EPL

Premier League data dive: Liverpool lose again at Anfield as Manchester City match Arsenal record

By Sports Desk February 03, 2021

Liverpool were stunned by Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield as they lost for the second home Premier League game in a row, while Manchester City stretched their winning streak at Burnley.

Having seen their 68-game unbeaten home league run ended by Burnley two weeks ago, the champions again came unstuck against an improving Brighton side.

Liverpool's next opponents are leaders City, who had less trouble seeing off Burnley as they made it 13 victories in a row in all competitions - the longest such run by a Premier League side since Arsenal between March and August 2002 (also 13).

There were also victories for Leicester City, Everton and West Ham on Wednesday, overcoming Fulham, Leeds United and Aston Villa respectively.

Here is the pick of the Opta facts on a day in which history was made as all five away sides triumphed.

Burnley 0-2 Manchester City: Jesus and Sterling keep winning run going

Twenty-four hours on from Manchester United's record-equalling 9-0 win against Southampton, City regained a three-point lead at the summit with a game in hand thanks to a routine victory at Turf Moor.

Gabriel Jesus scored for the third game in a row that he has started to give City an early lead and Raheem Sterling marked his recall to the starting line-up with his 99th goal under Pep Guardiola in all competitions.

Burnley offered little in response as they failed to register a single shot on target for the second game running, making them the first Premier League side to do so since Everton in January 2018.

It meant for a quiet day for City's defenders as they kept a sixth straight shutout in the competition - their joint-longest run without conceding - in what was a 12th successive victory in games played on a Wednesday, which is a Premier League record.

Burnley will be glad to see the back of City for another season having now lost to them by an aggregate 10-0 scoreline across their three meetings in all competitions this season, the other defeat coming in the EFL Cup.

Fulham 0-2 Leicester City: Maddison inspires Foxes to another away win

Kelechi Iheanacho's first Premier League goal in 15 appearances and a second strike of the season for James Justin earned Leicester all three points at Fulham.

James Maddison set up Iheanacho and Justin to take his goal involvement to 12 - six goals and as many assists - in his last 12 outings in all competitions, with this the first occasion he has laid on more than one goal in a Premier League match.

Leicester have now collected 26 points on their travels this season, which is already their second-highest tally in a campaign after their 2015-16 title success (39 points).

As for Fulham, they have now gone 11 games without a win in the Premier League and have lost their opening four home games of a calendar year in all competitions for the first time in their English Football League history.

Leeds United 1-2 Everton: Toffees earn rare Elland Road triumph

Everton made it four consecutive away league victories for the first time since December 1985 through first-half goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

This may just be the sweetest victory of the lot during that run, given it is only their second at Elland Road in the top flight in 38 attempts - the most recent before today coming in 2002.

It is the fifth home league match Leeds have lost in 10 games this term - the last time a Marcelo Bielsa side lost more at home in the league in a single season was Athletic Bilbao in the 2012-13 LaLiga campaign.

Sigurdsson put Everton on their way with another goal assisted by Lucas Digne - the sixth he has set up in the Premier League this season, which is the most by any defender. 

Only Liverpool pair Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson (both 28) have registered more than Digne's 17 assists since the start of the 2018-19 season.

Calvert-Lewin doubled his side's tally with his ninth headed goal in the Premier League since the start of last season - only Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski (12) has scored more in Europe's top five leagues over that period.

Aston Villa 1-3 West Ham: Lingard at the double on Hammers bow

Jesse Lingard marked his first appearance for West Ham since joining on loan from Manchester United with a couple of goals against Aston Villa.

The England international is only the second player for the club to achieve that two-goal debut feat after Trevor Sinclair against Everton in January 1998.

Lingard's double came after Tomas Soucek had given West Ham the lead with his eighth league goal of the season - the most of any midfielder when excluding penalties.

Ollie Watkins gave Villa temporary hope at 2-0 but the home side could not avoid a fourth defeat in their last six league matches, compared to only four losses in their opening 14.

David Moyes has plenty of reasons to be cheerful, having overseen three successive away wins in the competition for the first time since April 2014 when at Man United, with this latest victory taking West Ham to 38 points - their highest top-flight tally after 22 games since 1985-86.

Liverpool 0-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Alzate stuns stuns toothless champions

Liverpool's home struggles continued with defeat to Brighton, who picked up a victory in this fixture for the first time in 13 meetings in all competitions - and a first at Anfield since 1982.

The Merseyside club having now lost consecutive games at Anfield in the top flight for the first time since September 2012, having gone 68 without a home loss in the Premier League.

It is four Premier League games at Anfield without a win, meanwhile, the last three of those without scoring - the first time that has happened since October 1984 - in a goalless run spanning 348 minutes and counting.

Steven Alzate was the match-winning hero for Brighton with his first Premier League goal in his 28th appearance, coming from the first shot on target of the contest. 

Toothless Liverpool offered little in reply, testing opposition keeper Robert Sanchez just once as Brighton made it four top-flight clean sheets on the bounce for the first time in their history.

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    Robert Lewandowski has stepped up his recovery from a knee injury as Bayern Munich aim to overturn a first-leg deficit against Paris Saint-Germain without their prolific striker.

    Lewandowski suffered damage to his right knee while on international duty with Poland in March, ruling him out of both games against PSG in the Champions League quarter-final tie.

    However, Bayern were able to provide a positive update on Monday, with the 32-year-old resuming running duties at the club's training facilities.

    In his absence, the reigning European champions were wasteful in the first meeting with their French opponents last week, resulting in a 3-2 loss on home soil.

    Hansi Flick's side had 31 attempts, the most in a single Champions League fixture since the start of the 2003-04 campaign. Their expected goals (xG) value of 3.8 was the highest for a team in the competition this season.

    Thomas Muller accepts Bayern must be more ruthless in the return fixture in the French capital, but he is confident they have the quality – even without Lewandowski, who has scored 42 goals in all competitions this season – to turn the situation around and seal a place in the last four.

    "We'll approach the game as we normally do," Muller told the media.

    "It's important to balance risks in individual situations. We won't be going all-out-attack from the off, but we will try to score an early goal.

    "We would be happy to have as many chances [as in the first leg]. We need to make better decisions in critical moments. We have done some analysis and I hope we can implement it.

    "Unfortunately, we have suffered a few injuries, but we feel we have the quality and are mentally capable of turning the game around."

    While Lewandowski is a certain absentee, Flick confirmed in his press conference that Lucas Hernandez, Jerome Boateng, Leon Goretzka and Kingsley Coman had all trained with the squad on Monday, adding: "We assume that those who trained can play."

    Only three of the last 50 teams to lose the first leg at home in a Champions League knockout tie have managed to progress, albeit one of those occasions came when PSG were knocked out by Manchester United at the last-16 stage in 2019.

    Bayern have been eliminated in each of the last four instances when losing the first leg, all coming in consecutive seasons between 2014-15 and 2017-18.

  • Pochettino unlikely to risk PSG duo Marquinhos and Verratti in Bayern return Pochettino unlikely to risk PSG duo Marquinhos and Verratti in Bayern return

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    Verratti, along with fellow Italy international Alessandro Florenzi, missed the first meeting between the teams in Munich after testing positive for COVID-19.

    However, the duo have received the all-clear and are back in training ahead of the return fixture in the French capital, with PSG holding a 3-2 advantage at the halfway stage in the tie.

    Pochettino told the media on Monday he is yet to decide on his line-up, with Marquinhos remaining a doubt due to a thigh injury.

    "We haven't decided the team for tomorrow yet, but it will be difficult for Verratti to start," the PSG boss said in his pre-game news conference. "Florenzi will be assessed further tomorrow."

    On Marquinhos' status, he added: "We will see how he feels tomorrow. In theory, he could be involved in the squad, so we will see.

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    PSG knocked out Barcelona in the previous round 5-2 on aggregate, though were held to a 1-1 draw at home in the second leg following a resounding triumph at Camp Nou.

    Pochettino is well aware that the tie with Bayern – who he made clear are the best team in the world – is much tighter, meaning his players must find the right balance between retaining their slender advantage and also posing problems in attack for their opponents.

    "At home to Barcelona, particularly in the first half, we found it very hard to keep the ball, even with Verratti and Leandro Paredes in the team," Pochettino said.

    "It is not about individual names but collective attitude. We have to have a different approach from the Barcelona game while understanding that we don't just need to defend but also to keep the ball to attack and hurt the opposition.

    "This is the challenge that lies ahead, and once again we have a positive first-leg result to build on."

    PSG have won all four of their previous games in which they have hosted the German side in European competition, while only three of the previous 50 teams to lose the first leg at home in a Champions League knockout tie have managed to progress.

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    "The Barcelona game is the past, Bayern are the best team in the world at the moment so they will certainly make it difficult for us," the former Tottenham head coach said.

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    "If we get through to the semi-finals, it will be a big achievement for the club. PSG want to win every competition we are involved in, but beating Bayern Munich, in itself, would be a big feat."

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    Mason Greenwood emulated a feat last achieved by Cristiano Ronaldo and Jesse Lingard's astonishing purple patch continued in another enthralling weekend of Premier League action.

    Greenwood came off the bench to play a big part in second-placed United's 3-1 victory at Tottenham on Sunday.

    Lingard also starred in London earlier in the day, scoring twice in a 3-2 win over Leicester City to keep West Ham on course to defy the odds and seal a Champions League spot.

    Leeds United shocked champions-elect Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, while Alexandre Lacazette brought up a half-century of goals in Arsenal's 3-0 success at rock-bottom Sheffield United.

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    Greenwood sets high sub standard

    As cameo appearances go, Greenwood's short time on the field against Spurs was right up there.

    The 19-year-old replaced Marcus Rashford after 72 minutes at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with the game in the balance at 1-1.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could surely not have wished for a bigger impact from the forward, who laid on a goal for Edinson Cavani before sealing all three points by finding the back of the net himself deep into stoppage time.

    Greenwood became the first teenager to score and assist as a substitute for United in a Premier League match since the legendary Ronaldo did so against Portsmouth in November 2003.

    Lethal Lingard outfoxes Leicester

    On the subject of big impacts, Lingard has been a revelation for the Hammers since his loan move from Manchester United in January.

    The England forward can do no wrong at the moment and helped himself to a first-half double in a huge victory over the Foxes, moving David Moyes' men back up to fourth.

    Lingard has now scored in four consecutive games for the high-flying London club, taking his tally in the Premier League to eight.

    That equals his best goalscoring return in a top-flight campaign and he has only made nine appearances. Lingard also netted eight times for his parent club in the 2017-18, but that was from 33 matches.

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