Blogs & Opinion


Chart toppers

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 10th March 2014 view comments

Tyler's Teaser

Every week, Martin will set you a question of his own to get your grey matter working. Click above for this week's Tyler's Teaser - which comes from the Nou Camp ahead of Manchester City's game at Barcelona.

Send your questions to Martin

1: Email your posers to skysportsclub@bskyb.com

2. Use the feedback form at the bottom of this page.


Martin's Starting Stats

I was at the Nou Camp on Wednesday evening to see Barcelona defeat Manchester City. It was the 92nd time out of 92 that a team losing 2-0 at home in the first leg have failed to qualify. It's also the ninth time Barcelona have led 2-0 from an away first leg and progressed.

Going into the game, both Manuel Pellegrini and Tata Martino had played 44 games in their current jobs and won 32 of them - but the Barca boss went ahead with this victory.

This was Barcelona's 499th game in the Champions League and they will play their 500th in the first leg of the quarter-final.

Lionel Messi has scored 17 goals in 18 appearances in the round of 16. He has also scored 67 Champions League goals for Barcelona, beating Raul's 66 for Real Madrid - that's the most for one club.

Top of both charts

Hi Martin, love the work you're doing! With Suarez topping the goal scoring and assists charts at the moment, has there been any player who has come out on top of both at the end of the season? Palace and Liverpool fan.

MARTIN SAYS: You're absolutely right to say that Luis Suarez is currently top of both lists. He has 24 goals, which is six more than anybody else, and 10 assists, which is the joint-highest tally in the Premier League along with Wayne Rooney.

If he maintains his position at the top of both lists until the end of the season then he would become only the third player in Premier League history to do so.

The last player to do it was Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink in 1998/99, who scored 18 goals and was joint top scorer alongside Dwight Yorke and Michael Owen. He also provided 13 assists, which was the joint highest tally in the Premier League that season along with Dennis Bergkamp.

Only one other player has achieved the feat in the Premier League era - and that was Andy Cole. In 1993/94 he was the top flight's top scorer with 34 goals for Newcastle and he also provided 13 assists, which was more than any other player - and some people dared to suggest he never did anything but score goals!

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry fell agonisingly short of achieving this feat in 2002/03 when he produced an incredible 20 assists and scored 24 goals. He was top of the assists chart that season, but was beaten to the Golden Boot by Ruud van Nistelrooy who scored one more goal than him.

Not all top scorers provide that many assists for their team-mates, however. For example, Nicolas Anelka won the Golden Boot in 2008/09, but only produced two assists for his team-mates all season. Courtesy of Opta, here are the top scorers in the last 10 seasons and how many assists they provided. As you can see, in this period only Thierry Henry and Didier Drogba have won the Golden Boot and produced 10 or more assists:

SeasonTop scorerGoalsAssists
2002/2003Ruud van Nistelrooy254
2003/2004Thierry Henry306
2004/2005Thierry Henry2514
2005/2006Thierry Henry278
2006/2007Didier Drogba204
2007/2008Cristiano Ronaldo316
2008/2009Nicolas Anelka192
2009/2010Didier Drogba2910
2010/2011Carlos Tevez
Dimitar Berbatov
20
20
6
4
2011/2012Robin van Persie309
2012/2013Robin van Persie269

Striking statistics

Dear Martin, I really love the column, it's great. A statistic that keeps coming up regularly is that Chelsea's strikers are appalling and it actually makes Mourinho's comments about Chelsea being the underdog quite true in my opinion actually. We could easily lose and draw a few yet due to a lack of goals. Also it makes me wonder how far would Chelsea be ahead if they had a man who could get 15-20 league goals a season? Not even 25-35 but just even 15-20. We'd run away with it in the following seasons if we got Lukaku's scoring form! My question is what team won the Premier League title with the least amount of goals from their strikers and are the Blues on course to beat that? David

MARTIN SAYS: According to those clever chaps at Opta, only 14 of Chelsea's 56 Premier League goals have come from their strikers. Samuel Eto'o has scored seven, while Fernando Torres has four and Demba Ba has three. That's just 25% of their total - and it means that at the current rate Chelsea's strikers would finish the season with around 18 goals.

The lowest number of goals scored by the recognised strikers of a Premier League title winning team is 24 - and that was achieved by Chelsea the last time they won the league under Jose Mourinho in 2005/06. Only three recognised strikers scored for them in that campaign - Didier Drogba (12), Eidur Gudjohnsen (2) and Hernan Crespo (10) and their top scorer was midfielder Frank Lampard (19).

When the Premier League started, most teams played with two strikers, which is now very infrequent. Eden Hazard, who is a winger with striking capabilities, is Chelsea's top scorer for example. So it's not always simple to define who is and isn't a striker now - it was much simpler in the past - and one of the reasons that Jose Mourinho's two teams are in question here is that he usually prefers to play with just one central striker. Therefore it is only natural that more goals come from other areas of the team.

That contrasts starkly with the 56 goals that Manchester United's strikers scored between them in their title-winning season of 1999/2000. That year Dwight Yorke (20), Andrew Cole (19), Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (12) and Teddy Sheringham (5) were the recognised strikers among the goals.

Below we have detailed the goals from strikers for every Premier League title-winning side - and you can see that no team has won the league with such a small contribution from their forwards as the current Chelsea team:

SeasonChampionsTotal goals by strikersNo. of Strikers to ScoreStrikers to Score
1992/1993Manchester United344Hughes, Cantona, McClair, Dublin
1993/1994Manchester United324Cantona, Hughes, Dublin, McClair
1994/1995Blackburn Rovers503Shearer, Sutton, Gallacher
1995/1996Manchester United283Cantona, Cole, McClair
1996/1997Manchester United353Solskjaer, Cantona, Cole
1997/1998Arsenal354Bergkamp, Wright, Anelka, Wreh
1998/1999Manchester United494Yorke, Cole, Solskjaer, Sheringham
1999/2000Manchester United564Yorke, Cole, Solskjaer, Sheringham
2000/2001Manchester United434Yorke, Cole, Solskjaer, Sheringham
2001/2002Arsenal485Henry, Wiltord, Bergkamp, Kanu, Jeffers
2002/2003Manchester United403van Nistelrooy, Solskjaer, Forlan
2003/2004Arsenal384Henry, Bergkamp, Wiltord, Kanu
2004/2005Chelsea263Gudjohnsen, Drogba, Kezman
2005/2006Chelsea243Drogba, Gudjohnsen, Crespo
2006/2007Manchester United304Rooney, Saha, Solskjaer, Larsson
2007/2008Manchester United313Tévez, Rooney, Saha
2008/2009Manchester United295Rooney, Berbatov, Tévez, Macheda, Welbeck
2009/2010Chelsea464Drogba, Anelka, Kalou, Sturridge
2010/2011Manchester United475Berbatov, Hernández, Rooney, Owen, Macheda
2011/2012Manchester City544Agüero, Dzeko, Balotelli, Tévez
2012/2013Manchester United494van Persie, Rooney, Hernández, Welbeck

Just to reiterate, Opta have made judgments on which players are classed as strikers. Though this is a genuine attempt to answer what is a very good question, there are clearly grey areas.

Tottenham's four-sight

As Tim Sherwood said on Saturday, Tottenham have got a terrible record against the teams in the top four this year. I was wondering if a team has ever finished in the top four of the Premier League without picking up any points against the other three teams in the top four? Anthony Behan (Tottenham fan)

MARTIN SAYS: You're right to say that Tottenham's record against the teams above them is poor this season. They have picked up one point in their six games against the current top four so far - and that was a 1-1 draw at home to Chelsea earlier this season. They have lost 1-0 at Arsenal, lost 4-0 at Chelsea on Saturday, lost 5-1 and 6-0 to Man City and lost 5-0 at home to Liverpool. I'll be commentating on their games at home to Arsenal and away to Liverpool later this month so it will be interesting to see if there are any improvements.

However, Spurs fans can console themselves with the efforts of Leeds United in 1999/2000 who managed to finish in the top four, despite losing all six of their games against the other teams in the top four (Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool). They lost 2-0 and 1-0 to United, 2-0 and 4-0 to Arsenal and 3-1 and 2-1 to Liverpool and yet still finished in third place and qualified for the Champions League.

They are the only side to finish in the top four of the Premier League without picking up any points against any of the three sides around them, however more recently Arsenal reached the Champions League without any wins against the other three teams in the top four. Just last season they picked up only two points against Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea. They drew 1-1 with Man City (away) and Man Utd (home) and became only the second side to finish in the top four having picked up less than three points against their immediate rivals.

It's also worth pointing out that the last time Tottenham finished in the top four - in 2011/12 - they only picked up three points against the three teams around them.

Thanks to Opta, here are the fewest points collected by a top-four Premier League team against the other three top four sides:

ZERO POINTS
Leeds United (1999/2000)

TWO POINTS
Arsenal (2012/2013)

THREE POINTS
Arsenal (1996/1997)
Arsenal (2009/2010)
Manchester United (2001/02)
Tottenham Hotspur (2011/12)

FOUR POINTS
Chelsea (1997/1998)
Newcastle (2002/03)
Everton (2004/2005)
Arsenal (2005/2006)
Liverpool (2005/2006)
Liverpool (2007/2008)
Chelsea (2008/2009)

Walters' mixed afternoon

Dear Martin. I always enjoy reading this column but nobody ever asks about Stoke so I have a question about us. Jonathan Walters scored a penalty and was sent off in the same game on Saturday. Has that ever happened to a player in the Premier League before? Mark (Stoke fan)

MARTIN SAYS: With the help of the guys at Opta I can tell you that this is the 14th time a player has scored a penalty and received a red card in the same game, so it's not a very common occurrence. It didn't happen in the first four seasons of the Premier League, but it is surprisingly the third time it has happened this season.

Jonathan Walters' penalty and red card comes on the heels of Mikel Arteta doing the same for Arsenal against Crystal Palace in October. West Ham's Mark Noble scored a penalty against Everton earlier in the season and then he too was shown a red card.

Interestingly, Gareth Barry has suffered this fate twice. As you can see from the table below, on two separate occasions he scored penalties for Aston Villa and was then given his marching orders.

Here are the 14 players to score a penalty and receive a red card in the same Premier League game:

DatePlayerTeamOpponent
08/03/2014Jonathan WaltersStoke Norwich
26/10/2013Mikel ArtetaArsenalCrystal Palace
21/09/2013Mark NobleWest Ham Everton
24/03/2012Grant HoltNorwich Wolves
01/11/2008Benni McCarthyBlackburn West Brom
02/12/2007Robbie KeaneTottenham Birmingham
30/12/2006Gareth BarryAston VillaCharlton
07/05/2005Peter CrouchSouthamptonCrystal Palace
02/05/2004Mark VidukaLeeds Bolton
16/08/2003Gareth BarryAston VillaPortsmouth
08/09/2001Jimmy Floyd HasselbainkChelseaArsenal
02/01/2001Kieron DyerNewcastle Tottenham
05/05/1999Denis IrwinMan UtdLiverpool
18/01/1997Fabrizio RavanelliMiddlesbroughSheff Weds

Just two for Lew

According to Opta's Twitter, Lewis Holtby has only scored two Premier League goals - one against Fulham and one for them. Has any other player done this or is Holtby unique in scoring two goals for and against the same club? Eammon (Fulham fan)

MARTIN SAYS: It's a good question. As you say, Lewis Holtby has scored two Premier League goals. The first came against Fulham for Tottenham in December 2013 and the second came for Fulham on Saturday in the 3-1 defeat to Cardiff. So his two goals have come for and against Fulham.

However, the boffins at Opta have checked and we can tell you that there is only one other player with two Premier League goals to his name with one coming for a particular club and one against them. That player is Jesper Blomqvist, who only scored two goals in his entire Premier League career - and one was for Everton and the other was against them.

The first came for Manchester United in a 4-1 away win at Goodison Park on October 31, 1998. That was his only goal for Manchester United. His only other goal came FOR Everton in January 2002 when he scored the only goal in a 1-0 win over Sunderland.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jamie Redknapp

Redknapp: Costa's made a difference

Diego Costa has shown the impact he can have at Chelsea, but injuries are a worry, says Jamie Redknapp....

Gary Neville

Neville: Arsenal must sign a striker

Arsenal must sign a replacement for injured Olivier Giroud if they want to win the title, says Gary Neville....

Jeff Stelling

Stelling: Fears for Leeds

Jeff Stelling is worried that headline-making Leeds could end up slipping back into League One. ...

Latest News RSS feeds

Live transfer updates

Chelsea confirm a two-year loan deal with AC Milan for Fernando Torres, while several Manchester United exits are expected.

Torres heading for Milan

Chelsea striker Fernando Torres will have a medical at AC Milan on Saturday ahead of an agreed two-year loan deal.

Premier League preview

Chelsea travel to Everton for Saturday Night Football, while Super Sunday features Tottenham against Liverpool and Leicester versus Arsenal.

Top-four target for van Gaal

Louis van Gaal has set Manchester United an initial target of a top-four finish in this season's Premier League.

UEFA to revamp seeding system

UEFA has confirmed it is close to changing the seeding system for the group stages of the Champions League.

Features

Tottenham's Erik Lamela ready for Premier League lift off

Tottenham's Erik Lamela ready for Premier League lift off

Everyone agreed that Tottenham had acquired some fine players in the summer of 2013, but the notorious line that Spurs sold Elvis to buy the Beatles soon became a source of embarrassment. Not least because that cast young Erik Lamela as John Lennon, the most celebrated of the lot.

Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Analysis: Everton's signing of Samuel Eto'o can be significant on and off the pitch for Roberto Martinez's side

Saturday’s opponents Chelsea might have expected Everton’s Romelu Lukaku to come back to haunt them, but Jose Mourinho surely thought he’d seen the back of Samuel Eto’o. Instead he’s back in the Premier League and eyeing another challenge in his remarkable career.

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

Mario Balotelli's track record on the pitch makes him a gamble worth taking for Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool

When it comes to the art of signing players, few did it better than Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. In the latter’s book With Clough by Taylor he explained some of the science behind it in detailing how Nottingham Forest actively sought to buy players they perceived to have personal problems.