Blogs & Opinion


Game of one half

Martin's back with some statistical gems...

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 3rd April 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.

Vertonghen: goalscoring Belgian defender appears in two of Tyler's stats this week!

Vertonghen: goalscoring Belgian defender appears in two of Tyler's stats this week!

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 Craven Cottage on Monday night to see Adel Taarabt scored his fifth goal of season, with three of them coming against Fulham. Overall it was his 150th game for QPR and his 34th goal.

Loic Remy scored his fourth goal in six starts for QPR and Andros Townsend made his 100th league career appearance spread over 10 clubs - and he's only 21!

Dimitar Berbatov scored for the fourth consecutive Premier League game, which is the first time in his career that he's ever done that. He also became the first Fulham player to score in four games in a row since Steed Malbranque in 2003. The Bulgarian also took his recent record to six in his last six.

QPR conceded their first Premier League penalty of the season in their 31st game. They also won their third of the season, but they've all been saved (Cisse at home to Norwich, Taarabt away to Norwich and Remy away at Fulham).

Meanwhile, Fulham have scored all six of their penalties this season - Berbatov with four and one each from Mladen Petric and Steven Sidwell. More on penalties below...

LITTLE SPOT OF BOTHER
Dear Martin. QPR conceded their first penalty of the season on Monday night against Fulham, which seems a long time to go without conceding one. This got me wondering which team has conceded the most in the league this year and I'd also be interested to know if a side has ever gone a whole Premier League season without conceding at least one penalty. Mark (QPR fan)

MARTIN SAYS: QPR became the 19th team to concede a penalty in the Premier League this season and only Manchester United are yet to do so. To date, Wigan and Aston Villa have conceded the most in the league this term; the spot-kick conceded by Nathan Baker against Liverpool on Sunday was the seventh they've given away this term.

Premier League 2012/13Penalties Conceded
Aston Villa 7
Wigan7
West Bromwich Albion6
Norwich6
Stoke5
Southampton5
Fulham5
Sunderland4
Reading4
Swansea4
Arsenal4
Liverpool4
Newcastle3
Tottenham3
Manchester City2
West Ham2
Everton2
Queen's Park Rangers1
Chelsea1
Manchester United0

Opta have only been keeping data on penalties conceded since the 2003/04 season and in that timeframe, no side has gone for a whole Premier League season without conceding at least one spot-kick. So Manchester United will set a record if they don't give any away in the final seven games of their campaign.

In the last 10 seasons we have seen 11 teams go through an entire campaign conceding just ONE penalty. Those teams are as follows:

2004/05 Bolton Wanderers
2004/05 Liverpool
2004/05 Everton
2005/06 Arsenal
2005/06 Blackburn Rovers
2006/07 Liverpool
2007/08 Manchester United
2007/08 Tottenham Hotspur
2008/09 Chelsea
2010/11 Fulham
2011/12 Tottenham Hotspur

A GAME OF ONE HALF
Martin, as a Fulham fan it was no surprise to me to see Fulham do so well in the first half against QPR, only to nearly throw it away in the second half. All season long we have started games well and tailed off towards the end. My mate says we'd be in a Champions League position if games finished at half-time. Can you tell me if he is right? Regards, Simon Johns (Fulham fan)

Dear Martin. I'd love to know where Aston Villa would be in the Premier League table if games finished at half-time. I think we'd be well out of the relegation zone. Can you show us a first-half league table?Dave Wright (Aston Villa fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Well, as so many of you want to have this question answered I think I had better answer it!

Both of you are right to think that your teams would be much better off if their matches finished at half-time. Fulham have only been behind at the break eight times this season and would be seven points better off if games finished at half-time. In fact, they would be fifth in the table if matches finished after 45 minutes - so not quite in the Champions League spots!

As for Aston Villa, they are in the relegation zone in real life, but in our "first-half" table they would be in sixth position and heading into Europe! Villa would be 12 points better off if games finished at half-time. They have conceded an astonishing 39 goals in the second half of games this year, compared to just 19 in the first half.

Here is the "first-half" table this season, which also doesn't make good reading if you're a fan of Tottenham or Arsenal!

 PWDLFAGDPTS
Manchester Utd3019833514+2165
Chelsea30161043111+2058
Manchester City30121352112+949
Everton30121262717+1048
Fulham30121082118+346
Aston Villa31101291719-242
Tottenham3181761812+641
Liverpool31118122621+541
Newcastle311011101719-241
Arsenal3081572320+339
Sunderland31911111822-438
West Bromwich Albion31813101521-637
West Ham3099121817+136
Stoke3161691215-334
Southampton31810132230-834
Swansea3151881319-633
Norwich31613121524-931
Wigan30612121223-1130
Reading31610151426-1228
Queens Park Rangers31218111126-1524

BACK TO FRONT ALL OVER AGAIN
Jan Vertonghen has chipped in with more than a defender's fair share of goals for Tottenham this season, including completing his home and away double against Swansea on Saturday. How often has a defender netted in both fixtures against one team in Premier League history? Chris Bourke

MARTIN SAYS: It's a good feat for the Tottenham defender to score home and away against the same team, but he's far from the first man to do it. In fact, according to Opta, this is the 23rd time in Premier League history that a defender has completed such a double.

In fact, it is the fourth time this season that a defender has scored home and away against the same side. As a Tottenham fan I'm sure you won't have forgotten that Per Mertesacker scored in both North London derbies this year, although his strike in the White Hart Lane game a couple of weeks ago ended up being a consolation in a 2-1 defeat.

Newcastle fans will also be disappointed to be reminded that not one, but TWO Manchester United defenders netted against them in their home and away fixtures this season. Jonny Evans and Patrice Evra scored the first two goals in the 3-0 win for Sir Alex Ferguson's side in October and then repeated the trick in the return game at Old Trafford on Boxing Day, which United won 4-3. Yet again United's first goal was scored by Evans and their second by Evra - and Evans was also credited with an own goal for Newcastle in that game!

Despite the glut of defenders scoring home and away this season, only one other defender has achieved the feat since 2007. That man is Glen Johnson who scored in both games for Liverpool against his former club West Ham in the 2010/11 season.

DefenderTeamOppositionSeason
FaircloughLeedsNewcastle1993/94
MorganCoventryChelsea1993/94
BartonWimbledonAston Villa1994/95
CooperNottingham ForestBolton1995/96
RieperWest HamCoventry1995/96
BjornebyeLiverpoolMiddlesbrough1996/97
LeboeufChelseaDerby1996/97
BarnardBarnsleyEverton1997/98
GordonCrystal PalaceBolton1997/98
LeboeufChelseaSheffield Wednesday1997/98
StefanovicSheffield WednesdayBarnsley1997/98
IrwinManchester UnitedLiverpool1998/99
ClementWest Bromwich AlbionManchester City2002/03
HyypiaLiverpoolBolton2003/04
SamuelAston VillaCharlton2003/04
BainesWiganManchester United2006/07
GallasArsenalLiverpool2006/07
JagielkaSheffield UnitedMiddlesbrough2006/07
JohnsonLiverpoolWest Ham2010/11
EvansManchester UnitedNewcastle2012/13
EvraManchester UnitedNewcastle2012/13
MertesackerArsenalTottenham2012/13
VertonghenTottenhamSwansea2012/13

BRILLIANT BELGIANS
Dear Martin. I heard that Belgium is the third highest scoring nation in the Premier League this season. I know Christian Benteke and Marouane Fellaini have scored a lot of goals, but is this really true? Can you tell us which other nationalities have been getting the most goals this year? I imagine Frenchmen would be second behind Englishmen? Marcus (Arsenal fan)

MARTIN SAYS: It is absolutely true. This season there have been 55 Premier League goals scored by Belgian players as follows - and Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen hasn't even contributed any yet! The goals have come from just eight players:

Christian Benteke (14)
Romelu Lukaku (13)
Marouane Fellaini (11)
Eden Hazard (8)
Jan Vertonghen (4)
Kevin Mirallas (3)
Mousa Dembele (1)
Vincent Kompany (1)

As you suspect, the most goals have come from English players - 238 to be precise - but you're wrong to think that Frenchmen are second on the list. In fact, Spanish players have contributed the second highest total with 71 so far this campaign. Frenchmen have contributed 45 goals ahead of Scotland (39), Republic of Ireland (32) and Wales (28) - which were mostly from Gareth Bale!

Despite Luis Suarez's best effort, Argentina leads the way for South America with 27 Premier League goals this campaign. The highest-scoring African nation in the Premier League is Senegal with 24 goals.

It must be pointed out that this list has to be constantly updated due to the regulations that allow players to represent nations other than the nation of their birth. Victor Moses could have been classed as an England player, for example, and is now classed as a Nigerian.

Premier League goals by nationality (top 20):

NationalityPL Goals (2012/2013)
England238
Spain71
Belgium55
France45
Scotland39
Republic of Ireland32
Wales28
Argentina27
Uruguay26
Netherlands25
Senegal24
Ivory Coast20
Brazil13
Bulgaria13
Germany13
Bosnia & Herzegovina12
Croatia12
Nigeria12
Northern Ireland11
Mexico8

VAN OUT OF GAS?
Dear Martin. Big fan of your column and the commentary work you do each week. I am a big Man United fan and I am still backing Robin van Persie to be top scorer, even though he is having a bit of a goal drought at the moment. Has a player ever gone that long without a goal and still ended up as top Premier League scorer? Keep up the good work, Christian

MARTIN SAYS: In terms of the Premier League, Robin van Persie's goal drought is not too long. He has failed to score in his last four games (we await the Premier League's dubious goals panel verdict on the goal against Sunderland, by the way), but it may feel longer because he has played nine games for Manchester United in all competitions without scoring - and I will be at his next game against Manchester City on Monday night.

It is not uncommon to see players go four games without scoring and still end up as the Premier League's top scorer. Indeed, Van Persie himself had a four-game barren run for Arsenal last season and still ended up as the league's top goal-getter. Furthermore, Michael Owen went eight games without a goal in 1997/98 and Nicolas Anelka went eight games without a goal in 2008/09 and both of those players claimed the Golden Boot.

Below we have listed the top goalscorers in each Premier League season and considered their longest runs without a goal in that season. It's fascinating to note that in 1993/94 Andy Cole never went more than two games without scoring a league goal. And also Alan Shearer went for three straight seasons between 1994/95 and 1996/97 without a goal drought longer than three league games.

Longest goal droughts for each Premier League top scorer:

SeasonGolden Boot winnerLongest run without scoring
1992/93Sheringham5
1993/94Cole2
1994/95Shearer3
1995/96Shearer3
1996/97Shearer3
1997/98Dublin6
1997/98Owen8
1997/98Sutton5
1998/99Hasselbaink4
1998/99Owen6
1998/99Yorke5
1999/00Phillips3
2000/01Hasselbaink4
2001/02Henry4
2002/03Van Nistelrooy5
2003/04Henry5
2004/05Henry6
2005/06Henry4
2006/07Drogba4
2007/08Ronaldo5
2008/09Anelka8
2009/10Drogba4
2010/11Berbatov7
2010/11Tevez4
2011/12Van Persie4

ARE SAINTS SAFE?
Dear Martin. It's been a brilliant few weeks to be a Southampton fan and I can't believe we're up to 12th in the table after beating Chelsea. I'm sure most Southampton fans won't say we're safe yet, but what do the statistics tell us? Has a team ever been this high after 31 games of a season and still gone down? I hope the answer is no! Craig Anka (Southampton fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Well Craig, the answer is indeed no! We have never seen a team in 12th place after 31 games of a 38-game Premier League season end up being relegated. In fact, we haven't seen a team in 13th or 14th at this stage end up in the bottom three (so that's good news for fans of Stoke City and Norwich, who currently occupy those positions).

However, we have seen two teams in 15th after 31 games end up in the relegation zone at the end of the season. Back in 1995/96, Manchester City were 15th after 31 games with 30 points and even though they picked up a further eight points that season they finished 18th with 38 points.

More recently we saw Reading in 15th after 31 games of the 2007/08 season. They had 31 points at that stage and were five points clear of the relegation zone (and eight points clear of Fulham in 19th). However, the Royals picked up just five points from their last seven games and finished 18th - while Fulham won 13 points from their run-in and survived on goal difference!

Comments (2)

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H. woodrow Wilson (Manchester United fan) says...

Thanks Martin, for those great stats, really a nice re-debut after quit a long time out; but I've this question for you, is Fabrice Delph of Aston Villa the first player to score an own goal as his first in the EPL against his team fighting relagation? It is my pleasure to be reading your column, please keep it up!

Posted 17:08 13th April 2013

Michael Tennekoon (Manchester United fan) says...

Hello Martin, To echo the sentiments, your column is absolutely fantastic! I love reading up on all the stats! I just have a quick question about Man United. To me it seems that this season we have conceded a ridiculous amount of goals in the 15 minutes after half time (i.e 45-60mins). And this happens in all competitions! Am I just imagining this? If there was a league table based on games ending at the 60 minute mark, I wouldn't be surprised if we were closer to the bottom 3 than the top 3!

Posted 14:57 10th April 2013

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