Nothing gives the illusion of in-depth football knowledge more than reciting a barrage of random statistics to your mates. So here’s a look ahead to the next round of Premier League fixtures with some stats to ponder from the season so far.
Arsenal vs. Tottenham
Arsene Wenger’s men are one of only two teams to maintain a 100% win record at home so far this season (along with Man Utd) and they will be looking to extend that record on Saturday against bitter rivals Tottenham. Although Arsenal are yet to face one of the current top 6 at home.
Arsenal will have their work cut to break down the Tottenham defence. Nobody has conceded fewer away goals than Spurs this season (3).
Both teams are averaging 61.4% possession, which is the joint second highest in the league behind Man City (70.3%).
Bournemouth vs. Huddersfield
Bournemouth endured a slow start to the season but two wins out their last three have lifted them out of the relegation zone. Nobody has scored fewer goals at home than the Cherries who have bagged just 3 to date.
Huddersfield have enjoyed an excellent start to the season but haven’t scored an away goal since their opening day win at Crystal Palace. The Terriers managed just one shot in their last away outing at Anfield, which is a record low for any team this season.
Burnley vs. Swansea
Sean Dyche’s future remains uncertain as Everton are on the prowl for a new manager and Burnley’s strong start to the season has thrust Dyche into contention for the job.
Binary Burnley have struggled for goals this season and haven’t scored more than one since their shock opening day 3-2 win at Chelsea.
Swansea have had 22 shots on target this season, fewer than everybody else. The Swans are also the only team who are yet to score in the last 30 minutes of a game (even Palace have managed that).
Burnley have had the second fewest number of shots on target (29), which suggests this might be one to avoid for the neutrals.
Crystal Palace vs. Everton
Palace’s slow start to the season has been well documented although their form has picked up since Roy Hodgson took over as manager. It’s no secret that goals have proven hard to come-by for Palace who on average need 34 shots to score a goal, which is double the second least prolific team, Southampton, who are averaging 17 per goal.
The Toffees have endured an underwhelming start to the season, they have managed just two away goals and await their first away win. Only Man Utd have committed more fouls than the Blues who don’t appear to be shy of sticking their foot in, having committed 131 fouls.
Leicester vs. Manchester City
The Foxes are likely to adopt their usual counter-attacking style against the league leaders. Leicester have had less than 45% possession in 9 of their 11 games.
Man City, on the other hand, have averaged 70% possession and have a perfect away record with five wins. City’s defense has been impressive this year. The Blues have conceded just seven goals and are the only team yet to concede a goal from a set piece.
Despite their lack of possession, Leicester have been efficient in their attacking play as they average a goal every seven shots. Only Man City have been more clinical as they average a goal every five attempts.
Liverpool vs. Southampton
Liverpool have been criticised for some of their defending this year. Although their record at home is impressive having conceded just one goal in five, which includes the visits of Man Utd and Arsenal.
Goals have been infrequent for the Saints, who have been the least accurate team in the league in front of goal with only 22% of shots on target.
Despite their wastefulness, Saints have enjoyed a surprising amount of possession as they average 60%, which is more than Liverpool, Man Utd and Chelsea.
West Brom vs. Chelsea
Tony Pulis finds himself under pressure as his team haven’t won a league game since August and have lost their last three.
Pulis’ direct approach has resulted in the Baggies seeing less of the ball than every other Premier League team as they average 37% possession. This is unlikely to change on Saturday against Chelsea as Pulis’ men attempt to frustrate the visitors.
West Brom have a stiff challenge to overcome as their visitors, Chelsea, have won four out of five away games, which includes a smash and grab win against Tottenham.
Chelsea will need to be strong against a physically imposing West Brom side. Conte’s men have been physical this year, committing 130 fouls (the third most in the league) and picking up three red cards in the process (more than anyone else).
Manchester United vs. Newcastle
The Reds have been outstanding defensively and are the only team yet to concede a goal at home this season. Jose’s men were keeping clean sheets and winning games for fun. Although they have lost ground to City recently, having lost two out of their last three.
Newcastle have also been praised for their defensive organisation, which has always been a strength of Rafa Benitez.
Jose might fancy another clean sheet this Saturday as Rafa’s side have only bagged three away goals this season. Only Everton and Crystal Palace have scored less on the road.
Man Utd have also shown incredible stamina this season, with 12 out of their 23 goals having come in the final 15 minutes.
Watford vs. West Ham
The Hornets got off to flyer this season but the Marco Silva express has stalled recently with three straight defeats. Watford have struggled at home with only one win out of five, although this can be partly explained by the high calibre opponents they have faced at Vicarage Road.
West Ham have conceded more goals than anyone (23) but Hammers fans can take some solace from the fact they are unbeaten in their last three away games.
New manager David Moyes will be looking to instill some discipline in his new side who have the worst disciplinary record in the league having picked up 24 yellows and two reds to date.
Brighton vs. Stoke
Brighton have raised a few eyebrows with an impressive start to the season. The Seagulls’ home form has been especially resolute with only Man City leaving the Falmer stadium with three points.
Only West Ham have conceded more than the Potters who have leaked 22 goals.
Stoke are averaging 40% possession, which is the second lowest in the league behind West Brom. Mark Hughes has been under pressure as the Stoke faithful have come to expect a high quality of football since old boss Tony Pulis departed.