Football Commentator & Columnist
Martin Tyler on 2009's highest scorers, the Premier League's best of the Noughties and more...
Last Updated: 06/01/10 1:06pm
Martin Tyler's stats and facts column is here!
Every week he will be here to offer you statistical gems to make your day, impress your mates and, on occasion, to settle the odd bet.
Sky Sports' voice of football and his back-up team of experts are here to answer your questions and queries on all things statistical and historical from the beautiful game.
If you have spotted something from a game or have been stumped by a pub quiz question, simply email here and he will do his best to help.
Tyler's starting stat - United we fall
I was at Old Trafford on Sunday to see Manchester United lose at home for the third time in their third different competition of the season. The FA Cup defeat to Leeds followed their Premier League loss to Aston Villa and their Champions League defeat to Beskitas.
In fact, in all of their seven defeats this season - the three mentioned above plus the losses to Burnley, Liverpool, Chelsea and Fulham - United have failed to score. So the message is Manchester United don't tend to score when they lose over 90 minutes. The last time they did so was last March's 4-1 defeat to Liverpool, although they did score in the Community Shield before losing on penalties to Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Leeds have now gone 16 games unbeaten and have lost just two of their 33 games this season, away to Millwall in League One and at home to Liverpool in the League Cup.
On a personal note, Jermaine Beckford is living the dream of all non-league players after his Old Trafford winner. The first time I met him was when I was coach at Walton & Hersham and we won 3-1 away to Wealdstone - although Beckford did score a late consolation goal for them.
TOP OF THE NOUGHTIES
Hi Martin. With the decade at an end, I'd be interested to see how the Premier League table would look if you took all of the games played in the Noughties. I'm sure Manchester United would be top, but I can't predict who'd be second. Would it be Arsenal, Chelsea or even Liverpool?
MARTIN SAYS: The boys at Opta have given us the table of the decade, which you can see below. As you guessed, Manchester United are clear winners with Chelsea in second place - although by a quirk of the fixture list in the first and last seasons of the Noughties they have in fact played three more games than their London rivals.
The table below tells the story, but here are a few observations about the decade:
Most wins: Manchester United (255)
Most draws: Aston Villa (125)
Most defeats: Middlesbrough (148)
Most goals: Manchester United (757)
Most goals conceded: Tottenham (513)
Best goal difference: Manchester United (441)
Worst goal difference: Sunderland (-160)Premier League table - Jan 1 2000 - December 28 2009:
|14||West Ham United||305||102||73||130||364||444||-80||379|
|23||West Bromwich Albion||152||27||41||84||132||251||-119||122|
Hi Martin. I know Alan Shearer is the highest scoring Premier League player of all time. But who was the top scorer of the last decade? Many thanks.
MARTIN SAYS: From January 1 2000 to December 31 2009, the Premier League's top goalscorer was Thierry Henry. The former Arsenal striker hit 169 goals, which was 56 clear of his nearest rival Robbie Keane. The only other players to have hit triple figures in the Premier League in the Noughties are Michael Owen (102) and Frank Lampard (100), the highest scoring midfielder of the decade.
Most goals - Jan 1 2000 - Dec 28 2009
|Ruud van Nistelrooy||95|
|Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink||93|
TO GO FOURTH...
I have two questions for you Martin. After Liverpool's win against Villa the race for fourth is as tight as I can remember, but I'm only 15 so I guess you have one or two more seasons to remember! First what is the lowest number of points ever in the Premier League for a team finishing in fourth place? Maybe then you can find out what that season looked like at this stage so we can see if it's any tighter? Isn't it something like 60 points, so any of the top six or seven could still make it?
Ben Drotleff (Arsenal fan)
MARTIN SAYS: Liverpool managed to grab a Champions League spot with just 60 points in the 2003/04 season, finishing four points clear of Newcastle and Aston Villa but a huge 30 points behind Arsenal's invincible league winners. That is the lowest points total of any team finishing in fourth.
On New Year's Day that season, Liverpool were sixth with 26 points, but did have a game in hand on most of their rivals. This season's return of 33 points from 20 games is better than they achieved that year so that should provide grounds for optimism for Rafael Benitez's men.
Premier League table on New Year's Day 2003/04:
Below, I have listed the points totals for the fourth-placed finishers every season since the Premier League began. Remember the 'top four' only gained its importance in 2001/02 when England's quota of places in the Champions League was extended from three to four.
08/09: Arsenal - 72
07/08: Liverpool - 76
06/07: Arsenal - 68
05/06: Arsenal - 67
04/05: Everton - 61
03/04: Liverpool - 60
02/03: Chelsea - 67
01/02: Newcastle - 71
-------Champions League qualifying for top four-------
00/01: Leeds - 68
99/00: Liverpool - 67
98/99: Leeds - 67
97/98: Chelsea - 63
96/97: Liverpool - 68
95/96: Aston Villa 63
94/95: Liverpool - 74*
93/94: Arsenal - 71*
92/93: Blackburn - 71*
* 42-game season
YEAR OF THE GOAL
My next question is which team has scored the most goals in 2009, as a calendar year? My guess would be either Arsenal or Chelsea but as a Gunner I'll go with the mighty Arsenal! Thanks Martin!
Ben Drotleff (Arsenal fan)
MARTIN SAYS: You'd be right Ben. The Gunners are indeed the Premier League's top scorers for the calendar year with 86 goals. That puts them two goals clear of Manchester United and 13 goals clear of current Premier League leaders Chelsea. The Gunners also had fewer defeats than any other side in 2009 with just five.
Of the 17 sides that have played in the Premier League throughout the calendar year, Hull City and Wigan have scored the fewest, just 31 goals in total - that's almost three times fewer than Arsenal.
Premier League goals in 2009:
|1. Arsenal (86)|
|2. Man Utd (84)|
|3. Liverpool (79)|
|4. Chelsea (73)|
|5. Tottenham (67)|
|6. Man City (58)|
|7. Everton (54)|
|8. Sunderland (51)|
|9. Aston Villa (50)|
|10. West Ham (46)|
|11. Fulham, Bolton (45)|
|13. Blackburn (38)|
|14. Stoke, Portsmouth (35)|
|16. Hull, Wigan (31)|
|18. Burnley (22)|
|19. Birmingham, West Brom (20)|
|21. Wolves (17)|
|22. Newcastle (14)|
|23. Middlesbrough (11)|
CHANGING OF THE GUARDS
Hi Martin. I've heard that Manchester United have changed their starting line-up in almost every game for the last couple of seasons. When was the last time they kept the same starting XI. And how does this compare to their rivals Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool. I'd be interested to know if Fergie rotates more than Rafa!
MARTIN SAYS: With Sir Alex Ferguson likely to make wholesale changes in their next match following their FA Cup defeat to Leeds United, it would be fair to assume that will be the 100th consecutive game in which Ferguson has changed his line up.
The last time he named an unchanged team was when he stuck with the eleven which beat Barcelona in the second leg of their Champions League semi final in May 2008. The following game was against West Ham in the penultimate league match of that title-winning season.
So how does that compare to the other members of the so-called big four? Chelsea have changed their team for the last 33 matches - a long way short of Manchester United. The last time they named the same starting XI in successive matches was last May when the same players started against Arsenal and Blackburn. Guus Hiddink liked a consistent team selection, but Carlo Ancelotti is yet to name an unchanged side.
Arsenal have only gone 16 games without an unchanged line-up. Arsene Wenger named the same team in successive games against AZ Alkmaar and West Ham last October.
Meanwhile Rafael Benitez - who also once went 99 games without naming the same team - has rotated in the last nine games of this season. However, at the end of November he named the same starting XI against Everton as he did against Debrecen in the previous match.
On average United make 5.6 changes to their team from game to game - more than half the starting eleven, which is more than all their rivals. Chelsea make 4.9 changes per game, Arsenal make 4.7 and Liverpool make 3.4.It is worth pointing out that all these changes are often dictated by the Champions League group games and the need to prioritise different competitions. No manager likes to play the same players in three big games in a week. If the season went Saturday to Saturday I'm sure there would be far fewer changes.
REDS VS THE DONS
Hi Martin, I think I know the answer to Liverpool's recent problems - Aberdeen FC. I am a supporter of both Liverpool and Aberdeen and since Rafa's arrival they never seem to both win on the same day. Can you clarify my thoughts by letting me know the percentages of times when they have both won on the same day. I really feel the percentage will be extremely low. Actually I don't think they often lose on the same day either but every time one of my teams plays in an early kick off if they win I fear for the other team conversely I get quietly confident if they lose.
Scott Wheeler, Aberdeen
MARTIN SAYS: Since Rafa Benitez's first competitive match in charge of Liverpool on August 10 2004, the Reds have played on the same day as Aberdeen a total of 114 times in all competitions. Both teams have won on the same day on 30 of those occasions - a percentage of 26.3.
Both teams have only lost on the same day five times in that period. So the good news for you Scott is that if one of your teams loses, there is only a 4.39 per cent chance that the other will lose as well. In fact, the 2007/08 and 2008/09 seasons were a golden spell for you, Scott, because there was not a single day in either season on which both of your sides lost. In that sense, your theory holds up because they very rarely lose on the same day.
However, the numbers don't really support your theory about one team winning and one team losing on the same day. Here are the combinations:
Aberdeen win/Liverpool lose: 13 days out of 114
Aberdeen lose/Liverpool win: 16 days out of 114
Together that adds up to 29 days out of 114 - a fraction over 25 per cent of the games played.
Hit the video for this week's teaser and for the answers to last week's question. Send in your answers using the feedback form below... and don't forget to keep your questions coming.