EPL by the numbers: Match week 10. A standard top 5 (plus Newcastle?)

By: Richard Van Heertum

It was a good match week 10 for everyone in the Top 6 except Tottenham, who lost 1-0 to United. Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal and Liverpool all won their matches to keep the table looking more or less the same. In Italy, Napoli won again to maintain their three-point lead over a Juve side that has won the Scudetto six years running. In Germany, Bayern have restored order, now leading Dortmund by three points and Leipzig by 4, after 10 games. Moving to Spain, Barcelona remain undefeated this season since the curtain-raising Spanish Supercopa (they lost to Real) and have now opened up a sizable lead on Valencia in second and Real in third. Finally, in France, powerhouse PSG holds a four-point lead over last season’s champions Monaco, having won 9 of their first 11, drawing their other 2. 

One of the best World Series since, well, last season, saw the Astros on the cusp of a commanding 3-1 lead, before Cody Bellinger and the rest of the Dodger’s slumping bats finally woke up, first tying the game in the seventh and then exploding for 5 in the ninth in game 4. They appeared set to take the series lead the following night until Houston came back not once, not twice, but thrice on the way to an epic 13-12 victory in Game 5. And I picked a few relevant stats from the rest of the sports world, as well.



Match Week 10, by the numbers …

0 – Short term memory is a bitch, as United fans booed the taking off of Marcus Rashford, rather than Lukaku, for Martial, in the latest instance of “what have you done for me later.” Martial scored the winner, assisted by … you guessed it … Lukaku. However, the Belgian, after scoring 16 in his first 13 appearances for United, has now gone five games without a goal. 

0 – To a more appropriate version of WHYDFML, Justin Turner, who had risen to third on the all-time postseason OPS list after the NLCS, has been struggling since his game winning two-run homer in Game 1. In his first 27 PS games, he hit .367 with 6 HR a Dodger record 26 RBIs and a .477 OBP.  Since then, he is batting .125 (2-16) with 3 strikeouts, 3 walks, no HRs, no RBIs, and an overall OBP of .261 (including the HR and 2 RBIs), though he has scored three runs in the first 5 games of the series. Kershaw and Jansen will take much of the heat if the Dodgers fail to mount a comeback, but Justin has gone cold at the wrong time, often failing with runners in scoring position over the past four games. 

Justin Turner
Turner’s fortunes have turned decidedly bad

0-2-5 – Since their 2-1 victory over Bournemouth on September 23, Everton have drawn two, lost five and won none. That stretch cost Koeman his job and they continued their struggles with two losses, 2-1 to Chelsea in the Caribou Cup and 2-0 to Leicester Sunday in the league. Over that stretch, which has left them in 18th place in the league, they have been outscored 15-7. Aging defense and the loss of your talisman striker = big troubles for a side slated to finish in the Top 7. 

0.94 – Dodger bullpen ERA in postseason heading into Game 2, after leading league with at 3.38 during the regular season. That all changed in the eighth inning, when it all began to unravel, and it hasn’t gotten much better since. The Astros exploded for 6 runs to ultimately win in 11 innings 7-6, scoring one in the eighth, one in the ninth to tie it, two in the tenth and two more in the 11th. It was only the second blown save of the season for the Dodger’s Kenley Jansen (41/42 during the regular season, with a 5-0 w/l record and an ERA of 1.32), coming after he set the Major League mark by saving his first 12 opportunities in the postseason. And then he lost game 5 in the 10th. Not quite Mitch Williams territory, but getting closer. 

0-13 – Cody Bellinger’s start to the World Series at the plate, with seven strikeouts. But his two straight doubles in Game 4 appeared, at least for a night, to change the complexion of the series, first scoring the tying run in the seventh and then driving in the go-ahead run in the ninth. His next hit? A three-run homer in the top of the 5th of Game 5, right after the Astros had tied the game with a three-run homer of their own. And then the Astros did it again. His next at bat? A triple to score the go ahead run. Yet it was not enough in a 13-12 game that might be the craziest I’ve ever seen and one that might well cost the Dodgers their first crown in 29 years.  

1-0 – Martial scored the only goal as a super sub in the 81st minute to give Manchester United a 1-0 victory over the Spurs.  It was his sixth goal of the season, having scored four in the league (in 6 appearances), and one each in the Champions League and League Cup. The loss pushed a Kane-less Tottenham 8 points behind City, while United kept their gap to the top at five. 

Anthony Martial
Martial proved the difference as United topped Spurs

1-0 – After losing four of their last five, the Mark Hughes’ led Potters finally got a win, 1-0 at Watford, a side who could have snuck into the Top 4 (for a day) if they had held the line at home. Ex-United midfielder Darren Fletcher was the surprise scorer, in the 16th minute, with a fine volleyed finish from just outside the box on a planned corner move. 

1-1 Southampton had to share the spoils with Brighton Sunday, drawing 1-1 to stay in the top half of the table. Surprisingly, none of the newly promoted sides are in the relegation zone, with Newcastle ninth and Brighton and Huddersfield tied at 12 points apiece, currently in 12th and 13th place.

1 in 16 – Wins by Tottenham on the road against the rest of the Top 6. The team with the most points over the past two seasons plus 11 will probably miss out on a title again because of that damning stat alone, buffered by their 1-0 loss at Old Trafford Saturday. 

2 – Eddie Nketiah, in only his second appearance for the Gunners, scored a brace between the 85th and 96th minutes, the first 15 seconds after appearing on the pitch. The 18-year-old thus saved Wenger and the Gunners blushes, as those two goals saw them 2-1 winners over Norwich in the Caribou Cup. Next up for the North London side is West Ham, as United face Bristol City, Chelsea host Bournemouth and Leicester invite rampant Man City to their park. That round of fixtures takes place December 19. 

Eddie Nketiah
Nketiah impresses with brace in second appearance for Arsenal

2 & 3 – Goals and assists for Alexis Sanchez in nine appearances for Arsenal this season. That means Nketiah has equalized his haul in one game, Montreal has the same number of goals, and Welbeck (3), Giroud (3), Lacazette (5) and Ramsey (3), have all outscored him. Dreaming of life up North, perhaps? He’ll get to visit his presumed new home Sunday. 

2:28 – Time for Game 1 of the World Series, won by the Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw 3-1. Kershaw became the first Dodger pitcher with 10+ strikeouts in a World Series game since Sandy Koufax, the pitcher he is most often compared to, in 1965’s Game 7. It was the shortest game since Game 4 in 1992. Then we move to Game 5, with the same 2 starters, where the teams would have broken the record for the longest 9 inning game in World Series History (almost 5 hours), except that the Dodgers tied it with 3 in the top of the ninth. The game ended up at a galling 5:17! 

3-13 – Burnley have only won three of their last 13 at Turf Moor, in all competitions, but that includes a 1-0 victory over Newcastle Monday. The win pushed them into 7th place, even on points with Liverpool. Newcastle had a chance to jump the Reds into 6th, but will have to settle for 9th at the moment. 

Burnley wins!
Burnley celebrate rare home win

4-3 – Golden State Warriors record after a 115-107 loss to the Detroit Pistons. They outshot the Pistons 57 to 46 percent, but turned the ball over 26 Times, leading to 33 points, blowing a 14-point lead in the process. Early days, but seriously? No team is undefeated after a mere six games, with Memphis holding the best record at 5-1. The Cavs? 3-4 after a blowout 114-95 loss to the lowly Knicks. 

6 – Goals for Bournemouth this season, with only Crystal Palace worse (4). They had only one shot on goal against Chelsea, in the 94th minute, and thus, not surprisingly, lost 1-0 to the Blues Saturday. Chelsea kept themselves in fourth place, even on points with Arsenal. 

Top 6: The Top 6 is again populated by the usual suspects, as City lead the way, followed by United, Tottenham, Chelsea, Arsenal and then … oh, wait, Newcastle supplanted Liverpool with their #-# victory Monday. 

7: Goals for Raheem Sterling in 8 appearances for City, including the winner as the EPL leaders ultimately beat West Bromwich 3-2.

Raheem Sterling
Sterling scores the winner over West Brom

7-1 – The Philadelphia Eagles have the best record in the NFL at the halfway point of their season (though many have only played 7 games), after many predicted them missing out on the playoffs, or losing the division to a Giants team that has won one game in 7. Sunday, they blasted the hapless Niners (0-8) 33-10.

8 – The Houston Astros did not trail at home for the first seven home games plus eight innings of the playoffs, until the Dodgers took a 6-1 lead in the top of the ninth of Game 4 of the World Series. The Dodgers then scored three in the top of the first in Game 5, to completely change the dynamics of a team that was essentially unbeatable at home throughout the playoffs. They tied it back up in the 4th though, as Kershaw gave up his, how apropos, eighth home run of the playoffs this year, only for the Dodgers to forge ahead in the very next inning yet again. 

8 – After inching closer over the past few weeks, Real Madrid were stunned by new boys Girona, losing 2-1 Sunday after Isco scored the opening goal. They now sit 8 points behind the still undefeated Barcelona, tied on points with their crosstown rivals Atletico, and four points behind a Valencia side returning to the form of a decade ago. 

Girona 2-1 Real Madrid
Ramos and Real had a day to forget.

8 – Home runs, a new World Series record, in Game 2. “Obviously, the balls are juiced,” said Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel, which is hard to argue with after the numbers put up across the league this season. 

10 – Straight starts in which Clayton Kershaw has allowed a home run, including 8 allowed in this postseason, helping the Dodgers to give up a four-run and then three-run lead in Game 5 (though it was Maeda who gave up the second game-tying home run in two innings). Kershaw was great in Game 1, but his postseason unevenness continues – with a great chance to cruise to his second World Series win.  

10 in 6 – If the Dodgers go on to win the World Series Tuesday or Wednesday, it might be Giles that is the most culpable for the Astros, having given up at least a run in 5 of his 6 appearances in the postseason and 10 earned runs over that stretch. That included being guilty for three of the five runs scored by the Dodgers to even the series at two games apiece. However, the entire Astros bullpen have been getting slammed this postseason, particularly in the WS. 

17-23 – Runs scored by Dodgers with two outs in the World Series, through Game 5. Pretty incredible when they started 1-17 with runners in scoring position, before making it 4-20 by the end of Game 4, first scoring the tying run with 2 outs and then coming through in the ninth with five runs. The Dodgers scored their first three with two outs in the first inning of Game 5 then got a timely hit from Barnes, after a double from the hot Forsythe. They tied the game with 3 runs in the top of the ninth, the last coming with two outs, of course. And then the Astros returned the favor to win Game 5 … in case you fell asleep. 

19 – Sacks for Los Angeles Chargers (that still sounds strange to me) defensive end Joey Bosa, in his first 20 games as a professional footballer. That surpasses the previous record of 18.5, held by Aldon Smith. The Chargers defense has been surprisingly good this season, but they lost again Sunday, 21-13 to the Super Bowl Champion Patriots. It’s the usually potent offense that has been hurting them as they fell to 3-5. The Patriots have not impressed much in the early season, beside a huge win last week over the Falcons, but are still somehow 6-2 and leading the pack in the AFC.

Joey Bosa
Bosa downs Matt Ryan

19 – Another rookie setting records is Deshaun Watson, who has 19 TD passes in his first seven starts, passing the record set by Kurt Warner. Many experts had their doubts about Watson coming into the NFL, but he is proving them wrong early, though the record came in a 41-38 loss to Seattle. Watson also has already tied the record for 4-TD games for a rookie, with half the season to go. One wonders how good the Texans would be if they played defense as they have the past few seasons, though the loss of Watt for the second season running is certainly contributing. 

22 – Home runs in World Series so far, breaking the all-time record of 21, set in the 2002 Series, that included Barry Bonds. And there are one … or two … games left. For those wondering if the balls are juiced, the game Sunday night didn’t match the record of 8 home runs, set in Game 2, but the 7 home runs in 85 at bats, is a homer every 12.1 at bats. It was every 27.1 batters during the regular season. Sure, the hitters are better in the WS, but one kind of assumes the pitchers are as well (little evidence for this so far, beyond Kershaw in Game 1 and Verlander in Game 2). Juiced, anyone?

39-38 – Ohio State was down 35-20 in the fourth quarter and their chances of winning the game were down around 1% until one of the epic comebacks, with J.T. Barrett completing his final 16 pass attempts. With 1:48 to play, he threw the go ahead touchdown, boosting their win probability by 34.2% – in one play! Ohio State now looks likely to be in the playoff, barring another loss, as has become their habit. It wasn’t the only incredible comeback of the weekend, as Arkansas recovered from a 31-7 second quarter deficit to defeat Old Miss 38-37 (44.6% boost), Kentucky drove the field down 26-21 to score and beat Tennessee for the first time since 2011 (giving the Vols their fourth loss in a row; 46.7% change) and Nebraska, after failing to score a touchdown for three quarters, drove 70 yards to score the winning touchdown for a 25-24 victory over the Boilermakers (46.7% boost). Oh, the humanity!

76 – Ninth inning runs scored by Astros, which leads the Major League this season, as they tied up Game 2 with a no out home run by Gonzalez to make it 3-3. It blew the chance for the Dodgers to become only the fourth team to ever win a WS game with only two hits, both home runs in this case as they jumped to a 3-1 lead. The Astros added another ninth inning run in Game 4, though it was not nearly enough after the Dodgers scored 5 of their own in the top of the inning to win the Game 6-2. They failed to score in the ninth of Game 5, but found the winner an inning later.

Astros win!
Astros celebrate one of the most epic victories in WS history

96:06: With seconds left in the game and West Ham having just given the ball away needlessly when Mikel Antonio could have simply held it in the corner for time to elapse, Crystal Palace rushed up the pitch, and Wilfred Zaha brilliantly rounded his man and slotted into the far corner for a 2-2 draw and their fourth point of the season (after 10 games). West Ham led 2-0 before a sloppy foul in the box let Crystal back in, after a converted penalty. 

100 – Club goals for Daniel Sturridge, one of the deadliest strikers in the league when he played beside Luis Suarez but suffering through injuries and coming off the bench the past couple of seasons. He scored the opener in Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Huddersfield in the 50th minute, with Firming (58’) and Wijnaldum (75’) rounding out the comfortable day at Anfield. 

150 – Yards by Ezekiel Elliott in the Cowboys 33-19 win over the Redskins Sunday, to push them to 4-3. It was his third straight game over 100 yards and 10th in his short career. He carried the ball 33 times in a rain-soaked FedEx Field. Of course, but for an appeal, he wouldn’t even be playing this season, and a final decision could come down as early as Monday 

151 – One extra base hit allowed by Dodger’s reliever Brandon Morrow in 151 batters, culminating in helping his side to win Game 1. But since then, he gave up a home run that helped the Astros on the comeback trail in Game 2, then a game tying home run in the 7th inning of a wild Game 5, before four more hits saw them go from 8-7 up to 11-8 down. It was a bad night all around for the Dodgers relievers who gave up 10 hits, 4 home runs and 7 earned runs (contributing to 2 of Kershaw’s 6 as well). All that in 5 innings. 

Morrow
Maybe Morrow should have stretched a little earlier?

805 to 298 – Arsenal completes passes to those of Swansea, together with 73 percent possession and 17 (5) shots to 4 (2). But it was Swansea who were ahead 1-0 before the Gunners scored two second half goals to win 2-1. Kolasinac scored the equalizer in the 51st minute and Ramsey the winner with a neat finish in the 58th.  Lacazette, Ozil and Sanchez all largely failing to impress. 

1970 – The last time two teams with over 100 wins in the regular season matched up in the World Series: Dodgers (104) and Astros (101). The point being, winning 100 games does not guarantee a World Series berth. 


Check back in to the same bat time, same bat channel next week for the subsequent round of fixtures …

About The Author

Richard has published over 25 academic essays, hundreds of articles in the popular press on movies, music, sports and politics, and three books, Hollywood's Exploited (Palgrave, 2010), Educating the Global Citizen (Bentham, 2011) and The Selling of Bohemia (RJV Books, 2015). He earned a PhD in cultural studies and education from UCLA and a masters in economics from SDSU. He is a rabid sports fan who roots for Arsenal, the NY Jets and Dallas Cowboys (he knows, he knows), the Yankees and the Celtics.

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