Football Features

Fortress Anfield (just) holds & Enzo off the mark: The key stats & stories from Sunday’s 2pm kick-offs

By Squawka News

Fortress Anfield (just) holds and Enzo off the mark: The key stats and stories from Sunday's 2pm kick-offs

Published: 16:46, 3 December 2023

There were four 2pm kick-offs in the Premier League on Sunday thanks to mid-week European commitments and to say they delivered the goods would be a huge understatement. 

For a couple of hours, the Premier League had an open bar, downing shot after shot to get utterly drunk in a bid to offer up some of the most dramatic moments we’ve seen all season.

Are you prepared? From late comebacks to wonder goals, here’s everything you might have missed

1. Enzo Fernandez is finally off the mark

It’s been a long time coming, but Enzo Fernandez is finally off the mark as a Premier League goalscorer. The Argentine midfielder is, obviously, primarily there to help keep Chelsea ticking and to offer protection to his defenders. However, he’s never been afraid of trying his luck in the final third, attempting 42 shots in the Premier League without scoring prior to Sunday, 22 of which have come this season — a league-high at the time.

But just like a London bus, once there’s one, another quickly follows. Fernandez opened the scoring in the 17th minute of Chelsea’s 3-2 win over Brighton to finally get himself on the board in the English top flight. The Blues quickly went 2-0 up thanks to former Seagulls loanee Levi Colwill, but what followed thereafter was a battle, with Brighton pulling one back just before half-time through Facundo Buonanotte, moments before Conor Gallagher was shown a second yellow card.

But Fernandez — the fourth Argentine goalscorer in the Premier League for Chelsea — was still able to double his tally from the penalty spot in the 65th minute, quickly taking him from zero Premier League goals to the Blues’ fourth-highest scorer this season.

2. Fulham take Liverpool all the way

Liverpool vs Fulham on a Sunday afternoon. Sounds like an easy one to predict, right? Well, not quite. Instead, we were treated to a back-and-forth encounter that ripped up all the form guides and pre-match tips.

In a match that had everything, we saw:

  • Liverpool both scoring and conceding 2+ goals in the first half of a Premier League game at Anfield for the first time since September 2020 vs Leeds, and Fulham doing so home or away in the division for the first time since October 2018 at Cardiff.
  • Trent Alexander-Arnold scoring his second direct free-kick of the season (no Premier League player has more), which also puts him just one behind Steven Gerrard in the list of most Premier League free-kicks for Liverpool (7) — IF it doesn’t get put down as a Bernd Leno own-goal.
  • Alexis Mac Allister scoring his first Premier League goal for Liverpool with a 0.03 xG belter.
  • Fulham taking a shock 3-2 lead in the 80th minute through Bobby Reid.
  • Fulham then managing to take all three points and throw them on the fire thanks to goals from Wataru Endo and, again, Alexander-Arnold, who now has three goals and an assist in his last three appearances across all competitions.

4-3, four first-half goals, another three in the second, a shock Fulham lead and a ridiculous Liverpool comeback. Everybody breathe!

3. Fortress Anfield breached holds… just!

It didn’t look likely for large stretches — especially given Fulham scored more goals in one match at Anfield on Sunday (3) than Liverpool had conceded there in their previous six outings (2) this season — but Jurgen Klopp’s men are now seven for seven at home in the Premier League this season.

The Reds extended that record despite going behind in the 80th minute, meaning it’s the latest Liverpool have ever fallen behind in a Premier League match that they went on to win.

For the record, Klopp’s side have now taken 21 points from losing positions in 2023, at least six more than any other Premier League side. While there are seconds left on the clock, Liverpool are never truly down.

4. Aston Villa refuse to go down at Bournemouth

For a long while, it looked like Bournemouth would pull off another shock and extend their winning streak to three games against Aston Villa on Sunday, but it wasn’t to be.

Despite goals from Antoine Semenyo and Dominic Solanke — the latter to set a Premier League personal best of seven in a single season after just 14 games — the Cherries were twice pegged back.

First, Leon Bailey made sure the sides went in level at half-time, while it was Ollie Watkins who struck in the 90th minute to make it 2-2 with his eighth Premier League goal of the season, enough to leave him third in the Golden Boot race behind only Mohamed Salah (10) and Erling Haaland (14).

5. Odsonne Edouard sets personal best to salvage point for Palace

West Ham’s 1-1 draw against London rivals Crystal Palace almost seems boring now compared to the other 2pm kick-offs on Sunday, but it still had plenty to write home about.

The most eye-catching moment was Odsonne Edouard’s 53rd-minute equaliser which takes him to six goals in 13 Premier League appearances this season, equalling his personal best set in 2021/22 — though that previous tally took 28 games to reach.

Of course, that only came after Mohammed Kudus joined Jarrod Bowen, Tomas Soucek and Lucas Paqueta as the fourth West Ham player to score 5+ goals across all competitions this season.

6. Much-needed home comforts for Chelsea

While Anfield has been a fortress for Liverpool, Stamford Bridge has been anything but for Chelsea.

The Blues’ hard-fought victory over Brighton on Sunday was just their fourth on home soil in the Premier League this calendar year, with the others coming against bottom-half or relegated sides in Crystal Palace, Leeds United and Luton.

There’s plenty of Mauricio Pochettino to hang his hat on though, with this the first time Chelsea have won at home in the Premier League this year despite conceding, doing so against a Brighton side that was looking to defend a seven-game unbeaten run across all competitions.

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