EPL

Mendy, Vardy and drawing with Wolves – Premier League weekend's quirky facts

By Sports Desk October 26, 2020

The unpredictability of the new Premier League season continued over the weekend.

Everton's defeat at Southampton saw the last unbeaten record fall, Sunday's result at St Mary's Stadium coming after the previously perfect Aston Villa had lost to Leeds United on Friday.

Chelsea and Manchester United combined for no goals but plenty of talking points, Liverpool's ongoing issues with VAR continued and West Ham were a nuisance again for a member of the 'big six'.

Leicester City may sum up the early stages best, though. The Foxes have now won on their trips to Arsenal and Manchester City, but have also lost twice in three home games.

The conclusion to draw from it all is this: draw conclusions at your peril. Instead, here are some of the more interesting Opta facts from the latest round of action.

 

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION

Pep Guardiola had won all nine of his previous matches against West Ham in his managerial career, but there was to be no perfect 10.

Manchester City had to settle for a 1-1 draw as they became the latest team to struggle to contain Michail Antonio, a player who certainly has a sweet spot when it comes to goals. Well, less of a sweet spot and more of an area, actually.

Antonio's 39 Premier League goals have all come inside the penalty area. Only Gabriel Jesus (42) has managed more than that out of the current players in the division, though both are still short of the leader in this particular category, Tim Cahill.

The Australian's total of 56 tops the list, ahead of a former Hammer in Javier Hernandez (53). They are the only two to reach a half-century of goals when only scoring inside the box, while other notable penalty-area experts include John Terry (41), David Unsworth (39) and Kevin Doyle (37).

VARDY PARTY IN NORTH LONDON

Jamie Vardy likes playing against Arsenal. The striker's late winner for Leicester City on Sunday was his 11th goal against the Gunners in 12 Premier League games. Only Wayne Rooney has netted more against them – and his tally of 12 came in 29 outings.

It was also Vardy's fifth time on the scoresheet at Emirates Stadium, the most by any visiting player. Tottenham's Harry Kane has managed four, by the way, and has also scored 10 in 11 north London derby appearances.

Only one other player in Premier League history has managed double-digit goals when facing Arsenal. Robbie Fowler scored 10 in 18, including a hat-trick inside five minutes at Anfield in August 1994.

DRAWING CONCLUSIONS... AGAIN

We should have seen the result coming from Molineux. When Wolves and Newcastle United meet in the top flight, a draw is seemingly on the cards. Well, it is 73 per cent of the time.

Jacob Murphy cancelled out Raul Jimenez's 80th-minute opener, meaning for the eighth time in 11 Premier League matches, this fixture resulted in a drawn outcome. All those games have also seen both sides score, making it the most played tie in the competition in which neither side have kept a clean sheet.

Wolves had 63.4 per cent of the possession, yet it turns out they do not need more of the ball to be successful. Under Nuno Espirito Santo, they have won just one of the 11 games in which they have reached at least 60 per cent possession, with the solitary success coming against a Manchester City side that played for over 75 minutes with 10 men.

You win some. You lose some. Yet when it comes to Wolves against Newcastle, you mainly just draw.

"I NEED YOU TODAY, OH MENDY!"

Is Edouard Mendy the answer to Chelsea's goalkeeping conundrum? Well, one dodgy pass aside, there were positive signs from the Senegal international at Old Trafford on Saturday.

Mendy repelled Manchester United's occasional attempts that were on target (there were four, in case you had nodded off during proceedings), making him the first keeper for the Blues to keep a clean sheet in his opening two Premier League outings since new team-mate Petr Cech in August 2004.

Edinson Cavani became United's oldest player to make his Premier League debut since Zlatan Ibrahimovic when sent on in the second half, but the Uruguayan was unable to find a breakthrough. A point for the Red Devils, then, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad have failed to win any of their opening three home games in the league – that has not happened for United since the 1972-73 season.

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    Hernan Crespo was reduced to tears when paying an emotional tribute to Diego Maradona - as a boyhood hero of the late Argentina World Cup winner called for an airport to be named after the superstar.

    Maradona's body was buried in a private funeral on Thursday after thousands gathered on the streets of Buenos Aires to mourn the Napoli great, who captained his country to their 1986 World Cup triumph.

    Former Argentina striker Crespo, now coach of Argentinian top flight club Defensa y Justicia, spoke of Maradona’s passing on the night his team played out a 1-1 draw with Vasco da Gama in the Copa Sudamericana.

    He told ESPN: "What Diego generated in me as a child, a teenager and after I grew up, as a professional ... he has a lot to do with all of this.

    "These have been two very difficult days. It is very difficult to train, talk to the boys, find words. We will try to honour him in the best way, which is by playing soccer, respecting his spirit of freedom, fun and a lot of commitment to where he is. We will try to do that.

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    "The Argentine airport should be Diego Armando Maradona," Bochini said on TyC Sports.

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    MATT DOHERTY

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    MICHAEL KEANE

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    No Premier League defender has scored more than Keane (three goals) since June 2020, and those goals have come from only seven shots, giving him the best conversion rate (42.9 per cent) among defenders to score more than once in the competition in that time.

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    RIYAD MAHREZ

    Burnley do not like playing Manchester City. They've won once in 12 Premier League meetings and lost the previous six in all competitions by an aggregate score of 23-1.

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    BRUNO FERNANDES

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    In fact, Fernandes has been involved in more Premier League goals (24 – 14 scored, 10 assisted) than any other player since his debut. In the same period, only Kevin De Bruyne (74) has created more chances than the Portugal star (56).

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    DOMINIC CALVERT-LEWIN

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    TAMMY ABRAHAM

    Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham is looking to score in three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since last September.

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    ROUND-UP

    - Corriere dello Sport report Liverpool have submitted a bid for Ajax centre-back Perr Schuurs. Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez are injured at Anfield.

    Chelsea are eyeing a move for Atletico Madrid defender Jose Gimenez ahead of a 2021 transfer, says the Here We Go Podcast.

    - TodoFichajes claims Marseille star Florian Thauvin has agreed to join Milan on a free transfer.

    United have joined Premier League champions Liverpool in the race for Villarreal winger Samuel Chukwueze, according to La Razon. The 21-year-old has also impressed Chelsea.

    - Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu wants to join United, reports Bild journalist Christian Falk. The Turkey international is out of contract at the end of the season. Juve, Atletico and Inter have all been linked.

    - Football Insider says Arsenal are interested in signing Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai on loan in January and loaning him back to the Austrian champions.

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