Stat, Viz, Quiz is the weekly Opta Analyst newsletter. Our latest edition includes numbers on Tottenham’s collapse at Molineux, Mohamed Salah scoring more goals, and foul records in the Premier League.
It was another fascinating weekend of Premier League football, ending with the top five separated by just three points heading into the final international break of the year.
Chelsea and Manchester City thrilled us all with their high-octane encounter on Sunday, after Arsenal, Liverpool and Aston Villa had all won.
We start this week’s SVQ off with Tottenham though, and a very much unwanted Premier League record set by Ange Postecoglou’s men when they travelled to Wolves.
We also have a look at Mohamed Salah’s latest landmark, then we’ll fire some quiz questions at you before discussing the history of fouls. What’s not to get excited about?
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STAT: 1-0 for 87 Minutes is a Dangerous Lead
In a reverse of the ‘Three Little Pigs’ story, Tottenham showed up at the home of Wolves and tried to blow their house down.
Unfortunately for Spurs, the only thing they blew was their lead in the dying embers of the contest.
They came into a potentially tricky clash at Molineux on the ropes after a 4-1 loss at home to Chelsea the previous Monday, with Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie suspended and several injuries also impacting Spurs.
It was therefore a welcome boost for the visitors when Brennan Johnson gave them a third-minute lead, handing Postecoglou’s side something to hold on to.
Wolves tested their opponents’ resolve but Spurs clung on… until they didn’t.
They had been 1-0 ahead for 87 minutes when Pablo Sarabia ran on to a ball from Matheus Cunha, controlling and firing inside Guglielmo Vicario’s near post in two swift movements to equalise.
The roof then came off the place when Sarabia squared to Mario Lemina to squeeze in the winner in the seventh minute of stoppage time, and with that, Spurs had lost the points and gained a record they will not have been keen on leaving the Midlands with.
Their 87 minutes ahead before going on to suffer defeat is the longest unbroken lead a team has had in a Premier League game they eventually lost.
It has still been an excellent start to the campaign for Spurs, but they won’t want a repeat of that any time soon, lest they summon the dreaded insult that rhymes with ‘slursy’.
VIZ: 200-Up in England for Salah
There was yet another moment of history for Mohamed Salah on Sunday. His second goal for Liverpool against Brentford at Anfield gave his team a much-needed cushion in the eventual 3-0 win, but also brought up another milestone for him personally.
It’s now 200 goals in English football for the Egyptian, not particularly evenly split between his time at Chelsea (2) and Liverpool (198).
The landmark goal was only his eighth header out of those, with 162 goals coming from his trusty left foot, and the remaining 30 from his right.
If you go back and look at the announcement on X (Twitter, as it was then) when Liverpool signed Salah from Roma in 2017, the number of rival fans mocking the club for signing a ‘Chelsea reject’ is rather amusing to see.
His two goals for Chelsea both came in the Premier League (vs Arsenal and Stoke City) with another 147 coming in England’s top flight for Liverpool. Salah has 44 European goals (42 Champions League, 2 Europa League), but in other domestic competitions he only has five FA Cup goals, as well as one in the EFL Cup and one in the Community Shield.
His two goals against Brentford took Salah to 10 in the Premier League this season, outright second in the golden boot race but still three behind the inevitable Erling Haaland. It looks like he might be close to his sharp best though, which bodes well for Liverpool and for his own personal milestones. He needs just two more to make it 200 for the Reds.
Not bad for a ‘Chelsea reject’.
QUIZ: Gunners Fire to 1,000
Here’s our weekly selection of Premier League posers, including one about how Thiago Silva gave everyone in their late 30s hope that they may one day also score against Manchester City. Answers at the bottom of the page.
1. Leandro Trossard’s opener against Burnley was Arsenal’s 1,000th goal at the Emirates Stadium in all competitions. They’re just the third Premier League side to score 1,000 goals at a single stadium since the 2006-07 season (now 1,002), after which two other teams?
2. Victor Lindelöf scored the only goal of the game against Luton, his fourth Premier League goal for Manchester United, with all four of those coming at Old Trafford. Who are the only two players to score at least five Premier League goals for the club with 100% of them coming on home soil? Clue: They were both a part of the 1999 treble-winning side.
3. Dominic Solanke scored twice against Newcastle on Saturday and has been responsible for 55% of Bournemouth’s Premier League goals this season, the highest share in the competition. How many has he scored?
4. Since the start of the 2020-21 campaign, West Ham’s James Ward-Prowse has 17 dead-ball assists in the Premier League. Which Hammers teammate is the only other player to have registered double figures in the division in that time?
5. Thiago Silva’s goal for Chelsea against Man City meant he became only the fourth different player to score a Premier League goal while aged 39 or older. Can you name any one of the other three to find the net in that age bracket?
This week’s question via X is from @FekoJK, who asks: “Which match has had the most fouls committed but the fewest cards?”
Opta has collected fouls conceded data in the Premier League since the 2003-04 season.
In that time, the two games that have seen the most fouls have both involved Fulham; their trip to Norwich City in 2004-05 and their hosting of Everton in 2005-06, and it is the latter that featured the fewest cards of the two.
Both games saw 49 fouls conceded, with four cards (all yellow) handed out in Norwich 0-1 Fulham, and just three (two yellow, one red) in Fulham 3-1 Everton. David Weir was booked by referee Mike Riley late in the first half, and that was it card-wise until the 90th minute when Phil Neville was sent off for the visitors and Steed Malbranque was booked for the hosts a minute later.
As for the Premier League game that has seen the most fouls without a single card being brandished, that was Bolton 2-0 Tottenham in 2006-07. An incredible 44 fouls were given without one caution handed out by referee Phil Dowd, who was either feeling mighty lenient or his dog had eaten his cards the morning of the game.
Interestingly, the majority of the games in the list with the most fouls and fewest cards appear in the seasons from 2003-04 to 2007-08, suggesting the game has evolved since then to be slightly less physical, or maybe referees are just happier to let games flow.
In terms of this season, the game with the most fouls conceded so far is perhaps surprisingly Aston Villa’s 6-1 thrashing of Brighton, which saw 40 fouls, with eight cards dished out (all yellow).
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