Football Features

Bluebird barrage leaves Man Utd with dirty laundry: ridiculous Premier League final day stats you probably missed

By Chris Smith

Published: 17:17, 12 May 2019

A bonkers day of drama on the final day of the Premier League season saw Manchester City crowned champions.

There were a few spills and thrills along the way as Liverpool ran them close, but Pep Guardiola’s men have retained the title for the first time in the club’s history.

But it wasn’t just the title race that had us on the edge of our seats, the rest of the Premier League served up a brilliant helping of goals, stats, shocks and records to remind us all just what we’ll be missing over the summer break.

At Squawka, we’ve crammed all the best stats and moments together right here for you.

1. Quickfire corrections

When Glenn Murray added to Sadio Mane’s opener for Liverpool by firing Brighton ahead against City, you could almost hear the whole of Manchester and the blue half of Merseyside holding their breath. Liverpool were top, champions as it stood.

But then Mr. City himself, Sergio Aguero, stepped up to pull the Citizens back level just 83 whole seconds later with a lovely turn and finish on the inside left.

10 minutes after that, Aymeric Laporte was slotting home a set piece of his own and parity was restored at the Premier League summit. Not without its fair share of drama and spilt pints, though.

2. Left hook, right hook

It wasn’t just at the Amex Stadium where the goals were coming thick and fast. At Craven Cottage, Newcastle were making light work of their Sunday lunch, hitting Fulham with the old one-two thanks to first-half goals from Jonjo Shelvey and Ayoze Perez, separated by just 124 seconds.

Shelvey’s opener also happened to be his first strike in exactly 400 days. Lethal.

3. That old chestnut

Everton have been a funny old team this season. Pretty decent at the start of Marco Silva’s reign, useless after that Merseyside derby mistake, then ruthlessly good at home during the run-in. The first two parts of the season were littered with defensive errors which, until recently, looked to be a thing of the past.

However, the Toffees were once again unwrapped at Tottenham on the final day by their old foe: set pieces. Everton failed to effectively clear an Erik Lamela corner and allowed the ball to drop to Eric Dier in the box, who haunted his former club by lashing past Jordan Pickford.

Excluding penalties, Everton have now ended the season having conceded 15 goals from set pieces, more than any other Premier League team.

4. Young guns

Man Utd are famed for producing young players. You know, I know it, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer obviously knows it.

With the Red Devils’ season pretty much over before the final day kicked off, the Norwegian was clearly planning for 2019/20 and decided to hand a first start to young forward Mason Greenwood.

At 17 years and 223 days old, Greenwood is the youngest-ever player to start a Premier League game for Manchester United. What were you doing at 17?

5. Dirty laundry

However, that didn’t exactly do much to help the Red Devils faltering form. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s 23rd-minute penalty handed already-relegated Cardiff City a shock lead at Old Trafford and meant United finished the season with just two clean sheets in 19 games at home, the fewest of any team in the 2018/19 Premier League season. All this after notching the joint-highest number of clean sheets (12) at home last season.

Kalidou Koulibaly? Aaron Wan-Bissaka? Better sign them all just in case, Ole.

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6. Bluebird barrage

And the embarrassment didn’t stop there for United. Red Devils fans had to sit back and suffer as their side put in another languid performance, allowing Cardiff to become the first away side to reach double figures for shots on goal in the first half at Manchester United this season.

7. Simple yet effective

With four goals in 12 games across all competitions, Michy Batshuayi has been quietly decent for Crystal Palace since arriving on loan from Chelsea in January, without setting the world alight.

And on the final day, he put in a classic striker’s performance in the first half of Palace’s clash with Bournemouth, scoring twice at Selhurst Park as the Eagles raced into a 3-0 lead, but completing a grand total of just three passes.

Strikers are just there to put the ball in the net anyway, aren’t they?

8. Tinkerman

Unai Emery’s first season at Arsenal has been decent. They’ve moved from sixth to fifth and taken seven extra Premier League points compared to 2017/18, as well as reached an all-English Europa League final. Not incredible, but still a steady improvement.

And whether he knew about it or not, Emery even managed to break a record on the final day. The injury-forced substitution of Konstantinos Mavropanos in the 34th minute of their trip to Burnley took the Gunners to 28 changes before the start of the second half of their Premier League games, breaking the previous record of 27 held by Watford in the 2006/07 season. A much-coveted record.

9. Theo, Theo, Theo

Six goals in 40 games is an absolutely terrible return for a player of Theo Walcott’s supposed quality and the highlights reel of his misses this season is a very long one.

However, it’ll be quiet comfort to him and absolutely hilarious to the Arsenal fans that two of those strikes have come against Spurs, taking his tally to six goals and four assists against his old north London foes. Sure, one was in a 6-2 humiliation at Goodison Park back in December, but the other came on the final day as Everton grappled their way back into their tie away at Spurs.

Everton’s first-ever goalscorer at the new Tottenham Hotspur stadium is a former Arsenal stalwart. Somewhere, Arsene Wenger is having a little chuckle to himself.

10. Maddison wins the race to 100

James Maddison and Eden Hazard have been neck and neck atop the Premier League chance creation tables for some time now but the Belgian’s chances of catching his English counterpart were dashed when Maurizio Sarri decided to leave him on the bench, resting him for the upcoming Europa League final.

And so Maddison took full advantage, becoming the first player to create 100 chances during the 2018/19 season as his Leicester side and Hazard’s Chelsea played out a non-event at the King Power. If that long-awaited England debut doesn’t come at the Uefa Nations League finals this summer, we’ll be very shocked.

11. Farewell, Bruno

At 38 years, seven months and 14 days old, Bruno was the oldest outfield player on show during the final day of the Premier League season, making his 235th appearances for Brighton.

And that proved to be his final one with the Spaniard announcing his retirement at the end of the season. Manager Chris Hughton did the thing all Brighton fans wanted, bringing him off late on to allow the veteran the send-off he deserves. Emotional.

12. TA-Assist

What a season for Trent Alexander-Arnold. Another Champions League final and a Premier League title challenge all at the age of 20.

And to top it off, the young right-back notched another assist for Mane’s second during Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Wolves, taking his season tally to 12 – the most from any defender in Premier League history. The sky really is the limit.

13. History makers

It was a nervy first half. Brighton took the lead, Liverpool took the lead, City were second. But eventually, Guardiola’s men got over the line, coming back to thump Brighton 4-1 to retain the English league title for the first time in their history.

Furthermore, Guardiola now sits alongside Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho as one of just three managers to have won back-to-back Premier League titles. Where will it stop for this City side?

14. English delight for South Wales

Cardiff are down but they’re making one hell of a racket on their way back to the Championship. As if winning 2-0 away at Manchester United wasn’t enough, Mendez-Laing had to go and emulate one of the most loathed men in that particular part of the world by becoming the first English player to score twice away at Old Trafford in the Premier League since Steven Gerrard in March 2014.

15. Golden boots galore

If you thought the race for the Premier League title was close, just take a look at those fighting for the Golden Boot.

At the end of play on Sunday, Mohamed Salah, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Mane all sat joint-top with 22 goals, while Aguero was just behind them on 21.

Just imagine if Harry Kane – who has 17 goals himself – hadn’t had those injuries…

16. Move over, Chelsea

City’s fourth title in eight years now takes them to an overall haul of six English crowns, drawing them level with Chelsea and Sunderland. The fact the Citizens have managed to draw level with Chelsea is quite remarkable considering their own successes over the past decade or so.

It’s still a long way to United’s 20 titles, but next up in City’s sights are Aston Villa’s seven titles and Everton’s nine.

17. Twighlight zone

Last season, United came second and although they were absolutely nowhere near City, that was still a remarkable achievement for this crop of players.

This season, things have come tumbling down and reality has truly set in, with the Red Devils ending the season 32 points behind their title-winning Manchester rivals, the same number of points Cardiff are behind themselves in the table.