The Premier League in numbers

Posted by Alistair Tweedale

Man United celebrate after Robin Van Persie put them 4-3 up at ReadingGettyImagesRobin van Persie will be aiming to add to his goal tally in the derby

Another eventful weekend in the Premier League saw several teams in the top half drop points once again, whilst the teams at the bottom were cast yet further adrift of safety, with the pressure mounting on some of those in charge of the underachievers.

Most notable of the latest round of results was Manchester United's 4-3 victory over Reading at the Madejski Stadium, where all seven goals were scored inside the opening 34 minutes, with suspect defending at the heart of much of the action. Nicky Shorey's delivery from corners caused United constant problems, with the left-back picking up two assists directly from set pieces, becoming the first player to do so in a Premier League game this season.

However, United conceding first - as they did against Reading - is by no means reason to doubt their chances of winning, as they came from behind to win yet again this season. They have now picked up 21 points this season after having gone from behind - enough alone to place them on the same points tally as Arsenal in 10th place. It was also the 21st time since the beginning of the 2009-10 Premier League season that Sir Alex Ferguson's men have scored four or more goals in a league match, which is more than any other team. This current United side seems determined to exact revenge over rivals Manchester City for last season, and they have a winning mentality which could well prove the difference between the sides come May.

City, meanwhile, dropped points for the third time in their last six matches, drawing with Everton at home as Marouane Fellaini scored for the visitors before needlessly handing the champions a penalty to level the tie. The Toffees have proven something of a bogey team for City in recent years and so nearly upset the odds once again.

To give an idea of how well Everton subdued their opponents here, City could muster only 10 attempts on goal. Reaching double figures for shots seems like a fair few to many people, but in fact, it was City's lowest tally on home soil in a Premier League game since hosting Spurs in May of the 2010-11 season, since when, of course, they have invested heavily and gone on to win the league title.

The biggest shocks of the day were provided in London, though, where Arsenal lost to Swansea and West Ham overturned a 1-0 half-time deficit to beat Chelsea 3-1. The latter result has upped the pressure on interim manager Rafa Benitez who has overseen two goalless draws and a loss since taking charge, with his side scoring only one goal in that time.

Much of the blame has been placed on Fernando Torres for Chelsea's recent poor run, and the fans are fast running out of patience with the Spaniard after his failure to score this weekend extended his current goal drought to an incredible 739 minutes of Premier League football, which, in other words, is well over 12 hours. The striker is suffering a severe loss of confidence and needs help from those around him to regain his form, but that period of time without scoring is hardly excusable for a £50 million striker.

That is not to belittle West Ham's performance, as they thoroughly outplayed their opponents after Mohamed Diame's introduction at the break, with Carlton Cole causing all kinds of problems for Branislav Ivanovic at the back in Andy Carroll's absence. Cole will have done a lot in this match to persuade the fans and coaching staff alike that Carroll's injury will not affect the Hammers' good form, as he won eight aerial duels as well as getting a goal and an assist for his side. Diame meanwhile, despite being on the pitch only for the second half, made more tackles (five) than any other player and also had as many shots (three) as any West Ham teammate. His energetic box-to-box game lit up the affair and turned the game on its head.

Over in North London, Swansea moved up to 7th in the table with an unexpected victory at Arsenal, with Steve Bould said to have told the dressing room exactly what he thought of the defending that has seen his side drop down to 10th. The £2 million summer signing Michu added to his impressive goal tally with two more goals, taking him up to 10 for the season, joint top with Luis Suarez and Robin van Persie. Santi Cazorla's five shots and four successful dribbles were the most on the pitch, but the Spaniard could not inspire a lacklustre Arsenal to victory, and the result leaves them with just one win in their last six Premier League games.

Calls for Arsene Wenger's head are undoubtedly premature given the success he has brought to the Gunners, and as Wenger insists, big January signings are not going to suddenly turn their season around. They have the players to succeed and came back from a remarkably similar position last season to finish third last in the table. A repeat looks unlikely, but as this weekend has shown perfectly, surprises are commonplace in the Premier League and absolutely anything can happen.

All stats courtesy of

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