Football Commentator & Columnist
Shrimp my pride
Who are the only British team with a 100% record against Sir Alex? Martin has that stat and more...
Last Updated: 16/05/13 8:45am
Martin Tyler's stats and facts column is here!
Every week on skysports.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and he will do his best to help.
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 Stat
I was at the Emirates on Tuesday night to watch Wigan become the first FA Cup winners to be relegated in the same season. Wigan won their last two games in each of the last two seasons and were looking to repeat that feat to stay up - but obviously it didn't happen. In their eight seasons their finishes were as follows: 10th, 17th, 14th, 11th, 16th, 16th, 15th and now 18th.
Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are unbeaten in their last 17 starts together for Arsenal, winning 10 and drawing seven. They have conceded just four goals in their last 11 Premier League starts and not more than one goal in a game since November.
Theo Walcott took his tally to 14th Premier League goals and 10 assists for the season, while Lukas Podolski took his to 11 Premier League goals plus nine assists. Aaron Ramsey scored his first Premier League goals since February 2012 at Sunderland and his first home league goal for two years since a 1-0 win over Manchester United in May 2011.
Arsenal have now gone nine Premier League games unbeaten and have suffered just one defeat in their last 15, including 11 wins. Their capacity for late-season improvement outstripped Wigan on this occasion!
FERGIE'S SHRIMPERS STUTTER
Hi Martin, Love the column. Myself and few mates were discussing Fergie's retirement and one question that came up has me stumped. Out of all the English teams Fergie has faced, which team or teams have an unbeaten record against him? One my mates mentioned Southend United but I don't think that's correct. Can you assist please? Thanks, Ian Monahan (Manchester Utd fan)
MARTIN SAYS: Your mate is absolutely correct. Of all the British teams that Sir Alex Ferguson has faced as Manchester United manager, Southend United are the only side that he failed to beat! Admittedly they only played each other on one occasion - in a Carling Cup clash in November 2006 when Freddy Eastwood scored the only goal in a 1-0 win for the Shrimpers at Roots Hall.
Southend are one of only six sides in world football who can boast a 100% record against Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson; the others are Athletic Bilbao, Borussia Dortmund, Lazio, Vasco da Gama and Zenit St Petersburg.
Below, thanks to Opta, are the 12 sides who never lost to Manchester United during Sir Alex Ferguson's reign, including Spanish team Villarreal who managed to draw all four of their clashes 0-0 over the years.
|FC Rotor Volgograd||2||2||0|
|Vasco da Gama||1||0||1|
|Zenit St Petersburg||1||0||1|
|Rayos del Necaxa||1||1||0|
LONGEST-RUNNING TEAM MATES
Hi Martin, love the blog, keep up the good work. Which two players have played the most games together in the Premier League! Me and the work colleagues think the top 2 combinations would be: 1. Giggs and Scholes 2. Carragher and Gerrard. However, Giggs could be in quite a few with Neville etc. Many Thanks, Mark Whitehurst, Stoke-on-Trent
MARTIN SAYS: Thanks to Opta I can tell you that Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have played in the same Premier League game on 356 occasions, but that's not the most popular combination in the history of the competition because Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard have played together 383 times. Both of those runs have come to an end this season following the retirements of both Scholes and Carragher.
There are two further combinations to have played 300+ Premier League games together. Chelsea's Frank Lampard and John Terry have played in the same Chelsea side on 327 occasions, while Paul Scholes and Gary Neville have played together for Manchester United on 302 occasions.
Below we have listed 10 combinations of players to have appeared together on more than 250 occasions. Please note, this counts the number of occasions that both players played in the same game - and does not take into account whether or not they were actually on the pitch at the same time.
Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard: 383 times
Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes: 356 times
Frank Lampard and John Terry: 327 times
Paul Scholes and Gary Neville: 302 times
Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville: 297 times
Kevin Davies and Jussi Jaaskelainen: 288 times
Kevin Nolan and Jussi Jaaskalainen: 282 times
Jamie Carragher and Sami Hyppia: 280 times
Steven Gerrard and Sami Hyppia: 268 times
Ryan Giggs and Roy Keane: 258 times
You may wonder why members of the famous Arsenal defence including David Seaman, Tony Adams, Lee Dixon, Nigel Winterburn, Tony Adams and Steve Bould aren't mentioned. Many of those players had more than 200 appearances together in the Premier League, but not quite 200 - although they did also feature together in the old Division One as well.
Hi Martin, I would like to know, during his Premier League reign, how many different managers has Alex Ferguson faced? There have been a lot of clubs having more than one manager in a season let alone in a year. Love reading your articles. Enzo Fotellulio (Leeds Utd fan)
MARTIN SAYS: Hello Enzo. Sir Alex Ferguson has faced 137 managers, or combination of managers, during his Premier League days. (At times he faced managerial duos such as Doug Livermore and Ray Clemence at Tottenham, Terry Venables and Bryan Robson at Middlesbrough and Ray Harford and Stuart Murdoch of Wimbledon and these are counted in Opta's stats as "one" opponent). On Sunday, Michael Laudrup was the 137th he has faced in the Premier League and the 160th he played against in English league football as Manchester United boss.
I won't list his record against all of those managers, but I shall pick a few out for you. His showdowns with then-Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho did not generally go in his favour, with the Portuguese winning six to Ferguson's one. He comes out on top against his most regular rival, beating Arsene Wenger 15-10 while other personal scorecards include Kenny Dalglish (winning 5-2) and Kevin Keegan (winning 6-3).
Ferguson's record against notable rivals:
v ARSENE WENGER: P34 W15 D9 L10
v JOSE MOURINHO: P6 W1 D2 L3
v KENNY DALGLISH: P12 W5 D5 L2
v RAFA BENITEZ: P13 W8 D3 L4
v KEVIN KEEGAN: P15 W6 D6 L3
v DAVID MOYES: P22 W14 D5 L3
v BOBBY ROBSON: P9 W5 D2 L2
v ROBERTO MANCINI P7 W3 D1 L3
v HARRY REDKNAPP: P33 W22 D8 L3
v SAM ALLARDYCE: P18 W12 D4 L2
v MARTIN O'NEILL: P19 W12 D5 L2
Below, we have listed the managers against whom Sir Alex Ferguson boasts a 100% Premier League record. Amazingly, there are 42 of them - although he faced 20 of them in only a single game. Those single-game victories were against: Attilio Lombardo, Brian Laws, Brian McDermott, Christian Gross, David Webb, Jacques Santini, Jim Jefferies, Joe Jordan, Lawrie Sanchez, Mark Bowen, Mauricio Pochettino, Nigel Pearson, Paul Hart, Paul Ince, Steve Wigley, Stewart Houston, Terry Connor, Tony Parkes, Velimir Zajec plus the combination of Terry Venables & Bryan Robson.
He also had a 100% record against the following 22 men, whom he faced on more than one occasion:
|Opposition manager||Games||Wins||Draws||Losses||Win %|
Incredibly, there are also nine managers who faced Ferguson in the Premier League who have never lost to him, although eight of them only faced him once! Sven-Goran Eriksson won both clashes against him as manager of Manchester City, while Southampton's Stuart Gray is the only other man with a 100% Premier League record against him, having won their only meeting in May 2001 with a 2-1 success at The Dell during a brief spell in charge in between the departure of Glenn Hoddle and the arrival of Gordon Strachan.
|Opposition manager||Games||Wins||Draws||Losses||Win %|
|Sven Goran Eriksson||2||0||0||2||0|
|Harford & Murdoch||1||0||1||0||0|
CHAMPS AVOIDING BASHINGS
Hello Martin, I always enjoy your dazzling commentary and your unmissable stats and facts column. I have had the privilege of watching virtually every Manchester United game in yet another Championship Season and I don't remember seeing the team lose by more than a 1-goal margin. Considering how competitive and challenging the Premier League is, I was wondering if the title winners have achieved such a feat over the course of the 21 Premier League seasons? Many thanks, Mark
MARTIN SAYS: Hello Mark. You're right to say they haven't lost by more than a single goal this term, losing 1-0 at Everton; 3-2 at home to Tottenham; 1-0 at Norwich; 2-1 at home to Man City; and 1-0 to Chelsea.
You could be forgiven for thinking that this Manchester United side have achieved something unique with regards to the matches they've lost (or haven't lost) by more than a single goal. In fact, it is a feat that has been achieved no less than five times before in Premier League history.
The immediate and obvious one that springs to mind is the Arsenal's 'Invincibles' team of 2003/04, who didn't lose a single game, let alone lose one by a single goal! In addition, the Chelsea side that wrested the title from the Gunners the following year didn't lose a game by more than a single goal - their solitary defeat a 1-0 reverse at Manchester City.
It is also not a unique achievement for Sir Alex Ferguson, as his title-winning sides of 2007/08 and 2008/09 also avoided defeat by two or more goals for the entire campaign. Most galling for United fans (am I to assume you are included in that group, Mark?) will be learning that arch-rivals Manchester City won their first Premier League title last season while avoiding defeat by more than a single goal. Their only defeats - all on the road - came against Arsenal (1-0), Swansea (1-0), Everton (1-0), Sunderland (1-0) and Chelsea (2-1).
In contrast, the Manchester United team that won the title in 1995/96 lost by more than one goal on five occasions, going down 3-1 to Southampton; 4-1 to Tottenham; 3-1 to Leeds; 2-0 to Liverpool; and 3-1 to Aston Villa.
|Champions||Season||Games lost by 2+ goals|
I noted that Steven N'Zonzi and Rio Ferdinand ironically opened their accounts for this Premier League campaign on the penultimate day of the season. Quite an amazing record. Would like to know the players that have scored their first goal of the season on the last day of the season in the Premier League era? Thanks. Mark Kawanga.
MARTIN SAYS: It is, in fact, not particularly rare to see a player open his Premier League goalscoring account on the final day of the season. According to Opta, at least one player has done so in every campaign to date and we have listed them all below. Last season we saw Johnny Heitinga score his first goal of the season in Everton's final game, while Pablo Zabaleta scored his first Man City goal of the season in their title-winning game against QPR.
Other notable instances of players opening their account on the final day include David Unsworth scoring the penalty that kept Wigan in the Premier League in 2007 and John Hendry who didn't score until the final day for Tottenham in the very first Premier League season - and then scored twice in the North London derby. Similarly, Dwight Yorke didn't score in 11 appearances for Aston Villa in 1993/94 and then scored a brace on the final day against Liverpool. It's also worth noting Matt le Tissier, who scored his first goal of the season - and the last ever goal at The Dell in 2001; a last-minute winner against Arsenal. I'll be at Newcastle on Sunday and will keep an eye on any players who might do it this year.
Players scoring their first goal of the season on the final day:
1992/93: Andy Johnson, Bryan Robson, John Hendry, Andrew Scott, Steve Harkness
1993/94: Barry Horne, Jakob Kjeldberg, Dwight Yorke, Danny Williamson,
1994/95: Michael Williams, David Phillips, Ken Monkou
1995/96: David May, Jon Newsome
1996/97: Graham Fenton, Stuart Wilson, Paul McVeigh
1997/98: Clinton Morrison, Jody Morris, Gareth Farrelly,
1998/99: Gianluca Vialli
1999/00: Stefan Malz, Andy Griffin, Wayne Bridge, Chris Makin,
2000/01: Matt Le Tissier, Svetoslav Todorov
2001/02: Matt Piper, Lee Carsley, Marvin Robinson, Paul Telfer
2002/03: Craig Hignett
2003/04: Kevin Campbell, David Prutton
2004/05: Bryan Hughes, Dougie Freedman, Zat Knight
2005/06: Kieran Richardson, Duncan Ferguson, Danny Collins, Ognjen Koroman, Victor Anichebe, Williams Martinez, Carl Fletcher, Zurab Khizanishvili
2006/07: Matt Holland, Harry Kewell, David Unsworth, David Wheater
2007/08: Fábio Rochemback, David Murphy, Leroy Lita, Adam Johnson
2008/09: Darron Gibson, Ashley Cole
2009/10: Luis Boa Morte, Carlos Vela, Jack Cork, Adlène Guédioura,
2010/11: Anderson, Cristian Riveros,
2011/12: Johnny Heitinga, Pablo Zabaleta