Powerful day for Premier League Followers on the best Fixtures. Following the international break, the Premier League returned, and all eyes were on the Emirates Stadium for a heavyweight rivalry between Arsenal and Liverpool. Or, at least, that’s what Premier League nostalgia wanted us to believe – the truth was much different, when Arsenal’s new position as Europa League hopefuls at best was made painfully clear. In reality, the most convincing watching of the day came from elsewhere in London, when Chelsea were humiliated at home by West Bromwich Albion. Manchester City went a little closer to the championship in the East Midlands, while Leeds United triumphed in an all-Yorkshire battle. We’ve compiled a list of the most interesting Opta facts from the four games.
Chelsea 2-5 West Brom: The Blues were beaten badly by Big Sam’s Baggies. Thomas Tuchel and Chelsea’s honeymoon period came to an end in a bruising and embarrassing 5-2 home loss by relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion. Christian Pulisic brought Chelsea the lead for the first time in 21 games in all competitions, but Thiago Silva’s red card for two bookings in the 29th minute gave West Brom hope. The Baggies took the lead thanks to Matheus Pereira’s first-half stoppage-time double – the scores were separated by just two minutes and 46 seconds – and Callum Robinson’s second-half double, making him the first player in Premier League history to score at least twice at home and away against Chelsea in a single season.
The other goals came from Mason Mount and Mbaye Diagne, with Chelsea conceding five goals in a Premier League game at home for just the second time, the last time being against Arsenal in October 2011. With the victory, Sam Allardyce became the first boss in Premier League history to win with three clubs at Stamford Bridge. It was Tuchel’s first loss since taking over from Frank Lampard in January. Here is where the real work begins.
2-1 victory for Leeds United. Sheffield United: The Blades are on the verge of a new low. Sheffield United had looked lost for the bulk of the season, and no victory over Leeds United at this point will change that. However, their defeat at Elland Road brought them to 24 defeats in the league this season from 30 games – they have only lost more games in a single season twice in their history, in 1975-76 and 2010-11, but both times were from far more games (42 and 46, respectively). Leeds, on the other hand, achieved a championship double over their Yorkshire rivals for the first time since winning the Premier League in 1991-92. Although no one expects them to replicate their championship triumph anytime soon, Saturday’s visit of the Blades served as another reminder of Leeds’ positivity in the Premier League – it was the fifth time this season they have attempted at least 20 shots in a single game (23 this time), with only Manchester City having done so more often (six).
One of them was Jack Harrison’s opener, with the winger scoring his seventh goal of the season to make this his best ever season in English football, while Raphinha set him up for a Leeds Premier League-high six assists in 2020-21. They did, however, need assistance. Phil Jagielka’s seventh own goal of the season, second only to Richard Dunne’s ten, proved definitive, rendering him the oldest outfield player in the Premier League since Stuart Pearce in 2001 (38 years, 229 days) (38y, 252d).
0-2 Leicester City Guardiola holds the secret to Manchester City’s clean sheets. When you think about Pep Guardiola’s coaching style, ‘Tiki-taka,’ free-scoring players, and ball-playing center-backs come to mind. But, now, isn’t it time to apply defensive tenacity to the list? Guardiola has coached excellent teams for the bulk of his career, and they normally don’t have bad defensive records, but his current City side seems to be one of his most astute. Powerful day for Premier League Followers on the best Fixtures City have maintained more clean sheets (28) and scored less goals (26) in all competitions than any other team in Europe’s top five leagues since Saturday’s 2-0 victory at Leicester, who were thoroughly subjugated despite being third in the table. For the first time in the league since December 2019 (against Liverpool), they denied Leicester a single first-half attempt, and the Foxes fell to their third loss in their last 17 Premier League games.
Gabriel Jesus was one of City’s scorers, continuing his incredible undefeated streak in games where he has scored (41 – W39, D2), a feat only James Milner (54) and Darius Vassell (46) can match. It was Jesus’ fifth league goal against Leicester, making them his second-favorite team behind Everton (seven goals against). Sergio Aguero, on the other hand, was unable to cross another stadium off his bucket list. Just two other grounds have a poorer goalless record than the King Power Arena, where he has played four times without scoring (eight games at Anfield, six at Selhurst Park). Leicester seem to have spared his wrath after the news of his end-of-season exit.
0-3 for Arsenal. Liverpool: Arteta’s record does not match Emery’s, raising concerns about his ability. Mikel Arteta’s 50th Premier League match as Arsenal manager was one to forget – though we might claim that for a lot of his previous 49 games as well. Arteta was brought in as Arsenal tried a hard restart, ushering in a new ‘age’ of fresh ideas. It was hoped that Arteta would return the Gunners to title contention, but they seem to be much farther removed than they were under much-maligned predecessor Unai Emery. Arteta’s setback was his 17th in the Premier League, four more than Emery had in his first 50 appearances, and the game itself demonstrated that there is indeed a substantial gap between Arsenal and a Liverpool team that is nowhere near what it was last season.
Powerful day for Premier League Followers on the best Fixtures However, Liverpool’s problems have lately been confined to Anfield, with five of their last six league victories – including this one – coming away from home. This is just the second time they’ve ever done anything like this, and it’s the first time since 1955. Arsenal have only beaten Liverpool once in their last 12 Premier League meetings, so performances against them could not be the best barometer to use. Arsenal, on the other hand, seems to be treading water under Arteta, as their points-per-game average has dropped to 1.3 from 1.7 in his second 25 league games in charge.