Premier League Week 27: Standout Stats: Record-Breaking JT Keeps Chelsea on Top
After yet another wonderfully captivating weekend of top-flight football, we take a look back at the action with the most eye-catching stats from all 10 games in Week 27.
And so whether it is a defender making Premier League history, a team finally winning at home or a stunning turnaround in fortunes for another side, then we have the numbers that matter from the top flight this weekend…
Giroud at the Double
Struggling Sunderland were looking for their first win at Arsenal since November 1983 on Saturday afternoon; however, the visitors were undone by Olivier Giroud’s fifth Premier League brace of his career, all of which have come at the Emirates.
The Gunners, who are now unbeaten in their last 15 games at home against the Black Cats, will have been glad to see the Frenchman return to goalscoring form after four games without a goal, with Giroud having now registered 12 goals and seven assists in his 25 league outings this season.
And there were also first top-flight strikes of the campaign from both Laurent Koscielny and Tomas Rosicky, the latter netting at home in the Premier League for the first time since February 2012.
Chelsea remain on course for a fourth Premier League title after Saturday lunch-time’s dramatic late win against Everton at Stamford Bridge, the Blues’ 12th game without defeat in the league also maintaining the only unbeaten home record in the top flight this season.
It was inspirational skipper John Terry’s injury-time effort that eventually broke the deadlock, meaning the centre-back has now scored more Premier League goals (35) than any other defender, excluding penalties.
And with Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho having never lost the league in any country he has managed in when top of the table at the end of February, the omens are looking good for the West London club.
New Cardiff City head coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had said in a news conference before his side took on Hull City at the Cardiff City Stadium that he was targeting five wins from the remaining 12 Premier League games this campaign.
Well, the Bluebirds now need five victories from the last 11 top-flight contests following Saturday’s worrying 4-0 loss to fellow strugglers Hull City, with the Tigers scoring four goals away from home in the top flight for the very first time in the club’s history.
No Need for City Supporters to Be Feeling the Blues
It should not be all doom and gloom for Manchester City fans, despite their team’s laboured performance in their 1-0 win over Stoke City at Eastlands on Saturday.
The home team may have been expected to score a flurry of goals against visitors who had failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their previous 10 matches heading into their trip to the north west.
However, Manuel Pellegrini’s side have still only lost one of their previous 15 games and will return to the top of the table if they win their game in hand at home to relegation-threatened Sunderland.
The Only Way Is Up for the Happy Hammers
What a remarkable turnaround in fortunes February has been for both West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce and skipper Kevin Nolan, capped off by Saturday afternoon’s fine 3-1 win over in-form Southampton at Upton Park.
At the start of the month, the Hammers were in the bottom three of the Premier League after just one win in 10, but as we enter March, the East London outfit are in the top half of the table after scoring twice in a game for the fourth time in a row in February, all of them wins, with both Allardyce and Nolan surely now certainties for the Manager and Player of the Month awards, respectively.
Meanwhile, 31-year-old Nolan has responded in the best possible fashion to the raft of red cards he had received earlier this season by recording an impressive six goals and three assists in his previous six games.
Wayne’s World Rules at the Palace
All the pre-match signs pointed to a difficult evening in store when champions Manchester United visited Crystal Palace on Saturday, with Eagles boss Tony Pulis having picked up an impressive 19 points since replacing Ian Holloway last November.
Meanwhile, the home side were also able to welcome back prolific striker Glenn Murray from injury for the first time in nine months as they went in search of a fourth straight win at Selhurst Park.
In stark contrast, though, the Red Devils arrived in South East London having lost five of their previous 10 matches, but the highest-paid player in Premier League history made a nonsense of all those stats by scoring the 209th goal of his United career in a 2-0 win.
In the process, Wayne Rooney not only managed to score 10 or more league goals for the 10 consecutive season, but the forward also entered the top five all time Premier League goalscorers’ list with his 166th strike, leaving just Alan Shearer (260), Andrew Cole (187), Thierry Henry (175) and Frank Lampard (169) ahead of him now.
And with Rooney’s strike partner Robin van Persie also netting for the fourth time in just five matches since his own return from injury, things are finally starting to look up for David Moyes and Co.
All Square in the Battle of the New Coaches
Relegation-threatened duo West Bromwich Albion and Fulham entered Saturday’s huge six-pointer at the Hawthorns having gone through five managers between them so far this season, but in terms of Premier League wins, the struggling pair had only managed the 10 in total.
And recently appointed Baggies boss Pepe Mel was still waiting for his first victory at the sixth attempt since taking over from Steve Clarke in the West Midlands after his side could only draw 1-1 with the Cottagers.
But in the end the Spaniard was just grateful for a point after the visitors had led for much of the contest, thanks to Ashkan Dejagah’s first-half strike, just the 27-year-old’s second league goal for the West Londoners arriving at the perfect time for new coach Felix Magath, whom he won the Bundesliga with while at Wolfsburg.
However, for the fourth home game in succession, West Brom managed to recover from a 1-0 half-time deficit to grab a share of the spoils courtesy of Matej Vydra’s late leveller.
At Last, No Place Like Home for the Magpies
What a relief returning striker Loic Remy’s late winner must have been for Newcastle United, and in particular their long-suffering fans, who prior to Sunday afternoon’s 1-0 win over Aston Villa at St James’ Park had watched their side lose four straight matches at home.
In fact, the Geordie faithful had not seen their team win in the north east since Boxing Day, while the France international’s dramatic 90th-minute winner was also the Magpies’ first league goal at home for five games.
As a result, despite having collected only four points out of a possible 24 ahead of Villa’s visit, Alan Pardew’s men have now reached the safety mark of 40 points in the table.
But the same most definitely cannot be said for the visitors, who have now lost three of their last four top-flight contests to sit precariously just four points above the drop zone.
Spurs’ Euro Hopes Take a Hit After First Shutout This Year
Struggling Norwich City moved four points clear of the bottom three, thanks to a huge 1-0 win over UEFA Champions League-chasing Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday at Carrow Road, just the home side’s second win in their last 12 matches.
And it was Scotland international Robert Snodgrass who proved to be the match-winner with his fifth goal of the campaign.
Meanwhile, the North Londoners fell six points behind fourth-placed Liverpool in the race for Europe’s premier club competition after failing to score in the Premier League for the first time since Tim Sherwood replaced previous boss Andre Villas-Boas in the White Hart Lane dugout last December.
70 League Goals and Counting for Rampant Reds
Liverpool got the better of relegation-threatened Swansea City after a seven-goal thriller at Anfield on Sunday afternoon, however, the home side were made to work desperately hard for their victory by Garry Monk’s spirited outfit.
And after finding the back of the net on four more occasions against the Swans, Brendan Rodgers’ free-flowing side are now the top scorers in the Premier League after netting a remarkable 70 times so far this season, more than even Manchester City have managed.
However, it is at the other end that the Northern Irishman will be most concerned, with the visitors’ three strikes on Merseyside, meaning that only Newcastle in the top half of the table have now let in more than the Reds’ 35 goals this campaign, while just four other teams have kept fewer clean sheets.
One continuing ray of light for the home side, though, remains the electric form of Premier League top-scorer Luis Suarez who, despite having not netted for five games in all competitions now, has the joint-highest number of assists in the league after creating the ninth goal for a Liverpool team-mate against the South Wales outfit.