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Season strugglers: Inominious PL performances

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Tuesday found us breaking ties on our “Most Impactful Premier League Summer Buys” rankings by digging through some advanced statistics sites.

In doing so, something struck us: We rarely if ever check out which players are faring the worst when it comes to those next level numbers.

Ah, the international break: Good for off-the-wall posts.

[ MORE: Alonso, Pedro have Morata’s back]

At the risk of kicking a player while he’s down, here are some negative numbers that stand out from the pack.

Of the 358 players who’ve played at least 10 Premier League matches, Joe Hart is having the worst season of the bunch according to Squawka. That’s a bit misleading due to how the site’s metrics operate, considering eight of the bottom 20 players are goalkeepers (and several, like Jonas Lossl and Jordan Pickford, are having outstanding campaigns).

So the unfortunate honor goes to Swansea defender Martin Olsson, who edges James McClean of West Brom for the infamy. Since the site does heap numbers on players by action accumulated, perhaps it’s better to single out the per-game and per-90 strugglers. Olsson and McClean are still very much near the bottom, but surprisingly Yannick Bolasie is the worst per game, and Swansea’s Wayne Routledge is having the least effective season per 90 minutes.

As for WhoScored, its metrics are hammering forwards, with Lys Mousset, Andre Gray, and Benik Afobe at the back of the back (ahead of McClean, again, who is a multi-site struggler).

These stats aren’t perfect, of course, and I like the idea of having McClean on my squad. But there are some other odds stats in the pack.

 These players might want to pass their next opportunity to the keeper. Of players with 10 or more shot attempts this season, Adam Lallana (11), Renato Sanches (12), Lewis Cook (14), and Dale Stephens (15) have failed to put a single shot on target.

— Of the 81 players who’ve tried their luck 30 times or more, these are the worst accuracy rates

— For perspective, Harry Kane has put 56 percent of his league-leading 162 shots on target, while second place man Mohamed Salah is 61 percent of 118.

— Defensive errors also can be increased significantly by the times a player is put under pressure by his team, which is why goalkeepers are high on Squawka’s list. Take them out, and you get a list with Spurs’ Eric Dier up top. Two of his six errors have led to goals against Tottenham, with Zanka (Huddersfield Town), Alfie Mawson (Swans), Andreas Christensen (Chelsea), and Shane Duffy (Brighton) next with four errors.

Swansea City 3-2 Burnley: Llorente outduels Gray

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  • Llorente scores in 12′, stoppage
  • Gray bags brace
  • Olsson scores

Fernando Llorente completed his brace during stoppage time, blowing kisses to the crowd as manager Paul Clement raced down the touch line to celebrate Swansea’s dramatic 3-2 win over Burnley at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday.

Andre Gray scored a pair for Burnley in defeat, and Martin Olsson scored Swansea’s other goal.

Swans are now five points clear of the drop zone, four points back of 12th place Burnley.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Whatever adjustment Llorente needed to make to life in the Premier League is complete, as Swans’ expensive No. 9 headed Leroy Fer‘s cross home in the 12th minute.

Burnley tried a quick answer through Jeff Hendricks, but Lukasz Fabianski didn’t have too much trouble getting low to corral it.

The Clarets had their chance to go level via a wrongly-awarded penalty. The ball struck Sam Vokes‘ arm, but Lee Mason thought it was a Swans’ arm. Gray took it well to make it 1-1.

[ MORE: Latest Premier League standings ]

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Gray gave Burnley a lead when Vokes knocked down a long ball. Gray turned the flick toward goal and ripped a left-footer beyond Fabianski.

But Olsson was on the scene to tie it up within seven minutes of play, bodying off a defender to tear into a left-footer of his own.

Llorente and Swansea would not be denied, as the striker rose high to hammer a header home in stoppage time.

Swansea City on verge of landing Dutch, Swedish national teamers

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If Paul Clement and Swansea City go down, it will not be without bringing in more talent for the fight.

The Premier League’s relegation strugglers, who fired Francesco Guidolin and Bob Bradley between the summer and January transfer windows, appear close to adding an exciting attacking talent.

[ MORE: Transfer rumor roundup ]

Wales Online has the report that Swansea will purchase PSV Eindhoven winger Luciano Narsingh for a cut-rate price of around $5 million.  The same outlet quotes same price for Norwich City back Martin Olsson, who has almost 150 Premier League appearances with the Canaries and Blackburn.

Narsingh, 26, has 16 caps and four goals for the Netherlands, and has been an effective contributor to PSV since arriving from Heerenveen in 2012.

Swansea needs backs more than anything, so the Olsson signing feels more pressing, but someone to take the pressure off Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fernando Llorente is a big step for the Welsh side. We’re sure Bradley and Guidolin are envious of the addition, but both are still minor purchase (in terms of price, not value). Let’s see who else arrives at Swansea, but this is promising.

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Premier League Sunday preview: Man United looking for revenge vs. Swansea City

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Week 4 of the 2015-16 Premier League season concludes on Sunday, with Manchester United looking to avenge a pair of humbling defeats suffered in Louis van Gaal’s first season in charge of the club.

[ MORE: Saturday’s full PL roundup ]

Swansea City knocked off the eventual fourth-place finishers not one, but twice during the 2014-15 season (both victories came via a 2-1 score). Elsewhere, Southampton return to league action after a frustrating exit from European competition mid-week.

Southampton vs. Norwich City — 7:30 am ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

For Southampton, this is a chance to rebound, right the wrongs of the Premier League season’s early days, and set themselves on their merry way for the rest of the league campaign. On Thursday, Saints went out of the Europa League in very unceremonious fashion, having already dropped seven points in the league while focusing their attention elsewhere. For Ronald Koeman’s side, a home date against newly promoted Norwich City might be just what the doctor ordered.

Though, to be fair to the Canaries, they’ve won twice as many points (4) from their first three games as Sunday’s opponents, and scored three more goals (5) while doing so. 21-year-old winger Nathan Redmond tops the scoring charts alongside center back Russell Martin (two goals each). Following an opening-day defeat to Crystal Palace, Alex Neil’s side has rebounded with an away victory over Sunderland and a draw with Stoke City.

For Saints, the injury list is extensive: Victor Wanyama (illness), Sadio Mane (hip), Ryan Bertrand (knee) and Jordy Clasie (hamstring) all figure to be unavailable. For Norwich, it’s slightly better news with only Youssouf Mulumbu (foot) and Martin Olsson (shoulder) out through injury.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays | Standings | Stats ]

Swansea City vs. Manchester United — 11 am ET, on NBCSN and Live Extra

No one at Man United will have forgotten the club’s two defeats suffered at the hands of Swansea City last season, and no one will remember the pair of defeats to the Swans more clearly than Van Gaal. Nor will United’s Dutch manager forget the late nature of either defeat, with the game-winning goals coming in the 72nd and 73rd minutes, respectively.

For United, the start to the 2015-16 league season has been much more kind, as the Red Devils find themselves unbeaten through three games and one of two teams (Manchester City) yet to conceded a single goal on the still-young season. Wayne Rooney bagged a hat trick in UEFA Champions League qualifying action on Wednesday, but he’s still searching for his first league goal of the season. On the other side, Swansea’s no. 1 striker, Bafetimbi Gomis, comes into Sunday’s game with three league goals to his name, with summer signing Andre Ayew a goal back of his total.

United will be without midfielder Adnan Januzaj (hip) and defender Phil Jones (illness) for this one, while the Swans head into Sunday’s clash with a clean bill of health.

Chelsea 0-0 Norwich City: No goals, no consequences (yet)

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Chelsea have put their destiny in others’ hands. By failing to beat relegation-threatened Norwich City at Stamford Bridge, the Blues’ title hopes rest on Liverpool dropping points against Crystal Palace on Monday. And should that happen, Chelsea will need to root for Aston Villa to beat Manchester City come Wednesday.

As for Norwich, they survive to see another day – but safety still looks unlikely. They’ll face Arsenal on the final day, and the Gunners have nothing left to play for, but the problem is Sunderland. The Black Cats have two games left, against West Brom and Swansea, and considering the Canaries’ -32 goal difference, almost certainly need just a point.

In the first half, Chelsea simply didn’t look like a team set for a challenge. Rather, they looked like a side broken by being knocked out of the Champions League midweek. Understandable, but it didn’t help that José Mourinho decided to rest the likes of Eden Hazard and David Luiz.

André Schürrle had a go in the third minute, but it was Norwich who could very well have been up before 15 minutes were out. Martin Olsson had no trouble slipping past an oblivious Ashley Cole to get on to the end of a pass from Bradley Johnson. Rushing in to save Cole’s blushes, John Terry tripped up Olsson, bringing him down inside the area. Neil Swarbrick waved away penalty appeals, while Neil Adams was absolutely livid on the sidelines.

Shortly thereafter, Demba Ba messed up a glorious chance to put the home side in front. The forward, free on the left, had two blue shirts available inside the area. However, the cross from Ba was terrible, and the ball collided with goalkeeper John Ruddy.

Around the half-hour mark, the woodwork declared itself a Canaries fan, doing its part to keep out a curling shot from Schürrle. Minutes later, Ruddy saved another shot from the German.

Johnson very nearly gave his side the lead going into the break. In the 40th minute, Terry just barely got a piece of a shot from the midfielder, but it was enough to deflect it out for the corner. The sides went into the locker rooms locked in a goalless draw.

Mourinho, having apparently remembered his side was still in the title race, made a double change to start the second half. Off came Mohamed Salah and Frank Lampard, on came Eden Hazard and David Luiz.

The change was immediate, with Chelsea having a much greater spring in their step. After just three minutes, the post had to bail out Norwich once more, this time denying a shot from David Luiz.

Then came Chelsea’s time to shout for a penalty…twice. First Branislav Ivanović and Schürrle both went down inside the area. A few minutes later, it appeared that Ryan Bennett went in recklessly on Hazard, who tumbled over. But with the offside flag already up, Swarbrick barely blinked.

Chelsea continued to ramp up the pressure, but somehow, Norwich held on. A rare advance on Mark Schwarzer’s goal looked like it might end with the ball in the back of the net, but an excellent challenge from Gary Cahill stopped Robert Snodgrass from getting his shot in.

The Blues kept coming, attacking in waves, but for once, luck was on Norwich’s side. A brilliant shot from Hazard prompted a terrific save from Ruddy. Moments later, a first-time volley from Schürrle was deflected out for a corner.

LINEUPS

Chelsea: Schwarzer; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Lampard (David Luiz), Matic (Torres 73); Salah (Hazard), Willian, Schurrle; Ba

Norwich City: Ruddy; Martin, R Bennett, Turner, Whittaker; Tettey; Snodgrass, Johnson, Howson, Olsson; Elmander (Redmond 69)

Subs: Bunn, Bassong, van Wolfswinkel, Fer, Hooper, E Bennett, Redmond