‘Tis the season of joy, and all of the major European leagues are on their annual winter break. Well, almost all. The English Premier League is the gift that keeps on giving, and it has … given. At the top end of the table, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City and Manchester United all drew (the last two against each other). Everton won. Just below them, Manchester City and Aston Villa had comfortable wins, while under-fire Arsenal came up with a statement performance against Chelsea. Oh, and Sam Allardyce is back.
Here are the best stats from the PL’s boxing day weekend fixtures —
1 and 2
It’s been a long time coming, but this is the first time that both Liverpool and Everton have been 1st & 2nd in the top-flight this late into a season since the final day of 1986-87. A 34 year old wait for the City of Liverpool.
This is the first time since December 2016 that Liverpool have dropped points from a winning position at Anfield against a side starting the day in the relegation zone (2-2 West Ham).
Been there, done that. Jorginho is the first Chelsea player to miss two penalties in a single PL season since Frank Lampard in 2013-14.
Sam Allardyce really does love Anfield. The new West Bromwich Albion manager is unbeaten in each of his last four PL games at the ground (1 Win, 3 Draws). And each of them have come while in charge at a different club — Sunderland, Crystal Palace, Everton and now, West Brom.
A point that underscores both the mercurial nature of this season and Liverpool’s utter dominance in the last — this is the sixth time in 15 PL games that Liverpool have failed to win (5 Draws, 1 Loss), that’s as many as they failed to win the entirety of last season (3 Draws, 3 Losses).
Only three players have scored more goals than Patrick Bamford (10) after 15 games of a PL season for a newly-promoted side – Alan Shearer in 1992-93 (12), Andy Cole in 1993-94 (15) and Kevin Phillips in 1999-00 (13).
Now a not-so-happy 10. Timo Werner has failed to score in his last 10 games in all competitions, his longest drought since a run of 12 matches between March and September 2016, across spells at Stuttgart and RB Leipzig. He was subbed off at half time vs. Arsenal.
Only Chelsea (12) have scored more PL goals in the first minute of a match than Tottenham (11). In fact, this season Spurs are the only team in Europe’s top 5 leagues to score within a minute of a match in multiple matches. (10 others have scored within a minute this season.)
Arsenal are now unbeaten in 12 PL boxing day games (10 Wins, 0 Losses, 2 Draws), and have won their last 10 home league games on Boxing Day.
What Manchester City are lacking in attacking flair, they’re making up for in defensive solidity. City kept their 13th clean sheet of the campaign on Saturday, more than any other team within the top five European leagues this season.
Oh, Sheffield United. In PL history, only QPR in 2012-13 (16 matches) have endured a longer wait for a victory from the beginning of a season than Sheffield United this campaign (15, 2 Draws, 13 Losses).
Another disappointing 15. Since being appointed Chelsea’s manager, Frank Lampard has only collected 15 points from 14 games against Big 6 clubs (4 Wins, 7 Losses, 3 Draws). That’s tied with Arsenal for fewest points against the Big 6 between such clubs in that period.
Leeds United have now won 20 points in the PL this season; no newly-promoted side has ever been relegated having won as many as 20 from their opening 15 of a Premier League campaign.
Marcus Rashford has reached 50 PL goals for Manchester United, aged 23 years and 56 days. He is the third youngest player to reach the milestone for United after Wayne Rooney (22 years 157 days) and Cristiano Ronaldo (22 years 341 days). Not bad company, that.
Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in over half of Manchester United’s PL goals since his debut (30/59), scoring 18 and assisting a further 13.
No one likes a good second half quite like Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wolves have scored 70% of their PL goals in the second 45 since the start of last season (46 of 66). That’s the highest percentage of any side in the PL.
To give you an idea of just how ridiculously one-sided that first half of Liverpool v West Brom was… Jordan Henderson completed 85 passes for Liverpool in the first half, almost twice as many as West Brom managed as a team (46).
(Stats courtesy ESPN’s Stats & Information Group)