Premier League football is finally back and we for one cannot wait for the action to resume, tonight’s two clashes proceeding a full round of top flight fixtures.
The current campaign has been one of unprecedented uncertainty with a global pandemic bringing a halt to proceedings mid-season, but after a 100 day absence top flight football is set to restart.
Ahead of the Premier League resumption we’ve decided to refresh your memories with some of the best statistics from the season so far, featuring Kevin De Bruyne’s continued brilliance, Lampard’s lads and a landmark Leicester win.
Superb Sterling starts season with a bang at West Ham
Manchester City came into the season as defending champions following back-to-back title triumphs under Pep Guardiola, and the Etihad side quickly lay down a statement of intent with a thrashing of ambitious West Ham at the London Stadium.
Raheem Sterling helped himself to a hat-trick as City hit West Ham for five in the capital, becoming just the eighth player in Premier League history to score an opening weekend treble and the first since Chelsea’s Didier Drogba achieved the feat nine years ago.
8 – Raheem Sterling became the eighth player to score a hat-trick on the opening weekend of a @PremierLeague campaign, and the first since Didier Drogba in 2010-11. Hero. #OptaPLRefresher pic.twitter.com/RJq2Exkjj4
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 8, 2020
Coventry’s Micky Quinn was the first to score an opening weekend hat-trick against Arsenal back in 1993, an achievement since followed by Matt Le Tissier, Kevin Campbell, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Dion Dublin and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
Sterling’s treble was his third in the Premier League, with only teammate Sergio Aguero and Tottenham’s Harry Kane having registered more hat-tricks amongst current top flight players.
Norwich may well be rooted to the bottom of the table as the campaign restart, but their season began full of optimism, with Finland international Teemu Pukki the undoubted star of the show.
Named as the Championship Player of the Season as the Canaries won the second tier title, the forward began the season in similarly confident mood and found the net on his first Premier League appearance in defeat to Liverpool.
The following fixture saw Pukki bag a hat-trick as Norwich got their season up and running with victory over Newcastle at Carrow Road, the striker becoming the first player to score four goals in his first two Premier League appearances – his performances later rewarded with August’s Player of the Month accolade.
Teemu Pukki is the first player of the 2019-20 Premier League season to be directly involved in five goals.
4 goals. 1 assist. The party don't stop. pic.twitter.com/I97wk862Bj
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 24, 2019
50 up for KDB and Firmino
The opening month of the campaign also featured notable landmarks for two of the finest footballers in the division, with Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino reaching memorable half centuries.
De Bruyne has enjoyed another sensational season and registered his 50th assist in English football during City’s win at Bournemouth, the playmaker reaching a total of 50 goals provided faster than any player in Premier League history.
It took the brilliant Belgian just 123 games to reach the milestone, 18 games fewer than the previous record-holder, Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil.
De Bruyne's assist to Aguero means he's the fastest player in Premier League history to get to 50 assists!
On another level! 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/ih8SN6lxbB
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) August 25, 2019
The following week saw Roberto Firmino write his own piece of personal history during Liverpool‘s 3-1 win at Turf Moor, the forward’s goal against Burnley making him the first Brazilian in history to reach a half century of Premier League goals.
Firmino eclipsed former Reds’ teammate Philippe Coutinho as the highest-scoring Samba star in the league’s history last season, and his total only looks likely to continue rising given Liverpool’s recent success.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 8, 2020
City set records tumbling against woeful Watford
Watford must be truly sick of the sight of Manchester City.
The Hornets’ dream trip to the FA Cup final last season ended in the joint-biggest defeat in final history, and their wretched record against the East Manchester side continued with a September thrashing at the Etihad.
City ran riot in a hopelessly one-sided contest, scoring five times inside the opening 18 minutes, the earliest any side has ever scored five times in a Premier League fixture.
18 – Man City were 5-0 up after just 18 minutes against Watford, the earliest a team has scored 5 goals in a single Premier League match. Sergio Agüero also became the first player to score in each of his side’s first six matches in a single PL campaign. Records. #OptaPLRefresher pic.twitter.com/l82RECUejF
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 9, 2020
The final score saw City win 8-0 in what was a harrowing experience for new/old Watford manager Quique Sanchez Flores, the victory the club’s biggest ever in the top flight.
That win saw Sergio Aguero become the first player to score in each of the first six fixtures of the season, whilst the Argentine also racked up his 100th Premier League goal in what was a milestone afternoon at the Etihad.
Aguero became just the third player to score a century of goals at a single Premier League ground, following the achievements of Thierry Henry (114 goals at Highbury) and Wayne Rooney (101 goals at Old Trafford).
Rampant Liverpool halted at Old Trafford
October saw Manchester United become the first team to take a point off runaway leaders Liverpool, their 1-1 draw at Old Trafford continuing the Merseyside club’s disappointing recent record at the home of their North West rivals.
Incredibly, despite United’s struggles in recent years, Liverpool are now without a league at Old Trafford since 2014, their past six fixtures at the ground ending in three draws and three defeats.
Leicester go goal crazy on the South Coast
Elsewhere Leicester equalled the biggest ever Premier League winning margin on a historic night at Southampton, their 9-0 victory at St Mary’s also setting a new landmark for the division’s biggest ever away victory.
Leicester’s nine-goal haul saw both Ayoze Perez and Jamie Vardy help themselves to hat-tricks, just the second time that two players have scored trebles for the same team in a Premier League fixture.
The first occasion remarkably also came against Southampton, as Robert Pires and Jermaine Pennant were left to squabble over the match-ball in 2003.
Captain America announces his arrival
Chelsea may have been banned from conducting transfers over the summer but their ranks were boosted by the arrival Christian Pulisic, the highly-rated US international linking up with the west London side after a deal had been agreed with Borussia Dortmund in January.
Americans have largely made limited impact on these shores but for a few good goalkeepers and one or two notable exceptions, but after a period of adaptation Pulisic announced his arrival in some style.
The winger scored his first goals in English football with a perfect hat-trick at Burnley, becoming just the second American to score a Premier League treble with only Clint Dempsey having previously achieved the feat.
Poch packs his bags at Spurs
November brought a shock sacking with Mauricio Pochettino on his way out at Spurs, the Argentine departing the north London side just months after guiding the club to a first ever Champions League final.
Harsh, some may say.
In the defence of chairman Daniel Levy, Poch did leave after a wretched record in the early part of the season, Spurs languishing in 14th after winning just three times in their opening 12 fixtures.
Pochettino’s office chair must still have been warm by the time the ‘Special One’ made himself at home, but more to come on Jose Mourinho and his Premier League return later…
Pierre Class as Aubameyang reaches 50 Gunners’ goals
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang continued to demonstrate just why he is regarded as one of the Premier League’s premier forwards, reaching a half century of goals for Arsenal in just 78 appearances.
The Gabon international has scored prolifically since arriving in English football from Borussia Dortmund, winning a share of the league’s Golden Boot accolade last season and once again standing amongst the leading contenders.
Aubameyang became the fastest player to reach 50 Gunners’ goals since Ian Wright in the early nineties, the latter achieving the landmark in only 68 games in all competitions.
— LiveScore (@livescore) November 2, 2019
Winless Watford break their duck
Watford’s woes extended further than that eight-goal thrashing at Manchester City in September, with the Hornets struggling at the bottom of the division after opening the season with an 11-game winless run.
That run of results was finally ended after snatching three points at fellow strugglers Norwich, leapfrogging the Canaries and Southampton as goals from Gerard Deulofeu and Andre Gray secured victory for a Watford side who finished the contest with 10 men.
1 – Watford became the last club to win a Premier League match in 2019-20, finally breaking their duck for the season with a 2-0 victory at Norwich. Relief. #OptaPLRefresher pic.twitter.com/dIujAmeP85
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 11, 2020
Lampard’s lads set new record
Frank Lampard has been widely praised during his debut season under difficult circumstances at Chelsea, with the former fans’ favourite integrating several of the club’s best academy graduates into his developing side.
The west London side named their youngest ever Premier League side during the win over Crystal Palace at Stamford Bridge, a side containing the likes of Reece James, Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham containing an average age of just 24 years and 88 days.
24 – The average age of Chelsea’s starting XI in their 2-0 win against Crystal Palace was their youngest ever in a Premier League match (24y 88d). Youthful. #OptaPLRefresher pic.twitter.com/7EirhWIRac
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 11, 2020
Guardiola’s misery on Merseyside continues
Liverpool had looked unstoppable in the early months of the season and took a huge step towards a maiden Premier League title in November, the Reds beating defending champions Manchester City 3-1 at Anfield following a controversial clash.
Jurgen Klopp’s side opened up a nine-point advantage over City as the German’s fine record against Guardiola continued, the win the ninth occasion the Liverpool boss has bettered his City counterpart.
Defeat also meant that Guardiola – who could barely contain his fury at the final whistle – lost for a fourth time at Anfield, more than at any other away ground in his prestigious career.
Flores fired after failing to stop Watford woes
It’s often said that you never go back and Quique Sánchez Flores will now testify as much, the Spaniard’s return to Watford lasting just 85 days before he followed predecessor Javi Gracia out the Vicarage Road exit door.
Flores failed to turn the tide for the Hornets who once again slammed the proverbial panic button, sacking their second Spaniard of the season in a bid to stop the rot.
Arsenal’s Christmas far from merry
Arsenal’s fortunes further dipped following a nightmare start to the season under Unai Emery, with the club’s patience with the former Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain boss reaching breaking point over the festive period.
The north London side suffered four consecutive home defeats in all competitions for the first time since 1959, a sorry run of form that included defeats to traditional top six rivals Manchester City and Chelsea alongside embarrassing reverse to Brighton and Frankfurt.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 12, 2020
Sensational Sergio makes more history
The turn of the New Year began with Sergio Aguero writing himself further into footballing folklore, the Argentine scoring a stunning hat-trick against Aston Villa to eclipse Arsenal’s Thierry Henry as the highest-scoring non-English player in Premier League history.
Aguero’s virtuoso display at Villa Park also saw the Manchester City forward set a new landmark for most Premier League hat-tricks, moving ahead of Alan Shearer after netting his 12th treble in England’s top tier.
What a day for Sergio Aguero! 🇦🇷
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) January 12, 2020
King Kevin provides once more for City
Not content with his first piece of assist history this season, Kevin De Bruyne continued to break new records after registering his 15th assist of the campaign in January.
De Bruyne’s relentless ability to carve out opportunities and create chances means the midfielder became the first player in Premier League history to record 15+ assists in three separate seasons.
Currently leading the assist rankings with 16 for the season so far, De Bruyne is also quickly closing in on Thierry Henry’s all-time record of 20 in a single campaign.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 15, 2020
Liverpool level landmark before being stung by Hornets
Liverpool’s march towards a first league title in three decades continued an unprecedented rate as the club enjoyed the best ever start to a season in all of Europe’s major leagues, a draw at Manchester United the only blemish on an otherwise perfect record in the Premier League in late February.
Jurgen Klopp’s side headed to struggling Watford having equalled Manchester City’s record of 18 consecutive top flight victories, whilst their 44-game unbeaten run saw them quickly close in on the 49-game landmark set by Arsenal’s Invincibles.
That run ended in stunning style at Vicarage Road, however, as Watford upset the odds to secure a resounding 3-0 victory. Ismaila Sarr scored twice in addition to a goal from captain Troy Deeney, the Hornets proving a major pest to the runaway league leaders.
Elsewhere the master met the apprentice once more as Jose Mourinho locked horns with Frank Lampard, but it was the latter who once more triumphed over his former manager as Chelsea defeated Tottenham at Stamford Bride.
Victory for Lampard continued his 100% record over the Portuguese tactician, winning both league fixtures against Mourinho this season, in addition to a Carabao Cup triumph for Derby at Mourinho’s Manchester United last season.
March would see the Premier League suspended in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic but not before some notable results, including Manchester United’s derby day victory over rivals City at Old Trafford.
The 2-0 victory was the third time this season the Red Devils had beaten their cross-town rivals and the first time they have secured a league double over City since the 2009/10 season. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also became just the third manager to do a league double over Pep Guardiola in the Premier League, after Chelsea’s Antonio Conte (2017) and Wolves’ Nuno Espirito Santo (Also this season).
Defeat was City’s seventh of the season so far, the most league defeats of any Guardiola side in his managerial career.
Lockdown also put a temporary stop to Tottenham’s troubles under Jose Mourinho, Spurs without a win in six fixtures in all competitions and having crashed out of both the FA Cup and Champions League.
The ‘Special One’ is yet to truly revive the club’s fortunes since arriving in north London, winning just eight times in 17 fixtures in all competitions. The defensive statistics make further grim reading with just two clean sheets recorded in that time, a sorry stat for a manager often associated with parking the bus.