EPL

Premier League data dive: Jesus inspires record-breaking Man City win, Man Utd held by Gunners

By Sports Desk January 30, 2021

Manchester City extended their lead at the Premier League summit with a 1-0 win over struggling Sheffield United on Saturday. 

Pep Guardiola's side started the day one point ahead of rivals Manchester United, but finished it three ahead of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's outfit after they were held to a disappointing, if record breaking, 0-0 draw with Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. 

Newcastle United turned around their woeful recent form with a 2-0 win at Everton, while Aston Villa won away at Southampton. 

Crystal Palace edged past Wolves 1-0 at Selhurst Park, while strugglers West Brom and Fulham played out an entertaining 2-2 draw. 

Here is the pick of the Opta facts from the day's action in the Premier League.

Manchester City 1-0 Sheffield United: Guardiola's men keep on winning

An early goal from Gabriel Jesus helped City set a new club record of 12 consecutive wins in all competitions.

It is also the longest winning run by a Premier League team since Arsenal racked up 12 in a row between August and October 2007. 

The slender win was also their ninth triumph in January, the most they have ever won in a single month in their history. Indeed, it is the most wins by a team in the top four tiers of English football in a single month since the formation of the Football League in 1888.

The result also means City have kept 20 clean sheets in all competitions this season, which is at least five more than any other side in the top-five European leagues. 

After their shock midweek win at Manchester United, this was a case of normal service resumed for the rock-bottom Blades. 

They have now lost 20 of their last 24 Premier League matches - seven more than any other side in the same period - and have been on the end of eight 1-0 defeats this season. That is the joint-most ever by a side at this stage (21 games) of a top-flight season, along with Ipswich Town in 1985-86.

Arsenal 0-0 Manchester United: Record-breaking stalemate for United

They did not come away from London with all three points, but United can at least toast an 18th consecutive away match in the Premier League without defeat – their longest run without a loss in their illustrious top-flight history.

While Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side created the best opportunities, they failed to find the back of the net for a third consecutive league match against Arsenal. The last time they went that long without scoring against the Gunners was between September 1981 and May 1983 when they went four games without a goal.

The result means Solskjaer has now failed to win any of his five Premier League games against Arsenal, with the Norwegian the only Red Devils manager to face the north London side more than once in the top flight without winning a game.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have now kept four consecutive home clean sheets in all competitions for the first time since April 2019.

The draw means Mikel Arteta's side are unbeaten in their past six league games against United – their longest run against the Red Devils in league competition since between October 1980 and May 1983 (also six).

Everton 0-2 Newcastle United: Toffees downed by a familiar foe

Steve Bruce relieved some of the intense pressure he had been under as Newcastle ended an 11-game winless run in all competitions with victory at Goodison Park.

It was no surprise that Callum Wilson was the inspiration behind the win, the England international's brace means he has now been involved in 67 per cent of the Magpies' 21 Premier League goals this season (10 goals, four assists).

His first goal was his 50th in the Premier League, while he has only scored more against West Ham (eight) in the competition than he has versus Everton (six).

The Toffees, meanwhile, have now been defeated in four home league games this season. That is the most Carlo Ancelotti has lost in a single campaign since the 2007-08 campaign with Milan, when he was also beaten four times.

Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson made his 300th Premier League appearance in the defeat to become the second Icelandic player to reach the milestone after Hermann Hreidarsson (332).

Southampton 0-1 Aston Villa: Grealish and Barkley combine to overcome Saints

Villa secured a first win over Southampton in the Premier League since December 2013 thanks to Ross Barkley's first-half goal, laid on by the superb Jack Grealish.

Grealish has now been involved in 15 league goals (six goals, nine assists) in a single season for the first time, eclipsing his tally of last term when he scored eight goals and created six for his team-mates.

Only Harry Kane (11) and Kevin De Bruyne (10) have more assists than Grealish this season, while the last Villa player to register more in a single season in the competition was Ashley Young with 10 in 2010-11.

Dean Smith's side were also indebted to another clean sheet from goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, whose 10th shutout of the campaign is only bettered by City's Ederson (12).

Defeat for Southampton means they have lost three consecutive top-flight matches for the first time since November 2019, while they have also failed to score in five of their past seven Premier League games - they had only drawn a blank in five of their previous 41 in the competition before this.

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  • Milan 4-2 Udinese: Rossoneri recover from early setback to seal opening day win Milan 4-2 Udinese: Rossoneri recover from early setback to seal opening day win

    Milan recovered from conceding just two minutes into their Serie A title defence to beat Udinese 4-2 at San Siro on Saturday.

    The opening game of the season in the Italian top flight for the Rossoneri saw a penalty from Theo Hernandez, two goals from Ante Rebic and another from Brahim Diaz guide them to three points, despite conceding twice to the visitors through Rodrigo Becao and Adam Masina.

    New signings Charles de Ketelaere and Divock Origi were named on the bench for Stefano Pioli's side, with the former introduced for the final 20 minutes and the latter for the final seven in front of their new fans. 

    It was a losing start for new Udinese head coach Andrea Sottil, though he will have been buoyed by his team's ability to keep Milan honest in a game that was more open in the first half than Pioli would have liked.

    It was far from an ideal start for the hosts as Udinese took the lead in just the second minute when Becao headed a Gerard Deulofeu corner in at the near post.

    That advantage did not last long though as a VAR check led to a Milan penalty being awarded on 10 minutes after Brandon Soppy was judged to have fouled Davide Calabria, with Hernandez calmly dispatching the spot kick.

    The champions were in front just four minutes later when neat play from Diaz gave Calabria the chance to cross to Rebic, who swept the ball past Marco Silvestri.

    Deulofeu made a mess of a chance when in on goal, but Udinese were level just before half-time when two more former Watford players combined, with Roberto Pereyra crossing for Masina to head in at the far post.

    If Milan made a slow start in the first half, Udinese managed to trump it in the second as Nehuen Pereza and Masina made a mess of a Hernandez cross from the left, allowing Diaz to prod the hosts back in front just 34 seconds after the restart.

    Diaz had been a thorn in Udinese's side all game, and won the ball inside the opposition's box on 68 minutes before squaring to Rebic to lift his finish into the roof of the net to seal the win.

  • Brentford 4-0 Manchester United: Capital punishment leaves Red Devils humiliated Brentford 4-0 Manchester United: Capital punishment leaves Red Devils humiliated

    Manchester United suffered one of their worst defeats in Premier League history as Erik ten Hag's side barely laid a glove on Brentford in a 4-0 defeat on Saturday.

    Ten Hag was looking for a response to last weekend's 2-1 home loss to Brighton and Hove Albion and was able to hand Cristiano Ronaldo a start, but all United got was a humiliation.

    David de Gea was at fault twice as Josh Dasilva and Mathias Jensen put Brentford two up inside 18 minutes, before Ben Mee and Bryan Mbeumo ensured Brentford became only the third side to put four past United in the first half of a Premier League game.

    While the Bees could not inflict further misery on Ten Hag and United, it mattered little as the damage was already done.

    United gave Thomas Frank's men a helping hand for the opener as De Gea inexplicably let Dasilva's 25-yard effort squeeze into the bottom-right corner after Ronaldo had been robbed.

    The floodgates then opened.

    Shortly after United escaped a similar situation, Christian Eriksen was dispossessed inside his own box following an ill-advised pass from De Gea, and Jensen applied a disguised finish with 18 minutes played.

    The off-balance Mee nodded in at the back post as United failed to cope with the hosts' physicality, and by the 35th minute it was 4-0 – Dasilva racing onto a clearance to play an exquisite pass into the box where Mbeumo held off Luke Shaw to score.

    Ten Hag made three changes at the break and that at least helped stem the flow of goal concessions.

    United improved as an attacking threat, with Ronaldo presented with a couple of half-chances and Eriksen testing David Raya with a header.

    But still Brentford eased to a famous victory.

     

    What does it mean? Urgency of United's squad rejuvenation laid bare

    The Brighton loss was bad. This was simply embarrassing. The issues with United's squad were obvious last season, with Ralf Rangnick suggesting they needed 10 new signings to be competitive.

    While Rangnick was ultimately cut loose from his deal to become a consultant, it is difficult not to look back on those comments now given how bad United have been in their first two games of the season, and the fact only three new players have come in.

    Granted, there remains a bit of time in the transfer window, but if United cannot make significant improvements over the next eight days, Liverpool could enjoy another Old Trafford mauling.

    Thomas Frankly exceptional

    While Brighton won the midfield battle against United last weekend, they did not do what Brentford did. Frank set his team up to press with such intensity and it worked a treat.

    Dasilva's goal was fortunate but was the result of pressing Ronaldo, and then Jensen's strike was a product of pressuring United as they attempted to play out from the back. The visitors proved they are way off being able to play Ten Hag's brand of football.

    David de Howler

    It feels a little unfair to focus on one particular United player because so many of them were poor, but De Gea's error for the opener was truly horrific and he needlessly put Eriksen in danger for the second with a pass that was not on. Those goals gave them a mountain to climb.

    What's next?

    Ten Hag's hunt for a first win as United boss continues a week on Monday with the visit of bitter rivals Liverpool to Old Trafford. Brentford go to Fulham two days earlier.

  • Arteta lauds Jesus for raising standards at Arsenal after Brazilian's brace downs Leicester Arteta lauds Jesus for raising standards at Arsenal after Brazilian's brace downs Leicester

    Mikel Arteta hailed Gabriel Jesus for raising standards at Arsenal after the Brazilian scored two goals and registered two assists in a thrilling win over Leicester City.

    Arsenal made it two wins from two Premier League matches with a 4-2 victory over the Foxes at Emirates Stadium on Saturday as Jesus recorded his first competitive goals since arriving from Manchester City for £45million in July.  

    In doing so, Jesus became the first player to score more than once on his home Premier League debut for the Gunners, while the 25-year-old is also the first Arsenal player to double up for goals and assists in a league game since Theo Walcott against Newcastle United in December 2012 (three goals and two assists).

    The signing of Jesus, a four-time Premier League champion, was lauded as a coup for a side that missed out on Champions League football last term, and Arteta has been delighted by his strong start.

    "I think it lifts the standards with the way that he's training every day and the way that he's talking," said the Arsenal boss.

    "I think it's very natural, but at the same time it's pretty impressive to do it that quickly, but then we are asking other players to score goals as well. 

    "If you want to be at the top then we're going to have to score a lot of goals and we cannot rely on two or three players.

    "We know what Gabby can do. He scored two and assisted two and he's still disappointed in the dressing room because he said he could have scored four. 

    "That's the standard, that's the mentality that if you want to go to a different level, you need that mentality. 

    "I wouldn't like to play against him. I have never been a defender, but I can imagine that they don't enjoy it. He's so mobile, so intuitive and is always sharp and proactive to play in any moment and any phase of the game and he's a real threat."

    Jesus' opener made him the 12th Brazilian player to score for Arsenal in the Premier League, the most of any club in the competition's history.

    The forward only made 21 Premier League starts during his final season with City, but has assumed a central role since heading to the Emirates.

    And Arteta recognises the importance of managing his workload, adding: "We are going to demand him to start a lot of games, so we have to manage that load and the way that we train is different.

    "We have to be on top of that and hopefully we are."

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