Missing Men - Sunderland
Opta's man in the know, OptaJoe, has studied another weekend of Premier League action and hunts down the nuggets of truth and destiny.
Top DrogsThanks to a late goal from Florent Malouda deep into injury time, Chelsea clocked up their 10th successive Premier League victory; equalling their best ever run. Didier Drogba also found the net for the Blues with what was the 100th goal in the Premier League season so far. Chelsea have still got to win their next four games if they hope to equal the Premier League record itself. Arsenal are the current holders of the record for successive victories - 14, set in between February and August 2002.
Spring LoadedDespite ending on the losing side in their 2-1 defeat to Fulham on Sunday, Tim Cahill managed to score another headed goal - his 19th in the Premier League since joining the Toffees. Only Peter Crouch (20) has scored more goals with his head in the top-flight since the start of the 2004/05 season than the bouncy Australian midfielder. Even more impressively, since the start of last season Cahill has found the net with seven of his 16 headed shots.
The Late, Late ShowGabriel Agbonlahor scored the all-important winning goal for Aston Villa in their derby match with Birmingham City on Sunday, sealing Martin O'Neill's side their third successive Premier League victory. The goal arrived in the 85th minute - the second time in as many matches against the Blues that the English striker has scored the winning goal in the final five minutes at St Andrews. More interestingly however, Agbonlahor's goal was his 35th in the Premier League since the start of 2005/06, and of those goals, 77% (27) have come in the second half of matches. No player with 30 goals to their name has managed a higher proportion than him.
Bent in ShapeHis price tag may have raised many eyebrows following his move to Sunderland after a disappointing spell at Tottenham Hotspur, but Steve Bruce seems to have made a more than astute signing by bringing Darren Bent to the Stadium of Light. Bent's two goals in the 4-1 thrashing of Hull City on Saturday means that he has now scored six goals in his last seven Premier League starts. In fact, since 2005/06, only Cristiano Ronaldo (75) and Wayne Rooney (59), have scored more Premier League goals than Bent (53).
Wake Me Up When September EndsAfter winning their opening four games of the season in the Premier League, Spurs came up against their biggest rival - September. Since 2003, Spurs have only been able to win once in 19 matches in the month of September in the top-flight; continuing their awful run with a 3-1 home defeat against Manchester United on Saturday. With an away match against Chelsea next up, the Lilywhites will be worried about undoing their great form earlier this term - even more so considering that they have not won away at a side from the 'big four' in 63 attempts, since their win at Anfield against Liverpool in August 1993.
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Other Sunderland Missing Men:
- Sunderland's 3-3 draw at Manchester City in 2012
- Sunderland's 2-2 draw at Manchester United in 2009
- Sunderland's 7-2 defeat v Chelsea in 2010
- Sunderland's 2-2 draw with QPR in 2004
- Sunderland's 2-1 defeat to Coventry in 2006 (Niall Quinn's first as Sunderland manager)
- Sunderland's goalless Premier League draw with Chelsea in 2001
- Sunderland's 2-2 draw with Everton in 2006
- Sunderland's 3-0 win over Blackburn in 2001
- Sunderland's 1-0 win over Birmingham in 1998
- Sunderland's 1-0 win over Hull City in 2006
- Sunderland's 3-2 win over Arsenal in 2002
- Sunderland's 1-0 win over Portsmouth in 1999
- Sunderland's 1-0 win over Everton in 2001
- Sunderland's 2-1 win over Tottenham in 1999
- Sunderland's 3-0 Premier League win over Chelsea in 1996
- Sunderland's 1-1 draw against Liverpool in 2000
- Sunderland's 1-0 victory over Middlesbrough in 2005
- Sunderland's 0-0 draw with Arsenal in 1999
- Sunderland's 2-0 win over Leeds in 2001
- Sunderland's 2-1 win over Aston Villa in 1999
- Sunderland's 4-2 win at Chelsea in 2001
- Sunderland's 3-2 defeat to Spurs in 2001