Premier League stats: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer marks 50th Man Utd game in style

Premier League stats: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer marks 50th Man Utd game in style


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer marked his 50th Premier League game in charge of Manchester United in style as Pep Guardiola’s season hit a low point in Sunday’s derby.

Meanwhile, Adama Traore furthered his quest to become the Premier League’s best ever dribbler on what statistically may have been one of the worst Saturday afternoons in the competition’s history.

Here, BBC Sport takes a look at the key numbers from another weekend in the Premier League.

Fernandes leads Man Utd resurgence

Ten matches unbeaten – sealed with a 2-0 victory over bitter rivals Manchester City on Sunday – represents Manchester United’s best streak since going 11 without defeat following Solskjaer’s initial appointment as interim manager in December 2018.

This latest Manchester derby instalment coincided with Solskjaer’s 50th Premier League game as United boss and the Norwegian celebrated the occasion by overseeing the Old Trafford club’s first league double over derby rivals Manchester City in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era.

Solskjaer joins Ferguson – who last recorded the double in 2009-10 – and Dave Sexton, in 1978-79, as the third United manager to achieve the feat.

He also matches Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp as the only other manager to inflict three defeats on former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager Guardiola in a single campaign, with Solskjaer contributing two of the Spaniard’s seven league defeats this term.

In terms of losses, this is now the worst league campaign of Guardiola’s managerial career.

Solskjaer, meanwhile, trails former United manager Jose Mourinho by 10 points after 50 league games at the club, his side scoring one fewer goal and conceding 20 more than his predecessor.

United’s recent resurgence after an inconsistent season – almost a year after Solskjaer was handed the position on a permanent basis – has coincided with the £47m acquisition of Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes.

Fernandes assisted Anthony Martial’s opener with a cheeky, chipped free-kick on Sunday and has been directly involved in the most goals in the Premier League since his debut on 1 February – his two goals and three assists leave him one ahead of a host of players including Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.

Creating a total of 11 chances for team-mates in that time, a figure bettered by only Leicester’s James Maddison, Burnley’s Dwight McNeil and Wolves midfielder Joao Moutinho, Fernandes has been directly involved in 20 goals (10 goals, 10 assists) in 22 league games this season for Sporting Lisbon and United.

Not to be outdone, goalscorer Martial became just the second United player to score in three successive Manchester derby starts in the Premier League.

The 24-year-old is the first to achieve that since Eric Cantona’s five in a row between 1993 and 1996, while he also succeeds Cristiano Ronaldo (2006-07) as the most recent United player to score home and away against City in a Premier League season.

Traore closing in on Hazard tally

Despite not being introduced until the 64th minute against Brighton on Saturday, Adama Traore still completed more dribbles during Wolves’ 0-0 draw than any other player.

Five successful runs during those 26 minutes saw him become the first player to complete 50 dribbles in the Premier League in 2020, on average recording a successful run with the ball every 11.6 minutes this year.

As a result, Traore boasts the highest frequency of completed dribbles in the Premier League since 2003-04 (when that data started to be collected), in front of Southampton’s Sofiane Boufal and Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin by three minutes.

Among players to play over 1,000 minutes, he averages one take-on every 13 minutes with a total of 370 in 4,683 minutes of action. By way of comparison, Ronaldo managed one every 29 minutes during his time in the English top flight – although that average comes after a significantly longer 14,542 minutes.

So far in the 2019-20 campaign, Traore has recorded a total of 144 completed dribbles, which is already the third highest in a Premier League season.

Former Chelsea winger Eden Hazard boasts three of the top-four tallies in that department, his 180 in 2014-15 leading the way.

To match that this season, Traore requires four per match over the final nine league games. His haul on Saturday showed he could very well smash Hazard’s best if given the chance.

A rather slow Saturday

Even the most ardent of football fans will have struggled to find much to be entertained by in the Premier League’s Saturday afternoon offerings.

Just four goals were scored across five 15:00 GMT kick-offs, with one goal enough for Arsenal, Crystal Palace, Newcastle and Sheffield United to seal all three points.

In that regard, it was the second-worst Saturday in Premier League history.

The only Saturday afternoon to feature at least five games and witness fewer goals at the traditional 15:00 GMT time slot was on 24 November 2001, when three goals were scored in six games, three of which ended goalless.

It wasn’t through a lack of trying, though, as Saturday was an incredibly wasteful day in the Premier League. The most wasteful ever, in fact.

Including Liverpool’s 2-1 win over Bournemouth in the lunchtime kick-off and Burnley’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham in the evening, just nine goals were scored despite an expected goals value (xG) of 18.6 – more than double the amount of actual goals available for your viewing on Match of the Day.

Burnley will be the side kicking themselves the most after their chances were expected to deliver three goals, while Norwich and West Ham also had superior opportunities than their opponents in their defeats.

Moyes ‘big four’ woes continue

This season’s race for a Champions League spot may still be wide open – not least because of the uncertainty around Manchester City’s European ban – but, once upon a time, the Premier League was dominated by the ‘big four’.

Although long since irrelevant with the rise of Manchester City, Tottenham, Leicester and co, that chapter in English top-flight history is one that still haunts West Ham manager David Moyes, whose miserable away record against those clubs was extended one ‘L’ further on Saturday.

Following a 1-0 defeat by Arsenal on Saturday, the former Everton and Manchester United boss has now gone a painful 58 away games against the former ‘Big Four’ of the Gunners, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United without winning.

Saturday’s defeat at Arsenal also means Moyes’ away record against Arsenal is the most times a manager has faced a side away from home without winning in the competition’s history.

The Hammers boss is yet to win in 16 attempts at the Gunners, with his similarly miserable records against Liverpool and Chelsea following closely behind.

Moyes’ record of 12 defeats and four draws against Arsenal is also not quite as bad as Harry Redknapp, who lost all 15 of his games away at Manchester United.

Thankfully for Moyes, a visit to United on the penultimate day of the season, where he has not won in 12, is the only away encounter with the mythical ‘big four’ still to come.

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