Chelsea stunning Manchester City and Liverpool thrashing Bournemouth to go top have made the Premier League title race exciting again. In Spain, Lionel Messi eviscerated Espanyol with a display of supreme skill, while in Italy, Juventus continued their remorseless march to an eighth straight scudetto with a 1-0 win over Inter. Here are the best numbers from an action-packed weekend of football.
Here’s a ridiculous Messi stat: Messi has more free-kick goals over the last four La Liga seasons (15) than any other team in Europe’s top five leagues. Read that again, more than any other TEAM. Oh, and a funky associated stat: The only La Liga players with multiple free-kick goals from 25+ metres (since 2010) in a single game are Messi (December 8, 2018) and… Cristiano Ronaldo (May 15, 2011).
Also, 10 - Messi’s brace against Espanyol means the Argentine is now the only player in La Liga history to have scored 10-plus goals in 13 consecutive seasons.
Eden Hazard’s two assists against Manchester City took his tally for the season to 8, twice as many as he got in 34 appearances last season. He had 11 in 2012-13 and nine in 2014-15. He has been directly involved in more goals (15) than any other player in the Premier League this season.
Arsenal are 21 games unbeaten in all competitions (W16 D5 L0), their longest run without a defeat since November 2007 (28 unbeaten). The current streak is the longest among Europe’s top five competitions.
Also, 2 – Arsenal vs Huddersfield saw fewer shots on target (2) than any Premier League game since October 28 2017 (Watford v Stoke – also 2). Arsenal won the game 1-0 thanks to a late, acrobatic goal from Lucas Torreira.
Pep Guardiola has now lost three league games against Chelsea as a manager, more often than against any other opponent. It’s also his fourth overall loss as a manager against Chelsea — tied with Dortmund, Liverpool and Real Madrid.
Romelu Lukaku scored his first competitive goal for Manchester United at Old Trafford since March vs Swansea, ending a run of 997 minutes in all competitions without netting. This nine-game scoring drought at home in league competitions was the longest of his career.
Also, 40 – Fulham have now conceded 40 goals in their opening 16 Premier League games this season – only Barnsley in 1997-98 (43) have conceded more at this stage of a top-flight campaign since the start of the 1965-66 season.
With his goal against Fulham, Juan Mata became the fifth Spaniard with at least 50 Premier League goals, joining Fernando Torres (85), David Silva (53), Diego Costa (52) and Cesc Fàbregas (50).
This is the first time in over two years that Manchester United have scored three first-half goals in the Premier League. September 24, 2016 was the last time it happened, when they scored four against Leicester.
Since the start of last season, only Messi (43) has scored more league goals in the big five European divisions than Mohamed Salah (41). His hat-trick against Bournemouth has put him joint-top of the PL Golden Boot race.
Liverpool’s haul of 42 points from 16 league games this season is their best-ever start to a top-flight season.
Also, 38 – Salah’s hat-trick against Bournemouth was the 38th Premier League hat-trick by a Liverpool player.