It was another thrilling weekend of Premier League action, with Liverpool’s remarkably bad run continuing and Manchester City’s impressive streak coming to an abrupt end.
Most of the weekend’s most-notable talking points were reserved for Sunday as Fulham beat the champions, Manchester United came out on top in the derby and Tottenham cruised, partly down to the continued resurgence of Gareth Bale.
City remain top of the table and still look extremely comfortable up there with that 11-point lead, but United staked their claim as the league’s second best with their impressive 2-0 win at the Etihad Stadium.
It saw Ole Gunnar Solskjaer improve an already fine record against Pep Guardiola, while Liverpool’s Anfield loss to Fulham ensured they set an unwanted new record.
There’s all that and more in this week’s Opta-powered quirky facts…
Solskjaer has Pep’s number?
While City look set to win the war, United at least dented their pride with victory in Sunday’s derby battle.
It took Solskjaer to four wins from eight matches against Guardiola, giving the Norwegian an impressive record in their duels.
Only two other coaches have inflicted as many defeats on Guardiola in his entire coaching career – Jurgen Klopp (8 in 21 games) and Jose Mourinho (7 in 25).
However, as you can see, neither can boast Solskjaer’s 50 per cent win record against the Catalan coach.
Nevertheless, it was the first time United had scored against any of the so-called “big six” since losing 6-1 to Tottenham. They’ve still much to improve on.
Kane on a par with Henry
Well, that should have grabbed the attention of Arsenal fans…
First of all, with his brace in Sunday’s 4-1 win over Crystal Palace, Harry Kane is 101 goals behind Alan Shearer’s Premier League record of 260 goals. Given he’s still only 27, surpassing the England and Newcastle United great is looking a real possibility.
Despite Shearer holding the record, Thierry Henry is regarded by many as being the league’s all-time greatest striker – he has 175 goals to his name from 258 games with the Gunners.
Among the nine leading scorers in Premier League history, only the Frenchman can match Kane’s goals-per-game frequency of 0.68.
If he reaches 175 in fewer matches (he’s currently on 235), will Kane be regarded as the Premier League’s best ever? Does he have to overtake Shearer for that honour?
Or does Sergio Aguero have that title? After all, his 108 minutes-per-goal (180 in 269 games) is better than the respective records of Kane (122 mins/goal) and Henry (121.8 mins/goal).
The worst home team in England
Much has been said of Liverpool’s wretched home run – after all, Sunday’s shock reverse to struggling Fulham was the first time they have ever lost six league games in a row on their own turf.
Additionally, six home losses is the most they have suffered in a single season since 1953.
But to drive home the remarkable nature of their difficulties, no other team in England’s top four divisions has won fewer home points than Liverpool since the turn of the year.
They have one point from seven games, worse than Charlton Athletic, Walsall (two each), Rochdale, AFC Wimbledon and Carlisle United (three each).
Liverpool have also scored fewer (one) than all of those teams in the same period. That leads us on to the Reds’ doomed title defence…
Are Liverpool the worst ever Premier League champions?
The answer to that question lies in how exactly you quantify being the “worst champions”. Do you look at the difference in table positions, the number of points they collect, or the difference in points accumulations between the two seasons?
Of course, Liverpool could yet recover and go on to enjoy a strong finish to the season, but after 28 games their drop-off has been rather monumental.
At the same stage of the 2019-20 season, the Reds had 79 points from 26 wins, dropping points just twice – after that defeat to Fulham, they’ve 43 points and have drawn or lost 10 times.
That’s a points difference of 36, which, according to Opta, is the single biggest drop-off by the defending champions 28 matches into a season.
Leicester City previously held that record with their haul of 57 points decreasing by 27 a year later, but Liverpool have blown them out of the water.