Another Premier League season has come to an end and Sergio Aguero added another top-flight record to his collection.

Manchester City's all-time leading goalscorer was already the top-scoring overseas player in Premier League history and his farewell brace from the bench in a celebratory 5-0 win over Everton made him the top one-club scorer in the division with 184.

Impressive, yes, but those are conventionally impressive numbers.

For the final time in 2020-21, Stats Perform takes a look through the more unusual figures to have emerged over the course of an action-packed round of games.

 

The year of the penalty

Anwar Al Ghazi's second-half penalty ultimately proved decisive as Aston Villa beat Chelsea 2-1 and it was also a landmark goal – the 100th spot-kick to be scored in the Premier League this season.

Never before have penalty goals ticked into three figures, with the effects of VAR arguably keenly felt.

However, does the volume of penalties being given mean they are less costly than they once were? Manchester City conceded 10 in a season for the first time and ended up as champions.

The 10th came at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, although Ederson was on hand to keep out Gylfi Sigurdsson's attempt and preserve a 19th clean sheet of the season.

There should be little surprise that a penalty ended up being awarded during the game. When Ruben Dias brought down Richarlison it was the 19th time Michael Oliver had pointed to the spot this season.

That amounts to a new high for an individual referee during a campaign, usurping the inimitable Mike Dean's 17 in 2009-10. Perhaps the Merseyside official will view it as a challenge?

 

Chelsea share the wealth

Thomas Tuchel's side stumbled rather than strode into the top four, going down to a 2-1 defeat at Villa Park and finding themselves in the unusual position of being grateful for a Tottenham victory at Leicester City.

Chelsea might have secured Champions League qualification in more stress-free fashion if any of their players had bothered scoring more goals.

Yes, that might not be the most earth-shaking piece of tactical insight, but the Blues have provided one of the season's statistical curiosities.

They are the first team in a century to have reached the top four despite having no player reach double figures for league goals, with the previous team to manage the feat in such a fashion being Everton in 1910-11.

What's more is their top Premier League scorer Jorginho netted all seven from the penalty spot. Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner and Mason Mount – all of whom have experienced sharply contrasting fortunes since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January – have six apiece.

Jorginho is the Blues' lowest scoring top-scorer in a top division season since Ian Hutchinson also led the way with seven in 1974-75.

Players certainly seem to have no problem scoring once they leave Chelsea. Aston Villa's Bertrand Traore became the 25th old Stamford Bridge employee to score against his former club. No Premier League side has seen ex-players score against them more often.

 

Blades creators not cutting through

If individual goal tallies are a cause for concern at Chelsea, relegated Sheffield United can roll their woes back one more step in the process.

No Blades player will return to the Championship with more than two assists to their name, with John Lundstram, John Fleck and George Baldock all level as their most prolific – in the loosest sense of the word – creators.

In the history of the Premier League, only one other team has gone through a season without a player reaching at least three assists. Mark Kinsella, Steve Jones, Danny Mills, Richard Rufus and Eddie Youds had two apiece for Charlton Athletic in 1998-99.

United at least signed off with a 1-0 victory over Burnley. David McGoldrick's winner was the 1,000th goal scored in the Premier League this season.

 

No, no, no, no on last day for Nuno

Nuno Espirito Santo said farewell to Wolves having restored the club to the Premier League and enjoyed a wonderful four seasons in charge.

But maybe the Portuguese tactician should have headed off on his holidays early, because just about the one thing not to have improved during his Molineux tenure is Wolves' final-day record.

In the four seasons before Nuno arrived in the midlands, the club won four in a row on the last day of the season between 2013-14 and 2016-17.

Promotion from the Championship had already been secured before a 3-0 loss to Sunderland to close out 2017-18. Liverpool beat Wolves 2-0 at Anfield as their final-day title bid fell short in 2019.

Chelsea won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge last July as Nuno's men cast an eye towards their pending Europa League bid and Manchester United's 2-1 weekend triumph made it four concluding losses out of four.

Time is running out to secure precious fantasy football points as the Premier League season nears an end.

Manchester City have the title in the bag, but it may still be all to play for in fantasy leagues heading into the penultimate weekend of the campaign.

With some teams still having three games to play in a hectic schedule, it will be vital to make the right picks and ensure points could potentially mean prizes.

Here are a few tips to help you out, powered by Opta, as always...

 

EDERSON

City travel to Newcastle United on Friday for their first match since being crowned champions.

They have won 11 consecutive Premier League away matches and a 12th victory at St. James' Park would see them break the all-time record in the top four tiers of English football.

City have kept 16 clean sheets on their travels in all competitions this season and are one away from equalling the record by a top-flight team in a season.

Newcastle have managed just 41 shots in seven Premier League games against Pep Guardiola's side, so another clean sheet could be on the cards for Ederson, who has more than any other goalkeeper in the division this season (18).

 

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD

Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold was outstanding in the 4-2 victory at Manchester United on Thursday.

With England boss Gareth Southgate watching on, Alexander-Arnold caught the eye with an influential display as Jurgen Klopp's side claimed three precious points in the battle for a Champions League spot.

The Reds travel to relegated West Brom on Sunday knowing a win would leave them just a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea with two games to play.

Since he was omitted from the last England squad in March, Alexander-Arnold has created more chances than any other top-flight player with 21, making him a necessity for your XI.

 

LUCAS DIGNE

Everton full-back Lucas Digne has enjoyed another impressive season for Carlo Ancelotti's side.

The Toffees entertain bottom club Sheffield United at Goodison Park on Sunday as they hunt a place in Europe next season.

France international Digne can make an impact at both ends of the pitch, with his seven assists the joint-highest by a defender in the Premier League this season, along with Aaron Cresswell of West Ham.

Everton have kept four clean sheets in their previous six matches with Digne in the side too, so will be aiming to blunt the Blades on Merseyside.

 

MATHEUS PEREIRA

Brazilian forward Matheus Pereira has been a shining light in a poor season for West Brom.

The Baggies were unable to avoid an immediate return to the Championship, a defeat to Arsenal last weekend consigning Sam Allardyce to a first relegation from the Premier League.

Albion will be desperate to keep hold of Pereira, who has scored five goals in six matches ahead of the encounter with Liverpool.

He has been directly involved in 15 goals this season, with only Peter Odemwingie (22 in 2010-11) and Romelu Lukaku (21 in 2012-13) managing more involvements for the Baggies in a Premier League campaign.

 

SON HEUNG-MIN

Tottenham face Wolves at home on Sunday smarting from a 3-1 defeat at Leeds United last time out.

Son Heung-min scored Spurs' only goal at Elland Road, where the London club's slim hopes of securing a Champions League spot were all-but ended.

The South Korea forward has been directly involved in four goals in three games under caretaker boss Ryan Mason, scoring three and setting one up.

Son has found the back of the net in three consecutive Premier League games and will be a major threat to Wolves. He had managed just one goal in his previous seven outings in the competition during the final stages of Jose Mourinho's reign.

 

SERGIO AGUERO

City's all-time leading goalscorer Sergio Aguero issued an apology after his embarrassing Panenka penalty gave Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy the simplest of saves last weekend.

Aguero will be determined to make amends as he nears the end of his time with City and could take his frustration out on Newcastle.

The Argentina striker has scored 15 goals in 14 Premier League games against the Magpies, averaging one every 61 minutes, and it would be no surprise to see him add to that tally.

 

MICHAIL ANTONIO

West Ham head south to face Brighton and Hove Albion on the back of a 1-0 home defeat to Everton that left their chances of qualifying for the Champions League hanging by a thread.

They will need to respond on the south coast against a Brighton side who are safe now.

Antonio has been directly involved in 14 goals in his past 13 away Premier League starts, netting 11 times and providing three assists.

He can trouble the Seagulls and improve those numbers. Indeed, the forward has scored 24 times for the Hammers on the road in the competition, five more than any other player for the club.

Pep Guardiola insists it makes "no sense" for players who will have to quarantine upon their return to the UK to go on international duty later this month – stating Manchester City will not release such players.

In light of on-going coronavirus travel restrictions, FIFA has made the unprecedented move of giving clubs the right to prevent players from joining up with their national teams if the fixtures in question mean a quarantine period of five days or more upon their return.

In the UK, anyone travelling to 'red list' countries must isolate for 10 days when they come back, with no exemptions granted for elite sportspeople.

The list features all of South America and parts of Africa. Portugal, the only European country on the list, have sought to mitigate the impact by moving their World Cup qualifier against Azerbaijan on March 24 to Turin.

Although that seemingly frees up City trio Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo and Ruben Dias, Guardiola will be able to put his foot down when it comes to Argentina striker Sergio Aguero, Algeria winger Riyad Mahrez and Brazil contingent Ederson, Fernandinho and Gabriel Jesus.

"We didn't speak. We will wait until after this game against United and I am pretty sure that next week we'll talk about that," Guardiola told a news conference ahead of Sunday's Manchester derby.

"But I think it makes no sense if the players go to the national team and then have to isolate for 10 days when they come back. It makes no sense.

"We've worked incredibly hard for seven, eight or nine months and after the international break comes the real part of the season, and important players cannot play for 10 days? It makes no sense.

"They are not going to fly. That’s for sure. If they can fly, play with the national team and come straight back to training, they’ll fly.

"We invest a lot of time and money for the important part of the season and if six, seven, eight players cannot play with us, it makes no sense, honestly. No sense."

Guardiola's stance means the runaway Premier League leaders are aligned with the reigning champions after Jurgen Klopp also said Liverpool players from affected countries would not be released.

The City boss, who famously went against Barcelona's stance during his time as head coach and allowed Lionel Messi to win a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games, insists he is not acting to devalue international football – just merely reacting to the realities of these times.

"We want to let them go to the national team. I know how important it is for them. I'd never say don't go to represent your country and to prepare for the European Cup or American Cup," he added.

"But it's no sense to do it and not play for 10 days, no training session, be at home, when we are playing for the league.

"If we go through, we will still be in the Champions League and we don't play with these players.

"They are not going to fly. I don't know what is going to happen but they are not going to fly, for sure.

"We've followed the protocols for eight, nine months. No restaurants, closed. The people are here - home, home, here, in the bubble, don't do it [break protocols], protect them, test them every two days.

"And after, in an important part of the season in the league, we don't have the players because the government has decided it is in a red zone and they cannot play when we are playing every three or four days?

"They are not going to fly, sure. I'm pretty sure that UEFA or FIFA will understand this argument."

Manchester City will be looking to stretch their record winning run to 20 matches when they welcome fellow in-form side West Ham to the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League this weekend.

Pep Guardiola's men are 10 points clear at the summit and two of their players feature among our Opta-fuelled fantasy picks, along with a couple of Everton men on the back of last week's long-awaited derby win at Liverpool.

Manchester United, Tottenham and Leicester City players are also selected ahead of games against Chelsea, Burnley and Arsenal respectively.

 

EDERSON

There are many factors behind the leaders' winning run - not least an incredible defensive record, with goalkeeper Ederson more than playing his part.

The Brazil international has kept 15 clean sheets from 24 Premier League games this term, averaging one every 1.6 matches.

Only two keepers to have played at least 10 times have averaged fewer games per clean sheet across an entire season - Chelsea's Petr Cech (24 in 35 apps in 2004-05) and former Manchester United stopper Edwin van der Sar (21 in 33 apps in 2008-09).

JOAO CANCELO

Simply keeping out the opposition is not enough in the life of a modern day full-back, best epitomised by Cancelo at Man City.

On top of helping City to that formidable defensive record, he has also created the most chances (34) from open play among fellow Premier League defenders this season.

Cancelo may only have set up two goals in the top flight this season, but he has the highest number of expected assists (4.28) among defenders, just ahead of Manchester United's Luke Shaw (4.04).

 

LUCAS DIGNE

Carlo Ancelotti was delighted with the news Digne had signed a new long-term deal with Everton this week and little wonder given the full-back's impact on the side.

No Premier League defender has more assists than the 27-year-old's six this season - level with West Ham's Aaron Cresswell and one more than Andy Robertson and Shaw.

Since Digne's debut for Everton in August 2018, only Liverpool pair Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold (28) have assisted more goals than the Frenchman (17).

GYLFI SIGURDSSON

There was a point when Sigurdsson's time at Everton appeared to be up not so long ago, but the creative midfielder has more than proved his worth to the side of late.

He was been involved in six Premier League goals in 23 appearances this term - four goals and two assists - which is one more than he managed in 35 games last season.

That is a tally he will be confident of building on this gameweek, as the Iceland international has only scored more Premier League goals against Chelsea (six) than he has versus opponents Southampton (five).

 

MARCUS RASHFORD

In the week he celebrates the five-year anniversary since scoring twice on his United debut, Rashford takes on his favourite opponents in Chelsea.

The United academy product has scored five times against the Blues in all competitions and registered a couple of assists.

Only against Leicester City has he found the net as many times, while only against Newcastle United and West Ham (both seven) has he been directly involved in more goals.

HARRY KANE

If Rashford enjoys playing against Chelsea, the same is true of Kane against Tottenham's next opponents Burnley.

The England skipper has been directly involved in 10 goals in nine Premier League appearances against the Clarets, finding the net seven times and laying on three assists.

Burnley's defenders will not look forward to coming up against Kane, with Riyad Mahrez the only player to score against them more often (eight times) in their Premier League history.

 

JAMIE VARDY

Vardy's scoring record against the division's traditional top four is well known by now, particularly when it comes to facing Arsenal.

The Leicester striker has scored 11 goals in 12 previous Premier League appearances against the Gunners, including a late winner in the reverse fixture.

Those 11 strikes place Vardy behind only Wayne Rooney for goals scored against Arsenal in the competition, the United legend netting 12 times against the London club in his career.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola labelled Ederson's passing the best he has seen from a goalkeeper.

A long pass from Ederson set up Ilkay Gundogan's sealer in City's 3-0 Premier League win over Tottenham on Saturday.

Guardiola has previously suggested the goalkeeper could become City's penalty taker, such is his ability with his feet.

Having worked with Manuel Neuer at Bayern Munich and Victor Valdes at Barcelona, Guardiola said Ederson was the best passer.

"With his feet, he is the best. The quality of the pass, I would say, is the best," he said.

"Manuel and Victor were incredible too but the quality of the pass is the best. I would not say who is the best [overall] because I had success in the past with incredible keepers in Victor, Manuel and Eddie.

"He has credit from the manager, backroom staff and players. He's outstanding and he knows it.

"But the players know – if you want credit and to be recognised, win games, win titles and you will get it.

"If you don't win games and titles, you will not get it. It's not more difficult than this."

City are seven points clear atop the Premier League table ahead of visiting Everton on Wednesday.

Pep Guardiola still harbours concerns over the quality of Manchester City's penalty takers after Rodri scored from the spot against Tottenham.

Rodri opened the scoring in the 23rd minute on Saturday, though his finish only just escaped the grasp of Hugo Lloris, who should have done better.

Ilkay Gundogan – who missed a penalty in the 4-1 win over Liverpool last week – won the spot-kick and then scored twice to take his tally of league goals in 2021 to nine and seal a 3-0 win.

Though City are now seven points clear at the top, and 13 ahead of reigning champions Liverpool, who went down 3-1 at Leicester City earlier on Saturday, Guardiola was not best pleased when asked about Rodri taking the spot-kick.

The former Atletico Madrid midfielder had never scored a penalty in his senior career, and Guardiola told BBC Sport: "The penalty is clear and then the first time we attack in the second half we score, that can happen.

"Is Rodri the taker now? No. I would say I admire the courage to take the penalty but it was not a good penalty.

"I am not laughing, I am concerned about this. We will have a real specialist to take them with quality. We have to practice."

Ederson provided a sensational assist for Gundogan's second goal – the third time the goalkeeper has set up a goal during his time at City – and Guardiola seems to be seriously considering the Brazil international as a potential penalty taker.

Guardiola added: "When I talk about Ederson and penalties, you see his assist, 60-70 yards, well then he will score from 12 yards!"

However, Guardiola's decision may come as news to Rodri, who also revealed he ignored the advice of Ederson, who appeared to pass on some information via Bernard Silva in the build-up to the spot-kick.

"I was a bit angry in the last weeks because we missed many penalties, much more than we expect, and in big games you have to score penalties because the margins are so small," Rodri told Sky Sports.

"I told my team-mates that for the next penalty I would shoot. I got the ball, nobody took the ball off me. Fortunately, I scored.

"Goalkeepers know each other, [Ederson] told Bernardo some tips about Lloris, where I should shoot the penalty – I didn't listen! Sometimes it's better to focus on what you're confident doing.

"We were laughing in the locker room, next penalty for sure I am going to take."

Despite City's penalty problems, Guardiola's team are ploughing on in their bid to recover the title they lost last season.

City remain unbeaten in their past 23 matches in all competitions (W20 D3), conceding just six goals during this period, and have won 11 Premier League games in a row.

They have not trailed for a single minute in any of their past 15 Premier League matches since a 2-0 loss to Spurs in the reverse fixture in November; in the competition's history, only Arsenal have embarked on a longer run of successive games without going behind (a run of 19 matches between December 1998 and May 1999).

One other issue for Guardiola, however, could be Gundogan's fitness.

The Germany international has scored more goals since the turn of the year than any other player in Europe's 'top five' leagues but succumbed to a groin problem midway through the second half.

Guardiola confirmed the 30-year-old will undergo further checks in the coming days.

Zack Steffen will make his Premier League debut for depleted Manchester City as their clash with Chelsea goes ahead despite a coronavirus outbreak.

Pep Guardiola is without six players for Sunday's trip to Stamford Bridge, with the club's squad badly affected by COVID-19.

Eric Garcia was the latest to test positive on the day of the game, though the Spaniard was due to miss out through injury anyway.

Kyle Walker and Gabriel Jesus were confirmed to have the virus on Christmas Day, though Guardiola did not reveal the identities of the others to have returned positive tests.

But goalkeeper Ederson did confirm he is self-isolating, meaning 25-year-old United States international Steffen was picked to start between the posts, wirth Scott Carson as back-up.

Steffen signed for City in 2019 but spent last season on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf, meaning the game at Stamford Bridge is to be his Premier League bow, his four previous appearances this term coming in the EFL Cup and Champions League.

Benjamin Mendy has been picked among the substitutes despite being found in breach of social distancing rules on New Year's Eve, while Ferran Torres is absent from the visitors' travelling party.

Although Frank Lampard revealed on Friday that two Chelsea staff members had contracted coronavirus, their squad remains unaffected.

Lampard also played down the idea of Hakim Ziyech starting against City after an injury absence, however, the Morocco star was named in Chelsea's line-up.

Timo Werner also returns to the starting XI after being dropped for the 1-1 draw with Aston Villa.

Kai Havertz remains among the substitutes.

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