EPL

Nuno's Spurs summed up, Bruno adapts to Ronaldo, Norwich's historic challenge – the Premier League weekend's quirky facts

By Sports Desk November 01, 2021

We went into the weekend almost expecting a certain Premier League manager to be sacked come Monday – as it turned out, the coach of the team he beat got the chop instead.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looked like a dead man walking ahead of Manchester United's trip to Tottenham, but the Norwegian got his tactics and personnel just right as the Red Devils won 3-0, a result that has cost Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo his job.

However, most Spurs fans will be adamant it is a just punishment despite being so early in the season, and the numbers behind Nuno's 10 Premier League matches – the fewest of any permanent Tottenham manager ever – paint a similar picture.

Find all that and more as Stats Perform looks at the quirky Opta facts behind the weekend's action.

Toothless Tottenham

Even before the weekend, Spurs had been widely criticised for their dull brand of football under Nuno, but it reached its nadir on Saturday as a United side in crisis swept them aside with relative ease.

As such, Nuno has left Tottenham with them ranking joint-last in the Premier League for shots per match (10.3) with a Norwich City team that already seemingly has its journey back to the Championship booked, highlighting just how disappointing they've been as an attacking force.

Nuno amassed just 15 points from 10 games with Spurs. Since 2008-09, only twice have Tottenham taken fewer points from the same period of matches, while their haul of nine goals is better than at the same point in four previous Premier League campaigns.

Bruno adapting for Ronaldo

When Man Utd secured the return of Cristiano Ronaldo, a lot of focus centred around how he'd link up with compatriot and Portugal team-mate Bruno Fernandes – after all, they'd not always looked particularly compatible at international level.

While it's too soon to make major conclusions, what does seem clear is that Fernandes has had to alter his play. This is best identified by the fact he's having fewer shots now (2.9 per 90 minutes now, 3.6 before) and getting a smaller portion of them on target (1.5 down to 0.4 per 90 minutes), which suggests he's unable to get into better scoring positions because Ronaldo's already there.

But the flipside is Fernandes' creativity, and we saw this at its best for Ronaldo's gorgeous volley from his countryman's chipped throughball against Spurs.

Fernandes is now creating 4.6 chances every game, up from 2.7 before Ronaldo returned to United. With someone so reliable now leading the line for United, perhaps this setup will actually suit Fernandes' skills even more.

Ramsdale's a colossus

If there was one standout performance from an individual over the past weekend, it was surely Aaron Ramsdale in the Arsenal goal.

He's enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence and hushed plenty of doubters since moving in a pre-season deal apparently worth up to £30million, though his performance in the 2-0 win at Leicester City was his best yet.

In fact, it was arguably the best of any goalkeeper this season. According to Stats Perform xGOT (expected goals on target) conceded data, Ramsdale prevented 2.45 goals as he saved all eight of Leicester's shots on target.

The last time a Premier League goalkeeper was deemed to prevent more goals in a single game was Alex McCarthy for Southampton in July last year – no Arsenal goalkeeper has ever had such a decisive impact since Opta started analysing such data.

Norwich facing challenge of historic proportions

Of course, Norwich City already looked doomed before Sunday's defeat to Leeds United, but statistically they have now reached tipping point.

They are left with just two points from 10 matches – the fewest amount of points any team has ever got in their opening 10 games and avoided relegation is three points.

That was manager Daniel Farke's 48th Premier League game in charge. His 10.4 win percentage and 0.48 points per game are comfortably the worst of any coach to preside over 48 matches in the competition.

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