Liverpool and Manchester City traded further blows in the Premier League title race on Sunday to create yet more history.
We also look at Bournemouth’s prolific pairing, identify which teenagers are tearing up the Premier League and ask the question: are Tottenham a better side without Harry Kane?
The crazy numbers involved in the title race
Manchester City drew first blood in the Premier League title race on Sunday as two Raheem Sterling goals helped them see off Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Incredibly, the England forward’s second of the afternoon was City’s 150th goal of the season across all competitions – they are only the second top-flight side in history to reach that milestone. The other? City in 2013-14 (156 goals).
However, Liverpool struck back later in the afternoon to return to the top of the league with a fine victory over Chelsea at Anfield thanks to goals from Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
The victory was the Reds’ 26th in the league in 2018-19, equalling their record from the ill-fated 2013-14 season. They last won more matches in a top-flight season during their title-winning 1978-79 campaign (30 wins) – a tally that, with four games remaining, they could yet match.
Indeed, manager Jurgen Klopp thinks they will need to if they are to win the title.
Sunday’s win also took them to 85 points – one more than they gathered in 2013-14, but will that be enough for Jurgen Klopp’s side? They currently lead City by two points, but Pep Guardiola’s side possess a vital game in hand.
That means the Reds could conceivably win their final four fixtures, finish the season with 97 points having lost only one league game, and still not win the title.
The current record points tally for a team who did not win the league is 89 – a total amassed by Manchester United in 2011-12.
Klopp and his side will hope they don’t become the unhappy owners of that particular record come Sunday, 12 May.
Are Spurs a better side without Kane?
It might sound ludicrous to suggest Tottenham are a better team without Kane, but they just might be.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side were without Kane on Saturday, but if they were missing him they certainly didn’t show it, romping to a 4-0 win over Huddersfield at their sparkling new stadium.
That was the fifth league game the 25-year-old has missed this campaign and Spurs have won them all. With him in the side, their win percentage in the league is only 60.7%.
Also, despite the fact he has notched 17 goals in his 28 league appearances in 2018-19, when Kane has featured Spurs average only 1.9 goals per game, whereas when he has been absent that jumps to 2.4.
Oddly enough it appears they’re better at the other end, too. When Kane has played, Tottenham concede an average of 1.1 goals per game, and when he hasn’t featured the figure stands at just 0.6.
So with crucial games coming up in the race for the top four, are Pochettino and Spurs better off without Kane?
Maybe – but the England star is still their top goalscorer in the league, and his goals have won his side seven points – none of his team-mates can better, or even match that.
Bournemouth’s deadly duo
Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser are two men fantasy football enthusiasts have become very familiar with this season, both players racking up the goals and assists.
The Bournemouth pair were at it again on Saturday as Wilson set up Fraser for their second before the diminutive Scot returned the favour for Wilson to score their fourth as the Cherries cruised to victory at Brighton.
Such has been Wilson and Fraser’s form in 2018-19, they have combined for 11 Premier League goals, the most by a duo in a single campaign since Alan Shearer and Mike Newell in 1995-96 (also 11).
Unsurprisingly, they are well clear of other Premier League duos this season, although Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling has combined for seven goals with both Sergio Aguero and Leroy Sane, as have Wolves’ Diogo Jota and Raul Jimenez.
Wilson and Fraser still need to combine a couple more times to catch the original SAS – Shearer and Chris Sutton – but with four games left they could very well do it.
|Duos to combine for the most goals in a single Premier League season|
|Pairing||Team and season||Goal combinations|
|Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton||Blackburn Rovers in 1994-95||13|
|Callum Wilson and Ryan Fraser||Bournemouth in 2018-19||11|
|Alan Shearer and Mike Newell||Blackburn Rovers in 1995-96||11|
|Kevin Gallen and Les Ferdinand||Queens Park Rangers in 1994-95||11|
|Dennis Bergkamp and Nicolas Anelka||Arsenal in 1998-99||10|
|Robbie Fowler and Stan Collymore||Liverpool in 1995-96||10|
McNeil and Sessegnon lead the way
“I’ve said it for weeks now – he’s fantastic. He’s a real talent,” Burnley boss Sean Dyche said of Dwight McNeil following his side’s crucial win over Cardiff on Saturday.
And the stats back up Dyche’s summation.
No player has been involved in more Premier League goals as a teenager than McNeil, 19, this season (eight – three goals and five assists).
There is another teenager also on eight goal involvements, Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon.
While the winger may not have hit the heights he did in the Championship last campaign, his six assists and two goals represent a decent return for the 18-year-old, especially in a side which battled against, and ultimately failed to avoid, relegation.
Those figures look even better when you consider an 18-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo finished the 2003-04 campaign, his first in English football, with eight goal involvements.
If either McNeil or Sessegnon can go on to achieve anywhere near as much as him they’ll have had a pretty good career.
|Players with the most goal involvements as a teenager in the 2018-19 Premier League|
|Dwight McNeil||Burnley||8 (3 goals and 5 assists)|
|Ryan Sessegnon||Fulham||8 (2 goals and 6 assists )|
|Diogo Dalot||Manchester United||2 assists|
|Michael Obafemi||Southampton||2 (1 goal and 1 assist)|
|Trent Alexander-Arnold||Liverpool||1 assist|
|Declan Rice||West Ham||1 goal|
|Callum Hudson-Odoi||Chelsea||1 assist|
|Domingos Quina||Watford||1 goal|
|Morgan Gibbs-White||Wolves||1 assist|