EPL

'Boring, boring Man United', Liverpool facing ignominious achievement – the Premier League weekend's quirky facts

By Sports Desk April 26, 2021

A week on from the drama, controversy and anger surrounding the European Super League, it felt like football – rather than its potential ruin – was at the front of the agenda this weekend.

However, the spectre of the Super League continued to loom over much of the action, with many of the so-called "big six" seeing it used as a stick to beat them with as they largely stuttered to underwhelming results.

Of those in league action over the weekend (Manchester City beat Tottenham in the EFL Cup final), only Chelsea emerged victorious, as Manchester United and Liverpool were held, while Arsenal lost at home to Everton.

Using Opta data, we look at some of the quirky facts from the latest Premier League matches…

Liverpool 1-1 Newcastle United: Reds to join exclusive list?

It was another underwhelming weekend for defending champions Liverpool, as their 1-1 draw at home to struggling Newcastle United saw them lose further ground in the fight for Champions League places.

Jurgen Klopp's men are four points adrift of Chelsea in fourth, after the Blues beat top-four rivals West Ham 1-0 at the London Stadium.

Liverpool have five matches to close the gap otherwise they face the prospect of an ignominious achievement.

Only five times before have the reigning Premier League champions failed to qualify for the Champions League the season after winning the title.

Manchester United were the first in 1994-95, also doing so in 2013-14. The other teams do this were Blackburn Rovers (1995-96), Chelsea (2015-16) and Leicester City (2016-17).

Wolves 0-4 Burnley: Wood and New Zealand join the United Nations of hat-tricks

Chris Wood enjoyed a weekend to remember as he netted his first Premier League hat-trick in Burnley's 4-0 win over Wolves.

In doing so, he became the first New Zealand national to score a treble in the competition, meaning there have been hat-tricks scored by 46 countries in the Premier League.

New Zealand has joined Gabon, South Korea, Venezuela, DR Congo, Japan, Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Paraguay, Iceland, Sweden, Costa Rica and Serbia on one.

England, unsurprisingly, leads the way with 154 hat-tricks from 69 individuals. Joint second with 18 each are Netherlands and Argentina, while France (17) and Spain (11) are the only other countries into double figures.

Leeds United 0-0 Manchester United: 'Boring, boring Man United'

Fans expecting a repeat of Manchester United's 6-2 thrashing of Leeds United will have been sorely disappointed, not just with the 0-0 draw, but also given it was a fairly drab encounter.

Sure, United have excited on occasion this season, that previous win over Leeds and the 9-0 demolition of Southampton immediately coming to mind.

But Sunday's stalemate was United's seventh 0-0 draw of the season, more than any other team in the Premier League.

On top of that, 2020-21 has now seen United play out more goalless draws than any other Premier League season.

They previously played out six in 2004-05 and 2016-17, but 2020-21 now leads the way.

West Ham 0-1 Chelsea: Tuchel's at home on the road

Thomas Tuchel has made a fine impression at Chelsea since replacing Frank Lampard in January. The achievements seem to be piling up.

Chelsea's latest win saw them leave London rivals West Ham with a 1-0 win that moved them back into the top four at the expense of David Moyes' boys.

As such, he became the first Chelsea manager to avoid defeat in his first 10 away games across all competitions.

The previous club record was set by William Lewis over 100 years ago in 1906-07, when they went nine unbeaten on the road.

Tuchel also matched the record set by Luiz Felipe Scolari for the number of clean sheets (10) in his first 14 Premier League matches.

What's even more impressive about that is it's a league record, rather than just relevant to Chelsea.

Related items

  • French minister Darmanin apologises to Liverpool fans after Champions League final chaos French minister Darmanin apologises to Liverpool fans after Champions League final chaos

    Liverpool fans have received an apology from France's interior minister Gerald Darmanin, after he initially blamed Reds supporters for chaos at the Champions League final.

    The European showpiece in Paris was twice delayed for what UEFA initially described as "security reasons" outside the Stade de France due to crowd congestion.

    Real Madrid went on to lift the trophy by defeating Liverpool 1-0 after the match started 36 minutes late at 21:36 local time, but it was events outside the ground that dominated the headlines.

    Initially, France's government insisted that between 30,000 and 40,000 fans had arrived without valid tickets.

    However, Paris police chief Didier Lallement, along with some of Emmanuel Macron's political opponents, questioned those figures.

    Earlier this month, Lallement apologised to Liverpool fans for the use of tear gas and the heavy-handed policing they were subjected to.

    UEFA also issued a formal apology and on Tuesday, a month on from the match, Darmanin admitted at least part of the responsibility lies with the French authorities.

    "Should things have been managed better at the Stade de France? The answer is yes," Darmanin told RTL radio.

    "Am I partly responsible? The answer is yes. Of course, I readily apologise to everyone who suffered from this bad management of the event."

  • Newcastle reveal third kit featuring similar colour scheme to Saudi Arabia's national team Newcastle reveal third kit featuring similar colour scheme to Saudi Arabia's national team

    Newcastle United have launched their third kit for the 2022-23 season, with the strip bearing a significant resemblance to that worn by Saudi Arabia's national team.

    The Magpies' alternate kit uses a base colour of white but then has green trim, with the neckline, badges and main sponsor all appearing in the secondary colour.

    Saudi Arabia's national team wear a home kit comprising very similar characteristics.

    The club were purchased last October by a consortium that included Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), which became the majority shareholder.

    The Premier League received "assurances" there was no Saudi-state involvement in Newcastle, even though the country's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman – also known as 'MBS' – is the PIF's chairman.

    Saudi Arabia's human rights record led to many urging authorities to block the purchase, with it seen by critics as a classic case of "sportswashing", but the deal went through regardless.

    Images of the new kit were leaked in May and saw Newcastle attract significant criticism, bringing about fresh questions about the detachment of Newcastle and the Saudi state.

    However, the criticism and backlash seemingly did not put the club off releasing the strip anyway and Newcastle's official statement features no reference to the controversial likeness.

    It is not the first time Newcastle have worn green, having done so as recently as 2019-20. It also featured on their third jersey in 2014-15.

  • Rumour Has It: Real Madrid eye Bellingham as final piece of midfield puzzle Rumour Has It: Real Madrid eye Bellingham as final piece of midfield puzzle

    Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro might make a seemingly eternal midfield composition, but Real Madrid still need to prepare for life after them.

    Following the signings of Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni over the past two off-season transfer windows, Los Blancos will look for a third.

    Reports suggest that what they are looking for is penalty area threat, and the intent is not necessarily to replace the attributes of the three veterans. All signs point to Germany, and Borussia Dortmund's England international Jude Bellingham.

     

    TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYE BELLINGHAM AS FINAL PIECE OF MIDFIELD PUZZLE

    Real Madrid will look to sign Bellingham in the 2023 off-season transfer window, according to Diario AS.

    According to reports, Bellingham does not have a release clause in his deal at Dortmund and with his contract running to 2025, with the German club seeking a sale in excess of €100million.

    Meanwhile, Real Madrid will not look to be the only suitors, with Chelsea and Liverpool also interested.

    ROUND-UP

    - Having already opened talks over Raheem Sterling, the Telegraph reports Chelsea are also looking to sign Manchester City's Nathan Ake.

    - Meanwhile, Milan are considering a move for Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech, per Calciomercato.

    Tottenham want to sign Everton duo Richarlison and Anthony Gordon, according to Sky Sports.

    - Christophe Galtier is close to being named as PSG's new boss, with Mauricio Pochettino on the way out, ESPN reports.

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