EPL

Premier League data dive: Away-day specialists Man City close in on title, Havertz at the double

By Sports Desk May 02, 2021

Away-day specialists Manchester City saw off Crystal Palace 2-0 to close in on another Premier League title and equal a top-flight record in the process.

Chelsea beat Fulham by the same scoreline elsewhere in Saturday's Premier League action, thanks to a couple of goals from Kai Havertz.

A two-goal success was also the outcome when Brighton and Hove Albion welcomed Leeds United to the Amex Stadium, the Seagulls all but securing their top-flight status for another season.

In the late match, Aston Villa edged out Everton 2-1 to boost their chances of a top-half finish and derail their opponents' European prospects.

We use Opta data to take a look at the best facts from Saturday's games.

 

Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City: Patient Citizens win again on their travels

Goals from Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres in the space of 83 seconds proved enough for City to pick up a victory that leaves them on the brink of another piece of silverware.

Those strikes came from the Citizens' first two shots on target and saw them reach the 700-goal mark under Pep Guardiola in all competitions.

City's 57-minute wait for their first on-target attempt of the match was their longest in a Premier League game since November 2019 against Southampton.

Torres added to Aguero's opener moments later with a good finish from 20 yards - the 11th league goal Palace have conceded from outside the box this term, which is the joint-most of any Premier League team alongside Sheffield United.

The victory was City's 11th in a row away from home in the Premier League, equalling the all-time English top-flight record held by Chelsea (April-December 2008) and City themselves (May-December 2017).

Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 Leeds United: Whites lose again on south coast

Brighton moved within touching distance of securing a fifth successive season of Premier League football thanks to a well-earned victory at home to Leeds.

Pascal Gross found the bottom corner from a 14th-minute penalty and Danny Welbeck added to that with his fifth Premier League goal of the season in his 21st outing - the forward's best top-flight return since 2017-18.

It was an all-too-familiar tale for Leeds, who have now lost five successive away league meetings against Brighton without scoring - the first time that has happened in their history against a single opponent.

In fact, Brighton have won eight of their last nine league meetings with Leeds home and away, which is more than they managed in their previous 28 against them.

Leeds managed just two attempts on target as Graham Potter's Brighton claimed a seventh home clean sheet of the season, a tally bettered only by Manchester City and Chelsea (nine each) in the Premier League this season.

 

Chelsea 2-0 Fulham: Havertz inflicts more derby misery on Cottagers

Kai Havertz doubled his Premier League goals tally with a brace in Chelsea's routine victory over Championship-bound Fulham.

All eight of the Germany international's goals for Chelsea in all competitions have now been scored in London, seven of those at Stamford Bridge and one at Selhurst Park.

His second goal in this game involved some nice link-up play with Timo Werner, who with that assist became the first Chelsea player to reach double figures for both goals (11) and assists (10) in his debut season for the club since Eden Hazard in 2012-13.

Werner's combined 21 goals and assists is the most of any Chelsea player this term, and he is one of five Premier League players to reach double figures for both metrics across all competitions alongside Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes, Son Heung-min and Marcus Rashford.

Fulham have now gone 19 away games without a win at neighbours Chelsea in all competitions - only versus Everton (31), Hull City (23) and Middlesbrough (21) are the Blues currently enjoying a longer unbeaten run against an opponent on home soil.

The Cottagers are also now winless in 24 Premier League London derbies since beating West Ham in January 2014 - only Palace have endured a longer such run in English top-flight history, going 31 London derbies without a win between August 1969 and March 1973.

Fulham missed some good chances as Chelsea kept an 11th Premier League clean sheet under Thomas Tuchel - the most shutouts for any manager in their first 15 games in the competition, one more than ex-Blues bosses Jose Mourinho and Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Everton 1-2 Aston Villa: Toffees' poor Goodison run continues against familiar opponents

Villa dented Everton's European hopes with victory at Goodison Park in what was the 205th top-flight meeting between the clubs - the most played fixture in England's top division.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Villans have won more games (20) and scored more goals (73) in the Premier League era against Everton than they have against any other side in the competition.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his 20th goal in all competitions this season to open the scoring in Saturday's late kick-off - with that haul including a Premier League leading seven headers - to cancel out Ollie Watkins' opener.

But Anwar El Ghazi snatched all three points for the Villans 10 minutes from time with his eighth goal in 23 Premier League games this season, doubling his tally from 34 appearances in the competition last time out.

Everton have now won just one of their last 10 home league matches and have tasted defeat at Goodison Park eight times this season - only in 1993-94 have they lost on more occasions (nine) in a single Premier League campaign.

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    Everton manager Sean Dyche is grateful for the clarity their successful appeal against a 10-point deduction has brought and insists they will take on the rest of the season “with an open mind”.

    The long wait for a decision on the punishment for breaching profitability and sustainability rules was ended this week when the penalty was reduced to six points, lifting the club out of the relegation zone.

    There is another case still pending for a breach on the latest set of accounts – and the long-running takeover sage by 777 Partners is still dragging on – but for now Dyche is looking to capitalise on the boost it has provided.

    “We’re pleased we have got something back, obviously,” he said.

    “You are always greedy and want more and more but the points the club put forward have been listened to and we have got the four points back.

    “We will take that and now it brings clarity to the situation, which is good for us and the players but good for all actually.

    “We’ve certainly parked that now because it’s become a fact; a line has been drawn under it and the players are clear on it.

    “We take on the rest of the season with an open mind.”

    Dyche admits the long delay in receiving a verdict had started to play on the players’ minds but praised their ability to remain focused.

    And he said the takeover issue would not affect them at all.

    “It does start to creep in eventually. To be fair to these players, it took a long time for that to happen,” he said.

    “We were all waiting, the noise gets bigger and bigger – ‘when’s it coming?’ – and the players hear all that and I thought they have stayed pretty steadfast in performance levels.

    “The league table looks different and now it is about using that wisely and stepping on.

    “They (the players) are not worried about takeovers, that is miles above what you do on the football pitch.

    “I think the points tally and the idea of the appeal was a much different situation.”

  • 'I feel 40' – Birthday boy Doncic dispatches Raptors 'I feel 40' – Birthday boy Doncic dispatches Raptors

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    When asked if he considered his 25th birthday as a milestone, Doncic joked: "I feel like [I'm] 40, so no."

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    "He was really good. I guess 25 means he's still going to be really good as he gets older here."

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    “We need to find the best solution for tomorrow. He’s doing an individual test now. If he can, we’ll take him into the final training session.

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    “Serge Gnabry is back in training but it’s too early to take him,” added Tuchel.

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