EPL

Premier League data dive: Sheff Utd stun Man Utd as Tuchel pass masters draw a blank

By Sports Desk January 28, 2021

Manchester United were stunned by bottom club Sheffield United in a seismic result for both ends of the Premier League table.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side were expected to regain top spot and end Manchester City's stay at the summit after 24 hours, although Chris Wilder's basement boys had other ideas.

Former City youth product Kean Bryan gave the visitors the lead at Old Trafford but normal service looked to have been resumed when former Blade Harry Maguire headed home.

But Oliver Burke had the final word in the 74th minute, giving Sheffield United a 2-1 triumph – only their second win of the Premier League season.

Brighton and Hove Albion and Fulham could not add to their pair of wins after a goalless draw at the Amex Stadium and sit 10 and five points better off than Wilder's men respectively.

It was the same scoreline at Stamford Bridge as Thomas Tuchel's reign got off to an underwhelming start against Wolves, while Everton against Leicester City also ended all square and there was a thrilling win for Burnley over Aston Villa.

Here are the pick of the Opta facts from some results that might look crucial in the final reckoning.

Manchester United 1-2 Sheffield United: Bryan and Burke land title-race body blow

It was a case of familiar frailties returning to haunt United's title bid as Bryan headed home John Fleck's corner.

Since the start of last season, no team has shipped more goals from corners than the 14 let in by Manchester United, Brighton and Chelsea.

Maguire also made the most of slack set-piece marking to net his sixth league goal for the club and his first at home.

But the hosts' defending from open play left a similar amount to be desired as Burke settled matters via a deflection off Axel Tuanzebe.

Bryan and Burke are the first players to net their maiden Premier League goals in the same match against United since Esteban Cambiasso and Jamie Vardy did likewise for Leicester in 2014.

Four defeats in 10 home matches means the Red Devils have amassed their highest number of league losses at Old Trafford since going down in seven in 2013-14.

Sheffield United became the first team from Yorkshire to win a Premier League game at Manchester United and only the third side in the Premier League era, following Leeds United in January 2010 (FA Cup) and York City in September 1996 (League Cup).

Chelsea 0-0 Wolves: Possession without penetration for Tuchel's Blues

A day after being installed as Frank Lampard's successor, Tuchel saw his swiftly remodelled Chelsea dominate but fail to find the net against Wolves.

Struggles against Nuno Espirito Santo's side are nothing new, no matter who is in charge. This is the second time in three seasons that Wolves have gone unbeaten versus Chelsea, having also won at Molineux and drawn at Stamford Bridge in 2018-19.

The visitors certainly had to work to keep their opponents at bay as the Blues hogged 78.9 per cent of possession and racked up 820 passes. Since Opta began collecting this data in 2003-04, both are the highest totals by a team in their coach's first match in charge.

Tuchel is on a run of four consecutive league clean sheets after Paris Saint-Germain completed shutouts in his final three Ligue 1 matches.

Before this season, Thiago Silva was a key part of his backline in the French capital. Reunited in London, the Brazil veteran is now unbeaten in 25 home league appearances under Tuchel (W22 D3).

Wolves have not been so assured defensively of late and this was their first league clean sheet since a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace on October 30, ending a run of 12 straight games without one.

Burnley 3-2 Aston Villa: Wood heads for the heights to lift Clarets

Chris Wood netted a 79th-minute winner as Burnley twice came from behind at Turf Moor to beat Aston Villa and move nine points clear of the relegation zone.

Wood rose to nod home a cross from winger Dwight McNeil for something of a trademark goal. Since his top-flight debut for Burnley in August 2017, no player has scored more headed goals than the New Zealand striker, who is level with Harry Kane on 15.

McNeil pulled Sean Dyche's side level after Jack Grealish netted his sixth league goal of the campaign. Combined with his eight assists, the England star has 14 goal involvements in 18 Premier League matches – the same number he managed last season (eight goals, six assists).

Ollie Watkins matched Grealish's goals mark from 2019-20 when he opened the scoring, making it eight Premier League goals in 18 outings.

Ashley Westwood got the assist for Ben Mee's initial equaliser, meaning he has 16 assists for Burnley in the competition. Only Johann Gudmundsson (17) has more.

Everton 1-1 Leicester City: Long-range lone ranger James shines again

James Rodriguez continued his fine form for Everton with a spectacular strike to put Carlo Ancelotti's men in front.

The Colombia international has scored 19 goals from outside the box in Europe's top five leagues – three for Monaco, 11 for Real Madrid, three for Bayern Munich and now two for Everton.

This was his first with his right foot and added to an impressive personal haul of four goals and three assists. Only Dominic Calvert-Lewin (11) has been directly involved in more Premier League goals for Everton this season.

However, another specialist made sure the points were shared. All five of Youri Tielemans' goals for Leicester in the league this season have come away from home.

The Belgium international has netted the most away goals of any player yet to score at home this term.

Everton might well have a further say in the title battle to come. They are unbeaten in the three league games they have played against opponents starting the day above them in the table this season – a 1-0 win over Chelsea and 2-0 defeat of Leicester last December.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Fulham: All square in tense basement battle

High stakes did nothing for the entertainment value in this relegation six-pointer, completing a pair of 0-0 draws between Brighton and Fulham this season.

Perhaps it was not for the want of trying – with 26 shots combined (16 for Brighton and 10 for Fulham), only Aston Villa v Burnley (33) last month and Leeds United v Arsenal (34) in November have produced more shots without a goal being scored in 2020-21.

It was the first time Fulham have played out two goalless draws against the same opponent in a single season since a pair of 2001-02 stalemates with Leicester.

Brighton have become bore-draw specialists, playing out 14 0-0s since their promotion to the top-flight in 2017-18, which is more than any other side in that period.

As their positions in 17th and 18th illustrate, both teams are finding victories hard to come by.

Fulham are winless in nine, with six draws and three losses, since beating Leicester 2-1 in November, while Brighton's 2-1 triumph against Arsenal in June is their only win in the past 19 matches at the Amex Stadium. Since then they have lost and drawn seven apiece on home turf.

Related items

  • Rumour Has It: Liverpool, Chelsea and PSG chasing Madrid target Alaba, Barca want Arteta Rumour Has It: Liverpool, Chelsea and PSG chasing Madrid target Alaba, Barca want Arteta

    David Alaba has appeared set to swap Bayern Munich for Real Madrid.

    Alaba is keen for a new challenge following a successful partnership with Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern.

    But three of Europe's elite are still reportedly eyeing Alaba.

     

    TOP STORY – TRIO NOT GIVING UP ON ALABA

    Liverpool, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are still trying to sign wantaway Bayern Munich star David Alaba, according to Fabrizio Romano's Benchwarmers column.

    Alaba will leave Bundesliga champions Bayern on a free transfer at the end of the season and he has been tipped to join LaLiga holders Real Madrid.

    However, Liverpool, Chelsea and PSG are still pursuing the Austria international.

     

    ROUND-UP

    - RAC1 suggests Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is one of Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta's targets if Ronald Koeman does not remain at Camp Nou beyond 2020-21.

    Madrid are interested in Manchester United target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, reports the Daily Star. Sancho was wanted by United at the start of the season but a big-money move did not materialise.

    - Mundo Deportivo claims Atletico Madrid are tracking Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who is valued at around €25million.

    Manchester United and Premier League rivals Leeds United are eyeing Torino defender Nicolas Nkoulou, according to Tuttosport. The 30-year-old is set to become a free agent at season's end.

    - L'Equipe says Mauro Icardi is free to leave PSG if a suitable offer arrives amid links to Juventus. Icardi is contracted to the Ligue 1 champions until 2024, but PSG are focused on re-signing Kylian Mbappe and making Moise Kean's loan deal from Everton permanent. If Mbappe departs for Madrid, PSG will look to raise funds by selling Icardi as they dream of Tottenham's Harry Kane and Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

  • I love rebellious players – Atletico boss Simeone responds to Joao Felix's angry goal celebration I love rebellious players – Atletico boss Simeone responds to Joao Felix's angry goal celebration

    Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone insisted he loves "rebellious" players after praising Joao Felix's angry goal celebration.

    Joao Felix – a club-record €126million signing in 2019 – came off the bench in the second half to seal a 2-0 win over Villarreal on Sunday as Atletico put their LaLiga title charge back on track.

    The Portugal international looked unimpressed after scoring in the 69th minute – Joao Felix gesturing and shouting towards the Atletico bench – following Alfonso Pedraza's own goal.

    Asked about the celebration, Simeone told reporters post-match:  "You'll have to ask him.

    "He scored a great goal. He came on and did well in the second half... I love it when players rebel, when they look to be strong. We need him to be, he's an important player for us."

    Simeone added: "I'll ask him in the next training session, and then I'll see if I tell you.

    "I love it when players show pride. How long had it been since Joao scored? If players are rebellious, give them to me!"

    Simeone, meanwhile, earned a place in Atletico's history books with Sunday's win over Villarreal.

    The Argentine coach enjoyed his 308th victory in charge of the Spanish club – matching Luis Aragones as the Atletico head coach with the highest number of victories in all competitions.

    Simeone's latest win came in his 512th match at the helm. Aragones, the only man to take charge of more games, reached 308 victories in 612 matches at a rate of 50.3 per cent.

    "You know what this game is like," Simeone said when asked about the feat. "From tomorrow [Monday] we will start to live off what we do in the derby [against Real Madrid]. 

    "It is an important victory, one does not stop to think about passing or not passing Luis, who is surely very happy about this moment of Atletico.

    "We have a lot of things to improve and hopefully this week we can present a better version."

  • Bucks star Giannis relishes blockbuster battles after taming Kawhi's Clippers: Feels like greatness Bucks star Giannis relishes blockbuster battles after taming Kawhi's Clippers: Feels like greatness

    Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo relishes going up against the best in the world, saying it feels like "greatness" after taking down Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers in a rallying display.

    Antetokounmpo posted 36 points, including 17 in the final quarter, and 14 rebounds as the Bucks outlasted the Clippers 105-100 in NBA action on Sunday.

    Two-time reigning MVP Antetokounmpo fuelled a game-closing 9-0 run to help extend Milwaukee's winning streak to five games.

    Antetokounmpo became the first Bucks player with 35-plus points in four consecutive games since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1973 as Leonard and fellow All-Star Paul George struggled during the closing stages.

    Leonard (25 points and nine rebounds) and George (16 points) went cold in the final quarter for the Clippers, combining to shoot three-for-15 and scoring just six points as the visitors were scoreless over the last four minutes of the game.

    "It was individual pride," Antetokounmpo said of taking on the All-Star duo. "It is pride. It is an ego thing. Personally, I love that going down the stretch.

    "I feel like it's greatness. When you go against the best in the world down the stretch and you are trying to get a stop and they are trying to score on you to win the game, it's greatness developing at that moment."

    After dropping five straight games, the Bucks are now riding a winning streak in the Eastern Conference.

    The Bucks (21-13) are one game adrift of leaders the Philadelphia 76ers (22-12) in the east.

    "When we lost five, a lot of people were panicking," Antetokounmpo said. "Now, we win five and no one is talking about it. That is how it goes.

    "Being able to get out of it, snap out of it ... that is what matters. This is important ... it's not over. We are not done yet. We might go again on a seven-game losing streak, 10. Hopefully not. I don't want to put it out in the universe. [But] there is no panic."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.