Opta Sports provides the numerical insight for today’s Premier League action, and we provide the context:
3 - Sunderland have scored just three goals in their last 10 Premier League matches away from home; failing to score seven times. Fluster.
3 - Sunderland have scored just three goals in their last 10 Premier League matches away from home; failing to score seven times. Fluster.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2013
Where the “cause” begins and where the “effect” ends, or vice versa, is hard to say. But one thing is sure: none of this is one bit good for Jozy Altidore. He either missed a sitter today, or he got unlucky on a ball that caromed in too quickly for him to get a good look at it. Either way, he’s stuck on one goal for Sunderland this year.
19 - @WayneRooney has assisted 19 goals since the start of last season in the Premier League; more than any other player. Rested.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2013
It’s tempting to still see Rooney as a striker, but those who watch a lot of Manchester United recognize how much more he can be when asked. Just like earlier this week, when he fell into a more defensive role in the midfield. Either way, Rooney’s passing and instincts in playmaking positions are surely useful.
76 - Manchester United have not conceded a penalty in any of their last 76 Premier League games. Spot.
76 - Manchester United have not conceded a penalty in any of their last 76 Premier League games. Spot.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2013
And people wonder why there are Manchester United conspiracy theories! (Seriously, Manchester United has good defenders, and they work hard around Old Trafford on the defensive side of the ball. But 76 matches? Come on!
54 - Manchester City have scored 54 times this season; more than any @premierleague side has ever managed in their opening 19 games. Rampant— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2013
So City remains on pace to topple Chelsea’s record for most goals in a Premier League season. Chelsea’s 2008-09 side, driven by Didier Drogba, holds the record at 103 goals.
14 - Fulham have conceded the first goal of the game for the 14th time in the Premier League this season; the most of all sides. Unhelpful.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2013
I mean, Michael Bradley could not possibly hurt, right? Bradley is a thinking man’s midfielder, one also blessed with plenty of ability to maximize that sharp eye and keen sense of where to be on the field. He’s a terrific midfield organizer, and that means a lot in preventing goals – by turning back opportunities before they ever get the chance to become goals.
5 - Crystal Palace have kept five clean sheets in their last eight Premier League matches. Tight.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 28, 2013
And think about how close Tony Pulis’ team came to shutting out Manchester City at home. This is the same City side that smashes team regularly by multiple goals at the Etihad. Yes, City had about 106 percent of the possession today, but Palace limited the home team’s quality chances.
And yet, the debate rages on about whether he has the stuff to play for Manchester City. See this post from earlier today.