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The cold rush

Man United's bitterest rivals, top-scoring Englishmen and more...

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 12th January 2010 view comments

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Birmingham City: no changes, plenty of points

Birmingham City: no changes, plenty of points

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Tyler's Starting Stat - City get Rover it

I was at the City of Manchester Stadium on Monday night where Manchester City secured only their third home win against Blackburn in Premier League history. They beat Rovers 3-2 at Maine Road in the first Premier League season, having been 2-0 down and they won 3-1 in the same fixture last season. This season's result marks Blackburn's ninth game in the Premier League without a win, stretching back to their 2-0 victory at Bolton in November.

Carlos Tevez's hat-trick means he has now scored 11 goals in his last eight starts and 10 goals in his last seven Premier League games. That takes his overall tally to 15 for the season, 12 in the Premier League.

The result was only City's second win in seven North West derbies this season, the previous victory also coming against Blackburn on the opening day of the season. They have since lost 4-3 to Manchester United and drawn 1-1 with Wigan, 3-3 with Burnley, 2-2 with Liverpool and 3-3 with Bolton.

THE BIG FREEZE
Dear Martin. Did Saturday's bad weather break the record for the most postponements in one day? Clive.

MARTIN SAYS: Well, I spent the weekend sharing the frustration of many football fans who would have liked a choice about whether or not to take the risk of travelling to a game - surely it should be up to the supporters if they want to make the journeys? It is particularly frustrating when the pitches are playable. I was in London on Sunday when the West Ham v Wolves fixture was scheduled to take place and the temperature was at three degrees and there seemed no reason why game shouldn't be played.

Anyway, onto your question. Here is the postponement breakdown in numbers. Only seven professional football matches were played in England on Saturday; two in the Premier League, three in the Championship and two in League One. Two further Championship games were played on Friday and Sunday and one Premier League fixture was held on Monday. In addition, five Scottish Cup games were played on Saturday and one more on Sunday.

On Saturday there were five Premier League postponements, seven Championship postponements, 10 League One postponements and 12 League Two postponements. That adds up to 34 postponements in England on Saturday plus a further 14 League and Cup games off in Scotland, a total of 48 fixtures off.

However, those 48 postponements do not add up to the most weather-hit day in football history. The worst day for postponements was February 9, 1963, when 57 league matches in England and Scotland were frozen off and, like this year, only seven took place. That day the entire Scottish fixture list was cancelled. That was the winter where it started snowing on Boxing Day and didn't clear until March and the season went on until June because of all the postponements. There was obviously no under-soil heating in those days and attempts were made to play games by using braziers on the pitch to melt the ice. A few got underway that way - but it soon killed the grass!

However, if you're looking for the lowest percentage of games left on one day due to postponements, that came during the Second World War on February 3rd 1940 when bad weather meant only one of 56 regional league fixtures took place. Thankfully, it was a cracking game which finished Plymouth Argyle 10 Bristol City 3!

THE BLUES CAN'T LOSE
Dear Martin. Is Birmingham City's current 12-game unbeaten run the best any promoted team have ever put together in the Premier League? The only team that I can think would come close are Ipswich Town under George Burley back when they qualified for Europe? Kind regards, Richard

MARTIN SAYS: Our friends at Opta have given us the stats for this one. Birmingham's 12-match spell is currently the second best unbeaten run from any promoted side in the Premier League era - and they will equal the record if they avoid defeat in their next game which, weather permitting, will be against Portsmouth on Saturday. They could then potentially break the record if they go to Stamford Bridge and avoid defeat against Chelsea on Wednesday, January 27.

The current record is not held by George Burley's Ipswich, however, Richard. The best unbeaten run from a promoted side is the 13-game charge Nottingham Forest put together at the end of the 1994/95 season when they finished third in the table. The following season, when they could no longer be classed as a promoted side of course, they won a further 12 games to take the run to 25 matches in total.

Here is a list of the longest runs by newly-promoted sides in the Premier League, along with the date of their last match unbeaten:

SeasonDateTeamRun
1995May 13, 1995Nottingham Forest13
2010Jan 9, 2010Birmingham City12
1999Dec 19, 1998Middlesbrough11
1995Oct 22, 1994Nottingham Forest11
1993Dec 28, 1992Ipswich Town10
2000Nov 6, 1999Sunderland10
2001Mar 3, 2001Charlton Athletic9
2006Nov 5, 2005Wigan Athletic9
2002Dec 12, 2001Fulham8
1993Sep 12, 1992Ipswich Town8
1994Oct 2, 1993Newcastle United8
1994Apr 4, 1994Newcastle United8
2004Sep 13, 2003Portsmouth8
2004May 4, 2004Portsmouth8

However, they still have some way to go to match the longest unbeaten runs in Premier League history, which I've listed below. That list is of course topped by Arsenal's Invincibles who went just shy of 50 games unbeaten.

TeamUnbeaten gamesDate run ended
Arsenal49Oct 16, 2004
Chelsea40Oct 29, 2005
Arsenal30Oct 6, 2002
Chelsea29Oct 18, 2008
Manchester United29Sep 25, 1999
Nottingham Forest25Nov 6, 1995
Arsenal22Dec 5, 2007
Manchester United22Feb 26, 1994
Arsenal21May 2, 2009
Chelsea21Jan 16, 1999

DON'T CHANGE A WINNING SIDE?
Hi Martin. I never miss your column around and I'm a big fan of your commentary. I have a question for you. I'm a Birmingham City fan and I think our good form is based on Alex McLeish's consistent team selection, picking the same players week-in, week out. Has there ever been another Premier League team that has been changed less than this current Birmingham side? Keep up the good work, John, Walsall.

MARTIN SAYS: In Saturday's 1-1 draw with Manchester United, Alex McLeish named the same side for the ninth consecutive game. The starting XI of Joe Hart, Liam Ridgewell, Stephen Carr, Scott Dann, Roger Johnson, Lee Bowyer, Seb Larsson, Barry Ferguson, Cameron Jerome, Christian Benitez and James McFadden have set a new Premier League record. Never before have the same 11 players started nine straight Premier League games.

The record was previously jointly held by Leeds and Southampton, who both named unchanged sides for eight consecutive Premier League matches. A Leeds side (consisting of John Lukic, Gary Kelly, David Wetherall, John Pemberton, Tony Dorigo, Rod Wallace, Carlton Palmer, Gary McAllister, Gary Speed, Tony Yeboah and Brian Deane ) were unchanged for eight games from April-August 1995 while Southampton didn't change their side (consisting of Paul Jones, Jason Dodd, Ken Monkou, Claus Lundekvam, Francis Benali, Carlton Palmer, Matt Oakley, Kevin Richardson, Matt Le Tissier, David Hirst and Kevin Davies ) from October to December 1997.

Ironically, Birmingham's record was set as their opponents Manchester United achieved a completely contrasting record. Sir Alex Ferguson named a CHANGED line-up for the 100th consecutive match in all competitions (as discussed in this column last week). My own view is that continuity is still a vital commodity in football, even though there are pressures on the modern-day manager to keep large squads happy.

BLANKS OF ENGLAND?
Did you know that an English player has not topped the Premier League scoring charts since Kevin Phillips registered 30 for Sunderland back in 1999/2000? I find that incredible. And in most seasons since, the highest scoring Englishman is a fair way off the top scorer of the League. Martin J

MARTIN SAYS: You are right with your first statement, that Phillips was the last Englishman to top the Premier League scoring charts, but it is not entirely fair to say the highest scoring Englishman has always been a "fair way" off. In seven of the nine seasons since 1999/2000 an Englishman has finished third or second in the top scorers list. The exceptions are 2007/08 when no Englishman finished inside the top 10 (Jermain Defoe and Wayne Rooney finished 11th) and 2006/07 when Rooney was joint fourth.

And of course this season two Englishmen - Defoe and Rooney - are joint top of the current standings with Darren Bent in fourth.

It is also worth pointing out that in every Premier League season before 2001, the Golden Boot was won by an Englishman, as you can see from the table below:

SeasonTop scoring EnglishmanTop scorer
1992/93Teddy Sheringham (22)Teddy Sheringham (22)
1993/94Andrew Cole (34)Andrew Cole (34)
1994/95Alan Shearer (34)Alan Shearer (34)
1995/96Alan Shearer (31)Alan Shearer (31)
1996/97Alan Shearer (25)Alan Shearer (25)
1997/98Dublin / Owen / Sutton (18)Dublin / Owen / Sutton (18)
1998/99Michael Owen (18)Owen / Hasselbaink / Yorke (18)
1999/2000Kevin Phillips (30)Kevin Phillips (30)
2000/01Marcus Stewart (19)Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (23)
2001/02Alan Shearer (23)Thierry Henry (24)
2002/03James Beattie (23)Ruud van Nistelrroy (25)
2003/04Alan Shearer (22)Thierry Henry (30)
2004/05Andrew Johnson (21)Thierry Henry (25)
2005/06Darren Bent (18)Thierry Henry (27)
2006/07Wayne Rooney (14)Didier Drogba (20)
2007/08Jermain Defoe / Wayne Rooney (12)Cristiano Ronaldo (31)
2008/09Steven Gerrard (16)Nicolas Anelka (19)

UNITED'S TRIPLE THREAT
Dear Martin. When was the last time Manchester United were beaten by their three biggest rivals - Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester City - in the same season. Leeds and Liverpool have already done it and I'm hopeful City will win one of the two League Cup matches later this month. Craigie.

MARTIN SAYS: In fact, you don't have to go back too far in time. In the 2002/03 campaign Leeds beat United 1-0 at Elland Road through a Harry Kewell goal before Manchester City won the Manchester derby 3-1 at Maine Road with goals from Nicolas Anelka and Shaun Goater (two). Later that season, Liverpool beat Unioted in the League Cup Final 2-0 (Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen were on the scoresheet) to complete the set.

However, the last time all three beat United in the league was all the way back in the 1977-78 campaign when City and Liverpool recorded 2-1 home wins before Leeds won 1-0 at Old Trafford in the old Division One. It could take several years before that feat is matched again.

FERNANDO'S FIFTY
I heard reports that when Fernando Torres scored his 50th goal against Aston Villa, it was the fourth fastest in the Premier League. Who did it quicker than him? Who else has done it in less than 100 games? Thanks. Liverpool fan.

MARTIN SAYS: Torres hit the 50-goal mark in his 72nd Premier league game, which as you suggest makes him the fourth fastest 50-goal man in the competitions' history. The quickest to 50 goals was Andy Cole (65 games), who just edged out Alan Shearer (66 games) and more recently Ruud van Nistelrooy (68 games). In total 13 men have scored 50 goals within their first 100 Premier League games. Those men are:

1. Andy Cole (65 games)
2. Alan Shearer (66)
3. Ruud van Nistelrooy (68)
4. Fernando Torres (72)
5. Kevin Phillips, Thierry Henry (83)
7. Ian Wright (87)
8. Robbie Fowler (88)
9. Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Teddy Sheringham (94)
11. Les Ferdinand (96)
12. Matt Le Tissier (97)
13. Michael Owen (98)

As you can see from the above list, he is the quickest Liverpool player to 50 in the Premier League era, but he in fact now holds the Liverpool all-time record for being the fastest to 50 top-flight goals. The Reds players to have hit 50 goals in less than 100 games are:

1. Fernando Torres (72 games)
2. Roger Hunt (78)
3. Sam Raybould, Albert Stubbins (80)
5. Jack Parkinson (81)
6. John Aldridge (83)
7. Ian Rush (84)
8. Robbie Fowler (88)
9. Gordon Hodgson (90)
10. Joe Hewitt (95)
11. Harry Chambers, Kenny Dalglish, Michael Owen (98)

Tyler's teaser

Last week

We asked you how many different clubs had topped the Premier League on New Year's Day. And how many of them went on to win the title?

Nine different sides have topped the Premier League on New Year's Day - Norwich, Man Utd, Blackburn, Newcastle, Liverpool, Aston Villa, Leeds, Arsenal and Chelsea.

Only six times have the New Year's Day leaders gone on to win title: Man United in 1993-94, 2000-01 and 2006-07; Blackburn in 1994-95; and Chelsea in 2004-05 and 2005-06

This week

I'm afraid the postponements prevented me from getting in front of a camera, so I shall ask the question in text format. Apologies - and hopefully my video teaser will return next week.

Before Sunday's game was called off, Tottenham were bidding to become the 14th team to do the league double over Liverpool in the Premier League era. Can you name the 13 clubs to have previously done so?

Here's a clue: Six of them are CURRENT Premier League teams. The other seven are FORMER Premier League teams.

Send in your answers using the feedback form below. And keep your questions coming in for Martin... he might answer your query next week.

Comments (24)

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Mark David (Tottenham Hotspur fan) says...

Hi Martin, I have a question for you... With Arsenal facing Bolton in the league on Sunday and then again on Wednesday, I was wondering, when - if ever - was the last time two clubs faced each other in consecutive league games? Thanks, Mark

Posted 16:37 19th January 2010

Christian Stergaard (Manchester United fan) says...

Hi Martin. As a Manchester United supporter i have noticed that Sir Alexs team have benefitted frequently from own goals this season, so i checked out the stats. 5 own goals in 22 league games making it 0.23 per game - almost one every fourth game. In this season United have already benefitted from more Premier League own goals than they have in all competitions in the last three seasons put together! Is this a record for 22 league games? What is the highest total amount of own goals for a full season? And what is Uniteds best for a full season?

Posted 15:53 18th January 2010

Steven Mcdermott (Manchester City fan) says...

Would like to follow up on Kieran Murray's question. What is the average stoppage time added on to each game at the different grounds ? Surely Man U has the most stoppage time added on. The pressure from Sir Alex and a big club like Man U does effect the ref.. I am sure that Man U also has the least penalties awarded against them at OT and I bet they also get alot awarded themselfes. Is this the case.. or is it just all nonsens ?

Posted 10:56 18th January 2010

Tom Haige (Liverpool fan) says...

Hi Martin, massive fan of your commentary and love the amazing facts on you provide for us on your column. As a Liverpool fan obviously am hugely disappointed at how the season has turned out. I heard recently that apparently the winners of the Europa cup this season will go on and automatically qualify for the Champions League the next season. Can you confirm if this is in fact true? If it is and Liverpool happen to win it, and fail to finish top four, would we have five teams from England in the CL or would one drop out? Kind regards, Tom.

Posted 15:53 17th January 2010

James A (Liverpool fan) says...

Hmmmmm! Torres might be the 4th quickest 50 in the prem with games, but who's the fastest 50 goals in "minutes" - surely Torres is up there to be Number one, half his games have been substitutes/substituted! Plus the fact none have been penalties surely should make him the fastest "in field of play" goal scorer!

Posted 08:42 14th January 2010

David S (Aston Villa fan) says...

The answers to your teaser are as follows(in chronological order): The mighty Aston Villa, Wimbledon, Blackburn Rovers, Newcastle United, Man United, Leicester City, Derby County, Leeds United, Charlton Athletic, Arsenal, Southampton, Chelsea and Birmingham City. The last time being in the 04/05 season.

Posted 06:51 14th January 2010

James Graham (Arsenal fan) says...

Hi Martin As an arsenal fan I think it will be great having Sol back in an arsenal shirt. But why was he allowed to play for the reserves against west ham, when he hadn't signed a contract yet? I'm sure the other reserves all would have had contracts signed.

Posted 22:49 13th January 2010

Ciaran Such (Fulham fan) says...

Educated guesses of 13 teams to do the double over Liverpool: Manchester United Arsenal Chelsea Birmingham Everton Blackburn Rovers Leeds United Sheffield Wednesday Newcastle United Barnsley Ipswich Norwich Southampton Was also thinking maybe, Charlton or QPR

Posted 17:18 13th January 2010

Ian Allen (Manchester United fan) says...

Hi Martin, after Fulham beating Man United the other week with Danny Murphy scoring in the process it made me think, which individual player has the best record against United in the premier league after having played against them 5 or more times. Surely Danny Murphy is up there?

Posted 13:35 13th January 2010

Neil Ibbitson (Manchester City fan) says...

What's the highest squad number utilised by a premiership player making it onto the pitch? I recently saw Boyata of City make his debut versus Middlesbrough wearing the number 44, and wondered as to any other higher numbers appearing? (I seem to recall a Portuguese league player actually appearing with 3 digits on the back of his shirt!)

Posted 13:28 13th January 2010

Sam Rodger (Liverpool fan) says...

Hi Martin, Though it took Torres 72 games to score 50 premier league goals, he achieved this without taking any penalties. If we were to take out penalties, how many games did it take for those forwards you mentioned in the above list to reach 50 goals?

Posted 13:22 13th January 2010

Kieran Murray (Chelsea fan) says...

Hi Martin, due to the success and long career of Alex Ferguson there has been a lot of his former players that have become managers of teams in England and abroad. I would like to know over the last five years has he performed better against players he has managed or other managers.

Posted 10:23 13th January 2010

Kieran Murray (Chelsea fan) says...

Hi Martin, in the last few weeks Manchester United have got hugely over inflated amounts of added time when there wasn't any noticable stoppages like 5 minutes against Leeds and 6 minutes against Birmingham probably because they weren't winning. I want to know what is the average amount of stoppage time when they are winning, drawing and losing to see if Sir Alex is pulling strings with the 4th Official or not.

Posted 10:18 13th January 2010

Adam Cowen (Liverpool fan) says...

the teams to do the double over Liverpool are - Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, Aston Villa, Birmingham, Blackburn Rovers, Leeds Utd, Charlton Athletic, Wimbledon, Derby, Southampton, Leicester City and Coventry City (at least the toffees have doubled us in the league!!)

Posted 08:41 13th January 2010

Cagdas Sevinc (Liverpool fan) says...

Hi Martin, I want to learn the "next match" stats of teams that won against so-called 4 bigs in Premier League era. I think "small" teams usually can't be able to motivate themselves after important victories.

Posted 07:51 13th January 2010

Abdulaziz Al-nuaim (Arsenal fan) says...

we all know hows the fastest to get 50 goals in the prem i just wanna know hows the fastest to get 100 goals ........ i bet its henry or shearer !!!!!!!!!!

Posted 06:35 13th January 2010

Simon Worden (Liverpool fan) says...

Hello Martin - the FIRST poster on here ALMOST got it right but Coventry City have NEVER doubled us in the Premier League (and aren't likely to anytime soon either being where they are now), no the 'one other' the missing team from that first post were believe it or not NEWCASTLE United waaaay back in only the competition's second season with the only double they've ever had over us in the Premier League era. So the FULL list reads as follows thus; 13 teams to have done the double over us in the Premier League are: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Birmingham City, Charlton Athletic, Leeds United, Aston Villa, Wimbledon, Derby County, Southampton, Blackburn Rovers, Leicester City and Newcastle United. Interestingly WE have doubled every one of those teams as well - with Newcastle & Villa suffering the most at our hands and Birmingham & Wimbledon (without ANY shadow of a doubt our 2 most cursed bogey sides) the least. PS I don't think Tottenham will add their name to that list either in the rearranged game as we will have Mascherano AND Rodriguez playing for us by then as well as a fit Aquilani to help sort out a number of our recent deficiencies but as ever, we shall see. Just a feeling I had you know? T the last such feeling I had told me we'd win at Stamford Bridge, the date? 26th October 2008 and we ALL know what happened then don't we?..........................

Posted 02:09 13th January 2010

Dermot Fahy (Manchester United fan) says...

Hey martin as we all know goalkeepers are a different breed from the rest of us. I was wondering whether in the past one has had that famous rush of blood and left his box only to get booked for 'diving'? You know tried to take on a player but dived and got booked? I know diving is a keepers job but thought it wud b funny to se if a keep has ever been booked for one...or are there any crazy stats u cud tell me regarding gialkeeprs at all? Thanks 

Posted 01:41 13th January 2010

Ryan Phan (Manchester United fan) says...

answer to your teaser: Manchester united, Arsenal, chelsea, Aston villa, Blackburn rovers, Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Birmingham City, Charlton Athletic, Wimbledon, Derby County, Southampton

Posted 00:49 13th January 2010

John Martin (Liverpool fan) says...

Martin Patrick Viera's return to the Premier League prompted a few clips of his confrontation with Roy Keane in the tunnel at Highbury a few years ago. My query is this: Had either player struck the other in full view of referee Poll would the ref have had to send the culprit off (ie before he actually took the field) ?

Posted 23:05 12th January 2010

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