Stat, Viz, Quiz is the weekly Opta Analyst football newsletter. Our latest edition includes numbers on Liverpool, Manchester City and Everton.

We’re all familiar with the cliché that the first goal is crucial.

Well, that’s not the case for Liverpool and Manchester City. You can pretty much hang your hat on the fact that if they concede first, they’re probably still going to win. We take a look at two of the Premier League title challengers bucking the trend by retrieving so many points from losing positions this season.

Another team who gained something back last week were Everton, who had their 10-point deduction in the Premier League reduced to six. The mood at Goodison Park will have been lifted temporarily, until their wastefulness in front of goal reappeared to haunt them against West Ham. This week’s SVQ goes over the Toffees’ bizarre inability to put the ball in the net.

We also have a quiz that asks you to cast your mind back to the weekend and throughout the Premier League era. What a fine way to spend a Tuesday.

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STAT The Great Point Retrievers

When Liverpool went 1-0 down to Luton Town a couple of weeks ago, everyone could sense what would happen. When Manchester City went 1-0 down to Manchester United on Sunday, everyone could sense what would happen.

In both cases, it emphatically happened.

It should be unsustainable. If a team keeps falling behind in games, you’d think eventually it’ll catch up with them and they’ll fail to turn things around.

Liverpool and Man City continue to get the job done, though, which is uncharacteristic for teams fighting for the Premier League title.

The most points won from losing positions by a Premier League champion is Manchester United in Alex Ferguson’s final season at Old Trafford (2012-13), when they won 29. That’s five more than the next most, also United in 1999-2000 (24 points).

Most comeback points by PL champions

With 27 games played, Liverpool have already won 22 points from losing positions, while City’s 3-1 comeback against United on Sunday took them to 21 points.

Interestingly, it was the first time Man City had managed to do so against their local rivals in a Premier League match, on the 29th occasion of them falling behind in this fixture in the competition (D3 L25). They had lost the previous 15 times in a row when they had trailed against Man Utd in the league.

The most points won from losing positions overall in Premier League history was Newcastle United in the 2001-02 season, with their 34 points accounting for almost half of their final total of 71 and a fourth-place finish.

Liverpool and City aren’t the only ones at it, either. Tottenham’s 3-1 comeback win against Crystal Palace made it five Premier League victories for them despite conceding first this season, their most in a campaign since 2015-16 (also five).

Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola will probably not want to break United’s record as it would mean falling behind several more times in games between now and the end of the season. They’ll likely just want to go ahead and stay ahead from now on, but they can at least take comfort in knowing that should they go a goal down, they have the players to correct things.

With every point so crucial in the title race, it’s little surprise to see both showing such fight.

When they clash at Anfield next week, don’t go jumping to any conclusions if either team goes 1-0 up.

VIZ Everton Expects

Premier League goals vs xG 23-24
Viz by Jonathan Manuel

What a hectic season it’s been for Everton. Devastating defeats, deducted points, appeals, inspiring victories, points deductions being reduced. The works.

They even had the unfamiliar joy of winning a penalty on Saturday, their first of the season. Such is the way of things at Goodison Park right now, though, they of course missed it before going on to lose 3-1 to West Ham.

Everton haven’t played too badly this season considering their predicament. Sean Dyche’s men have been creating chances, with only nine teams having a higher expected goals (xG) total in the Premier League. However, only Burnley (25) and Sheffield United (22) have scored fewer than Everton’s 29 goals.

As you can see from this week’s viz above, their -12.56 underperformance of their goals versus their xG is more than twice as much as any other team.

Brentford have been the next most wasteful, scoring 39 goals from 44.4 xG (-5.4), followed by Chelsea’s 44 goals from 49.07 xG (-5.07).

By stark contrast, Arsenal have been the most ruthless, scoring 68 goals from 56.25 xG (+11.75), followed by north London rivals Tottenham’s 55 from 45.88 xG (+9.12).

Missing chances was a problem again for Everton on Saturday in the home defeat to the Hammers, scoring just once from 22 shots, 11 of which were on target and with an overall xG in the game of 2.73.

In theory, Everton should not have anything to worry about. Expected goals tells us where teams should eventually revert to in front of goal. If they continue to create chances, sooner or later they’ll start going in.

Nervous Blues fans glancing at the Premier League table will be hoping that happens rather sharpish, though.

QUIZ Werner Gets Off the Mark, Beto’s Blushes, and Man Utd Peppered

It was a weekend of comebacks, late goals and wallopings. This week’s questions surround those who have matched or bettered some of Matchday 27’s achievements in the past. Answers at the bottom of the page.

1. Timo Werner scored his first Premier League goal for Tottenham and became just the fourth player to score for both Chelsea and Spurs in the Premier League. Who are the other three?

2. Alexander Isak has scored 12 goals in his first 20 home Premier League games for Newcastle. Who are the only three players to have scored more in their first 20 outings in the competition at St James’ Park for the Magpies?

3. Beto became the 31st player to take a Premier League penalty for Everton, and the 23rd to fail to score one. Who are the only team to have more different players miss from the spot in the Premier League?

4. Manchester City had 18 shots at Manchester United’s goal in the first half of Sunday’s derby, the joint-most United have faced in the first half of a Premier League game on record (since 2003-04). Against which opponent did the Red Devils also face 18 attempts in an EPL first half?

5. Martin Ødegaard scored in Arsenal’s 6-0 hammering of Sheffield United, making it 17 Premier League away goals for him since the start of 2021-22. Who is the only midfielder to score more such goals in the competition during that time?

Ask Opta

Do you have a stat-based question you’d like Opta to answer in a future edition of SVQ? Email us at or message us on X @OptaAnalyst with #AskOpta and we’ll pick the best one.

What Are We up to at Opta Analyst?

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⏱️ The History of Premier League Last-Minute Winners

🔵 Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United Stats: A Phil Foden-Inspired Comeback Sees City Keep the Pressure on Liverpool

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Quiz Answers

1. Eidur Gudjohnsen, William Gallas and Gustavo Poyet

2. Alan Shearer (21), Andy Cole (21) and Les Ferdinand (16)

3. Arsenal (24)

4. vs Fulham in March 2009

5. James Ward-Prowse

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