EPL

Premier League data dive: Aguero's penalty woe, Liverpool maintain top-four push

By Sports Desk May 09, 2021

Manchester City will have to wait to get their hands on a third Premier League title in four years after they fell to a 2-1 home defeat against Chelsea on Saturday.

Sergio Aguero in particular will want to forget the game in a hurry after a failed Panenka attempt, which he later apologised for on social media.

Liverpool kept their first home clean sheet in nine top-flight games as they overcame Southampton 2-0, while Leeds United cruised past Tottenham 3-1 at Elland Road.

Elsewhere in Yorkshire, Crystal Palace inflicted yet more misery on Sheffield United, running out 2-0 winners at Bramall Lane.

Stats Perform News uses Opta data to take a look at the best facts from the four games.


Manchester City 1-2 Chelsea: Aguer-woe for leaders as Blues hit back

City suffered more penalty woe as they missed the chance to be crowned Premier League champions.

It had started well for the hosts, however, with Raheem Sterling giving them the lead with his 10th Premier League goal of the campaign. The England international has now reached that total in four successive seasons, with only Aguero (nine) hitting double figures more regularly in the competition for City.

Aguero should have doubled their advantage before the interval, but his woeful Panenka attempt from the spot was comfortably gathered by Edouard Mendy. City have now failed to score more penalties (four) than any other side in the Premier League this season, while they are the first to miss at least four spot-kicks in consecutive top-flight seasons since Tottenham in 1993-94 and 1994-95.

Hakim Ziyech made the most of that reprieve, levelling with his first Premier League goal in 18 appearances since scoring against Burnley in October.

There was worse to come for Pep Guardiola, who has now lost four home league games this season – twice as many as he had lost in any other campaign in his managerial career.

At 91 minutes and 54 seconds, Marcos Alonso's scuffed finish was the latest winning goal scored by the visitors in a Premier League game at City since Paul Scholes for Manchester United in April 2010 (92:41).

Liverpool 2-0 Southampton: Mane helps sink former employers

Liverpool kept their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League alive with victory at Anfield in the late kick-off.

Sadio Mane opened the scoring in the first half with his second goal in three Premier League games, having found the net just once in his previous 14 outings in the competition before that.

He was teed up by Mohamed Salah, marking the first time the pair have combined for a top-flight goal this season.

Thiago Alcantara added a second in the 90th minute to become the 140th player to score a Premier League goal for Liverpool, though the first to get off the mark for the Reds from outside the box since Divock Origi in December 2015.

Southampton, meanwhile, have now earned just 11 points from their 18 Premier League games in 2021, fewer than any other side this calendar year.

Leeds United 3-1 Tottenham: VAR bars Kane as Spurs suffer

Leeds' superb record against the Premier League's 'big six' continued.

Marcelo Bielsa's side became the first to remain unbeaten at home in the top flight against each of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Spurs in a season since West Ham in 2015-16, and only the third newly promoted team to do so, after Ipswich Town in 2000-01 and Birmingham City in 2009-10.

Stuart Dallas broke the deadlock to become the first Northern Ireland player to score as many as eight Premier League goals in a season since Chris Brunt in 2008-09.

Son Heung-min equalised for the visitors, but Patrick Bamford restored Leeds' advantage to move onto 22 Premier League goal involvements this term (15 goals, seven assists). Harry Kane is the only Englishman to have been involved in more (34).

Rodrigo then added a third late on as Spurs suffered a fifth defeat in 10 top-flight away games in 2021 – more than they experienced in the entirety of 2020.

Sheffield United 0-2 Crystal Palace: Benteke helps Eagles deal with blunt Blades

After a run of three consecutive defeats, Palace could not have wished for more accommodating opponents than the already relegated Blades.

Christian Benteke opened the scoring after just 66 seconds, registering the club’s earliest Premier League goal since James McArthur's strike against Everton in November 2017 (51 seconds).

Benteke has now scored more goals this season (seven in 27 appearances) than he managed in his previous three Premier League campaigns combined (six in 71).

Eberechi Eze continued his impressive season with a second late on. Only Wilfried Zaha (12) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals for Palace this season than Eze (four goals, five assists), while no Eagles player has laid on more goals than the former Queens Park Rangers man.

The result meant United have failed to score in 20 matches within a single league season for the first time in their history, while in terms of the Premier League, only Derby County in 2007-08 (22), Leeds United in 1996-97 (21) and Huddersfield Town in 2017-18 (21) have failed to score in more games in a single campaign.

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    Eduardo Berizzo has been hired as the new head coach of the Chile national team, the Chilean Football Federation confirmed on Thursday.

    Berizzo’s first coaching experience came as an assistant under Marcelo Bielsa with La Roja between 2007 and 2010, and will now be tasked with rejuvenating a team in generational transition.

    Following a quarter-final finish at the 2021 Copa America, Chile finished five points off the inter-confederation playoff spot in CONMEBOL qualifying for this year’s World Cup, dismissing Reinaldo Rueda and Martin Lasarte in the process.

    Berizzo is coming into this role after a disappointing tenure of his own with the Paraguay national team, where two quarter-final eliminations on penalties at Copa America tournaments in 2019 and 2021 were punctuated by an eighth-placed finish in South American qualification for this year’s World Cup.

    "The Chilean Football Federation, headed by its president Pablo Milad, informs that it has reached a complete agreement with Eduardo Berizzo and his staff, so that he directs the Chilean National Team for the next process," the Chilean governing body said in a statement.

    "Berizzo has had an outstanding career as a player with the Argentine national team, and as a coach he showed important steps for Estudiantes de la Plata, O'Higgins de Rancagua, a team with which he was crowned champion of Chilean soccer, and also with Celta de Vigo, Seville and Athletic from Spain. His last experience was in the Paraguayan soccer team."

    La Roja will next face South Korea in the upcoming international window, before taking on Tunisia in the opening game of the Kirin Cup.

  • Mane promises 'best answer' on Liverpool future after Champions League final Mane promises 'best answer' on Liverpool future after Champions League final

    Sadio Mane will wait until after the Champions League final before revealing "the best answer you want to hear" on his Liverpool future.

    Mane has been a key man for Liverpool as they have challenged for silverware on four fronts this season, scoring 23 goals and assisting two across 50 games in all competitions.

    The 30-year-old winger is excelling again despite uncertainty surrounding his future at Anfield, where his contract is due to expire in 12 months' time.

    Team-mates Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are in the same position, but Mane is determined talk of a departure will not distract from Saturday's huge match against Real Madrid.

    And he teased he will "give you all you want to hear" after the Paris showpiece.

    "I think the answer I can give you now is I feel very good," Mane said. "I am fully focused on Saturday's game, that is the answer I must give before the final.

    "But come back to me on Saturday and I will give you the best answer you want to hear, for sure. It's special. I will give you all you want to hear then.

    "I love what I am doing, and I sacrifice myself all the time. I am working hard every single day on the pitch and in the gym, and I get better and better, that's the most important. I am trying my best to help the team."

    Mane scored in the 2018 final between Liverpool and Madrid, with the Spanish giants running out 3-1 winners.

    The Santiago Bernabeu side could be among the suitors for Mane should he leave Liverpool, but his aim for now is to beat them.

    "Good question," he said when asked about the possibility of being approached by Madrid. "But what I want to say now is I am fully focused on the Champions League and winning it, which is far more important for me and the Liverpool fans.

    "I will do everything absolutely possible to win the game for Liverpool.

    "I think we all forgot about what happened in 2018. For sure, Real Madrid were the better team then and deserved to win the game, but it is going to be a different game."

  • Mane saddened by lack of African Ballon d'Or winners Mane saddened by lack of African Ballon d'Or winners

    Sadio Mane believes an African winner of the Ballon d'Or is overdue, with both he and Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah seemingly in the frame ahead of Saturday's Champions League final.

    Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the award since 2008, with Luka Modric the only player to break their hegemony in the World Cup year of 2018.

    France Football announced changes to the voting process in March, moving to align with the European club season and reducing the number of judges to make wins "much more demanding".

    George Weah was the first and only African winner of the prestigious individual prize in 1995, but Mane appears to be in contention after enjoying a fine season with Liverpool and winning the Africa Cup of Nations with Senegal.

    "It's true. If you guys say it, what can I say myself? Which is sad," Mane said of the lack of African recognition.

    "For me, it would be even more special to have another bonus, which is the Ballon d'Or, and I would be the most happy player in the world.

    "This cup, the Africa Cup of Nations, is one of the biggest for myself, it is the biggest trophy I have won in my life, and for an African player not to have won the Ballon d'Or since George Weah is sad for sure.

    "Winning the Champions League is special. I have a chance to play it again, and we will do everything we can to win it, and then we will see what happens with the Ballon d'Or."

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