Tackle king Lucas stops City, Adebayor's target practice & Toon's block party
After midweek defeat at Napoli, Manchester City had another bad trip by their recently raised standards. At Anfield, Liverpool held the leaders to just seven shots - only half as many as City had managed in any previous league game (Newcastle and Aston Villa being the teams to have 'restricted' them to 14).
Although the teams were evenly matched in the first half, it's the first league game this season in which City have failed to score after half-time, mainly because they had some serious defending to do: Liverpool racked up 12 second-half shots to their visitors' mere two.
City's passing fell away in the second half, from 250 completed out of 294 to 166/195. Gareth Barry, Yaya Toure and Lucas Leiva ended up tied for most successful passes on 69, but the contrasting trends of these deep midfielders tell the story. In a typically efficient Man City first half Barry completed 44 of his 50 passes and Toure 45 of his 50, but after the break they fell to 25/28 and 24/25 respectively. Meanwhile, Lucas turned up the pressure from 31/33 to 38/42.
That may not be a massive leap but Lucas was even busier stopping City. As @alrhemist noted by sharing a Stats Zone screen, the Brazilian won all seven of his tackles has now won 52 this season, more than any other player in the division. He certainly had more of a positive effect on the outcome than Mario Balotelli, whose 18 minutes yielded four fouls, three unsuccessful passes, one successful pass of about three yards and a couple of aerial duels, the latter yielding his second yellow card.
City's neighbours Manchester United were also held to a 1-1 draw, in their case at home to Newcastle United. The Magpies' penalty equaliser was fiercely debatable but it's hardly a surprise that the visitors scored: the champions are yet to keep clean sheets in consecutive home games in the league this season.
As expected, they had the upper hand with 29 attempts to Newcastle's eight, but only managed to get seven on target to the visitors' five. This was partly profligacy - the home side fired a dozen shots off target - but also credit to Newcastle's defensive diligence in blocking 11 shots. It's a measure of the champions' creative frustration that 24% of their goalscoring attempts came from corners.
Tottenham rolled on with a win at West Brom in which Emmanuel Adebayor was central to the drama. The Togolese totem racked up a startling nine shots on target, more than any other Premier League players since 2006-07. One of them was a penalty, saved by Ben Foster before Adebayor scored from the rebound; Spurs have now failed with six of their 15 league penalties since the start of last season.
Missing Rafa van der Vaart and Luka Modric against a typically organised Roy Hodgson side, the visitors were perhaps expected to struggle - and they might have but for the ever-excellent Scott Parker, who played more through balls than any other player in the Premier League this weekend. Meanwhile Gareth Bale created seven chances and Benoit Assou-Ekotto outpassed the lot of 'em with an impressive 64 completed passes out of 72.
Chelsea turned in a much improved performance against Wolves, from back to front. John Terry's fourth goal - two more than any other defender in the league - equals his best tally in a Premier League season; Juan Mata became the first Chelsea player to provide two assists in a single Premier League game this season; and Daniel Sturridge's sixth goal of the 2011/12 league campaign came from just his eighth shot on target.
Nobody passed more than Mata in the attacking third, but as @footballistix notes, the leading passer overall might raise an eyebrow: it wasn't any of the home players, but Wolves' oft-derided Karl Henry.
Tip of the hat to Fulham's Mark Schwarzer: Arsenal piled nine attempts on target, all from inside the area, but only scored with Thomas Vermaelen's header. The busy Belgian scored at both ends, the 31st player in Premier League history to do so and the fourth Gunner this season to bag an oggy.
Arsenal had 13 corners but the majority failed: only two (7.7%) of Arsenal's 26 goals this season have come from set pieces, the lowest rate in the league.
That stat would horrify Stoke, who are far more obdurate and again showed so against Blackburn: they have won the last eight Premier League games they have been winning at half-time. The Potters' conversion rate of 43% topped any other side this weekend, and Glenn Whelan once again scored from range: three of his four Premier League goals have come from outside the penalty area.
Finally, some random stats for you to amuse your friends. QPR's Luke Young has now netted two goals in consecutive games, after scoring just once since October 2008. Norwich's Grant Holt has scored three goals as a sub this season - more than anyone bar Everton's Apostolos Vellios, who scored his own third at Bolton, who have now gone 23 top-flight games without a draw - longer than anyone since QPR in 1985.