EPL

Spurs slip-ups cost Mourinho, Greenwood's teenage kicks – the Premier League weekend's quirky facts

By Sports Desk April 19, 2021

It was a Premier League weekend in which the Premier League seemed to take a back seat, with Sunday's emergence of a European Super League blowing everything else out of the water.

However, Monday's sacking of Jose Mourinho did at least serve to remind us that, yes, Tottenham did play on Friday and were typically flaky, letting a lead slip again even if they did get a leveller to tie with Everton.

Against the same Super League backdrop, Arsenal added more fuel to the burning question of why they're involved in it at all, given they required a 97th-minute equaliser to draw with Fulham, who now look doomed to relegation with Sheffield United.

And a week on from emulating Cristiano Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood levelled a record held by Wayne Rooney.

Using Opta data, we look at some of the quirky facts from the latest Premier League matches.

Everton 2-2 Tottenham: Mourinho pays the price for Spurs' mentality issues

Given what's happened in the time since, it's easy to forget Spurs' draw at Everton was as long ago as Friday.

But it proved to be Mourinho's final game in charge of Spurs nonetheless, with Tottenham's Champions League qualification hopes hanging by a thread – good job they've secured themselves a spot in a closed competition!

There will be many theories about Mourinho's demise, but perhaps the most pertinent with respect to his Spurs team relates to concerns over mentality.

After all, the 2-2 draw at Goodison Park saw them drop points from a winning position yet again. That's 20 points they've thrown away in 2020-21 – no team has a worse record.

Even Harry Kane's heroics weren't enough, as he twice punished defensive errors and became only the fourth player to score 20 or more goals in at least five Premier League seasons.

Who knows, maybe he'll soon follow Mourinho out the door…

Wolves 1-0 Sheffield United: Blades among the Premier League's worst ever teams?

Now, obviously it depends on how you determine the "worst" teams – everyone will likely have their own point of view.

Derby County of course hold the record for the lowest ever points total of 11, which the Blades have already surpassed, but their 1-0 defeat at Wolves consigned them to relegation.

It means they suffered the joint-earliest relegation in Premier League history, along with Derby (2007-08), Ipswich Town (1994-95) and Huddersfield Town (2018-19).

Certainly, United are party to one of the biggest drop-offs in a relegation season, as no team had finished as high as ninth one campaign and then been relegated the next since Birmingham City in 2010-11.

But here's the kicker – it was their 26th defeat of the season, equalling a club record. They could yet surpass the 29 suffered by Sunderland and Derby.

Arsenal 1-1 Fulham: Gunners' late equaliser highlights lack of progress against Super League backdrop

The rumours relating to the European Super League had emerged prior to Arsenal's Sunday clash with struggling Fulham. It provided a timely reminder of the competition's nonsensical premise.

Eddie Nketiah scored an equaliser deep into second-half stoppage to spare Arsenal's blushes – actually, if anything it probably accentuated their blushes given Fulham's failing battle against relegation.

The point means Arsenal have the exact same number of points (46) after 32 games as they did last term.

The last time they amassed fewer at this stage of a season was 1994-95 – it's hardly a show of progress.

On this evidence, Arsenal might be better off performing a Super League U-turn to avoid humiliation.

Manchester United 3-1 Burnley: Greenwood finding his groove again to match Rooney

It's not been the easiest of seasons for Greenwood. From getting booted out of an England camp to struggling badly for goals, it's fair to say a few have questioned whether they were right to believe the hype.

Thankfully the youngster has rediscovered his scoring touch lately and appears transformed, attacking defenders with confidence and purpose once again.

His brace against Burnley took him to 15 Premier League goals for United, levelling a record set by Wayne Rooney for the most goals scored by a teenager for United.

Greenwood will surely overtake Rooney in this regard as well, given he doesn't turn 20 until October 1.

On a similar note, his second effort on Sunday meant he has scored more top-flight goals as a teenager than any other player in the top five European leagues since the start of 2019-20.

But has he left this surge too late for a Euro 2020 call-up?

Related items

  • Maguire a Europa League final doubt for Man Utd Maguire a Europa League final doubt for Man Utd

    Harry Maguire is a potential fitness doubt for Manchester United's Europa League final after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said his captain could miss a "few weeks" with the injury sustained against Aston Villa.

    The England centre-back was visibly hurt following a challenge with Anwar El Ghazi in Sunday's 3-1 comeback win and had to be replaced by Eric Bailly after 78 minutes.

    Red Devils boss Solskjaer is waiting to learn the extent of the damage to the lower leg injury, and with the Europa League final against Villarreal scheduled for May 26, Maguire's status for the fixture is unclear.

    "Hopefully that [the final] will be okay with Harry," Solskjaer said. "I don't know. We need to check it. It might be a few weeks or a month - we don't know.

    "It was his calf or lower leg. I think the player landed on him and he twisted something."

    However, Solskjaer clarified that the damage may not be too bad as he waits to learn of the damage.

    "I don't know how serious it is. He might be available on Tuesday, he might not," he added.

    Maguire had previously played every minute in the Premier League since joining from Leicester City. His run of 71 games in succession means he only tied Gary Pallister for an outfield United player in the competition – with the ex-Red Devils defender coincidentally also seeing his streak ended by injury at Villa Park in the 1995-96 season.

    "Harry has been excellent and it's almost unheard of, the minutes he's played," Solskjaer said. 

    "His fitness is very good – he's robust. But, today, it looked like the boy landed on him and he twisted his ankle."

    For the 10th time this season, United had to come from behind in an away league match to avoid defeat, with a Bruno Fernandes penalty and efforts from Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani cancelling out Bertrand Traore's fine first-half strike.

    Greenwood – who with 16 Premier League goals now has the most as a teenager for United, beating Wayne Rooney's previous benchmark of 15 – hailed the character to fight back again.

    "It is some achievement. We don't really want to go behind but it gives us a little boost to come back and get the win," he told BBC Sport.

    "It was well-improved [in the second half]. Ole said his bits in the changing room. It seemed to pay off.

    "To be on the main stage and scoring important goals like today, it means a lot.

    "We just concentrate on ourselves, we take it game by game. We want to get as many points as we can and keep the pressure on [Manchester City]."

  • Pakistan on brink of series win despite Taylor-Chakabva resistance Pakistan on brink of series win despite Taylor-Chakabva resistance

    Pakistan are on the brink of a 2-0 series win against Zimbabwe after the hosts finished day three of the second Test on 220-9.

    After the tourists declared at 510-8, Zimbabwe were forced into the follow-on thanks to a career-best five-for from Hasan Ali (5-27).

    Zimbabwe managed only 15 runs in 13 overs at one stage of the opening hour as any thoughts of a chase seemed to dissipate.

    They did at least offer sterner resistance over the subsequent 30 overs, reaching 132 before being sent in to bat again.

    Nauman Ali (5-86) skittled Kevin Kasuza for 22 and Mohammad Rizwan caught Tarisai Musakanda for the loss of just eight runs, as Shaheen Afridi (4-45) also smelled blood.

    However, Zimbabwe began to get a grip on proceedings through an admirable stand from Regis Chakabva (80) and captain Brendan Taylor (49).

    Taylor in particular seemed to enter short-form mode, swinging for 10 fours from just 31 balls before being removed at 142-3 as Rizwan and Shaheen combined again.

    Chakabva was taken at slip by a good catch from Babar Azam, and suddenly the win was in Pakistan's sights, Milton Shumba caught for 16 before consecutive balls from Nauman accounted for Donald Tiripano and Roy Kaia as he reached 300 first-class wickets.

    Shaheen bowled Tendai Chisoro for eight and Richard Ngarava for a duck but Luke Jongwe (31 not out) dug deep to keep the contest alive.

    As the shadows lengthened in Harare, Pakistan switched to the spin attack but could not find the breakthrough and must return on Monday to finish the job.

     

    Red-hot Hasan

    Hasan has enjoyed spectacular form since returning to Test cricket this year and made it 24 wickets in five innings as he dismantled the Zimbabwe middle order in the early session.

    Although he could not add to his tally as Nauman led the charge in the second innings, this was still a Test to remember.

     

    Taylor fights fire with fire

    After a first-innings knock of just nine, Taylor opted to attack the bowlers when he came out again, swinging for the boundary with abandon.

    His 49 from just 31 balls was an entertaining ray of light for a home side for whom this contest has looked over for some time.

  • Ace Higgo storms to victory in Gran Canaria Ace Higgo storms to victory in Gran Canaria

    Garrick Higgo nailed a hole in one en route to securing a second European Tour victory in the space of 14 days at the Canary Islands Championship on Sunday.

    The South African lifted the Gran Canaria Open trophy only a fortnight ago and was in a league of his own with a closing 64 at Golf Costa Adeje, winning by six strokes from Maverick Antcliff with a score of 27 under par.

    His card included seven birdies and two bogeys but the crowning moment of another fine success came when he aced the par-three seventh.

    Higgo now has three European Tour wins from only 26 events played, making him the fastest South African to three wins (not including majors and world golf championships).

    That matches the record of Tiger Woods for fewest number of events required to lift three titles on the European/PGA Tour since 1990.

    "Jeez, it's amazing. I'm just really happy and thankful," Higgo said in quotes reported by the European Tour.

    "It's not easy to lead, the other day was my first time and in this game anything can happen."

    Tapio Pulkkanen was seven shots back in third, while Andrew Johnston was among a cluster of players tied for fourth at 19 under.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.