Barrie's View

10 Interesting Stats from Premier League Matchday 26

February 23, 2015 by Barrie

2 – Burnley became only the second promoted side to take points against José Mourinho’s Chelsea at Stamford Bridge with their 1-1 draw on Saturday.  The Portuguese managed had beaten 14 of the previous 15 promoted sides he’d faced at home in the Premier League, dropping points in a draw with Reading back in December 2006.

8 – Joey Barton set a Premier League record for receiving a card in eight consecutive Premier League games.  The Queens Park Rangers midfielder had received a yellow card in each of his previous seven appearances before being shown a straight red on Saturday for a low blow to Tom Huddlestone.

13 – Tottenham Hotspur have won more points with goals in the final five minutes of matches than any other team this season.  Manager Mauricio Pochettino was well-known for improving the fitness of his players when he first came to England as Southampton boss and he’s doing the same again with his players at White Hart Lane.

16 – Spurs have picked up more points from losing positions than any other side so far this season.  They were able to rescue a point at home to West Ham on Sunday after trailing 0-2 in the second half.

17 – Liverpool have won more points than any team in 2015.

19 – Right-back Branislav Ivanović scored his 19th Premier League goal for Chelsea on Saturday – only one less than Fernando Torres managed for the Blues.

34 – Christian Eriksen had started 34 consecutive Premier League games before dropping to the bench versus West Ham on Sunday.  The Dane was instrumental on Sunday after being introduced at half-time.

72% – 13 of the 18 Premier League matches between Everton and Leicester City have ended in a draw.  The two sides played out a 2-2 at Goodison Park on Sunday.

95 – Harry Kane’s equaliser for Tottenham was scored after 95 minutes and 57 seconds – the second latest in the Premier League this season, behind Martin Škrtel’s equaliser versus Arsenal back in December being later (96m, 5s).

560′ – Wayne Rooney fired in his first shot on target in the Premier League in 2015 in Manchester United’s 2-1 loss at Swansea City.  The club captain had gone more than 9 hours of action without success before Saturday.

5 Reasons Why Chelsea Will Beat Paris Saint-Germain

February 17, 2015 by Barrie

Diego Costa

Chelsea meet Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League for the second time in successive seasons.

Last year Demba Ba scored a late goal to see the Premier League side qualify for the semi-finals on away goals, winning 2-0 at Stamford Bridge after losing the first leg 3-1.

The two sides have gone in opposite directions since then – Chelsea finished last season third in the Premier League, whilst they head into this evening’s game seven points clear at the top.  Paris Saint-Germain ran away with the Ligue 1 title last season – they’re third in the league before they face Chelsea.

Here are my five reasons why Chelsea will progress from this tie:

1. José Mourinho

Paris Saint-Germain had Chelsea on the back foot after taking a 3-1 lead into the second leg thanks to a late individual effort from Javier Pastore in the first leg.  A two-goal lead in the quarter-final of a Champions League tie is rarely overturned and for a lot of the game at Stamford Bridge it didn’t look like the English side were going to succeed.

André Schürrle had scored after 32 minutes in the second leg but Chelsea didn’t look greatly like scoring a second.  That was until Mourinho’s opposite number, Laurent Blanc brought on defensive sub after defensive sub and sat further and further back as the game drew to a close.  This allowed a late flourish from the Blues before Demba Ba was able to find an 87th minute winner.

2. Diego Costa

Less than 12 months ago André Schürrle started the first leg up front and Samuel Eto’o the second.  Chelsea upgraded significantly over the summer and whilst Diego Costa has been suspended for the past three games domestically, he should be in sharp match fitness to get amongst the goalscorers in the first leg.

José Mourinho confirmed yesterday that his Spanish striker will start this evening’s game.  Costa showed his goalscoring ability in this competition last season when he helped guide Atlético Madrid to the final.  He’s shown he’s a great fit in this Chelsea side this season with his instant impact in the side.

3. Preparation

Over the years the Premier League have often given their own sides a disadvantage in the Champions League with their poor fixture arrangements.  Whilst the big leagues around Europe schedule a lot of their top teams to play on Friday night before a tough tie, the Premier League are happy to let their teams play on a Sunday before representing the country in Europe.  You can imagine the needless fatigue…

Ahead of the first leg in this one though, Chelsea have not played since Wednesday, a home win over Everton in the Premier League.  They have had three days’ extra rest in comparison to their French opponents who finished their game on Saturday with nine men and drawing 2-2 at home to Caen.  PSG picked up four injuries in that game, whilst Chelsea only have John Obi Mikel out injured.

4. David Luiz

Marquinhos is a doubt after picking up an injury at the weekend so David Luiz looks set to play alongside Thiago Silva in Paris Saint-Germain’s defence for the first leg at least.  Most of us were laughing when Chelsea received £50 million for their liable defender in the summer, before he was part of the Brazil side that shipped seven goals to Germany at the World Cup.

José Mourinhowill have his gameplans for PSG’s weak points and no doubt Luiz will be one of them to target.  Diego Costa should be able to get his number in open play, as could Oscar or Cesc Fàbregas, whoever plays behind the striker.  Set pieces will be another area you can expect the Portuguese manger to look to exploit Luiz’s weak points.

5. English Premier League ->> French Ligue 1

This tie sees the Premier League leaders versus the team third in French Ligue 1.  OK, we all expect Paris Saint-Germain to go on to win the league but it doesn’t look like they’re going to have the same margin as they did last season, and that Chelsea currently have.

Chelsea have some breathing room in the league and whilst the league may have seen a number of average-performing sides competing for the top four this season, Mourinho’s side are certainly superior.  They’re amongst the four favourites to win this season’s Champions League in my mind, Paris Saint-Germain are not.

10 Interesting Stats from Premier League Matchday 25

February 12, 2015 by Barrie

2 – Chris Smalling because the first substitute in Premier League history to score twice in the first half as Manchester United beat Burnley 3-1.  The centre-back wasn’t given the opportunity for a hat-trick late on as United were awarded a penalty.  Robin van Persie converted it instead.

2 – West Ham’s Adrián is only the second goalkeeper to be sent off in the Premier League this season, after Swansea City’s Łukasz Fabiański, who received his matching orders versus the Hammers.  Despite being reduced to 10 men, West Ham held on for a 0-0 draw at Southampton this week.

4 – Manchester City scored as many goals on Wednesday as they had in their previous six Premier League visits to Stoke City.

7 – Theo Walcott has scored seven goals in his last seven Premier League starts.  The Arsenal forward netted their second in a 2-1 win over Leicester City on Tuesday.

12 – Aston Villa have scored only 12 goals in their 25 Premier League matches this season.  Paul Lambert’s side went down 2-0 at Hull City midweek.

12 – It was 12th time lucky for Queens Park Rangers who ended their 11-game losing streak on the road to collect their first points on the road this season with a 2-0 victory at Sunderland.  It was their first away games this season without Harry Redknapp.

94% – Willian’s late strike versus Everton means Chelsea have taken 34 points from 36 in their 12 home games this season.

134 – Liverpool’s 3-2 win over Tottenham means this fixture has seen more goals than any other in Premier League history.

804 – Mario Balotelli finally scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool.  After going 804 minutes without one for the Reds the Italian scored their late winner versus Tottenham on Tuesday.

1,000 – Manchester City became the ninth team in Premier League history to reach the 1,000-point mark as they thrashed Stoke City 4-1 at the Britannia Stadium.

Manchester United Have Something to Prove vs Burnley

February 10, 2015 by Barrie

Louis van Gaal

Daley Blind rescued a point for Manchester United on Sunday with his 92nd minute equaliser at West Ham.

This extended United’s record to just one defeat in their last 14 Premier League games.  It all sounds impressive.  But the performances of late have not been.

Only the bottom two – Leicester City and Queens Park Rangers have allowed United to score more than once in any of their last six Premier League games.  These are the only two games United have won during this run also.

Louis van Gaal’s side, with its £150+ million investment are simply not performing to expectations of late.

Held at Stoke City on New Year’s Day, followed up with a home loss to Southampton in which they did not force a single save from Fraser Forster.

United’s stars are not performing.  Daley Blind scored at the weekend, to add to a list that includes Marouane Fellaini, James Wilson and an own goal.  Robin van Persie only has one goal since the turn of the year and Wayne Rooney is yet to score.

In fact, Wayne Rooney has yet to have a single shot on target in his five Premier League games in 2015.

The captain is not the only attacking player underperforming.  Ángel Di María can be added to that list.

Di María has failed to score or assist a single goal in his four Premier League appearances in 2015.  The British record transfer has only created eight chances for his teammates in those 341 minutes, against the likes of QPR and Leicester.  He has a shooting accuracy of only 20% and a crossing accuracy of 12% in those four games too.  Simply not good enough.

Still expecting Manchester United to finish in the top four this season, as predicted pre-season, van Gaal’s side do need to improve their performances in the final 14 games of the season if they’re to achieve this.

The good news for fans though is that it’s easier to purchase Man Utd tickets this season – a home game versus Burnley tomorrow night sounds like the perfect opportunity to enjoy three points and an exciting performance from the Red Devils at Old Trafford.

Burnley held United to a 0-0 draw back in August at Turf Moor as Louis van Gaal won only one of his first six competitive fixtures as Manchester United manager.  They picked up soon after but are certainly stumbling of late, if with no major concerns.

United fans will be expecting a comfortable and emphatic victory over a side who remain amongst the favourites to be relegated this season and who start the midweek fixtures only one point above the drop zone.

10 Interesting Stats from Premier League Matchday 24

February 9, 2015 by Barrie

0 – Manchester United are yet to come from behind to win a single game under Louis van Gaal.

0 – Wayne Rooney is yet to have a single shot on target in his five Premier League matches in 2015.

5 – Queens Park Rangers have only opened the scoring in five of their 24 fixtures this season – the fewest amongst any team in the Premier League.

6 – Manchester City have failed to win a single of their six Premier League games without Yaya Touré this season, which includes drawing three in a row whilst the influential midfielder has been away at the African Cup of Nations over the past few weeks.

9 – Only Fraser Forster (11) has more clean sheets than Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet (9) after the weekend’s scoreless draw in the Merseyside derby.

10 – Burnley have now named the same starting XI for 10 consecutive Premier League matches.

15 – After coming from behind to win the North London derby Tottenham have now recovered more points from losing positions than any other team this season.

44 – Peter Crouch scored his 44th headed goal in the Premier League – only Alan Shearer (46) and Dion Dublin (45) have headed more home than the Stoke City striker.

131 – Tottenham’s 2-1 victory at home to Arsenal on Saturday took the goal tally up to 131 in Premier League history between these two – more than any other fixture has seen.

659 – Jores Okore’s header past Thibaut Courtois ended Aston Villa’s run of 659 minutes without a goal.

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