Premier League Playback: Where have all the goals gone?

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In the first 30 games of the 2013-14 Premier League season, there’s been a total of 57 goals scored.

That’s an average of just 1.9 goals per game as plenty of strikers have been left scratching their heads in bemusement as scoring droughts to start the season are the common theme.

To put this into perspective, the highest scoring season in PL history came in the 2011-2 season when there was an average of 2.81 goals per game scored. In the grand scheme of things, we’re only three games into the season and many will point to making sweeping generalizations this early as nonsensical. I agree.

But you can’t ignore the trend. Over the past weekend, nine of the 18 (50 percent for all you number bods out there) Premier League teams in action failed to hit the back of the net. Correct me if I’m wrong… but that’s the whole point of playing the game; to stick the ball in the back of the net.

Premier League Schedule – Week 3

Result Recap & Highlights
Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham Recap and watch here
Cardiff 0-0 Everton Recap and watch here
Crystal Palace 3-1 Sunderland Recap and watch here
Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United Recap and watch here
Manchester City 2-0 Hull City Recap and watch here
Newcastle 1-0 Fulham Recap and watch here
Norwich 1-0 Southampton Recap and watch here
West Brom 0-2 Swansea City Recap and watch here
West Ham 0-1 Stoke City Recap and watch here

You can point to many reasons for the lack of goals so far. Teams like Southampton, Norwich, Sunderland and Everton have been paired up against each other in the opening few weeks of the season and all of those teams drew plenty of games last season, (36.1 percent of all their 152 games between them) stalemates often play out when they’re involved.

That’s one solution. But what about the amount of teams who actually play 4-4-2 with two out and out strikers this season? Over the weekend only Newcastle, Manchester City, Hull City, West Ham and Southampton did that with variations of the newly hailed 4-3-3 system prevailing elsewhere.

4-3-3 may be great to get the players out on the ball on the flanks but those players are also being dragged away from the penalty box where they need to be. Just an observation; more men committed to central areas will cause more problems for the opposition.

The stats from the first three matchdays suggest less goals and more possession based play will rule supreme in the PL this season… will that be the case?

STANDOUT PERFORMERS

Some real gems this weekend. The likes of Curtis Davies from Hull City played superbly against Man City and Hugo Lloris in goal for Spurs was easily their man of the match.

But in terms of game changing moments a few stood out with Olivier Giroud putting in a bruising display of center forward prowess.

Then there was Nathan Redmond at Norwich, as the 19-year-old winger tore Southampton to shreds and scored the game-winner with a screamer.

Newcastle’s match-winner, Hatem Ben Arfa, seems to have the innate ability to excite and frustrate Magpies fans in the space of about five seconds. But the mercurial Frenchman bent in a marvelous goal late on to secure Newcastle’s first win of the season against Fulham.

David Marshall played extremely well as Cardiff picked up a great point at home to Everton, his save from Nikica Jelavic just before half time was the pick of the bunch. And rounding off the top performers in Week 3 is Daniel Sturridge who popped up to score his third goal in a row as Liverpool won 1-0 against bitter rivals Manchester United.

Premier League Star Performers

Player Reason
1. Olivier Giroud  1 goal, great hold up play and battling
2. Daniel Sturridge  1 goal, another tidy finish. Luis who?
3. Nathan Redmond  1 goal, tore Saints apart. Bright future
4. Hatem Ben Arfa  1 goal, creative genius around the box
5. David Marshall  3 fine saves to stop Everton

BIGGEST FLOP

West Bromwich Albion are fast becoming this seasons champions of disappointment, as they’ve failed to score in their opening three games and have just one point to show for their efforts.

Steve Clarke’s men miss Romelu Lukaku badly and despite Nicholas Anelka’s return from ‘compassionate leave’ the Baggies didn’t really look like scoring.

After losing Ben Foster with a broken foot and struggling to bring in any big names in the transfer window, could the Baggies suffer a massive fall from grace after finishing in a all-time PL high of eighth spot last season?

“1-0 TO THE LIVERPOOL…”

Not sure if that chant will catch on like it did in a certain part of North London throughout the 1990’s… but it’s certainly impressive to see this Liverpool team score early and defend for their lives. They have added new defenders Mamadou Sakho and Tiago Ilori before the deadline, who will strengthen their defensive resolve.

So, after three straight 1-0 wins to start the campaign, you know the script. Sturridge scores, Liverpool keep the ball, the Reds defend for their life, Liverpool win. Watch their win over bitter rivals United below.

BEST GOALS OF THE WEEKEND

Redmond’s screamer against the Saints really was a terrific strike. He cut in from the left flank and sidestepped James Ward-Prowse before rifling a low shot past Artur Boruc and into the bottom corner.

The England Under-21 international looks like a huge talent and the Canaries have done a great piece of business there.

Stuart O’Keefe’s late left-footed curler that went in off the underside of the bar saw Selhurst Park erupt as Palace picked up their first Premier League win of the season. The academy product even got a nice little victory jig out of Eagles manager Ian Holloway.

We’ve already talked about Ben Arfa’s curling beauty against Fulham but another goal worth mentioning is Arsenal’s winner against Tottenham. It resulted in a neat finish from Giroud on the edge of the box but the build up play to pounce on Tottenham’s lack of defensive shape was sublime. Per Mertesacker knicked the ball and played it to Aaron Ramsey who swiveled away from his marker before knocking the ball to Tomas Rosicky who played it to Theo Walcott to set up Giroud.

Four passes from the edge of their own box to the goal. Sublime.

WITH OR WITHOUT YOU

As Gareth Bale waved goodbye to Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday evening and signed for Real Madrid, I spoke with Andre Villas-Boas after their 1-0 loss to Arsenal about the lack of creativity without Bale. Spurs have just scored twice in three games… both from the penalty spot. They created no clear cut chances against Arsenal. So, AVB, are you struggling to create? “I think that is a false question. I don’t think there is a good argument. We came to Arsenal and created lots of chances…” Judge for yourselves below.

STAT ATTACK

Following their narrow 2-0 victory over Hull City at the weekend, Manchester City have now scored in 52 consecutive home league games. The Citizens streak began that run with a 1-0 home success over Bolton way back in December 2010. It is the only active scoring streak alive above 27 games in the Premier League.

Last Monday Manchester United’s record scoring streak at home ended against Chelsea, having scored in 66 straight games from 2009-13, that was the best in PL history. Can City keep their incredible run up to topple their Manchester rivals into the record books?

Join us every Monday as we recap the best moments from the past weekend in Premier League Playback.

Poland vs Argentina, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream, videos

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Poland and Argentina surely didn’t plan to reach the marquee match of World Cup Group C with their knockout round status in doubt, but it’s been that kind of tournament in Qatar.

Poland remains unbeaten in Qatar after beating Saudi Arabia 2-0 in Al Rayyan, adding to the point it earned from a scoreless draw with Mexico In Doha to give it top billing in the group heading into Wednesday’s match.

STREAM LIVE POLAND v ARGENTINA

Argentina, meanwhile, rebounded from a 2-1 tournament-opening loss to Saudi Arabia In Lusail to bear Mexico 2-0 behind a goal and an assist from Lionel Messi.

Saudi Arabia’s three points means it can still advance with a win over Mexico, who itself can add to its one point. So everyone’s alive in Group C.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Here is everything you need for Poland vs Argentina.


How to watch Poland vs Argentina live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Wednesday, Nov. 30
Stadium: Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

The storyline for every Argentina game this tournament from this point forward — and really since the lead-up to the Mexico match — is that any loss means the end of Lionel Messi’s World Cup career (at least according to the living legend). The Albiceleste would be thrilled to get something more out of Lautaro Martinez, while Paulo Dybala’s yet to make his tournament debut.

Robert Lewandowski finally has a World Cup goal on his resume, while Piotr Zielinski has been very good for Poland. Former Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny was sensational in the win over Saudi Arabia.


Poland quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 26
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 8
How they qualified: Qualified from UEFA via playoffs, Path B
Coach: Czeslaw Michniewicz
Key players: Robert Lewandowski, Wojciech Szczesny, Piotr Zielinski

Argentina quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 3
World Cup titles: 2 (1978, 1986)
World Cup appearances: 17
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONMEBOL (2nd place)
Coach: Lionel Scaloni
Key players: Lionel Messi, Angel de Maria, Lautaro Martinez

Saudi Arabia vs Mexico, live! Score, updates, how to watch, stream, videos

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Mexico needs a win to have hope of reaching the World Cup knockout rounds, while Saudi Arabia’s hopes of the final 16 may require the same at Stadium 974 in Doha on Wednesday.

The Saudis stunned Argentina 2-1 In Lusail to open the tournament but could not repeat the feat against Poland at Education City in Al Rayyan on Saturday to leave themselves with three points through two matches.

STREAM LIVE SAUDI ARABIA vs MEXICO

Mexico remains without a win after their scoreless draw versus Poland led to a Lionel Messi-inspired loss to Argentina In Lusail.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

Here is everything you need for Saudi Arabia vs Mexico.


How to watch Saudi Arabia vs Mexico live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Wednesday Nov. 30
Stadium: Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

The Saudis have arguably been the most fun team at the tournament amongst non-powers, always running and getting exceptional goalkeeping. Salem Al-Dawsari was very good in both games but his missed penalty before halftime against Poland looms large of a match that could’ve been 1-1 going to the break and instead ended 2-0.

Mexico has not scored at the tournament so far, and Raul Jimenez has only been used as a super sub. Hirving Lozano and Alexis Vega combined for just three shot attempts before being subbed out of the Poland loss, while Lozano and Henry Martin combined for two versus Poland (Vega attempted five). They need better up top to keep up their streak of making Round of 16 appearances at the World Cup.


Saudi Arabia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 51
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from AFC (Won Group B)
Coach: Herve Renard
Key players: Salem Al-Dawsari, Fahad Al-Muwallad, Mohammed Al-Owais

Mexico quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 13
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from CONCACAF (2nd place)
Coach: Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino
Key players: Guillermo Ochoa, Hector Herrera, Raul Jimenez

World Cup tables – Group stage standings in full

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The World Cup tables are shaping up to be very intriguing viewing as the group stage unfolds in Qatar.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

With teams now scrambling to be in the top two in order to reach the last 16, goal difference will make a big difference and it is going to be very tight and tense over the next few days.

If you need a reminder on the tiebreakers for the group stage, here is everything which will help you work out the two teams who will make it through and the two who will go home from reach group.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

Below are the World Cup tables from all eight groups, as fans across the globe will be glue to these standings as they try to figure out the permutations needed for their team to make it through.


Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D | Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H

Group A table

1.  Netherlands — 7 points (+4 GD) – IN THE LAST 16 
2. Senegal — 6 points (+1) – IN THE LAST 16
3. Ecuador — 4 points (+1) – ELIMINATED
4. Qatar — 0 (-6) – ELIMINATED

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Qatar 0-2 Ecuador – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Senegal 0-2 Netherlands – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Qatar 1-3 Senegal – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 1-1 Ecuador – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Netherlands 2-0 Qatar – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Ecuador 1-2 Senegal –  Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan


Group B table

1. England – 7 points (+7 GD) – IN THE LAST 16
2. USA – 5 points (+1) – IN THE LAST 16
3. Iran – 3 points (-3) – ELIMINATED
4. Wales – 1 point (-5) – ELIMINATED

Matches played

Recap/highlights: England 6-2 Iran – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: USA 1-1 Wales – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: England 0-0 USA – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-2 Iran – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Wales 0-3 England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Iran 0-1 USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor


Group C table

1. Poland — 4 points (+2)
2. Saudi Arabia — 3 points (+1 GD)
3. Argentina — 3 points (+1)
4. Mexico — 1 point (-2)

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Argentina 1-2 Saudi Arabia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Mexico 0-0 Poland – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Poland 2-0 Saudi Arabia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Argentina 2-0 Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Wednesday, November 30: Poland vs Argentina – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm
Wednesday, November 30: Saudi Arabia vs Mexico – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm


Group D table

Group D table

1. France – 6 points (+3 GD) – IN THE LAST 16
2. Australia – 6 points (-1) – IN THE LAST 16
3. Tunisia – 4 points (+1) – ELIMINATED
4. Denmark – 1 point (-2) – ELIMINATED

Matches played

Recap/highlights: France 4-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Denmark 0-0 Tunisia – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: France 2-1 Denmark – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 0-1 Australia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Tunisia 1-0 France –  Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Australia 1-0 Denmark – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah


Group E table

1. Spain — 4 points (+6 GD)
2. Japan — 3 points (0)
3. Costa Rica — 3 points (-6)
4. Germany — 1 point (-1)

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Spain 7-0 Costa Rica – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Germany 1-2 Japan – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Japan 0-1 Costa Rica – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Spain 1-1 Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor

Matches remaining

Thursday, December 1: Japan vs Spain – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Thursday, December 1: Costa Rica vs Germany – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


Group F table

1. Croatia — 4 points (+3 GD)
2. Morocco — 4 points (+2)
3. Belgium — 3 points (+1)
4. Canada — 0 points (-4) – ELMINATED

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Belgium 1-0 Canada – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Morocco 0-0 Croatia – Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Belgium 0-2 Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor
Recap/highlights: Croatia 4-1 Canada – Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan

Matches remaining

Thursday, December 1: Croatia vs Belgium – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Thursday, December 1: Canada vs Morocco – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 10am


Group G table

1. Brazil — 6 points (+3 GD) – QUALIFIED
2. Switzerland — 3 points (0)
3. Cameroon — 1 point (-1)
4. Serbia — 1 point (-2)

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Brazil 2-0 Serbia – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
Recap/highlights: Brazil 1-0 Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Cameroon 3-3 Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah

Matches remaining

Friday, December 2: Cameroon vs Brazil – Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail – 2pm
Friday, December 2: Serbia vs Switzerland – Stadium 974, Doha – 2pm


Group H table

1. Portugal — 6 points (+3 GD) – QUALIFIED
2. Ghana — 3 points (0)
3. South Korea — 1 point (-1)
4. Uruguay — 1 point (-2)

Matches played

Recap/highlights: Portugal 3-2 Ghana – Stadium 974, Doha
Recap/highlights: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan
Recap/highlights: Portugal 2-0 Uruguay– Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail
Recap/highlights: South Korea 2-3 Ghana – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan

Matches remaining

Friday, December 2: South Korea vs Portugal – Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan – 10am
Friday, December 2: Ghana vs Uruguay – Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah – 10am


Australia upsets Denmark as stunning Socceroos reach last 16

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Australia beat Denmark to pull off a huge upset as the Socceroos advanced from Group D and are in the last 16 of the World Cup for just the second time in their history.

WATCH FULL REPLAY

Matthew Leckie was the hero for Australia as he struck in the second half, just moments after Tunisia had taken the lead against France in the other Group D game which mean that Australia were out of the World Cup. For about two minutes they were, but then Leckie did the business.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

For Denmark this was an extremely disappointing World Cup as the team ranked No. 10 in the world scored just once and picked up just one point from their three group stage games.

Australia’s boss Graham Arnold and his players celebrated wildly at the final whistle as they were one of the rank outsiders at this tournament but back-to-back 1-0 wins against Tunisia and Denmark put them into the knockout rounds.

[ MORE: Group D standings, schedule, scores ]


Aussie defense dominant as Socceroos spring into last 16

It wasn’t pretty, at all, but boy was it effective. Australia’s back-to-back shutout victories propelled them into the last 16 of the World Cup for just the second time in their history and Graham Arnold was delighted with the grit and organization of his team. Australia have players on the break like Leckie and McGree who can hurt you and the quality of Mooy in midfield allows them to keep the ball and take the pressure off when needed. Ryan in goal has been excellent, while Souttar stood tall in a brilliant back four display as the stat below shows how resilient they’ve been. Australia will be tough opponents in the knockout rounds and nobody expected the No. 38 ranked team in the world to get out of the group stage. They’re now playing with house money which makes them even more dangerous.


Stars of the show

Matthew Leckie: Scored the winning goal with the main piece of quality shown throughout the game by both teams. What a moment in Australia soccer history.

Harry Souttar: Another dominant display from the center back and he’s having a wonderful tournament to lead the stubborn Aussie defense.

Australia vs Denmark
Graphic via FotMob.com

How to watch Australia vs Denmark live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET – Wednesday, November 30
Stadium: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Australia will set up exactly the same as they did against Tunisia as they will whip in balls to Mitchell Duke who was the hero with his superb flicked header. Both Duke and Arnold pointed to the ‘Aussie Spirit’ getting them the win against Tunisia and there is a real grit and determination about this team.

Denmark know they have to win, so they will go for a more attack-minded lineup and they have the quality to beat Australia. They start Braithwaite in attack as they try to get something going offensively and this is basically a knockout game in the group stage.


Australia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 38
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from AFC via the intercontinental playoffs
Coach: Graham Arnold
Key players: Mathew Ryan, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Leckie

Denmark quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 10
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group F)
Coach: Kasper Hjulmand
Key players: Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer, Christian Eriksen