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Head for heights

Away-day scorers, biggest improvements and much more...

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 30th April 2009 view comments

Martin Tyler's stats offers you statistical gems to make your day, impress your mates and, on occasion, to settle the odd bet and this week, lift the lid on a rivalry!

Sky Sports' voice of football and his back-up team of experts are here to answer your questions and queries on all things statistical, historical, weird and wonderful from the beautiful game.

Ronaldo: heading for League and European success?

Ronaldo: heading for League and European success?

If you have spotted something from a game or have been stumped by a pub quiz question, simply email here he will do his best to help.

Tyler's Starting Stat - O'Shea's Day

Wednesday night at Old Trafford was the first time in seven that Arsenal had lost the first leg of a two-legged European semi-final. That loss came of course, courtesy of John O'Shea's second goal in 60 Champions League games on the eve of his 28th birthday. O'Shea's goal also left Arsenal stuck on 99 wins in all European competitions and 49 in the Champions League and took United off 747 wins - a 'jumbo' achievement, I'm sure you'll agree! It also stretched United's unbeaten run in the competition to 24 games, 15 of them wins; but I should remind supporters of both sides that the last time Sir Alex Ferguson's men lost in the Champions League was in a semi-final second leg, which they took a one-goal advantage into it. That was back in 2007, when they lost 3-0 in AC Milan in the San Siro.LEG-UP FOR UNITED
Dear Martin. I hope this question gets to you in time for this week's stats article. I am pleased that my team Manchester United beat Arsenal in the first leg and I was wondering if this bodes well for them reaching the Champions League final. How many times has a team won the first leg of a Champions League semi-final and not made it to the final? Darren
In the 14 seasons since the introduction of two-legged semi-finals in 1994-95, there have been 28 Champions League semi-finals completed. Looking at the results for first legs, there have 10 draws, thus 18 first legs produced winners. Of the 18 teams that won their first legs, 14 went on to reach the final. So in effect 78% of the sides that have won the first leg have gone on to win the tie overall.

However, Manchester United are one of the four teams to miss out when leading in the first leg. In the 2006/07 competition they beat AC Milan 3-2 at Old Trafford, but lost the second leg 3-0 at the San Siro to miss out.

In the same season Chelsea beat Liverpool 1-0 at Stamford Bridge in the first leg, only to eventually go out on penalties at Anfield. The other two teams to throw away first leg leads are Real Madrid, who beat Juventus 2-1 in the first leg of their semi-final in 2003, but lost the second leg 3-1. And finally in 1995/96, Panathinaikos beat Ajax 1-0 in their first leg, but lost 3-0 in the second.

Hey Martin, I hail from Pakistan and I love your column. I would like to ask a question related to headers. I wanted to ask you three things. 1. How many headers have been scored in the Premier League this season? 2. Which team has scored most of those headers? 3. Which player has scored the most headers this season? I hope you can help me. Hoping to see your answer. Best regards, Qasim
The two headed goals scored by Blackburn last Sunday were the 154th and 155th in the Premier League this season. The team which has had the most success with headers is Everton, who've scored 14 headed goals in the Premier League - just ahead of Hull City and Stoke City who've scored 13 apiece. The team with the worst record is Middlesbrough, who've scored just one Premier League header all season - Jeremie Aliadiere against Arsenal in December.

In terms of players, Peter Crouch is head and shoulders above the rest with seven headed goals. Next on the list are Tim Cahill and Kevin Davies with six each. Here are some tables from Opta to make things clearer.

Headed goals in the Premier League (team):

Everton (14)
Hull City, Stoke City (13)
Arsenal, Liverpool (11)
Aston Villa, Bolton, Chelsea, Portsmouth (10)
Blackburn, Newcastle (9)
Sunderland, Manchester United (7)
Tottenham Hotspur (5)
West Ham (4)
Manchester City, West Brom, Wigan (3)
Fulham (2)
Middlesbrough (1)

Headed goals in the Premier League (player):

Peter Crouch, Portsmouth (7)
Tim Cahill, Everton (6)
Kevin Davies, Bolton (6)
John Carew, Aston Villa (5)
Fernando Torres, Liverpool (5)
Emmanuel Adebayor, Arsenal (5)
Ricardo Fuller, Stoke City (4)
Frank Lampard, Chelsea (4)

Dear Martin. I'm sure Darren Bent's a different player when he's not playing at White Hart Lane. I'm a Tottenham season ticket holder and I've hardly seen him score a goal at home this season - and yet he's in top 10 Premier League goalscorers. Has he scored more away goals than anyone else this season? Gregory Charlton (Spurs fan)
Thanks to our friends at Opta, I can tell you that Darren Bent has scored nine of his 12 Premier League goals (75%) away from home this season, making him the joint top away goalscorer with Nicolas Anelka, who has also scored nine (60% of his 15 league goals). They are both two goals clear of Amr Zaki, Fernando Torres and Matt Taylor who have all netted seven times on the road.

I have outlined the top away goalscorers below. Note that the Premier League's top scorer, Cristiano Ronaldo, is missing from that list. He has scored 17 times in the league this season, but remarkably he has only scored in one away game - a brace against West Brom in January.

The Premier League's top away goalscorers:

Nicolas Anelka, Chelsea (9)
Darren Bent, Tottenham (9)
Amr Zaki, Wigan (7)
Fernando Torres, Liverpool (7)
Matt Taylor, Bolton (7)
Tim Cahill, Everton (6)
Frank Lampard, Chelsea (6)
Emmanuel Adebayor, Arsenal (6)
Dirk Kuyt, Liverpool (6)

Dear Martin. I enjoyed reading your stats about Andrey Arshavin last week, but there was something else I'd be intrigued to know. Is Arshavin the first Russian to score a hat-trick in the Premier League. I'd also be interested to discover which nationality (apart from England) holds the record for most hat-tricks in the Premier League. Thanksyou, Devasish Goswami
Hi Devasish. To answer your first question, I believe Arshavin is the first player born in Russia to score a Premier League hat-trick, but not the first Russian international to do so. Another Andrei, the former Manchester United winger Kanchelskis, scored two Premier League hat-tricks (one for United and one for Everton). Despite being born in the Ukraine, he decided to play for Russia, even after the Soviet split, so I suppose you could justifiably call him a Russian.

To answer your other question, the nation with the most Premier League hat-tricks (apart from England, which has more than 100) is France. Fourteen Premier League trebles have been scored by Frenchmen, which puts them four ahead of their nearest challengers the Netherlands. In total, players from 30 different nations have scored Premier League hat-tricks - here is a list of the top 10:

Premier League hat-tricks by nationality (excluding England):

1. France (14)
2. The Netherlands (10)
3. Norway (8)
4. Scotland (6)
5= Nigeria (5)
5= Wales (5)
7= Italy (4)
7= Trinidad & Tobago (4)
9= Russia (3)
9= Zimbabwe (3)
9= Togo (3)

Hi Martin. I read somewhere that Fulham are 20 points better off this season than they were at the same stage last season. Is that right? If so, are they on track for some sort of Premier League record for improvement from one season to the next? Cheers, Jon Fellowes
You are correct Jon. With four games left of last season Fulham were on 27 points and this season they have amassed 47 points from 34 games. As I'm sure you'll remember, the Cottagers picked up nine points from their final four games to stay in the Premier League so they will need to repeat that to maintain their 20-point improvement. If they win all four of their remaining games they would finish this season 23 points better off - and that would indeed be a new record.

The record is currently held by Everton. In 2003/04 they finished the season with 39 points, but in the following campaign they picked up 61 points - an improvement of 22 points.

The next best is Blackburn who finished the 2005/06 campaign 21 points better off than in the previous year. Other impressive improvements include Newcastle United (picked up 20 more points in 2001/02 than in 2000/01), Leeds United (picked up 19 more points in 1993/94 than in 1992/93) and Everton again (19 points better off in 1996/97 than in 1995/96).

Hi Martin. This year's run-in looks very interesting and dramatic. I read about the Top 10 Run-ins in Sky Sports' Topical Top 10; but I would like to know the opposite. That is which club has a won the league with most games left to play in the league? Hope I have made myself clear? Thank you. Chrispin Awuah, Ghana
The answer to your question is Manchester United, who won the championship in 2000/01 after the 33rd round of games - so the title was theirs with five games still to play.

In the table below, I have detailed when the title was won in each of the Premier League seasons. As you can see, the title has been decided on the final day on four occasions. However, it is most often won on the penultimate match of the season - this has occurred six times in Premier League history.

2007/08Manchester UnitedFinal day
2006/07Manchester UnitedAfter 36 games
2005/06ChelseaAfter 36 games
2004/05ChelseaAfter 35 games
2003/04ArsenalAfter 34 games
2002/03Manchester UnitedAfter 37 games
2001/02ArsenalAfter 37 games
2000/01Manchester UnitedAfter 33 games
1999/00Manchester UnitedAfter 34 games
1998/99Manchester UnitedFinal day
1997/98ArsenalAfter 37 games
1996/97Manchester UnitedAfter 37 games
1995/96Manchester UnitedFinal day
1994/95Blackburn RoversFinal day*
1993/94Manchester UnitedAfter 41 games*
1992/93Manchester UnitedAfter 41 games*

* 42-game seasons

Tyler's teaser

Hi Martin. I have a teaser for you. Can you name all of the players who have played for two (or more) of the Big Four teams during the Premier League era (Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea). Scott.

MARTIN REPLIES: Myself and my team of helpers here at have put our heads together and we've come up with 13 names. Feel free to email in if you can think of any more.

Nicolas Anelka (Arsneal, Chelsea, Liverpool)
Mark Bosnich (Chelsea, Man Utd)
Lassana Diarra (Arsenal, Chelsea)
Ashley Cole (Arsenal, Chelsea)
William Gallas (Arsenal, Chelsea)
Mark Hughes (Chelsea, Man Utd)
Paul Ince (Liverpool, Man Utd)
Paul Parker (Chelsea, Man Utd)
Jermaine Pennant (Arsenal, Liverpool)
Emmanuel Petit (Arsenal, Chelsea)
Mikael Silvestre (Arsenal, Man Utd)
Juan Sebastian Veron (Chelsea, Man Utd)
Boudewijn Zenden (Chelsea, Liverpool)

Comments (8)

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Francis Rangara (Liverpool fan) says...

Hi, My question is brief, Las season Reading beat Liverpool ans were relegated. Is there a record of teams that have beaten a top four side at least once, and been relegated in the same year?

Posted 08:34 4th May 2009

James Taylor (Arsenal fan) says...

Steve Sidwell - Arsenal and Chelsea

Posted 13:59 1st May 2009

Homzie D (Manchester United fan) says...

Martin, great article as ever. I would like to know how many games have Man Utd won and goals scored and conceeded when we have attacked at the Stretford End in the first half? How many games have we won while attacking the Stretford End in the 2nd half? I presume, we've done btr while attacking the Stretford End in the 2nd half! Also, how many players have never been sent off in their entire carriers? Thanks. Cheers!

Posted 04:58 1st May 2009

Edward Sayers (Maidenhead United fan) says...

Hi Martin, I have a question about relegation. Hull City are currently hovering just above the relegation zone but were up in third nine games into the season. This got me wandering what is the highest position a team has been in the top flight before being relegated (not counting the first couple of games)? Cheers

Posted 20:57 30th April 2009

Alan Breen (Liverpool fan) says...

Jamie Hayward (Manchester United fan) says... Andrew cole played for arsenal and man utd Posted 16:28 30th April 2009 ---------- Andrew Cole played for Arsenal in the old First Division not the Premier League.

Posted 20:34 30th April 2009

Derek O'rourke (Chelsea fan) says...

Hi Martin, Great piece as usual. Would Nigel Spackman fall into this category? He played for both Chelsea and Liverpool but maybe pre PL.

Posted 16:49 30th April 2009

Jamie Hayward (Manchester United fan) says...

Andrew cole played for arsenal and man utd

Posted 16:28 30th April 2009

James Levy (Leeds United fan) says...

Hi Martin, here's a teaser for you. Can you name the 8 players to have played under their fathers in the English Leagues since the formation of the Premier League in 1992?

Posted 16:23 30th April 2009

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