EPL

Premier League data dive: Greenwood joins Man Utd elite as Spurs slip up again

By Sports Desk April 05, 2021

The Premier League made its comeback this weekend, and there was no shortage of drama on Sunday.

It was a tail of turnarounds throughout the four fixtures – three sides coming from behind to win while Newcastle United and Tottenham played out a topsy turvy 2-2 draw.

Manchester United needed a late goal to see off Brighton and Hove Albion, while Southampton and Aston Villa claimed victories.

United have now won 95 Premier League points after conceding first, seven more than any other team in the history of the competition and, using Opta data, we take a look at more of the best facts from across the day's matches.

Southampton 3-2 Burnley: Ings puts former club to the sword in thrilling fightback 

Southampton picked up their first Premier League home win since their opening game in 2021 as they came from two goals down to beat Burnley 3-2, ending a run of five league outings at St. Mary's without a victory (D1 L4).

The Saints had not won a league game that they had trailed in by two goals since March 2016, when they defeated Liverpool under Ronald Koeman, but Danny Ings inspired the turnaround against his former club.

Having teed up Stuart Armstrong's goal, Ings became just the fourth player in Premier League history to score in four successive appearances against sides he has previously played for in the competition, after Robbie Keane in 2004, Jermain Defoe in 2009 and Wilfried Bony in 2017.

It was Nathan Redmond who then dealt the decisive blow, volleying in from Theo Walcott's cross after Nick Pope had brilliantly denied Ings a second.

Redmond has been directly involved in five goals in his past two games for Southampton (three goals and two assists), as many direct goal involvements as he had registered in his previous 30 appearances in all competitions combined.

Chris Wood gave Burnley the lead from a VAR-awarded penalty – the 100th spot-kick taken in the top flight this season, and the 83rd to be converted. This is only the seventh Premier League campaign to see a century of penalties awarded.

Newcastle United 2-2 Tottenham: Kane double not enough as Spurs let another lead slip

Tottenham looked set to move into the top four as they led 2-1 at Newcastle – Harry Kane's double putting them ahead after Joelinton carried on his goalscoring form against Spurs; he has now netted a total of four Premier League goals in 62 appearances, with two of those coming in four matches versus the north London team.

Kane has been directly involved in 45 goals in all competitions this term, scoring 29 times and providing 16 assists, equalling his career-best tally from 2017-18 (41 goals and four assists).

He has also scored 84 goals in 120 away games in the Premier League for Spurs, the most goals any player has scored on the road for a single club in the competition, going past Wayne Rooney's 82 for Manchester United.

Yet his efforts were not enough – Joe Willock rescuing a point for relegation-battling Newcastle, who have drawn three consecutive Premier League games at St. James' Park for the first time since another three-game run spanning December 2017 and January 2018.

Tottenham have dropped four points from winning positions against Newcastle this season, their most in a campaign against a single side since also dropping four versus Arsenal and West Brom in 2015-16, while Spurs have now failed to win six Premier League games after leading at half-time, the most of any side in 2020-21.

Aston Villa 3-1 Fulham: History made at Villa Park before Cottagers collapse

Sunday's clash between Aston Villa and Fulham was the first game in Premier League history in which every player in the starting XI for both sides was born after the first ever Premier League game on August 15, 1992.

Despite Dean Smith saying he would be available, Jack Grealish was not in Villa's squad, and Fulham hit the front through Aleksandar Mitrovic, who – after 159 days and 23 games without a goal for club and country – has now scored six times in the past 12 days, five times for Serbia and once for the Cottagers.

Yet only Southampton (18) and Brighton (20) have dropped more points from winning positions in the Premier League this season than Fulham (16) after Scott Parker's third-bottom side suffered a collapse.

Trezeguet scored a rapid double – his two goals coming just 160 seconds apart. The Egypt international had previously attempted more shots without scoring than any other player in this season's Premier League (29).

Ollie Watkins helped himself to his first league goal in eight games, ending a run of 18 shots without a goal in the competition since netting versus Arsenal in February.

Manchester United 2-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Matchwinner Greenwood in elite company

Only Wayne Rooney (15) and Marcus Rashford (13) have scored more Premier League goals as teenagers for United than Mason Greenwood (12), who struck late on to complete the turnaround at Old Trafford.

Former Red Devil Danny Welbeck opened the scoring in Sunday's final game – he became the first player to net as many as three Premier League goals against United after having appeared for the club in the competition.

The 2020-21 season is only the second to see two players who have previously appeared for Manchester United in the Premier League score against them (Wilfried Zaha and Welbeck), along with the 1997-98 campaign, when Dion Dublin and Mark Hughes did so.

But United have now won 25 points from losing positions this term, nine more than any other side, while Brighton remain winless at Old Trafford in 13 attempts in all competitions (D2 L11).

Rashford – who has only scored more league goals (five) against Leicester City than he has against the Seagulls – equalised after being teed up by Bruno Fernandes, who has been directly involved in five goals in three Premier League appearances against Brighton.

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  • 'He kept us in the Premier League' - Bolt sad to see Ronaldo leave Man Utd 'He kept us in the Premier League' - Bolt sad to see Ronaldo leave Man Utd

    Usain Bolt says he is disappointed to see Cristiano Ronaldo exit Manchester United, crediting the forward for keeping the club in the Premier League last season.

    The Portugal captain departed Old Trafford by mutual consent last month following an explosive interview that saw him roundly criticise the club, manager Erik ten Hag and owners, the Glazer family.

    It came after a difficult first season back following his return to the club from Juventus, in which the veteran striker looked ill at ease under interim boss Ralf Rangnick.

    Now Bolt, an eight-time Olympic gold medal winner and United supporter, says he is disheartened by the star's exit, but stresses he understands his reasons.

    "It's sad to see him go," said Bolt of Ronaldo. "He played such an important role for us last season. He kept us in the Premier League last season. Because many games he was the one he scored, kept giving us points.

    "So it is sad to see him go, but I understand by listening to his interview there is a lot going on that a lot of us don't know.

    "I wish him all the best on his journey because I am a massive Cristiano Ronaldo fan. So it is sad to see him gone."

    The exit of Ronaldo has prefaced a potential sale by the Glazer family, who have long been the target of ire from the club's fanbase, and Bolt adds that it has been something supporters have been keen to see for a while.

    "For me, it has been [a] long time [coming] for the fans," he added. "[They] have spoken about this for years. Since Alex Ferguson [left], the club has been up and down,

    "It surprised me as a supporter to know that the club hasn't really moved on technology-wise to try to improve and to help the players to move forward.

    "So, to get new owners, hopefully they'll come in and develop the club in a way that is necessary."

  • 'You only get one career' – Rice says England experience has whetted Champions League appetite 'You only get one career' – Rice says England experience has whetted Champions League appetite

    Declan Rice says performing on the biggest stage for England has only increased his desire to feature in the Champions League in the future, declaring: "you only get one career".

    Rice has started all three of England's games at the World Cup in Qatar, helping the Three Lions top their group at the tournament for the first time since the 2006 edition in Germany. 

    The West Ham midfielder has been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea in recent years, and his solid international displays will have done little to reduce interest in his services. 

    Asked whether his desire to reach the top of the club game had increased as a result of his time with Gareth Southgate's side, Rice said: "Yeah, 100 per cent. 

    "For the last two or three years I have been saying that. I have been playing consistently well for [my] club and I feel like I really want to keep pushing.

    "I see my friends here who are playing in the Champions League and for big trophies. 

    "You only get one career, and at the end of your career you want to look back at what you have won and the biggest games you have played in. I am really ambitious."

    Rice has made seven interceptions at the World Cup so far – at least five more than any of his England team-mates, while only Jude Bellingham (18) and Luke Shaw (17) have recovered possession more often than he has for the Three Lions (14).

    England take on Senegal for a place in the quarter-finals on Sunday, having progressed through five of their previous seven last-16 ties at the World Cup (failing to do so against Argentina in 1998 and Germany in 2010).

  • Spain star Laporte reveals his football viewing apathy and love for playing alongside Rodri Spain star Laporte reveals his football viewing apathy and love for playing alongside Rodri

    Aymeric Laporte headed into Spain's Group E finale having not missed a beat at the heart of Luis Enrique's defence – but his overall World Cup focus has been sketchy at best and that is by his own admission.

    The Manchester City defender, who has been joined by club-mate Rodri at the heart of the Spanish backline, has indicated he is not paying attention to the tournament far beyond caring about La Roja's next game.

    Former Athletic Bilbao star Laporte said he had not "even looked" at who might await Spain in the last-16 stage and had "no idea" of the possibilities of who that might be.

    It is perhaps an unusual attitude for a professional footballer, but Laporte appears to fall into the category of sportsmen who are stunningly proficient in what they do, but not naturally inclined to take their work home with them.

    He told the Guardian: "I'm not a football addict. Honestly, I don't like watching matches."

    The 28-year-old accepts he is not the sharpest at keeping tabs on his team's workload, even at City.

    "Honestly, when I play for City, I don't even know what time kick-off is," he said. "My family call and say: hey, what time tomorrow? [I say] 'I don't know.'"

    However, Laporte has done little wrong on the pitch in Spain's opening games, a 7-0 win over Costa Rica and a 1-1 draw with Germany.

    Heading into Thursday's run of games, of all defenders to have played at least 90 minutes in this World Cup, Laporte had averaged the most passes per 90 minutes (125.5 – 11.31 more than anyone else) and the most passes in his own half (89 – 18 more than the next player on the list).

    He had had the third-most touches per 90 minutes (132.5) among defenders, with only team-mate Jordi Alba (136.23) and Germany's Nico Schlotterbeck (132.58) having more.

    It helps that Spain play in a similar vein to City, with their possession-based game one that suits Laporte, and it can only help to have Rodri with him, even if for their club the former Atletico Madrid man is typically deployed in midfield.

    Laporte had no doubt Rodri would be an ideal fit for defensive duties, and he is coaching his friend through games.

    They had another job to do against Japan on Thursday, with Spain knowing a draw would be enough to secure progress.

    "Rodri's intelligent, he knows how to adapt," Laporte said. "It's different for him. He seeks advice, asks a lot of questions; it's all very natural.

    "We've only let in one and we hope there aren't any more. Basically, I answer the questions he asks. Do I step out? When do we drop? Do I have to go with the striker when he runs into the space? Do I hold? Do I follow? Do I step out with the ball?

    "He asks lots of questions: being firm, decision-making, with the ball, without it. And I try to help as best I can."

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