Christian Benteke

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Premier League Numbers Nerd: Week 1

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Small sample sizes can make for terrible science, but they’re delightful for stat hounds and simple amusements.

For example, the Premier League’s opening weekend saw a hat trick for Raheem Sterling and braces for Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, and Ashley Barnes.

[ MORE: USSF promotes Stewart, hires USWNT GM ]

Who was the top dog of the week in terms of match rating, though? Man City’s Riyad Mahrez, who was nearly perfect with two assists, 83.3 percent passing despite his placement in low success areas of the pitch, four tackles, two interceptions, and four key passes.

Here are our favorite numbers, notes, and names from Week 1 (Stats via WhoScored):

Two (2) assists is the current top total in the league. It won’t surprise you to see Mahrez and Paul Pogba on that figure, but the third player to do it is… Burnley’s Erik Pieters!

Four (4) players won eight or more aerial duels: League-leader Christian Benteke (9) of Crystal Palace, as well as Newcastle’s Joelinton, Burnley’s Ben Mee, and Brighton’s Shane Duffy.

Under five: Three players in the Premier League played 90 minutes and couldn’t register higher than a 5.0 on WhoScored’s rating system. Kurt Zouma of Chelsea (4.86) could not come close to replicating his stalwart play with Everton last season and conceded a penalty and four goals. West Ham star Issa Diop (4.93) had the sort of statistical day a lot of players do against Man City, and two of his back line teammates joined him in the Bottom Six. And Grant Hanley of Norwich City posted a 4.99, dinged largely by an own goal despite completing 92.3 percent of his passes against Liverpool.

Five (5) –> Villa fans will want this to be six, as Tyrone Mings couldn’t stop Tanguy Ndombele‘s equalizer, but no player in the Premier League blocked as many shots as the former Bournemouth man. And we’re not done with him yet.

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Five is also the league-best number of key passes recorded, by Chelsea’s Pedro. Perhaps Frank Lampard‘s feeling about his team’s play in a 4-0 loss to Manchester United will make sense over time.

And five is also the most fouls drawn by anyone in Week 1, with Villa’s Jack Grealish and Palace’s Jordan Ayew needing some time in an ice bath.

Finally, five is the number of players who completed more than 80 passes on Opening Day. Leicester’s Ben Chilwell led the way with 85, followed by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Toby Alderweireld (Spurs), Harry Winks (Spurs), and Jonny Evans (Leicester).

Seven (7) interceptions were made by Newcastle’s Fabian Schar, the most in the league. Seven is also the amount of fouls committed by Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic against Everton, three more than anyone else (Yes, he saw yellow).

Eight (8): The amount of shots taken by Harry Kane, double the amount of anyone else in the Premier League.

Eight is also the most successful tackles won by a single player this weekend, done by Liverpool’s Fabinho and Aston Villa’s John McGinn?

Seventeen (17): This would also be more appropriately read as “Seven-(expletive)-teen!” Aston Villa’s Mings cleared danger 17 times against Spurs, almost double the No. 2 man, Palace’s Martin Kelly.

100%: Only one field player in the league played more than a half-hour and completed all of his passes, and that was… Christian Pulisic of Chelsea and these United States of America. He was 12-for-12, but here’s the bad news: That came as part of a statistically miserable 6.09 showing.

Crystal Palace flusters 10-man Everton

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Everton suffered a monumentally disappointing start to a season with high hopes, drawing Crystal Palace 0-0 with 10 men at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Andre Gomes left the match injured, and Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off for a pair of yellow cards.


Three things we learned

1. Selhurst Park is a tricky place to visit, but the Toffees will be so deeply upset to have faltered on Week 1 against a team expected to be bottom half at best. A lot of the Toffees’ new players started the game on the bench, including Moise Kean and Jean-Philippe Gbamin. Alex Iwobi also didn’t play, but the Toffees would’ve wanted all three points for their Top Six push.

2. Everton is deep. When new expensive signing Andre Gomes limped off, the Toffees were able to replace him with new expensive signing Jean-Philippe Gbamin (a likely future starter in his own right). With no European football on the books, the Toffees have plenty of promise this season even if injuries strike Goodison Park.

3. Everton + Opening Day = Man sent off. A year after Phil Jagielka was sent to the locker room in a 2-2 draw at Wolves, Morgan Schneiderlin saw a second yellow card for late challenge at Selhurst Park. Note to supporters: Hope Everton is on your schedule for Week 1 next season.

Man of the Match: Max Meyer — A very good sophomore debut following a disappointing first season at Selhurst Park.


[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

The hosts were lively early, and almost broke through before halftime when Max Meyer spun a shot that was tipped over the bar by Jordan Pickford. Scott Dann then headed a corner off the back of a defender before Everton dealt with the second one.

The second half saw the Toffees threaten to go ahead when Gylfi Sigurdsson‘s quick shot was cleared off the line by Patrick Van Aanholt.

Pickford denied a Meyer rip in the 57th minute after slimmed-down Christian Benteke played him through on goal.

Lucas Digne made a goal saving clearance when Patrick van Aanholt send a delightful cross through the box.

Morgan Schneiderlin was sent off for a second yellow card following a 76th minute challenge.

Current transfer records for all 20 Premier League clubs

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More than half of the Premier League’s teams broke transfer records in 2019. Half!

Arsenal, Brighton, Newcastle, Watford, Spurs, West Ham, Man City, Wolves, Leicester City, and Aston Villa all have new top record holders, but where do those (reported) fees line up in comparison to other clubs’ records?

[ MORE: PL transfer grades ]

Wait no further, friends. Here are all the club transfer records for all 20 teams, with all transfers over $70 million included in the interest of perspective.

Fees are rounded to the nearest American million, using the current exchange rate. Values for Top 100 all-time transfers come from Transfermarkt, the rest via reports:

Manchester United – Paul Pogba (2016) – $108M

Manchester United – Harry Maguire (2019) – $99M

Manchester United – Romelu Lukaku (2017) – $97M

Liverpool – Virgil Van Dijk (2018) – $91M

Chelsea – Kepa Arrizabalaga (2018) – $91M

Arsenal – Nicolas Pepe (2019) – $88M

Man City – Rodri (2019) – $80M

Man City – Riyad Mahrez (2018) – $77M

Chelsea – Alvaro Morata (2017) – $75M

Man City – Joao Cancelo (2019) – $74M

Man City – Aymeric Laporte (2017) – $74M

Chelsea – Christian Pulisic (2019) – $73M

Arsenal – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (2017) – $73M

Man City – Raheem Sterling (2015) – $73M

Liverpool – Alisson Becker (2018) – $71M

Man City – Kevin De Bruyne (2015) – $70M

Spurs – Tanguy Ndombele (2019) – $68M

Everton – Gylfi Sigurdsson (2017) – $56M

Leicester City – Youri Tielemans (2019) – $51M

Newcastle United – Joelinton (2019) – $50M

Watford- Ismaila Sarr (2019) – $49M

West Ham – Sebastien Haller (2019) – $46M

Wolves – Raul Jimenez (2019) – $43M

Crystal Palace – Christian Benteke (2016) – $33M

Bournemouth – Jefferson Lerma (2017) – $30M

Southampton – Jannik Vestergaard (2018) – $29M

Aston Villa – Wesley (2019) – $27M

Brighton – Neil Maupay and Adam Webster (2019) – $24M each

Sheffield United – Oli McBurnie (2019) – $24M

Burnley – Ben Gibson (2018) and Chris Wood (2017) – $18M each

Norwich City – Steven Naismith (2016) and Tim Klose (2016) – $12M each

Premier League friendly roundup: West Ham, Crystal Palace win; Everton falls twice

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With two weeks to go before the start of the season, there were a number of Premier League teams in preseason friendly action Saturday morning, and almost all of them came out victorious.

Early in the morning, Manchester City topped Yokohama FM in Japan 3-1, with Kevin De Bruyne impressing for the defending Premier League champions.

[ MORE: Man City tops Yokohama FM 3-1 ]

West Ham United visited Craven Cottage and came away with a 1-0 win thanks to Manuel Lanzini‘s 18th minute goal. The defense for the most part kept Fulham in check and the Hammers were in control for the entire first half. The Whites only found one good opportunity with 12 minutes to go as Aboubakar Kamara came close, and Andriy Yarmolenko nearly scored at the death for West Ham.

Everton played a pair of matches, with the Opel Cup featuring two 60 minute games against Sevilla and Mainz. The Toffees dropped both games, falling to Sevilla 1-0 before dropping to Mainz 3-1. A penalty was the difference in the opening game against Sevilla, while Lewis Gibson scored in the losing effort against the German side. Robin Quaison did the damage for Mainz with a pair.

Aston Villa came out on top of Charlton Athletic 4-1 as Scottish international John McGinn scored twice. His second was an absolutely blistering solo effort that came when he stole the ball in the attacking third, skipped around a foul by a defender, rounded the keeper on the end line and scored from a tight angle.

Anwar El Ghazi and Andre Green were also on the scoresheet as Villa heads into its final week of preseason preparations, with one more friendly coming next weekend against RB Leipzig.

Leicester City got a winner from Youri Tielemans in the 84th minute as the Foxes topped Stoke City 2-1. The Belgian finished off a cutback from Ben Chilwell for the winner, which added to Marc Albrighton‘s strike on the hour mark. The two goals were required to wipe off Stoke’s 70th minute goal by Nick Powell. The game was marred by a horrible ankle injury to Ryan Shawcross which had the home fans spooked for quite some time at bet365 Stadium.

Bournemouth got goals from Jordan Ibe and Dominic Solanke as the Cherries topped Brentford 3-1. Ibe was especially bright, opening the scoring just before halftime and assisting the third from 20-year-old Sam Surridge. A pair for Bournemouth against Lyon and Lazio on back-to-back days in early August are the final tuneups before the season.

Burnley drew with Wigan 2-2, throwing away a two-goal lead they built in the opening 10 minutes thanks to goals from Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil. The Clarets were pegged back by a James Tarkowski own-goal just before halftime and Joe Gelhardt’s equalizer past the hour mark. Burnley controlled much of the first half but they were forced to defend for significant stretches after the break.

Brighton clobbered Birmingham City 4-0 as Glenn Murray got on the scoresheet early and a Shane Duffy second-half pair finished things off. It was all seagulls, as Jurgen Locadia also found the back of the net and Martin Montoya struck the crossbar 15 minutes from time. Only the first 15 minutes of the second half saw Birmingham City truly threaten, and Brighton was able to weather the storm. New manager Graham Potter utilized a three-CB defense and it worked wonders in the opening 20 minutes, working a team goal finished off by Murray before Leandro Trossard stole a poor pass by the goalkeeper and fed Locadia for a turn-and-shoot.

Sheffield United also took a four-goal haul to victory, topping nearby Barnsley 4-1. Callum Robinson scored twice and Ben Osborn scored on his debut for the club as the Blades won for the fourth this this preseason. Ravel Morrison also made his club debut, seeing time in the final 15 minutes.

Watford secured a 1-0 victory over QPR as main man Etienne Capoue scored the game’s only goal in a repeat of the same opponent, scoreline, and goalscorer from the FA Cup 5th round last season. QPR had chances and moments throughout the game, but Capoue took charge past the half-hour mark in an otherwise drab first half.

Crystal Palace obliterated Bristol City 5-0 as everything was working for the Eagles in their preseason tuneup. Christian Benteke provided a thumping header while Andros Townsend and Jeffrey Schlupp were also on target in the match. Wilfried Zaha was not in the squad for Palace but they certainly didn’t miss him as Luka Milivojevic controlled the midfield powerfully and the attacking threat was constant.

Watch Live: Cardiff City v. Crystal Palace

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Cardiff City host Crystal Palace on Saturday (Watch live, 12:30 p.m. ET on NBC and online via NBCSports.com) and the equation for the Bluebirds is simple.

Neil Warnock‘s men must win to keep their faint hopes of Premier League survival alive, as they are four points behind Brighton with two games to go for both teams but Cardiff have a much worse goal difference compared to Brighton who sit one place out of the relegation zone.

WATCH LIVE ONLINE HERE

As for Crystal Palace and Roy Hodgson, they will be aiming to finish as high as possible after a fairly comfortable campaign.

In team news Cardiff bring in Josh Murphy, Danny Ward and Bobby Reid for Leandro Bacuna, Junior Hoilett and Oumar Niasse.

Crystal Palace make four changes as Joel Ward, Michy Batshuayi, Andros Townsend and Jordan Ayew replace Patrick Van Aanholt, Cheikhou Kouyate, Max Meyer and Christian Benteke.


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