Cole - "Arsenal was a sinking ship when Arteta joined"May 10
Premier League stats review – West Ham’s record-breaking comeback, Man Utd flattered at Newcastle and Crystal Palace’s big fat zero
FootballCritic.com provides a statistical review of the big talking points from another sensational weekend of top-flight action.
The 2020/21 Premier League season continues to defy logic with another action-packed set of fixtures filled with drama and excitement.
From West Ham's remarkable comeback from 3-0 down with eight minutes remaining, to Manchester United's three-goal explosion to claim victory at St James' Park, top-flight action really is unmissable so far this season.
Leaving aside the controversy around offsides and bad tackles, referees and VAR, it was still a thrilling Merseyside derby, one in which Everton more than held their own with their illustrious rivals.
But we need to talk about Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The change in the striker is stark, and it’s fantastic to see. He almost leapt out of Goodison Park to power home his side’s equaliser and it’s testament to the confidence that Carlo Ancelotti has empowered within DCL 2.0.
We are in a small sample size for this season so far, sure, but his numbers across the board are all improved. His shot P90 is 4.2, up from 2.9 last season. On-target shots are up from 1.3 to 2.5, while shot conversion % is up from 15% to a whopping 35%. He’s got 1.47 non-pen goals P90 so far, second only to the superhuman Son.
To reiterate, the season has just got started. Yes, the numbers will likely come down. But DCL is playing like a centre-forward, between the posts, thirsty for goals. And Everton just might enjoy a generational season as a result, with dreams of the Champions League.
Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side were a questionable penalty call away from recording one of the most ineffective attacking afternoons in Premier League history.
Wilfried Zaha’s penalty earned the Eagles a 1-1 draw, but that proved to be their only shot on goal in the 90 minutes, producing a big fat nothing from open play. Therefore, their non-penalty expected goals is an impressive 0.00, versus Brighton’s 1.73.
It’s a rare moment for a team to produce precisely nothing in the contest, particularly when the opposition has 20 attempts from their 66% possession.
Hodgson’s style of play has been somewhat effective this season, but their poor form at home and conservative football may be beginning to turn fans off, even if the results are still good.
A penny for Harry Kane’s thoughts after Spurs somehow contrived to throw a three-goal lead away in the final eight minutes of their London derby with West Ham.
It would have been difficult to find anyone conscious who would have bet on the Hammers getting anything from the match, after Kane’s two goals and assist for Son Heung-Min in the opening 17 minutes had the whole of social media purring over this new-look Tottenham.
And even deep into the second half, Kane struck a post while Gareth Bale, making his first appearance for the club since May 2013, slalomed through only to poke his shot wide. And yet, as has been the case on many occasions this season, things weren’t over.
West Ham scored three goals with a combined total of just 0.09 xG in the space of eight minutes including injury time. Manuel Lanzini’s 30-yard rocket carried an xG of just 0.01, making it literally a one in a hundred shot. Combine that with Davinson Sanchez’s own-goal and it’s unfathomable how Spurs managed to throw this away.
It was the first time they’d squandered a three-goal league in the Premier League since 2001, while West Ham’s comeback was in the shortest-ever period until the final whistle that such a lead has been lost. The Premier League continues to be bonkers.
Were Manchester United good, or were Newcastle dreadful? It certainly wasn’t a performance to ingratiate the Toon fans to beleaguered Steve Bruce, but neither was it one from the visitors to ease any pressure on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Newcastle players made up five of the 10 worst performances of the round of fixtures using FootballCritic’s algorithm, but even then they were good for a point until the final five minutes.
And if it hadn’t been for a wonder save from David de Gea to keep out Callum Wilson from six yards, they could conceivably have been ahead. Indeed, of Manchester United’s 2.2 xG, 0.75 was wrapped up by Bruno Fernandes’ first missed penalty kick in 20 attempts.
The Red Devils did have 28 shots on goal - easily the most of the round, of which 14 were on target, almost double that of second-placed Liverpool. But 12 of these were from outside the area and the counter-attacking performance of the top four hopefuls in the closing stages has added a level of shine to a performance that, probably, didn’t deserve it.