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10 of the Most Eye-Catching Statistics to Emerge From Saturday’s Premier League Clashes

​We played witness to another engrossing Saturday of Premier League action, as Tottenham’s struggles showed no signs of letting up against Watford, while Chelsea continued their resurgence under Frank Lampard with a deserved victory over Newcastle.

Elsewhere, Norwich left the south coast with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Bournemouth, and it was honours even for Southampton too as they earned a 1-1 draw from their trip to Wolves.

Aston Villa earned back-to-back league victories with a 2-1 scalp over Brighton, while Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester maintained their fine form with a narrow 2-1 victory over Burnley.

Here are ten of the best statistical tidbits from across Saturday’s action courtesy of our friends at Opta.


Brighton’s Blues

Aaron Mooy

Its not been a great year for the ​Seagulls.

Despite seeing off Spurs with a thumping 3-0 victory in their last league encounter, the defeat to Villa on Saturday ensured they have the worst record of any side in the division across 2019.

The 2-1 loss was their 15th of the calendar year. Something needs to change, because that form is a one-way ticket on an express train to the second tier.


Finally, a Shutout

Daniel Farke,Eddie Howe

It may not have been the most exciting game for the neutral, but both Eddie Howe and Daniel Farke will have cherished the defensive performances from their respective sides in ​Bournemouth’s stalemate with ​Norwich.

In claiming clean sheets, the two clubs recorded their first shutouts of the season, and were the final two sides of the 20 involved to not concede a goal in a match so far this campaign.

Positives to take, I suppose.


Same Time Next Week?

Marcos Alonso,Frank Lampard

Some stadiums just simply aren’t happy hunting grounds for certain sides – and you can definitely place Stamford Bridge in ​Newcastle’s unwanted list.

Of all the sides ​Chelsea have faced in the Premier League, they’ve never won more matches at home than they have against the Magpies, with Saturday’s 1-0 their 18th against Steve Bruce’s men. Furthermore, Newcastle have won just one of their last 26 away league games against Chelsea, losing the last seven in a row and 18 in total.

The last time they won there? A certain Papiss Cisse was involved, if that rings any nostalgic bells.


Callum Hudson-Odoi En Route to Stardom

Callum Hudson-Odoi

You’d have to go back to May 2012 to find the last time a teenager recorded five or more chances created for Chelsea in a single Premier League match, when Romelu Lukaku did so against Blackburn.

Earning himself an England call-up and now back fully fit following an injury lay-off, Hudson-Odoi showcased his fine ability with a superb showing against a resolute Magpies defence on Saturday, creating five opportunities for his teammates and setting up Marcos Alonso for the all-important winner.

The kid’s got everything.


Home Comforts

FBL-ENG-PR-LEICESTER-BURNLEY

Under the tutelage of previous manager Claude Puel, ​Leicester struggled for consistency, with that trait ultimately becoming the final nail in the coffin that had the Frenchman sacked.

No such concerns remain under new manager Brendan Rodgers, who has now won 21 of his last 24 home matches in charge of both Celtic and the Foxes after Saturday’s 2-1 win – losing just once in that run.


A Match Made in the Midlands

Brendan Rodgers,Jamie Vardy

Some players excel under the right circumstances. In the case of ​Jamie Vardy, a Northern Irishman appears to be his perfect match after his immense scoring rate under the 46-year-old manager continued on Saturday.

Since Rodgers’ first Premier League game in charge of Leicester on 3 March, Vardy has scored 15 Premier League goals – two more than any other player. 

Fancy returning to the England fold, Jamie?


When Will it Get Better?

Jan Vertonghen

Dele Alli’s late goal against Watford salvaged a point for Mauricio Pochettino’s side in controversial fashion, but that late draw has done nothing to avert a dreadful run of form for last season’s Champions League finalists.

​Spurs have now won just three of their last 12 Premier League games – losing five – and kept just one clean sheet across those clashes.

​If only they had a Saturday home game against the league’s bottom club to stop the rot?


Winless Watford

FBL-ENG-PR-TOTTENHAM-WATFORD

It at first it seemed like just a poor start to the season, now its looking rather bleak for Quique Sánchez Flores’ side. Yes, they just got a point against one of the ‘top six’, however, the ​Hornets remain winless in the Premier League this season.

They’ve even broken unwanted records, as their failure to beat Spurs meant they’ve failed to win their opening nine games of a league season for the first time since 2006/07, when they went on to finish bottom of the top-flight. Worrying times.


Secure From the Spot

Raul Jimenez

Note: Don’t concede a penalty against ​Wolves, ‘cos they don’t miss them.

That is mostly in part to Raul Jimenez, who is the club’s record scorer from the spot in Premier League history with four, after netting in the 1-1 draw with Southampton. And his security from the spot is joined by his fellow teammates, who collectively have scored all nine of their last penalties in the league.


Fox in the Box

Danny Ings

Danny Ings is clearly playing for the wrong football team, as he has now earned himself a ‘fox in the box’ status with his latest strike for the ​Saints at Molineux.

Of his 25 goals scored in the Premier League, all 25 of them have come from inside the penalty box, including his 11 to date for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side. A January move to King Power Stadium, maybe?


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Twitter Reacts as Chelsea Edge Past Newcastle to Earn Third Consecutive League Win

​It was a lot tighter than many predicted, but Chelsea eventually managed to beat Newcastle.

It appeared as though Frank Lampard’s men were going to be held at home until Marcos Alonso fired home with 17 minutes remaining to ensure the Blues claimed all three points. 


Newcastle’s Matty Longstaff grabbed the headlines for his debut winner against Manchester United before the international break, but there were other notable performers as well.

Allan Saint-Maximin is yet to score or assist for Newcastle, but he has his strengths. He is, well…rapid – and he showed that against the Red Devils. 

It’s fair to say people were questioning how well Cesar Azpilicueta would fare against him…




The Magpies started brightly, with Saint-Maximin indeed ripping the right-back to shreds in the early stages, but it was ​Chelsea who had the first real chance. 

Callum Hudson-Odoi found some space and floated a lovely ball towards Willian, but his header went marginally wide…



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With the hosts struggling to create too many opportunities, fans were beginning to voice their anger.

While the whole team wasn’t really making an impact, fans had decided to call out one man in particular for a disappointing display.

It’s…………..Ross Barkley’s shirt.






Be careful what you wish for though Blues fans, as Barkley was replaced with Mateo Kovacic late in the first half, with the Englishman unable to shake off an early niggle. 

Anyway, the second half got underway and it was clear to see a greater intensity in Chelsea’s play. Ten minutes in and Tammy Abraham came the closest of anyone to breaking the deadlock.

His header from a corner rattled the bar but came back out. Was it going to be one of those days? 






Meanwhile, following Barkley’s substitution, fans decided to turn their attention towards the next culprit. 

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Enter, Marcos Alonso…






It seems as though it’s become a theme of this match that Chelsea fans’ words have come back to haunt them.

Because Lampard’s men eventually managed to break the deadlock after 73 minutes. The goalscorer? It was only ever going to be one man, really: Marcos Alonso.

How quickly opinions change when you score a goal…



Meanwhile, some fans were quick to point out who started the attack…


From this point, it looked like the Blues would go on and score another before the end of the match, with ​Newcastle struggling to contain them. However, a second goal never came.

Nonetheless, it was another three points for Frank Lampard and his men. A hard-fought win that takes them up to third in the table. 

Not bad Super Frank. Not bad.




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​​As for Newcastle, it was a dogged performance and although it will go down as a loss, Steve Bruce can take plenty of positives from the performance. 

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Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Marcos Alonso Strike Earns Blues Win

Chelsea overcame a resilient Newcastle side 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Saturday, with Marcos Alonso scoring the all-important goal. ​

The game started frantically, with the hosts dominating the early possession, but the Magpies looked bright on the counter.

Nonetheless, Frank Lampard’s men had two glorious chances to take the lead midway through the first half, but Willian headed wide and Mason Mount saw his shot parried away by Martin Dubravka. 

The Blues made a bright start to the second half and were unlucky not to take the lead ten minutes in. Tammy Abraham saw a header cannon against the bar, before he put another header just over moments later. The pressure continued to mount as substitute Christian Pulisic saw his effort blocked from point-blank range by Dubravka.

The pressure eventually told as Chelsea opened the scoring after 73 minutes through Alonso, after some nice build-up play from Callum Hudson-Odoi and Pulisic. The home side saw out the rest of the match and picked up a vital three points.

Here’s the breakdown of the game. 


CHELSEA 


​Key Talking Point

Although Newcastle beat Manchester United in their last match, many were expecting an in-form Chelsea to ease past their opponents. However, the Blues were lethargic in the early stages and appeared somewhat fatigued, with needless mistakes creeping in. 

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-NEWCASTLE

As a result, the hosts struggled to create too many opportunities in the first half and could well have found themselves behind at the break, but they got away with it. However, the speed and intensity of the play increased and following numerous missed opportunities, Lampard’s men were eventually able to find a way through.

It was an important three points for the team and it is promising that they were able find a way to win without playing at their best. 



Player Ratings

Starting XI: Arrizabalaga (6); Azpilicueta (5), Zouma (6), Tomori (6), Alonso (6); Barkley (3), Jorginho (7), Mount (6); Willian (8), Hudson-Odoi (8*), Abraham (7).

Substitutes: Kovacic (5), Pulisic (7), James (N/A).


STAR PLAYER – It was not a vintage performance, but this isn’t to say there weren’t any impressive performances. Willian and Hudson-Odoi were both exceptional, but we’ve decided to go with the Englishman.

The teenager was a constant threat throughout the match with his pace, trickery and end product. He played a delightful cross for Willian in the first half, before setting up Mount with another chance.

As time went on, it seemed like Chelsea were going to be left frustrated, but following some neat work by Pulisic, Hudson-Odoi was on hand to thread Alonso through and he was able to put his side ahead. 




NEWCASTLE

Key Talking Point

Steve Bruce’s men claimed a vital three points last time out when they overcame Manchester United thanks to a debut strike from Matty Longstaff. That performance was filled with steely determination, desire and quick counter-attacking play. 

Steve Bruce

And it was clear from the start of this game that the Magpies were looking to pick up right where they left off last time out, as they came flying out of the traps. The back three (or five) were resolute at the back, while the attack was lightning fast on the counter. In the early stages, the away side had some real joy through the Longstaff brothers, who were feeding the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron at every opportunity.

The two wingers had the beating of Cesar Azpilicueta and Alonso, with both struggling to contend with their pace. Although Lampard’s men were eventually able to find a way through and claim all three points, Bruce can take plenty of positives away from the game.   


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Dubravka (7); Yedlin (6), Schar (6), Lascelles (5), Clark (6), Willems (6),;Almiron (7), M. Longstaff (6), S. Longstaff (6), Saint-Maximin (7*); Joelinton (5).

Substitutes: Carroll (5), Atsu (5), Gayle (N/A).


STAR PLAYER – Each time any Newcastle midfielder got the ball, they would look up to see both Allan Saint-Maximin and Miguel Almiron breaking forward. While both caused havoc with their pace, it was Saint-Maximin who was the primary threat. 

Allan Saint-Maximin

The summer signing is lightning fast and proved it over and over again at Stamford Bridge. With the ball sticking to his feet like glue, he would accelerate away from three or four Chelsea players, before looking up and playing a pass or cross.

Perhaps what was most impressive was that he worked tirelessly throughout the match to support his defence, while also making lung-busting runs to get forward and support lone striker Joelinton. The club and Bruce will be hoping he can stay fit, as he has the ability to change games.


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Looking Ahead

Chelsea next face a trip to Amsterdam to take on Ajax in the Champions League. The Blues then return to league action the following Saturday, playing Burnley at Turf Moor.

Newcastle, meanwhile, will be hoping for a strong showing when they host Wolves at home, before travelling to face West Ham at the London Stadium. 

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(American) Twitter Goes into Meltdown as Christian Pulisic Is Benched for Chelsea AGAIN

When you look at Chelsea’s most recent expenditures, it’s probably for the best that the Blues were slapped with a transfer ban over the summer. 

Frank Lampard has been forced into utilising the west London club’s vast and talented academy, and supporters have been left pleasantly surprised by recent performances and results. 

Chelsea sit fifth in the Premier League, and after an inexplicable opening-day defeat to ​Manchester United, Lampard’s kids are starting to show some great promise. 

FBL-ENG-LCUP-CHELSEA-GRIMSBY

That is, except for the Blues’ final purchase, Christian Pulisic. When the American winger arrived in the ​Premier League for almost £60m, expectations were high. 

Safe to say, we’re still waiting to see what the boy can do. 

Pulisic is in such a wretched run of form that he even burst into tears on the USMNT bench following his substitution in midweek, and once again he finds himself out of Lampard’s starting XI. 

Whilst most rational football fans can see the logic behind the ​Chelsea boss’ thinking, others (mainly Americans) simply can’t fathom why an out-of-form and beleaguered player can’t get a game for his club side. 

American twitter went into meltdown. 



Some of us even questioned if Lampard carries out a superstition of licking footballs before the game…I think that’s what he meant anyway. 



Other supporters were so irate that they forgot how to spell correctly. 


BREAKING: LAMPARD OUTED AS ANTI-AMERICAN AND PROBABLY A COMMUNIST. 

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Rather than the common idea that ‘they’re just not very good,’ we went in search of further conspiracies beyond racism. 


Now I don’t speak French, but I saw the word nudes and guessed it was a blackmail joke. Work it out for yourselves. 

Fortunately though, some of us were able to draw some positives from a completely rational and logical situation, and I salute you all. I could only find one, in fairness. 

You can’t please all of the people all of the time however, and Frank would be better off avoiding Twitter when he puts his Chelsea lineups out in the future. 

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7 Players Who ‘Earned’ New Contracts Despite Doing Pretty Much Nothing

​There’s nothing better than seeing your club’s star player pen a new contract which they have thoroughly deserved. The club is happy, the player is happy and the fans are happy. Everyone’s a winner.

However, mixed in with all the good extensions are a handful of thoroughly undeserving contracts for players who have offered next to nothing on the pitch. The only thing that comes from these new deals is relentless jokes online. Nobody’s a winner.

Here are seven players who bagged themselves a new deal for almost no good reason.


Christian Benteke

Christian Benteke

Sometimes, an expiring contract gives clubs the chance to walk away from a mistake and start over. ​Crystal Palace had that with ​Christian Benteke, who has scored a grand total of four goals in his last 58 appearances.

For some reason, Palace decided to extend his contract. Why? Do they enjoy watching him suffer? Do they like seeing fans in tears?

​The Eagles surely will not remain committed to him for much longer, yet they are seemingly happy to pretend like they are.


Connor Wickham

Connor Wickham

Palace actually love doing this. Benteke is certainly not the first striker to earn an undeserved extension at Selhurst Park. Connor Wickham was doing it before it was cool.

Injuries have ruined Wickham’s time at Palace, but it’s not like he has been scoring many goals even when fit. His last ​Premier League goal came in November 2016, but that was enough to earn him a new deal in May 2019.

He now gets to spend even longer out of the matchday squad, watching Benteke fail to score as well.


Richard Wright

Richard Wright

The poster boy for the bizarre contract extension, Richard Wright etched his name into football infamy after agreeing his move to ​Manchester City in 2012.

The reserve goalkeeper didn’t play a single first-team game for the Citizens, but earned himself three one-year extensions at the end of every season. He was an unused substitute eight times across his four years at the club, but continued to earn himself contract after contract.

Admittedly, it was his job to be behind others in the pecking order, but to get three new deals seems a little far.


Eliaquim Mangala

Eliaquim Mangala

Wright’s extensions may have been fairly reasonable, but Eliaquim Mangala’s new deal in March 2019 certainly wasn’t.

The Frenchman had spent the 2017/18 season on the bench, then got injured and then sat out the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign. He clearly wasn’t in the club’s plans, but they still decided to prolong his stay.

It’s not like they had any long-term reason for doing so. City let him walk away for free just five months later anyway, so there really was no point in any of it.


Lucas Piazón

FBL-EUR-C1-CHELSEA-TRAINING

​Chelsea’s reasons for handing out new contracts are purely financial, but that doesn’t make them any less ridiculous.

​The Brazilian has made three appearances for Chelsea across his eight years at the club, and he hasn’t even impressed out on loan since the 2013/14 campaign. However, since then, Piazón has signed several new contracts, the latest of which actually came during the summer.

He doesn’t play. He’s not good enough. He hasn’t been close to good enough in five years. Nobody actually wants to buy him. Just let him go.


Stuart Taylor

Brought to ​Southampton in 2016 as a reserve goalkeeper, Stuart Taylor wasn’t asked to do much at the club. A lot of third-choice shot stoppers get new contracts, there’s nothing bizarre there. However, what makes his extension in 2017 so special is that more effort was put into the announcement of the deal than he had actually put into earning it in the first place. 

Made as a joke, there were soldiers descending from helicopters, armed police arriving by boat, only to end with Taylor sat in a garden chair with a cup of tea.

Needless to say, after another season in the reserves, Taylor was let go in 2018.


Jesse Lingard

Jesse Lingard

​Jesse Lingard is an attacking midfielder. Attacking midfielders are expected to both score and assist goals. Jesse Lingard neither scores nor assists goals.

So, when he was handed a huge new contract in April 2017 on the back of netting five goals across two seasons, ​Manchester United fans were a little confused. After all, it’s not like United to hand out huge contract extensions to underperforming players, is it?

Oh. Yes. Yes, it is.


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