Premier League Review | September 2019
Sporting Index's Premier League September Review
The Premier League delivered an abundance of great games, shock results, stirring comebacks and sensational performances during an action-packed September.
The 2019/20 campaign is now in full swing, the table is starting to take on a reasonably familiar shape and it is time for us to recap the drama that unfolded over the past month.
Liverpool’s Perfect Start Rolls Through to October
Jurgen Klopp’s impressive Liverpool side continued their 100% start to the season by beating Newcastle, Chelsea and Sheff Utd during September. They have won all seven games this season, scoring 18 goals and conceding just five in the process. Sadio Mané banged in a brace and Mohamed Salah was also on target as they eventually saw off a spirited resistance from Newcastle. Roberto Firmino’s brilliance earned them three points away at Chelsea and they battled to a 1-0 win against Sheff Utd to complete the perfect September.
The Reds are now five points clear of defending Premier League champions Man City. Pep Guardiola’s men began their September campaign in disastrous fashion as they slumped to a 3-2 defeat away at newly promoted Norwich, which will surely go down as the shock result of the season.
The Canaries were full of attacking thrust, flair and insouciance and they were good value for the win. Yet Man City bounced back in the most emphatic manner imaginable. They thumped Watford 8-0, with Bernardo Silva scoring a hat-trick, consigning the Hornets to the second heaviest defeat in Premier League history. They then beat Everton 3-1, while strong victories in the EFL Cup and Champions League restored a semblance of order at The Etihad.
Leicester are flying high in third place after rattling off back-to-back victories over Tottenham and Newcastle. They began September with a defeat at Old Trafford, but they were seriously impressive against Spurs and then beat Newcastle 5-0 after Isaac Hayden was sent off. Next up they face Liverpool at Anfield and it will be interesting to see if they can become the first team to take points off the Reds this season.
Arsenal are up to fourth after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s strike earned them a 1-1 draw away at Man Utd. They produced a magnificent comeback to beat Aston Villa 3-2 in the previous game, but they blew a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Watford before that.
The draw with Arsenal consigned Man Utd to their worst start to a Premier League season. They are languishing in 10th place, with just nine points from seven games, and they have looked a little weak in front of goal. Chelsea continue to improve and they are up to seventh after beating Wolves and Brighton either side of that narrow defeat to Liverpool.
West Ham are the surprise package of the season so far, and they are flying high in fifth place after taking five points in September. They drew with Aston Villa, beat Man Utd and drew 2-2 away at Bournemouth. That leaves them above a misfiring Spurs side, who did well to beat Crystal Palace and Southampton, but lost to Leicester. They also suffered an embarrassing Champions League defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich, and there are clearly problems at the club.
Bournemouth, Crystal Palace and Burnley continued to exceed expectations during September. The Cherries took seven points from a possible nine, and scored eight times during those three matches. They concede plenty of goals, but they are superb going forward and their ambition has been rewarded with a healthy points tally. The Eagles surged to an excellent 2-0 victory over Norwich last time out, and they have been surprisingly solid at the back. No Premier League team has kept more clean sheets than Palace this season. Burnley play plenty of long balls and crosses, and it has proved to be an effective strategy.
Wolves finally picked up their first win of the season by beating Watford, who remain winless and bottom of the table as we head into October. They sacked manager Javi Gracia and replaced with him Quique Sanchez Flores in September. The early signs were positive, as they battled back to draw with Arsenal, but they have since been thrashed by Man City and then lost to Wolves.
Everton and Southampton are also struggling and they sit just above the relegation zone. Brighton are 16th after taking just two points during September, while Norwich are 17th despite that fine victory over Man City. Aston Villa and Newcastle occupy the drop zone along with Watford. We should be in for another epic relegation scrap this season and we can also expect more managerial casualties in the weeks ahead if certain teams do not start soaring up the table.
September’s Winners & Losers in the Premier League
Top Five Winners:
Jurgen Klopp: The Liverpool manager continues to outfox the Premier League’s finest coaches on a weekly basis. He has been flexible in his tactics, as he showed when going 4-2-4 for large spells against Sheff Utd, and he has been rewarded with maximum points thus far. The Reds will take some stopping in the Premier League this season.
Kevin De Bruyne: The Belgian playmaker now has eight assists in seven games this season after teeing up three goals in September. That leaves him well clear at the top of the assists chart, with teammate David Silva and Norwich’s Emiliano Buendia second on four apiece. If he stays fit, Man City will fancy their chances of overhauling Liverpool and winning a third consecutive Premier League title.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: The Gabonese superstar cemented his reputation as the Premier League’s deadliest striker during September. Alexandre Lacazette has been injured, so Aubameyang has solely led the line for the Gunners. He scored in all four Premier League games during September, including a brace against Watford, and his free-kick to secure victory over Aston Villa was a beauty.
Brendan Rodgers: Celtic fans accused Rodgers of trading immortality for mediocrity when he left to take the vacant managerial role at Leicester. Yet he had won every trophy available in Scotland, and he has shown that he is not content to settle for mediocrity at Leicester. A 2-1 win against Tottenham along with the 5-0 demolition of Newcastle show The Foxes mean business this season.
Todd Cantwell: The youngster was the star of the show as Norwich vanquished the mighty Man City at Carrow Road. He scored and impressed with his attacking intent throughout, and he was all smiles in the post-match interview. It came just after his call-up to England’s Under-21 side, and he has a bright future ahead of him.
Top Five Losers:
Javi Gracia: The Spaniard was sacked after just four games of the new Premier League season after his side Watford made a terrible start to the campaign. They lost their first three games and then drew away at Newcastle, so the board took the drastic decision to axe him. Since then, the Hornets have taken just one point from three games and they remain bottom of the table, so it is not exactly looking like an inspired decision right now.
Isaac Hayden: The holding midfielder gave his Newcastle team a boost when he returned from injury to line up against Leicester at the weekend. Yet it proved to be a disastrous return to action for Hayden, as he was sent off for a horror tackle on Dennis Praet. That opened the floodgates and his team lost 5-0, leaving them 19th in the table.
Mauricio Pochettino: The Spurs manager admitted that there are “different agendas” within his squad after they lost 2-1 to Leicester in September. They bounced back with victory over Southampton, but October has started in disastrous fashion as Tottenham crashed to a 7-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Trouble is seemingly brewing at Tottenham and Pochettino might walk away in order to gain a new challenge if things don’t change.
Christian Pulisic: The American was Chelsea’s only summer signing as he agreed to join before they were hit with a transfer ban. He was expected to take the Premier League by storm, but the former Borussia Dortmund man has struggled to adapt, and he has been completely overshadowed by youngsters Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham. Callum Hudson-Odoi is now back from injury and Pulisic could find game time even more limited.
Chris Burton: The Norwich physio has had to deal with a massive influx of injuries this month. Timm Klose has a knee injury that will keep him out for the rest of the season. Christoph Zimmerman is out until January with an ankle injury. Jamal Lewis, Onel Hernandez, Tom Trybull, Tim Krul, Ralf Fahrmann, Mario Vrancic, Alexander Tettey and Ben Godfrey are all on the treatment table too, ensuring the Norwich physio will have been working overtime.
September’s Premier League Unfortunates
Watford remain bottom of the Premier League table, but they could glean a little bit of comfort by looking at the Expected Goals (xG) and Expected Goals Against (xGA) stats. They have been very unlucky on both counts. Their xG is 9.49, but they have only scored 4, while their xGA is 14.99, but they have actually conceded 20. No team in the Premier League has been more unfortunate so far.
They battered Arsenal in the second half of their game at Vicarage Road, but they just could not find that third goal. They were also unlucky to have been thrashed so badly by Man City, as Guardiola’s men were outrageously clinical that day.
Everton are also sliding down the table and there is a case to be made for including manager Marco Silva in the list of September’s Premier League losers. Everton lost all three games during the month, and that saw them fall to 15th in the table. But their xG is 3.93 above their actual goal tally, while their goals conceded is 2.07 above their xGA, so they too have been unlucky. Silva could soon find himself on the chopping block if results do not improve, but he will hope the Toffees’ luck improves in the weeks ahead.
At the other end of the scale, Leicester’s xG is 8.01, but they have banged in 13 goals. That differential of 4.99 is the highest in the league, and it shows just how clinical Jamie Vardy and co have been. Liverpool, Man City, Arsenal, Spurs and Bournemouth are all ahead of the game in terms of xG and xGA, while Everton, Watford, Southampton and Newcastle have all been unlucky on both fronts.
Premier League in September – The Numbers
13 – Man City fired in 13 goals in just three games during September, making them the top scorers of the month. They only took six points due to that 3-2 defeat to Norwich, but they annihilated Watford and easily took care of Everton.
2,022 – Pep Guardiola’s men completed a phenomenal number of passes during those three games. They now lead the league with 4,500 completed passes this season, leaving them well ahead of second placed Liverpool, who have completed 4,098. By contrast, Burnley have only completed 2,112 passes all season.
12 – Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster conceded 12 goals in three games during September. He has now conceded 20 goals this season, leaving him well ahead of Tim Krul on 14 and Kepa Arrizabalaga and Martin Dubravka on 13.
67 – Liverpool played 67 crosses into the box during September, bringing their total for the season to 168. That leaves them ahead of Merseyside rivals Everton, who have chucked 160 balls into the box. Teams are starting to shut down Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson, so it will be interesting to see if Liverpool remain ahead in this metric.
5 – Aubemeyang scored five goals in four Premier League games during September. He now has seven in seven games, leaving him joint second along with Tammy Abraham in the Golden Boot race. Sergio Aguero leads the way with eight, but Aubameyang is fast catching him up.
0 – Everton endured the worst September of any team in the division as they did not win a single point. They travel to Burnley on Saturday and Silva will be desperate for a result, but Turf Moor is a tough place to visit.
2 – Lukasz Fabianski kept two clean sheets during September as West Ham repelled Man Utd and Aston Villa. He now leads the way for clean sheets this season along with Man City’s Ederson and Vicente Guaita of Crystal Palace.
How Have the Premier League Betting Markets Moved?
Our traders assigned Man City a points tally of 90.5-92 before the season began in the Premier League Points Index. That was pushed up to 93.5-95 after they took 10 points from their opening four games. It has now dropped down to 92-93.5 after they dropped three points in September.
Liverpool were expected to secure 86.5-88 points after an impeccable August, and our traders have now pushed that up to 89.5-91 after three more victories in September. It suggests we could be in for another gripping title battle between these two heavyweights.
Man City are now the 4/5 favourites to win the Premier League in our Premier League outright odds, while Liverpool are 11/10 after significantly closing the gap. You can find 5/6 on a straight forecast of Man City finishing first and Liverpool finishing second, or 6/5 on Liverpool pipping Guardiola’s men to the post.
Tottenham are now 4/7 to finish in the top four, while Arsenal are even money, Chelsea are 5/4 and Man Utd are 9/4 after making their worst ever start to a Premier League season.
Our traders assigned the Red Devils a Premier League Points index of 67.5-69 at the start of the season, and that has now gone down to 61.5-63. Leicester are the big movers, having gone from 52-53.5 at the start of the season to 60.5-62 after making a great start to the campaign.
Watford began the season with an index of 43-44.5, and that decreased to 37.5-39 by the end of August. It has now decreased further to 35.5-37 after they took just one point from three games in September. Yet our traders still expect them to finish above Aston Villa and Newcastle. The struggling Magpies are now assigned a points index of just 32.5-34, down from 37-38.5 at the start of the season. If our traders are on the money, Norwich, Sheff Utd and Brighton will all be staying up, while Arsenal will finish above Chelsea to seize fourth place.
In the fixed-odds betting, you can now find 10/11 on Newcastle to be relegated, while Sheff Utd, Aston Villa, Watford and Norwich are all priced at 6/4.
Aguero is the 3/1 favourite to finish the season as top scorer, ahead of Tottenham’s Harry Kane at 4/1. The England striker has five goals so far this season. Aubameyang is 9/2, while Salah is 5/1, Raheem Sterling is 7/1 and Mane is 10/1.
You can also take 14/1 on Abraham, who has seven goals already. If you want to go each-way in this top goalscorer market, you will be paid out at a quarter of the odds on the top four places.