Football Features

Arsenal impenetrable on the road – The stats and stories you might have missed in the Premier League

By Harry Edwards

Published: 19:33, 6 April 2024

The Premier League action just keeps on coming with another round of fixtures less than 48 hours after the previous gameweek ended.

A more traditional weekend fixture list, the 10 games are split across just Saturday and Sunday, with seven coming today. It started with Man City’s trip to Crystal Palace and ended as Arsenal travelled to face Brighton.

In between were five games at the traditional 3pm kick-off slot, meaning the only way to watch those games in the UK were at the stadiums.

So we’ve rounded up all the stats and stories you might have missed from Saturday’s action.

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Man City’s comeback kings

Manchester City opened the action on Saturday knowing they could put some pressure on both Arsenal and Liverpool in an extremely close title race. But Crystal Palace had already taken points off them this season, so Man City will have been wary.

And within four minutes they were behind. Man City were caught out with an extremely high line, beaten by Adam Wharton’s ball through to Jean-Philippe Mateta. The Frenchman kept his composure one-on-one to give Crystal Palace the lead.

But Man City have been here before, and they know exactly what to do, fighting back to seal a comfortable 4-2 victory in the end. The defending champions have now won six of their past seven away games in the Premier League, coming from behind in five of those six victories.

Centurion Kevin De Bruyne

The comeback was started and rounded off by two goals from Kevin De Bruyne. His first was a beautiful curling effort right into the top corner to equalise, giving Dean Henderson absolutely no chance.

The second was poked home from just inside the box after neat work, and it was the more significant strike. De Bruyne has now scored 100 goals for Man City across all competitions, the 18th player to hit the landmark for the club.

Since the start of 2024, only Cole Palmer (17) has been involved in more goals in all competitions among Premier League players’ than De Bruyne’s 16 — four goals, 12 assists.

Mr Set Piece

West Ham had to come from behind to beat Wolves 2-1 at Molineux and it was a game of three set-pieces. Wolves opened the scoring from the penalty spot and West Ham equalised with spot-kick of their own.

But the game was won from a corner. And we mean directly from a corner. James Ward-Prowse scored the winning goal with an Olimpico, looping the ball over Jose Sa to the far post with six minutes left to play.

Just look at that shot map…

History for Luton

Luton went into their game against Bournemouth really needing a victory. It wasn’t too long ago that the Hatters were 3-0 up against the Cherries before falling to a 4-3 defeat.

That loss came as part of an 10-man winless run in the Premier League which included seven defeats, putting Luton in serious trouble after a good run. And it looked as though that run would continue after Marcus Tavernier gave Bournemouth a lead within 10 minutes of the restart.

In the 10 games that Luton had conceded the opening goal in the Premier League this season, they’d only managed two points. But this was going to be different. Jordan Clarke equalised with 20 minutes left to play and Carlton Morris got the winner in the 90th minute with his ninth goal of the season.

So, for the first time ever, Luton have won a Premier League game after conceding the opening goal. More importantly, Luton are now level on points with Nottingham Forest on goal difference — the Reds are still to play this weekend, but they face Tottenham.

Eddie Howe’s lucky charm

While there were goals across the Premier League, it looked as though we’d be destined for a goalless draw between Fulham and Newcastle at Craven Cottage.

It wasn’t as if there was a lack of action, with Fulham and Newcastle sharing 26 shots and nine on target. They just weren’t going in. To make it worse, Newcastle had a goal ruled out for a foul in the build up.

But they did get their breakthrough in the final 10 minutes as Bruno Guimaraes opened the scoring. It proved to be the only goal of the game, keeping Newcastle within reach of West Ham. Guimaraes is proving to be something of a good luck charm too.

The Brazilian has scored in 10 different Premier League games for Newcastle, and the Magpies have won every single one.

Calvert-Lewin’s hot streak

In midweek, Everton fans were given something they thought they’d never get again. A Dominic Calvert-Lewin goal. He scored from the penalty spot in the draw against Newcastle, ending an 18-match streak without a goal.

And, it turns out, that was all he needed. Because just a few days later, Calvert-Lewin scored again. There was a big stroke of good fortune for this goal, as Burnley goalkeeper Aro Muric kicked the ball directly at Calvert-Lewin as he closed him down. A carbon copy of Darwin Nunez’s goal against Sheffield United in midweek. But, they all count.

Burnley fail to keep their heads

An uphill battle to fight, of their own doing, Burnley made things worse for themselves in the second half.

For the second time in three games, Burnley were reduced to 10 men, though this one was a lot less contentious. Dara O’Shea was sent off for a last-man tackle on Dwight McNeil, with the Everton man through on goal after a poor touch.

It’s the seventh red card Burnley have had this season, more than any other club in the Premier League. The red cards have all gone to seven different players, with O’Shea joining Sander Berge, Josh Brownhill, Connor Roberts, Anass Zaroury, Lorenz Assignon and Lyle Foster in being sent off.

One more to fall

Ollie Watkins missed Aston Villa’s 4-1 defeat to Man City in midweek through injury, but he was back in the starting XI to face Brentford. And he was back amongst the goals.

The Englishman scored the opening goal and then got the late equaliser after Aston Villa had let their 2-0 lead slip. The first goal ended a three-game goal drought in the Premier League for Watkins, quite long by his high standards this season.

His second took Watkins to 18 in the Premier League this season, with only Erling Haaland (19) netting more. But he is also now just two goals off Premier League history. Only Christian Benteke has scored more goals in a single Premier League season for Aston Villa than Watkins has this campaign, with the Belgian netting 19 in 2012/13.

No Villa player has netted 20 in a single Premier League campaign, but it feels like that record will tumble soon.

Hope for England?

Although England fans celebrated in the 2018 World Cup as they beat Colombia on penalties, shootouts are still painful for fans of the Three Lions. But there might be reason to be optimistic this summer.

Bukayo Saka opened the scoring for Arsenal in their win over Brighton at the Amex, sending Bart Verbruggen the wrong way from the penalty spot. It was the fifth penalty Saka has taken this season in the Premier League, and the fifth he has scored.

In fact, just two players in the Premier League have taken at least five penalties this season with a 100% record, with Saka joining compatriot Cole Palmer (eight from eight).

Impenetrable Arsenal

A lot is being made of Arsenal’s unbeaten start to 2024 in the Premier League, but a quick glance doesn’t do it justice. Particularly when looking at their away form.

The Gunners have won five of their six away games in the Premier League this year, only failing in a goalless draw with Man City. But that draw has come as part of a ridiculous run.

Arsenal have now gone five consecutive away league games without conceding a goal. It’s just the second time they have kept five consecutive away league clean sheets, also doing so between February and April 1997.

They do say defences win titles…