EPL

Premier League data dive: Away-day specialists Man City close in on title, Havertz at the double

By Sports Desk May 02, 2021

Away-day specialists Manchester City saw off Crystal Palace 2-0 to close in on another Premier League title and equal a top-flight record in the process.

Chelsea beat Fulham by the same scoreline elsewhere in Saturday's Premier League action, thanks to a couple of goals from Kai Havertz.

A two-goal success was also the outcome when Brighton and Hove Albion welcomed Leeds United to the Amex Stadium, the Seagulls all but securing their top-flight status for another season.

In the late match, Aston Villa edged out Everton 2-1 to boost their chances of a top-half finish and derail their opponents' European prospects.

We use Opta data to take a look at the best facts from Saturday's games.

 

Crystal Palace 0-2 Manchester City: Patient Citizens win again on their travels

Goals from Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres in the space of 83 seconds proved enough for City to pick up a victory that leaves them on the brink of another piece of silverware.

Those strikes came from the Citizens' first two shots on target and saw them reach the 700-goal mark under Pep Guardiola in all competitions.

City's 57-minute wait for their first on-target attempt of the match was their longest in a Premier League game since November 2019 against Southampton.

Torres added to Aguero's opener moments later with a good finish from 20 yards - the 11th league goal Palace have conceded from outside the box this term, which is the joint-most of any Premier League team alongside Sheffield United.

The victory was City's 11th in a row away from home in the Premier League, equalling the all-time English top-flight record held by Chelsea (April-December 2008) and City themselves (May-December 2017).

Brighton and Hove Albion 2-0 Leeds United: Whites lose again on south coast

Brighton moved within touching distance of securing a fifth successive season of Premier League football thanks to a well-earned victory at home to Leeds.

Pascal Gross found the bottom corner from a 14th-minute penalty and Danny Welbeck added to that with his fifth Premier League goal of the season in his 21st outing - the forward's best top-flight return since 2017-18.

It was an all-too-familiar tale for Leeds, who have now lost five successive away league meetings against Brighton without scoring - the first time that has happened in their history against a single opponent.

In fact, Brighton have won eight of their last nine league meetings with Leeds home and away, which is more than they managed in their previous 28 against them.

Leeds managed just two attempts on target as Graham Potter's Brighton claimed a seventh home clean sheet of the season, a tally bettered only by Manchester City and Chelsea (nine each) in the Premier League this season.

 

Chelsea 2-0 Fulham: Havertz inflicts more derby misery on Cottagers

Kai Havertz doubled his Premier League goals tally with a brace in Chelsea's routine victory over Championship-bound Fulham.

All eight of the Germany international's goals for Chelsea in all competitions have now been scored in London, seven of those at Stamford Bridge and one at Selhurst Park.

His second goal in this game involved some nice link-up play with Timo Werner, who with that assist became the first Chelsea player to reach double figures for both goals (11) and assists (10) in his debut season for the club since Eden Hazard in 2012-13.

Werner's combined 21 goals and assists is the most of any Chelsea player this term, and he is one of five Premier League players to reach double figures for both metrics across all competitions alongside Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes, Son Heung-min and Marcus Rashford.

Fulham have now gone 19 away games without a win at neighbours Chelsea in all competitions - only versus Everton (31), Hull City (23) and Middlesbrough (21) are the Blues currently enjoying a longer unbeaten run against an opponent on home soil.

The Cottagers are also now winless in 24 Premier League London derbies since beating West Ham in January 2014 - only Palace have endured a longer such run in English top-flight history, going 31 London derbies without a win between August 1969 and March 1973.

Fulham missed some good chances as Chelsea kept an 11th Premier League clean sheet under Thomas Tuchel - the most shutouts for any manager in their first 15 games in the competition, one more than ex-Blues bosses Jose Mourinho and Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Everton 1-2 Aston Villa: Toffees' poor Goodison run continues against familiar opponents

Villa dented Everton's European hopes with victory at Goodison Park in what was the 205th top-flight meeting between the clubs - the most played fixture in England's top division.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Villans have won more games (20) and scored more goals (73) in the Premier League era against Everton than they have against any other side in the competition.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin scored his 20th goal in all competitions this season to open the scoring in Saturday's late kick-off - with that haul including a Premier League leading seven headers - to cancel out Ollie Watkins' opener.

But Anwar El Ghazi snatched all three points for the Villans 10 minutes from time with his eighth goal in 23 Premier League games this season, doubling his tally from 34 appearances in the competition last time out.

Everton have now won just one of their last 10 home league matches and have tasted defeat at Goodison Park eight times this season - only in 1993-94 have they lost on more occasions (nine) in a single Premier League campaign.

Related items

  • Ancelotti 'one of the best people you can ever meet', says Liverpool's Klopp Ancelotti 'one of the best people you can ever meet', says Liverpool's Klopp

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is a "role model" and "one of the best people you can ever meet".

    Los Blancos and Liverpool meet at the Stade de France in the Champions League final on Saturday in a rematch of the 2018 showpiece match, as both look to add to their storied European history.

    Klopp and Ancelotti, who is the only coach in history to have won all of Europe's big five leagues, are going up against each other for the 11th time as managers, having first met in 2014 when Borussia Dortmund took on Madrid.

    The head-to-head record is tilted in favour of the Italian, with four wins against Klopp's three, with a further three draws, including two during Ancelotti's time on Merseyside with Everton.

    Indeed, Ancelotti guided Everton to their first win in a Merseyside derby in over 10 years when the Toffees won 2-0 in February 2021, which also marked the club's first victory at Anfield since 1999.

    Speaking ahead of their latest encounter, Klopp explained how he thinks the best of his opposite number, and painted a warm picture of their relationship.

    "What Carlo is for me is obviously one of the most successful managers in the world," Klopp told reporters. "But he's a role model for me in the way he deals with his success.

    "He is one of the best people you can ever meet, I think everybody will tell you that. He's fantastic company, a really nice guy, and we have a really good relationship.

    "It had a break when he was at Everton because we both respect this part of the business too much, or we would have gone out to dinner a couple of times. We didn’t do that at all!

    "The respect from my side couldn't be bigger. I'm sure he won everywhere, everything, and will never stop. I really respect that, but it doesn't mean anything for this game obviously."

    Ancelotti was Milan coach when Liverpool lodged a remarkable comeback in the Champions League final in 2005, coming from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 and then go on to win on penalties.

    This season, it has been Madrid who have had a penchant for dramatic turnarounds on the road to Paris.

    Madrid roared back to defeat Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 thanks to a hat-trick from Karim Benzema, who subsequently scored a decisive extra-time goal versus Chelsea in the quarter-finals before slotting in a match-winning penalty after Rodrygo inspired a comeback against Manchester City.

    Liverpool lost 3-1 to Madrid in Kyiv in 2018, with Gareth Bale scoring twice from the bench, and Klopp backed his own side's experience gleaned from that defeat.

    "If we would take only the last 10 minutes of all the knockout games they had, we would say they are pretty much unbeatable," he added.

    "The comebacks they had are really special, but these games were longer than only these last 10 minutes and obviously they had to come back in moments.

    "So the other team were in the lead, we remember the PSG game where they missed a lot of chances they usually [score]. Madrid kept the door open or PSG left the door open.

    "But for sure this team is full of experience. They know exactly how to approach a game, especially a final. We felt that harshly in 2018.

    "They had a massive advantage to us that night, that was clear. Since then we gained a lot of experience ourselves, which is very helpful."

    The "massive advantage" Klopp referred to might well be an injury to Mohamed Salah, who had to be taken off after a collision with Sergio Ramos four years ago.

    Salah went on to net from the penalty spot as Liverpool won the Champions League the following year, beating Tottenham 2-0.

  • Thiago has 'good chance' of making Champions League final, says Klopp Thiago has 'good chance' of making Champions League final, says Klopp

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said Thiago Alcantara has a "good chance" of being fit for the Champions League final against Real Madrid on Saturday.

    The Spain international hobbled off with an injury just before half-time during Liverpool's 3-1 win against Wolves on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday, and was not seen in training on Wednesday.

    However, Klopp told reporters at a media conference that he was scheduled to do some training later that afternoon, and that he should feature in team training on Thursday.

    "I only met him now inside. Good chance [he will make it]," Klopp said.

    "He will be training this afternoon, he did some stuff this morning. It was not planned he would be doing this session with players and in the moment it looks like he can be part of training tomorrow, which would be pretty helpful, and then we'll go from there.

    "It's surprisingly good. After the game I was not positive about it but we got news that night it was not that bad... and now we will see."

    Klopp had already been boosted earlier in the day, with Fabinho and Joe Gomez back in training following injuries sustained in the recent win at Aston Villa.

    Saturday's game will see Liverpool and Madrid meet again in the Champions League final, having done so in 2018 when Los Blancos won 3-1 in Kyiv, which included Mohamed Salah being forced off with a shoulder injury in the first half.

    Klopp said his players are determined to win the game, but that this does not come from an idea of "revenge", despite Salah saying he wanted it following the semi-final win against Villarreal.

    "It was a harsh night for us, tough to take," Klopp said. "We came there on three wheels a bit, players came back just in time for the final, we couldn't replace Mo one for one.

    "I don't believe in revenge, but I understand it as well... I'm not sure it's the right thing to do. For us, I understand what Mo said, he wants to put it right, I want to put it right.

    "In Germany, we say 'you always meet twice in life', and that sounds more like a threat than it is. It just means behave better in the first moment, when you meet again you will get a better reception.

    "It's all fine between me, us and Real Madrid. It is a football game of the highest level, and whoever thinks it's a good idea to give us an opportunity to win this time, I think it would be a great story but not because of what happened in 2018. It will just happen if we make the right decisions on the pitch and I hope we can do that."

  • French Open: Kerber wins seven in a row on clay for the first time French Open: Kerber wins seven in a row on clay for the first time

    Angelique Kerber clinched a career first at the French Open on Wednesday, winning her seventh match in a row on European clay.

    Kerber, who has won three grand slam titles, headed to Roland Garros in form on the back of a victory at the Internationaux de Strasbourg.

    The 34-year-old, whose last major title came at Wimbledon in 2018, is in the hunt for her first French Open title, which would complete the career Grand Slam.

    While that may seem unlikely for the world number 17, she took a step closer on Wednesday by defeating Elsa Jacquemot 6-1 7-6 (7-2).

    That sent Kerber into the third round at Roland Garros for the first time since 2018 and also saw her win seven successive matches on clay courts in Europe for the first time in her long career.

    "When you've achieved everything, you just play for the love for the game," Kerber explained after her win.

    "I love to play tennis, love to play here in front of you guys, love to play for the atmosphere and working really hard to play here, have the energy from the fans.

    "I still love it, let's see how long I can stay here and play good at a high level."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.