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Four statistics that prove Paris Saint-Germain’s Grzegorz Krychowiak is a sensational coup for West Brom

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Krychowiak

West Brom manager Tony Pulis arguably pulled off the shock move of the summer transfer window to date after announcing the season-long loan signing of Paris Saint-Germain’s Grzegorz Krychowiak.

After confirming the signing of Arsenal defender Kieran Gibbs on Wednesday morning, the Baggies certainly went one better later that evening with Krychowiak, becoming the seventh summer arrival. Speaking about the move, the Polish international told West Brom’s official website:

“I had a lot of propositions from Spain and Italy but this is a very ambitious club. There’s a good atmosphere here.”

The 27-year-old has struggled for regular first-team action at PSG since arriving from Spanish side Sevilla last summer, managing just 19 appearances across all competitions in France last campaign. But there’s always going to be a bit of shock factor around a move that entails a player from one of Europe’s elite joining a mid-table Premier League outfit, and here, The Boot Room dissects the stats behind the hype.

16 – Natural anticipation of the game

One thing that Tony Pulis loves in a player is a sense of discipline, a sense of positioning and a burning desire to give 100% commitment to the cause, and Krychowiak will tick all of these boxes.

Despite only making 11 appearances in Ligue 1 last season – and only seven starts – he still made 16 interceptions and 28 defensive clearances at an average of just under four defensive actions per game, not a bad return at all considering the fact that PSG are so dominant against most other sides.

And these statistics will no doubt leave Pulis going to bed with a smile on his face tonight as he considers the magnitude of the signing he has just made, stealing Krychowiak away from a number of top sides.

88 – Confidence driving forward

There’s a reason that Krychowiak has made a name for himself as a box-to-box midfielder in both Spain and France over the past three years, and he’s equally adept at attacking as he is defending.

It’s undeniable that the catalyst for his move to PSG came from stand-out displays in the 2016 European Championships, leading Poland to the quarter-finals before losing to eventual winners Portugal.

During the tournament he completed 88% of his take-ons in the opposition half, showing his innate sense of driving forward into attack, and West Brom are in for a treat if he adds this to the Hawthorns.

This wasn’t a fluke either, as during his two seasons at Sevilla he ended with 67% and 70% success rates respectively, and it’s clear to see he will have a big attacking impetus to push the Baggies on in games.

92 – Dictator of possession in the midfield

And another reason for West Brom fans to get excited is down to the 27-year-old’s ability to both retain possession in midfield and utilise his expansive range of distribution to carve open chances.

He enjoyed an impressive 92% passing accuracy at PSG last season – ahead of the likes of Blaise Matuidi, Marco Veratti and Angel Di Maria – and he’s shown he’s at his best when orchestrating play from deep.

He only misplaced 31 passes in 11 matches last year, completing 503 by contrast, and if he can provide this level of consistency and reliability at West Brom this season then they’ll be a far more solid outfit.

2 – Winner on the biggest stage

Before Krychowiak completed his move to France in 2016, for £28 million according to The Guardian, he caught the attention of Europe’s elite – namely PSG – by helping Sevilla’s unprecedented charge to three consecutive Europa League titles.

Arriving in Seville after they secured the first title in 2014, the Polish international starred on their route to two more finals – scoring in the triumph over Ukrainian outfit Dnipro in 2015 – and he was so influential both times that he was named in the UEFA Europa League squad of the season twice in a row.

It means that Krychowiak will bring a level of European pedigree that has previously been unseen at the Hawthorns, and it’s likely he may prove to be as big a presence in the dressing room as he is on the field.

Will is a Multimedia Journalism graduate from the University of Salford, specialising in the art of sports. Long-time suffering Northampton Town fan who once saw us win a league title. Find him on Twitter - @96PearsonW.

Liverpool

Four of the best statistics as Newcastle United held Liverpool to a battling draw

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Newcastle United

Jurgen Klopp endured an all-too familiar afternoon full of frustration as his Liverpool side were held to a draw against a disciplined and well-organised Newcastle United at St James’ Park on Sunday afternoon.

Liverpool started off firmly on the front foot, with Georginio Wijnaldum striking the post on return to his former club, before Philippe Coutinho broke the deadlock with a sublime effort from 25-yards.

But their defensive frailties reared its head again when ex-Liverpool man Jonjo Shelvey found Joselu’s run with a superb defence-splitting ball and, with a huge slice of luck, Joel Matip’s recovery challenge deflected the ball back onto the Spaniard’s shin and past a despairing Simon Mignolet.

Klopp’s side picked up their dominance again after the break but they failed to carve out too many meaningful chances on goal, and the Magpies defended excellently to see out a well-deserved draw.

17 – Philippe Coutinho strikes from distance again

Where would Liverpool be without Philippe Coutinho?

After inspiring his side to a win on the road at Leicester City last weekend, the Brazilian turned on the style once again at St James’ Park as his excellent first-half strike secured a point for Liverpool.

It came in typical Coutinho fashion, working a yard of space by shifting the ball onto his right foot before unleashing a trademark hit right into the top corner, giving Rob Elliot no chance in the goal.

In doing so it signaled the 17th goal that he’s scored from outside of the penalty area since arriving at Anfield back in January 2013, a number that no other Premier League player can match.

With Sadio Mane, Daniel Sturridge and Mohamed Salah misfiring on Sunday the onus was on the Brazilian to conjure up a moment of magic, and he duly obliged in a typically brilliant way to bail his side out again – and Liverpool fans will be delighted he’s returned to form after his summer saga.

82 – Where’s the clinical edge?

Whilst Coutinho was adding another long-range effort to his already impressive highlights reel for the season, boss Jurgen Klopp would have left St James’ Park with a harrowing sense of déjà vu.

The Reds had 68% of the possession on Sunday, reflecting their pure dominance of the match, and they managed to get 17 shots away on goal but once again they failed to find that definitive impact.

Of these 17 shots only two were on target – with one being Coutinho’s goal – and for a Liverpool side that have aspirations of challenging for the Premier League title this year this simply isn’t good enough, particularly against a newly-promoted side who are still finding their feet in the top-flight.

Despite having the likes of Mane, Salah, Roberto Firmino and Coutinho in their ranks they’ve truly struggled to be clinical, and since beating Arsenal 4-0 they’ve had 82 shots and scored just five times.

Klopp re-jigged his team after the mid-week draw away at Spartak Moscow and brought Daniel Sturridge back into the fold but even he couldn’t find a way through, and there’s growing concerns at Anfield.

7 – Liverpool short-comings all too clear

If you’re Jurgen Klopp you must be tearing your hair out and wondering what you can do after yet another calamitous moment in defence cost Liverpool the chance to win three points at Newcastle.

The hosts had offered very little in an attacking sense during the opening 35 minutes – and they offered very little after – but a lapse of concentration allowed Joselu to steal in and find the net.

What Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip were doing leaving such a big gap in between them is anyone’s guess but it allowed Jonjo Shelvey to play a defence-splitting through ball to the Spaniard, who timed his run expertly, and it was almost comical how Matip’s tackle deflected the ball into the net.

It was all too easy for Newcastle and it’s now seven games without a clean sheet for Liverpool in all competitions – and it certainly won’t get any easier with Manchester United arriving in town next.

15 – Budding midfield partnership for Newcastle United

A lot of credit has to be heaped on Newcastle United and manager Rafael Benitez for how they went about the match, with the Magpies putting in an exceptional display of organisation and discipline.

Right at the heart of their efforts was the midfield duo of Jonjo Shelvey and Mikel Merino, a combination that Newcastle supporters have been dying to see since the start of the new season.

Their completely contrasting playing styles seemed to work against Liverpool, with Shelvey sitting deeper and protecting his back-line whilst Merino – signed on a season-long loan from Borussia Dortmund during the summer window – has a more attacking intent and looks to get into opposition territory.

The duo made four tackles, three interceptions, two clearances and six blocks between them in an excellent rear-guard effort to repel the visitors and they rarely left gaps open for the Reds to exploit.

They showed an excellent sense of positioning too, particularly to handle the movement of Liverpool’s attacking options, and perhaps more pertinent than anything they managed to keep their focus superbly throughout the 90 minutes – shown by Shelvey’s nerveless clearance off the line under pressure.

It was their first full match playing together and boss Benitez would have no doubt been impressed with what he saw, and it’ll now be interesting to see if he persists with them after the international break.

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Chelsea

Four statistics to surface as Manchester City outclassed champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

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Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League as Kevin de Bruyne’s superb strike secured another three points for Pep Guardiola’s side, who outplayed the reigning champions Chelsea.

The visitors faced a different challenge to those that they’ve faced so far during their rampant start to the season but they were more than a match for it, and the Blues nearly turned their early dominance into a goal when Thibaut Courtois produced a brilliant reflex save to deny Fernandinho.

Chelsea – who lost Alvaro Morata to injury in the first-half – forced Ederson into a couple of smart reaction saves down low but they failed to cause consistent problems for a well-drilled City defence.

It seemed just a matter of time until Guardiola’s side took the lead and it was worth the wait, with De Bruyne playing a quick one-two with David Silva before unleashing a stunning 25-yard shot into the net.

City nearly had a second late on when Gabriel Jesus’ fizzing effort was headed away off the line by Antonio Rudiger but it mattered not, and Chelsea now sit six points adrift of the Manchester sides.

15 – De Bruyne steals the show

There’s only one place to start.

Manchester City were once again indebted to Belgian talisman Kevin de Bruyne on Saturday after he popped up in the right place at the right time to finish off an intricate move with a brilliant 25-yard strike with his so-called ‘weaker foot’, earning City a deserved win in what was a thrilling encounter.

He was at the heart of everything good about the visitor’s play, making 131 passes in the midfield, supplying ten crosses, crafting six clear-cut chances and – ultimately – providing goal-scoring heroics.

De Bruyne was the figure of productivity all evening and Chelsea simply couldn’t contain him – not even the obstinate N’Golo Kante could keep him at bay – and he managed to create more chances than the entire Chelsea team combined (four) such was his ability to find the ball at his feet with regularity.

His effort took his involvement in City goals to 15 in 17 his last Premier League matches, a staggering amount, and if his importance to Guardiola was ever in doubt he re-enforced it in style at Chelsea.

38% – Manchester City stifle the hosts

Whilst De Bruyne and co. were tearing things up in attack a lot of praise has to be heaped on the shoulders of the Manchester City defence, who put in an all-round defensively solid performance.

Chelsea arrived at Stamford Bridge high in confidence after their dramatic away win at Atletico Madrid during the week but they couldn’t break down a solid City back-line, with the hosts managing just four shots all match – and just two after the 26th minute – as their attacking play was stifled.

To highlight just how dominant City were all match, Eden Hazard – who tore the Atletico defence to shreds in the week – failed to create a solitary chance all match, having little impact on proceedings.

Conte will know that his side were outclassed in all areas, with his side having their lowest amount of possession (38%) since the 2003-04 season, and he’ll know that he was tactically outmanaged by his Manchester City counterpart Guardiola – and he’s got work to do if they want to retain their title.

8 – Delph passes first real test with flying colours

And one man who was at the heart of Manchester City’s defensive efforts at Stamford Bridge was the unlikeliest figure of Fabian Delph, who has been handed a career reprieve under boss Guardiola.

Injury to Benjamin Mendy – who is ruled out of action for seven months after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee – has left the Blues with depleted options on the left side of defence, and the Spaniard experimented with Delph at left-wing back in the recent Carabao Cup win.

On that occasion it worked and, as such, the England international has all of a sudden become a critical first-team player at the Etihad, but he faced his biggest test so far against a strong Chelsea.

It’s fair to say he passed it with flying colours though, making five tackles and completing three interceptions as Delph – along with his defence – kept the hosts’ attacking threat to a minimum.

Whilst he doesn’t have the crunching tackles in his locker and the physical strength that the other City defenders have, his positional sense is second-to-none and he anticipated Chelsea’s every move.

Delph has shown himself to be a more than capable deputy for Mendy for the time being, so much so that the French international jokingly tweeted his concerns at how good his teammate was filling in for him, and this could be the beginning of one of the more unpredictable transformations for a while.

8 – Chelsea’s home form leaves daylight between the top

Whilst it’s certainly too early for the warning signs to start flashing around Stamford Bridge, the reigning Premier League champions need to be careful not to drop too far off the pace at the top.

Defeat against Manchester City means that they’re six points behind Guardiola’s side already after just seven games, and Antonio Conte’s side need to bounce back well after the international break.

Saturday’s defeat signalled the third time this season – in just four matches – that Chelsea have dropped points at home, already dropping more this year (eight) than the whole of last year (two).

Whilst there’s the argument that two of these games were against Arsenal and City, those are the type of games that you need to be winning to get yourself up there and challenging for the title when May comes around – and their inability to grind out a win at home should raise some alarms.

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Arsenal

Four statistics to surface as Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners over a spirited West Brom

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In a match that saw Gareth Barry break the all-time record for Premier League appearances, it was Arsenal’s Alexandre Lacazette that stole the headlines as his double secured victory over West Brom.

The £46.5 million signing from Lyon was in the right place at the right time to capitalise on Alexis Sanchez’s free-kick to put the hosts ahead, before nonchalantly slotting a second-half penalty away.

West Brom will feel aggrieved not to have been awarded an early penalty though when Shkodran Mustafi brought down Jay Rodriguez in the box, with Bobby Madley allowing play to go on instead.

But it wasn’t to be, and Arsenal held firm to secure their third consecutive home victory of the new Premier League season to take them to within six points of the runaway Manchester sides at the top.

633 not out – Barry the record-breaker

There’s only one place to start after last night as West Brom midfielder Gareth Barry become the Premier League’s all-time record holder for appearances, stepping onto the field for the 633rd time.

He might not have enjoyed as illustrious career as the man he beat, Ryan Giggs, but Barry has no doubt stamped his mark on the top-flight since making his Aston Villa bow as a 17-year-old in 1998.

During his four-club career, playing for Villa, Manchester City, Everton and now West Brom, Barry has accrued 601 Premier League starts and managed to win two pieces of silverware – securing the memorable last-gasp Premier League title with City in 2011-12 and adding it to an FA Cup triumph.

On an international level he’s made 53 appearances for England, scoring three times, and he was part of the starting line-up that lost 4-1 to Germany in the FIFA World Cup 2010 in infamously controversial style.

Monday night he put in a typically unfussy performance, tidily sitting in the middle of the park as the Baggies’ captain for the night after a nice touch from manager Tony Pulis, and he’s not done just yet.

3 – Lacazette on fire in north London

Whilst Alvaro Morata and Romelu Lukaku are the ones that are taking all of the plaudits since their respective summer moves, club-record man Alexandre Lacazette seems to be going under the radar.

The French international arrived in the Premier League with a mightily impressive goal-scoring record for Lyon and he’s shown no signs of letting that slip with a relentless start to life in England.

In scoring his match-winning double on Monday night Lacazette became the first Arsenal player to ever score in their first three home Premier League matches, setting hopes high for what’s to come.

He proved to be the difference between a dogged Baggies side, completing 100% of his four take-ons in an inventive display, and he nearly had a hat-trick only to blaze over when through on goal.

Just to put into perspective how good a player Arsenal have found themselves, Lacazette has scored once every 88 minutes since August 2016 – the sixth best record of anyone in Europe’s top five leagues – above Harry Kane, Robert Lewandowski, Luis Suarez and Cristiano Ronaldo, not exactly bad company to keep.

10 – Consecutive losses for Pulis at the Emirates

When your luck’s not in, what can you do.

That’s exactly what West Brom manager Tony Pulis will be thinking this morning as a costly penalty decision went against him and condemned him to a tenth defeat at the Emirates from ten attempts.

In that time-frame – spanning his managerial career at both Stoke City and the Baggies – he’s seen his side fail to trouble the hosts once, scoring just three times in 900 minutes of action and conceding 22.

It could have been so different had referee Bobby Madley awarded West Brom an early penalty following Mustafi’s reckless challenge, but the fact Rodriguez got straight back up and tested Petr Cech with a shot against the post was perhaps deemed enough of an advantage to let play go on.

There aren’t many that will argue against the stonewall nature of the penalty and Pulis will be looking back at last night’s match pondering ‘what could have been’ after a tenth straight defeat away at Arsenal.

12 – Monreal puts in a defensive shift

Despite Arsenal’s troubles at the back in the first six games of the Premier League season one man who has been quietly making an impression is Nacho Monreal, and he was inspired again last night.

Since his FA Cup semi-final goal against Manchester City last season he’s become something of a favourite around the Emirates and his performances have warranted him a regular first-team role.

He’s been a relative figure of consistency in an often make-shift back-line too, being used as a left-back, a left-wing back and a central defender before seemingly finding his niche position on the left side of a defensive three, and he’s beginning to thrive playing alongside captain Laurent Koscielny.

After a nervy start from the Gunners he marshalled West Brom’s attacking threat well and was on hand to superbly hook the ball off the line from Rodriguez’s headed effort to keep the hosts ahead.

He contributed four clearances, two tackles and six interceptions in a solid defensive display against West Brom, as well as finishing the game with a 94% passing accuracy and, slowly but surely, he’s becoming a pivotal and indispensable first-team player for Arsene Wenger.

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