EPL

Premier League data dive: Hammer horror for Mourinho and Tottenham, Villa march on

By Sports Desk October 19, 2020

Gareth Bale's return to English football coincided with a Tottenham implosion against West Ham, as David Moyes' team earned a place in Premier League history. 

From 3-0 behind after 81 minutes, West Ham incredibly scrambled a 3-3 draw from their trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

No team in the Premier League had ever previously come from so far back, so late in a game, to avoid defeat. 

Burnley are now the only team without a point in the Premier League after Sheffield United and Fulham both got off the mark in a 1-1 draw at Bramall Lane, while Brighton and Hove Albion had 20 times as many shots as Crystal Palace in their Selhurst Park battle but also finished in stalemate. 

Aston Villa, meanwhile, have joined early leaders Everton in sending a reminder to the 'big six' that they too were once giants of the English game, who might just be waking from years of slumber. 

Tottenham 3-3 West Ham: Hammer blow to Spurs

Was it the Premier League's greatest three-goal comeback, or simply the latest? Either way, the recovery from David Moyes' team was one they will not forget in a long time, while Tottenham and head coach Jose Mourinho may find it haunts them. 

Until the late twist there was a lot to enjoy for Tottenham and their supporters. 

Going 3-0 up in 16 minutes was the earliest they had held a three-goal lead in a Premier League game since facing Derby County in August 2007. They led 3-0 after 14 minutes and beat the Rams 4-0 that day, so surely three points were beckoning again here. In the most recent 87 Premier League matches where they had led by at least three goals, going back 19 years, Tottenham had won every time. 

Harry Kane's early double and assist for Son Heung-min took him to 23 direct goal involvements in his past 12 competitive games for Spurs, consisting of 15 goals and eight assists. 

The England captain has five goals and seven assists for his club this season, with those 12 involvements the most ever by a player in their opening five matches of a Premier League campaign. 

Had Tottenham convinced themselves the game was won by the time Bale came on in the 72nd minute, for his first Spurs appearance since May 2013? The chasm of seven years and 152 days since he last pulled on the shirt was the longest gap between appearances for the club by any player in the Premier League. 

After the game, Tottenham boss Mourinho said Moyes had found "his new Fellaini" in Tomas Soucek - alluding to Moyes' strong allegiance towards Marouane Fellaini, who he had at Everton and took to Manchester United. 

Fellaini was a nuisance in the air, particularly at set-pieces, and Soucek clearly has some of that in his armoury. The tall Czech has had the most goal attempts in the Premier League this season of players who have not scored. He has been luckless so far after 14 efforts at the target, six of which have been headers. 

Leicester City 0-1 Aston Villa: Red-hot Ross

Can anyone stop Villa? Ross Barkley's late strike gave the midfielder two goals in two games since joining from Chelsea. 

Barkley only got two goals in his last 42 Premier League appearances with Chelsea before accepting a season-long loan switch to Villa, so either he is overachieving or there is something about his new team that suits him. 

Perhaps combining with Jack Grealish is bringing the best out of Barkley. Grealish played more passes in the Leicester half (30) than any other Villa player, but Barkley was just three behind. 

After his hat-trick against Liverpool before the international break, Ollie Watkins could only manage a treble of a different kind this time. He was caught offside three times, more than any other player in the match. 

The signs are overwhelmingly good for Villa after a fourth successive win. The last time they began a season with such a string of victories was in 1930-31, when they went on to finish as runners-up to Arsenal in the old First Division. 

Sheffield United 1-1 Fulham: History a warning to Blades

Billy Sharp's penalty dug the hosts out of trouble and ensured these two shared the points in South Yorkshire, but there are worrying omens for the Blades. 

United are winless in five games, and their single point so far is worrying enough. The last time they failed to win one of their opening five league games, however, it was a precursor to relegation from the Premier League in the 2006-07 season and 12 ensuing years outside the top flight. 

Sharp's 85th-minute spot-kick ended their 368-minute Premier League goal drought at home, dating back to a surprise 3-0 win over Chelsea in July. 

While United prepare for consecutive fixtures against Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea, their visitors on Sunday might wish to address their own penalty-taking. 

Aleksandar Mitrovic missed from the spot in the second half before Ademola Lookman gave the west London side the lead. 

Fulham have only scored three of their past six Premier League penalties, while Mitrovic has failed to put away four of his last 10 across all competitions in English football. 

The former Newcastle United striker also fouled Jack Robinson to hand Sharp his spot-kick opportunity. That made Mitrovic the first player to both miss and give away a penalty in the same Premier League game since Mikel Arteta did so for Arsenal against Fulham in November 2012. 

Crystal Palace 1-1 Brighton and Hove Albion: Zaha makes hosts' one shot count

Wilfried Zaha's early penalty gave Palace the lead, but there was little doubting Brighton deserved at least a point in south London, so their 90th-minute equaliser was hard earned. 

With 65.7 per cent of possession and 20 shots to Palace's one, it was really a wonder that Brighton took only a point from this fixture. 

Zaha's penalty means he has scored seven goals versus Brighton now - more than against any other opponent - while Palace kept up their lethal record from the spot. That is now 15 consecutive spot-kick conversions in the Premier League from the Eagles. 

At least there was some reward for Brighton for their great efforts, with Alexis Mac Allister getting his first Premier League goal for the club on his 10th appearance in the competition. 

It made the Argentinian, at 21 years and 299 days old, the second-youngest Seagulls player to score in the Premier League. 

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