EPL

Premier League data dive: De Bruyne and Son become centurions as top-four race hots up

By Sports Desk April 08, 2023

Manchester City put pressure on Premier League leaders Arsenal ahead of their trip to Liverpool on Sunday with an emphatic 4-1 victory at Southampton.

Erling Haaland's double took him to 30 Premier League goals in 27 games, just 70 shy of Son Heung-min's career total in his eighth season in England after the South Korea international made history on Saturday.

The race for the other top-four places behind Arsenal and City saw Manchester United and Newcastle United both win, while Tottenham remain three points back after riding their luck against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Stats Perform looks at some of the more notable Opta numbers to come out of the pick of Saturday's Premier League action.

Manchester United 2-0 Everton: Wasteful Red Devils still win comfortably

After goals from Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial either side of half-time, United have won 39 Premier League games against Everton, the joint-most one side have against another in the competition's history (also 39 wins for United against Spurs).

Erik ten Hag's men have won 23 of their 28 home games in all competitions this season (D3 L2), their highest total of wins in a single campaign at Old Trafford since 2010-11 (26).

As they continue to fight relegation, Everton have won just one of their last 17 away Premier League games (D7 L9) and remain winless on the road since a 2-1 victory at Southampton in October (11 games since).

McTominay's strike was his fifth in five games for club and country, as many as in his previous 106 appearances for United and Scotland combined.

Ten Hag bemoaned his side's wastefulness as United failed to convert seven big chances – six of which came in the first half – their joint-highest total on record (since 2010-11) in a league match (also seven vs Sunderland in December 2012).

 

Brentford 1-2 Newcastle United: Bees stung by Magpies

Brentford started well in this one but ultimately failed to win a Premier League game in which they had opened the scoring for the first time (P26 W19 D6 L1), while Newcastle have lost just one of their last five away league games in which they have conceded first (W2 D2), winning the last two.

Eddie Howe has won exactly 100 Premier League points as Newcastle boss (P56 W28 D16 L12), with only fan favourite Kevin Keegan needing fewer games (51) to reach that milestone.

Ivan Toney became just the fourth player to score home and away against Newcastle in a Premier League campaign having previously played for them in the competition, following Louis Saha (2001-02), Craig Bellamy (2008-09) and Abdoulaye Faye (2008-09).

Before netting from the spot, though, Toney failed to score a penalty for the first time since October 2018 for Peterborough United against Barnsley when he saw his first effort saved by Nick Pope, having scored 24 successive penalties before Saturday (excluding shoot-outs).

A David Raya own goal drew Newcastle level, then Alexander Isak scored his eighth Premier League goal to take the points. Seven of those have either drawn Newcastle level (two) or given them the lead (five).

Tottenham 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Son reaches landmark while Seagulls are left to fume

Brighton suffered their first defeat in eight Premier League games on the road (W4 D3) since a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City in October, although they will be tempted to lay a lot of the blame at the door of the officials.

Seagulls boss Roberto Di Zerbi was furious with two goals being ruled out for alleged handballs, while Kaoru Mitoma was also denied what looked like a very good shout for a penalty. The Italian then became the first manager to be sent off twice in the Premier League this season. Cristian Stellini was also dismissed.

For Son, though, it was a landmark day as his terrific opener made him the first Asian player to score 100 Premier League goals, while he is just the 10th player in the league's history to score 100 goals and register 50 assists for one team – and the first to do so for Spurs.

Lewis Dunk equalised in his 200th Premier League appearance, with each of the last four players to mark that milestone in such a way now having been centre-backs  (also Kurt Zouma, Virgil van Dijk and Ben Mee).

But after the controversy at the other end, Harry Kane won it for Tottenham with his 10th goal in 12 appearances for the club against Brighton in all competitions. The Seagulls are the ninth team he has reached double-figures against in his career, along with Leicester City, Everton, Arsenal, Southampton, West Ham, Burnley, Crystal Palace and Stoke City.

 

Southampton 1-4 Manchester City

Kevin De Bruyne was back to his sensational best at St Mary's, registering his 100th Premier League assist, making him the fifth player to reach that mark and doing so in fewer appearances (237) than any of the previous four.

Haaland's brace, including an outrageous bicycle kick, meant he has scored 44 goals in all competitions for City this season – the joint-most ever by a Premier League player in a single campaign, level with Ruud van Nistelrooy (2002-03) and Mohamed Salah (2017-18).

De Bruyne laid on the opener and has assisted seven Premier League goals for Haaland this season, the most one City player has ever assisted for another in a single campaign.

Jack Grealish teed up the other Haaland goal and also got on the scoresheet. He has now been involved in 10 goals in 15 league games since the World Cup (four goals, six assists). Only Haaland (14) has been involved in more for Pep Guardiola's team in that time, while it is three more than Grealish managed in his first 34 appearances for City (four goals, three assists).

Julian Alvarez replaced Haaland and dispatched a second-half penalty, becoming the fifth different City player to score as a substitute in the Premier League this season, with only United and Wolves (six) having more.

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  • Under-pressure Ten Hag claims Ratcliffe wants him to stay at Man Utd Under-pressure Ten Hag claims Ratcliffe wants him to stay at Man Utd

    Erik ten Hag has claimed Manchester United's new part-owner Jim Ratcliffe has told him he wants the Dutchman to stay at Old Trafford.

    Reports on Friday suggested Ratcliffe, who now runs the footballing operations at United following INEOS' 27.7 per cent purchase of the club, had decided to sack Ten Hag regardless of the result of Saturday's FA Cup final, with the Red Devils taking on Manchester City.

    United finished eighth, their worst-ever Premier League finish, this season, with Ten Hag under increasing scrutiny.

    However, while hitting out at his critics in an interview with Dutch publication Voetbal International, Ten Hag claimed to have the backing of INEOS.

    "INEOS told me that they want to change everything and that they want to rebuild with me," he said.

    "This is what they told me directly."

    Former Ajax boss Ten Hag also defended his tenure at United so far.

    "United won the league for the last time in 2013, 11 years ago. But still they expect us to win every game while competing at the top. This club is not ready for that," he said.

    "We were supposed to start building something and we made the first steps last year, but then you find out how big this club is and that nobody is ever satisfied.

    "Within the club people were satisfied, but outside the club there was noise, [people] saying I won only the EFL Cup, lost the FA Cup final and finished third.

    "Well, then you have no sense of reality. Other clubs had a much better squad."

    Ten Hag also suggested that some pundits in England see United as "easy pray".

    He added: "It's the biggest club in England and possibly in the world. The club is either loved or hated, there is no in-between.

    "So when things go bad, they all start talking and talking with very big words. All this negativity from these so-called experts who don't have the capability to analyse something with facts, but who prefer to attack people to make themselves look better.

    "And these same people were the ones who gave me a pat on the back last year. Last year I was able to walk on water, this year I am the worst manager in the Premier League?"

  • Onana decided to 'stand up and fight' after Man Utd criticism Onana decided to 'stand up and fight' after Man Utd criticism

    Andre Onana says he decided to "stand up and fight" after a tough start to life at Manchester United.

    The Red Devils are preparing to face Manchester City in the FA Cup final for a second consecutive season on Saturday after a poor campaign saw them finish in their lowest-ever league position in the Premier League.

    Certain players were singled out throughout the season due to their performances, with Onana coming under fire for a string of errors early on after taking over from David de Gea when he joined from Inter last July.

    However, the goalkeeper was adamant he did not let the criticism get to him.

    "I arrived as the best goalkeeper in the world and 'boom' it went down. It was like 'What happened?'," he said.

    "But that is how difficult football is sometimes. It depends if you want to stay down there or stand up and fight. I know what I did to arrive here. I know who I am. I decided to stand up and fight."

    Onana compared his experience to that of team-mate Marcus Rashford, who was left out of Gareth Southgate’s England squad for Euro 2024 after scoring just eight goals this season.

    "We are talking about the same player [Rashford]. So now he's a bad player? No. You can have a bad season or a bad start, but the most important thing is how you end," he added.

    "Rashy, for me, is one of the best players in the world. But he is facing difficulty. It's not only him and me, but the whole club.

    "But he will come back. I know my killer will score some important goals for us. Hopefully, against City, he will score two, and we win the FA Cup."

    There is also a lot of speculation around the club concerning the future of Erik ten Hag, with reports suggesting he could be relieved of his position no matter the result in Saturday’s final.

    Onana, however, has thrown his support behind his manager, who he also worked with at Ajax for five years.

    The Cameroon international said: "I'm not here to back him because he's big enough to back himself, but he's a really good guy, a positive coach and, tactically, he is good.

    "If he had all his squad together, it would probably be different for him, for us, the club and the fans."

  • Girona 7-0 Granada: Dovbyk hat-trick sees hosts end fairytale LaLiga season in style Girona 7-0 Granada: Dovbyk hat-trick sees hosts end fairytale LaLiga season in style

    Artem Dovbyk netted a hat-trick as surprise package Girona claimed the biggest win in the club's history with a 7-0 thrashing of already-relegated Granada on Friday. 

    Defender Eric Garcia opened the scoring on the half-hour mark, pouncing on the visitors' sloppy defending to head home from close range before Viktor Tsygankov doubled the advantage with a tap-in three minutes later.

    Dovbyk made it 3-0 from the penalty spot in the 44th minute after a foul on Portu, while Tsygankov scored his second with a simple finish nine minutes into the second half.

    Granada were dealt a further blow when they were reduced to 10 men in the 61st minute thanks to Facundo Pellistri's second yellow card before Dovbyk scored again in the 75th. Minutes later, substitute Cristhian Stuani got on the scoresheet with a close-range strike.

    The Ukrainian then completed his hat-trick with a 90th-minute penalty to reach 24 league goals this season, ahead of Villarreal's Alexander Sorloth in the battle for the league's top goalscorer.

    Data Debrief: Girona go out on a high

    Dovbyk scored 24 goals in LaLiga this season, becoming Girona's top scorer in a single season in the competition, surpassing Cristhian Stuani's 21 goals in 2017-18.

    Savinho was also a bright spark for the hosts in this game, winning the final penalty to set up Dovbyk's penalty. His assist for Tsyhankov's goal was his 10th of the season - the most registered for Girona this campaign. 

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