EPL

Premier League data dive: Chelsea end poor away form, Leicester up to second

By Sports Desk January 16, 2021

Chelsea needed a late intervention from Mason Mount to overcome Fulham 1-0 on Saturday, relieving the pressure on boss Frank Lampard. 

Brendan Rodgers - a man tipped to take over at Stamford Bridge if Lampard is removed as boss - saw his Leicester City side climb up to second in the table with a 2-0 win over Southampton. 

There were also wins for Brighton and Hove Albion, West Ham and struggling West Brom. 

Here is the pick of the Opta facts from Saturday's action in the Premier League.

 

Fulham 0-1 Chelsea: Mount settles west London derby

Chelsea left it late to overcome Fulham at Craven Cottage, Mason Mount scoring with 12 minutes remaining to end the Blues' run of three straight away Premier League defeats. 

The scoreline perhaps should not come as a surprise, given Chelsea have won 131 Premier League games by that margin - the most common winning score for a single team in the competition's history. 

The result also marked Chelsea's fourth away clean sheet of the season - a feat they managed just once last season. 

It could have been a different outcome had Antonee Robinson not seen red shortly before half-time for a wild lunge on Cesar Azpilicueta. That dismissal was Fulham's third in the Premier League this season - no side has had more so far this term. 

Defeat for Scott Parker's side means they are winless in their last 19 top-flight London derby matches since a 2-1 win over West Ham in January 2014.

Leicester City 2-0 Southampton: Maddison and Barnes on target for flying Foxes

Leicester moved up to second in the Premier League after earning their first home league win against Southampton since April 2016, ending a run of four without a win against the Saints at the King Power Stadium. 

They were set on their way by James Maddison, who has now scored in consecutive top-flight games for the Foxes for the first time since October 2019, matching his goal tally at the King Power Stadium from each of the previous two campaigns.

Harvey Barnes' 10th goal of the season sealed all three points, the winger equalling his best ever goals return in a single campaign. 

Southampton, meanwhile, have now failed to score in four of their last five Premier League games, as many as they had in their previous 34 in the competition.

The Saints' first 12 Premier League games this season saw 41 goals scored (F24 A17), at an average of 3.4 per game, while their last six games have seen just six goals scored (F2 A4).

Wolves 2-3 West Brom: Pereira brace gives Allardyce lift off

Sam Allardyce got off the mark with his first win as West Brom boss to revive his side's survival hopes against out-of-form Wolves.

The veteran manager, previously without a win in five matches in all competitions since taking over, is now without defeat in six Premier League games against Wolves - his best unbeaten return against any side in the division.

Matheus Pereira gave West Brom the lead from the penalty spot early on - the ninth league game in a row Wolves have conceded first - before Fabio Silva and Willy Boly turned the game in the home side's favour.

In doing so, Boly became the first Wolves player to concede a penalty, assist and score a goal in the same Premier League game since Adlene Guedioura in May 2011 - also against West Brom at Molineux.

Semi Ajayi levelled the game up with his ninth headed goal since the start of 2018-19 - no defender in England's top four tiers has scored more, level with Virgil van Dijk and Aaron Pierre - and Pereira scored the winner with another spot-kick.

Wolves, who last lost successive home league games against West Brom between 1929 and 1931, are without a clean sheet in 12 Premier League matches - the longest ongoing run among sides in the division.

Leeds 0-1 Brighton: Maupay haunts Bielsa's men again

Brighton ended a nine-game winless run in the Premier League with a narrow victory at Leeds thanks to Neal Maupay's close-range finish after 17 minutes.

Maupay rounded off a slick team move for his 10th away goal for Albion in the competition, making him just the second player to reach that tally for the Seagulls after Glenn Murray (11).

It was the striker's fourth goal in five league appearances against Leeds and ensured a first ever away top-flight victory in this fixture for his side at the fourth attempt.

Leeds, whose two shots on target was their second fewest in a home match under Marcelo Bielsa, have lost their first three games in a calendar year for the first time since 2014.

West Ham 1-0 Burnley: Antonio hits milestone goal in narrow win

Michail Antonio made the difference as Burnley fired another blank, the versatile forward becoming the fourth West Ham player to reach the 40-goal mark for the club after Paolo Di Canio (47), Mark Noble (46) and Carlton Cole (41).

All 40 of those goals have been scored inside the penalty area - only Tim Cahill (56), Javier Hernandez (53), Gabriel Jesus (43) and John Terry (41) have netted more with 100 per cent coming inside the box.

No team has failed to score in more different Premier League games than Burnley this season (10), while no team has netted in more different games than West Ham (15).

It was also a third successive clean sheet in the league for David Moyes' men for the first time since September 2019 as they picked up an eighth win of the campaign in their 18th game, a tally it took them 32 games to reach last time around.

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    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects Manchester United supporters to see plenty more of Shola Shoretire in the future after the 17-year-old's history-making appearance against Real Sociedad on Thursday. 

    Shoretire, who made his senior debut in United's Premier League win over Newcastle United at the weekend, was introduced for the final 14 minutes of the 0-0 draw with La Real to become the Red Devil's youngest ever player in European competition at the age of 17 years and 23 days. 

    He was unable to make much of an impact as United booked their Europa League last-16 spot with a 4-0 aggregate victory over their LaLiga opponents, but Solskjaer believes the club have a hugely promising player on their hands. 

    "Shola will be a good player for us," the United boss said at a media conference. "Sometimes you need to test them against good players and we know Real Sociedad are a good team and have good individuals, who press. Shola and Amad [Diallo] will need introductions to this level. 

    "He is a young kid that we believe in; he has a great attitude. You can see the shape of him, psychically he'll be an athlete. Technically, he's very good and he makes good decisions.

    "He's grounded, he works hard in training and he's a likeable boy who we hope we can see loads of in the future."

    Mikel Oyarzabal missed an early penalty for La Real after Daniel James had fouled Andoni Gorosabel inside the area as United extended their unbeaten run in the Europa League at Old Trafford to 15 matches. 

    Solskajer acknowledged the importance of that miss – the first failed penalty attempt at Old Trafford against the home side since Everton's Leighton Baines in October 2014 – to the result, which ensured United have progressed from all five of their last-32 ties in the Europa League. 

    "We played against a very good team," he added. "They got an early penalty and thankfully they missed it. We didn't want to go into half-time one or two goals down. Of course, we are pleased to get through unscathed.

    "I felt the first 10-15 mins were a bit slow, but we played some good stuff in the first half. In the second half we were not good with the ball, but we defended well. It just proves how good the performance last week was."

    United are next in action on Sunday when they travel to Thomas Tuchel's in-form Chelsea in the Premier League.

  • Milan's difficulties an important stepping stone – Pioli Milan's difficulties an important stepping stone – Pioli

    Stefano Pioli hailed Milan's "mature mentality" as he acknowledged his team are going through a rough patch of form.

    Milan scraped into the last 16 of the Europa League on Thursday, as a 1-1 draw with Red Star Belgrade was enough to seal an away goals victory from a tie which finished 3-3 on aggregate.

    Franck Kessie's early spot-kick – his seventh penalty goal of the season in all competitions – saw Milan through, with El Fardou Ben's equaliser proving to be in vain.

    Gianluigi Donnarumma marked his 22nd birthday with a sensational save to deny Red Star a second, with Marko Gobeljic then seeing red as the visitors' comeback efforts were fruitless.

    It was the first time Milan have progressed from a two-legged European tie having not won the first game since 2006-07, when Carlo Ancelotti went on to guide the Rossoneri to their seventh European Cup.

    However, it is now four games without a win for Milan, who have lost their last two Serie A fixtures, including Sunday's damaging 3-0 derby defeat to title rivals Inter.

    Pioli, though, insists he has faith in his squad to overcome their loss of form and learn from the mistakes they are making.

    "The team might be young, but it has a mature mentality," he told Sky Italia. 

    "Clearly, we are not in our best period of form. The many victories gave us energy and confidence, so now those elements are lacking a little bit.

    "It's a pity we didn't control the situation better, with a little more precision in our passing and our choices, but the important thing was to qualify.

    "At this level, it’s about details and the tiniest margins can make a big difference.

    "If we think about our season, it's still full of positivity. The season doesn't end here, winning the Europa League does give you a place in the Champions League.

    "We are making more mistakes and aren't as solid as we were in the past, but it's a very important stepping stone and it's crucial that we managed to get through."

    Asked to pinpoint why his team – who went unbeaten in Serie A this season until January 6 – have dropped off, Pioli said: "I do think perhaps there's some psychological fatigue more than physical.

    "I try to stay with my players throughout the game, give them the right boost, but perhaps they are starting to feel the pressure.

    "They shouldn't, because we are having a remarkable campaign and going through difficult moments will help us become stronger in future."

  • Rodgers blames lack of intensity as Europa League knockout woes continue Rodgers blames lack of intensity as Europa League knockout woes continue

    Brendan Rodgers blamed a lack of intensity, creativity and quality for Leicester City's Europa League exit as his own poor record in the competition's knockout stage continued.

    The Foxes were favourites to progress from their last-32 tie with Slavia Prague after a goalless draw in the first leg, but succumbed to a 2-0 loss at the King Power Stadium on Thursday

    Rodgers has now been eliminated from all five of his Europa League knockout ties as a manager (all last 32) – with Liverpool in 2012-13 and 2014-15, Celtic in 2017-18 and 2018-19 and Leicester this season.

    "We didn't create enough over two legs. That's the reality," Rodgers told BT Sport.

    "We didn't defend with any intensity. We gave away two disappointing goals.

    "We got into some good areas but lacked quality when we arrived in them. We started pretty well and exploited some spaces in behind, but we didn't have enough quality to break them down.

    "Before this game we were in three competitions and we wanted to give it our all. We know where our priorities are and now, we'll do our very best. We just lacked intensity and quality.

    "Overall, the better team won and got through. We have to recover for the weekend."

    Rodgers was without injured playmaker James Maddison while Harvey Barnes, their top scorer in Europe this season, started on the bench.

    The Northern Irishman defended his decision to leave Barnes out of the starting line-up and felt those players selected were good enough to get them through the tie.

    "We lost to the better team. I take responsibility for the team I've picked. I picked a team I felt could win the game," Rodgers added.

    "Was it a game too far with our domestic commitments? Yes, but I don't want to give too many excuses. We had players not available tonight at the top end of the field. Guys that can make a difference for us.

    "However, I still expected us to show up more. They'll learn from it, like they always do, and although we're disappointed to be out but we know we weren't good enough."

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