EPL

Spurs rumbled at Brighton, unwanted landmark for Oxlade-Chamberlain - the Premier League weekend's quirky facts

By Sports Desk February 01, 2021

Tottenham lost another battle on the same day as the Royal Rumble and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain reached a Premier League landmark he will not be boasting about on Sunday.

Leandro Trossard scored the only goal of the game as Brighton and Hove Albion beat Spurs to ease their relegation fears, inflicting what looks like a finishing move on Jose Mourinho's side in the title race.

Oxlade-Chamberlain came off the bench for the 100th time in a top-flight game late in Liverpool's 3-1 victory at West Ham, while leaders Manchester City broke a record on Saturday.

With the help of Opta data, we take a look at some of the quirkiest stats from the Premier League action over the weekend.

 

Trossard wrestles the initiative

Tottenham made the journey to the south coast reeling from a painful midweek defeat to Liverpool in which they lost captain Harry Kane to injury.

Trossard delivered the knockout blow at the Amex Stadium, leaving Mourinho's men 11 points behind leaders City in sixth place.

Spurs fans who follow WWE may have been fearing the worst, as they have lost nine times when playing on the same day as the Royal Rumble was staged - more than any English league club.

Edge and Bianca Belair came out on top in the extravaganza at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida after Spurs were seemingly eliminated from the title race.

Sub century for Ox

Midfielder Oxlade-Chamberlain replaced Divock Origi 10 minutes from time in the Reds' victory at previously in-form West Ham.

The former Arsenal man became the 15th player to make 100 top-flight appearances off the bench.

Peter Crouch (158) did so on the most occasions, with Oxlade-Chamberlain's team-mate James Milner (154) second on the list and Jermain Defoe (149) completing the top three.

Happy new year for irrepressible City

City extended their winning streak to 12 matches at the expense of bottom side Sheffield United on Saturday, Gabriel Jesus scoring the only goal of the game.

Pep Guardiola's side will take some stopping in their bid to regain the title, as they lead neighbours Manchester United by three points with a game in hand.

That early strike from Jesus made it nine wins out of nine for City in January, more than any side has achieved in a calendar month since the formation of the Football League in 1888.

Shot-shy Clarets

Chelsea eased to their first win under Thomas Tuchel on Sunday, seeing off Burnley 2-0 at Stamford Bridge.

The Clarets arrived in London on a three-match winning run, including a shock 1-0 triumph at Anfield and a 3-2 thriller against Aston Villa.

Sean Dyche's men barely laid a glove on Chelsea, though, and went the longest any side has gone without an attempt at goal in the Premier League this season.

They looked set to become the first team not to have an attempt in a game since Bournemouth against Manchester City in March 2019 until James Tarkowski's header in stoppage time. Better late than never? Dyche might not see it that way.

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    Eric Dier will remain at Bayern Munich for another season after a pre-agreed clause was met, the Bundesliga giants have said.

    The 30-year-old joined Bayern on loan from Tottenham in January and has made seven appearances.

    With Dier’s Spurs contract set to expire on June 30, an option to make his transfer permanent if he played a certain number of games was included in the deal.

    Dier’s stay at Bayern will now run until at least June 30, 2025, and he said on fcbayern.com: “I’m happy in Munich. Now my future is sorted and I can focus on playing well for the club and trying to help the club to win games, win competitions, even though it’s been a difficult period for us.”

    Dier had made only four appearances for Spurs this season, three of them off the bench, before following former team-mate Harry Kane to Germany.

    The news officially brings to an end Dier’s time at Tottenham, where he made 365 appearances during a nine-and-a-half-year spell.

    Max Eberl, FC Bayern board member for sport, said: “He’s a valuable support in our defence with all his character.”

  • Pep Guardiola savours ‘dream’ derby preparation Pep Guardiola savours ‘dream’ derby preparation

    Pep Guardiola feels having four clear days ahead of a Manchester derby is a “dream” at this stage of the season.

    Guardiola’s Manchester City host arch-rivals United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday in what could be a key match in their bid to win a fourth successive Premier League crown.

    It is a crucial month for City with games against title rivals Liverpool and Arsenal to come, as well as the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie and an FA Cup quarter-final.

    City were last in action on Tuesday when they thrashed Luton 6-2 in the cup fifth round and Guardiola believes the derby preparations since have been ideal.

    “Tuesday to Sunday is enough (time), it is a dream,” he said. “We will recover well.

    “The problem is Saturday to Tuesday with trips, that is less recovery, but the players were extraordinary against Luton.

    “We had two days off with rest, not seeing each other, and then two days to prepare for United.”

    Yet despite opportunities for rest being minimal as last season’s treble winners again pursue glory on three fronts, Guardiola admits this time of year – with all its intensity – is what he relishes most.

    He said: “Absolutely, (these periods) are the best. How nice. I prefer that than the opposite.

    “It is so nice to have this fixture against United, to have the chance to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League, then we have Anfield and then before the international break we have the chance against Newcastle to reach the semi-final of the FA Cup.

    “We worked so hard since we arrived here to live these kind of moments.”

    United’s form throughout most of the season has been unconvincing and they face a tall order to finish in the top four.

    Manager Erik ten Hag’s future has been the subject of recurring speculation but Guardiola refused to offer an opinion on the reasons for United’s failures to sustain momentum.

    The Spaniard said: “I expect the best from United but I don’t talk a word about what they do because I respect them too much and I don’t want my words to be misunderstood.

    “When I make comments people always say, ‘Pep jibe’ and it’s never my intention. That’s why it is better I don’t say anything.

    “I have a lot of respect for the institution, United, and the players and Erik, and when I see what we have to do my players will know it.”

  • Ange Postecoglou warns players of social media risks after Ryan Sessegnon plea Ange Postecoglou warns players of social media risks after Ryan Sessegnon plea

    Ange Postecoglou has advised his Tottenham players to take social media with a pinch of salt after a difficult week for Ryan Sessegnon.

    Full-back Sessegnon had surgery on his right hamstring on Monday, after an operation on his left hamstring last summer, and called for people to “be careful what you say online” in a post on his social media channels.

    Sessegnon, 23, has endured a torrid time with injuries and faced plenty of abuse on Twitter and Instagram over his fitness woes, but boss Postecoglou likened those platforms to a prison yard.

    “I guess the easy thing to say is, ‘look just stay off social media,’ and that’s easy for me to say,” Postecoglou said.

    “I can do that but I guess for younger people it’s a vehicle for them or a platform for them to have a voice, which I kind of understand.

    “They’ve also got to be mature enough to also know that sometimes the audience, I think for want of a better term, social media is like walking into the prison yard and saying you’re innocent.

    “You’re not going to get a hell of a lot of sympathy. Most of it is going to be coming back at you.

    “If you’re kind of prepared for that then (fine), but if you’re jumping into there to try and feel good, my sense of it is, I’m not all over it but you’ll rarely come away from it feeling really good about yourself.

    “Even with the most genuine of reasons for saying what you want to say or putting out what you want to put out. It’s just that kind of platform you’re invariably going to come away from thinking I probably shouldn’t have said anything.”

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    Sessegnon is set to spend the rest of the season on the treatment table and is currently joined by Richarlison, who suffered a knee injury during the 2-1 home defeat to Wolves on February 17.

    Richarlison is not expected to return until after the international break and Postecoglou will also be without Pedro Porro (muscle) for Saturday’s visit of Crystal Palace.

    Fifth-placed Tottenham will aim to get their Champions League qualification hopes back on track against Palace and their manager expressed his frustration at the stop-start nature of their campaign.

    Early cup exits mean Spurs will only play 41 matches this season and asked if they can make the most of Aston Villa and Manchester United juggling cup commitments, Postecoglou admitted: “I don’t know.

    “It depends how you use that time. If you ask me would I rather be in Europe? Absolutely, 1000 per cent I’d rather be in Europe at this time playing games.

    “A club like us, who want to compete at the highest level against the best, you need a strong squad and to have a strong squad you need consistent games, consistent game time and opportunities.

    “At the moment, if we get an injury then we’re liable to throw in somebody who hasn’t played for four or five weeks. It’s not easy on that player.

    “Whereas if you’ve got games, there’s a natural rotation that you need to make all the time and also gives you a little bit of rhythm.

    “I had the other extreme last year of 60-plus games at Celtic, but I found that a lot easier to manage than having a disrupted season like we’ve had this year.”

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