6 Surprising EPL Stats – Lid Lifted on Pogba Pens
Another week, another 6 surprising stats from the world’s most-watched football league.
Our intrepid explorer Dan Fitch goes in search of the hidden statistical gold that lurks within the Premier League jungle.
1. Aston Villa v Everton
Aston Villa belong in the Premier League. You may think that’s elitist nonsense and that meritocracy is king, but there is a lot to say for history and Villa have a rich one.
Take the Friday night game against Everton for instance. It is the 203rd meeting between these clubs in the league, making it the most played fixture in the history of the English game, with all of them taking place in the top flight.
Aston Villa are football royalty, which probably explains why Prince William supports them.
2. Norwich v Chelsea
It’s silly to suggest that a new manager is under pressure just because they haven’t won their first two Premier League games of the season, but when the club in question is Chelsea, it’s perhaps not inaccurate.
A 4-0 thrashing by Manchester United and a 1-1 home draw with Leicester, leaves Frank Lampard desperately needing a win on Saturday against newly-promoted Norwich.
The last Chelsea manager that failed to win their first three Premier League games of the season was Gianluca Vialli back in 1998-99.
3. Manchester United v Crystal Palace
After Paul Pogba’s penalty miss against Wolves on Monday, there has been much debate regarding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s frankly weird libertarian stance on who should take Manchester United’s spot-kicks.
Every time that United are given a penalty these days, a debate ensues between their players, with coins being tossed and games of rock-paper-scissors taking place, to decide who will give it a go.
Can we suggest that Pogba is removed from such discussions? Since the start of last season, no player has missed more penalties in the Premier League than Pogba, who has failed from twelve yards on four occasions.
4. Liverpool v Arsenal
Three is the magic number when it comes to games between Liverpool and Arsenal. Roberto Firmino scored a hat-trick in this fixture last season and he was far from the first player to do so.
In the Premier League-era no other game has produced more hat-tricks. Firmino’s was the sixth in total, with Robbie Fowler (twice), Thierry Henry, Peter Crouch and Andrey Arshavin also taking home the match ball.
5. Wolves v Burnley
There are many arguments against VAR but perhaps none so persuasive as the fact that the stunning long-range strike from Ruben Neves for Wolves against Manchester United on Monday, was almost ruled out due to some boring, pernickety, bureaucracy.
It’s a good job that Neves is so dangerous from distance, because he’s unlikely to score many taps-ins any time soon. The goal against Manchester United was his ninth from outside the box in the league for Wolves, yet bizarrely he has only ever had six touches in the opposition box during this time. Talk about a deep-lying midfielder.
6. Bournemouth v Manchester City
It’s easy to forget that Manchester City won the title last season largely without the man who is arguably their best player. Kevin De Bruyne’s injuries restricted his influence in 2018-19, but anyone who watched him tear apart Spurs with his pinpoint crossing last weekend will know he’s back to his best.
The Belgian has already provided three assists this season, taking his Premier League total to 49 in 122 appearances. De Bruyne only needs one more to reach 50 and shatter Mesut Ozil’s record of taking the smallest number of games (141) to produce a half-century of assists.