What a break. What a return. Will football ever look the same in the future? After not playing a match since March 9th, the Premier League came roaring back over the past two weeks, bringing smiles to the faces of many, joy to Liverpool (congratulations, Liverpool fans!), and despair to the bottom three, who combined have only picked up two points since the Premier League’s resurrection. With seven matches still to play, Liverpool have set a record for the earliest Premier League trophy ever earned. They also have the opportunity to set many more, depending on how many points they accrue the rest of the season. At the bottom of the table, the race is incredibly close, with the difference between 19th and 16th just one point. Several lengths behind Liverpool, a surprising race for the remaining Champions League slots is taking place (barring an unlikely court victory, City will not take part in next season’s Champions League , meaning the fifth-placed side will earn a Champions League berth). Leicester City are holding on to third, though with Chelsea and Wolves nipping at their heels. Manchester United leapfrogged Wolves with victory over Brighton to take fifth spot on goal difference. From seventh to 14th place, only six points separate eight teams, including the likes of surprise package Sheffield United, a dismal Arsenal, and Tottenham. Let’s dive in to last week’s numbers:
Second-half kings: Wolves are the only side to have stayed unbeaten in matches tied at half-time, which they have done in 12 matches. Largely thanks to their staunch defense, they have now kept four straight clean sheets for the first time since 1981.
Chelsea were involved in the decisive match in the Premier League title race for the fourth time in the last six seasons, as they beat Manchester City on Thursday to end City’s waning hopes of retaining the title.
Belgian on fire: Kevin De Bruyne has been directly involved in more Premier League goals than any other player this season, with 10 goals and 17 assists.
Late drama: for just the second time ever in the Premier League, Watford and Leicester’s 1-1 draw saw both goals come in stoppage time (90th minute or later).
Sergio Aguero (who is now out for the season) and Raul Jimenez have both notched 23 goals in all competitions this season, more than anyone else in the league.
Since they deserve it, we’ll review a full list of records that Liverpool can break here, as well as the records they’ve already set this season:
Best start ever: 61 points in 21 matches was the most any team had ever accumulated in any of Europe’s top flights. Since that point, they extended their record to 79 points in their first 27 matches.
Most points won over 38 consecutive matches: set in January, Liverpool went on to extend the record to 110 points from 38 matches, after beating West Ham in February.
Biggest lead at the top: 25 points, the largest gap they’ve attained so far this season, sets a record as well.
Most home wins in a row: with 23, they eclipsed City’s record of 20 in 2012.
Earliest title win, as previously mentioned.
Here’s what they can still attain:
Perfect at home record: three teams have reached 18 home wins in a season – Liverpool will attempt to become the first to win 19.
Most victories in a season: the current record is 32.
Most points in a season: Liverpool must earn ⅔ of their remaining points to equal Manchester City’s season points record.
Biggest winning points margin: the current record is 19.
The Premier League may have changed some rules recently, but many of the same-olds remain: Arsenal are struggling. Chelsea are incredibly streaky. Manchester City have a knack for beating themselves. Liverpool are dominant. Leicester are surprisingly good (as are Sheffield United). The bottom teams are still the same.
Interestingly enough, Roman Abramovich, in an effort apparently to clear the air of rumors that he would look to sell Chelsea, has already splashed a yacht’s worth of transfer fees (albeit a small yacht, by his standards) into the Chelsea roster for next season. A young, confident Chelsea team, led by a manager who is gaining experience every time he steps onto the pitch, could prove to be exciting in 2020/2021. No other club has made remotely the same sort of impact in the transfer market so far, although the summer window is still open. In a few weeks, we’ll take a look at who might be moving on from clubs (especially the clubs primed for relegation) and who might still be joining the Premier League from outside. Until then, it’s pretty damn great to be able to watch live sports again, isn’t it?
*side note: with the new sub rules, drink breaks, orange slices (kidding), and everything else that has temporarily changed, I will not be doing picks for the rest of the season. Let’s just say I attempted to do some picks of my own in the first week back and got thrashed.