Stat, Viz, Quiz is the weekly Opta Analyst newsletter. Our latest edition includes numbers on Fulham and Chelsea, as well as another fun set of quiz questions.
As we get closer to Christmas, we start to open our minds up to magic and wonder.
A person in a red suit who delivers presents to the whole world in one night? Sure. Flying reindeer? Definitely.
Fulham recording consecutive 5-0 Premier League wins? Steady, we’ve all had a Baileys but come on.
Alas, it’s true. It was either flying reindeer or flying pigs over Craven Cottage as Fulham dispatched West Ham 5-0 just four days after doing the same to Nottingham Forest. This week’s SVQ takes a look at Marco Silva’s increasingly effective outfit.
We also investigate Chelsea’s less impressive goal output, dig out some quiz questions to tease brains, and another valued reader decides to ‘Ask Opta’.
If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe below and receive Stat, Viz, Quiz direct to your inbox every week.
STAT: Fulham’s Pair of Fives
It was a decent if unremarkable start to the campaign for Fulham after quite a promising return to the Premier League in 2022-23.
The Cottagers scored just five goals in their first seven league games this season, and 10 in their first 12.
“They’re missing Aleksandar Mitrović” was the general consensus, which was fair enough. The Serbian striker scored 14 goals in the Premier League last season, after hitting an incredible 43 in the Championship in 2021-22. His departure for the Saudi Pro League in the summer was a blow, and Fulham were finding goals harder to come by.
That was until Marco Silva made some adjustments and apparently unlocked a team that can barely sneeze without scoring a goal.
After hitting 10 in 12, Fulham have added another 16 goals in just four games since, scoring three against Wolves, three against Liverpool, five against Nottingham Forest and five against West Ham. Their fans have barely been given a chance to sit down.
Fulham’s sharp shooting broken down shows they have scored their 16 goals from 49 shots, 25 of which were on target, amassing an overall xG of 9.01, so overperforming by pretty much exactly seven goals. That equates to a per-game average of four goals, 12.25 shots, 6.25 on target and an xG of 2.25.
By comparison, in their first 12 Premier League games this season, they averaged 0.83 goals per game, 11.1 shots, 3.6 on target and an xG of 1.04.
Can they maintain this momentum? Upcoming fixtures against Newcastle (a), Burnley (h), Bournemouth (a) and Arsenal (h) will be interesting tests, but one thing’s for sure. Teams will have to be mindful that Fulham, on current form, have the fiercest attack in the Premier League.
VIZ: Chelsea vs Expected Goals
From a team in west London scoring goals for fun to one that should be doing the same, but isn’t often enough, and their season so far has looked anything but fun.
Much has been written about Chelsea’s summer spending as well as the impact incoming manager Mauricio Pochettino might have.
Some thought Chelsea’s project might be like a bulldozer tearing through the Premier League. But despite occasional signs of promise, it has mostly been more like a wet flannel being thrown at a brick wall (sorry, Blues fans).
Chelsea’s 4-4 draw with Manchester City felt like a turning point. Scoring four times against the defending English and European champions was a statement, but they followed that up with a 4-1 defeat at Newcastle. In typical fashion, the Blues then put in another promising showing in a 3-2 win over Brighton, only to lose back-to-back away games to Manchester United and Everton.
So, where does that leave them? Well, in 12th place, where they finished last season.
As you can see from this week’s viz above, Chelsea have had a strange relationship with xG since the start of the 2022-23 campaign. They were just about matching it in Thomas Tuchel’s latter days, before overperforming in Graham Potter’s early games. That switched to underperforming before long, despite increasing their xG (suggesting they were playing better). They simply went from being quite ruthless but not that creative to more creative but very wasteful.
While it evened out somewhat under Frank Lampard, it was largely the same story for Chelsea even up until 10 games into this season. Scoring four against Tottenham on Matchday 11 and another four against City in their next game helped a lot, and it seemed like things were turning around for the Blues. Be more potent in front of goal, and surely points would follow.
Scoring just once from a combined 2.47 xG in the United and Everton defeats suggests it’s an issue Pochettino still hasn’t solved, though, which could be why reports indicate he wants the club to get the chequebook out again in January.
Long-term, there’s every chance Chelsea will come good. For now, though, they just need to figure out how to be as ruthless in front of goal as Fulham (today on ‘sentences you never thought you’d see’).
QUIZ: Salah’s Latest Landmarks and Villa’s Home Record
It was another fascinating Premier League weekend, but do you know some of the finer details? Let’s see. Answers at the bottom of the page.
1. Mohamed Salah scored his 200th goal for Liverpool in their 2-1 win at Crystal Palace, but it was also his 150th Premier League goal. Which former Liverpool striker is he now level with at joint-10th in the Premier League’s all-time top scorers chart?
2. After their 3-0 loss to Bournemouth, how many times have Manchester United conceded 3+ goals at Old Trafford in all competitions this season?
3. Aston Villa’s 1-0 win over Arsenal made it 15 home wins in a row, a record in the league for the club, but how many times have other teams won 15 consecutive home games in Premier League history?
4. Manchester City’s 2-1 win at Luton Town was the second time they have won a Premier League away game this season after conceding the first goal, more than they recorded across 2021-22 (1) and 2022-23 (0) combined. Against which other team did they do so earlier this season?
5. Destiny Udogie became just the second Italian to score a Premier League goal for Tottenham. Who was the first? Clue: He scored three times in 1998.
This week’s question came to us via email from Divine Adebudo, who asks: “How many Premier League games this season have Sheffield United failed to win after conceding the first goal?”
It hasn’t been a great return to the Premier League for the Blades, though with Chris Wilder back in charge, they might make a decent fist of avoiding an immediate return to the Championship. Fans will hope their 1-0 win over Brentford on Saturday is a sign of things to come.
In terms of games lost in the league this season when they have conceded first, Sheffield United have conceded first in 13 of their 16 games so far and have failed to win any of them, losing 11 and drawing two.
They have only won twice, including the weekend’s win over Brentford, and they also opened the scoring in their other victory, beating Wolves 2-1 at Bramall Lane.
The only game in which Sheff Utd have scored first and not won was their agonising 2-1 defeat at Tottenham where goals in the 98th and 100th minutes denied them.
What Are We up to at Opta Analyst?
Here’s some of the latest data-driven offerings you can find on our website:
Opta Player Ratings & Games
If you haven’t done so yet, check out and play Opta’s new and FREE weekly football challenges, Opta Max and Opta Five.
Both games are powered by the Opta Player Ratings, a measure that takes into account over 100 different metrics to provide an accurate performance score (out of 100) for every player in a single match.
This weekend’s top-performing player was Richarlison (97.4/100) who scored twice in Tottenham’s impressive 4-1 win against Newcastle.
In Opta Max and Opta Five you can compare players’ latest players ratings and stats. Then put your player ratings knowledge to the test for a chance to win big prizes each week of the football season.
1. Michael Owen
2. Five (vs Brighton, Galatasaray, Man City, Newcastle and Bournemouth). The last time they did so in more different games at Old Trafford was in 1962-63 (six).
3. Four (Liverpool – 24, Man City – 20, Man Utd – 19, Man City – 15)
4. 3-1 vs West Ham in September
5. Nicola Berti
Before you go…
Enjoying Stat, Viz, Quiz? Think it needs improvement? Send us your feedback to email@example.com.