Premier League stats review: Old Trafford xG-fest, Liverpool's biggest win for over 30 years and Tottenham's title challenge slips away

FootballCritic.com provides a statistical review of the big talking points from another sensational weekend of top-flight action.

Published: 21 December 2020 - 11.18am

Manchester United and Leeds United played out an eight-goal thriller at Old Trafford

The 2020/21 Premier League season continues to surpass itself with another set of wildly entertaining clashes from Matchday 14.

From Liverpool's clinical demolition job in south London to a remarkable eight-goal thriller as Manchester United and Leeds resumed their fierce rivalry, top-flight action really has been unmissable so far this season.

With all the action available via BT TV, BTSport.com teamed up with FootballCritic.com to review the weekend's action so far with an eye on the statistics.

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Manchester United 6-2 Leeds United

Eight goals, 43 shots, and a game where defending went to die - but damn, was it enjoyable!

A totally manic match which could quite easily have ended with double the amount of goals, one that also had the highest expected goals - 5.9 xG - of any Premier League match this season. 

Scott McTominay turned into Lionel Messi for an afternoon, becoming the first player in the history of the Premier League to score twice in the opening three minutes of a game.

Both finishes were of the highest quality and he bolted on an assist for Daniel James in the second half in a man-of-the-match performance, upstaging brilliant displays from Anthony Martial and Bruno Fernandes.

Marcelo Bielsa matches are usually surreal and ultra-attacking, and this was no different. His Leeds team did create numerous opportunities, with Raphinha in particularly good form, but their naivety in defence was unforgivable. The Argentine has an unwavering philosophy but in cases like this it can look silly.

5.9 xG
Man Utd's expected goals against Leeds - the highest in the Premier League this season

Crystal Palace 0 -7 Liverpool

Readers of a certain vintage will remember Liverpool handing out a brutal 9-0 drubbing of Crystal Palace in 1989. This result was not only the Reds’ biggest victory since then, but the biggest home defeat Palace have ever suffered. 

Eagles boss Roy Hodgson cut a forlorn figure as Liverpool hit 14 shots, eight on target, and scored seven goals.

This was a display of unerring efficiency in front of goal, converting seven goals on an xG of just 2.8 - and the biggest chance in terms of xG was missed courtesy of Takumi Minamino. 

Liverpool’s shots flew into every conceivable corner. Palace keeper Vicente Guaita may have conceded seven but his performance wasn’t even that bad as every effort lashed past him well out of his reach.

This was a statement result from Jurgen Klopp’s men; despite all the troubles they have encountered this season with injuries, they are still on top at Christmas. It will be a monumental task to remove them from that position.

Everton 2-1 Arsenal

At what point is Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal project simply written off as a failed experiment?

The Gunners have only won in the Europa League since defeating Manchester United at Old Trafford on November 1 and what’s more they have not looked like winning matches, either. 

Everton were far from their best yet were still able to see out a match where Arsenal huffed and puffed but ultimately created precious little until injury time.

Just two shots on target - and their goal scored from the spot - is a damning indictment of a team whose attacking impact is staggering. 

Summer signing Willian's struggles continued at Goodison Park.

This was another display in which there was little to say about the former Chelsea man; he registered 47 passes with a 98% completion rate but created nothing of note. 

His stats suggests safe passing, no risk taking, and no ideas. Add in one shot off target, no dribbles, no duels, no tackles. No anything.

In a team full of questionable contributions, his is the most galling.

Tottenham 2-3 Leicester City

As one side’s title aspirations wane slightly, the other grows with a convincing victory.

It’s been an awful week for Jose Mourinho’s side, collecting one point from a possible nine as Liverpool stormed clear at the top, but the nature of this defeat will be of more concern to the Portuguese. 

They were outplayed by the wily Foxes, who played Tottenham at their own game, soaking up pressure and striking on the break.

Wilfried Ndidi is very much a Mourinho player in his style and here he was the unquestionable man of the match. He won 3/3 tackles and made an otherworldly 19 recoveries, meaning that for the most part wherever the ball was, so was Ndidi. 

Leicester also were more effective offensively. Their goals may have come from a penalty and an own goal, but they had double the number of efforts on goal of their rivals, which they racked up double the xG of the home team.

Considering Leicester weren’t even in the top two at Christmas the season they won the title, it's fair to say the Foxes are breaking new ground under Brendan Rodgers.