Premier League Results - August 2019 Review
Sporting Index's Premier League August Review
The Premier League lived up to its reputation as world football’s most exciting league by dazzling fans with a barrage of pulsating encounters during August. We are now four weeks into the new campaign, and the international break provides an opportunity to take a deep breath and review the drama.
Premier League August in Review: Liverpool Come Flying Out of the Blocks, While Watford Remain Winless
Liverpool secured the third highest points tally in Premier League history last season and yet they still failed to wrestle the crown from Man City. However they have spent no time wallowing in misery, and this season they look even more determined to end a title drought that stretches back to 1990. They remain the only team in the league with a 100% record, having swept aside Norwich, Southampton, Arsenal and Burnley in imperious fashion. The Reds have looked a bit shaky at the back with Alisson injured, but the attacking trio are on fire and Liverpool have banged in 12 goals in their four games so far.
Man City are bidding to win the Premier League title for the third season running, and have been even more devastating in front of goal than their rivals from Merseyside. Pep Guardiola’s men have scored 14 times in their opening four games and sit second in the table on 10 points. The only slight blip was a 2-2 draw at home to Spurs, but City dominated the match and were unfortunate not to take all three points. These two titans of English football look set to engage in another ferocious two-horse race this season, as the rest are miles off the pace.
Tottenham were given the best chance of muscling their way into contention, but have made a sluggish start to the season. Their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle was a shock, whilst they will be disappointed to have thrown away a two-goal lead when drawing 2-2 at The Emirates last time out. Arsenal have seven points from four games, and look dangerous going forwards, but still shaky at the back. Both North London clubs have their weaknesses, but could each end up finishing in the top four.
Man Utd made a superb start to the new campaign when they thrashed Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford, but have since gone well off the boil. Defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace and draws with Wolves and Southampton failed to set the pulses racing, so Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could soon come under pressure. As for Chelsea, it could be a long old season for Frank Lampard, with his side currently languishing in mid-table. They lost talisman Eden Hazard in the summer and couldn’t replace him due to their transfer ban, so the new manager has had to place his faith in youth. It has worked in attack, as Tammy Abraham is on fire, while Mason Mount has looked promising but there are still serious questions about their back line.
Leicester look capable of gate-crashing the party, currently sitting third after making an unbeaten start to the season. Brendan Rodgers is really getting the best out of Jamie Vardy, and Harry Maguire’s absence has not been felt too greatly yet.
Crystal Palace currently occupy fourth place, which few would have predicted following a summer of minimal transfer activity. They will surely be overhauled by the usual suspects before long, but Eagles fans will now start to feel confident in their chances of survival.
The battle to avoid relegation looks like it will be fierce this season. The newly promoted teams all look reasonably dangerous and several established Premier League clubs could be sucked into the scrap. Watford have made the worst start to the season and sit bottom of the table, with just one point from four games. Norwich and Aston Villa are also in the drop zone, despite recording impressive victories over Newcastle and Everton respectively.
Villa spent a fortune this summer, and fans will have to hope they are not the new Fulham. Norwich look great going forwards, with Teemu Pukki in particular relishing life in the top flight, but they leak goals. It is surprising to see Wolves teetering just above the relegation zone, but they should have enough to climb the table in the months ahead.
Sheffield United have made the most impressive start of the newly promoted teams, securing a win and two draws from their opening four games. The Blades battled back from two goals down to secure a share of the spoils against Chelsea at the weekend, and that will give them a huge amount of confidence as they approach the next round of fixtures after the international break. Brighton, Bournemouth, Southampton, Newcastle and Burnley have shown flashes of promise, but all look capable of being dragged into the relegation battle.
All in all, it has been a fantastic month, packed full of incident, drama and intrigue, and the rest of the season promises to be thoroughly exhilarating. No managers have been sacked just yet, but Watford’s Javi Gracia will surely be feeling the heat.
Dean Smith might also find himself in the firing line if Aston Villa keep losing, while Steve Bruce cannot allow himself to get too comfortable in the Newcastle dugout, as Mike Ashley has been known to become trigger happy when relegation looms large on the horizon, so we may see some desperate manoeuvring in the weeks ahead.
Top Five Winners
Jurgen Klopp: the Liverpool manager guided his team to four straight victories and successfully brushed off a potential crisis when Alisson went down with a muscle injury. He must be feeling extremely happy with the depth of quality he has in his squad, and the Reds should mount a strong title bid this season.
Sergio Aguero: like a fine Malbec from the Mendoza heartland, the 31-year-old Argentinean striker simply gets better with age. He remains as sharp as ever, while his composure in front of goal is magnificent, and he has already banged in six goals this season at a rate of one every 45 minutes.
Teemu Pukki: the Finn is loving life in the top flight and he hit a brilliant hat-trick as Norwich beat Newcastle 3-1 at Carrow Road. He was also on target against Liverpool and Chelsea, and sits just behind Aguero on five goals.
Daniel James: The Welsh winger is the one shining beacon of hope for a struggling Man Utd team. He has scored three goals in his first four games and the last one was an absolute screamer, so he looks to have a fine career ahead of him in the United red.
Chris Wilder: the Sheff Utd manager has proven himself to be a tactical genius already this season and has the Blades punching well above their weight. He makes all the right noises in post-match interviews and his intriguing blend of pragmatism and brilliance could be enough to keep his team in the top flight this season.
Top Five Losers
Javi Gracia: Watford have endured a horrendous start to the season and sit rock bottom of the league. Their form towards the end of the previous campaign was also dire, and they were obliterated in the FA Cup final, so Gracia could be walking a tight rope.
Kevin Friend: the referee hardly covered himself in glory by ruling out a perfectly good goal for Aston Villa in their 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace. Dean Smith’s claims that the referee’s performance was “pretty poor” seem hard to disagree with.
Florin Andone: the hot-headed Romanian was the hero when he scored coming off the bench in Brighton’s opening day victory over Watford, but he was quickly reduced to zero by earning an early red card for a horror challenge on Yan Valery as they lost 2-0 at home to Southampton. He is a dynamic forward, but Graham Potter appears to have decided he is not worth the risk, shipping him out to Turkey.
Paul Pogba: the Frenchman failed to engineer a move to Real Madrid this summer and his stock continues to plummet amid a string of lacklustre performances. His manager criticised him for playing sloppy passes during Man Utd’s 1-1 draw with Southampton last time out, and the club’s record signing really needs to buck his ideas up.
Aymeric Laporte: The Man City defender was so good last season that they decided not to buy a replacement for retiring captain Vincent Kompany. That decision may backfire after Laporte suffered a potentially season-ending injury at the weekend, which is a really cruel blow for such a fine young player.
August’s Premier League Unfortunates
Watford may sit bottom of the table, but the expected goals (xG) stats show that the Hornets have been pretty unfortunate so far. Their xG stands at 5.19, but they have only managed to hit the back of the net twice, suggesting that their forwards need to rediscover their shooting boots. They were also expected to concede just 6.19 goals, but have actually shipped eight. Gracia may take some comfort from those statistics, and Watford fans will hope to see their team improve at both ends of the pitch, but results will need to improve quickly.
Chelsea are another unfortunate side so far this season. Their expected goals against (xGA) figure is 5.39, but they have actually conceded nine goals. That has left them with two draws and a defeat from four games. Defensive howlers have been their undoing so far, with a late own goal from Kurt Zouma denying them all three points against Sheff Utd at the weekend. They also had an xG of 6.50, but have only scored six so will want to work on their finishing.
Five other teams are also in the red for both xG and xGA: Man Utd, Sheff Utd, Southampton, Brighton and Wolves. We may therefore see them climbing the table if they get the rub of the green after the international break. The greatest swing for any team is Liverpool, who have an xG of 7.73, but actually scored 12. It shows just how clinical Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are up front for the Reds. Their xGA is 4.56, but they’ve only conceded three, so Klopp should be pretty happy with that.
Premier League in August - The Numbers
2,478 – the number of passes completed by Man City, which is more than any other team in the league. Spurs were next on 2,236, while table topping Liverpool were down in fifth on 2,128. Arsenal were previously renowned for possession-based football, but are seventh at present, while Burnley were last with just 1,190. Laporte completed the most passes in the league during August, and will be a big loss for Man City.
2 – Crystal Palace goalkeeper Vicente Guaita kept two clean sheets during August as the Eagles drew 0-0 with Everton and beat Aston Villa 1-0. That means he leads the way for the most clean sheets in the division, along with Jordan Pickford of Everton and Ederson of Man City.
5 – Kevin De Bruyne underlined his worth to Man City by laying on five assists for his teammates during August. That is the highest in the league, ahead of teammate David Silva on four. Those two will be crucial for Man City as they bid to secure a third consecutive title this season. De Bruyne missed most of the 2018/19 season with a couple of bad injuries, so Man City fans will be praying he stays fit after the likes of Laporte, Benjamin Mendy and Leroy Sané were struck down.
101 – Liverpool played 101 crosses into the box during August, which is the highest in the league. It highlights just how effective full-backs Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are down the flanks for the Reds. Spurs are second in the list, while Sheff Utd are a surprise entry in third. Burnley may be bottom in terms of passing, but they’re sixth for crossing. Norwich played a mere 38 crosses during August, preferring instead to thread the ball through for Pukki to weave his magic.
15 – Arsenal players were caught offside 15 times during August and that is a league record. The likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe like to play on the shoulder of the last man, and are often flagged. Aston Villa were second on 13, while Watford and Sheff Utd players were offside just twice.
4 – Che Adams of Southampton missed four big chances during August and that is the highest in the league. It perhaps illustrates why the Saints’ actual goals tally was lower than their xG. David McGoldrick, Marcus Rashford, Mohamed Salah and Leandro Trossard were next on three big misses each.
26 – Aaron Wan-Bissaka made 26 tackles for Man Utd during August, helping justify his £50 million price tag. No other Premier League player could match that tally, as Ricardo Perreira of Leicester was second on 21 and Erik Pieters of Burnley was third on 18.
19 – Norwich’s Emiliano Buendia was dispossessed 19 times in August, which is more than any other player. Christian Pulisic of Chelsea was next on 14, while Everton’s Richarlison and John McGinn of Aston Villa were each dispossessed 13 times.
How Have the Premier League Betting Markets Moved After August’s Results?
Our traders assigned Man City a season points tally of 90.5-92 before the season began in the Premier League Points Index. That has now been revised upwards to 93.5-95 after their impressive start to the campaign. Liverpool have also moved up slightly, and they are now expected to secure 86.5-88 points, which would result in their title drought being extended by another year should City achieve their predicted tally.
Aguero now leads the way from Mohamed Salah and Raheem Sterling in the Premier League Golden Boot Index. Man City remain the favourites in the Premier League outright winner odds but Liverpool’s strong start has seen their odds shorten.
Spurs have dropped from 73-74.5 in the Premier League Points Index to just 70-71.5 after they could only manage five points from their opening 12 games. However, they have already played at The Etihad and The Emirates, so our traders expect their tally to shoot up. Arsenal have gone down by one point and Man Utd by two points. Leicester have shot up from 52-53.5 to 57.5-59 following their blistering start to the new campaign. The Foxes have won two and drawn two thus far and look very solid under Rodgers, while Vardy is leading the line with aplomb.
Our traders reckon Newcastle could now finish bottom of the table, as the Magpies have been assigned the lowest tally in the Premier League Points Index: 34.5-36. That is down by 2.5 from the start of the season. We have also pushed Sheff Utd’s points spread up by 3.5 points to 36-37.5, but still expect the Blades to go down, with Aston Villa and Norwich scrapping to finish 17th.
Watford began the season with an index of 43-44.5, but that has now decreased to 37.5-39. The Hornets have taken just one point from four games, battling to a hard-earned draw against Newcastle at the weekend. That predicted tally may be enough to keep Watford up, but they need to return to form pretty sharpish. The Hornets’ Premier League relegation odds have been slashed, but they are still expected to just about beat the drop, as things stand.