The pick of the best statistics from gameweek two of the Premier League, featuring a new goals record, the linkup between Heung-min Son and Harry Kane, Thiago Alcantara’s instant impact on Liverpool, and Man City’s opening day delight.
Goal, goals, goals
Did defence simply become an afterthought this week? Only three teams kept clean sheets on matchday two – Aston Villa, Brighton and Liverpool – but that isn’t really the headline from the most recent action.
Instead, it’s the fact that a whopping 44 goals were scored over the last three days, the most in single gameweek. The previous record stood at 43 goals and was set back in February 2011. Three matches featured seven goals, while another saw six go in.
So why the defensive frailty? The short off-season may be a contributor, with very little rest time between the end of last season and the beginning of this campaign. In turn, that has left clubs with a very short preseason, with some only getting to play one warm-up game in the lead-up to the campaign, as was the case for Manchester United.
Teams to both score and concede seven goals in their first two games in an English top-flight season
1888/89 Blackburn Rovers
1890/91 Derby County
2020/21 Leeds United#lufc
— Jonny Cooper (@JRCooper26) September 20, 2020
With scant opportunity to work on team shape and tactics, it’s little wonder that so many goals have been flying in so far.
The Kane-Son connection
Tottenham Hotspur looked absolutely abject in the first half against Southampton on Sunday. Then Jose Mourinho took off Tanguy Ndombele, arguably their best player up to then, and replaced him with Giovani Lo Celso. As mad a substitution as that seemed, it worked, as Spurs turned a one-all tie into an emphatic 5-2 victory.
Heung-min Son was the star of the show, scoring four goals during a stellar performance. Usually, Harry Kane is the one finishing off the chances, but he turned creator to provide each of the assists for the Korean’s haul. This was the first time ever that a player has made four assists for one player in a Premier League game.
The last time a player assisted another player’s hat-trick? Thierry Henry setting up Freddie Ljungberg for three against Sunderland in May 2003. Not bad company to keep.
The relationship between the two attackers has flourished magnificently in the five years they have played together, combining for 24 goals. That is the most of any duo in the first tier since Son moved from Bayer Leverkusen to Spurs in 2015.
The pass master
Thiago Alcantara has only played 45 minutes for Liverpool, but already a pattern has emerged: give him the ball at every opportunity.
Despite only playing for 45 minutes, the Spanish international completed more passes (75) and more touches of the ball (89) than the entire Chelsea squad. Since Opta began recording such data in 2003/04, no player has completed more successful passes in 45 minutes or less in a Premier League match.
— Premier League (@premierleague) September 21, 2020
Andreas Christensen’s red card was, of course, a mitigating factor in that, but it’s fascinating to see the instant impact Thiago has on this already fabulous team. He is clearly going to be the pivot upon which this side swivels, which begs an obvious question of Trent Alexander-Arnold: what is the point of him in this line-up if he’s at full-back?
Perhaps he will be moved up to right wing, or used as an understudy to his new teammate. Whatever happens, it will be fascinating to see what Jurgen Klopp does.
City quick off the mark
Manchester City simply do not start off slowly. That much was evident on Monday when they defeated Wolves, who did the double on them last season. It was City’s tenth opening day win in a row, the first time a Premier League club has ever done so.
It was also City’s sixth win a row, something they haven’t done since August last year when they were on a run of 15 straight victories. Although their neighbours Man United are known as Penalty FC, their spot kick against Wolves on Monday was their eighth of 2020 – no one has won more this calendar year.