Liverpool ended the year with a 5-1 thrashing of Arsenal, while Manchester United continued their impressive start under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, brushing aside Bournemouth 4-1. Over in Italy, Juventus entered the winter after a VAR-controversy fueled 2-1 win over Sampdoria thanks to a brace from… who else, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Here, then, are the best of the numbers from the last bit of footballing action in 2018.
Roberto Firmino’s hat trick is the sixth in fixtures between Arsenal and Liverpool in the Premier League – the most hat tricks in a single fixture in PL history. The six goals at Anfield also made it 155 goals for the fixture – the highest scoring in PL history.
Mohamed Salah has both scored and assisted in the same Premier League game for the 10th time since the start of last season; only Neymar (11) has done so on more occasions in the big-five European leagues in that time.
Also, 54 – Liverpool have accrued 54 points from their opening 20 Premier League games this season; when assuming three points for a win, only Chelsea (55 in 2005-06) and Manchester City (58 in 2017-18) have ever had more at this stage in English top-flight history..
Cristiano Ronaldo ended the 2018 calendar year with 49 goals for club and country, making this the first time since 2010 that he will end a year with fewer than 50 goals. The 53 games Ronaldo played in 2018 mark his fewest in a year since 2009 (49).
In case you were wondering, Messi had 51 in 54 in 2018. The levels these two have normalised…
Juventus’ 53 points are more than any team in Serie A through the halfway point of the season since the league returned to a 38-game schedule in 2004-05. (it was previously 52, also by Juventus – in 2013-14 and 2005-06).
Only three United managers have won each of their first three league games in charge: Sir Matt Busby, Jose Mourinho, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Also, 12 – Manchester United have scored 12 goals over the space of three Premier League matches for the first time since December 21-31, 2011. Guess who was in charge back then. Those 12 goals in 3 games also mean that 29.2% of United’s PL goals this season have come under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
With four goals and three assists, December 2018 has been Paul Pogba’s best ever month for league goal involvements in his top-flight career.
Wolves inflicted Mauricio Pochettino’s first ever Premier League defeat against a newly promoted side while in charge of Spurs. He was unbeaten in 27 such meetings before this one (Wins 25 Draws 2).
Huddersfield Town are the first team to lose seven Premier League games in a single calendar month since Leicester City in April 2001 (also seven). The Terriers lost 1-0 to fellow relegation contenders Fulham thanks to a late Aleksander Mitrovic goal on Saturday. They are bottom with 10 points from 20 games.
(Statistics courtesy ESPN Stats & Information)