EPL

Premier League data dive: Liverpool win ugly at Turf Moor, Jimenez stars as Wolves stun Tottenham

By Sports Desk February 13, 2022

Liverpool responded to Manchester City's thrashing of Norwich by recording a hard-fought 1-0 win at Burnley.

Fabinho struck the only goal in the first half, as the Reds continued their fine set-piece record on a day when set-plays proved decisive across the Premier League.

Elsewhere, Raul Jimenez starred as Wolves leapfrogged Tottenham with a shock 2-0 win, and Newcastle continued their revival with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa, thanks to Kieran Tripper's free-kick.

The final game of the day saw West Ham rescue a dramatic 2-2 draw at Leicester City, with Craig Dawson netting a stoppage-time equaliser.

Burnley 0-1 Liverpool: Reds reap rewards of set-piece focus

Liverpool did not produce a vintage performance, but Jurgen Klopp's men kept leaders Manchester City on their toes by earning a vital away win.

The Reds had to work hard for the three points against Burnley at Turf Moor. After managing 27 shots, nine attempts on target and 50 touches in Burnley's penalty area in the reverse fixture at Anfield last August, Liverpool had just over half as many touches in Burnley's 18-yard box this time (26), managing 12 shots in total and just four on target.

However, Klopp's men dug deep to find a winning goal, and did so courtesy of their fantastic set-piece record. Excluding penalties, 14 of Liverpool’s 61 Premier League goals this season have come via set-pieces, more than any other team and more than the tally they recorded in the top-flight last term (13).

Fabinho's winning goal also means he has scored more goals in his last seven matches (five) than he managed in his first 142 appearances for Liverpool in all competitions (four).

Meanwhile, the Anfield outfit also maintained their record of having won each of their games in which the Brazilian has netted for the club, with that run now reaching eight matches.

Tottenham 0-2 Wolves: Jimenez proves decisive at Spurs once again

It was Wolves, rather than Tottenham, who asserted their top-four credentials by recording a huge win in north London, with Jimenez and Leander Dendoncker firing the visitors to a 2-0 win.

Mexican striker Jimenez has now scored in each of his last three Premier League appearances away at Spurs (three goals), with Wolves winning each of those contests.

Indeed, Jimenez has now scored four times in six appearances against Tottenham, and has only scored more Premier League goals against Southampton and Everton (five).

For Antonio Conte's Spurs, the defeat was their third Premier League reverse in succession, and they also lost three consecutive league games under Nuno Espirito Santo in September 2021. This marks the first time they have had multiple three-match losing games in a Premier League campaign since 2004-05 (also two).

Newcastle 1-0 Aston Villa: Another free-kick continues Toon revival

Newcastle's clash with Aston Villa was not exactly one for the purists, featuring the third-lowest expected goals tally of the entire Premier League season so far, but Tripper ensured that it was a memorable day for the Magpies.

Trippier's 35th-minute free-kick was enough to see off Steven Gerrard's men in a contest where both teams created just 0.5 xG apiece.

Remarkably, Newcastle have now scored a direct free-kick goal in each of their last three Premier League games (Jonjo Shelvey at Leeds, followed by Trippier against Everton and Aston Villa), becoming the first side to do so since Liverpool in December 2013.

In a game of fine margins, the England right-back showed the quality that he brings to the Magpies' relegation fight, and he is now the first Newcastle player to score direct free-kick goals in consecutive Premier League games since Hugo Viana did so in May 2003.

Related items

  • Brunson and the Knicks' bench ignite home win, Raptors complete comeback in Memphis Brunson and the Knicks' bench ignite home win, Raptors complete comeback in Memphis

    The New York Knicks stormed home with a 32-18 final period to defeat the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 108-97 on Sunday,

    The Knicks were on the second night of a back-to-back, coming off a disappointing overtime loss at home against the Los Angeles Clippers, but they steadied the ship to avoid a fourth loss from their past five.

    Point guard Jalen Brunson finished with 21 points on six-of-16 shooting with seven assists and five rebounds, while All-Star team-mate Julius Randle posted 24 points (eight-of-19), nine rebounds and seven assists.

    They were solid, but inefficient, shooting a combined 40 per cent from the field while both finished with a plus/minus figure in the negatives.

    What won the game for the Knicks was their production off the bench. Evan Fournier scored a season-high 17 points (six-of-11), Deuce McBride added 14 points (three-of-eight), and the pair combined to shoot eight-of-14 from long range, while both posting a plus/minus of plus 28 or better.

    Backup center Isaiah Hartenstein was similarly impactful, snatching an equal season-high 14 rebounds in his fourth consecutive appearance with at least 10 boards.

    MVP candidate Joel Embiid was respectable for the 76ers, finishing six-of-16 from the field, but he still produced 31 points and 14 rebounds after shooting 18-of-19 from the free throw line.

    With the win, the Knicks improved their record to 29-26, and they now sit just a half-game back from the six seed in the Eastern Conference.

    Balanced Raptors overcome Morant-less Grizzlies

    With Ja Morant out injured, the Memphis Grizzlies were unable to protect their lead down the stretch, going down 106-103 at home against the Toronto Raptors.

    The Grizzlies led by 15 points late in the third quarter, before the Raptors closed the show on a 40-22 run.

    Seven of the eight Raptors to play finished with between 10 and 19 points, with Pascal Siakam's 19 points on seven-of-17 shooting leading the scoring, while Scottie Barnes was a menace defensively as he had two steals and two blocks to go with his 16 points and seven rebounds.

    Desmond Bane (26 points and four steals) and Jaren Jackson Jr (18 points and four blocks) were the bright spots for the Grizzlies, who at 32-21 are now four-and-a-half games behind the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets.

    Cavs starters light up the Pacers

    The Cleveland Cavaliers' starting-five shot a blistering 58.7 per cent from the field as they blew out the Indiana Pacers 122-103 on the road.

    Donovan Mitchell had 19 points on six-of-18 shooting, but he was the only Cleveland starter to hit less than half his shots as Darius Garland (eight-of-13), Evan Mobley (seven-of-12), Jarrett Allen (nine-of-11) and Isaac Okoro (seven-of-nine) combined to shoot 68.8 per cent.

    Newly extended Pacers center Myles Turner had strong production in the losing effort, finishing with 27 points (nine-of-18), 10 rebounds and three blocks.

  • No regrets over Leao benching for Milan boss Pioli after another derby defeat No regrets over Leao benching for Milan boss Pioli after another derby defeat

    Milan boss Stefano Pioli defended his decision to start with Rafael Leao on the bench after his struggling team went down 1-0 to Inter in Sunday's derby.

    Last season's champions sit sixth in Serie A after 21 games, in danger of failing to qualify for next season's Champions League unless they buck up their ideas.

    They have lost four games in a row, with losses to Inter in the Supercoppa and Serie A sandwiching a 4-0 drubbing by Lazio and a 5-2 mauling at home by Sassuolo.

    It was league duty on Sunday, and Leao was only a substitute, despite being a two-goal hero in September when Milan took the derby spoils 3-2 to keep pace with early bolters Napoli.

    While Napoli have kept up their early frantic pace, and now sit 13 points clear of second-placed Inter, Milan have lost all momentum.

    Pioli began against Inter with former Liverpool fringe man Divock Origi alongside Olivier Giroud in attack, abandoning the partnership early in the second half when the ineffective Origi was hauled off and Leao made his entrance.

    The skilful Portuguese forward almost teed up an equaliser for Giroud, but the French striker's control was awful and the chance was lost, but that moment of fast-paced dribbling excellence highlighted Leao's threat.

    "He has enormous potential," said Pioli, "but I chose to play with two centre-forwards who are closer vertically to put Inter's defence in difficulty, even if we didn't succeed.

    "I trust a lot in Leao, even if he didn't start from the beginning. The choices I made are the best for what I saw during the week, for what the preparation for the match was and for the positions I wanted to fill."

    With the benefit of hindsight, Pioli said he would "do it again" when asked about Leao's omission.

    In all, Milan have not won for seven games, and they face Torino on Friday before a Champions League tussle with Tottenham the following Tuesday.

    Tottenham's former Inter boss Antonio Conte may be licking his lips at that prospect, with Milan's defending leaving plenty to be desired in recent weeks.

    Lautaro Martinez headed in Hakan Calhanoglu's corner for the only goal of the derby, and Pioli accepted his players were found lacking.

    "Unfortunately we found ourselves unprepared once again on a dead ball," he said. "Up to that moment, we were working well as a team. We did better in the second half."

    Pioli knows the drastic slide in form has left many Milan supporters agog, and he said: "The fans have every right to criticise, the last few performances haven't been up to par."

    Yet Pioli still has the support of the dressing room, according to midfielder Rade Krunic.

    Krunic told DAZN: "If you lose such an important match there are few positive things. The only thing to take away is the reaction in the second half, where we did better than in the first half.

    "We seemed to be doing better in training than today. We believe in Pioli."

  • 'It was a day to dare' – Xavi delighted after Barca patiently dismantle Sevilla 'It was a day to dare' – Xavi delighted after Barca patiently dismantle Sevilla

    Xavi praised his Barcelona players for remaining patient in their 3-0 victory over Sevilla as the LaLiga leaders moved eight points clear of Real Madrid.

    Barca dominated Sunday's contest at Camp Nou before eventually finding the breakthrough via full-back Jordi Alba in the 58th minute.

    Gavi added a second 12 minutes later and Raphinha, who assisted that goal, added his name to the scoresheet as Barca made it 10 wins in a row this year.

    Sevilla focused almost entirely on defending, managing only three shots in total to Barca's 16, and Xavi is delighted his side were able to break down the visitors.

    "This was a day to dare," he told DAZN. "We talked about it at half-time. It's always difficult to attack when the opponent has 11 players behind the ball.

    "But we did it very well and I'm very satisfied with this result."

    Barca took full advantage of Real Madrid's surprise 1-0 loss at Real Mallorca earlier in the day to extend their lead at the summit as they close in on a first title in four seasons.

    "We've gone many games unbeaten and it's important we win like we did today," Xavi said. "Against a low block, we created many chances – that is a big positive.

    "Things are working out for us. We're eight points ahead of Madrid, but there is still a lot of the season left."

    With a goal and an assist against Sevilla, Raphinha has been involved in more goals (eight – four goals and four assists) than any other LaLiga player in all competitions in 2023.

    Xavi hailed the Brazil international's performance and also reserved special praise for Alba, who himself scored and assisted in a single LaLiga game for the fourth time.

    "I was already satisfied with Raphinha's performances," Xavi said. "He is good in high-pressure scenarios and has been giving us decisive assists. He's an extraordinary player.

    "As for Jordi, he gives us a lot in attack and showed that again today. We knew there would be an opportunity to take advantage of some space that was left."

    Alba was recalled to the starting line-up having been made to settle for substitute appearances of late and took full advantage of his opportunity to impress.

    "I take advantage of the minutes when I play; when I don't, I dedicate myself to encouraging the youngsters so they know what it means to play for this club," Alba said.

    "We are having a very good season, playing well, pressing well and getting our rivals to give us chances. 

    "There are eight points on Madrid and, although there is a lot of the league season left, it is a very good distance to have."

    Barca's 53 points after 20 LaLiga matches has only been matched or bettered on five previous occasions, including themselves four times.

    The only blemish for Xavi's side was captain Sergio Busquets limping off early following a challenge with Youssef En-Nesyri.

    Busquets is reported to have sprained his right ankle and is facing two-to-three weeks out, potentially ruling him out of Barca's Europa League tie with Manchester United.

    "Hopefully it's nothing serious," Xavi said. "First we'll do tests and then we'll know more."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.