Football Commentator & Columnist
Martin has stats on Suarez, Spurs and Holtby...
Last Updated: 13/03/14 8:56am
Every week, Martin will set you a question of his own to get your grey matter working. Click above for this week's Tyler's Teaser - which comes from the Nou Camp ahead of Manchester City's game at Barcelona.
Send your questions to Martin
1: Email your posers to firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Use the feedback form at the bottom of this page.
Martin's Starting Stats
I was at the Nou Camp on Wednesday evening to see Barcelona defeat Manchester City. It was the 92nd time out of 92 that a team losing 2-0 at home in the first leg have failed to qualify. It's also the ninth time Barcelona have led 2-0 from an away first leg and progressed.
Going into the game, both Manuel Pellegrini and Tata Martino had played 44 games in their current jobs and won 32 of them - but the Barca boss went ahead with this victory.
This was Barcelona's 499th game in the Champions League and they will play their 500th in the first leg of the quarter-final.
Lionel Messi has scored 17 goals in 18 appearances in the round of 16. He has also scored 67 Champions League goals for Barcelona, beating Raul's 66 for Real Madrid - that's the most for one club.
Top of both charts
Hi Martin, love the work you're doing! With Suarez topping the goal scoring and assists charts at the moment, has there been any player who has come out on top of both at the end of the season? Palace and Liverpool fan.
MARTIN SAYS: You're absolutely right to say that Luis Suarez is currently top of both lists. He has 24 goals, which is six more than anybody else, and 10 assists, which is the joint-highest tally in the Premier League along with Wayne Rooney.
If he maintains his position at the top of both lists until the end of the season then he would become only the third player in Premier League history to do so.
The last player to do it was Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in 1998/99, who scored 18 goals and was joint top scorer alongside Dwight Yorke and Michael Owen. He also provided 13 assists, which was the joint highest tally in the Premier League that season along with Dennis Bergkamp.
Only one other player has achieved the feat in the Premier League era - and that was Andy Cole. In 1993/94 he was the top flight's top scorer with 34 goals for Newcastle and he also provided 13 assists, which was more than any other player - and some people dared to suggest he never did anything but score goals!
Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry fell agonisingly short of achieving this feat in 2002/03 when he produced an incredible 20 assists and scored 24 goals. He was top of the assists chart that season, but was beaten to the Golden Boot by Ruud van Nistelrooy who scored one more goal than him.
Not all top scorers provide that many assists for their team-mates, however. For example, Nicolas Anelka won the Golden Boot in 2008/09, but only produced two assists for his team-mates all season. Courtesy of Opta, here are the top scorers in the last 10 seasons and how many assists they provided. As you can see, in this period only Thierry Henry and Didier Drogba have won the Golden Boot and produced 10 or more assists:
|2002/2003||Ruud van Nistelrooy||25||4|
|2011/2012||Robin van Persie||30||9|
|2012/2013||Robin van Persie||26||9|
Dear Martin, I really love the column, it's great. A statistic that keeps coming up regularly is that Chelsea's strikers are appalling and it actually makes Mourinho's comments about Chelsea being the underdog quite true in my opinion actually. We could easily lose and draw a few yet due to a lack of goals. Also it makes me wonder how far would Chelsea be ahead if they had a man who could get 15-20 league goals a season? Not even 25-35 but just even 15-20. We'd run away with it in the following seasons if we got Lukaku's scoring form! My question is what team won the Premier League title with the least amount of goals from their strikers and are the Blues on course to beat that? David
MARTIN SAYS: According to those clever chaps at Opta, only 14 of Chelsea's 56 Premier League goals have come from their strikers. Samuel Eto'o has scored seven, while Fernando Torres has four and Demba Ba has three. That's just 25% of their total - and it means that at the current rate Chelsea's strikers would finish the season with around 18 goals.
The lowest number of goals scored by the recognised strikers of a Premier League title winning team is 24 - and that was achieved by Chelsea the last time they won the league under Jose Mourinho in 2005/06. Only three recognised strikers scored for them in that campaign - Didier Drogba (12), Eidur Gudjohnsen (2) and Hernan Crespo (10) and their top scorer was midfielder Frank Lampard (19).
When the Premier League started, most teams played with two strikers, which is now very infrequent. Eden Hazard, who is a winger with striking capabilities, is Chelsea's top scorer for example. So it's not always simple to define who is and isn't a striker now - it was much simpler in the past - and one of the reasons that Jose Mourinho's two teams are in question here is that he usually prefers to play with just one central striker. Therefore it is only natural that more goals come from other areas of the team.
That contrasts starkly with the 56 goals that Manchester United's strikers scored between them in their title-winning season of 1999/2000. That year Dwight Yorke (20), Andrew Cole (19), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (12) and Teddy Sheringham (5) were the recognised strikers among the goals.
Below we have detailed the goals from strikers for every Premier League title-winning side - and you can see that no team has won the league with such a small contribution from their forwards as the current Chelsea team:
|Season||Champions||Total goals by strikers||No. of Strikers to Score||Strikers to Score|
|1992/1993||Manchester United||34||4||Hughes, Cantona, McClair, Dublin|
|1993/1994||Manchester United||32||4||Cantona, Hughes, Dublin, McClair|
|1994/1995||Blackburn Rovers||50||3||Shearer, Sutton, Gallacher|
|1995/1996||Manchester United||28||3||Cantona, Cole, McClair|
|1996/1997||Manchester United||35||3||Solskjaer, Cantona, Cole|
|1997/1998||Arsenal||35||4||Bergkamp, Wright, Anelka, Wreh|
|1998/1999||Manchester United||49||4||Yorke, Cole, Solskjaer, Sheringham|
|1999/2000||Manchester United||56||4||Yorke, Cole, Solskjaer, Sheringham|
|2000/2001||Manchester United||43||4||Yorke, Cole, Solskjaer, Sheringham|
|2001/2002||Arsenal||48||5||Henry, Wiltord, Bergkamp, Kanu, Jeffers|
|2002/2003||Manchester United||40||3||van Nistelrooy, Solskjaer, Forlan|
|2003/2004||Arsenal||38||4||Henry, Bergkamp, Wiltord, Kanu|
|2004/2005||Chelsea||26||3||Gudjohnsen, Drogba, Kezman|
|2005/2006||Chelsea||24||3||Drogba, Gudjohnsen, Crespo|
|2006/2007||Manchester United||30||4||Rooney, Saha, Solskjaer, Larsson|
|2007/2008||Manchester United||31||3||Tévez, Rooney, Saha|
|2008/2009||Manchester United||29||5||Rooney, Berbatov, Tévez, Macheda, Welbeck|
|2009/2010||Chelsea||46||4||Drogba, Anelka, Kalou, Sturridge|
|2010/2011||Manchester United||47||5||Berbatov, Hernández, Rooney, Owen, Macheda|
|2011/2012||Manchester City||54||4||Agüero, Dzeko, Balotelli, Tévez|
|2012/2013||Manchester United||49||4||van Persie, Rooney, Hernández, Welbeck|
Just to reiterate, Opta have made judgments on which players are classed as strikers. Though this is a genuine attempt to answer what is a very good question, there are clearly grey areas.
As Tim Sherwood said on Saturday, Tottenham have got a terrible record against the teams in the top four this year. I was wondering if a team has ever finished in the top four of the Premier League without picking up any points against the other three teams in the top four? Anthony Behan (Tottenham fan)
MARTIN SAYS: You're right to say that Tottenham's record against the teams above them is poor this season. They have picked up one point in their six games against the current top four so far - and that was a 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea earlier this season. They have lost 1-0 at Arsenal, lost 4-0 at Chelsea on Saturday, lost 5-1 and 6-0 to Man City and lost 5-0 at home to Liverpool. I'll be commentating on their games at home to Arsenal and away to Liverpool later this month so it will be interesting to see if there are any improvements.
However, Spurs fans can console themselves with the efforts of Leeds United in 1999/2000 who managed to finish in the top four, despite losing all six of their games against the other teams in the top four (Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool). They lost 2-0 and 1-0 to United, 2-0 and 4-0 to Arsenal and 3-1 and 2-1 to Liverpool and yet still finished in third place and qualified for the Champions League.
They are the only side to finish in the top four of the Premier League without picking up any points against any of the three sides around them, however more recently Arsenal reached the Champions League without any wins against the other three teams in the top four. Just last season they picked up only two points against Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. They drew 1-1 with Man City (away) and Man Utd (home) and became only the second side to finish in the top four having picked up less than three points against their immediate rivals.
It's also worth pointing out that the last time Tottenham finished in the top four - in 2011/12 - they only picked up three points against the three teams around them.
Thanks to Opta, here are the fewest points collected by a top-four Premier League team against the other three top four sides:
Leeds United (1999/2000)
Manchester United (2001/02)
Tottenham Hotspur (2011/12)
Walters' mixed afternoon
Dear Martin. I always enjoy reading this column but nobody ever asks about Stoke so I have a question about us. Jonathan Walters scored a penalty and was sent off in the same game on Saturday. Has that ever happened to a player in the Premier League before? Mark (Stoke fan)
MARTIN SAYS: With the help of the guys at Opta I can tell you that this is the 14th time a player has scored a penalty and received a red card in the same game, so it's not a very common occurrence. It didn't happen in the first four seasons of the Premier League, but it is surprisingly the third time it has happened this season.
Jonathan Walters' penalty and red card comes on the heels of Mikel Arteta doing the same for Arsenal against Crystal Palace in October. West Ham's Mark Noble scored a penalty against Everton earlier in the season and then he too was shown a red card.
Interestingly, Gareth Barry has suffered this fate twice. As you can see from the table below, on two separate occasions he scored penalties for Aston Villa and was then given his marching orders.
Here are the 14 players to score a penalty and receive a red card in the same Premier League game:
|26/10/2013||Mikel Arteta||Arsenal||Crystal Palace|
|21/09/2013||Mark Noble||West Ham||Everton|
|01/11/2008||Benni McCarthy||Blackburn||West Brom|
|30/12/2006||Gareth Barry||Aston Villa||Charlton|
|07/05/2005||Peter Crouch||Southampton||Crystal Palace|
|16/08/2003||Gareth Barry||Aston Villa||Portsmouth|
|08/09/2001||Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink||Chelsea||Arsenal|
|05/05/1999||Denis Irwin||Man Utd||Liverpool|
|18/01/1997||Fabrizio Ravanelli||Middlesbrough||Sheff Weds|
Just two for Lew
According to Opta's Twitter, Lewis Holtby has only scored two Premier League goals - one against Fulham and one for them. Has any other player done this or is Holtby unique in scoring two goals for and against the same club? Eammon (Fulham fan)
MARTIN SAYS: It's a good question. As you say, Lewis Holtby has scored two Premier League goals. The first came against Fulham for Tottenham in December 2013 and the second came for Fulham on Saturday in the 3-1 defeat to Cardiff. So his two goals have come for and against Fulham.
However, the boffins at Opta have checked and we can tell you that there is only one other player with two Premier League goals to his name with one coming for a particular club and one against them. That player is Jesper Blomqvist, who only scored two goals in his entire Premier League career - and one was for Everton and the other was against them.
The first came for Manchester United in a 4-1 away win at Goodison Park on October 31, 1998. That was his only goal for Manchester United. His only other goal came FOR Everton in January 2002 when he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Sunderland.