Premier League Round 29

22 Mar

Man Utd continued to turn the screw on City rivals City with an easy 5-0 away win at Wolves (19th). Whilst it isn’t going to win any Big Game Player awards, it was interesting that Javier Hernandez’ brace means that he’s into double figures for the league season once again. There’s always the fear of second season syndrome after a player comes in from abroad and has a great first season, but he’s showed consistency with 10 goals in 23 games (average opposition 11.6 per goal). Looking at the Man Utd strikers, it’s easy to remember back to the 1999 team when they had Yorke, Cole, Sherringham and Solksjaer. This season it’s been Rooney, Welbeck, Hernandez and Berbatov, and although not as prolific as their predecessors, they still have a decent 44 league goals between them. Man City’s forward line of Dzeko, Aguero, Balotelli and Tevez have 41 – though Tevez hasn’t played many games this season for some reason? So the pressure was back on City with the game against Top 6 Chelsea (the first team to beat them this season) at home last night.

Well they dealt with the pressure well. It was in fact a rare appearance from Carlitos that helped break down a resolute Chelsea defence, providing an assist for Samir Nasri to score his 4th league goal of the season late on (average opposition of 9.5). Although he hasn’t matched his goalscoring performance for Arsenal last season, his 4 goals have proved important, as they’ve gained 4 points for City. Chelsea’s decent recent run came to an end, but they’ve shown good form recently, and losing away to a team that have won 20 consecutive home games is no disgrace. It’ll be interesting to see what team Terry picks this weekend.

And so onto the usual Average Opposition Stats:

Very little change in the goalscoring charts – Kun Aguero’s penalty against Chelsea moved him one clear of Demba Ba on 17 games, and also increases his goals against the Top 6 to 3. As a result, his Average Opponent per goal is now 11.65. Javier Hernandez’s double against a poor Wolves team has moved him into the goal scoring charts. The two goals against 19th placed Wolves, lowers his average to 11.60, though he has a good scoring split of 3 against Bottom 6, 4 against Mid 8 teams and 3 against the Top 6.

As a result of the lack of activity from the leading goalscorers, it’s Adebayor who retains the best average opposition ranking of 7.82, whilst Frank Lampard’s 10 goals from midfield have been on average against 15th place opponents – keeping the Flat Track Bully tag.

Elsewhere, Arsenal’s meteoric rise up the table continues. Despite Robin van Persie’s goal drought of one game, the Gunners have now won 6 games in a row thanks to Vermaelen’s 5th goal of the season:

It’s been an impressive return from injury for the Belgian Centre Back, and he’s continued to show the goalscoring form that he first displayed upon signing. Gary Cahill also scored at the weekend, bringing his tally up to 3 for the season, though this was his first league goal for Chelsea.

Of course Arsenal’s rise up the table has been doubly sweet. Not only have they been in great form, but they’ve also done it at the expense of North London rivals Tottenham. After tricky games (and defeats) against Arsenal, Man Utd, Everton and Man City as well as draws against Liverpool and this time Stoke, have left Spurs with just 8 points from the last 24, whilst Arsenal have taken 19. They now sit proudly in 3rd.

Another team sitting proudly at the moment are 8th placed Swansea. A 3-0 away win against 10th placed Fulham was inspired by recent loan signing Gylfi Sigurdsson. His double took his season’s tally to 5 goals in 9 games, with 2 assists thrown in. Hoffenheim have apparently received enquiries for the talented Icelandic on the back of this form, though Swansea will certainly be hoping to keep him.

And lastly, a quick look at the bottom. Despite being written off by many due to their run in (including me), QPR surprised a lot of people by coming back from two goals down to beat 7th place Liverpool. Also doing well at the bottom were Blackburn, who continued their good form of late with a 2-0 win over Sunderland (8th at the start of the round), courtesy of Junior Hoillet and Yakubu’s goals.  The Yak remains the most important player to his team in terms of percentage of points won (46.43%), whilst Robin van Persie has won the most points – a whopping 22 points, which has already beaten last season’s highest of 17 (Odemwingie):

Rafael van der Vaart’s late equaliser for Spurs against Stoke mean that he has the best ratio of goals to points, with 10 points won from 8 goals. At the other end of the scale, Wayne Rooney’s 20 goals have only been worth 8 points to Man Utd this season.

That’s it for the Premier League this week, I’m currently working on a feature on Diego Maradona at the moment, and hope to have it up by the end of the weekend.

Thanks,

Liam

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