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 tests your knowledge of England’s appearances in European Championships.
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Martin’s Starting Stat
I was at the King Power Stadium on Sunday to see Arsenal’s second visit to that ground. The last occasion was 2003 when the match also finished 1-1. Leicester equalised late through Craig Hignett on that occasion.
Arsene Wenger has never lost a league game against Leicester, but his Arsenal team was knocked out of the FA Cup on penalties by them in January 2000. Arsenal’s last league defeat against Leicester was January 1994 when they lost 2-1 at Filbert Street.
Leonardo Ulloa made his debut in English football for Brighton in the FA Cup against Arsenal in January 2013 and scored a header in a 3-2 defeat. He scored another header on Sunday to make it two in two Premier League home games. Alexis Sanchez scored his first Premier League goal at the third attempt and his second in as many games (all competitions).
Nigel Pearson had completed 250 competitive games in charge of Leicester on the previous Tuesday against Shrewsbury in the Capital One Cup. He gave his 21-year-old son James his Leicester debut at right back in that game.
Arsenal are now unbeaten in their last 12 matches in all competitions and the last nine in the Premier League (W7 D2).
Goals with no reply
Hi Martin, great column as always. Got a question in relation to Liverpool’s 3-0 victory over Tottenham last Sunday. This now means Liverpool have scored 12 goals against Tottenham without reply (4-0 at Anfield & 5-0 at White Hart Lane last season). I was wondering what is the most amount of goals a team has scored against another, without the other team replying. Obviously this would be over a number of games but Liverpool’s run against Tottenham surely is up there. Keep up the good work with the column. Adam, Coventry
MARTIN SAYS: In fact, Liverpool’s current goalscoring run against Tottenham stretches to 14 Premier League goals without reply. After Jan Vertonghen put Spurs 2-1 ahead at Anfield in May 2013, they conceded twice to lose 3-2. Those goals can be added to the ones in last season’s 4-0 and 5-0 wins and this season’s 3-0 success to give you 14 goals without reply.
However, Opta tell us that 11 teams have scored more than 14 goals without reply against the same opposition – including two teams that have scored more than 20 goals against another Premier League team before conceding.
One of those is Manchester United, who managed 23 goals without reply against Wigan Athletic between May 2009 and December 2011. Hugo Rodallega put Wigan ahead at the DW Stadium in May 2009, but United then scored twice to win 2-1. They then won the next five matches between the two sides by scorelines of 5-0, 5-0, 2-0, 4-0 and 5-0. Wigan ended that run with a 1-0 win in April 2012.
Yet that is not the longest such run. The record belongs to Liverpool who scored an incredible 26 goals without reply against West Brom between September 2002 and April 2011. West Brom did not score a single goal in the first nine meetings between the sides with the matches finishing 2-0, 6-0, 3-0, 5-0, 1-0, 2-0, 3-0, 2-0 and 1-0. Chris Brunt became the first West Brom player to score against Liverpool in a 2-1 win in April 2011.
Has any club ever won the league after not winning their first three games? Ben Hulme
MARTIN SAYS: With the help of the boffins at Opta, I can tell you that eight teams in the history of the English top flight have won the title, despite failing to pick up a win in their first three matches. That’s good news for Manchester United, who are yet to win a game this year. In fact, United have won the title three times previously after failing to win in their first three matches. The details are for you below.
Manchester United (2007/08) – United drew 0-0 with Reading, 1-1 with Portsmouth and lost 1-0 to Man City in their first three games, but won the Premier League by two points.
Manchester United (1992/93) – United lost their first two games 2-1 at Sheffield United and 3-0 at home to Everton and drew 1-1 against Ipswich, but won the title by 10 points.
Manchester City (1967/68) – When City won the old First Division, they opened with a 0-0 draw with Liverpool, a 3-2 defeat at Southampton and a 3-0 defeat at Stoke.
Manchester United (1964/65) – United drew 2-2 with both West Brom and Leicester and lost 3-1 at West Ham, but still went on and won the title on goal difference from Leeds.
Ipswich (1961/62) – Ipswich drew 0-0 at Bolton, lost 4-3 at Burnley and lost 4-2 at home to Manchester City, but still won the title by three points.
Burnley (1920/21) – Burnley opened the season with three straight defeats against Bradford twice (4-1 and 2-0) and Huddersfield (1-0), but won the league by five points.
Sunderland (1912/13) – Sunderland drew 1-1 with Newcastle, lost 4-0 at Blackburn and lost 2-0 to Derby but still won the league by four points.
Liverpool (1905/06) – The first team to achieve this feat was Liverpool, who opened with three defeats against Arsenal (3-1), Blackburn (1-3) and Aston Villa (5-0) and still won the title by four points.
Hi Martin. I was looking back at some goals of Torres when he was at Liverpool and noticed how many of them were assisted by Gerrard. My question is which player has the most assists to an individual scorer in Premiership history? Matt
MARTIN SAYS: According to our friends at Opta, Steven Gerrard only directly assisted Fernando Torres 10 times in Premier League matches so that is not the most common goal assist / goal scorer combination in Premier League history.
In fact, it’s not the most common combination in Liverpool’s Premier League history. Steve McManaman directly assisted Robbie Fowler 20 times in the early years of the Premier League – which is double the number of goals Gerrard laid on for Torres.
However, the most common combination is Frank Lampard setting up Didier Drogba at Chelsea. The England midfielder assisted 24 goals for the Ivory Coast striker during their time together at Stamford Bridge, which is perhaps surprising as you don't always associate Lampard with assists.
Players with the most assists for individual scorers in Premier League history:
Frank Lampard to Didier Drogba (24 goals)
Steve McManaman to Robbie Fowler (20 goals)
Darren Anderton to Teddy Sheringham (20 goals)
Robert Pires to Thierry Henry (17 goals)
What player has completed the most passes in PL history? Kevin Roddy
MARTIN SAYS: Opta have only been keeping accurate passing data since 2006/07, so we can only tell you who has completed the most passes in that timeframe, but we thought you would be interested in the data nevertheless.
In the last eight seasons, the player that has completed the most passes is Manchester United’s Michael Carrick. Impressively, he has completed 12,961 passes in the Premier League – which is 1,000 more than his nearest rival Gareth Barry.
Below are the top 10 pass completers in the last eight seasons, a list dominated by central midfielders. However, a few defenders – including Chelsea’s John Terry – also make it. They are players who have played in all eight seasons and some of the younger breed of midfielder - such as Jack Wilshere - maybe haven't had time to make the list.
1. Michael Carrick (12961 successful passes)
2. Gareth Barry (11806)
3. Mikel Arteta (11549)
4. Steven Gerrard (11205)
5. John Terry (10728)
6. Frank Lampard (10388)
7. Gael Clichy (9655)
8. Bacary Sagna (9410)
9. John Obi Mikel (9388)
10. Paul Scholes (8847)
Dear Martin, I was wondering which letter of the alphabet has scored the most goals. I would go with "S" considering there was Shearer, Sutton, Sheringham, Solskjaer, and more recently Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling. Would I be correct? Mansoor
MARTIN SAYS: The team of crack boffins at Opta have had their dictionaries out for us to answer this one. According to them, we have seen 2,242 Premier League goals scored by players whose surnames start with the letter ‘S’. Alan Shearer scored 260 of those with Teddy Sheringham and Paul Scholes also scoring more than 100. That is more than any other letter.
Here are the top five letters of the alphabet when it comes to goalscoring. Please bear in mind these statistics do not include own goals and Opta had to make some judgment calls on which letter applied for Brazilians and other players who don’t have obvious surnames.
S – 2,242 goals (most common scorer: Alan Shearer, 260)
B – 2,131 goals (most common scorer: Darren Bent, 106)
C – 1,615 goals (most common scorer: Andy Cole, 189)
D – 1,514 goals (most common scorer: Jermain Defoe, 125)
H – 1,492 goals (most common scorer: Thierry Henry, 176)
However, in terms of the NUMBER of individual scorers, the data is slightly different. There have been 157 Premier League goalscorers whose surname starts with the letter S – but that’s not the most common. We have seen 181 players whose surnames start with the letter B.
B – 181 different Premier League scorers
M - 180 different Premier League scorers
S - 157 different Premier League scorers
C - 135 different Premier League scorers
D – 123 different Premier League scorers
Avccording to Opta, we have seen only two players score a Premier League goal with a surname starting with a letter ‘X’. Abel Xavier has scored two Premier League goals, while former Newcastle forward Xisco scored one. Personally, I feel Xabi Alonso should be classed as an 'X' surname and as a pedantic commentator I reserve the right to disagree with Opta on some of their decisons over names. Ha ha!
Xabi(er) Alonso's christian name is Xabier. His surnames are Alonso and Olano. Sorry to be a pedant.- big dave