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The final three

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 28th April 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 was recorded at Anfield ahead of Liverpool's clash with Chelsea.

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Martin's Starting Stats

I witnessed the end of Liverpool's unbeaten run first hand at Anfield on Sunday as Chelsea - who were the previous club to beat them in a league game back on December 29 - won 2-0. Liverpool have never won 12 games in a row in the same season in their history and fell short of achieving that feat. The result was actually only Chelsea's second win in their last six away games and their first against 11 men in that time (they won 1-0 at Swansea against 10 men).

Overall, Liverpool were 16 games unbeaten going into the game - their record read P16 W14 D2 L0 F52 A21 - and they picked up 44 out of 48 points. They also failed to score for only the third time this season (they lost 1-0 at home to Southampton and 0-2 at Arsenal) and as was mentioned in the column last week, nobody has won the Premier League having conceded 46 goals in a season. Manchester United are the title-winners with the most goals conceded (45 in 1999/2000).

Demba Ba scored his 50th goal in English football, which came in 120 appearances for West Ham, Newcastle and Chelsea. It was also his second goal against Liverpool, having scored for West Ham in a 3-1 win in February 2011.

Brendan Rodgers has still never beaten Chelsea as a manager (his record reads P7 D3 L4), while this was Jose Mourinho's 18th game against Liverpool. His record reads P18 W9 D4 L5 - and it was his third win at Anfield in eight games, having drawn two and lost the other three. However, it might have been the sickest he has felt during the joy of victory because of his illness!

I also felt sorry for Steven Gerrard, who has not had the best of luck against the club he nearly joined - remember he scored an own goal for them in the League Cup Final a few years ago to help give Mourinho his first trophy in English football.

The final three

Hi Martin. Awesome column to match an awesome season this year. I have two posers fairly closely related. As a City fan I was thinking that all those years of (usually) avoiding relegation might give us the edge when it comes to squeaky bum time. If we say squeaky bum time is the last three games of the league season who has the best squeaky bum time record in the Premier League era? Also I was surprised to see Liverpool draw a blank this weekend on a particularly poignant goals for figure, it got me thinking what goals for figure do teams get stuck on the most? Thanks Neill

MARTIN SAYS: I've asked the boffins at Opta to tell us which team has the best record in the last three games of previous Premier League seasons - and I can tell you it's neither Manchester City, nor Liverpool. The best team in "squeaky bum time" is Manchester United, in large thanks of course to Sir Alex Ferguson, who famously coined that phrase.

In 21 seasons, Manchester United have won 39 of the 63 games in question, losing just 11 and picking up 130 points. They average 2.06 points per game in the last three games of the season - the only side in Premier League history to average more than two points per game in the run-in.

In terms of points per game, there are sides that you would associate with relegation battles that also boast a very good record at this time of the season. Oldham and Sheffield United have the next best points-per-game record in the final three games of the season, while Fulham and Leicester are also in the top 10 along with the likes of Chelsea and Arsenal.

I can, however, tell you that Liverpool tend to do better than Manchester City at this time of year. Liverpool average 1.57 points per game in the final three games of the season, while Manchester City have averaged just 1.33 points over the years.

Best records in final three games of previous Premier League seasons (table does not include any results this season):

TeamGamesWonDrawnLostPointsPoints per game
Man Utd633913111302.06
Oldham 6321111.83
Sheffield United9513161.78
Leicester 241077371.54
Blackburn 54231417831.54
Nottingham Forest15654231.53

Records of the remaining current Premier League teams (excluding Cardiff, who have never been in the Premier League before)

To answer your other question, the most common "goals for" total at the end of a 38-game Premier League season is 45. According to Opta, we have seen 21 teams end up with 45 goals. We have also seen 20 teams score 52 goals (including Tottenham and Southampton from this season) and 19 teams have finished on 47 goals.

A golden flaw

Hi Martin, Luis Suarez is the top scorer in the Premier League with 30 goals and has had a fantastic season. However he has failed to score against the other three teams in the top four in the league. Has there been a top scorer in the league who has failed to score a goal in the same situation as Suarez? Thanks, Jack

MARTIN SAYS: Luis Suarez is set to become the 27th man to win the Golden Boot (remember, the award has been shared on several occasions), but would not be the first to fail to scorer against any of the sides in the top four in the relevant season. That fate has befallen two previous players that have finished the season as top scorer.

The first was Dwight Yorke, who was top scorer with 18 goals in 1998/99 for Manchester United, but did not score against the other three teams inside the top four - Arsenal, Chelsea and Leeds. Similarly Dimitar Berbatov, who scored 20 goals in 2010/11, did not score against any of Manchester United's top four rivals - Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal.

That contrasts with the likes of Dion Dublin, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Didier Drogba who all netted six goals against teams in the top four in the seasons when they won the Golden Boot - although Hasselbaink (Chelsea) and Dublin (Coventry) were not playing for a top-four side and therefore had two extra games in which to score those goals.

Suarez will become the first man to score 30 Premier League goals in a season and yet fail to score against a team in the top four. As you can see from the list below, Blackburn's Alan Shearer scored 34 goals in 1994/95, but only netted once against one of their top four rivals.

TeamGamesWonDrawnLostPointsPoints per game
Tottenham 63251523901.43
Newcastle 57182316771.35
Man City4819722641.33
West Ham 51171420651.27
Norwich 18648221.22
Crystal Palace12354141.17
Swansea 621371.17
Stoke 15456171.13
Aston Villa63181728711.13
West Brom21399180.86
Hull 603330.50

SeasonPlayerGoalsGoals v Top Four
1997/1998Dion Dublin186
2000/2001Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink236
2009/2010Didier Drogba296
2002/2003Ruud van Nistelrooy255
2003/2004Thierry Henry305
1998/1999Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink184
2012/2013Robin van Persie264
1993/1994Andrew Cole344
1992/1993Teddy Sheringham223
2001/2002Thierry Henry243
1996/1997Alan Shearer253
1999/2000Kevin Phillips303
2011/2012Robin van Persie303
2007/2008Cristiano Ronaldo313
1997/1998Michael Owen182
2004/2005Thierry Henry252
2005/2006Thierry Henry272
1995/1996Alan Shearer312
1997/1998Chris Sutton181
1998/1999Michael Owen181
2008/2009Nicolas Anelka191
2006/2007Didier Drogba201
2010/2011Carlos Tevez201
1994/1995Alan Shearer341
1998/1999Dwight Yorke180
2010/2011Dimitar Berbatov200
2013/2014Luis Suarez (so far)30 (so far)0

New Year streaks

Hi Martin, love the column. Liverpool have been on an incredible run since New Year's Day. Would this be a record for the number of points obtained by a team since New Year's Day? Bobby, Dublin, Ireland

MARTIN SAYS: I can tell you that Liverpool have now played 17 games since January 1 and the defeat to Chelsea is the first time they have failed to pick up any points - but that defeat means they can no longer beat the record for the most points earned after January 1 in a 38-game Premier League season.

Liverpool currently have 44 points in that period, but Manchester United got 52 points in 2008/09 - although they played 20 games and Liverpool will only play 19. The points record for the last 19 games of a Premier League season is the 51 Arsenal earned in 2001/02 - and the maximum Liverpool can get is 50.

The best way to answer your question, however, is to look at the best points-per-game records after January 1. Liverpool currently boast 2.59 points-per-game in that time, which is the fourth best record in the competition's history. Even if they win their final two games then they will not have the best points-per-game record after New Year's Day. That accolade belongs to the Arsenal side of 2001/02 who won 15 and drew three of the 18 games they played after New Year's Day - which equates to 2.67 points per game.

As you can see from the table below, six teams have remained unbeaten after New Year's Day. Liverpool's loss means that they will not become the seventh.

Best records after New Year's Day in Premier League history

TeamSeasonGamesWonDrawnLostPointsPoints per game
Man Utd2003171430452.65
Man Utd2003201712522.60
Man Utd2000191531482.53
Man Utd1999181350442.44
Man Utd1996171322412.41

Spurs not netting

Hi Martin. Love the column every week, keep it up. I have noticed that prior to this weekend's games, Spurs have only lost one game in which they have scored and am wondering if they keep it up would this be a record over the season? Has any other team scored in a lower percentage of their losses than Spurs have achieved this year? Kind regards, Simon Hillier-Gainey

MARTIN SAYS: You're absolutely right. The only time Tottenham have scored in a Premier League defeat this season was when Etienne Capoue netted in the 5-1 loss to Manchester City in January. That means they have only scored in 10% of their defeats this season.

According to Opta, there are only six sides in Premier League history who have scored in a lower percentage of their losses than Tottenham. In fact, there are five sides who failed to score in ALL of their defeats. However, four of those teams finished in the top two and therefore did not lose many games.

In 1993/94, champions Manchester United did not score in any of their four defeats, while in Chelsea's title-winning campaigns of 2004/05 (one defeat) and 2005/06 (5 defeats) whenever they lost they failed to score. The same fate befell them in 2007/08 when they finished runners-up to Manchester United.

More comparable with Tottenham's current situation is the Aston Villa team of 1995/96, which lost 11 times on the way to finishing fourth - and they failed to score in all 11 of those defeats. Similarly when Newcastle finished seventh in 2005/06 they lost 14 games - and only managed to score in one of them.

Teams with lowest % for scoring in defeats in a Premier League season:

TeamSeasonDefeatsScored in defeat% scored in
Man Utd1994400.0%
Aston Villa19961100.0%
Newcastle 20061417.1%
Tottenham 201410110.0%

Points, but no prizes

Hi Martin. I have two questions really. Which team acquired the most points in the Premier League without winning the title and also has there ever been three teams in the same season which finished a season with 80 points or more? Nick LPool fan

MARTIN SAYS: A nice, straightforward one to answer. I can tell you that 13 teams have finished a Premier League season with 80 points or more and yet not finished on top of the table. Just two seasons ago, Manchester United finished with 89 points - a tally good enough to win the league in 15 of the 21 Premier League seasons - and yet lost out to Manchester City on goal difference.

As you can see from the list below, Liverpool themselves have finished with 80+ points on three occasions and yet have never won the title which is remarkable when you consider that in 2010/11 Manchester United got just 80 points - and won league by nine points!

Teams to reach 80 points and not win the Premier League:

Man Utd (2012/13) - 89 points
Man Utd (1994/95) - 88 points*
Liverpool (2008/09) - 86 points
Chelsea (2007/08) - 85 points
Man Utd (2009/10) - 85 points
Blackburn (1993/94) - 84 points*
Arsenal (2004/05) - 83 points
Man Utd (2005/06) - 83 points
Chelsea (2006/07) - 83 points
Arsenal (2007/08) - 83 points
Chelsea (2008/09) - 83 points
Liverpool (2005/06) - 82 points
Liverpool (2001/02) - 80 points

*42-game seasons

As you can see from the list above, there have been three seasons when we've seen three sides top the 80-point mark - and those seasons all fell within a four-year period.

In 2005/06, there was Chelsea (91), Man Utd (83) and Liverpool (81)
In 2007/08, there was Man Utd (87), Chelsea (85) and Arsenal (83)
In 2008/09, there was Man Utd (90), Liverpool (86) and Chelsea (83)

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