Some of the standout statistics from another week of amazing Premier League action, featuring Kevin De Bruyne’s ridiculous passing ability, Liverpool’s unbeaten run, Adama Traore continues to impress, and Dean Henderson makes a case for England selection.
De Bruyne sets his sights on making history
Barely a week goes by without Kevin De Bruyne making a seemingly impossible pass look second nature to him. The Belgian playmaker got his 15th league assist of the season by threading a wonderful ball along the floor through two Sheffield United players (nutmegging one of them in the process) to Sergio Aguero, who slotted home the winner.
How has he even seen that pass? 🤷♂️
Kevin De Bruyne = Perfect assists week after week 👌 pic.twitter.com/FGUhyrZ8ET
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 21, 2020
That leaves De Bruyne just five assists away from breaking Thierry Henry’s record of 20 in a single Premier League season in 2002/03. Several players have gotten close over the years, including himself with 18 in 2016/17, but no one has been able to equal it. If anyone is going to do it, surely it’s him?
It was also the midfielder’s 91st goal involvement for Manchester City in the league, having provided 30 goals and 61 assists. He is just 12 away from equalling Teddy Sheringham’s career haul of 72, which would put him in the top ten assist makers since 1992.
Liverpool have forgotten how to lose
Wolves put up as tough a test to the champions-elect as we have seen anyone do this season, and with the momentum swinging their way in the second-half, it certainly felt like the home side would come away with at least a point if not more. But then Liverpool did what Liverpool do.
Roberto Firmino popped up in the box late on to shoot past Rui Patricio, who had made four excellent saves on the night, and give them a hard-earned 2-1 victory. Seven of the Brazilian’s last eight finishes in all competitions have been game winners.
It’s just the latest in a long line of victories for the Reds, who haven’t tasted defeat for over a year. As per Daniel Storey, Liverpool’s 22 league wins is as many Man United achieved in the entirety of that famous Treble-winning campaign in 1998/99.
Liverpool's last 32 Premier League games, most recent first: WWWWWWWWWWWWWWDWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW
— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) January 23, 2020
In their last six games, Liverpool have faced some of the toughest teams in the league – Wolves twice, Leicester, Sheffield United, Spurs and Man United – and yet came out with 18 points out of 18 with just a single goal conceded. That goal was the first Alisson has conceded for exactly two months, coming in a 2-1 win over Crystal Palace. It also means that they have conceded as many goals (15) as Chelsea did in 2004/05, a Premier League record.
Liverpool are currently on 67 points, which is more than they managed to accumulate in 13 previous Premier League campaigns – 1992/93, ’93/94, ’97/98, ’98/99, 2002/03, ’03/04, ’04/05, ’09/10, ’10/11, ’11/12, ’12/13, ’14/15, ’15/16 – and the same amount they accrued in 1999/2000. They still have 15 games to go.
Wanderers can take a lot of positives out of a game in which they had ten shots against a side who had not conceded for seven games – Raul Jimenez’ goal stopped the visitors from equalling their club record run of shutouts. Wolves, who have lost just three of their last 20 league matches at home, also trumped Liverpool on expected goals (xG) by 1.8 to 1.6, according to Michael Caley‘s numbers (although other sources have an even wider margin in their favour).
Meanwhile, Adama Traore had yet another monster game. His assist for Raul’s equaliser was his seventh of the season, meaning he is the second highest Spanish-born assist-maker (tied with David Silva) in Europe’s top five leagues this season, four behind Lazio’s Luis Alberto.
Adama Traoré's game by numbers vs. Liverpool:
81% pass accuracy
2 chances created
Another electric display to add to the collection. ⚡ pic.twitter.com/sSBWV44GiY
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 23, 2020
Dyche does a number on United
Manchester United got absolutely Burnley’d by Sean Dyche’s men, who got their first victory at Old Trafford in 48 years on Wednesday night. The home side had 24 shots to the visitor’s five, made 690 passes to their 257, 20 attempted assists to their five, and had 73% possession.
The last time Manchester United lost to Burnley at home (in September 1962) they had two players called Norbert in the team. (Stiles and Lawton). Elvis, Frank Ifield and Cliff were the top three in the UK chart.
— John Brewin (@JohnBrewin_) January 22, 2020
But this is what Burnley do. Even when they are on a losing streak and not playing well, they can face superior opposition and somehow get a result against all logic, despite all the statistics saying they should’ve been beaten handily. Last week it was Leicester City, this week it was Man United.
The Red Devils now have the third-most defeats (6) against teams currently sitting in the bottom half of the table, behind Bournemouth and Norwich City who are on seven each, while they also have the second fewest defeats (2) against sides in the top half. Incredibly, they are still the closest challengers to Chelsea‘s fourth spot in the table, lying six points behind the Blues.
Since March 10, Manchester United have dropped 57 points. Liverpool have dropped 2.
— Richard Jolly (@RichJolly) January 22, 2020
Well, well, well, Dean Henderson is having quite the debut season in the Premier League, isn’t he? The Sheffield United goalkeeper was in the spotlight for the wrong reasons in September when he gifted Liverpool the winner at Bramall Lane, but he has bounced back in spectacular fashion ever since.
On Tuesday night against Manchester City he brilliantly saved Gabriel Jesus’ first-half spot-kick, which was the seventh penalty save of his career. He has failed to save the other eight penalties he has faced, giving him a save percentage of 46%. Considering 76% of penalty kicks are successful, this is an excellent record thus far in his career.
On top of that, Henderson made some crucial saves which kept the Blades in the game. Of the 15 goalkeepers in the top flight who have made 50 or more saves, the Whitehaven native has the best save percentage at 74%. In 70 appearances for his loan club, he’s conceded just 62 goals and kept 29 clean sheets.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see the 22-year-old as United’s new starting goalie by the end of next season. In fact, it’s not entirely ludicrous to suggest that he is surpassing David De Gea right now.
Sources: Daniel Storey, Alex Mansfield, Statman Dave, Ashwin Raman, Transfermarkt, fantasyfootballfix.com, WhoScored.
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