EPL

Premier League data dive: De Bruyne hits assists landmark and goes one better than Sancho, Seagulls add to Chelsea misery

By Sports Desk April 15, 2023

Kevin De Bruyne became the second player to reach 100 Premier League assists for one club as the Manchester City playmaker teed up Erling Haaland for the hosts' third goal in a 3-1 win over Leicester City.

The result cut Arsenal's lead to three points at the top of the table, ahead of the Gunners' trip to West Ham on Sunday.

Saturday's games saw Ollie Watkins remain in eye-catching form for Aston Villa, but there were grim home defeats for London giants Chelsea and Tottenham as Brighton and Hove Albion and Bournemouth celebrated impressive victories.

Here Stats Perform, guided by notable Opta match facts, unpicks the finer detail from the day's Premier League action.

Manchester City 3-1 Leicester City: Haaland and De Bruyne star as City keep pressure on

Armed with a 3-0 lead after 25 minutes, Manchester City took their foot off the pedal and Leicester gained a foothold, but the Foxes rarely get much from this fixture. It is 11 wins in their last 13 league games against Leicester now for Pep Guardiola's team, and five wins from as many meetings.

City are on a 10-match winning streak across all competitions, which they have bettered only twice during the Guardiola era, having a run of 21 wins from December 2020 to March 2021, and an 11-game run from August to October in 2017.

Haaland scored twice to take his goals tally to 32 in the top flight, ever closer to the Premier League record of 34 in a single campaign, while De Bruyne's pass that set up the Norway striker's second meant he completed 100 assists for City. Ryan Giggs, with 162 for Manchester United, is the only other player to reach a century of assists for one club in the Premier League.

De Bruyne has now assisted 10 goals for Haaland across all competitions this season, and that is the most assists any one player has had for the young goal machine with a top-flight club, beating Jadon Sancho's nine when he and Haaland were team-mates at Borussia Dortmund in the 2020-21 campaign.

Leicester remain deep in relegation trouble, with the 2015-16 Premier League champions having taken just eight points from 16 games in the competition (W2 D2 L12), losing eight of their past nine.

 

Aston Villa 3-0 Newcastle United: Watkins and Villa hit half-century marks as Emery revival gathers pace

Aston Villa were hovering precariously closely to the relegation zone when Steven Gerrard was sacked in October. A sensational recovery continued as they steamrollered third-placed Newcastle on Saturday, with their winning run in the Premier League now at five games.

They last reached five wins in a row in the competition on this corresponding weekend 25 years ago, when John Gregory was boss, and Saturday's result means Newcastle's Eddie Howe has lost his last four league clashes with Villa manager Unai Emery, who was previously in charge of Arsenal, by an 11-2 aggregate.

Villa have reached 50 points from 31 games, the earliest they have achieved that tally since they got there in 29 matches in 2009-10, and Watkins has been a key figure in the team's resurgence.

The England striker added to Jacob Ramsey's opener, which came from Watkins' headed assist, by netting a second-half double to take the game away from the Magpies.

Watkins' 50th, 51st and 52nd goal involvements for Villa (39 goals and 13 assists) came in his 102nd Premier League game for the team, with only Christian Benteke (88 games) having reached 50 in fewer games in the competition for the club. Watkins has 12 goals and three assists on Premier League duty since the World Cup, with only Haaland (16) having more goal involvements during this time.

Chelsea 1-2 Brighton and Hove Albion: Seagulls swoop for Stamford Bridge scalp

Brighton substitutes Danny Welbeck and Julio Enciso did the damage, and Chelsea could have no complaints. In terms of expected goals (xG), Brighton bossed this, ending with 2.28 compared to the hosts' 0.60.

After failing to win against Chelsea in 14 Premier League matches, Brighton have done the double this season, having won 4-1 at home in October.

Chelsea's winless run at home in the league now stands at four matches (D2 L2), and that is their worst streak since taking just one point from their final five games at Stamford Bridge in the 2015-16 season.

Only Manchester United (10) have had more goals from substitutes than Brighton (8) in the Premier League this season, and those two sides meet next weekend in the semi-final stage of the FA Cup.

Tottenham 2-3 Bournemouth: Echoes of Balotelli as Outtara stuns Spurs

Tottenham have Aston Villa and Brighton in hot pursuit after this shock reverse, with Dango Ouattara getting Bournemouth's winner four minutes and 11 seconds into stoppage time.

It was the latest winning goal Bournemouth have ever scored in the Premier League, as well as being the second-latest winning goal scored against Spurs by any team on record since 2006-07, after Mario Balotelli's strike for Manchester City in January 2012, which came after four minutes and 39 seconds of added time.

This was Bournemouth's first away league win against Tottenham, after losing on all five previous attempts, and it marked the first time Spurs have lost at home when taking the lead since a 3-2 setback against Southampton in February of last year.

Bournemouth have won five of their last nine Premier League games and have remarkably leapt six points clear of the bottom three, having won just five of their previous 25 matches. Dominic Solanke scored the Cherries' second and provided assists for their two other goals, scoring and assisting in the same Premier League game for the third time this season, with no player having done so on more occasions.

Related items

  • JFF, Wray & Nephew partner to form Wray & Nephew School of Football Coaching JFF, Wray & Nephew partner to form Wray & Nephew School of Football Coaching

    The standard of football coaching in Jamaica looks set to increase over the next few years thanks to the formation of the Wray & Nephew School of Football Coaching.

    This partnership between the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and Wray & Nephew is a part of the Wray & Nephew Football Program and will oversee the training of 500 coaches at the Preparatory and Primary School level across Jamaica at the D-license level.

    This comprehensive training will certify coaches in order for them to operate at all levels including at International standard fostering a new era of football excellence in Jamaica.

    This initiative will also involve the renovation of the existing school of football located at the University of the West Indies.

    “I’m very happy to introduce the Wray & Nephew School of Football Coaching,” said Managing Director at J. Wray & Nephew Ltd, Jean-Philippe Beyer last Thursday announcing the partnership at the brand’s headquarters in Kingston.

    JFF Technical Committee Chairman Rudolph Speid, who is also the head coach of Jamaica Premier League champions Cavalier SC, is pleased about the continued effort to develop coaches in the country.

    “This is a welcome sponsorship to the program. Three years ago, we didn’t have a C-licensed coach in Jamaica. Now, we have five A-licensed coaches and another six are doing their studies. There will be an A-licensing course starting on July 9 with approximately 20 local coaches in that class,” he said.

    “We now have 100 B-licensed coaches in Jamaica, 200 C-licensed coaches and over 500 D-licensed coaches but those coaches were really building from the top. We have now embarked on a very ambitious program with the help of Wray & Nephew and the SDF (Sports Development Foundation) to certify 500 coaches at the Primary and Preparatory School level across Jamaica at the D-license level and then bring them up to the C-license level by July 2025,” he added.

    Speid also emphasized the importance of developing a good coaching education program.

    “If you look at it, all the national teams that do well, in Europe and South America for example, have the best coaching education programs in the world. That is what we are trying to emulate here in Jamaica,” he said.

    Also on hand was President of the Jamaica Football Federation, Michael Ricketts, who thanked Wray & Nephew for continuing to invest in the country's football development.

    "We just want to form an alliance as we try to move the sport forward and this is no ordinary announcement. This is what we're asking corporate Jamaica to do as part of building this nation of ours," he said.

    Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, the hon. Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, also played a hand in the formation of the school of coaching through her ministry.

    “We continue to strengthen our sporting culture by investing in sports and this includes providing and increasing access to quality education for our coaches,” she said.

    “When private sector companies and Government partner in sports, sustainable growth and improvement in all levels become the key input,” she added.

  • Belgium without Courtois at a major tournament for first time since 2002 Belgium without Courtois at a major tournament for first time since 2002

    Belgium played at a major tournament without Thibaut Courtois for the first time since 2002 when they kicked off their Euro 2024 campaign against Slovakia.

    Real Madrid goalkeeper Courtois was a big-name omission from Domenico Tedesco's squad.

    Courtois endured an injury-hit campaign with Madrid, but returned to fitness in time to help Los Blancos win the Champions League final at Wembley on June 1.

    However, that was not enough to see him make the Red Devils' squad, and it meant that when Belgium got their Group E campaign under way in Frankfurt on Monday, they played without Courtois at a major tournament for the first time since 2002.

    Courtois played in every game of Belgium's campaigns at the 2014, 2018 and 2022 World Cups, while also featuring in each of their matches at Euro 2016 and 2020.

    Koen Casteels, the Wolfsburg shot-stopper, deputised in Courtois' place against Slovakia.

  • Southgate faces major concern with midfield balance at Euro 2024, says Neville Southgate faces major concern with midfield balance at Euro 2024, says Neville

    Gary Neville believes Gareth Southgate will have major concerns about the balance of England's midfield following their Euro 2024 opener against Serbia. 

    Jude Bellingham's fourth international goal was enough to kickstart ther Three Lions' campaign with a win, but the encounter in Gelsenkirchen was far from straightforward. 

    England had Jordan Pickford to thank to preserve Southgate's record of winning the opening game of every major tournament he has managed at, producing a fine stop to deny Dusan Vlahovic in the second half. 

    Much was made of who Southgate would deploy in central midfield ahead of the tournament, with Trent Alexander-Arnold given the nod to feature alongside Declan Rice. 

    "The midfield is the major concern and the fluidity of the game that comes through there is one thing we need to try and work on in the group stage because when we play against a good team, we'll have to have it right," said Neville. 

    "There are some small alarm bells around balance and having a good group of players that are very talented but are we as good a team?

    "Last night, you start to think about the impact and influence of Jordan Henderson and Kalvin Phillips. The best players don't make the best team sometimes.

    "We're aware Kieran Trippier is right-footed at left-back and is playing there because of all the injuries in that position which creates a further imbalance. But in midfield, somehow we have to try and get that right. Gareth [Southgate] will be more than aware of that.

    Alexander-Arnold completed 37 of his 42 passes against Serbia, averaging a pass accuracy of 88.1 percent, the joint-third lowest from those who started the game, with only Phil Foden and Harry Kane below him.  

    The Liverpool full-back started brightly, showing glimpses of his wide passing range, but made one mistake late in the first half which allowed Aleksandar Mitrovic a shot on goal. 

    "We know [Alexander-Arnold] can do it when he moves into midfield from right-back and then can deliver those crosses and passes. There were times when he found himself with his back to play and that is a different story," said Neville.

    "I don't really want to focus on him being a problem in there. It was the balance of the entire midfield and I include Declan Rice in that as well - and what England need to have in there to be able to move forward in this tournament.

    "All eyes will be on Trent Alexander-Arnold. His best position is right-back and having the ability to move forward on that side or coming inside and playing that quarter-back role. It doesn't look like we're going to do that, it looks like we're going to stick with Kyle Walker which is absolutely the right decision.

    "Gareth will know he's got an issue with these talented players and how he gets them all into the team - and most importantly with the right balance."

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