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Almost there

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler Posted 5th May 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 Goodison Park ahead of Everton's game with Man City.

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Martin's Starting Stat

I was at Crystal Palace on Monday night to witness their remarkable 3-3 draw with Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers' side have now scored 99 goals in the Premier League and no team has scored 90 goals or more and not won the title since West Brom (91 goals) finished sixth in 1965/66. In fact, given the scoring records of both Manchester City and Liverpool it seems likely that one team could end up with 100+ goals this year and not win the title.

Joe Allen scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool in his 50th Premier League appearance, while Damien Delaney also scored his first ever Premier League goal despite making his debut in March 2001. However, this was only his 44th Premier League game; he only played eight times for Leicester in 2001/02 before returning to the Premier League in 2013.

Tony Pulis has still not lost a home Premier League game against Liverpool and his overall record against them is P11 W3 D6 L2.

It was only the fifth time Palace have scored three goals this season (they've done so at home to Sunderland, West Brom and Liverpool - plus away to Cardiff and Everton). This was also the 20th time that Palace have gone 1-0 down in the Premier League and they have still never won. In fact this was only their third draw after conceding the first goal; they lost the other 17.

Liverpool were looking for a seventh consecutive Premier League away win - something they have never managed to achieve. Despite taking their total to 23 goals in those seven games it was a hurdle they couldn't climb. They have also scored 3+ goals for the 21st time in the Premier League this season.

They have now conceded 49 goals and the last team to win the title having conceded that many was Derby (49 goals conceded) in the 42-game 1974/75 season. The last team to concede more than 49 and win the league was Ipswich, who conceded 67 in 1961/62.

Time on top

Hi Martin, Manchester City have consistently been in the title race this season, but it seems as if they have always been playing catchup. If they were to win the league, would that be a record for least amount of time spent at the top of the league? Thanks, David, USA

MARTIN SAYS: According to Opta, Manchester City have completed just 10 days on top of the Premier League table this season - and assuming they get a point against Aston Villa on Wednesday night and go on to win the league they will have spent just 15 days on top of the table. As you suspect, this would be the fewest days a team has led the league and won the title - by far! It will also be the first time in Premier League history that the title-winner went top during the final week of the season.

The previous low is the 30 days that Manchester United spent on top of the Premier League in their title-winning season of 2002/03. In nine of the last 10 Premier League seasons, the eventual champions spent more than 100 days on top of the table - so this would be a very different achievement for Man City.

Out of interest, Liverpool have so far spent 58 days on top of the table (so far), while Chelsea have been top for 64 days and Manchester United for two days. The side that has spent the most time on top of the Premier League this season is Arsenal, who have led for 128 days this term.

How long has each Premier League champion spent on top of the table?

SeasonChampionsDays leadingTimes went topLast day went top
1992/93Man Utd68510-Apr
1993/94Man Utd261223-Aug
1994/95Blackburn 168408-Mar
1995/96Man Utd46323-Mar
1996/97Man Utd105329-Jan
1997/98Arsenal55318-Apr
1998/99Man Utd92409-May
1999/00Man Utd179629-Jan
2000/01Man Utd240314-Oct
2001/02Arsenal46721-Apr
2002/03Man Utd30212-Apr
2003/04Arsenal215901-Feb
2004/05Chelsea192306-Nov
2005/06Chelsea256124-Aug
2006/07Man Utd249422-Oct
2007/08Man Utd83715-Mar
2008/09Man Utd123510-May
2009/10Chelsea203925-Apr
2010/11Man Utd166316-Jan
2011/12Man City173630-Apr
2012/13Man Utd190224-Nov

Toppling top four

Hi Martin. Massive Chelsea fan from South Africa, as well as a fan of your columns and commentary. My question is, apart from the Arsenal invincibles, has a team ever been undefeated against the top 4 and not won the league? We would in fact be undefeated against the top 8 if it was not for Everton. Kind regards, Miguel Gomes

MARTIN SAYS: As you say, Chelsea have recorded two wins against Liverpool this season, two wins against Man City and then a win and a draw against Arsenal. Thanks to the boffins at Opta, I can tell you that they are only the sixth team in history to finish a season unbeaten against teams in the top four. The previous five all finished in the top four themselves, so only had six games to play - and four of them finished the respective season as champions.

The teams concerned were as follows:

Manchester United (1999/00): The first team to achieve the feat were the title-winning Manchester United team of 1999/2000. That season they won 2-1 at second-placed Arsenal and drew 1-1 with them at home; they beat third-placed Leeds 2-0 and 1-0 and enjoyed a 3-2 win and a 1-1 draw against fourth-placed Liverpool.

Manchester United (2002/03): Sir Alex Ferguson's team did it again three years later going unbeaten against Arsenal (a 2-0 win and a 2-2 draw), Newcastle (a 5-3 win and a 6-3 win) and Chelsea (a 2-2 draw and a 2-1 win).

Arsenal (2003/04): As you suggest in your question, the Arsenal side of 2003/04 obviously remained unbeaten against the top four, as they did against every side in the Premier League. Their results against the top four were as follows: they beat Chelsea 2-1 home and away, they drew 0-0 and 1-1 with Manchester United and they beat Liverpool 4-2 and 2-1.

Chelsea (2004/05): Chelsea have gone unbeaten against the top four once before - but on that occasion they won the league. In Jose Mourinho's first year in charge of the club they drew 0-0 and 2-2 with Arsenal; they beat Manchester United 1-0 and 3-1; and they beat Everton 1-0 twice.

Liverpool (2008/09): To answer your question, there IS one other side to have remained unbeaten against the top four and not won the title. That team is Liverpool, who finished second behind Manchester United in 2008/09. That year they beat the champions 2-1 at home and 4-1 away; they beat Chelsea 1-0 and 2-0 and they drew 4-4 and 1-1 with Arsenal.

No team has ever won all of their games against teams in the top four and Chelsea are the first side to record 16 points against the other sides. However, like Liverpool in 2008/09, they may not end up with the Premier League trophy for their efforts.

Light load for Liverpool

If Liverpool win the Premier League, they'll win the title having played 43 games in all competitions by my calculations. Is that the smallest amount of games from a title-winning team in all competitions since English clubs joined European football? Also Martin, I hope you'll be working for Australian network SBS during the World Cup. Mitchell Nicholas

MARTIN SAYS: I'm looking forward to going to the World Cup with SBS, Mitchell. You're right to suggest that Liverpool will only complete 43 games in all competitions this season (38 in the league, two in the Capital One Cup and three in the FA Cup). That total would match the post-war record for the lowest number of competitive games played by a side that has won the league. In the late 1940's and early 1950's we saw five sides - Arsenal (1947/48), Manchester United (1951/52 and 1955/56), Tottenham (1950/51) and Wolves (1953/54) play just 43 games in their title-winning seasons - but there was no League Cup and no European Football.

English clubs started playing in Europe in 1956/57 and since then the record low for a league-winning side is 45 games. That's the number of fixtures played by Manchester United in 1966/67 and by Arsenal in 1988/89. So if Liverpool were to win the title this season, it would be the lowest number of competitive games played by a side since English clubs started playing in Europe.

The previous record low in the Premier League era is the 49 games that Manchester United played in their title-winning season of 1995/96 when they played 38 league games, two UEFA Cup games, two league Cup games and seven FA Cup matches including a victorious final against Liverpool.

As a point of comparison, below I have listed how many games each title-winning team has played in the Premier League era. All Premier League, European (but not Intertoto Cup), FA Cup, League Cup, Super Cup, World Club Cup and Community Shield matches are included. Should Manchester City win the league they will have completed 57 games this season.

2012/2013: Manchester United - 54 MATCHES
2011/2012: Manchester City - 55 MATCHES
2010/2011: Manchester United - 60 MATCHES
2009/2010: Chelsea - 56 MATCHES
2008/2009: Manchester United - 63 MATCHES
2007/2008: Manchester United - 60 MATCHES
2006/2007: Manchester United - 60 MATCHES
2005/2006: Chelsea - 54 MATCHES
2004/2005: Chelsea - 59 MATCHES
2003/2004: Arsenal - 59 MATCHES
2002/2003: Manchester United - 63 MATCHES
2001/2002: Arsenal - 60 MATCHES
2000/2001: Manchester United - 57 MATCHES
1999/2000: Manchester United - 54 MATCHES
1998/1999: Manchester United - 64 MATCHES
1997/1998: Arsenal - 54 MATCHES
1996/1997: Manchester United - 54 MATCHES
1995/1996: Manchester United - 49 MATCHES
1994/1995: Blackburn Rovers - 51 MATCHES
1993/1994: Manchester United - 63 MATCHES
1992/1993: Manchester United - 50 MATCHES

Black Cats' great escape

Hi Martin. There's been a lot made of how Sunderland were bottom of the table at Christmas and might complete only the second "great escape" of the Premier League, but having seen my team propping up the table after a full half of our games, I'm wondering if any other team that has been in the bottom spot after 19 of their league games has beat the drop? Where did each of them end up in the table and on points? Stephen Slaboda

MARTIN SAYS: Thanks to Opta, I can tell you that only one other side has been bottom after 19 games of a Premier League season and gone on to beat the drop. That side was the only other side to have beaten relegation having been bottom on Christmas Day - West Bromwich Albion in 2004/05. That season they had just 10 points after 19 games, but recovered to finish 17th, one place above the relegation zone.

Sunderland had 14 points after 19 games of the season, but that is far from being the worst record at the half-way stage of a 38-game campaign. We have seen 26 teams on 14 points or fewer after 19 games of a 20-team season - including three sides on single figures: Sunderland themselves (6 points in 2005/06); Derby (7 points in 2007/08) and Sheffield Wednesday ( 9 points in 1999/2000).

Sunderland could become the sixth side to stay up having earned 14 points or fewer at the half-way stage of a 38-game season. The others were as follows:

WEST BROM (2004/05) - As mentioned, the Baggies had 10 points after 19 games but finished 17th.

SOUTHAMPTON (1998/99) - The Saints had 13 points after 19 games, but finished 17th.

FULHAM (2007/08) - The Cottagers had 14 points after 19 games, but finished 17th.

PORTSMOUTH (2005/06) - Pompey had 14 points after 19 games, but finished 17th.

SUNDERLAND (2007/08) - Sunderland themselves had 14 points after 19 games, but finished 15th - and it looks like history could repeat itself six years on.

Little England

Dear Martin. It was a big surprise to see Steven Taylor score for Newcastle on Saturday, especially because English players never score goals for us any more. Is this the longest wait a team has gone in the Premier League without an Englishman scoring? Billy Collins (Newcastle fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Steven Taylor ended a 493-day wait for an Englishman to score for Newcastle in the Premier League. The last time it happened was Boxing Day 2012 when James Perch scored the opening goal against Manchester United.

In theory, the longest wait we've seen between goals by Englishmen in the Premier League is the 5,593 days that QPR waited between Kevin Gallen's goal against West Ham in April 1996 and Tommy Smith's goal against Everton in 2011/12 - but they only actually played two Premier League fixtures in between those goals because they were relegated.

I can confirm that in terms of a team playing continuously in the Premier League, there has not been a longer gap than the one Newcastle fans have just witnessed. Newcastle played 56 matches in between goals from English players. The previous record was set by Arsenal, who played 43 games between 2007 and 2008 without an English player scoring (excluding own goals). Justin Hoyte scored against Charlton on January 2, 2007 - and the next Englishman to score for them was Theo Walcott on February 23, 2008.

Most consecutive games played by a Premier League teams without an Englishman scoring:

TeamGames playedDate wait endedPlayer to end wait
Newcastle 5603/05/2014Taylor
Arsenal3923/02/2008Walcott
Blackburn 2817/12/2011Dann
Middlesbrough2731/01/2006Parnaby
Wigan 2718/04/2010Watson

Every current Premier League team has seen an English player score for them in May or April apart from three:

STOKE CITY - You have to go back to March 23 for the last time an English player scored for Stoke. That was Peter Crouch in the 26th minute of their game at Aston Villa.

ARSENAL - Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is the last English player to score a Premier League goal for Arsenal, in the 73rd minute of their game against Crystal Palace on February 2.

MAN CITY - Excluding Glen Johnson's own goal for them in the game against Liverpool in April, the last English player to score for Man City was James Milner with an 83rd-minute strike against Fulham on December 21. That's the only goal from an English player this season and they are yet to see an English player score for them in 2014.

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