The Premier League provided its usual drama on Saturday with decisive penalties awarded in all but one of the fixtures.
Chelsea left it late against Leeds United in a game that saw referee Chris Kavanagh award three penalties, while Manchester United earned a narrow win thanks to another Cristiano Ronaldo spot-kick.
Liverpool also profited from the penalty spot as Steven Gerrard made his return to Anfield with Aston Villa, and another conversion from 12 yards aided Manchester City at home to Wolves.
Elsewhere, Arsenal cruised past Southampton, who are yet to win at Emirates Stadium in 23 Premier League attempts – the longest winless run for one club away to another in the competition’s history.
With tons of action to unpack, Stats Perform takes an in-depth look at the pick of Opta facts from Saturday’s clashes.
Things are heating up at the pic.twitter.com/uPJcW8pYCM
— Premier League (@premierleague) December 11, 2021
Manchester City 1-0 Wolves: Jimenez moment of madness gifts Citizens win
Raheem Sterling reached a century of Premier League goals as City scraped by 10-man Wolves, who could not hold on after Raul Jimenez’s bizarre red card for two yellows in a matter of seconds.
Jimenez became the first ever Mexican player to receive a red card in the Premier League, making Mexico the 76th nation to have a player dismissed in the competition.
Sterling then scored from the penalty spot after Joao Moutinho was adjudged to have handled, becoming the 32nd player to 100 Premier League goals and the eighth-youngest at 27 years and three days.
Pep Guardiola’s side held on to that slender lead and have now won 32 of their 40 league games in 2021 (D2 L6) – only Liverpool in 1982 (33) have won more matches in a single calendar year in English top-flight history.
Chelsea 3-2 Leeds United: Spot-kick drama condemns Whites to another London loss
Leeds have a miserable record in London and that was extended to just two wins in their past 33 matches in all competitions in the capital despite Raphinha finding the net when a first penalty was awarded in the visitors’ favour at Stamford Bridge.
Mason Mount cancelled out that opener, before Raphinha became the 13th player – and first Leeds star – to both score and concede a penalty in the same Premier League game when he brought down Antonio Rudiger, allowing Jorginho to score.
Although Joe Gelhardt netted Leeds’ first top-flight goal by a teenager since James Milner versus Everton in April 2004 to level the match again, Rudiger won a second penalty – the first Chelsea player to earn two in a Premier League game since Yuri Zhirkov against Aston Villa in March 2010 – deep into stoppage time.
Jorginho settled the result with his second from 12 yards after 93 minutes and 11 seconds, the Blues’ latest winning goal in the competition since Florent Malouda’s strike against Stoke City in September 2009 (93:36).
88% – Of all players with at least eight Premier League goals (all time), Chelsea’s Jorginho has scored the highest proportion from the penalty spot (88% – 15/17). Ice. pic.twitter.com/QshZIxbJz1
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 11, 2021
Liverpool 1-0 Aston Villa: Salah downs shot-shy Villans
Returning hero Gerrard was greeted with a standing ovation back at Anfield, but the latest king of the Kop ensured his Villa side went away empty-handed.
Mohamed Salah again made the difference, the Egypt international converting his 15th straight Premier League penalty – the second-longest ever such run in the competition after Matt Le Tissier (23 between 1994 and 2000).
Salah is also now just one game away from Jamie Vardy’s record of either scoring or assisting in 15 straight Premier League matches between August and December 2015.
This was Liverpool’s 100th 1-0 win in the competition and their second in a row for the first time since December 2015, requiring just the one goal as Villa failed to register a single shot on target in a league match for the first time since December 2019 against Sheffield United.
Norwich City 0-1 Manchester United: Another Ronaldo rescue act for Red Devils
Ralf Rangnick has pinpointed United’s defensive issues as a key area to fix and there were more positive signs on that front – at least on the stats sheet.
Rangnick became just the second Manchester United manager to register a clean sheet in his first two league games after Ernest Mangnall in 1903.
United were far from convincing in either defence or attack, though, again relying on David de Gea and match-winner Ronaldo, who won and scored United’s 50th successful away Premier League spot-kick – only Liverpool (60) have netted more such goals in the competition’s history.
Ronaldo also became only the third player to score for three different United managers in a single season after James Hanson and Joe Spence both did so in 1926-27.
4 & 7 – No player has scored more winning goals in the Premier League this season than Cristiano Ronaldo (4, level with Bernardo Silva), while only Jamie Vardy’s goals (8 points) have been worth more points for his side than Ronaldo’s (7 points). Reliant. pic.twitter.com/bvLkbs8Zrq
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 11, 2021