EPL

Premier League data dive: Vardy inflicts unprecedented damage on a Guardiola team

By Sports Desk September 27, 2020

Manchester City shipped five goals in a home league match for the first time in 17 years as they were shocked by Leicester City on Sunday.

Brendan Rodgers' men were in rampant form at the Etihad Stadium and were inspired by Jamie Vardy, who is proving quite the scourge of Pep Guardiola defences.

Tottenham were denied a win over Newcastle United by another late, late penalty in a Premier League match in 2020-21, while Leeds United enjoyed Yorkshire bragging rights over Sheffield United.

West Ham, meanwhile, put Wolves to the sword as manager David Moyes watched on television while in self-isolation.

Here are some of Opta's top numbers from a scintillating day of play...

 

Manchester City 2-5 Leicester City: Guardiola in uncharted territory

Guardiola had gone 685 games in all competitions in charge of Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City without his team conceding five goals. Over to you, Jamie Vardy.

The striker scored three times, two of them from the penalty spot, to take his tally to eight league goals against City since Guardiola took charge – the most of any player against a team managed by the Catalan – and inspire Leicester to a 5-2 win.

City had never conceded five in a game at the Etihad Stadium before and last let in that many in a home Premier League match against Arsenal in February 2003.

As for Vardy, he is the only player to convert two hat-tricks against a Guardiola team. The only other man to score even one such treble is Lionel Messi.

Tottenham 1-1 Newcastle United: Kane assists not enough

Harry Kane is fashioning a new name for himself as Tottenham's assist king.

He teed up Lucas Moura to open the scoring against Newcastle, thereby reaching five Premier League assists already for 2020-21 – that's only two short of his record for a single season in 2016-17 and as many as in his previous 54 league appearances.

In fact, only Ruel Fox for Newcastle in 1994-95 and Henrikh Mkhitaryan for Manchester United in 2017-18 have ever managed five assists in the opening three matchdays of a Premier League season.

Of course, it was Newcastle who got the real helping hand here, Eric Dier's unfortunate handball allowing Callum Wilson to equalise with a penalty after 96 minutes and 20 seconds, the latest any team has ever scored with their first shot on target in a Premier League match since at least 2006.

Sheffield United 0-1 Leeds United: Bamford loves the big time

Patrick Bamford only scored four Championship goals between February and late July last season. In the Premier League, he has three in three games. Some people just flourish on the biggest stages.

The striker is the first Leeds player ever to score in his first three top-flight games for the club and only the third person to net on the each of the first three matchdays for a promoted side in the Premier League. The others were Teemu Pukki for Norwich City last season and Michael Ricketts for Bolton Wanderers in 2001-02.

His header against Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United also saw Bamford become the first Leeds player to score in the first three matches of a top-flight campaign since Mick Jones back in 1968-69. They went on to win the title that season...

West Ham 4-0 Wolves: Bowen finds his feet

Jarrod Bowen scored twice against Wolves as West Ham romped to a mightily impressive win over Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves, while boss Moyes was unable to attend after testing positive for coronavirus.

Bowen got his first brace in league football since December 2019, converting two impressive finishes to put the Hammers 2-0 ahead. He had only scored once in his first 22 Premier League outings.

With a relative dry spell in the past year apparently behind him, don't bet against the 23-year-old to build on this performance. Since the start of 2017-18, only Liverpool star Mohamed Salah (50) and Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero (38) have scored more league goals at home across England's top four divisions than Bowen (36).

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    The France international has faced criticism for failing to live up to expectations since joining Barca from Atletico Madrid last year.

    However, Griezmann may join the list of players renewing with the LaLiga giants.

     

    TOP STORY – GRIEZMANN SET FOR BARCELONA RENEWAL

    Griezmann could be among the next group of players to renew at Barcelona, according to EFE.

    It claims Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto may also re-sign, amid reports players are reducing their wages at the club.

    It comes after Barcelona announced the re-signings of Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gerard Pique, Frenkie de Jong and Clement Lenglet on Tuesday.

    Griezmann scored 15 goals in 48 games for Barca last season, while he is yet to net in four appearances in 2020-21.

     

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    - A former Barcelona head coach could be set for a new job. Marca reports Palmeiras have made a move for Quique Setien after the departure of Vanderlei Luxemburgo.

    - Despite signing Nathan Ake and Ruben Dias in the close season, Manchester City are reportedly look for another defender. Fabrizio Romano suggested the Premier League giants are monitoring Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres.

    - Christian Eriksen's Inter future remains uncertain. CalcioMercato reports Inter turned down a loan bid from Borussia Dortmund in the close season, but the Serie A club could be open to the midfielder leaving in January.

    - After Virgil van Dijk suffered a serious knee injury, Liverpool are linked with defenders. The Sun says Brighton and Hove Albion would demand at least £50million for Ben White if the Premier League champions make a move for the centre-back in January.

  • Guti calls for Madrid to sign Neymar and Mbappe as he pokes fun at Barca's Griezmann Guti calls for Madrid to sign Neymar and Mbappe as he pokes fun at Barca's Griezmann

    Real Madrid great Guti said he would sign Paris Saint-Germain duo Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for Los Blancos, while mocking Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann.

    LaLiga champions Madrid have been heavily linked with a blockbuster move for PSG star Mbappe, who is out of contract in Paris at the end of the 2021-22 season.

    Neymar, who swapped Barcelona for PSG in a world-record €222million deal in 2017, has previously been linked with Madrid.

    As Madrid prepare for Saturday's Clasico against bitter rivals Barca at Camp Nou, Guti talked up Neymar and Mbappe while poking fun at Griezmann, who has struggled to establish himself since arriving from Atletico Madrid in 2019.

    "I'd sign Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for Real Madrid and for Barcelona I wouldn't sign anyone, just for Griezmann to stay," Guti, 43, said as he laughed while discussing the Clasico.

    "There are many great players in this game, but I'm going for the youngsters.

    "Surely it'll be Ansu Fati at Barcelona and Vinicius [Junior] at Real Madrid [who can make an impact]. They're very talented players who are going to bring a lot to LaLiga."

    Both Madrid and Barca will enter the Clasico on the back of LaLiga defeats, while the former were also stunned by Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.

    Madrid suffered a shock 1-0 loss to newly promoted Cadiz at the weekend and Lionel Messi's Barca succumbed to Getafe by the same scoreline.

    Zinedine Zidane's Madrid are a point adrift of Real Sociedad with a game in hand, while Barca are ninth and four points off the pace, having played a game less.

    "It won't determine who'll win LaLiga, but it is an important match," said Guti, who won five LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies during his playing career at the Santiago Bernabeu. "Mentally, if a player does well or a team wins, then it can do you good for what is still to come in LaLiga.

    "It's a test for both of these teams to see what level they're at and to see what they can achieve this year."

  • Liverpool were 'vulnerable' against Ajax, says Ten Hag Liverpool were 'vulnerable' against Ajax, says Ten Hag

    Erik ten Hag felt Liverpool were "vulnerable" against Ajax as he rued bad luck in the 1-0 Champions League loss on Wednesday.

    Ajax had their chances but Nicolas Tagliafico's first-half own goal was enough for Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in the Group D clash in Amsterdam.

    Liverpool were winless in three games heading into the encounter, and in action for the first time since Virgil van Dijk suffered a serious knee injury on Saturday.

    Ten Hag said he felt the Eredivisie giants could have taken advantage of the Premier League champions.

    "It would have been a big bonus if we had taken one or more points," the Ajax head coach said.

    "I think Liverpool was vulnerable. Unfortunately, we didn't make the most of that."

    Ten Hag added: "We were unlucky. We performed well collectively. We were convincing, but that last one per cent was missing – we didn't score even though we created many chances.

    "That's the story of this game, I think."

    Tagliafico turned in a miscued Sadio Mane effort 10 minutes before half-time for the game's only goal.

    Ten Hag said there were elements of Ajax's performance he was pleased with.

    "We knew Liverpool's strength, we wanted to prevent their full-backs, who are their playmakers, from going forward. That was one," he said.

    "The second thing is that we wanted to control the midfield. Daley [Blind] is very good at that, he's so calm on the ball. And in that way, we wanted to attack their defence with deep runs. I think we did that quite well a couple of times."

    While Trent Alexander-Arnold had a quieter performance for Liverpool, left-back Andy Robertson impressed.

    Robertson had the most key passes (five), passes (78), passes in the opposition half (56) and touches (104) of any player on the ground.

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