By Richard Morgan
Football journalist - @Richiereds1976
Premier League stats: English players getting more minutes?
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Last Updated: 06/09/19 7:49am
Just a month into the 2019/20 Premier League season and already some intriguing patterns appear to be developing.
There are more minutes for English players, a new reliance on youth and one team leads the way when it comes to scoring headers.
These are just some of the trends picked out in the first four matches of the new campaign...
Your country needs you
It is one of the most talked-about stats, especially around international-break time - the percentage of minutes by English players in the Premier League.
If this season is anything to go by - albeit with only a small sample size to play with - then it looks as though English players are being handed more game time, which can only be a positive when Gareth Southgate comes to picking his squad.
Last season, for instance, the total proportion of minutes played by English players in the top flight was 29.94 per cent, a figure which dropped drastically to just 20.56 per cent when the top six clubs were concerned.
This campaign, though, those numbers have risen to 34.3 per cent - the highest figure since the 2013-14 season - and 27.26% respectively, with Chelsea a good illustrator of perhaps a new trend in the Premier League, especially among the big six.
Indeed, there could be no better indication of this than looking at who has been on target in the Premier League for Frank Lampard's side so far this season, with all six of their goals being scored by English players.
One of whom, Mason Mount, is now in line to make his senior debut for his country against Bulgaria on Saturday after becoming the first Englishman aged 21 or under to net in consecutive Premier League appearances for Chelsea since Carlton Cole in April 2003.
Chelsea's recent 3-2 win at Norwich also saw two English players aged 21 or under score in the same league game for the club for more than a quarter of a century, while Arsenal have been adopting a similar approach.
2 - Arsenal have named two English teenagers (Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson) in their starting XI for a Premier League game for the first time since February 1998 (Paolo Vernazza and Matthew Upson vs Crystal Palace), before either Willock or Nelson were born. Future. pic.twitter.com/pmoSSEmLN4— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 11, 2019
On the opening day of the season, Unai Emery named two English teenagers - Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson - in his starting XI at St James' Park, the first time the Gunners had done this in the Premier League since February 1998.
Of course, this could just be a passing fad, rather than an actual shift in emphasis from the big clubs, and the top flight as a whole.
The only way to know for sure, though, will be to monitor the trend over the course of the campaign to see if Southgate really will have more players with greater Premier League experience to call upon ahead of Euro 2020 next summer.
It's Mee, Mee, Mee!
Sean Dyche will be hoping that Chris Wood's bizarre own goal, which handed Liverpool the lead in the Saturday Night Football clash at Turf Moor, is not an indication of an unwanted trendsetting in at the club.
However, the facts say otherwise, with the New Zealand striker's OG marking Burnley's sixth since August 2017, more than any other Premier League side.
Burnley's PL own goals since Aug 2017
|02/03/2019||Bardsley||Crystal Palace (h)|
And the chief culprit? The Clarets' newly appointed captain Ben Mee, with two of their six own goals!
Young at heart
Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer vowed to give youth a chance after taking over at Chelsea and Manchester United respectively.
On the opening weekend of the campaign, when the two sides faced each other at the Theatre of Dreams, Chelsea's starting XI average age was 25 years and 199 days - their youngest ever on Matchday One (MD1) of a Premier League season.
Meanwhile, United's average age of 24 years and 227 days was their second youngest on MD1, behind only their lineup in the 2011-12 season opener against West Brom (24y 161d).
New Chelsea boss Lampard continued this youthful trend at Carrow Road on MD3, when the visitors fielded a starting XI whose average age of 24 years and 208 days was their youngest in the top flight for a quarter of a century.
Arsenal keep paying the penalty
Arsenal made life hard for themselves in Sunday's north London derby after going in at half-time 2-0 down to arch-rivals Tottenham, the second goal the result of a rash challenge from Granit Xhaka, which handed the visitors a penalty.
Arsenal fans must now be sick and tired of watching their team hand out spot-kicks like confetti as since August 2017, no other side have conceded more penalties than Unai Emery's - 15, 14 of which were scored.
Most penalties conceded
|PL since Aug 2017||Penalties conceded|
Incredibly, though, it is the third game in a row against Spurs that the Gunners have conceded a penalty in - all of which were scored by Harry Kane - while even more remarkable is that since the start of last season, Arsenal have also given away two spot-kicks in the same game against both Liverpool and Crystal Palace.
Heads you win
Whatever heading drills Liverpool's players have been working on in training at Melwood of late, they seem to be working.
That is because Jurgen Klopp's side have scored 22 goals from headers in the Premier League since the start of last season - including a team-high six from Sadio Mane - seven more than any other team.
Headed Premier League goals
|PL since August 2018||Headed goals|
Anyone thinking this remarkable run of headed goals was just a one-off trend last season, though, had better think again, with Liverpool having already scored with three headers so far this campaign.