EPL

Chelsea stagger, Nuno woe and the year of the penalty – the Premier League weekend's quirky facts

By Sports Desk May 24, 2021

Another Premier League season has come to an end and Sergio Aguero added another top-flight record to his collection.

Manchester City's all-time leading goalscorer was already the top-scoring overseas player in Premier League history and his farewell brace from the bench in a celebratory 5-0 win over Everton made him the top one-club scorer in the division with 184.

Impressive, yes, but those are conventionally impressive numbers.

For the final time in 2020-21, Stats Perform takes a look through the more unusual figures to have emerged over the course of an action-packed round of games.

 

The year of the penalty

Anwar Al Ghazi's second-half penalty ultimately proved decisive as Aston Villa beat Chelsea 2-1 and it was also a landmark goal – the 100th spot-kick to be scored in the Premier League this season.

Never before have penalty goals ticked into three figures, with the effects of VAR arguably keenly felt.

However, does the volume of penalties being given mean they are less costly than they once were? Manchester City conceded 10 in a season for the first time and ended up as champions.

The 10th came at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, although Ederson was on hand to keep out Gylfi Sigurdsson's attempt and preserve a 19th clean sheet of the season.

There should be little surprise that a penalty ended up being awarded during the game. When Ruben Dias brought down Richarlison it was the 19th time Michael Oliver had pointed to the spot this season.

That amounts to a new high for an individual referee during a campaign, usurping the inimitable Mike Dean's 17 in 2009-10. Perhaps the Merseyside official will view it as a challenge?

 

Chelsea share the wealth

Thomas Tuchel's side stumbled rather than strode into the top four, going down to a 2-1 defeat at Villa Park and finding themselves in the unusual position of being grateful for a Tottenham victory at Leicester City.

Chelsea might have secured Champions League qualification in more stress-free fashion if any of their players had bothered scoring more goals.

Yes, that might not be the most earth-shaking piece of tactical insight, but the Blues have provided one of the season's statistical curiosities.

They are the first team in a century to have reached the top four despite having no player reach double figures for league goals, with the previous team to manage the feat in such a fashion being Everton in 1910-11.

What's more is their top Premier League scorer Jorginho netted all seven from the penalty spot. Tammy Abraham, Timo Werner and Mason Mount – all of whom have experienced sharply contrasting fortunes since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in January – have six apiece.

Jorginho is the Blues' lowest scoring top-scorer in a top division season since Ian Hutchinson also led the way with seven in 1974-75.

Players certainly seem to have no problem scoring once they leave Chelsea. Aston Villa's Bertrand Traore became the 25th old Stamford Bridge employee to score against his former club. No Premier League side has seen ex-players score against them more often.

 

Blades creators not cutting through

If individual goal tallies are a cause for concern at Chelsea, relegated Sheffield United can roll their woes back one more step in the process.

No Blades player will return to the Championship with more than two assists to their name, with John Lundstram, John Fleck and George Baldock all level as their most prolific – in the loosest sense of the word – creators.

In the history of the Premier League, only one other team has gone through a season without a player reaching at least three assists. Mark Kinsella, Steve Jones, Danny Mills, Richard Rufus and Eddie Youds had two apiece for Charlton Athletic in 1998-99.

United at least signed off with a 1-0 victory over Burnley. David McGoldrick's winner was the 1,000th goal scored in the Premier League this season.

 

No, no, no, no on last day for Nuno

Nuno Espirito Santo said farewell to Wolves having restored the club to the Premier League and enjoyed a wonderful four seasons in charge.

But maybe the Portuguese tactician should have headed off on his holidays early, because just about the one thing not to have improved during his Molineux tenure is Wolves' final-day record.

In the four seasons before Nuno arrived in the midlands, the club won four in a row on the last day of the season between 2013-14 and 2016-17.

Promotion from the Championship had already been secured before a 3-0 loss to Sunderland to close out 2017-18. Liverpool beat Wolves 2-0 at Anfield as their final-day title bid fell short in 2019.

Chelsea won 2-0 at Stamford Bridge last July as Nuno's men cast an eye towards their pending Europa League bid and Manchester United's 2-1 weekend triumph made it four concluding losses out of four.

Related items

  • Pepe to miss Porto's decisive Atletico Madrid clash due to COVID-19 Pepe to miss Porto's decisive Atletico Madrid clash due to COVID-19

    Porto will be without captain Pepe for their decisive Champions League showdown with Atletico Madrid on Tuesday after he tested positive for coronavirus.

    The Primeira Liga leaders go into their final Group B match at Estadio do Dragao in second place, with Atleti and Milan also in the hunt to qualify for the last 16 behind runaway leaders Liverpool.

    Porto will have to do without veteran centre-back Pepe, while Marko Grujic is a doubt due to an ankle injury.

    Coach Sergio Conceicao said during a news conference on Monday: "Pepe tested positive for COVID. It's an uncontrollable situation, it's part of society.

    "As for Grujic, two days ago in training, with the poor quality of our pitches, he sprained [his ankle] and is in doubt."

    Milan and Atleti are just a point behind Porto and Jurgen Klopp will ring the changes for Liverpool's trip to San Siro.

    Conceicao believes it should already have been mission accomplished for his side, who must win to make certain of a place in the knockouts.

    He said: "In this circumstance, in the last round of the group stage [to be in contention to progress] is something my team deserves praise for, and it would be deserved to be already in the round of 16.

    "Any of the teams [Porto, Milan and Atleti] can dream of going through, but we have to focus on what we have to do in the game and win it."

    Mateus Uribe (suspended) and Ivan Marcano (foot) are also ruled out, while Francisco Conceicao (hip) and Joao Mario (fatigue) are rated as doubtful. 

  • Everton 2-1 Arsenal: Stunning Gray strike snatches last-gasp victory Everton 2-1 Arsenal: Stunning Gray strike snatches last-gasp victory

    Demarai Gray's stoppage-time wonder goal saw Everton snatch a dramatic 2-1 victory over Arsenal and relieve the pressure on boss Rafael Benitez.

    Martin Odegaard put the Gunners in front just before half-time at Goodison Park with a neat volley from Kieran Tierney's cross.

    But despite twice being denied by VAR, Richarlison equalised with 10 minutes remaining, before Gray completed the turnaround with a stunning 25-yard effort in the second minute of stoppage time.

    Now without a win in four Premier League visits to Goodison, Mikel Arteta’s side missed the chance to return to fifth place in the table.

    Everton were unbeaten in their three previous home games against Arsenal in the Premier League and made a bright start to proceedings.

    Top scorer Gray and Abdoulaye Doucoure were off target, while Anthony Gordon had a shot blocked inside the box.

    The hosts thought they had taken a 44th-minute lead when Richarlison headed in Andros Townsend's cross, but VAR denied them as the Brazil international strayed marginally offside.

    The visitors capitalised in first-half stoppage time, Odegaard arriving late to neatly volley home Kieran Tierney's centre.

    Odegaard almost turned provider eight minutes after the restart, the former Real Madrid midfielder’s cross finding Gabriel Magalhaes, whose header was saved by Jordan Pickford.

    Everton and Richarlison were denied by VAR again four minutes later, the latter offside by a fraction once more as he received Doucoure's pass before slotting beyond Aaron Ramsdale.

    But their persistence paid off 10 minutes from time, Richarlison reacting quickest to head home the rebound after Ramsdale had done brilliantly to turn Gray’s initial effort onto the crossbar.

    Eddie Nketiah then squandered a glorious opportunity to snatch the points for Arsenal; the substitute somehow hitting the post with a close-range header.

    It proved costly as Everton snatched all three points in the second minute of added time, Gray embarking on a strong run before bending a wonderful 25-yard strike in off the post.

  • Inter winger Perisic to discuss his future in 'a couple of weeks' Inter winger Perisic to discuss his future in 'a couple of weeks'

    Inter winger Ivan Perisic will not discuss his future for "a couple of weeks" as the Nerazzurri prepare to face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday.

    The Croatia international is only under contract until the end of the season and it has been reported Tottenham boss Antonio Conte is keen for a reunion with the 32-year-old.

    Perisic, who has scored three goals and provided two assists in 19 appearances this season, says he is only interested in Serie A champions Inter's quest to win more trophies for the time being.

    He said in a news conference on Monday: "The last two years have been wonderful for me, but this is the past.

    "I'm hungry, we want to win again this year. I don't like to talk about the future, I'm focused on this period and we have to give everything we have every day." 

    The Nerazzurri are assured of a place in the last 16 of the Champions League, but Perisic is eyeing a victory at the Santiago Bernabeu to win Group D.

    "I'm focused only on tomorrow, as are my team-mates. We want to play a great game and finish in first place," he added.

    "We have time and in a couple of weeks we'll talk [about his future]. Let's see what can happen."

    Madrid have won each of their past three games against Inter in the Champions League, while the Italians have only one victory in their previous 12 meetings with Spanish sides.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.