EPL

Premier League data dive: Arsenal follow Man City's mark in title race

By Sports Desk April 01, 2023

Arsenal and Manchester City matched each other stride for stride and goal for goal on Saturday.

The Gunners restored their eight-point advantage over Pep Guardiola's side with a 4-1 victory over Leeds United at Emirates Stadium, shortly after City had downed Liverpool by the same scoreline in the early Premier League kick-off.

Brighton and Hove Albion and Brentford continued their tussle for European football with an entertaining 3-3 draw – Alexis Mac Allister's 90th-minute penalty levelling the scores.

Meanwhile, it was another grim day for Graham Potter's Chelsea, who lost 2-0 at Stamford Bridge to Aston Villa.

Man City 4-1 Liverpool: Pep hits century to end Reds' run

City successfully navigated a potential stumbling block with relative ease, responding after falling a goal behind to secure Guardiola's 100th Premier League win at the Etihad Stadium.

Those wins came from just 128 matches (D16 L12), with Guardiola becoming the fastest manager to reach a century of home wins in the competition, beating Arsene Wenger's previous record of 139 games with Arsenal.

Ahead of kick-off, all the focus was on the absence of Erling Haaland, but it is not wise to overlook his understudy Julian Alvarez, who took his tally to six goals in seven starts for City in the Premier League – five of which have come at home.

For Liverpool, the loss represents an eighth away defeat of the season, their most in a single season since 2014-15 (also eight).

The Reds also saw a run of 44 matches unbeaten when scoring first in the Premier League snapped, having won their last 22 such matches in a row, with the loss their first in that regard since a 3-1 defeat to Leicester City in February 2021.

Jurgen Klopp's side have now conceded 30 Premier League goals against City, 11 more than they have against any other opponent.

Arsenal 4-1 Leeds United: Gunners no April's Fools

City laid down the marker with their win against Liverpool but Arsenal are a forced to be reckoned with on April 1, winning all seven of their Premier League games on the date with a 25-3 aggregate score – the best 100 per cent win record for any side on any date.

The Gunners are in their stride, scoring three or more goals in three consecutive league matches for the first time since October 2015.

With Bukayo Saka rested, Mikel Arteta's supporting cast shone. Leandro Trossard claimed his seventh assist since his January switch, more than anyone else in that timeframe, while Gabriel Jesus' brace took his season tally to seven – all of which have come in London.

It was Leeds' 17th Premier League defeat to Arsenal, equalling their worst record against a single opponent having lost the same number against both Liverpool and Manchester United.

If Javi Gracia wanted a positive, he need look no further than Rasmus Kristensen who, having failed to score in his first 15 league appearances, has now been on the scoresheet in back-to-back matches.

Brighton and Hove Albion 3-3 Brentford: Seagulls swarm after frantic first half

After just 28 minutes, both sides had celebrated two goals, marking the earliest time each team had scored twice in a game since Burnley's clash against Chelsea in April 2019.

Mac Allister's dramatic late equaliser was a deserved reward for the hosts, who became the first side on record (since 2003-04) to see all 10 of their outfield starters have at least two efforts on goal in a single Premier League game.

The Seagulls peppered Brentford's goal throughout, registering 33 shots and 15 attempts on target, both of which are the highest totals in any game this season from all clubs.

Though the late equaliser will sting the Bees, Thomas Frank's side have lost just one of their last 16 Premier League matches (W7 D8).

Ivan Toney's goals have been invaluable for Brentford, particularly on the road, with nine of his 17 league goals this season coming away from home – only Haaland and Harry Kane have more (both 10).

Chelsea 0-2 Aston Villa: Blues lack home comforts 

Suffering defeat and failing to score at home for the fourth time this season, Chelsea equalled their worst-ever seasons in that regard (1994-95 and 2019-20) and slipped into the bottom half in the process.

The Blues certainly pushed hard for a goal. They had 27 attempts – their most without scoring in a Premier League match since January 2014.

Villa continue to be revitalised under Unai Emery, with only Arsenal (13) and Manchester City (10) securing more victories in the Premier League than the Villans (nine) since the Spaniard's appointment on November 6.

Ollie Watkins stole the show, scoring in a fifth consecutive Premier League away game, the first Villa player to achieve that feat, and hitting double figures for goals for the third consecutive season – something only Mohamed Salah and Kane can also boast.

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  • Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal could rely on goal difference to win Premier League Mikel Arteta admits Arsenal could rely on goal difference to win Premier League

    Mikel Arteta knows his free-scoring Arsenal side could rely on goal difference if they are to win the Premier League this season.

    Despite heading into the weekend two points off the top of the table in third, the Gunners now boast the best goal difference in the league.

    Arteta’s side have doled out 6-0, 5-0 and 4-1 wins in their last three league games and have an aggregate of 25-3 since the turn of the year.

    That sees them ahead of title rivals Liverpool and Manchester City and, with a three-way title race that could go down to the wire, Arteta believes everything will count.

    “Yes, for sure,” he replied when asked if the goalscoring record will be important by the end of the season.

    “First of all you have to earn the right to win the games and then we want to be ruthless and efficient in front of goal. Lately I think we’ve been really good.

    “In the last 15 or 20 minutes against Newcastle we could maybe have done a bit more, and we have to continue to do that especially when you bring the subs in because they can re-energise the team and continue at a really high level. It’s something that we want to continue to do.”

    Arteta will back his side to continue a good run in front of goal as they face bottom club Sheffield United on Monday night, with the Blades having shipped a league-high 66 goals this season.

    “With every team we look at the weaknesses and the strengths, and we look to take the game where we want,””Arteta said of facing Chris Wilder’s side.

    “I’m saying this because I know that team very well. I analysed it many years ago and I learnt from Chris’ teams and I’m telling you it’s going to be a really tough match.


     
    “They are a really difficult team to beat. I’ve watched their last four or five games now. With the City game, against Villa the game took a different route, but they are extremely well-coached.

    “I know Chris Wilder really well and I admire a lot of what he does with his teams. It will be Monday night football and it’s gonna be a tough night.”

    Arsenal could welcome back Thomas Partey and Oleksandr Zinchenko for the game after the pair both recovered from injury.

    Jurrien Timber will not travel, but is closing in on a comeback from a serious knee injury suffered on his Premier League debut in August.

    Jorginho will be hoping to keep his place in the side, too, with Arsenal planning on to open contract negotiations with the Italy midfielder following a string of standout performances.

    The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season, but the PA news agency understands that a one-year deal with the option of a further year is planned as an opening point for talks.

    Jorginho joined Arsenal from London rivals Chelsea last January and has so far made 41 appearances across all competitions, scoring once and put in a man-of-the-match display against Newcastle last weekend.

  • Sean Dyche welcomes ‘clarity’ after Everton points deduction reduced Sean Dyche welcomes ‘clarity’ after Everton points deduction reduced

    Everton manager Sean Dyche is grateful for the clarity their successful appeal against a 10-point deduction has brought and insists they will take on the rest of the season “with an open mind”.

    The long wait for a decision on the punishment for breaching profitability and sustainability rules was ended this week when the penalty was reduced to six points, lifting the club out of the relegation zone.

    There is another case still pending for a breach on the latest set of accounts – and the long-running takeover sage by 777 Partners is still dragging on – but for now Dyche is looking to capitalise on the boost it has provided.

    “We’re pleased we have got something back, obviously,” he said.

    “You are always greedy and want more and more but the points the club put forward have been listened to and we have got the four points back.

    “We will take that and now it brings clarity to the situation, which is good for us and the players but good for all actually.

    “We’ve certainly parked that now because it’s become a fact; a line has been drawn under it and the players are clear on it.

    “We take on the rest of the season with an open mind.”

    Dyche admits the long delay in receiving a verdict had started to play on the players’ minds but praised their ability to remain focused.

    And he said the takeover issue would not affect them at all.

    “It does start to creep in eventually. To be fair to these players, it took a long time for that to happen,” he said.

    “We were all waiting, the noise gets bigger and bigger – ‘when’s it coming?’ – and the players hear all that and I thought they have stayed pretty steadfast in performance levels.

    “The league table looks different and now it is about using that wisely and stepping on.

    “They (the players) are not worried about takeovers, that is miles above what you do on the football pitch.

    “I think the points tally and the idea of the appeal was a much different situation.”

  • 'I feel 40' – Birthday boy Doncic dispatches Raptors 'I feel 40' – Birthday boy Doncic dispatches Raptors

    Luka Doncic quipped he feels like he is 40 years old after he celebrated his 25th birthday in style.

    Doncic became the first player in NBA history to finish with a triple-double on their birthday as he led the Dallas Mavericks to a 136-125 win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday.

    He finished with 30 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds for his 11th triple-double of the season.

    Doncic has now had 39 30-point triple-doubles, which sees him surpass LeBron James in the all-time list for that feat.

    When asked if he considered his 25th birthday as a milestone, Doncic joked: "I feel like [I'm] 40, so no."

    Doncic was 11 for 23 from the field and missed 7 of 8 from 3-point range in his 67th career triple-double.

    "Just a normal game, triple-double," Jason Kidd said.

    "He was really good. I guess 25 means he's still going to be really good as he gets older here."

    Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and P.J. Washington Jr. added 23 points for Dallas, as they bounced back from back-to-back defeats.

    "Kyrie and Luka, they had such a poise in important moments to make the right plays," said Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic after his team saw a three-game winning streak snapped.

    Doncic added: "We just played aggressive on defense, got out on transition, that's it. 

    "My team knows when I'm engaged. Everybody helps everyone to be engaged.

    "I'm having so much fun. Back-to-back is always tough, a great win today, I've got to get some rest now."

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