The latest tranche of international games is drawing to a close and, with Premier League gameweek nine in mind, here are nine statistical musings to welcome the return of domestic football.

Brentford entertain Burnley this coming Saturday, so let’s kick off with some stats on the free-flowing Clarets.


Last season, no team in the 92 scored more league goals from open play (69) than Vincent Kompany's Burnley and in the top flight this term all seven of their goals have been scored from this phase of play.

The downside for Clarets fans is that, alongside Bournemouth, they are one of only two sides in the division yet to score from a dead-ball situation (a set-piece or penalty).

Sub standards

The tactical battle on Saturday between Thomas Frank and counterpart Kompany promises to be an intriguing one - and the Manchester City legend is certainly not averse to shaking up his line-up.

No manager in the top flight has made more substitutions in 2023/24 than the Belgian (38), although in terms of efficiency off the bench this season, no manager can compete with Newcastle United’s Eddie Howe whose substitutes have contributed five goals and four assists to the Magpies' cause.

The Bees’ knees

Let's switch back to Brentford and take a quick look at their league-leading defenders this season.

The obvious place to start is with centre-back Ethan Pinnock, who was outstanding in the west Londoners’ painful defeat to Manchester United last time out.

Pinnock leads the Premier League for clearances made (57) this term and has also won more aerial duels (36) than any defender in the top flight.

Two of Pinnock's defensive partners deserve special mention, too. Fresh from international duty with Norway and Scotland respectively, Kristoffer Ajer leads the league in terms of the percentage of aerial duels won (91 per cent), while Aaron Hickey has yet to be dribbled past this term, winning all seven of his challenges in one-v-one situations.

Hot Spurs

If we cast our eyes to the top of the table, Spurs sit proudly at its summit after a fantastic start to the season.

Ange Postecoglou's team have been a breath of fresh air and they lead the division for shots per game (19.1), shots on target (56), progressive carries (228), carries into the penalty box (86) and away goals scored (12).

The north Londoners have a competitive edge these days and have earned more bookings (27) than any team in the Premier League to this point.

Pass masters

Although Tottenham are currently top of the pile, many people expect champions Man City to retain their title this season... so how do the Citizens measure up at this stage?

Third in the Premier League, two points shy of Arsenal, City still appear the team to beat and Pep Guardiola's men lead a host of stat categories as usual.

Unsurprisingly, these include passes completed (4,725), highest possession share (65 per cent) and best pass completion rate (90 per cent).

City also average just seven shots conceded per game, by far the fewest in the division.

Although they are without Kevin De Bruyne, the Citizens also have only two players out injured at the moment, fewer than any other team in the top flight.

They will no doubt be in the title picture come May.

Gunner go close?

Considered City's biggest title rivals after their unsuccessful tilt at the Premier League last season, Arsenal currently sit second in the table, level on points with Spurs.

Mikel Arteta's side have made a relatively low-key start to the current campaign and their stats generally sit among the chasing pack.

That said, the Gunners are undoubtedly the division's penalty kings having won more spot-kicks (5) than any team, scoring them all.

One of only two unbeaten clubs (along with Spurs), Arsenal have trailed on fewer occasions (2) than any other team and the Gunners are yet to concede an away goal - stats that suggest they will again mount a serious challenge.

Right on, Brighton

"Who are the Premier League's top scorers after eight gameweeks?", we hear you ask.

Brighton and Hove Albion! The Seagulls have hit the back of the net 21 times this season.

However, for those with an interest in expected goals, Roberto de Zerbi's side have outperformed their xG by +3.5 this term, more than any other Premier League team.

No team has had more goalscorers (10) than the south coast club, though, and in Kaoru Mitoma they possess a potent attacking outlet: no player in the top flight has more carries into the final third than the Japan international.

Tough starts

Harsh it may be, but let's quickly shine a light on the most porous defences in the Premier League this season.

The three clubs on this unwanted podium are Bournemouth (18 conceded), Burnley (20) and Sheffield United (22).

The Blades' goals against column was swelled by a 9-0 defeat to Newcastle United, but they have conceded 22 shots per game on average in 2023/24.

One team who have reacted well to adversity this season is Liverpool, Jürgen Klopp's Reds having won more points (10) from losing positions than any team in the Premier League.

Back to front

Let's bring this motley collection of stats to its conclusion with a short compare and contrast exercise between Brentford and Saturday's opponents Burnley.

One obvious similarity between the two sides this season concerns their numbers in possession. Both the Bees and the Clarets average 49 per cent of the ball this term, but an even more striking trait they share relates to the areas in which they like to play. Burnley (664) lead the entire Premier League this season for touches taken in their own penalty box, with Brentford (656) second.

Meanwhile, the Bees top the division for touches in their own defensive third (1,918) - with Burnley (1,908) close behind.

These numbers suggest both sides like to invite teams on and transition quickly.

The two sides' crossing statistics, however, could hardly be more different: Frank's side, with 53, rank second in the top flight for accurate crosses, while Kompany's Burnley (21) have managed the fewest in the league.