Talking tactics (MSN)

By SportUK 22/10/2012 14:36

Gary Cahill and Clint Dempsey (AP Photo-Tom Hevezi)

The weekend’s 10 top flight fixtures produced an eclectic range of individual statistics, team landmarks and trends.


Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea


Chelsea have benefitted from six goals by defenders in the Premier League this season; more than any other side. No defender has scored more goals in the Premier League since the start of 2009-10 than Gary Cahill (13).


There were 17 shots on target in this match; more than in any other Premier League game this season.


Eden Hazard has assisted 21 goals in league football since the start of 2011-12; more than any other player in the top five European leagues. Juan Mata has assisted 18.


Tottenham were the only team to reach double figures for shots on target in the Premier League this weekend.


Fulham v Aston Villa


No team had more headed goal attempts than Fulham (five) this weekend.


Darren Bent had only 20 touches in 75 minutes versus Fulham. John Arne Riise put in the most crosses and the most long throws in the Premier League this weekend.


Liverpool v Reading


Liverpool completed 82% of their passes against Reading – the Reds are yet to manage a success rate lower than 80% in a Premier League game this season. Last season they completed less than 80% in 13 league games.


Reading had the lowest pass completion in the division this weekend (67.5%). Thirteen of the 14 goals that the Royals have conceded in the Premier League this season have been from open play.


Luis Suarez hit six shots off target, no player has hit more awry in a Premier League game this season. However, Suarez also had 12 touches in the opposition box, more than Stoke or Reading did in total this weekend.


Manchester United v Stoke City


Robin van Persie has scored (six) or assisted (three) nine goals in his last seven league appearances for Manchester United. United were the only team to record a pass completion of more than 90% this weekend.


United have conceded at least two goals in four of their last six Premier League games at Old Trafford but have recovered more points from losing positions than any other team this season (12).


Swansea City v Wigan Athletic


Michu has scored six goals from just eight shots on target this season. No side has conceded more headed goals in the Premier League this season than Wigan (four).


Emmerson Boyce was the first player other than a striker to score a Premier League goal for Wigan this season (Di Santo 3, Kone 3, Maloney 1). De Guzman was the only player to assist more than one goal this weekend.


West Bromwich Albion v Manchester City


Manchester City have fired in more shots on target than any other team in the top flight (56). No side have attempted more shots against City this season than West Brom did this weekend (17).


Shane Long has scored (three) or assisted (two) five goals in his last five league appearances for West Brom.

West Ham United v Southampton


Southampton have trailed in all eight Premier League games at some point, the only team to be behind in all of their league games. No side has conceded as many goals after eight games of a Premier League as Southampton have this term (24).Kevin Nolan (Daniel Hambury-PA Wire)


Fourteen of Kevin Nolan’s 16 goals in the Premier League since the start of 2010-11 have come in home matches.


West Ham scored with half of their shots (excluding blocked) this weekend.


Norwich City v Arsenal


Seven of Grant Holt’s 18 Premier League goals have come against Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool. Despite winning this match, Norwich still have the worst shot conversion rate in the Premier League this season (7%).


Mikel Arteta made over 100 passes for the fourth time this season, only Michael Carrick has done so more than once (he’s done it twice).


Sunderland v Newcastle


Since joining Newcastle in 2010/11, no player has been awarded more cards than Cheik Tiote (27Y, 1R) in the Premier League, second on the list is Lee Cattermole (18Y, 3R).


Sunderland had just one shot on target in this match. This was the fourth time this season the Black Cats have done this. They have managed a total of just 12 shots on target in total so far.


Sebastian Larsson had 100 touches of the ball in this game, the first Sunderland player to reach this total in a Premier League game this season.


Newcastle made fewer passes than any other Premier League team this weekend (241) while Sunderland played the highest proportion of short passes (93.4%).


Queens Park Rangers v Everton


Everton have had 99 shots away from home this season – more than any other team in the big five European leagues. The Toffees have hit the woodwork more than any other side this season (10 times).


QPR have seen their uprights struck the joint-most times in the Premier League (8).

More on MSN Sport

Premier League team of the week


By SportUK 15/10/2012 15:33

It's a tricky trip to Poland on Tuesday for England, but aside from that match in 1973, the Three Lions tend to get what they need from these clashes.

England are unbeaten in 14 games against Poland, winning nine and drawing five.

Four of the last six clashes between these sides in Poland have, however, ended drawn. The Three Lions picked up the victory in the other two.

Roy Hodgson is only the second England manager to not lose any of his opening 10 matches outright. The first was Graham Taylor.

Excluding games at Euro 2012, Poland have won their last five home games and have kept seven consecutive clean sheets.

Tom Cleverley made 165 ball touches for England against San Marino, the most ever recorded by a single player by Opta.

Despite his omission against San Marino, Joleon Lescott has still played more minutes of football for England under Roy Hodgson than any other player (759).

Excluding shootout defeats, the Three Lions are now unbeaten in 15 competitive internationals (W9 D6), with their last defeat coming back in the 2010 World Cup against Germany (1-4).

The Three Lions haven’t lost a qualifying match since a 1-0 defeat in Ukraine in October 2009 (since then, P12 W8 D4).

Roy Hodgson’s men have converted a penalty in all three World Cup 2014 qualifiers so far; no other European side has converted as many.

England are the only European side yet to be caught offside in World Cup qualifying this time around.


By SportUK 15/10/2012 15:26

Northern Ireland actually have a pretty good record against Portugal.  Could we see an upset on Tuesday night?

Portugal and Northern Ireland have met eight times before in World Cup qualifiers and share an equal record; two wins each and four draws.

The Portuguese are unbeaten at home to Northern Ireland in all competitions, however, winning two (both 1-0) and drawing three (all 1-1).

Portugal have only lost one of their last 27 home World Cup qualifiers, winning 21 and drawing five.

A seleccao have kept six consecutive clean sheets in home World Cup qualifiers.

Northern Ireland are now without a win in nine games in all competitions (D2 L7), and their only win in 18 (W1 D6 L11) was a 4-0 drubbing of minnows the Faroe Islands.

Northern Ireland players have been caught offside 20 times already in World Cup 2014 qualification, the most of all European sides.


By SportUK 15/10/2012 15:22

Was the Germany game the nadir for Republic of Ireland or could the Faroes beat them to send Trapattoni's men even lower?  There are two ways of reading these numbers...

Republic of Ireland and Faroe Islands have only been drawn together once before. Ireland won both meetings in 2006 World Cup qualification, scoring four and conceding none.

Ireland are unbeaten in 18 away games (excluding games played on neutral venues),

The Irish have also conceded just one goal on the road in their last eight games combined.

The Faroe Islands have only won one of their last 18 games in all competitions, drawing two and losing 15.

The Faroes have won two of their last seven on home soil, however, losing four and claiming a draw against Northern Ireland.

Republic of Ireland have attempted fewer tackles than any other European team in this qualification campaign (24).


By SportUK 15/10/2012 15:15

After defeat to Wales surely it's game over for Scotland?  We'll have to see something very different if they are to beat the highly rated Belgians.

Belgium are unbeaten in 10 home games in all competitions, winning five and drawing five.

Seven different Belgian players have found the net in the Premier League this season – only England (34) have had more different scorers.

Scotland have only won one of their last five away games in all competitions, losing three and drawing one.

Craig Levein’s side have netted exactly one goal in five of their last six games on the road.

Scotland have lost seven of their eight previous trips to Belgium in all competitions, winning the other 5-0 in May 1951.

The Red Devils have only lost one of their last 11 competitive fixtures; a 1-3 defeat in Germany in Euro 2012 qualifying.

By SportUK 15/10/2012 15:07

Wales may be back in the World Cup hunt after defeating Scotland on Friday night, but they'll have to overturn the formbook to see off Croatia...

Croatia have won one and drawn one of their previous two clashes with Wales (both friendlies), winning the latest 2-0 at home in 2010.

Croatia have only won two of their last five home fixtures, suffering defeats to both Sweden and Switzerland in that run.

In qualifiers, however, Igor Stimac’s side are unbeaten in 10 games (W7 D3) at home. England were the last side to defeat the Blazers on their own patch in a competitive game (4-1 in September 2008).

Chris Coleman’s side ended a run of five straight defeats with a 2-1 victory over Scotland last time out.

On the road, Wales have lost six of their last seven in all competitions, winning the other 1-0 in Bulgaria back in October 2011.

Gareth Bale has scored Wales’ last three away goals. The last other player to net for the Dragons on the road was Aaron Ramsey in Liechtenstein back in October 2009.


By SportUK 12/10/2012 09:33

Despite his Twittering on, despite the fact very few people seem to like him (other than JT, we assume) it seems certain Ashley Cole will start tonight for the ninety-ninth time for England. 

We all like Leighton Baines, but Cole’s different class, right?

Actually, according to the stats this season that view is wrong, very wrong.  There’s been a debate about whether the Chelsea player is the best in the world in his position ever since the international retirement of Roberto Carlos, but it looks like he’s not even the best in the England squad. 

And no, that has nothing to do with the fleeting presence of Gibbs and Bertrand at St George’s Park.

Leighton Baines v Ashley Cole - CastrolLet’s concentrate on the defensive side of their games.  While Cole has put in 24 tackles in his seven games for Chelsea, Baines has made just ten in seven – the only area measured where the former comes out on top. 

However, while Cole has an impressive 79% success rate in these situations, Baines has won every one he has been involved it.  Thou shalt not pass the Everton man!

It’s of little surprise that Baines has a higher success rate with his crossing than Cole – it is, after all, the most eye-catching part of his game. 

But a 37%-7% victory for the former Wigan man is pretty comprehensive, although Cole may be at a disadvantage as his fourteen crosses will typically have been aimed at Fernando Torres, while those of Baines will have been fought for by the rather more imposing Marouane Fellaini.

It’s of little revelation also that Baines has also outscored Cole 2-1 this season, given he is Everton’s penalty and free kick taker, however, where the chasm between the two yawn surprisingly wide is the number of chances created in 2012-13.

Chances created Premier League - CastrolCole has a perfectly respectable six to his name, but Baines has made thirty; more than Santi Cazorla, more than David Silva and more than Steven Gerrard.  In fact, his tally is great than any other player in the Premier League this season.

The numbers don’t lie: in 2012-13, Leighton Baines has been the best English left back so far.


By SportUK 11/10/2012 14:21

England were drawn against San Marino in the qualifying campaign for the 1994 World Cup. They won the home match 6-0 and the away tie 7-1; but still failed to qualify for the finals.

In each of the previous two matches against San Marino, an English player has scored four goals (David Platt and Ian Wright).

England have not lost any of the nine matches (excluding penalties) they have played since Roy Hodgson took over as manager (W6 D3 L0).

England have won 12 of their last 14 World Cup qualifying matches (W12 D1 L1).

Only twice in their last 36 home World Cup qualifiers have England tasted defeat (W26 D8 L2).

England have followed up their last four draws (excluding extra time and penalties) with victories.

Since Roy Hodgson have taken over, Steven Gerrard have created more goal scoring chances than any other England player (13).

Joleon Lescott has played more minutes for Roy Hodgson’s England (759) than any other player.

San Marino last tasted victory in an international match was on 27th April 2004 when they beat Liechtenstein 1-0 in a friendly. It remains their only win.

England’s opponents have avoided defeat just twice in the last 10 years (W1 D1 L54).

In their last five matches, San Marino have scored just two goals and conceded 29. They lost all five.

They have scored just once in their last 14 World Cup qualifying matches.

In 23 away World Cup qualifiers, San Marino have earned just one draw (v Latvia in 2001) and lost the other 22.

  • Rob JonesRob Jones

    A fan of all things competitive, Rob plays, watches and shouts on the terraces of most sports.

  • Lee HarveyLee Harvey

    Whether it's football, cricket, cycling, NFL, NBA or major league baseball, Lee will be there and won't be short of an opinion.

latest sport videos
Popular searches
msn sport poll

Who will win on Sunday?

Thanks for being one of the first people to vote. Results will be available soon. Check for results

    22 %
    Manchester City
    149 votes
    52 %
    346 votes
    4 %
    Goalless draw
    30 votes
    22 %
    Score draw
    146 votes

Total Responses: 671
Not scientifically valid. Results are updated every minute.