EPL

Premier League data dive: Bournemouth burst Liverpool bubble while Palace gain unwanted record v Man City

By Sports Desk March 11, 2023

A week certainly is a long time in football.

Just six days ago, jaws were on the floor as Liverpool handed in-form Manchester United their heaviest defeat in over 90 years, thumping their old rivals 7-0 at Anfield.

On Saturday, Jurgen Klopp's men went down 1-0 to previously bottom-of-the-table Bournemouth, who bounced back from their agonising last-minute defeat at Arsenal last time out.

Manchester City also had a tough away game at Crystal Palace but came out on the right side of a one-goal outcome to close the gap on Arsenal at the top of the Premier League.

Chelsea continued their rise in form with a third win in a week, while Antonio Conte's mood presumably improved as his Tottenham side beat Nottingham Forest.

Stats Perform has taken a look into some Opta data from the pick of the day's action.

Bournemouth 1-0 Liverpool: Reds bubble popped by Cherries

Last week at Anfield, it felt like Liverpool would score every time they surged forward. On Saturday at the Vitality Stadium, they looked like they would struggle to find the net even if Bournemouth had left the field for a few minutes.

This was just Bournemouth's second ever competitive win against Liverpool, and their first since their famous 4-3 victory in December 2016. It was also just their second clean sheet against the Reds and their first since January 1968 (0-0).

Philip Billing's first-half strike was his sixth goal in the league this season, twice as many as he had managed in his previous three campaigns in England's top-flight combined (three in 77 games).

Mohamed Salah was electric against United, but his only moment of note this week saw the Egyptian smash a second-half penalty wide, the first time he had missed the target from the spot in the Premier League (18 scored, two saved prior to Saturday).

The Reds lost consecutive Premier League matches against opponents starting the day bottom of the table for the first time since December 2010-February 2011 (vs Wolves and West Ham respectively), and have failed to win away against all three promoted clubs (D1 L2) in a single Premier League campaign for only the third time, also doing so in 2010-11 (L3) and 2003-04 (D2 L1).

 

Leicester City 1-3 Chelsea: Potter weaves his magic to get Blues firing again

Before last week, Graham Potter's Chelsea were a mess, having won only two of their previous 15 games.

Seven days later and they are on a run of three wins, completing the league double over Leicester for the first time since the 2016-17 campaign.

It also meant an end to a run of eight Premier League away games without a victory for the Blues (D4 L4), with this their first win on the road since a 2-0 victory over Aston Villa in October.

This was Leicester's 16th Premier League defeat of the season, with no team having suffered more (Southampton also 16), and they conceded first for the ninth consecutive league game, doing so 14 times in total this season, only Southampton (18) and West Ham (17) have shipped the opening goal of the game more often in 2022-23.

Chelsea's goals came through Ben Chilwell, Kai Havertz and Mateo Kovacic, with Havertz scoring his first Premier League away goal since October (v Brighton).

Foxes manager Brendan Rodgers has suffered as many as 16 defeats in a single league season for the first time in his career, which was not an ideal way to celebrate his 150th Premier League game as Leicester manager (W64 D29 L57). Only Martin O'Neill has managed more games in the competition for the club (152), while only Claudio Ranieri (44 per cent) has a better win percentage than Rodgers (43 per cent).

 

Tottenham 3-1 Nottingham Forest: Kane able to reignite Spurs' season

Taking advantage of Liverpool's slip in the race for the top four, Tottenham recovered from their Champions League exit to Milan by easing past Forest thanks to goals from Harry Kane (two) and Son Heung-min.

Despite the 0-0 against Milan at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Wednesday, none of Spurs' last 24 home league games have been drawn (W17 L7), while today was the first time they have had a two-goal lead at half-time in a Premier League home game since beating Arsenal last May.

Steve Cooper's Forest have lost all four of their league games in London this season by an aggregate score of 14-1. It is the first time they have lost four consecutive league games in the capital since February 1999 (a run of five).

Kane has now scored eight headed goals in the Premier League this season – only former Everton and Newcastle United striker Duncan Ferguson has ever netted more in a single campaign (nine in 1997-98).

The England captain has also scored 20 goals in a Premier League season for the sixth time, with only Alan Shearer (seven) doing so in more different campaigns than the Tottenham striker.

Fraser Forster's late penalty save from Andre Ayew was the fourth of his last eight penalties faced in the Premier League that he has kept out.

 

Crystal Palace 0-1 Manchester City: Haaland steps up again as Palace fire blanks once more

It was far from a typical dominant Man City display, but Erling Haaland's late penalty earned them three points at Selhurst Park.

Despite their uncharacteristic wobbles this season, City have won five of their last six Premier League games (D1), and are on the longest current unbeaten run in the competition (six games).

Palace defended well in the main, but also became the first team on record (since 2003-04) to fail to have a single shot on target in three consecutive Premier League matches.

The Eagles remain winless in their 10 league games in 2023 (D5 L5), while no side has failed to score in more different Premier League games this season (12).

Haaland scored his 10th away goal of the season in the league – with 18 also scored at home, he is just the second City player to reach double figures both home and away in a single Premier League campaign, after Sergio Aguero in 2014-15 (13 home, 13 away).

No player has scored more penalties in England's top-flight this season than Haaland (five, level with Brentford's Ivan Toney). Only Yaya Toure has scored more from the spot in a single campaign for the Citizens (six in 2013-14).

 

Related items

  • Ronaldo etches name into European Championship history with start against Czechia Ronaldo etches name into European Championship history with start against Czechia

    Cristiano Ronaldo etched his name into European Championship history on Tuesday after becoming the first player to feature in six different editions of the tournament.

    The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was named in Roberto Martinez's starting XI as Portugal started their Euro 2024 campaign against Czechia in Leipzig.

    Having appeared at every Euros since his 2004 debut, Ronaldo is the first to register six tournament outings in the 64-year history of UEFA's top international competition.

    Ronaldo also equalled the record for the most consecutive European Championship appearances made for a nation, featuring in all 18 of Portugal's matches since the Euro 2008 quarter-final.

    Only Leonardo Bonucci, for Italy between 2012 and 2021, can match that feat – but no player comes near the 39-year-old's scoring record on the European stage.

    Since 1972, Ronaldo has managed 20 goal contributions at the Euros (14 goals, six assists), more than double any other player – France's Michel Platini is second on 10 (nine goals, one assist).

    Yet there was more history for another Portugal player in Martinez's line-up.

    Veteran centre-back Pepe is just the second player to appear in as many as 20 games at the European Championship finals after Ronaldo (26).

    That pair are the first and third oldest players to play at this competition's finals, too, as well as being the oldest two outfielders, with Pepe aged 41 years and 113 days and Ronaldo at 39 years and 134 days.

  • The Numbers Game: England out to book last-16 spot at Euro 2024 The Numbers Game: England out to book last-16 spot at Euro 2024

    England know that the last 16 of Euro 2024 is within touching distance as they head into a reunion with Denmark.

    The Three Lions beat the Danes in the semi-finals at Euro 2020, coming from behind to win 2-1 after extra time.

    Harry Kane was England's hero as he converted a penalty winner, though spot-kicks would of course go on to prove to be their downfall in the final against Italy.

    There is less on the line when England face Denmark again on Thursday, though Gareth Southgate's team will progress to the knockout stage should they win.

    Here, we use Opta data to preview the Group C clash.

    What's expected?

    England are forecasted to win this one, with the Opta supercomputer handing them a 54.5 per cent chance of getting the job done in Frankfurt.

    Denmark are sure to be no pushovers, though, and have a 20.6 per cent win likelihood, with the draw threat at 25 per cent.

    This will be the fourth encounter between Denmark and England at a major tournament. Three of those will have come at the Euros, and one at the 2002 World Cup.

    Denmark won none of the previous three meetings (D1 L2), scoring only one goal in the process, Mikkel Damsgaard's free-kick in the semi-final of Euro 2020.

    There have only been five goals scored in the last four meetings between Denmark (two) and England (three) in all competitions.

    Meanwhile, the Three Lions only had 12 touches in Serbia's box in their 1-0 win on MD1, their lowest total of touches in the opposition box in a European Championship game since 2012 against Ukraine (also 12).

    Indeed, the England v Serbia match saw only 11 shots (five for England, six for Serbia) – that tally is the lowest on record in a European Championship match, fewer than every one of the other 322 matches in the competition since 1980.

    England have also kept a clean sheet in each of their last five group-stage matches at the European Championship finals, the longest such run in the competition's history.

    So, this game is probably not one to expect too many goals in.

    Bellingham a safe bet but can Foden and Kane flourish?

    Jude Bellingham came into Euro 2024 with the pressure and hype ramped right up. He is the face of this England squad, and there is an onus on him to deliver.

    Well, he started on the right foot, scoring in the 13th minute on Sunday to seal that 1-0 victory over Serbia.

    Bellingham displayed the kind of chance-sniffing instinct he has demonstrated so brilliantly during his first season at Real Madrid, getting on the end of Bukayo Saka's deflected cross and powering home with his head.

    Having become the first player to play at two European Championship tournaments before the age of 21, he is also the second England player to score at two major tournaments before turning 21 (also scored vs Iran at the 2022 World Cup), along with Michael Owen, who scored at the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000.

    Bellingham was crucial in every aspect against Serbia. He led England for touches (93), while only Declan Rice (81) and Kyle Walker (77) attempted more passes than the 20-year-old, who also competed in a team-leading 16 duels, winning 10 of them, and was successful with two of his three tackles.

    Southgate's system seems designed to allow Bellingham to flourish, though has that come at the expense of Phil Foden?

    The Manchester City star struggled when he did find space against Serbia, though there is perhaps a case that the Premier League Player of the Year is being shoehorned in out of position, too.

    Kane, meanwhile, had just two touches in the opening 45 minutes, before finishing with 24 – exactly half that of Jordan Pickford and the lowest of any England outfielder who started the match. The Bayern Munich striker did have a header tipped onto the crossbar, but that was his only chance of the game. Southgate needs to get him more service.

    England average 1.9 goals per game under Southgate at major tournaments, the best ratio of any Three Lions boss, but there could be so much more to come from this star-studded attack.

    Christian the Great (Dane)

    Christian Eriksen scored his maiden goal at the European Championship in Denmark's 1-1 draw with Slovenia.

    At 32 years and 123 days old, he became the oldest Dane to score at the Euros and oldest at a major tournament since 33-year-old Jon Dahl Tomasson at the 2010 World Cup.

    It was a clever run and deft finish from the Manchester United playmaker, who created seven chances from set-pieces in the match, the most by a player in a European Championship fixture since Gary McAllister in 1992 for Scotland against Germany (eight).

    Getting Eriksen into dangerous positions has to be the gameplan for Kasper Hjulmand's team, who completed 583 passes and enjoyed an 89 per cent passing accuracy against Slovenia, both record highs for the Danes that Opta has on record (since 1980) at the European Championship.

    Despite their run to the last four three years ago, Denmark have won just one of their last six group stage games at the Euros (D1 L4), beating Russia 4-1 at Euro 2020 to ensure qualification to the round of 16.

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Denmark - Rasmus Hojlund 

    Eriksen will be the one England have to stop influencing the match in midfield, but John Stones and Marc Guehi – should they start – will have to be on high alert to keep Man United's Hojlund under wraps, too.

    He only had one shot against Slovenia, which he did get on target, but he is a quality finisher and can certainly do some damage.

    England - Phil Foden

    Foden created just one chance in a subdued performance against Serbia, but there can be no doubting his quality.

    Get him more involved, and in fairness, Foden has to sharpen up when he does get on the ball, and England will surely have far too much for Denmark's defence.

  • The Numbers Game: Euro 2024 heavyweights Spain and Italy face off in group of death The Numbers Game: Euro 2024 heavyweights Spain and Italy face off in group of death

    Spain and reigning European champions Italy both won their opening matches at Euro 2024, and will now face off in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday. 

    But both sides endured differing performances in their respective encounters, with La Roja cruising to a 3-0 victory over Croatia to condemn their opponents to joint-heaviest ever defeat at a major international tournament. 

    However, Luciano Spalletti's pre-match words would still have been ringing in his Italy players' ears when Nedim Bajrami's goal after 23 seconds gave Albania a shock lead - the fastest goal ever scored at the European Championships. 

    Yet two goals in five minutes from Alessandro Bastoni and Nicolo Barella ensured the Italians' quest of becoming the second team to win back-to-back Euros tournaments after Thursday's opponents did in 2008 and 2012. 

    This will be the 11th encounter between Spain and Italy at a major tournament, across the Euros (eight) and World Cup (three), a record between two European nations.

    It’s the fifth consecutive European Championship tournament at which they’ve met going back to 2008, also a record.

    Here, we delve into the Opta data to preview Thursday's game.

    What's expected?  

    Despite Italy only losing one of their 10 matches against Spain in the Euros and World Cup (W4 D5) - that sole defeat came in the final at Euro 2012 - La Roja are given a 45.8 per cent chance of making it two wins from two at Euro 2024.

    However, Spain has had the better of their previous meetings with Italy, winning their last two encounters, both in the Nations League, but have never won three consecutive matches against the Azzurri. 

    La Roja has also prevailed in all three of their previous European Championship meetings with the reigning champions of the competition, reaching the final in each edition. 

    The Spanish will take confidence from their opening display against Croatia, having outperformed their expected goals (xG) by 0.99 per cent, but will be hopeful of converting more of their big chances, having missed four in Berlin. 

     

    Italy was also able to outscore their xG, but by a smaller margin of 0.44, but managed just five shots on target against Albania from the 17 they attempted. 

    As in many major tournaments, being clinical could prove decisive, and this group in particular, could be the difference between staying in Germany or packing your bags for the next flight home. 

    Calafiori and Bastoni taking the mantle from Chiellini and Bonucci

    Their comeback success against Albania saw them win their opening encounter in four consecutive European Championships and the World Cup for the first time in their history, and they will look to build on that against the Spanish.

    The Italians have often relied on the experience and know-how of Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci to lay a solid foundation for success but entered Euro 2024 with the sixth-youngest squad (26.5). 

    Much was said of Spalletti's squad selection heading into the tournament, with many believing they would be proved right when they were pegged back early on against Albania. 

    But the exuberance of youth shone through, particularly in Riccardo Calafiori, who starred in Bologna's qualification for the Champions League in the 2023-24 season, and then  shined on the international stage in his third appearance for his nation. 

    2 - Riccardo #Calafiori (22 years and 27 days) is the second youngest Italy’s defender to play a match in European Championships history, after Paolo Maldini (19 years and 350 days, on 10th June 1988 against Germany). Impulse. #EURo2024 #ITAALB #ItaliaAlbania pic.twitter.com/2kKWNHW1iS

    — OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) June 15, 2024

    The 22-year-old had the joint-most interceptions (three), most duels won (six), and won all three of his aerial duels against a physical Albania side on his international tournament debut. 

    Partnering with Bastoni, who scored the Italian's equaliser against Albania, Spalletti may have found a new partnership that sticks with the defensive values that were pivotal to their success in recent years. 

    No more Tiik-taka?

    La Roja, over the years, have been renowned for their possession play during their international successes, but their triumph over Croatia saw them find a different way to win. 

    Spain had less possession than their opponents (47 per cent) for the first time in a competitive match since the Euro 2008 final against Germany (46 per cent), ending a run of 136 games in which they had more of the ball.

    With a midfield trio of Rodri, Fabian Ruiz, and Pedri, Luis de la Fuente has a composed blend of experience and youth, with the discipline and composure instilled within them at club level to ensure they are not passing for passing sake. 

    All three averaged a pass completion above 87 per cent, with Rodri (87.7 per cent) the least efficient in that regard. But accompanying their talented midfield is an exciting front line who were at their clinical best against Croatia. 

    The emergence of Lamine Yamal, who became the youngest player to feature for La Roja at the Euros, had the most touches in the opposition box (six), created the joint-most chances (three), and grabbed an assist for Dani Carvajal's first international goal. 

    Alvaro Morata, who is captaining his side for the first time at a major tournament, became Spain's outright second-highest goalscorer at major international tournaments, behind only David Villa (13). 

    Indeed, in European Championship history, only Cristiano Ronaldo and Michel Platini have netted more goals than Morata (seven).

    Spain will continue to boast the majority of possession in most of their upcoming fixtures, but under De la Fuente, they have found a new way of playing. 

    7 - Only Cesc Fàbregas (8 - 3 goals, 5 assists) has been involved in more #EUROs goals for #Spain  than Álvaro Morata (7 - 7 goals, the same as Fernando Torres and David Silva). Reference. #Euro2024 pic.twitter.com/dfGTdjuai3

    — OptaJose (@OptaJose) June 15, 2024

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Italy - Nicolo Barella

    Over the years, the Italy midfield has been filled with a plethora of talent that has won international honours. Nicolo Barella will be regarded as one of those should he help the Azzurri clinch their second straight Euros crown. 

    Barella has been directly involved in five goals in his last seven appearances for Italy (two goals, three assists), with his strike against Albania seeing him score in successive international appearances for the first time since June 2019.

    The Inter midfielder's combination of tenacity and composure was on show once more, completing 105 of his 108 passes in the Azzurri's opening game of the tournament, the highest pass completion rate (97.2 percent) of those who featured in the starting line-up. 

    10 - Among the players currently in the Italian national team  Nicolò #Barella has scored the most goals for the Azzurri (10). Star. #EURo2024 #ITAALB pic.twitter.com/B2RIhHFw2H

    — OptaPaolo (@OptaPaolo) June 15, 2024

    The saying of the battle being won in midfield is often thrown around rather lazily in modern football, but this certainly could be the case in Gelsenkirchen. 

    Spain - Fabian Ruiz

    Attempting to halt the Italian midfield will be Ruiz, who marked his 24th appearance for his country with just his third international goal against Croatia. 

    The 28-year-old was directly involved in two of Spain’s three goals in their opening game, assisting Alvaro Morata and scoring La Roja's second. 

    Since making his national team debut in June 2019, only Jordi Alba (nine) has made more assists for Spain than the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder (eight).

    But Ruiz's defensive discipline also aided Spain in keeping a clean sheet against Croatia, with the former Napoli star winning four of his five duels during the contest in Berlin, while also having a pass accuracy of 90.7 per cent from 54 attempted passes. 

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