Analysis

10 great statistics that perfectly sum up this Premier League season

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6. Liverpool’s bouncebackability

Liverpool’s title assault might have been founded on the defensive improvement provided by Virgil van Dijk and Alisson, but more impressive still is their response to going behind.

Only Manchester City have conceded the first goal of the game fewer times than Liverpool. And yet no team in the Premier League has taken more points from losing positions than them.

That is extraordinary. Last season, Liverpool conceded first in nine matches and took eight points from those games. This season, Liverpool have conceded first in seven league games, but taken 16 points from those matches. The only game in which they conceded first and lost was at Manchester City in January. That’s why they’re in the title race.

7. No standout top scorer

In 2017/18, Mohamed Salah set a record for the most goals in a 38-game Premier League season. But Salah was run all the way to the line. He and Kane both reached 30 goals, while two other players (Jamie Vardy and Sergio Aguero) hit 20.

This season, a notable drop. With barely a month left of the campaign, no player has reached 20 goals. While the top two scorers in the division were nine ahead of the rest last year, currently there are 15 players within seven goals of being the league’s top scorer.

The key is goals being shared around, helped by injuries to Kane and Aguero, and Salah’s form tailing off slightly. In the whole of 2017/18, 14 players managed 12 or more Premier League goals. Fifteen players have already done so this season.

8. Fulham’s abysmal defence

Fulham are strong candidates to be crowned new holders of the ‘worst ever Premier League team’ award. They may have gained more points than Huddersfield this season and Derby in 2007/08, but neither of those teams spent £100m on shiny objects they believed would take them into the top half.

Fulham made the stupid mistake of investing in attack and midfield but failing to address the problems in a defence that conceded more goals than any other team in the Championship’s top five last season.

They have paid the price spectacularly. The Cottagers are on course to concede 88 league goals. That would be one below the all-time Premier League record for a 38-game season, again set by Derby in 2007/08. Everyone involved should be thoroughly ashamed.

9. Chelsea’s new passing fad

This has been an awkward, unideal first season for Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea; some supporters are angry that he is even still in charge. But while some of the Italian’s decisions have allowed goodwill to quickly seep away (particularly the lack of minutes given to Callum Hudson-Odoi), it’s difficult not to feel some sympathy for him.

Chelsea appointed their new manager three weeks before the Community Shield, gave him one new permanent signing that fitted his style, and are now third in the Premier League and favourites for the Europa League.

One thing that certainly can’t be doubted is how much Sarri has altered Chelsea’s style. Last season, the Blues ranked fifth in the Premier League for passes completed, with 17,922. This season, they rank second only a fraction behind Manchester City. They have already completed 19,761.

10. Huddersfield’s heads are down

This has been a rotten season for Huddersfield. They have lost arguably their most successful manager since Herbert Chapman, were effectively relegated by Christmas and have barely even reacted to that disappointment with some fighting spirit.

But most disappointing is how unable they’ve been to respond to in-game setbacks under both David Wagner and Jan Siewert. The Terriers have conceded the first goal in 23 of their 33 league games to date. In those 23 matches, they have taken a single point.

Then read…

FAN’S VIEW The Slip, five years on: Why Chelsea are no longer the enemy for Liverpool in 2019

QUIZ! Can you name the 59 outfield players with 30+ Premier League appearances this season?

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