds' 17th Premier League defeat to Arsenal, equalling their worst record against a single opponent having lost the same number against both Liverpool and Manchester United.

If Javi Gracia wanted a positive, he need look no further than Rasmus Kristensen who, having failed to score in his first 15 league appearances, has now been on the scoresheet in back-to-back matches.

Brighton and Hove Albion 3-3 Brentford: Seagulls swarm after frantic first half

After just 28 minutes, both sides had celebrated two goals, marking the earliest time each team had scored twice in a game since Burnley's clash against Chelsea in April 2019.

Mac Allister's dramatic late equaliser was a deserved reward for the hosts, who became the first side on record (since 2003-04) to see all 10 of their outfield starters have at least two efforts on goal in a single Premier League game.

The Seagulls peppered Brentford's goal throughout, registering 33 shots and 15 attempts on target, both of which are the highest totals in any game this season from all clubs.

Though the late equaliser will sting the Bees, Thomas Frank's side have lost just one of their last 16 Premier League matches (W7 D8).

Ivan Toney's goals have been invaluable for Brentford, particularly on the road, with nine of his 17 league goals this season coming away from home – only Haaland and Harry Kane have more (both 10).

Chelsea 0-2 Aston Villa: Blues lack home comforts 

Suffering defeat and failing to score at home for the fourth time this season, Chelsea equalled their worst-ever seasons in that regard (1994-95 and 2019-20) and slipped into the bottom half in the process.

The Blues certainly pushed hard for a goal. They had 27 attempts – their most without scoring in a Premier League match since January 2014.

Villa continue to be revitalised under Unai Emery, with only Arsenal (13) and Manchester City (10) securing more victories in the Premier League than the Villans (nine) since the Spaniard's appointment on November 6.

Ollie Watkins stole the show, scoring in a fifth consecutive Premier League away game, the first Villa player to achieve that feat, and hitting double figures for goals for the third consecutive season – something only Mohamed Salah and Kane can also boast.

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  • Let’s protect the players – Mikel Arteta criticises scheduling as Arsenal go top Let’s protect the players – Mikel Arteta criticises scheduling as Arsenal go top

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta stood in unison with Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola in condemning the fixture schedule.

    Guardiola said it was “unacceptable” that his side had to play an FA Cup semi-final less than 72 hours after being in action in the Champions League on Wednesday night as they beat Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday tea-time.

    The Gunners’ plight was arguably worse as they were also in Europe on Wednesday night but had to travel back from Germany on Thursday following their Champions League exit to Bayern Munich.

    They made light of that quick turnaround as they beat Wolves 2-0 on Saturday to go back to the top of the Premier League before they play again on Tuesday night against Chelsea.

    “It’s not about us, Pep or myself, it’s about the well-being of the players,” Arteta said after Leandro Trossard and Martin Odegaard goals sent his side one point above City.

    “Especially when you are competing in European competition, everything has to be competed in the same way.

    “You cannot have a team that hasn’t played for seven days or three days before and has more recovery time and you have to play in the Premier League or the FA Cup.

    “It is not right. If you look at it any angle it’s not right. If you want to protect and you always talk about the players and the protagonists, let’s protect them and think about them and do everything we can to give them the maximum time so they can recover and they can maintain the show they put on every week.

    “We stayed in Munich, I think we had two hours sleep, wake up and we started to talk about Wolves first of all and then understand what we had to do to win the game.

    “The boys were unbelievable. You look at the amount of games we have played in the last few weeks, the type of games we have played and the attitude and the way they have run today is top.”

    It was a good recovery from the Gunners after a horror week where their title hopes were damaged by a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa last week before their Champions League exit in Munich.

    But they could be four points clear of City by the time Guardiola’s side next play as they try to wrestle control of a thrilling title race.

    Arteta added: “It was really good, I really liked the performance, the result, the clean sheet but also the way individually and a team they showed they still have a step forward to make.

    “We realised we want to be involved in big competitions, fighting for the Champions League, fighting for the Premier League, the level it requires, we have to do something special. You have to have that love to compete.”

    Wolves battled hard but are crippled by injuries, with the majority of their key attacking players sidelined.

    They are now six games without a win, but boss Gary O’Neil was proud.

    “I thought it was an incredible performance, it exceeded my expectation of what we were able to produce today,” he said.

    “We didn’t deserve to lose 2-0, losing 1-0 and not quite being able to break them down is probably as bad as it should have been for us.

    “We came up just short against one of the best teams in world football so there’s no disgrace in that.”

  • Let’s protect the players – Mikel Arteta criticises scheduling after Arsenal win Let’s protect the players – Mikel Arteta criticises scheduling after Arsenal win

    Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta stood in unison with Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola in condemning the fixture schedule.

    Guardiola said it was “unacceptable” that his side had to play an FA Cup semi-final less than 72 hours after being in action in the Champions League on Wednesday night as they beat Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday tea-time.

    The Gunners’ plight was arguably worse as they were also in Europe on Wednesday night but had to travel back from Germany on Thursday following their Champions League exit to Bayern Munich.

    They made light of that quick turnaround as they beat Wolves 2-0 on Saturday to go back to the top of the Premier League before they play again on Tuesday night against Chelsea.

    “It’s not about us, Pep or myself, it’s about the well-being of the players,” Arteta said after Leandro Trossard and Martin Odegaard goals sent his side one point above City.

    “Especially when you are competing in European competition, everything has to be competed in the same way.

    “You cannot have a team that hasn’t played for seven days or three days before and has more recovery time and you have to play in the Premier League or the FA Cup.

    “It is not right. If you look at it any angle it’s not right. If you want to protect and you always talk about the players and the protagonists, let’s protect them and think about them and do everything we can to give them the maximum time so they can recover and they can maintain the show they put on every week.

    “We stayed in Munich, I think we had two hours sleep, wake up and we started to talk about Wolves first of all and then understand what we had to do to win the game.

    “The boys were unbelievable. You look at the amount of games we have played in the last few weeks, the type of games we have played and the attitude and the way they have run today is top.”

    It was a good recovery from the Gunners after a horror week where their title hopes were damaged by a 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa last week before their Champions League exit in Munich.

    But they could be four points clear of City by the time Guardiola’s side next play as they try to wrestle control of a thrilling title race.

    Arteta added: “It was really good, I really liked the performance, the result, the clean sheet but also the way individually and a team they showed they still have a step forward to make.

    “We realised we want to be involved in big competitions, fighting for the Champions League, fighting for the Premier League, the level it requires, we have to do something special. You have to have that love to compete.”

    Wolves battled hard but are crippled by injuries, with the majority of their key attacking players sidelined.

    They are now six games without a win, but boss Gary O’Neil was proud.

    “I thought it was an incredible performance, it exceeded my expectation of what we were able to produce today,” he said.

    “We didn’t deserve to lose 2-0, losing 1-0 and not quite being able to break them down is probably as bad as it should have been for us.

    “We came up just short against one of the best teams in world football so there’s no disgrace in that.”

  • Virgil van Dijk still believes Liverpool can win title race Virgil van Dijk still believes Liverpool can win title race

    Liverpool captain Virgil van Dijk insists “anything is possible” as the Reds seek to overhaul Manchester City and Arsenal in what could be a thrilling season finale.

    Jurgen Klopp’s side dropped to third last weekend after defeat to Crystal Palace and the initiative is now with their rivals.

    However, Van Dijk remains optimistic about their chances over the final six games.

     

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Virgil van Dijk (@virgilvandijk)

     

    “Big six. Anything is still possible. We have to give it everything and we will give it everything,” said the Netherlands captain.

    “We have to focus on each game as they come.”

    A Europa League exit to Atalanta in midweek was another blow to confidence but Van Dijk does not see the point in dwelling on past results.

    “We have all the reasons to be disappointed. But it’s our own fault,” he added.

    “It’s not one factor, it’s multiple. We’re all human beings, we all want to do well, keep clean sheets and score goals.

    “But we are where we are and the situation is what it is. When the games don’t go well – obviously didn’t happen many times this season – we all have to switch it back on.

    “We have to focus on ourselves like we always have been doing and that never changes.”

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