It’s fair to say this season has been a little stranger than normal. From no fans in stadiums to the absurd new handball laws, the Premier League, much like the rest of the world, has gone a little nuts. Here are seven of the craziest stats so far.
We may only be four gameweeks and 38 games into the new 2020-21 Premier League season, but already we’re seeing arguably one of the oddest campaigns ever in English football.
The global pandemic has no doubt played a huge part. Deserted grounds have an eerie feel to them and the enhanced crowd noise just doesn’t come close to matching the magnificent spectacle of seeing a full, bouncing stadium.
In truth, there are a few reasons why this season has gone a little mad, but below we thought we’d highlight some of the more surprising stats behind all the insanity. Whether it’s Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s passing, or Manchester United’s tragic start, there are a few eyebrow-raisers in here for sure.
The highest goals-per-game rate since the 1930s
One of the biggest standouts from the early stages of 2020-21 has been the sheer volume of goals hitting the back of the net. Not since before World War II has England’s top flight witnessed this many goals.
As things stand, there have been an average of 3.79 per match in the Premier League. That’s the highest average there’s been since the 1930-31 season, when we saw 3.95 goals each game. Back then sides used to field up to six forwards, giving you some indication of just how mental this season’s stat is.
Leicester became first team to score three penalties in one match
Leicester sit top for penalties scored this season, having converted all five of their chances from the spot. Three of those chances arrived in one game, against Manchester City, and marked the first time a Premier League side has ever scored a hat-trick of penalties in one game.
Jamie Vardy bagged two of them before being substituted, with Youri Tielemans stepping up to secure a new record. The final result, 5-2, was the first time a Pep Guardiola side had ever conceded five goals and only the third time he’d seen a hat-trick put past his men. Those three occasions came courtesy of Lionel Messi and Vardy, twice.
Manchester United bottom of the home table
How the mighty have fallen. Every club may have only played four games so far, but after United’s first two at Old Trafford, they currently sit bottom of the home table. Opening day humiliation in the form of a 3-1 defeat to Crystal Palace was followed up by a 6-1 battering at the hands of Spurs.
The theatre of dreams has completed its transformation into the theatre of nightmares for the Red Devils, and looks an easy place for any club to pick up points, no matter how down on their luck they may be. Mark the 15th May on your calendars, Fulham fans!
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg has completed the most passes
Who would you think of if someone said Premier League pass master? Kevin De Bruyne? James Rodriguez? Thiago? We’re guessing the answer almost certainly isn’t Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, but as things stand, no player has completed more passes this season than Spurs’ new boy.
The Denmark international has made 347 successful passes to date, ahead of the likes of Virgil van Dijk (340) and Michael Keane (323). They haven’t all been simple sideways or backward passes, either, as evidenced via Højbjerg’s sumptuous assist for Serge Aurier in Spurs’ demolition of United.
Fulham averaging the fourth-highest possession
Yes, you read that right. Despite languishing at the foot of the table, only Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea have seen more of the ball than Fulham. The Cottagers have averaged 58.1% possession thus far, a number that shoots up to a huge 64.9% when just looking at their home possession — and that’s the third best in the league!
Keeping hold of the ball clearly isn’t a problem for Scotty Parker’s men… it’s getting it upfield and into the back of their opponent’s net that’s proved the sticking point. Fingers crossed they can come up with a better strategy than: pass, pass, pass, cleared cross towards Mitrović, then some more passing, in the near future.
Liverpool become first reigning champions to concede seven
We couldn’t not include this one. The result happened a few days ago now but it’ll be some time still before it fully sinks in. It was the first time ever that the reigning Premier League champions have conceded seven goals in one game, and the first time since 1953 it’s happened in English football’s top flight.
Jürgen Klopp’s title win was built largely on defensive resoluteness — thanks to marauding full-backs Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold, and the colossal presence of Virgil van Dijk — but the Reds looked a shadow of themselves at Villa Park. Granted, they were unfortunate with a few deflections, but still, seven?!
Everton win opening seven games for the first time in 126 years
Okay, okay, so it’s technically not just a Premier League stat, but it’s hard not to credit Everton for their breathtaking start. The Toffees still carry a 100% record this season after registering seven consecutive wins in all competitions, including four Premier League victories, which is the club’s best start since 1894-95.
City rivals Liverpool are next up after the international break, which will no doubt be Everton’s toughest test yet, but with the firepower of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, the genius of James Rodriguez, and a master tactician in Carlo Ancelotti, we wouldn’t rule out the Blues extending their miraculous start to the 2020-21 campaign.
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