EPL

Premier League data dive: Van Dijk goes 60 not out at Anfield, James leads the way for Chelsea

By Sports Desk March 05, 2022

Liverpool closed the gap on leaders Manchester City with victory over West Ham, while Chelsea tightened their grip on third place in Saturday's Premier League action.

The Blues saw off Burnley 4-0 at Turf Moor, a scoreline that was matched by Aston Villa in their statement victory against Southampton.

Newcastle United, Crystal Palace and Brentford also picked up wins, but it was a bad start to life under new management for Leeds in their early kick-off against Leicester City.

Following another eventful day of Premier League action, Stats Perform delves into the key Opta facts from each of the games.

Leeds United 0-1 Leicester City: New manager, same Leeds

Jesse Marsch's first game as Leeds boss ended in defeat to Leicester as United fell to a fifth successive league loss for the first time since April 2015, when they were in the Championship.

Leeds have failed to score in three straight league matches for the first time in a year, this despite registering 19 shots in their latest blank against Leicester.

United's expected goals (xG) return of 1.95 is their highest without scoring in a league game since June 2020, and the familiar failings were also on show at the other end.

Harvey Barnes' second-half winner means Leeds have gone 13 league games without a clean sheet, their longest-such run since 14 without a shutout ending in August 2016.

This was the fifth straight league game Barnes has scored against Leeds – four of those while playing for Leicester and one for West Brom, making them his favourite opponent.

 

Aston Villa 4-0 Southampton: Coutinho's home comforts

Villa are firmly back on track after registering back-to-back victories under Steven Gerrard for the first time since his opening two games in charge in November.

The Villans put four unanswered goals past Southampton at Villa Park for their biggest Premier League win since thrashing Liverpool 7-2 in October 2020.

Barcelona loanee Philippe Coutinho once again played a big part in the victory by scoring one and assisting another for Douglas Luiz.

Coutinho has now been directly involved in six goals in his first four home league games for Villa, scoring three of his own and setting up as many.

Ollie Watkins had earlier opened the scoring with his 21st Premier League strike since the start of the 2020-21 season, while Danny Ings added to his two assists with Villa's fourth goal.

 

Newcastle United 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Fraser helps end Magpies' duck against Seagulls

For a while things looked incredibly bleak for Newcastle, even after their big-money takeover, but they now find themselves seven points above the relegation zone.

The Magpies held off Brighton to make it eight Premier League games without defeat – no team is on a better such run – with five of those matches ending in victory.

Ryan Fraser opened the scoring to make it two goals in five Premier League outings, matching his tally from his previous 70 appearances, before setting up Fabian Schar.

That was the earliest United have scored twice in a Premier League home game since January 2007 and, despite Lewis Dunk's header, Eddie Howe's side saw out the win.

It marks the first time Newcastle have defeated Brighton in the Premier League in their 10th such encounter, having previously failed to so much as score against them at home.

 

Norwich City 1-3 Brentford: Bees buzzing thanks to Toney treble

After a run of eight Premier League games without a win, Brentford bolstered their survival ambitions with a well-earned victory away at bottom side Norwich.

Ivan Toney was the hero for the Bees with three goals, two of those from the penalty spot, making Brentford the 40th different team to boast a hat-trick scorer.

The Brentford striker now has nine Premier League goals for the season, each of those coming via his right foot.

Teemu Pukki scored a consolation but it was another miserable day for Norwich, whose goal difference of -42 is the worst at this stage since Derby County in 2007-08 (-44).

Not that it will matter a great deal in the grand scheme of things, but Brentford are the first team Pukki has scored home and away against in a single Premier League season.

 

Wolves 0-2 Crystal Palace: Shaky Wanderers lose again

Wolves' European hopes suffered another blow as they fell to a third successive Premier League defeat, as many as they lost in their previous 13.

Bruno Lage's out-of-form side have now conceded six goals in their last four league games, after shipping just five in 12 before that.

Jean-Philippe Mateta came up with the breakthrough from close range for his fourth goal in eight Premier League starts, and Wilfried Zaha doubled Palace's lead from the penalty spot.

Ivory Coast international Zaha has now been directly involved in 83 goals in the competition, the joint-ninth best total for an African player, level with Nwankwo Kanu.

With this latest loss, it is the first time Wolves have lost three games in a row against Palace in their entire league history.

 

Burnley 0-4 Chelsea: Blues cruise at Turf Moor

It was business as usual for Chelsea as they won for a third Premier League game running without conceding in what proved to be a straightforward victory at lowly Burnley.

The Blues scored all four of their goals in the second half as they enjoyed their biggest away league win since October 2018 when also beating Burnley by the same scoreline.

This was the biggest margin of victory for an away side in a game that was goalless at half-time since Tottenham beat Aston Villa 4-0 in December 2012.

Reece James started the scoring and in the process became the first defender from Europe's top five leagues to both score and assist five goals this term in all competitions.

Kai Havertz also netted twice before Christian Pulisic added some gloss to the scoreline – his fourth goal at Turf Moor, matching a record for an away player set by Tottenham's Harry Kane.

 

Liverpool 1-0 West Ham: Reds roll on thanks to Mane

Sadio Mane's first-half goal made it seven wins in a row for Liverpool in the Premier League, their best such streak since a run of 18 when they claimed the title two years ago.

That close-range finish was Mane's 12th of the season in the league, nine of those coming at Anfield – no player has scored more home goals in the division this season.

Trent Alexander-Arnold played the ball into the box for Mane's goal for his 16th assist in all competitions this term, more than he has ever registered in a single campaign.

Liverpool were not at their best and that was particularly true of Mohamed Salah, who failed to score from six shots – only against Stoke in April 2018 (seven) has he fared worse.

Incredibly, Virgil van Dijk has never been on the losing side for Liverpool in 60 Premier League home games at Anfield, setting a new record in that regard.

 

Related items

  • 'Whatever they get, we'll chase it' – Root lauds England's 'incredible' record chase against India 'Whatever they get, we'll chase it' – Root lauds England's 'incredible' record chase against India

    Joe Root hailed England's "incredible" display with the bat after he and Jonny Bairstow starred in a historic 378-run chase against India, declaring: "Whatever they get, we'll chase it."

    Having resumed at 259-3 before a lively Edgbaston crowd on Tuesday, England raced to their most impressive victory yet under the Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum regime, with Root and Bairstow hitting centuries to complete the highest run chase in the hosts' history and claim a 2-2 draw in the delayed series.

    The victory saw England surpass their 359-run chase against Australia in August 2019, as Root made his 28th Test ton in finishing 142 not out.

    He and Bairstow registered the highest fourth-wicket partnership in the fourth innings of a men's Test (269), as well as England's fifth-highest fourth-wicket stand in any innings.

    Bairstow, meanwhile, also became just the ninth player to hit four Test centuries in England in a calendar year as the home side's entertainers continued their red-ball revival.

    England also recorded three successive chases of over 250 runs in their series whitewash of world champions New Zealand last time out, and Root says the team's fearlessness with the bat left them feeling in control throughout day five.

    "It was pretty fun doing it. Throughout the whole summer, from that first game, we've said, 'whatever they get, we'll chase it'," Root told Sky Sports. "Ben said to us before the toss: 'We're not going to bat first, we're going to chase.'

    "That's the mentality of how we're going about things at the minute. Once we got that partnership going, we just felt in full control.

    "So much credit has to go to the two lads at the top [Alex Lees and Zak Crawley], the way they set the platform, the way they shifted the pressure straight back onto India.

    "To smash that new ball around on a wicket that was doing a bit was just incredible batting. It really made the work that we had to do afterwards a lot easier. It really was a sublime partnership against a world-class attack.

    "The feeling in the dressing room at the moment is 'whatever you get, we're going for it, and we're going to take it down'."

    On a personal level, Root added he was enjoying his cricket again after stepping down as captain in April, saying successor Stokes has instilled a newfound ruthlessness in the side.

    "When you're enjoying things it makes it a lot easier, you turn up to practice excited, you get out in the middle, and you're up for the contest," Root added.

    "I feel in a really good place and I just need to make sure I maintain that. One thing that's worked for me is just accepting it's a game of failure, batting, and you're not going to get it right every time.

    "It was good fun, like I said, there was a little bit on offer, but when you're putting pressure on bowlers it's very difficult for them to keep coming hard at you.

    "We recognised crucial parts of pressure, I think we soaked it up well at times in the second innings, and then when we got our chances to put it back on them, we did it.

    "We were ruthless with it, something that we might have lacked a bit in recent times – especially under my leadership!"

  • Tottenham forward Richarlison banned for one game by FA after throwing smoke bomb Tottenham forward Richarlison banned for one game by FA after throwing smoke bomb

    Tottenham forward Richarlison has been banned for one game and fined by the Football Association (FA) for improper conduct, having thrown a smoke bomb during Everton's Premier League win against Chelsea in May.

    The Brazil international recently joined Spurs from the Toffees in a deal reported to be worth an initial £50million, signing a five-year contract.

    But he will miss out on his side's first game of the 2022-23 season after accepting a one-match suspension over his actions with his former club, having thrown a smoke bomb towards the stands after scoring at Goodison Park.

    "An independent Regulatory Commission has suspended Richarlison de Andrade for one match and fined him £25,000 following a breach of FA Rule E3 that took place during a Premier League game on Sunday 1 May 2022," read an FA statement.

    "The Tottenham Hotspur FC forward admitted that his conduct while playing for Everton FC during the 46th minute of this game against Chelsea FC was improper, and his sanction was imposed during a subsequent hearing."

    The ban means Richarlison's competitive debut for Spurs will be delayed past their Premier League opener against Southampton on August 6, leaving him in line for an early reunion with Chelsea on August 13 instead.

    The Selecao star will likely get his first taste of action during Tottenham's pre-season schedule, however, with Antonio Conte's side set to face a host of international opponents including Sevilla, Rangers and Roma.

  • England's entertainers complete record chase to draw India series England's entertainers complete record chase to draw India series

    Centuries from Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow carried England to a historic seven-wicket win over India, completing their record-breaking 378-run chase in the first session of day five.

    After successful fourth-innings pursuits of 277, 299 and 296 in the whitewash of New Zealand, England required their highest such recovery in Tests to take this rearranged fifth match against India.

    But Root (142 not out) and Bairstow (114 no) had done much of the heavy lifting late on Monday at Edgbaston, allowing the home side's imperious duo to charge through Tuesday morning and improve their unbeaten partnership to an outstanding 269.

    The successful chase meant England claimed a draw from the delayed 2021 series and won a fourth consecutive Test match since the new Ben Stokes-Brendon McCullum regime took charge of the team.

    A night's sleep appeared to have done little to rejuvenate India, who continued the previous evening's themes of rash bowling, poor field placement and regular appeals for a change of ball.

    One of those early appeals was successful, but England bludgeoned on regardless, even aided by four leg byes in consecutive Mohammed Shami overs.

    A flurry of Root fours brought up his hundred, reaching three figures with a stab at a Mohammed Siraj delivery that skipped over second slip to the boundary.

    Root initially maintained control of the strike and the scoring, making Bairstow wait until the 18th over of the day for his century. A single did the job, with Root making his ground in time before a direct hit to celebrate with his team-mate.

    And another single, this time from Root, concluded a chase that ultimately became a saunter, cementing England's ability to seemingly match any target with the bat in this thrilling new era.

    Bairstow matches Root record – with time for both to break it

    'Bazball' has been the making of Bairstow, who now has four centuries in his past five innings – the other an unbeaten 71. That means half of Bairstow's 12 Test hundreds have come in 2022 alone.

    That ties the record for the most England Test tons in a calendar year, with Root having matched the six-century achievements of Denis Compton and Michael Vaughan just last year.

    With three Tests to come against South Africa next month and more against Pakistan later in the year, Bairstow is well placed to move past six – as is Root, who has five this year.

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