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Saturday analysis: What Stats Zone taught us today

Norwich 0-1 Aston Villa

Although Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan was named man-of-the-match by most observers, the Midlanders' fleet-footed forward, Gabriel Agbonlahor, was equally influential. 


The local boy's selfless performance at Carrow Road certainly put colleague Aleksander Tonev to shame – Agbonlahor created noes fewer than six goal-scoring chances for team-mates. That included the neat pull-back to Libor Kozak, which gave the new signing his chance to tuck home the only goal of the game.


Tonev, meanwhile, shot on sight throughout the game. In fact, he attempted more shots (most of them wildly off target) than he did passes in the final third.


We have a fairly good idea who Paul Lambert would've been happier with at full time.

Liverpool 0-1 Southampton

Southampton stopped the Liverpool bandwagon rolling with an impressive 1-0 victory at Anfield. Yet it wasn't a 'rearguard action' from the Hampshire side – they created more chances than their illustrious opponents (7 to Liverpool's 5), although the Reds did manage more shots on target (4 to Southampton's 3).

Arguably the most compelling battle of the match was Liverpool winger Victor Moses' tussle with Southampton full-back Nathaniel Clyne.

The Nigerian Chelsea loanee attempted a startling 15 take-ons over the course of 90 minutes – a figure that would've made a 19-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo blush. Clyne, in response, made no fewer than 13 tackles, more often than not keeping Moses at bay – the Liverpool man was successful with just 6 of those dribble attempts.


There'd be a pun here if Southampton were the ones wearing red, but alas…


Newcastle United 2-3 Hull City

Steve Bruce will know that, to win enough games to keep the Tigers in the Premier League, his defenders will have to earn their crust.


Fortunately for Bruce, Curtis Davies and James Chester have started the season in a promising fashion, with this impressive central defensive performance following a similarly resilient showing in their previous victory against Norwich.


Both Chester (7 tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 blocks and 14 clearances) and Davies (3 tackles, 6 interceptions, 2 blocks and 11 clearances) worked tirelessly to keep Newcastle at bay, particularly when the pressure was cranked up in the second half.


West Brom 3-0 Sunderland

Things go from bad to worse for Sunderland, with this heavy defeat leaving the Black Cats cemented to the bottom of the Premier League.


Manager Paolo Di Canio claimed that his players had lost belief after West Brom's opener. The below dashboards confirm that the Wearsiders had been on top in terms of passes completed before the first goal, only to be completely overawed by full time.


West Ham United 2-3 Everton

While the world rightly cooed at the deadline day goings on in north London, Everton were going about some mightily impressive business of their own. But while the big-money signing of James McCarthy and high-profile loan arrival of the much-coveted Romelu Lukaku, little attention was paid to the loan acquisition of Manchester City's Gareth Barry.

But the England midfielder has shown exactly what it is Manuel Pellegrini's side will be missing, with two sterling displays in the middle of the park that have helped the Toffees pick up their first two wins of the Premier League season.

Saturday's showing at Upton Park was perhaps not quite as sensational as last weekend's against Chelsea, but his busy defensive work and composed passing (he made more than any other player on the pitch) kept Everton going when perhaps heads may have dropped previously.

Goalscorers Leighton Baines and Lukaku will get the headlines, but Barry's role in Everton's success shouldn't go unnoticed. This may not be the last time that sentence is used this season.

West Ham, meanwhile, appear to have a few problems in the absence of star striker Andy Carroll. The below chalkboards demonstrate how the Hammers were unsuccessful more often than not in their attempts to pass the ball into the attacking third, and also how deep lone striker Modibo Maiga was forced to drop in order to re-familiarise himself with that spherical, white, leather thing.

Chelsea 2-0 Fulham

This tea-time west London derby was most notable for John Obi Mikel's first Premier League goal, at the 184th time of asking. 


But that wasn't the start and end of an impressive performance from the Nigerian, who perhaps doesn't get the credit he deserves for his role in Chelsea's successes over the last few years.


On Saturday evening he completed more passes than any other player on the pitch (83), and also made 4 tackles. With so many playmaking artists in Jose Mourinho's squad, it should be remembered that functional artisans like Mikel still have a big part to play.


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