EPL

Liverpool equal record streak as Manchester City slip up - the Premier League Data Diary

By Sports Desk August 18, 2019

Arsenal and Liverpool can boast 100 per cent records after two games of the new Premier League season, while four sides have failed to pick up a point from their opening pair of matches.

Aston Villa, Newcastle United, Southampton and Watford all suffered defeats on matchday two, while Manchester City and Chelsea dropped points at home.

With every team desperate to get into a winning habit, Opta's data helps us take a closer look at the patterns unfolding after the weekend's big games.

 

REDS WIN AGAIN TO EQUAL RODGERS' RECORD

Liverpool racked up their 11th consecutive top-flight victory with a 2-1 win at Southampton, equalling the club record set under Brendan Rodgers in April 2014.

Sadio Mane's third goal in four days sent Jurgen Klopp's men on their way just before half-time at St. Mary's and the Senegal international has scored 20 goals for the club in 2019 - eight more than Liverpool's next sharpest shooter, Mo Salah (12).

Roberto Firmino doubled the European champions' lead 19 minutes from time to ensure Danny Ings' late goal - courtesy of Adrian clearing the ball into his shin - was nothing more than a consolation as the Reds made sure they started the season with two wins for the second consecutive campaign, a feat they last achieved in 1993-94 and 1994-95.

Mane also became the first player to score in his first Premier League start of four consecutive seasons since Mark Viduka did so between 2002-03 and 2005-06.

CITY DROP POINTS DESPITE DELUGE OF SHOTS

Manchester City failed to win a Premier League match for the first time in 16 games, despite attempting 30 shots in their 2-2 draw with Tottenham at the Etihad Stadium.

The last time Spurs faced as many shots in a Premier League fixture was against Fulham (31) in November 2011, but they emerged with a point after Gabriel Jesus' late strike was ruled out by a VAR handball decision in the build-up.

Raheem Sterling put City ahead after 20 minutes with his fifth goal in four matches against Spurs at the Etihad, and, after Erik Lamela equalised for Tottenham, Sergio Aguero scored his 97th Premier League goal at the champions' home ground.

Only Thierry Henry (114 at Highbury), Wayne Rooney (101 at Old Trafford) and Alan Shearer (97 at St. James' Park) can boast equal or better scoring records at a single Premier League stadium than Aguero, who was teed up by Kevin De Bruyne's third assist in two league games - one more than he managed in the whole of last season.

But City's hopes of extending a Premier League winning streak that began on February 3 were undone when Lamela turned provider for Lucas Moura to equalise.

Lamela has scored and assisted for Tottenham in three different Premier League matches, all of them against Manchester clubs (twice against City, once against United).

PUKKI TREBLE EXTENDS MAGPIES' TRAVEL WOES

Newcastle United have won just two of their last 29 Premier League away matches in the month of August (D10 L17) after Teemu Pukki scored a hat-trick as Norwich City beat the Magpies 3-1 at Carrow Road.

The last time Newcastle won their first away league game of the season was in 2011-12 against Sunderland and they failed to cope with the threat of Finland international Pukki as Canaries boss Daniel Farke became the first Norwich manager to win his opening Premier League home game since Mike Walker in 1992.

Norwich fans had to think back 26 years to remember the last time they had a player score a Premier League hat-trick, Efan Ekoku doing so against Everton in September 1993.

Pukki, who also scored in Norwich's opening day defeat at Liverpool, has scored 33 league goals for the club since the start of last season, more than any other player across the top four tiers of English football.

LEICESTER LEAVE LAMPARD WINLESS IN THREE

Leicester City came from behind to draw 1-1 with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and make Frank Lampard the first Blues boss since Rafael Benitez (2012-13) to fail to win any of his first three games in charge.

After a Premier League opening day defeat at Manchester United and a UEFA Super Cup loss on penalties to Liverpool, Chelsea took the lead through Mason Mount's home debut goal only to be pegged back by Wilfred Ndidi's second-half equaliser.

Mount's opportunist strike made him the first English player to score on his first home Premier League appearance for Chelsea since Paul Hughes netted against Derby County in January 1997, while Ndidi's bullet header was his fifth goal in 90 Premier League appearances.

Ndidi scored from a corner by James Maddison, who has created 50 chances from set-pieces in the Premier League since the start of 2018-19 - at least six more than any other player in the division.

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    Ireland have never made it past the quarter-final stage of a Rugby World Cup, but on Sunday Joe Schmidt's side proved they should not be discounted this time around.

    A blistering first-half display was enough to topple Scotland 27-3, arguably Ireland's toughest rivals in Pool A, though hosts Japan will be no pushovers.

    Heading into the tournament as the world's number one side seemed somewhat undeserved based on Ireland's performances, with Schmidt's side having failed to impress in a poor Six Nations campaign, while they were hammered by England - among the favourites to challenge holders New Zealand - in a warm-up match last month.

    Successive victories over Six Nations champions Wales showed the talent was still there, even if this World Cup may have come a year too late for the men in green.

    But with Schmidt determined to end his tenure on a high and the quality in his squad evident, Ireland - inspired by brilliant performances from stalwarts Johnny Sexton and Rory Best - made their case in emphatic fashion in a rainswept Yokohama.

    SEXTON REIGNS SUPREME

    Sexton's injury at World Cup 2015 ultimately proved a decisive blow, with the fly-half missing the quarter-final defeat to Argentina in Cardiff.

    He has struggled with injuries throughout 2019, having been taken off with a head injury in Ireland's Six Nations clash with Scotland in January before missing much of the World Cup preparation due to a thumb injury.

    Assistant coach Matt Taylor promised the press Scotland would "smash" the World Rugby Player of the year, but Sexton showed no signs that warning had got to him, putting in a superb display, organising Ireland's defence and entrusting the forwards to do the rest.

    The 34-year-old did, however, sustain a thigh injury, with Conor Murray taking over kicking duties and - should Ireland manage to beat Japan - Schmidt may be tempted to wrap his star man, who was subbed off before the hour, in cotton wool for the rest of the pool stage.

    RORY BACK AT HIS BEST

    Rory Best's captaincy has come under scrutiny in the build-up to the World Cup, though the 37-year-old - who will retire after the tournament - proved that there is still plenty of life in this old dog.

    His 12th-minute try, a typically powerful drive following a lineout, cast aside any doubts over Ireland's approach and the skipper, aided by Sexton, led by example throughout at the International Stadium.

    He became the fourth Irish captain to score in a World Cup match, while Best is also the fourth oldest player, behind Diego Ormaechea, Fakahau Valu and Nick Easter, to go over in the history in the tournament.

    NEW BLOOD AT THE BACK

    "Their enthusiasm is something that's contagious, their ability to get themselves into the game," Schmidt said of Jordan Larmour, Andrew Conway and Jacob Stockdale, who were selected to make their World Cup debuts.

    Without experienced duo Keith Earls and Rob Kearney, who were not risked as they recover from injuries, Schmidt had no doubt over the ability of his new-look back-line and his confidence was not misplaced.

    All three players were composed in possession and in the ruck, with Conway adding further gloss when he raced over for a bonus-point securing try just before the hour.

  • Solskjaer: Manchester United must show ruthless side against West Ham Solskjaer: Manchester United must show ruthless side against West Ham

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Manchester United are "in good shape" but must still develop a killer instinct following a lean run in front of goal.

    United travel to West Ham on Sunday in search of a third successive victory in all competitions.

    Mason Greenwood's second-half effort saw off Astana in the Europa League on Thursday and added to last weekend's narrow Premier League win over Leicester City.

    While secure at the back, Solskjaer's men have failed to score more than a solitary goal in any of their five games since the 4-0 opening-weekend triumph over Chelsea.

    Starting striker Marcus Rashford netted twice in that match but has only added a single successful spot-kick to his tally ahead of the trip to the London Stadium.

    "Winning gives confidence and clean sheets give the defenders confidence and we just need to be more clinical in front of goal," Solskjaer told his club's website.

    "We're in good shape and we've prepared well for this game.

    "We had one eye on Astana but the other eye was on West Ham so we should be ready for it."

    West Ham were themselves held goalless in their last outing, a 0-0 draw at Aston Villa, but only after losing Arthur Masuaku to a red card in the 67th minute.

    The hard-earned away result moved the Hammers level with United on eight points from five games.

    "I think they're looking strong," Solskjaer said of Manuel Pellegrini's side.

    "Of course they have some quality players and their centre-forward [Sebastian] Haller has come good for them.

    "It's good to see [Andriy] Yarmolenko and [Manuel] Lanzini back fit because I know all about knee injuries.

    "We played them [at Old Trafford] towards the end of last season and we were lucky to beat them, so we know it's going to be a tough game."

  • Lampard trusts in Tomori to prove Premier League credentials at Chelsea Lampard trusts in Tomori to prove Premier League credentials at Chelsea

    Fikayo Tomori has earned the trust of Frank Lampard by displaying a "brilliant" attitude, the Chelsea head coach said ahead of the young defender's toughest Premier League test to date.

    Chelsea entertain the division's only unbeaten team on Sunday as Liverpool make the trip to Stamford Bridge in a repeat of last month's UEFA Super Cup, which the European champions won on penalties.

    Tomori featured as a substitute on that occasion but is now set to earn a third successive top-flight start after moving quickly through the queue of centre-backs.

    Lampard became convinced of the 21-year-old's readiness for the Premier League during their time together at Derby County and insisted he would have been part of the first-team plans at Chelsea even if David Luiz had not left for Arsenal.

    "The real credit of Fikayo is the way that he has approached it all," Lampard told reporters.

    "His mentality from when he came to Derby to today has been brilliant, from beginning to end. That is why he is improving.

    "I just trust in him. I trust in him as a player, the way that he trains every day, it's the kind of thing I want to see daily and the way he plays.

    "Of course he is a young player and like all young players there are moments where he can improve and that's something he constantly needs to work on.

    "I trust in him, hence I wanted him as part of the squad. That wouldn't have mattered who might have gone or not. My idea when I came here was to keep Fik part of the squad anyway because I trust him to come and play here.

    "Where better a place to play than the club he has come through at?"

    Tomori marked his second Premier League start with a stunning long-range goal in last weekend's 5-2 triumph at Wolves.

    Another academy product, Tammy Abraham, starred with a sparkling hat-trick, improving his goal haul to seven for the season.

    The striker will hope to prove he can have the same impact against a genuine title contender, having failed to convert the final spot-kick of the shoot-out loss to Liverpool in Istanbul.

    Lampard said: "It's normal that the top strikers are judged on goals and the next level of that is do you score goals against the big teams?

    "I understand that because against someone like [Virgil] van Dijk, a defence like Liverpool's and a team like Liverpool, maybe it's harder to create chances. So what can you do individually to try and create them and how clinical can you be after that?

    "Tammy has shown great signs this season but it will be another test on the way."

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