Premier League review: Édouard's dream debut, Ronaldo return, Arsenal animate Arteta, Salah joins 100 club
Premier League review: Édouard's dream debut, Ronaldo return, Arsenal animate Arteta, Salah joins 100 club

Premier League review: Édouard's dream debut, Ronaldo return, Arsenal animate Arteta, Salah joins 100 club

Our analyst Liam Kelly reviews the Premier League action from a data perspective, highlighting points of interest after the fourth round of matches.

The aim of this weekly column is to provide standout stats from each round of fixtures, use underlying numbers to identify recent trends and to inform punters with tools to improve their betting on the Premier League.


Dream debut for Édouard

Crystal Palace earned an honorable mention as a team to watch under Patrick Vieira when I examined the underlying numbers of the Premier League season during the international break. That was based on Palace's solid defensive structure and promise shown going forward in their 2-2 draw with West Ham.

However, the ease in which they swept aside Spurs at the weekend was still pleasantly surprising, completely dominating a match-up against a side that entered the fixture as league leaders (xG: CRY 2.88 - 0.10 TOT).

Conor Gallagher was again exceptional in central midfield, at the heart of everything good Palace produced, and Vieira's team limited Tottenham to almost nothing in attack, but Odsonne Édouard's introduction is perhaps most encouraging for Eagles fans.

Edouard v Tottenham

Édouard made the absolute most of his 11-minute spell at Selhurst Park, scoring two goals from two shots equating to 0.46 expected goals (xG), displaying his credentials as the finisher Palace are in desperate need of.

Despite the dream debut, it will be quite difficult to keep up his current rate of 16 goals and 3.76 xG per 95 minutes!

Ronaldo return was written

Speaking of debuts, a certain Cristiano Ronaldo made his second one with Manchester United amid the darkness of the 3pm blackout. To be fair, it was almost impossible to be blissfully unaware of the whole occasion following a frankly nauseating amount of fanfare and coverage surrounding his return.

It wasn't strange to see him bag a brace in the 4-1 win over Newcastle, masking issues in United's midfield. What was curious, though, was the fact that Ronaldo's opener — scored in added time at the end of the first half — was the only goal scored before the break in any of the Premier League 3pm kick-offs.

Half Time of 3pm Premier League games

A total of 5.37 xG was missed across the six matches before Ronaldo's goal (0.71 xG) broke the deadlock, including 0.39 xG from the man himself in the opening 45 minutes.

It made for a storybook start to Ronaldo's second spell at United, albeit with a little help from Arsenal, Norwich, Brentford, Brighton, Leicester, Manchester City, Newcastle, Southampton, West Ham, Watford and Wolves.

Arsenal win animates Arteta

Mikel Arteta described the past fortnight as his "best days" in football, a statement that will be ridiculed by some considering it was completed by his Arsenal side beating Norwich 1-0 to lift themselves off the bottom of the table.

Arteta was, of course, referring to something wider than bare results, but it is an understandable statement given the pressure mounted on Arteta after a difficult beginning to their season — one which has been harshly treated by many.

Granted, an opening day defeat to newly-promoted Brentford was disappointing, but Arsenal can't realistically compete with the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City at the moment, even without the COVID-19 issues and injuries that the Gunners endured before the international break.

Arsenal's performance on Saturday was a fair bit better than the nervously narrow winning scoreline suggests, too, creating more than enough scoring opportunities to beat Norwich by a bigger margin, while holding their opponents to just 0.64 xG.

Strengthening day by day, Arsenal now face an upcoming schedule that is not quite as daunting, and with it, an opportunity to temper unwarranted cries of 'crisis'.

Salah joins Premier League 100 club

Liverpool’s straightforward 3-0 victory in Leeds will predominantly be remembered for the horrific injury injury suffered by Harvey Elliott, a prized prospect that will be sorely missed after an excellent start to the season.

It is worth touching on the achievement Mo Salah accomplished on Sunday, though, scoring his 100th Premier League goal in just 162 appearances. Only Alan Shearer, Harry Kane, Sergio Agüero and Thierry Henry reached the milestone quicker, highlighting the difficulty involved in such a feat.

Mo Salah | 100 Premier League goals

If we look at Salah’s goals on a shot map, the Egyptian winger has put on a clinic in terms of shot location, with just six of his goals coming from outside the box.

Two of Salah's 100 goals came in his 13 appearances at Chelsea, but he has returned to English football and proven himself to be a superstar, netting 98 times in the league for Liverpool from 555 shots equating to 90.8 xG.

Add 35 assists during his time as a Red, a total only surpassed by Kevin De Bruyne (50), and Salah has already solidified his status as a Premier League great.

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