Football News

Bournemouth let yet another lead slip plus other stats and stories you might have missed in the Premier League this weekend

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:30, 18 February 2024

Premier League football continued with nine fixtures played this weekend.

The 25th matchday began with Brentford hosting leaders Liverpool before a slew of 3 pm games involving Arsenal, Tottenham and several relegation candidates.

A fascinating encounter between champions Manchester City and Chelsea rounded off Saturday’s games. Brighton and Manchester United then visited Sheffield United and Luton Town on Sunday.

With so much going on, it’s only natural if you miss an important or memorable event. But don’t worry – Squawka is here with some things you might have missed from this latest round so far.


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Sensational substitutes

The paramount to being champions is having squad depth. At the moment, Liverpool is being tested to the limit. Jurgen Klopp came into this latest outing missing several key players and potentially some more.

That said, a multicultural side — featuring 11 different nationalities in their starting lineup — brushed Brentford aside, winning 4-1 with Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo coming off the bench to make an impact. Through Salah (one goal and one assist) and Gakpo (one goal and one assist), the Reds became just the second team in Premier League history to have two different substitutes both score and assist in the same game after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Aaron Ramsey did so for Arsenal against Fulham in October 2018.

Salah also became just the fourth player to both score and assist in 30 different Premier League games after Wayne Rooney (36), Thierry Henry (32) and Alan Shearer (31). Indeed, this was the second time he’s done so for Liverpool as a substitute (also vs Crystal Palace in December 2020).

Furthermore, the leaders have now had 20 goal involvements from substitutes in the Premier League this season, more than any other side. Gakpo came on for Darwin Núñez, who put Liverpool in front. The much-maligned Uruguayan marksman has now scored as many Premier League goals for Liverpool this season (nine) as he managed in the entirety of last season (nine). At the same time, he’s the first player for the Reds to score in three successive Premier League away starts since Mohamed Salah in October 2021 (run of five).

Wolves blow the house down

Having recently endured a five-game winless run (four losses and one draw), Tottenham turned their season around with four wins from five (one loss), but they’ve been inconsistent of late (two wins and two draws) before Wolves inflicted a sixth defeat under Ange Postecoglou’s leadership. For a second consecutive Premier League game at home, Spurs found themselves a goal behind, though, on this occasion, they could not mount a successful comeback.

João Gomes’ opener was the visitor’s eighth goal from a corner in the league; only Arsenal (11) and Everton (9) have more this season. Dejan Kulusevski equalised, meaning he’s now scored on six occasions this season, his outright most in a single Premier League campaign. Gomes’ second was assisted by Pedro Neto, his ninth goal creation of the campaign, the joint-most by a Wolves player in a season along with Adama Traoré in 2019-20.

Success meant Wolves completed the league double over Spurs for a third time after 1953-54 and 2009-10. Also, Wolves have beaten Tottenham on three of their five trips to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in the Premier League (two losses), with only Chelsea (four) enjoying more wins as a visiting side in the competition.

Hammered

The wheels have fallen off at West Ham, who are now winless across their six Premier League games in 2024 (three draws and three losses), with David Moyes’ side failing to win any of their opening six league games of a calendar year for the first time since 2007 (first eight).

Their latest setback came against relegation-threatened Nottingham Forest, running out 2-0 winners (Taiwo Awoniyi and Callum Hudson-Odoi on the scoresheet), meaning the Hammers have now shipped 11 goals across their last three league outings without scoring one themselves. That statistic means Forest kept a clean sheet in the Premier League for the first time in 14 games.

A disappointing East Midlands visit was capped off with Kalvin Phillips — signed on loan from Manchester City last month — seeing red. It was his first-ever sending-off in the Premier League. However, it is his fifth dismissal across his English league career and second at the City Ground, after being sent off for Leeds against Nottingham Forest in January 2019 in the Championship.

Careless Cherries

In what’s been a topsy-turvy campaign, Bournemouth cannot rule themselves out from being in this season’s relegation battle even though, as things stand, they are nine points above the danger zone. Things are a far cry from their late 2023 surge, which saw them claim six wins from seven played (one draw). Andoni Iraola’s men head into their forthcoming showdown with Manchester City winless in six (three wins and three draws).

Last time out against Newcastle at St. James’ Park highlighted this season’s problem. Despite going in front twice through Dominic Solanke and Antoine Semenyo, the Magpies pegged them back with substitute Matt Ritchie netting a stoppage-time equaliser. The result meant that Bournemouth dropped 19 points from winning positions in the Premier League, and only Brentford (26) lost more.

Keeping up with Watkins

Consistency will now be Unai Emery’s focus as Aston Villa chase an improbable Champions League qualification. As things stand, Villa is fourth after Tottenham’s loss, and they beat Fulham 2-1, their second win across their last five league outings. This latest success was made possible by their lethal marksman. Ollie Watkins is enjoying a productive season to remember, one that Gareth Southgate could reward with him being part of England’s squad at this upcoming summer’s European championship.

The first player across Europe’s top seven leagues to register goals and assists in double figures, Watkins bagged another brace in West London to move him onto 23 goal involvements in the Premier League this season (13 goals, 10 assists in 25 games), with only Mo Salah managing more (24). It’s also Watkins’ best-ever haul in the top flight in a season, eclipsing 21 last season (in 37 games). Furthermore, only Dwight Yorke in 1995-96 has registered more goal involvements in a Premier League season for Aston Villa (27) than him.

Supreme Saka

If the Gunners are to end their two-decade wait to be crowned English champions finally, then Bukayo Saka will be instrumental. With his two goals against West Ham, the forward became the fifth-youngest player to score 50 goals for Arsenal (22 years, 159 days).

Burnley knew who to fear, but they could do nothing about it. Saka netted a consecutive brace in England’s top division, meaning he’s now scored in four straight Premier League appearances for the first time in his career, netting more goals across these four games (six) than in his 19 previous matches in the competition (five). In all competitions, since the start of the 2021-22 season (40 goals, 30 assists), he is one of only two Premier League players with 40+ goals and 30+ assists, along with Salah.

Burnley, who have shipped 50 Premier League goals this season, conceded five more against Mikel Arteta’s side. It’s the first time in club history that Arsenal have scored 5+ goals in back-to-back away league matches. Even more historically impressive, the Londoners have begun a calendar year with five successive league victories for the first time. This is now their longest winning run in the Premier League this season, improving their goal difference by +19.

Is the glass half empty or half full?

Manchester City knows they have a fight on their hands if they want to become the first English side to win four consecutive top-division titles. Pep Guardiola’s men have shown their customary ruthlessness in spades this season while often showing signs of vulnerability, thus forcing them to be more resilient than usual.

The latter was displayed in their 1-1 draw against Chelsea when former player Raheem Sterling put the Blues in front before Rodri levelled proceedings late. That equaliser was significant, only Liverpool (19) have gained more points from losing positions in the Premier League this season than City (18), which is their most in a top-flight campaign since 1993-94 (20).

Leaky Blades

As we move into spring, when business starts to pick up, very few are backing Sheffield United, who are currently rooted at the bottom, staving off relegation. Chris Wilder returned to his former club with languishing 20th but four points adrift from safety. Heading into this weekend, he presided over 10 league matches, subsequently accumulating eight points, including a 3-1 win at Luton Town last time out.

Any chance of securing back-to-back wins against Brighton evaporated in the 13th minute when Mason Holgate saw red. Since the start of 2021-22, no player has been given more red cards in the Premier League than him (3). This latest dismissal was the latest in a Premier League game since Nathaniel Chalobah for Fulham against Newcastle in October 2022 (8th min).

The visitors, smelling blood, raced into a 2-0 lead through Facundo Buonanotte and Danny Welbeck, the latter being the 62nd goal Sheffield United had conceded this season: an important number as this is the most any side has shipped across their first 25 matches of a campaign in competition history.

They would let in three more after the break: Jack Robinson inadvertently put the ball into his net, plus a Simon Adingra brace — returning here after helping Ivory Coast win this month’s Africa Cup of Nations — completed the rout. Not only did Sheffield United score a fourth own-goal of the season, the most of any team, but they’ve now allowed 36 goals to go past them at Bramall Lane, the most after 13 home matches of a top-flight season since Aston Villa in 1935-36 (41).

Relentless Rasmus

In his first 14 Premier League appearances, Rasmus Højlund couldn’t hit a barn door with a banjo. However, the Danish marksman scored one goal in each of his last five matches heading into this weekend. Man Utd’s leading man wasted no time, breaching Luton’s goal inside the opening minute.

With this achievement, Højlund, who is only 21 years and 14 days old, became the youngest player to score in six consecutive games, breaking Joe Willock’s record, who achieved the same feat at the age of 21 years and 272 days. He doubled his tally and United’s lead five minutes later. This was the earliest Manchester United have been 2-0 up away from home in a Premier League game (06:09).

Carlton Morris, who has been involved in six goals in his last five Premier League matches (four goals and two assists) – only Mohamed Salah, Bukayo Saka (x2), and Rasmus Højlund have had longer runs in the competition this season (all six games) – halved United’s lead. He subsequently became the first-ever Luton Town player to score in three consecutive Premier League matches.

Furthermore, after failing to score in the first half in 13 of their opening 14 Premier League matches, Luton has now scored in the first half in seven of their last 10 such matches, scoring a combined 10 goals across those 10 matches. However, Erik ten Hag’s men would hold on to secure their fourth win on the bounce and stay five points behind fourth-place Aston Villa.

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