Blogs & Opinion


New Year omens

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 8th January 2014 view comments

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Martin's Starting Stats

I was at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday evening to watch Sunderland's first win over Manchester United since November 2000 when they knocked them out of the League Cup with another 2-1 home win. On that day, the winning goal was a penalty scored by Kevin Phillips after a foul by John O'Shea, who was at the heart of Tuesday's triumph by the same scoreline. In between the two Sunderland victories have been 20 meetings, including 16 Manchester United wins and four draws.

Manchester United had gone 11 away games without defeat (all competitions) since the 4-1 loss to Manchester City in September, but that run has now ended.

Sunderland may be bottom of the Premier League with just three wins and 15 goals in 20 games, but in their six cup ties, they have won six and scored 15 goals - all at home incidentally. The second leg will be first away cup tie of the season

Manchester United hadn't conceded a goal in the League Cup this season after three wins against Liverpool (1-0), Norwich (4-0) and Stoke (2-0), but their defence was finally undone by their 40-year-old player coach with an own goal. That Ryan Giggs goal was, in fact, the 300th in the Capital One Cup this season in the 89th game of the competition. We've now seen 302 goals in 89 games, which isn't far short of 3.5 per match

The result meant Manchester United suffered three defeats in a row for the first time since the last three games of the 2000/01 season. They had already won the title so the losses to Derby (h), Southampton (a) and Tottenham (a) were all dead rubbers anyway.

This was only the second time that David Moyes has lost to Sunderland in 21 games as manager of Manchester United and Everton. His only previous loss was last April with Everton (1-0 at the Stadium of Light), but he enjoyed his biggest ever win as Everton manager with a 7-1 win over Sunderland in November 2007.

New Year's Revolution?

Dear Martin. Can you settle a debate with a friend of mine who is an Arsenal fan. Liverpool were top on Christmas Day, but Arsenal were top on New Year's Day. How many times has the lead of the Premier League changed between Christmas and New Year and in history which team is more likely to finish the season on top - the Christmas Day leaders or the New Year's Day leaders? Oliver Haynold (Liverpool fan)

MARTIN SAYS: This is only the second time in Premier League history that the team top of the table on Christmas Day has differed from the side that topped the table at the end of New Year's Day. The only previous occasion was the 2001/02 season when Newcastle were top on Christmas Day with 36 points from 18 games. However, by the New Year they had been overtaken by Leeds (41 points from 21 games).

However, NEITHER of those sides came out on top at the end of the season as Arsenal ended up winning the title with 87 points, seven points ahead of second-placed Liverpool. Newcastle finished fourth with Leeds in fifth.

There are two ways of looking at that if you're looking for omens. You could say that whenever the lead changes between Christmas and New Year then neither side ends up as champions. Or you could say that when the lead changes between Christmas and New Year then Arsenal and Liverpool end up in the top two positions!

Of the other 20 teams to be top on New Year's Day and Christmas Day, 10 of them ended the season as champions and only one finished outside the top four. That was Aston Villa in 1998/99 who were top on both Christmas Day and New Year's Day, but finished the season down in sixth.

Teams top of the Premier League on Christmas Day / New Year's Day:

Season TeamTeamChampions
1992-93NorwichNorwichMan Utd3
1993-94Man UtdMan UtdMan Utd1
1994-95BlackburnBlackburnBlackburn1
1995-96NewcastleNewcastleMan Utd2
1996-97LiverpoolLiverpoolMan Utd4
1997-98Man UtdMan UtdArsenal2
1998-99Aston VillaAston VillaMan Utd6
1999-00LeedsLeedsMan Utd3
2000-01Man UtdMan UtdMan Utd1
2001-02NewcastleLeedsArsenal4/5
2002-03ArsenalArsenalMan Utd2
2003-04Man UtdMan UtdArsenal3
2004-05ChelseaChelseaChelsea1
2005-06ChelseaChelseaChelsea1
2006-07Man UtdMan UtdMan Utd1
2007-08ArsenalArsenalMan Utd3
2008-09LiverpoolLiverpoolMan Utd2
2009-10ChelseaChelseaChelsea1
2010-11Man UtdMan UtdMan Utd1
2011-12Man CityMan CityMan City1
2012-13Man UtdMan UtdMan Utd1
2013-14LiverpoolArsenal??

The joy of six

Hi Martin, great column as always. With Hull's 6 second half goal demolition of Fulham (a record for the club in the Premier League), can you tell me how many times there has been 6 goals scored in the second half of a Premier League game? Chris Leighton (Hull City Fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Thanks to the boffins at Opta I can tell you that this is the 48th occasion in Premier League history when a game has featured six (or more) goals in the second half. It's actually the second time this season when six goals have been scored after the break following Manchester City's 6-3 win over Arsenal when City scored four times and Arsenal twice.

However, it is only the eighth time in Premier League history that one individual side has scored six or more second-half goals. As you can see below, Hull are the first team to do it since Arsenal scored six against Newcastle in a 7-3 win, almost a year to the day earlier.

However, there is one instance of a team scoring EIGHT goals after the break. That was Tottenham in their home game with Wigan in November 2009 when they won 9-1, despite only being 1-0 up at half-time. Indeed Jermain Defoe scored FIVE second-half goals alone in that game.

You'll also see Manchester United's famous 8-1 win over Nottingham Forest mentioned below, a game which I commentated on, in which new Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer got four second-half goals, all scored after the 79th minute!

Most second-half goals by one Premier League team in a game

All Time PLTeam2nd Half Goals by One TeamOpposition
22 Nov 09Tottenham8Wigan
29 Dec 12Arsenal6Newcastle
09 May 10Chelsea6Wigan
28 Dec 13Hull City6Fulham
04 Mar 95Manchester United6Ipswich
06 Feb 99Manchester United6Nottingham Forest
12 Jan 08Manchester United6Newcastle
11 May 08Middlesbrough6Manchester City

Wigan's Paul Scharner also scored in the second-half of Wigan's defeat to Tottenham, taking the total goals scored after the break to nine, a Premier League record. We have seen three games with eight goals after the break - Arsenal's 7-3 win over Newcastle last season, Portsmouth's famous 7-4 win over Reading in 2007 and Tottenham's 6-4 win over Reading in 2007.

More than six second-half goals in a Premier League game:

DateFixtureTotal Goals2nd Half Goals
22-Nov-09Tottenham Hotspur v Wigan Athletic109
29-Dec-12Arsenal v Newcastle United108
29-Sep-07Portsmouth v Reading118
29-Dec-07Tottenham Hotspur v Reading108
21-Apr-09Liverpool v Arsenal87
24-Oct-04Newcastle United v Manchester City77
09-Apr-94Norwich City v Southampton97
13-Nov-04Wimbledon v Manchester United97
22-Nov-97Wimbledon v Manchester United77

All four to the fore

Hi Martin, Love the column. Boxing day was the first time this season where all of last season's top 4 won their games on the same day. Seeing as this was the 18th round of fixtures, is this the longest it has taken the top 4 sides from the previous season to win in the same round of fixtures? How many times in a season do the top 4 all win together? I'd imagine this year is exceptionally low. Cheers, Steve

MARTIN SAYS: Opta can only check when teams have won on the same day (so not necessarily the same matchday), but this season is not particularly unusual. Last season, for example, we had to wait slightly longer - until December 29 before the previous year's top four of Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal and Tottenham won on the same day. Indeed there have been six Premier League seasons where the previous year's top four have NEVER won on the same day.

The shortest wait was 2011/12 when Man Utd (v Bolton), Chelsea (v Sunderland), Man City (v Wigan) and Arsenal (v Swansea) all won on September 10, the fourth game of the season.

Remember, they often don't play on the same day. This season we've seen last year's top four play on the same day just seven times - and it took until the sixth attempt (Boxing Day) for them all to win.

First date when the previous season's top four all won on the same day:

Season wonFirst date when previous year's top four all
1993-199415-Oct-94
1994-1995-
1995-199608-Apr-96
1996-1997-
1997-1998-
1998-199926-Dec-98
1999-200011-Sep-99
2000-200103-Feb-01
2001-200226-Dec-01
2002-200326-Dec-01
2003-200422-Nov-03
2004-200525-Sep-04
2005-2006-
2006-200723-Dec-06
2007-200820-Oct-07
2008-200920-Oct-07
2009-2010-
2010-2011-
2011-201210-Sep-11
2012-201329-Dec-12
2013-201426-Dec-13

Kings of the Cup

Dear Martin. I can't remember the last time Arsenal lost in the third round of the FA Cup. I heard it is something like 18 years. Has any other team won more consecutive third-round ties than they have? Ian Gill (Arsenal fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Arsenal's win over Tottenham on Saturday evening was indeed the 18th season in a row that they have got through the third round of the FA Cup. The last time they failed to progress was 1995/96 when they played Sheffield United and drew 1-1 with them at home before a Carl Veart goal saw them crash out in the replay at Bramall Lane. Arsene Wenger took over the following season and has never tasted defeat at the first hurdle in the cup.

Arsenal's current run of 18 straight third-round wins is, however, only the second longest such streak in the history of the competition. Between 1985 and 2009, Manchester United progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup on 24 consecutive occasions. They lost 2-0 to Harry Redknapp's Bournemouth in January 1984 and did not lose another third-round tie until their shock 1-0 defeat to Leeds in January 2010; the first third-round defeat for Sir Alex Ferguson. That statistic makes Swansea's victory at the weekend even more impressive.

Chelsea are currently on a 16-game unbeaten streak in the third round of the FA Cup. The weekend victory over Derby continued a run of victories that stretches back to a 5-3 defeat at home to Manchester United on January 4, 1998. That's the joint third longest third-round streak in FA Cup history.

Ipswich Town also put together a 16-game winning run between 1970 and 1986. The run started when they beat Newcastle in 1971 (they lost 1-0 at home to Manchester United the year before) and ended when they lost 1-0 at home to Birmingham in January 1987. Chelsea can beat that tally if they win their third-round tie next season.

Goalkeeping assists

Dear Martin. It was interesting to see Jussi Jaaskelainen get credited with an assist in West Ham's defeat to Fulham and it seems typical of Sam Allardyce's approach. Can you tell me if he is the goalkeeper with the most assists in the Premier League this season and, if not then who is? Bobbie (West Ham fan)

MARTIN SAYS: In fact, Jussi Jaaskelainen's assist for Mohamed Diame's goal is only his first Premier League assist of the season, although that puts him joint top of the assist table when it comes to goalkeepers!

Only three assists have come from goalkeepers this term. The first was from Aston Villa's Brad Guzan, who set up Andreas Weimann with a long kick in the 3-2 win over Manchester City on September 28.

The only other Premier League assist from a goalkeeper this season came on the same weekend from Everton's Tim Howard, who set up Romelu Lukaku to score in their 3-2 win over Newcastle on September 30.

However, it mustn't be forgotten that we have seen a Premier League goalkeeper score a goal this season; Stoke's Asmir Begovic scored in their 1-1 draw with Southampton in November.

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