As we reach Boxing Day, the unthinkable has unfolded in the Premier League table. Manchester City, runaway winners last time around, lie four points behind Liverpool in the title race.
City, shocked 2-3 by Crystal Palace at the Etihad on the weekend, have also lost their 100% home record and look to make up lost ground, unimaginable for a team who many thought would be run-away winners this season as well.
If Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have Pep Guardiola worried, his team’s form must inspire confidence heading into the second half of the season. Liverpool are on 48 points from 18 games, having only dropped six points all season long.
Unbeaten till Christmas, Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren reckons Liverpool could go through the season without a loss to emulate Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ team of 2003-’04.
Here is a look at the stats of the teams in action on Boxing Day.
Liverpool vs Newcastle
- Liverpool are the only Premier League team who have not gone on to win the Premier League after topping the table at Christmas, on more than two occasions — three. They were also the last team to do so in 2013-’14.
- Liverpool have not lost a home fixture on Boxing Day since a 0-1 loss to Manchester United in 1986-’87, winning eight and drawing three since then.
- Mo’ Salah has now scored and assisted in the same Premier League game on eight occasions, the most for any player since the start of last season.
- Klopp has now emerged victorious against all 32 British teams that he has faced as Liverpool boss.
- Liverpool have only conceded seven goals at this stage of the season, the joint-lowest at this stage with the Chelsea side of 2008-’09.
Manchester United vs Huddersfield United
- United scored five goals in a Premier League match for the first time since Sir Alex Ferguson’s farewell match against West Bromwich Albion, which ended 5-5! Romelu Lukaku, current United striker, scored a hat-trick for the Baggies in that game.
- Marcus Rashford is the United player with most goal contributions this season, with four strikes and five assists.
- Anthony Martial has completed 100 league games for Manchester United. In that time, he has been involved in 70 goals in all competitions, scoring 45 and assisting 25.
- A win for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could see him become only the fifth United manager to win his first two games — a milestone even the great Sir Alex Ferguson did not manage. Were he to win, the Norwegian will join TJ Wallworth, Matt Busby, Dave Sexton and Jose Mourinho.
Top Premier League scorers in 2018
|Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)||26|
|Harry Kane (Tottenham)||23|
|Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang (Arsenal)||22|
|Jamie Vardy (Leicester City)||17|
|Sergio Aguero (Manchester City)||17|
Brighton vs Arsenal
- The Gunners are approaching a special milestone and can become the first team to score two goals or more in their first nine away matches in a single top-flight campaign.
- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has 22 goals in his first 31 games, five more than any other player. Thierry Henry is next on this list, with 17.
- Aubameyang has scored two or more goals in a Premier League game six times since his debut in February. Salah, the next highest in this period, has three.
Leicester City vs Manchester City
- Jamie Vardy has scored 28 goals in 48 games against the ‘big six’ sides since the start of 2014-’15. No other player has scored more than 22.
- After his winner in Leicester’s victory over Chelsea, Vardy now has scored 13 goals in his last 15 appearances against the ‘big six’ sides. Elite.
- Sergio Aguero has scored five goals in three games against Leicester.
- Ilkay Gundogan has scored four goals in his last 8 PL appearances for City, as many as he did in his previous 39.
Tottenham Hotspur vs AFC Bournemouth
- Spurs have now won eight away PL games this season. In 20 of their previous 26 completed campaigns, they had not managed as many.
- Christian Eriksen has scored 17 goals from outside the box since his debut in September 2013. Only Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho has more in the league in this period.
- Son Heung-Min has now been involved in 50 goals in 112 PL appearances for Spurs, scoring 35 and assisting 15. Sonaldo.
- Spurs’ 6-2 win was the first time in 12 years that a PL side had won each half 3-1.
- Harry Kane has now scored in 9 different PL games this season, joint-top with Mo’ Salah.
(With inputs from www.premierleague.com)