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On the 'Telli

Mario Balotelli's assist record, Robin van Persie's impact and the best teams at corners... here's Martin!

Last Updated: 01/02/13 at 14:46

Balotelli: only one assist in his Premier League career

Balotelli: only one assist in his Premier League career

Martin's back with some fascinating stats...

Martin Tyler's stats and facts column is here!

Every week on 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.

So if you have spotted something from a match or have been stumped by a pub quiz question, simply email 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 Stats

It's three years since a home team won an Arsenal v Liverpool league game - six matches in total - and the previous three meetings had been won by the away side. In fact, the last home win was Arsenal's 1-0 success at the Emirates in February 2010.

Liverpool continued a decent run in London, having won at West Ham and QPR, drawn at Chelsea and Arsenal and lost narrowly at Spurs. Jamie Carragher got man of the match two days after his 35th birthday; Jose Enrique made his 50th Premier League appearance for Liverpool having been out for exactly a month; and Joe Allen was kept waiting for his 150th career league game.

Luis Suarez's opener was the 100th goal between the two clubs in the Premier League and that tally rose to 103 by the end of the night (Arsenal have 47 and Liverpool have 56). The Suarez goal was also Liverpool's 250th against Arsenal in the league.

Olivier Giroud scored his eighth home Premier League goal, which is the most by any Arsenal player. His only away goal was his first Premier League goal at West Ham, on October 6th.

Dear Martin. I was interested to read that Mario Balotelli only had one assist in his entire Premier League career and I was wondering if that made him the most selfish player in Premier League history? Has any other player scored as many goals as he has, while laying on so few for his team-mates? Carl Conner (Liverpool fan)

MARTIN SAYS: Balotelli departs Manchester City with 20 Premier League goals to his name, but you're right to say he has only been credited with one assist - although it was a very memorable one as it set up the Sergio Aguero goal that won the title in stoppage time at the end of last season (in fact a good luck Tweet from Aguero this week said: "Balotelli... Agueroooooo... Good luck, Mario! You won't be forgotten around here.")

We asked Opta to look at other players who have scored at least 20 goals, but have assisted just five or less. They can only provide data on this stretching back to the start of the 1998/99 season, but in that period 13 players fall into this category, including Balotelli.

No player has scored 20 Premier League goals and not produced at least one assist, but one player has an identical record to Balotelli. That man is Hernan Crespo, who scored 20 times for Chelsea, but only assisted one goal in his spell at Stamford Bridge.

Chelsea's players can't expect too many assists from their latest high-profile forward either. Demba Ba has scored 37 Premier League goals for West Ham, Newcastle and Chelsea - but in 69 appearances he has only provided two assists for his team-mates.

Players with 20+ Premier League goals and less than five Premier League assists since 1998/99:

Player AssistsGoals
Hernan Crespo120
Mario Balotelli120
Demba Ba237
Djibril Cisse232
Tony Cottee223
Chris Armstrong223
William Gallas325
Dean Ashton322
Michael Ricketts321
Stern John320
Craig Gardner420
Javier Hernandez531
Malcolm Christie529

Hi, I know that RVP has been a great acquisition to United, and has had a tremendous impact. I had a chat with a few Arsenal fans and they say United is now a one-man team. My first question is, what position has United been in let's say the past five years (points, position and goals scored wise) after the same number of games played this season. Secondly, compare Arsenal's league points, position and goals scored. Thanks, Hussain

MARTIN SAYS: Robin van Persie may have scored 18 Premier League goals for Manchester United this season, but overall their goalscoring record in the league has not improved. They have scored 59 goals in their first 24 games this season, which is EXACTLY THE SAME total as they had after 24 games last season. However, it is the joint-highest total after 24 games in the club's Premier League history (they also hit 59 goals in the first 24 games of the treble-winning 1998/99 campaign).

However, those goals have translated into more points than ever before. The 59 points they have earned so far this season is their highest ever Premier League points tally at this stage of a season. Here's how their form compares to previous seasons:

SeasonGames playedGoals scoredPointsLeague position

For Arsenal, it's the opposite picture. They have actually scored MORE Premier League goals this season than they did at the same stage last term when Van Persie was in their ranks. They have 49 this term, compared to 46 last. However, unlike Manchester United, their points tally has suffered and they are two points worse off than they were this time last season. In fact, this is their lowest tally after 24 games since 1995/96 and their fourth lowest points total in Premier League history at this stage. They've also had the lowest number of wins at this stage under Arsene Wenger. We'll let you decide if that's down to the Van Persie factor or not!

Arsenal record after 24 games of last five seasons:

SeasonGames playedGoals scoredPointsLeague position

Hi Guys. Which team had the lowest points and league position at the end of December and went on to qualify for a European place (through league position and not the cup)? I'm a Sunderland fan and we seem to be the only team in the bottom half of the league with any momentum so I was wondering which teams have been in our position at the turn of the year and went on to Europe the next season? Thanks, Andy Macdonald

MARTIN SAYS: I would argue that Reading also have seven points from last three and also have momentum, but I take your point Andy!

It can be difficult to explain which teams qualified for Europe through their league position, because sometimes cup performances take precedent, so Opta have produced a table of teams that were in the bottom half on New Year's Day and finished in the top seven. We have also noted if those teams qualified for Europe.

As you can see, just seven teams have started the new year in the bottom half and ended the season in the top seven with two of those teams qualifying for Europe through the league and two more qualifying for the Intertoto Cup.

The most remarkable rise is arguably that of Leeds United, who were in 14th position on New Year's Day 2001 after 19 games of the season, but picked up 33 points from their final 19 games to finish fourth and qualify for the UEFA Cup, just one point off a Champions League place. Sunderland were in 13th on New Year's Day, so there's hope for you there, Andy (although they had played a game more).

Merseyside rivals Liverpool and Everton will feel disappointed after picking up just 22 points (the same tally Sunderland were on this season) by New Year's Day 2011 and still finishing in the top seven. However, neither side made it into Europe because Stoke reached the FA Cup Final to claim one spot and Birmingham won the League Cup to take the other. No side has ever made it into Europe via the league after being on 22 points on New Year's Day - so it would be a first if Sunderland could do it.

TeamSeasonPtsPosFinal PtsFinal PosQualified for Europe?
Bolton 2004/052313586YES
Leeds 2000/012514584YES
West Ham 2001/022511537NO
Newcastle 2005/062511587INTERTOTO
Aston Villa1999/002612586INTERTOTO

Dear Martin. Tottenham used eight English players in their draw with Manchester United, which seems like a lot in this day and age. Has any other team used more English players than us this season? Also, who has used the fewest? I wouldn't be surprised if it's Arsenal or Chelsea? Adam C (Spurs fan)

MARTIN SAYS: You're right. I was at that game and there were eight Englishmen involved in Tottenham's clash with Manchester United - Naughton, Dawson, Walker, Caulker, Lennon, Parker, Defoe and Huddlestone - and in total Andre Villas-Boas has used 13 English players in the Premier League this season (the others being Jake Livermore, Thomas Carroll, Andros Townsend, Jermaine Jenas and Harry Kane). That's the second-highest total in the top flight (and when I commentate on Tottenham v Newcastle in a couple of weeks I'll be billing it as England v France!) The record is currently held by Norwich City, who have used 14 English players so far in the league. We've detailed those players for you below.

The side that has fielded the fewest Englishmen this term is in fact Wigan Athletic. Only three English players - David Jones, Callum McManaman and Ben Watson - have represented them this season.

A total of 183 English players have played in the Premier League so far this term. We've broken those down by club below:

NORWICH (14): Bradley Johnson; Grant Holt; Jonathan Howson; Michael Turner; Elliott Bennett; John Ruddy; Mark Bunn; Ryan Bennett; Leon Barnett; Andrew Surman; Harry Kane; David Fox; Marc Tierney; Chris Martin

SOUTHAMPTON (13): Rickie Lambert; Jay Rodriguez; Jason Puncheon; Nathaniel Clyne; Adam Lallana; Luke Shaw; Jack Cork; Kelvin Davis; James Ward-Prowse; Frazer Richardson; Richard Chaplow; Ben Reeves; Billy Sharp

TOTTENHAM (13): Aaron Lennon; Kyle Walker; Jermain Defoe; Steven Caulker; Tom Huddlestone; Michael Dawson; Kyle Naughton; Scott Parker; Jake Livermore; Andros Townsend; Thomas Carroll; Jermaine Jenas; Harry Kane

LIVERPOOL (12): Steven Gerrard; Raheem Sterling; Glen Johnson; Jonjo Shelvey; Jordan Henderson; Stewart Downing; Andre Wisdom; Jamie Carragher; Joe Cole; Martin Kelly; Andy Carroll; Daniel Sturridge

WEST HAM (12): Kevin Nolan; Carlton Cole; Mark Noble; James Tomkins; Matt Jarvis; Matt Taylor; Gary O'Neil; Andy Carroll; Jordan Spence; Joe Cole; Daniel Potts; Robert Hall

ASTON VILLA (11): Matthew Lowton; Ashley Westwood; Gabriel Agbonlahor; Fabian Delph; Joe Bennett; Nathan Baker; Darren Bent; Marc Albrighton; Jordan Bowery; Gary Gardner; Nathan Delfuneso

STOKE (11): Ryan Shawcross, Matthew Etherington; Peter Crouch; Michael Kightly; Dean Whitehead; Cameron Jerome; Andy Wilkinson; Ryan Shotton; Michael Owen; Jermaine Pennant; Matthew Upson

MANCHESTER UNITED (10): Michael Carrick; Rio Ferdinand; Danny Welbeck; Tom Cleverley; Ashley Young; Wayne Rooney; Paul Scholes; Chris Smalling; Phil Jones; Nick Powell

QPR (10): Clint Hill; Shaun Wright-Phillips; Nedum Onuoha; Anton Ferdinand; Bobby Zamora; Robert Green; Kieron Dyer; Andy Johnson; Jay Bothroyd; Shaun Derry

READING (10): Adam Le Fondre; Garath McCleary; Nicky Shorey; Jay Tabb; Danny Guthrie; Shaun Cummings; Alex McCarthy; Sean Morrison; Hope Akpan; Dominic Samuel

SUNDERLAND (10): Jack Colback; Craig Gardner; Adam Johnson; Danny Rose; Fraizer Campbell; Titus Bramble; Lee Cattermole; Connor Wickahm; Matthew Kilgallon; Kieran Richardson

NEWCASTLE (9): James Perch; Mike Williamson; Danny Simpson; Steven Taylor; Sammy Ameobi; Steve Harper; James Tavernier; Nile Ranger; Ryan Taylor

SWANSEA (9): Nathan Dyer; Leon Britton; Wayne Routledge; Danny Graham; Luke Moore; Garry Monk; Scott Sinclair; Mark Gower; Alan Tate

CHELSEA (7): Ashley Cole; Gary Cahill; Frank Lampard; Ryan Bertrand; John Terry; Daniel Sturridge; Ross Turnbull

MANCHESTER CITY (7): Joe Hart; Gareth Barry; Joleon Lescott; James Milner; Scott Sinclair; Jack Rodwell; Micah Richards

EVERTON (6): Phil Jagielka; Leighton Baines; Leon Osman; Phil Neville; Tony Hibbert; Ross Barkley

ARSENAL (5): Theo Walcott; Kieran Gibbs; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Jack Wilshere; Carl Jenkinson

FULHAM (5): Steve Sidwell; Kieran Richardson; Matthew Briggs; David Stockdale; Alex Smith

WEST BROM (5): Liam Ridgewell; Billy Jones; Ben Foster; George Thorne; Jerome Thomas

WIGAN (3): Davie Jones; Callum McManaman; Ben Watson

Hi Martin. What percentage of corners have Villa conceded this season compared to others? Thanks Lorcan Doyle (Aston Villa fan)

MARTIN SAYS: We've got the data from Opta for each corner taken in the Premier League this season and Aston Villa have conceded seven Premier League goals that way, the second highest number behind QPR (11) - although the fact Aston Villa have conceded four from corners against Bradford and one against Millwall has raised perceptions about their vulnerability. Only QPR have conceded more corners than Villa this season so it is perhaps unsurprising that those sides have conceded the most goals via that route.

However, when you look at the percentages there are sides who are arguably worse at defending corners than Aston Villa. Paul Lambert's side concede from around 4.5 per cent of the corners they concede whereas champions Manchester City concede from almost 7 per cent of corners taken against them - that's around one in every 14 corner kicks.

TeamCorners concededGoals conceded from cornersGoals conceded from corners (%)
Man City8766.89
Man United12664.76
Aston Villa15374.57
West Brom15342.61
West Ham13332.25

We also looked at how well each team has done with scoring from corners this season. Newcastle have the worst record, having netted just once from their 124 corners this campaign. Meanwhile, Manchester United have an astonishing record with an impressive 13 goals from corners thus term. In fact, they've scored from more than nine per cent of corners they've won in the Premier League! The next best record is Stoke City, who have scored from almost six per cent of their corners. In fact, Stoke and Sunderland are arguably the strongest teams when it comes to both attacking and defending corners, according to these statistics. Andy, the Sunderland fan from above... do you think these set-piece statistics are strong enough to get your team into Europe??

TeamCorners takenCorners scoredGoals from corners (%)
Man United139139.35
West Brom12975.42
Man City17863.37
Aston Villa11532.60
West Ham14932.01

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ood lord that's got me unnecessarily excited. Damn you Storey. Cut to Liverpool being crushed under the wheels of Sparky's Stoke Machine and Firmino brought off the bench to no effect. It's the hope that kills you.

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o Schweini? Have to admit that I did a little sex wee when we signed him and I can't wait to see him in action!!!

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think he'll do quite well. My only reservation would be Kagawa, who had similar stats to Firmino in the bundesliga before he came, but time will tell.

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