Premier League data dive: Rangnick makes perfect start, Tottenham continue resurgence under Conte

By Sports Desk December 05, 2021

As always, there was plenty of drama as the Premier League continued on Sunday.

Ralf Rangnick made a winning start to life in the Old Trafford dugout as Manchester United saw off Crystal Palace.

Tottenham and Aston Villa, meanwhile, continued their resurgences under Antonio Conte and Steven Gerrard respectively.

Spurs enjoyed a commanding win over bottom side Norwich, with Villa coming from behind to defeat Leicester City.

And despite Patrick Bamford's last-ditch goal, Leeds United dropped more points from a winning position against Brentford at Elland Road.

With lots to reflect on, Stats Perform takes an in-depth look at the pick of Opta's post-match facts from Sunday's action…

Manchester United 1-0 Crystal Palace: Rangnick makes winning start

Fred's second Premier League goal of the season gave Rangnick the perfect start to life in the Old Trafford dugout.

Including caretakers, six of the last seven managers have now won their first game in charge of the Red Devils in all competitions.

Rangnick, though, became the first German manager to win his maiden Premier League match; succeeding where Felix Magath, Jurgen Klopp, Jan Siewert, Daniel Farke and Thomas Tuchel failed.

It also marked United's first clean sheet at Old Trafford in 16 attempts, having last kept out Granada in the Europa League back in April.

Leeds United 2-2 Brentford: Last-gasp Bamford denies Bees

Brentford were denied only a second league victory at Elland Road in 15 attempts as Bamford marked his return from injury with a dramatic 95th-minute equaliser.

Tyler Roberts' first home Premier League goal put Leeds on course for a ninth successive win over a promoted side.

But the Bees bit back. Shandon Baptiste became only the third Grendian to score in the English top-flight, before Sergi Canos completed the turnaround.

Bamford ensured a share of the spoils for the hosts, who have now scored three Premier League goals in the 90th minute or later this season – more than any other side.

Nevertheless, Marcelo Bielsa's men have now dropped 12 points from winning positions this term – already twice as many as they did in the whole of last season.

Tottenham 3-0 Norwich City: Three out of three for Conte

After Harry Redknapp and Ryan Mason, Conte became the third Tottenham manager to win his first three Premier League home games following a commanding victory over Norwich.

Son Heung-min scored and assisted in a single game for the 19th time since arriving from Bayer Leverkusen in 2015, with only Mohamed Salah (22) doing so more often during that time.

The South Korea international has been directly involved in 50 per cent of Tottenham's Premier League goals this season, with only Teemu Pukki (63 per cent) and Emmanuel Dennis (55 per cent) involved in a higher share of their side's goals.

There was also a rare goal for Davinson Sanchez. Indeed, it was 1,029 days since the defender last found the net in this competition; doing so against Leicester in February 2019.

Norwich became the first side since Arsenal in 2008-09 to name five players aged 21 or under in their starting 11 for the third time in a single season.

However, the Canaries remain bottom of the table following a 12th defeat in 13 Premier League games in London.

Aston Villa 2-1 Leicester City: Gerrard continues to revitalise Villa

Villa made it three wins in four games under Gerrard – as many as they managed in their first 11 matches of the campaign.

Though they took the lead, Leicester lost having scored first for only the second time in 13 Premier League away games.

Ezri Konsa was the unlikely hero for the hosts. In his 216th professional appearance in all competitions, the centre-half scored twice in a game for the first time.

He also became the first defender to score a brace for Villa in a Premier League match since Ciaran Clark against Arsenal in November 2010.

One of his goals was provided by Emiliano Buendia. It was the Argentine's 37th assist since arriving in England in 2018, with only Trent Alexander-Arnold (39) registering more in the top four divisions during that time.

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  • Neil Critchley hails Blackpool’s defensive display Neil Critchley hails Blackpool’s defensive display

    Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley praised his side’s defensive efforts in their 1-0 win at Barnsley.

    Jordan Rhodes scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot after Corey O’Keefe brought down CJ Hamilton.

    Critchley said: “It’s nice to keep a clean sheet and score, because we’ve not done that away from home so far.

    “We defended magnificently well for the whole game, particularly in the second half. We defended crosses well, made blocks when we needed to block.

    “We’ve played a lot better than that with the ball and we’ll have to play better than that with the ball if we don’t want the pattern of the game to go in a similar fashion.

    “There’s 46 games, sometimes you might not play well and you have to dig it out and grind it out. We’ve done that today and I’m delighted for the supporters who’ve travelled.”

    The win was Blackpool’s first away from home this season and Critchley said: “You want to tick off certain things during the season as quickly as you can.

    “We always carried a threat, but we’ve played better with the ball in a lot of our other games away from home and lost.

    “The players knew at the end of the game that they needed to play better with the ball to relieve some of the pressure.

    “But, for all Barnsley’s pressure, they got the ball forward and made a lot of changes and put bodies in the box, I don’t think Daniel Grimshaw’s had a save to make in the game.

    “The spirit and togetherness of the team was outstanding and I think the supporters appreciate that they can see a team going the extra inch to win the game.”

    Barnsley head coach Neill Collins felt his side contributed to their own downfall.

    He said: “A poor mistake to give away the penalty and then we huffed and puffed and had two or three moments, but probably didn’t do enough at times.

    “Ultimately we’ve lost a very tight game where there was nothing between the teams. If anything, we looked comfortable, but we have to learn to be getting it home.

    “We’ve shot ourselves in the foot, I think we did the same against Oxford, we gave away a penalty early on.

    “Today we were compact, solid. But we need to create more if a team is going to do that.

    “As the game went on, we started to create some more opportunities but lacked a bit of quality and a little bit of desire that might’ve just made the difference.”

  • We’ve achieved nothing yet – Liam Manning keeps Oxford grounded after big win We’ve achieved nothing yet – Liam Manning keeps Oxford grounded after big win

    Liam Manning insisted Oxford will not get carried away after a 3-1 win at fellow high-flyers Stevenage strengthened their position inside the top two.

    The game of the day in League One pitted third against second and Greg Leigh’s birthday brace ensured the points returned with the Us, who came from behind following Jamie Reid’s opener.

    Oxford skipper Elliott Moore sealed the points late on to take Oxford three points clear of their opponents with a game in hand but Manning will not be resting on his laurels at this early stage.

    “We’ve achieved nothing yet,” he said. “We’ve got off to a good start, but there’s still a long way to go.

    “There’s no feeling like we’ve cracked anything. We’ve got to stay together, stick together. I’m pleased with the players, I keep saying it but they’re the ones who go out and do the job.

    “It’s a big win. It’s a really tough place to come with their style and their relentless nature.

    “They build up a lot of momentum with their directness and we really stood up to that.

    “The big thing was we showed some real bravery. The lads are terrific, I can’t speak highly enough of them.

    “It was another experience we’ve ticked off with going behind in a game to then respond and bounce back.

    “Greg was excellent. We know what we’ve got with Greg. He gives us that physicality and gives us a threat going forward.

    “He took his goals really well. I’m really pleased for him.”

    Boro flew out of the traps and saw Carl Piergianni’s header cleared off the line before Reid’s seventh of the season gave them a 15th-minute lead.

    But Leigh equalised just eight minutes later and blasted the visitors in front early in the second half, with Moore sealing the outcome late on.

    Stevenage boss Steve Evans said: “It was a good start, we were the dominant side and got the goal.

    “In the second half, those back boys who have been real leaders for us were poor. We were poor defensively and that gave them a little bit of a lifeline to go 2-1 in front.

    “I think there’s only Luther Wildin who can go home happy that he did his job tonight. The other four have not.

    “They’ve not done their jobs and two or three of them had bad games individually and were as poor as I’ve seen them.

    “But they’re good players, they’re good men. They’ll take that criticism where it’s meant.

    “We’re only 10 games in and I see guys next to me celebrating like they’re 35 games in. When they’ve won a promotion they can come and talk to me and I’ll respect them more.”

  • Graham Coughlan criticises officials after Newport goal is ruled out Graham Coughlan criticises officials after Newport goal is ruled out

    Graham Coughlan blasted the officials for denying Newport “a very legitimate goal” in their 2-1 defeat to Salford at the Peninsula Stadium.

    Salford took the lead thanks to Matthew Lund’s 25th-minute header but Bryn Morris’s strike levelled things six minutes later.

    An unfortunate own goal from Declan Drysdale put Salford back in the lead just before half-time.

    The visitors thought they were level again on the hour, but Will Evans’ goal was disallowed and the Newport winger was booked for protesting to the linesman after he flagged for offside.

    Exiles boss Coughlan said: “We scored a second goal which was a very legitimate goal. I don’t see what the issue is with it.

    “We’ve looked back at it and we can’t see where they’re coming from, so we’re absolutely fuming to be honest. Decisions like that don’t belong in the game, someone needs to look at the decision and give us an honest explanation as to why the goal has been disallowed.

    “There’s no excuses, you can’t disallow that goal but these guys get protected and that needs to be explained because it’s not good enough and we expect better.

    “In my eyes, it’s a 2-2 draw today.”

    Coughlan did also concede that errors cost his side.

    He added: “We made two basic, silly errors and if you don’t make them errors you win the game today. I thought our performance overall was excellent, but we have to look at the errors and we have to look at the two goals that we conceded.”

    Salford came into the game off the back of six straight defeats – a run that Neil Wood was relieved to put an end to.

    Ammies head coach Wood said: “It was always going to be a battle to get back on track. We knew it was going to be a day like that and we were much better in that department than we have been in recent games, which was a positive for us, and it’s a relief.

    “When we play quickly and we attack quickly, it’s a really high level to see. We need to make sure we are strong and difficult to play against. All of the things we looked to address this week in training, there was a large improvement.”

    Salford travel to Gander Green Lane on Tuesday night to play Sutton, who currently lie at the foot of Sky Bet League Two.

    Wood said: “We have to go to Sutton and put the same energy in, defend the same way, and when we get our moments create some chances.

    “It was nice to win a game, but we have to go and do it again. We look forward to Tuesday night and next weekend and we have to win.”

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