EPL

Chelsea rely on youth while City's experience shines - the Premier League Data Diary

By Sports Desk August 25, 2019

Chelsea and Manchester City enjoyed successful away trips in gameweek three of the Premier League season, with the Blues turning to youth for inspiration while the champions were inspired by longstanding heroes.

A transfer ban has forced Frank Lampard to rely on a batch of talented Chelsea youngsters as he looks to make a positive start to life as a Premier League manager, and some of his hottest prospects showed more than just potential on their trip to Norwich City.

While Chelsea picked up a first league win of the season and Manchester City took three points from their trip to Bournemouth, it is Liverpool who remain the top flight's pace-setters after they brushed Arsenal aside at Anfield.

With the help of Opta's stats, take a deep dive into the weekend's biggest stories.

 

ABRAHAM AT THE DOUBLE FOR LAMPARD'S YOUNG BLUES

Lampard fielded Chelsea's youngest Premier League side for 25 years at Carrow Road, where Tammy Abraham scored twice in a 3-2 victory.

With the likes of Abraham, Mason Mount and Christian Pulisic in the side, the Blues' average age was just 24 years and 208 days, making it the most youthful Chelsea team to play a Premier League game since February 1994 against Oldham (average age: 24y 190d).

Abraham, who has scored more league goals since the start of last season (28) than any other English player in the top two divisions, became the third youngest player to score a double for Chelsea in the Premier League - after Mark Nicholls in January 1998 and Eddie Newton in December 1992.

Mount also found the net, scoring for the second game running, and the last time Chelsea had two English players under the age of 21 score in the same Premier League match was back in August 1992 (Newton and Graham Stuart against Sheffield Wednesday).

SILVA SHINES ON LANDMARK APPEARANCE

Manchester City saw off Bournemouth 3-1 at the Vitality Stadium to make it nine top-flight wins out of nine in this fixture - the best 100 per cent win record by a team over an opponent in top-flight history.

Kevin De Bruyne set up the first of Sergio Aguero's two goals on the south coast to register his 50th Premier League assist in his 123rd appearance, reaching that milestone figure in fewer games than any other player in the competition's history.

Argentina international Aguero's second came 19 minutes into the second half and was his 400th career goal for club and country, with 235 of those coming for City.

The match was also a special occasion for David Silva, who marked his 400th appearance for City with a couple of assists of his own. The Spanish midfielder has assisted more than once in 14 separate Premier League games - only Ryan Giggs and Cesc Fabregas have done so more often (17 games).

Harry Wilson's sublime free-kick late in the first half to make it 2-1 saw him become the youngest player, at 22 years and 156 days, to score in his first two Premier League appearances since Anthony Martial in September 2015 (19 years, 289 days).

SALAH STILL DEADLY AS LIVERPOOL STREAK CONTINUES

Liverpool won for the 12th league game running with a 3-1 victory over Arsenal - their best streak in the Premier League and their joint-best ever in all league competition, equalling the record set under Kenny Dalglish in 1990.

Mohamed Salah scored a second-half double at Anfield and has now been directly involved in more Premier League goals against Arsenal than he has any other side - six goals and two assists, including a goal in all four of his home games against them.

The first of Salah's goals came via the penalty spot after he was pulled back by David Luiz inside the box. Arsenal have given away eight Premier League penalties since the start of last season - only Brighton and Hove Albion with 10 have faced more.

It was a familiar story for Arsenal in many ways as they have now failed to win any of their last 23 away league games against fellow 'big six' sides, conceding 53 goals and keeping just one clean sheet during that run.

The performance of Nicolas Pepe on his full debut did give Arsenal supporters something to take away from the game, however, with the club-record signing becoming the first player to successfully dribble past Virgil van Dijk in the Liverpool defender's last 50 league appearances.

JOELINTON HELPS MAGPIES END 'BIG SIX' HOODOO

Newcastle United got their first Premier League win under Steve Bruce thanks to Joelinton's first-half winner against Tottenham, and drew a line under a long-standing struggle on the road against the division's top sides.

Prior to Sunday's result, Newcastle had not beaten one of the Premier League's 'big six' in an away fixture since a 2-1 victory in December 2015 - also against Tottenham.

The game was disappointing for Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino, who saw his side suffer their first league defeat of the season in his 500th match as a manager in all competitions and his first defeat against Newcastle since May 2016 (a 5-1 loss).

It was a different story for Bruce, who recorded his first away victory as a manager against Spurs in the Premier League, and became the sixth boss in the competition's history to win a match with five or more different teams after Alan Pardew (5), Harry Redknapp (5), Mark Hughes (6), Roy Hodgson (5) and Sam Allardyce (7).

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    Sebastian Vettel's long wait for a Formula One victory is over.

    The four-time world champion clinched a triumph at the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday, securing his first race win since August 2018.

    It was a victory which did not come without controversy - Vettel's team-mate Charles Leclerc, who had been hunting a third straight win, was left angered by Ferrari's pit-stop tactics.

    Leclerc had started on pole and was in a dominant position until his team-mate was allowed to undercut him and he came out of the pit stops at the Marina Bay Street Circuit behind the German, who had been running third.

    The 21-year-old complained over the radio: "To be honest with you, I don't understand at all the undercut. But whatever. We'll discuss it after the race."

    While Leclerc's 2019 form has seen him usurp Vettel as Ferrari's number one driver in all but name, a strong end to the season will see the German stake his claim to lead the team once more next year.


    HIGH EXPECTATIONS

    Despite a superb drive and benefitting from team tactics, Vettel was unwilling to rest on his laurels after the victory.

    While he believes the critics have perhaps been too harsh, he affirmed that nobody has higher expectations than he does.

    "Maybe less satisfying than you think," Vettel told BBC Sport after the win about whether he had answered his critics.

    "Recently, I think there was nothing wrong in general. Things weren't maybe falling in place, plus obviously I messed up in the race in Monza, that's my mistake.

    "I have the highest expectation on myself and I'm not happy when I'm not delivering what I know I can. I know that I can improve from there, and I can't be happy with that. But equally I know that it wasn't as bad or disastrous as maybe people put it together."

    Mattia Binotto, meanwhile, explained the circumstances that led to Ferrari prioritising Vettel in Singapore and opting not to swap the drivers back to their original order, despite the frustration of golden boy Leclerc.

    "The undercut was effectively more powerful than expected," he said.

    "We were not expecting such a big number [a 3.5 second advantage] and we thought Charles stopping the lap after would come out ahead of Sebastian.

    "I understand Charles is disappointed. He did his best to win the race and he could have won the race. We did consider to swap [the drivers]. We are still discussing with the drivers whether it was the right choice or not."

    VETTEL MUST DRAW ON EXPERIENCE

    Leclerc's fearless displays have been a main factor in his rise to joint-third in the driver standings, but Vettel is only six points behind with as many races remaining.

    Vettel is a wily operator and his experience could prove crucial now that he has the winning feeling once more.

    A first Ferrari one-two of the season dealt a blow to Mercedes as the Scuderia secured a third straight win. That is Binotto's main concern, but the individual results of their drivers will be an interesting sub-plot for the remainder of 2019.

    First on Vettel's agenda will be halting a miserable run in qualifying that has seen Leclerc in front of him on the grid at eight consecutive races to put him in a better position once each Sunday arrives. The Monegasque has five poles this season to his one.

    Then, he must cut out the sloppy mistakes on race day, which he did to great effect in Singapore after a dreadful outing in Monza.

    With the F1 calendar moving straight to Russia this week, the 32-year-old knows it will take much more than one race to win over critics who have suggested his best days are behind him.

    But he now has a great chance to ensure he goes into a 2020 season where Ferrari hope to challenge for the drivers title with, at the very least, an equal standing to Leclerc.

  • Liverpool must be relentless in trophy chase – Adrian Liverpool must be relentless in trophy chase – Adrian

    Liverpool's stunning start to the season will count for nothing if they do not maintain their high standards, Adrian has warned.

    The Spaniard continued to deputise for the injured Alisson as the Reds claimed a 2-1 win at Chelsea on Sunday, putting them five points clear at the Premier League summit.

    But Adrian urged his side to keep pushing for more, knowing reigning champions Manchester City are ready to pounce on any slip-ups.

    "We keep fighting and we keep that momentum going and keep it in a positive way, of course," the goalkeeper told the club's official website.

    "We have done really well but we've done nothing yet so we need to keep going and keep fighting for the next one. We are on a good run in the Premier League with good energy and intensity.

    "In the first half [against Chelsea] we did really well and I think we deserved the three points. Obviously they pushed in the second half but we defended really well."

    While Jurgen Klopp's side boast a 100 per cent record in the top flight, the defence of their Champions League crown started with a 2-0 defeat at Napoli.

    Adrian conceded it was a tough loss to take but he took comfort in their response at Stamford Bridge, where first-half goals from Trent Alexander-Arnold and Roberto Firmino were enough to get the job done.

    "The other night in the Champions League against Napoli we lost," he said. "I don't think we deserved to have that result and it was really hard for us, but we recovered well. We are back in the Premier League and back to winning.

    "It's always important to have a good connection between all of the players, also the fans, the crowd, the manager, the staff – everyone.

    "We are like a rock now and we are together. We are enjoying this moment but we need to keep looking forward for more points."

  • Sarri waits on Ronaldo fitness ahead of Brescia test Sarri waits on Ronaldo fitness ahead of Brescia test

    Cristiano Ronaldo's fitness will be assessed ahead of Juventus' Serie A clash with Brescia on Tuesday.

    Juve boss Maurizio Sarri confirmed Ronaldo had suffered with muscle fatigue over the weekend, putting his participation in doubt.

    Sarri said he expected to have to juggle his selection after a busy week in which his side played three times.

    "I want to see the current conditions. Ronaldo yesterday [Sunday] had a little muscle fatigue but it is quite normal after three games in seven days," he said.

    "We'll see if it is necessary or not for someone to rest. It's important that we have continuity in this moment, but there are also other factors to consider.

    "We'll have to make some evaluations."

    Brescia were 1-0 winners at Udinese last time out and Sarri, whose side surrendered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Atletico Madrid in the Champions League before overcoming Hellas Verona 2-1 in Serie A, is expecting a tough challenge.

    He also cited a potential Brescia debut for Mario Balotelli as an added layer of difficulty for the away fixture.

    "Brescia are a dangerous team," he said. "They play decent football in an enthusiastic environment and a lot of work has gone into it. The game is undoubtedly a tricky one.

    "Balotelli's return could give them additional enthusiasm, they are in great shape."

    Ronaldo is on the three-man shortlist for The Best FIFA Men's Player award on Monday, alongside Lionel Messi and Virgil van Dijk. 

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