EPL

Premier League data dive: Top three fail to win as Brighton lodge comeback and Chelsea close on Champions League

By Sports Desk May 18, 2021

Chelsea edged towards Champions League football for next season, but Leicester City's fate is now out of their hands.

The Blues gained swift vengeance for their FA Cup final defeat, running out 2-1 winners over Leicester at Stamford Bridge, meaning the Foxes are now reliant on results elsewhere as Liverpool have a game in hand to play.

Champions Manchester City surrendered a two-goal lead against Brighton and Hove Albion, meanwhile, and Edinson Cavani's stunning goal was not enough for Manchester United. Elsewhere, Leeds United defeated Southampton.

We take a look at the best facts, courtesy of Opta, from across Tuesday's Premier League games.

Manchester United 1-1 Fulham: Cavani delights Old Trafford crowd, but Cottagers hit back

United have now dropped 10 points from winning positions at Old Trafford this season – their highest ever such total at home in a Premier League season – after Joe Bryan cancelled out Cavani's sensational opener.

Cavani became only the third United player over the age of 33 to reach 10 goals in a single Premier League season, after Teddy Sheringham in 2000-01 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2016-17, with a sublime 36.4-yard effort in the first half.

The Uruguay forward is the 25th different United player to reach double figures in a Premier League campaign, but it was not enough for the Red Devils as relegated Fulham gained a point from a losing position at Old Trafford for only the second time in their history in the competition, previously doing so in February 2014.

United have conceded 28 home goals in the Premier League this season – they last conceded more at Old Trafford in a single league campaign back in 1962-63 (38) – with Bryan's first top-flight goal, in his 43rd such appearance, snatching a share of the spoils.

Southampton 0-2 Leeds United: Bielsa's charge continues

There could feasibly still be a European place for Marcelo Bielsa's Leeds, who are just three points behind seventh-placed West Ham heading into the final game of the season after a 2-0 win over Southampton.

It was Leeds' 10th league win on the road this season, their best effort in a top-flight campaign since 1973-74, when they won 12 on the way to winning the title.

Southampton are without a clean sheet in their past 10 home league games (15 goals conceded) after keeping shutouts in six of the eight before that.

Patrick Bamford netted his 16th goal of the season, which is the most by a player from a promoted side since Charlie Austin scored 18 for Queens Park Rangers in 2014-15, with Tyler Roberts' maiden Premier League goal rounding off the success.

Leeds are only the second team in Premier League history to finish a campaign without a single away draw (W10 L9), after Tottenham in 2018-19.

Brighton and Hove Albion 3-2 Manchester City: Seagulls seal famous comeback

Brighton picked up their first ever Premier League victory over City, and their first in the league since 1989, as they came from two goals down to win 3-2 at the Amex Stadium.

Graham Potter's side fell behind to Ilkay Gundogan's early goal – the 10th City have scored in the opening two minutes under Pep Guardiola in the Premier League – but were buoyed by Joao Cancelo's red card.

Timed at 09:03, Cancelo's dismissal was City's second-earliest from the start of a Premier League game, after Dedryck Boyata was sent off after 04:28 against Arsenal in October 2010.

This was just the second time in Premier League history a team starting the day top of the table has led by two goals and lost, after City themselves did so against Man Utd in April 2018.

Their possession figure in this match was just 37 per cent – the lowest recorded by a side managed by Guardiola in a single top-flight match.

Phil Foden has scored 15 goals in all competitions this season. Among players in the top five European leagues currently aged under 21, only Erling Haaland (39) has scored more, but his stunning effort was not enough.

Leandro Trossard and Adam Webster pegged City back, before Dan Burn's first Brighton goal, and his first in the league for any team since April 2018, completed the turnaround.

Chelsea 2-1 Leicester City: Tuchel's team clinch Champions League qualification

After their FA Cup disappointment, Chelsea took a step towards Champions League football, getting revenge in the process.

Jorginho's penalty sealed the win, with Kelechi Iheanacho's goal ultimately proving a consolation, though the Leicester striker is the first player in Premier League history to score a goal on all seven weekdays within a single season. 

No player has scored more Premier League goals in a single campaign with 100 per cent of them coming from the penalty spot than Jorginho's seven this season (level with James Milner in 2016-17). 

Leicester have won just two of their past 30 away league games against Chelsea (D11 L17), winning 1-0 in December 2018 and 2-0 in September 2000.

And the win for Thomas Tuchel's men means that City, United and Leicester, the top three teams starting the day, all failed to win. It is the first time it has happened since January 2017 (Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea).

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    Barcelona will have to switch their targets after Pep Guardiola appeared to close the door on Bernardo Silva leaving Manchester City.

    Playmaker Bernardo has been linked with Barcelona for much of the current transfer window, with Xavi looking to build a team capable of challenge for LaLiga and Champions League honours.

    However, former Barcelona head coach Guardiola has been insistent he wants the 28-year-old Portugal international to stay at City.

    On Thursday, Guardiola said Bernardo would be in Barcelona next week, but only on City duty as the clubs play a charity fundraising friendly at Camp Nou.

    The match will benefit research into motor neurone disease (MND), also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

    It is a condition suffered by former Barcelona goalkeeping coach Juan Carlos Unzue, as well as Stephen Darby, who is the husband of Steph Houghton, captain of Manchester City Women.

    Speaking on Catalunya Radio, City manager Guardiola told Unzue how he sees Bernardo's future.

    "On Wednesday you will see him play," Guardiola said. "Of course! And what is certain is that he will do it with us, City. Bernardo and 10 others will play."

    Bernardo has been with City for five years, winning four Premier League titles among a host of honours and establishing himself as a key cog in Guardiola's midfield.

    Guardiola said City welcomed the chance to raise money for a worthwhile cause next week.

    "It's a gift to return to the Camp Nou to play a solidarity game to fight against [MND]," he said, quoted widely in the Spanish press.

    Praising Unzue, Guardiola added: "Life has given him a punch, and he gets up every time. With his gestures and actions he helps many people."

  • Chelsea hit out at 'idiots' as club investigate alleged racist abuse aimed at Son Chelsea hit out at 'idiots' as club investigate alleged racist abuse aimed at Son

    Chelsea have condemned "idiots" who continue to tarnish the club's name after launching an investigation into alleged racist abuse aimed at Tottenham's Son Heung-min.

    Footage emerged on social media on Wednesday appearing to show Son being targeted with a racist gesture from the Stamford Bridge stands as he went over to take a corner in front of home fans.

    In a statement released on their official website on Thursday, Chelsea announced they are looking into the incident that took place in the second half of Sunday's eventful 2-2 draw with London rivals Spurs.

    "Chelsea Football Club finds any form of discriminatory behaviour totally abhorrent. It has no place at Chelsea or in any of our communities," the statement read.

    "Chelsea FC has consistently made its zero tolerance position on discriminatory behaviour very clear, yet there are still idiots like this that attach themselves to this club as so-called 'fans', which shames Chelsea FC, our coaches, players, staff and our true supporters.

    "We are investigating this incident and, if identified, this individual will face the strongest action from the club."

    Spurs twice recovered from a goal down to rescue a point against Chelsea, with Harry Kane heading a stoppage-time equaliser in a game that saw head coaches Thomas Tuchel and Antonio Conte sent off after the full-time whistle.

    Both managers have been charged by the Football Association, while Stats Perform understands the FA is looking into Tuchel's post-game comments about referee Anthony Taylor, whose performance the Chelsea boss criticised.

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    India eased to victory in the first ODI against Zimbabwe, winning by 10 wickets in Harare on Thursday.

    The hosts began poorly as they found themselves 31-4 after the first ball of the 11th over, with none of the top four batsmen scoring double figures.

    They continued to struggle up to 110-8 after less than 30 overs, before a partnership of 70 from Brad Evans (33 not out) and Richard Ngarava (34) put some respect on the eventual total of 189 all out, captain Regis Chakabva top scoring with 35.

    It did not seem like 190 would be enough to repel India, and sure enough the tourists made light work of it as openers Shikhar Dhawan (81 not out) and Shubman Gill (86 not out) chased it down themselves off just 30.4 overs.

    Zimbabwe have lost their last 13 men's ODIs against India, which was already their longest losing streak against them in the format, having last beaten them in June 2010.

    India have now won their last five away men's ODI matches. The last time they won as many consecutive matches on the road was a stretch of five in June 2019.

    The second of the three-match series takes place in Harare on Saturday.

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