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The winning numbers

Martin's back with some statistical gems...

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 14th March 2013 view comments

Martin Tyler's stats and facts column is here!

Every week on skysports.com he answers your questions and offers you statistical gems from what he's seen as he tours the world commentating for Sky Sports.

Sky Sports' voice of football and his back-up team of experts want your queries on all things statistical and historical from the beautiful game.

Gerrard: first and last Premier League winners were in 3-2 wins over Spurs

Gerrard: first and last Premier League winners were in 3-2 wins over Spurs

So if you have spotted something from a match or have been stumped by a pub quiz question, simply email skysportsclub@bskyb.com and he will do his best to help.

Tyler's teaser

But as usual we'll kick off with a question for YOU. Click play to see this week's Tyler's Teaser.

Martin's Starting Stat

I was at Anfield on Sunday to see Michael Dawson lose a Premier League game in which he had started for the first time since August 2011 when Tottenham lost 5-1 to Manchester City. In that time he had gone 17 Premier League starts without losing.

Liverpool won their fourth penalty in their last three Premier League home games and just as he did against Swansea, Gerrard converted from the spot. However, Ben Foster saved his effort in the game with West Brom, while Daniel Sturridge scored the other penalty against Swansea. Tottenham are still yet to win a Premier League penalty this season.

Gareth Bale failed to become the first Tottenham player to score in six consecutive Premier League games, but he did provide assists for both of the goals.

The game marked the end of Tottenham's 12-game unbeaten run and their last defeat also came on Merseyside in a game in which they had been winning. They lost 2-1 at Everton having been 1-0 up and then 3-2 at Liverpool after leading 2-1.

However, Spurs are not the only ones to have had a miserable time on Merseyside. Looking ahead to my next commentary game this Saturday lunchtime, Roberto Mancini has never won on Merseyside in eight attempts against Liverpool or Everton as a manager and once as a player. Indeed, his last ever match as a professional player was for Leicester in February 2001 and they lost 2-1 at Everton.

GERRARD'S WINNING HABIT
Steven Gerrard always seems to get important goals for Liverpool and more often than not it's the winning goal. I bet there aren't many people who have scored more winners in the Premier League than he has. Can you tell us how many times he has scored winners and how this compare to other players to have scored lots of winners? Ryan

MARTIN SAYS: Whilst Steven Gerrard has scored plenty of memorable goals in his career, Sunday's clash with Tottenham was only the 11th time he has scored a winning goal in the Premier League - and his first winning goal for three-and-a-half years (the last was against Bolton in 2009). His first ever league winner actually came against the same opposition, Tottenham - with the same scoreline almost exactly a decade ago to the day when Liverpool beat Tottenham 3-2 on March 16 2003.

It's worth pointing out that of his 158 goals, he has scored 61 in other competitions than the Premier League and that's where some of his memorable winners have come from.

Steven Gerrard's Premier League winning goals (NB. Opta define a winner as the crucial goal in a game decided by one goal):

DateOppositionScore
16/3/2003Tottenham3-2
21/4/2003Charlton2-1
11/2/2004Manchester City2-1
21/8/2004Manchester City2-1
25/11/2006Manchester City1-0
11/8/2007Aston Villa2-1
26/12/2007Derby County2-1
23/8/2008Middlesbrough2-1
29/10/2008Portsmouth1-0
29/8/2009Bolton 3-2
10/3/2013Tottenham3-2
   

Opta have given us a list of players to have scored the most winning goals, so by that I mean the first goal for their team in a 1-0 win, or the second in the 2-1 win etc. You won't be surprised to hear that the Premier League's all-time top scorer, Alan Shearer, leads the way with 36 winning goals, ahead of Les Ferdinand on 25. Perhaps surprisingly, Emile Heskey is joint-third on the list with 24 winners, the same number as Dwight Yorke and Frank Lampard, who is the highest current player on our list.

Most winning goals in Premier League history:

PlayerWinning goals 
Alan Shearer36 
Les Ferdinand25 
Emile Heskey24 
Dwight Yorke24 
Frank Lampard24 
Thierry Henry21 
Robbie Keane20 
Wayne Rooney20 
Andy Cole19 
Darren Bent19 
   

HIGH, BUT NO HIGH FIVES
Dear Martin. Big fan of yours and I love reading your column every week. It has been mentioned a lot on forums that Liverpool hadn't beaten a team in the top five this season and so it was good to get that monkey off our back against Spurs. This got me wondering what's the highest a team has finished in the Premier League without beating any of the top five home or away? Stewart Billingham (Liverpool fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Unsurprisingly, no side has ever finished fourth or higher without beating at least one of the top five teams, but there have been three instances of teams finishing fifth without beating any of the teams above them in the final standings. All of those came during the era of the supposed "Big Four" of Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, who repeatedly finished in the top four places during the last decade.

Spurs finished fifth in 2005/06 when their results were as follows:

Chelsea (L 2-0, L 2-1) Man U (D 1-1, L 2-1) Liverpool (D 0-0, L 1-0) Arsenal (D 1-1, D 1-1)

Everton were fifth in 2007/08 when their results were as follows:

Man Utd (L 2-1, L 1-0), Chelsea (D 1-1, L 1-0), Arsenal (L 4-1, L 1-0), Liverpool (L 1-0, L 2-1)

And Everton also came fifth in 2008/09 with the following results against the top four:

Man Utd (L 1-0, D 1-1), Liverpool (D 1-1, L 2-0), Chelsea (D 0-0, D0-0) , Arsenal (L 3-1, D 1-1)

No side has ever finished sixth without beating one of the eventual top five, but three teams have finished seventh - including Liverpool themselves who failed to beat Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Leeds or West Ham in 1998/99.

Meanwhile, Blackburn didn't beat Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Everton in 2007/08 and Sheffield Wednesday didn't beat Man Utd, Blackburn, Newscastle, Arsenal or Leeds in 1993/94, but both came seventh in the final standings.

Highest finishes without beating a top-five side:

TeamFinishedSeason
Everton5th2007/08
Everton5th2008/09
Tottenham5th2005/06
Blackburn7th2007/08
Liverpool7th1998/99
Sheffield Wednesday7th1993/94
Derby County8th1998/99
Fulham8th2010/11
Portsmouth8th2007/08
   

GOING BACK TO BACK
I have a question for Martin Tyler. It has been documented that QPR secured their first back-to-back wins in the Premier League since returning to the top flight in 2011 on Saturday. But what's the longest a team have gone in the Premier League (and stayed up) without enjoying back-to-back wins? Many thanks. Ankit (Chelsea fan).

MARTIN SAYS: QPR may have just ended a run of 66 games in the Premier League without recording back-to-back wins, but that is not the longest such run currently going on in the top flight. Aston Villa are currently on a 67-game sequence without back-to-back Premier League wins. They haven't won back-to-back league games this season or last. In fact, the last time they did so was away at Arsenal and at home to Liverpool in the final two games of the 2010/11 season. They can break that run by beating - of all teams - QPR this weekend. However, if they go through the remaining nine games of this season without back-to-back wins and avoid relegation then they would become the answer to your question.

Currently the answer to your query is Wigan Athletic. According to our friends at Opta, the record for the longest run of games without back-to-back wins and without getting relegated at any time during the run or at the end of the season is held by them, as they went 74 games between August 2009 and May 2011 before they won two in a row. They won the final two games of the 2010/11 season - at home to West Ham and away at Stoke - to break that sequence.

Here are the five teams to have played the most games without winning back-to-back games without being relegated (Aston Villa and QPR are included here because neither have been relegated this season yet!)

TeamGames without back-to-back winsDate of last game in run
Wigan7415/5/2011
Fulham7026/4/2008
Aston Villa67Ongoing
QPR662/3/2013
West Ham5631/1/1996
 
   

The overall Premier League record is held by Sunderland, who went 126 top-flight games without consecutive wins, though they did spend time in the Championship in the middle of that run. The run ended in March 2008 when they won 1-0 at Aston Villa and 2-1 at home to West Ham. They then made it three in a row by winning 3-1 at Fulham in their next league game!

As you'll see from the list below, QPR had in fact gone 85 games in total without winning back-to-back, stretching back to their previous spell in the Premier League. The last time they won three Premier league games in a row was March 1995 when they beat Wimbledon, Leicester and Norwich - but they could do it again if they beat Aston Villa on Saturday.

Longest runs without winning back-to-back Premier League games:

TeamGamesDate of last game in run
Sunderland12622/3/2008
Birmingham10721/11/2009
Blackburn855/3/2002
Derby8511/5/2008
QPR852/3/2013
 
   

NB. Dates indicated are the final game before consecutive wins (ie the first win).

CORNER CONUNDRUM 1
Hi Martin. I am a massive Arsenal fan, and have noticed when we dominate games we normally get lots of corners but never score directly from then. I was wondering how does our conversion rate compare to scoring from corners with the rest of the Premier League teams? I bet we are at the bottom!! Cheers, Chris

MARTIN SAYS: We received this question before Arsenal's game against Bayern Munich on Wednesday night when they did indeed score from a corner, but as it was in the Champions League that Laurent Koscielny goal does not feature in these statistics.

We asked Opta to look at the corner conversion stats for each team in the Premier League and you're right to suggest Arsenal do not have a very good record in that department. They have earned 193 corners this season - the fourth highest total in the Premier League - but they have only scored three goals from corners - the second lowest total. In fact, the only team with a worse corner record this season is Newcastle United, who have scored just once from a corner all season despite having 162 attempts.

At the other end of the scale, Manchester United have had a very successful season from corners, scoring 13 times from their 165 efforts. That means they score with 8% of their corners in the Premier League, a very healthy total indeed. Also near the top of the pile are Stoke and Wigan (who of course started their famous FA Cup win over Everton last week with a goal from a corner too).

TeamCornersResulting goalsConversion %
Man Utd165138%
Stoke 12576%
Wigan14186%
West Brom15196%
Sunderland14164%
Southampton15764%
Chelsea17774%
Norwich12343%
Aston Villa13143%
Fulham13543%
Man City20463%
Reading14243%
Liverpool21063%
Tottenham20652%
West Ham17342%
QPR13432%
Everton18742%
Swansea14932%
Arsenal19332%
Newcastle16211%

CORNER CONUNDRUM 2
Dear Martin, Love the column, every week we read and discuss at work. I have noticed there is a lot of talk around the number of goals Manchester United have scored from corners this year, which coincides with our new corner taker RVP joining. Do you have any sort of stats that show who the corner taker was and the number of goals scored? Regards, Adam (United fan)

MARTIN SAYS: We asked Opta to look at the 10 players to have taken the most corners this season to see how many goals were scored as a result (we should point out that these statistics are assists from corner situations, so aren't necessarily just goals directly assisted by corner takers).

Robin van Persie has taken 82 corners this season, yielding two goals (Evans v Newcastle and Evra v Swansea) - although it should be pointed out that he has twice scored from corners himself this season (from Nani v Southampton and from Valencia v West Brom). Only three players have produced more goals from corners this season.

Those three men are Jonathan De Guzman of Swansea, Chris Brunt of West Brom and Steven Gerrard of Liverpool. The first two actually both created goals from corners in the same game on Saturday. De Guzman set up Luke Moore against West Brom, having previously created goals for Michu against Wigan and Norwich. Brunt has set up goals for Gareth McAuley against both Everton and Liverpool and his corner led to De Guzman's own goal on Saturday. How ironic that it should be a fellow corner taker turning into his own net! The corner kicks of Steven Gerrard, meanwhile, have led to goals for Martin Sktrtel (v Man City and Fulham) and Daniel Agger (v QPR).

Players to have taken the most corners in the Premier League this season:

PlayerCorners takenResulting goals
Jonathan De Guzman1073
Steven Gerrard 1013
Leighton Baines951
Mark Noble881
Gareth Bale880
David Silva822
Robin van Persie822
Santi Cazorla790
Chris Brunt793
Robert Snodgrass661

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