Saturday analysis: Lessons in passing, persistence and penetration - plus goals aplenty

FourFourTwo.com editor Gary Parkinson on the day's action in the Premier League...

A goal-filled day in Europe's leading, erm, TV-revenue-collecting league - although in the final analysis, the key results may be the 1-0 home wins for Chelsea and Manchester City.

Elsewhere, Arsenal needed - and got - a reaction after Wednesday's home humbling, while Hull had a happy away day and the champions' first road win in 2014 moved them into sixth position.

At the bottom, Fulham almost did themselves a big favour but West Brom's late equaliser means none of the bottom seven won - not that that's any concern for West Ham, after four league wins on the bounce in February. 

Chelsea 1-0 Everton

The kind of win that titles are made of? Certainly Chelsea never said die, firing in 25 shots to Everton's 8. The Toffees, for all their laudable composure on the ball, only bothered Petr Cech twice. 
 

Eden Hazard completed the most passes in the final third, ranging all across the pitch in typically fluid style. Everton's main final-third passer was Leighton Baines; they lacked the same penetration through the middle, Leon Osman spending more time helping out Gareth Barry and James McCarthy behind him.

As on Wednesday night, the Gunners started brightly. Unlike against Bayern, they took their early chances and put the game to bed by half time: in the first half, five players (Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Lukas Podolski) completed more attacking-third passes that Sunderland's combined combatants. 

After the break, Arsenal slapped on the anchors, and although Laurent Koscielny nodded in the fourth (unmarked), Sunderland outshot their hosts 7 to 3 in the second half – after registering no attempts at all before half-time. 

Arsenal 4-1 Sunderland: check it yourself with Stats Zone

Cardiff 0-4 Hull

A penny for Malky Mackay's thoughts as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer suffered his fifth defeat in seven league games. Cardiff piled up 23 shots from their 56.3% possession, but only 5 of them were on target. Hull, by contrast, got 6 of their 12 on target – of which brace-scorer Nikica Jelavic contributed 4 (from 8 attempts).
 

Cardiff fired a frightening 43 crosses (including corners) into the box, creating 6 attempts on goal. Hull only tried it 8 times and it created 3 shots, including a goal.

Cardiff 0-4 Hull: check it yourself with Stats Zone

Man City 1-0 Stoke

Functional if slightly fraught, the home side were certainly rattled by former manager Mark Hughes's Stoke but certainly dominated the statistics. They used their 74% possession to rattle up almost 700 passes, completing 616 (89%) to Stoke's 158 of 230 (69%). In the attacking third, the hosts piled up 238 out of 289 passes compared to Stoke's 35 of 74. Indeed, David Silva, Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure each completed more final-third passes than Stoke's entire side.
 

For all Mark Hughes' laudable intent to turn Stoke into a short-passing team, they certainly tried to catch their hosts on the break with the early lob forward. Of Stoke's 230 attempted passes, 45 (19.6%) were long, compared to Man City's 27 of 692 (3.9%).

Man City 1-0 Stoke: check it yourself with Stats Zone

West Brom 1-1 Fulham

The Felix Magath era looked like starting with a win, but the Cottagers were second best. With 63.9% possession, West Brom compiled double Fulham's passing totals (383 of 495 completed to 184 of 282) and were particularly dominant in the attacking third – although Magath may say his side, ahead for most of the match, didn't need to press.

Baggies' ascendancy is perhaps best shown by the number of clearances Fulham had to make - 68, compared to Baggies' 15 and Southampton's 42 - the next-highest total in today's Premier League fixtures.

West Brom 1-1 Fulham: check it yourself with Stats Zone

West Ham 3-1 Southampton

An efficient performance from West Ham. Saints had 68.9% possession and completed 469 of 543 passes (86%) to the Hammers' 140 of 220 (64%). 
 

The Saints also totted up 25 shots to the hosts' 10 but each side got 5 on target… and Adrian made four saves to Artur Boruc's two.

West Ham 3-1 Southampton: check it yourself with Stats Zone

Crystal Palace 0-2 Man United

Although Palace rattled into Manchester United, the champions had much more of the ball: their 66.4% possession was reflected in the sides' passing totals. United completed 598 of 665 (90%), Palace 239 of 322 (74%).
 

United fielded Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie, Juan Mata and Adnan Januzaj but the man who completed most final-third passes was Michael Carrick, with 31 of his 35 hitting the spot. In all, Carrick amassed 135 completed passes of 143.

Crystal Palace 0-2 Man United: check it yourself with Stats Zone


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