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I was at Villa Park on Monday night to see Arsenal beat Aston Villa. Arsenal have now played away at Aston Villa 15 times since their last defeat, which was in December 1998 when they were champions and were 2-0 up, only to lose 3-2 following second-half goals from Julian Joachim and Dion Dublin (2). I must thank John Gregory for pointing out to me that in 1998 Villa actually beat Arsenal as champions twice at Villa Park - as they'd beaten them in the May of the previous campaign when the Gunners already had the league won. Arsenal have actually lost twice at Villa Park since December 1998 - but both times were FA Cup semi-finals against Manchester United (1999 and 2004).
Jack Wilshere scored only his fourth Premier League goal for Arsenal; his first actually came at Villa Park in a 4-2 win in November 2010. Olivier Giroud scored his 20th Premier League goal for Arsenal with nine of them coming this season. His goal was the seventh he has scored with his left foot this season (the other two were headers). Per Mertesacker played his 100th game for Arsenal, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made his first appearance since the 3-1 loss at home to Villa on the opening day.
Christian Benteke made his 50th Premier League appearance in the game and scored his 24th Premier League goal, his seventh header and his first in 12 games. He completed a season hat-trick over Arsenal, having scored twice in the 3-1 win on the opening day.
All seven of the top seven won over the weekend, but Arsenal were the only ones not to win by a two-goal margin. Arsenal have now won their last five games in league and cup and have conceded only two goals in their last six matches since conceding six at Manchester City.
Dear Martin. If Arsenal win on Monday night then that means that the lead of the Premier League will have changed three times in three days. Has this ever happened before? Chris
MARTIN SAYS: Hello Chris. As you now know, Arsenal did win on Monday night and the lead of the Premier League did indeed change three times in three days. Chelsea took over from Arsenal on Saturday following their win at Wigan and they were replaced by Manchester City on Sunday after their success at Newcastle. Arsenal's win at Villa Park meant that three days in a row ended with different Premier League leaders.
According to Opta, this has only happened ONCE before in the history of the Premier League - and it was right back in the first season of the competition in 1992/93. It happened around this time of year - across the weekend of January 16-18 - and involved Manchester United, Aston Villa and Norwich City.
Manchester United started the weekend on top of the table, but were level on 41 points with both Villa and Norwich. United's goal difference was far superior, however, as it was +16 compared to +9 for Villa and, surprisingly, -1 for Norwich. However, Alex Ferguson's side weren't due to play until the Monday night.
On Saturday 16, Norwich drew 1-1 at home to Coventry to go top of the table by one point by the end of the day. Aston Villa had dropped to fourth behind Blackburn, but then thrashed Middlesbrough 5-1 at home on Sunday, January 17 to go two points clear of the Canaries. Garry Parker, Paul McGrath, Dwight Yorke, Dean Saunders and Shaun Teale all scored in that win.
However, Manchester United re-claimed the lead on Monday night with a 3-1 win at QPR (Paul Ince, Ryan Giggs and Andrei Kanchelskis scoring the goals) and they went back above Villa on goal difference. They eventually won the title by 10 points.
That's the only time before now that three different sides have been top of the Premier League on three consecutive days.
Dear Martin. Big fan of your commentary and your column so keep up the good work. Liverpool have scored five goals away from home on two separate occasions now against Stoke and Spurs and it got me thinking this must be very rare. How often do you see teams score five away goals in the same season and has anyone ever scored more? I can't think of anyone who has. Eric (Liverpool fan)
MARTIN SAYS: As a Liverpool fan you don't have to cast your mind back very far to remember the last time a team scored five goals in two away games in a season. Last year Brendan Rodgers' side won 5-2 away at Norwich and 6-0 away at Newcastle - so they have done it two years in a row!
Thanks to Opta, I can tell you that only seven teams in Premier League history have scored 5+ goals away from home more than once in a season and four of those teams have done it in the last two-and-a-half seasons! In fact, in the extraordinary 2011/12 season both Manchester United and Manchester City scored five away goals on three occasions each!
United won three away games 5-0 that year - against Bolton, Fulham and Wolves, while Man City scored five away at Tottenham and six away at Norwich and, memorably, at Old Trafford. No side in Premier League history has scored five away goals in four games in a season.
Scoring five goals away from home more than once in a season:
24/08/1997: Barnsley 0-6 Chelsea
06/12/1997: Tottenham 1-6 Chelsea
Manchester United (1998/99)
16/01/1999: Leicester 2-6 Manchester United
06/02/1999: Nottingham Forest 1-8 Manchester United
Manchester United (2001/02)
29/09/2001: Tottenham 3-5 Manchester United
16/03/2002: West Ham 3-5 Manchester United
Manchester City (2011/12)
28/08/2011: Tottenham 1-5 Manchester City
23/10/2011: Manchester United 1-6 Manchester City
14/04/2012: Norwich 1-6 Manchester City
Manchester United (2011/12)
10/09/2011: Bolton 0-5 Manchester United
21/12/2011: Fulham 0-5 Manchester United
18/03/2012: Wolves 0-5 Manchester United
29/09/2012: Norwich 2-5 Liverpool
27/04/2013: Newcastle 0-6 Liverpool
15/12/2013: Tottenham 0-5 Liverpool
12/01/2014: Stoke 3-5 Liverpool
Four or more
Dear Martin. By my count, Liverpool have scored four goals in six different Premier League games this season. Are we on course for some sort of record? Bruce (Liverpool fan)
MARTIN SAYS: Liverpool have never scored four goals on more than six occasions in a previous Premier League season so they have set a club record with their displays against Stoke, Tottenham, West Ham, Norwich, Fulham and West Brom this season. However, they are still short of breaking a Premier League record. Indeed they are not the only Premier League team this season to have scored 4+ goals on six occasions, as Manchester City have also achieved that feat.
According to our friends at Opta we have seen 19 teams score 4+ goals on 7+ occasions in a single Premier League season. The record is held by Manchester United who have scored 4+ goals in 10 different games in two separate Premier League seasons.
The first occasion was 1999/2000 when they enjoyed the following results:
Man Utd 4-0 Sheff Wed
Man Utd 5-1 Newcastle
Man Utd 4-1 Watford
Man Utd 5-1 Everton
West Ham 2-4 Man Utd
Man Utd 4-0 Bradford
Bradford 0-4 Man Utd
Man Utd 7-1 West Ham
Middlesbrough 3-4 Man Utd
Man Utd 4-0 Sunderland
The other occasion was 2001/02 when they enjoyed the following results:
Man Utd 4-1 Everton
Man Utd 4-0 Ipswich
Tottenham 3-5 Man Utd
Man Utd 5-0 Derby
Man Utd 6-1 Southampton
Bolton 0-4 Man Utd
Man Utd 4-1 Sunderland
Man Utd 4-0 Tottenham
West Ham 3-5 Man Utd
Leeds 3-4 Man Utd
That means Liverpool or Manchester City need to score four goals on four more occasions this season to match that record.
Teams scoring 4+ goals in a Premier League season:
TEN TIMES: Manchester United (1999/00 and 2001/02)
NINE TIMES: Chelsea (2009/10) and Manchester United (2007/08 and 2009/10)
EIGHT TIMES: Arsenal (2004/05 and 2009/10), Manchester City (2011/12) and Manchester United (2011/12)
SEVEN TIMES: Arsenal (2012/13), Aston Villa (2007/08), Chelsea (1997/98 and 2004/05), Everton (1999/2000), Manchester United (2006/07 and 2012/13), Newcastle (1993/94 and 1996/97), Tottenham (2007/08)
A thrifty fifty
Dear Martin. As an Aston Villa fan I was pleased to see our former player Gareth Barry reach 50 Premier League goals, but I was wondering if any player has taken so many games to score 50 goals before because I believe he has played more than 500 games now? Thanks for reading my question. Dobbie Keplan (Aston Villa fan)
MARTIN SAYS: With the help of the clever chaps at Opta I can tell you that of the 81 players to score 50 Premier League goals, nobody has needed more appearances than Gareth Barry - by a long way. His 50th goal came in his 513th game in the competition - which is more than 100 games longer than anybody else on that illustrious list. Before Saturday, the slowest player to 50 Premier League goals was Danny Murphy, who needed 402 games to reach the landmark.
The most appearances before scoring 50th Premier League goals
Gareth Barry (513)
Danny Murphy (402)
Lee Bowyer (340)
Damien Duff (329)
Trevor Sinclair (315)
Kevin Nolan (296)
Nick Barmby (289)
Gary Speed (286)
Steven Gerrard (281)
Frank Lampard (279)
Kevin Davies (266)
Other current players approaching the landmark include Carlton Cole (48 goals in 251 appearances so far), Daniel Sturridge (46 goals in 123 appearances), Theo Walcott (45 goals in 194 appearances) and Steven Fletcher (44 goals in 141 appearances) - all men with a quicker strike rate than Barry. However, Joe Cole is just five goals shy of 50 and has played 359 games in the Premier League so could soon join the list above.
As for the quickest to 50, the accolade goes to Andy Cole who needed just 65 games to get there. He was one game quicker than Alan Shearer and three games quicker than Ruud van Nistelrooy:
The fewest appearances before scoring 50 Premier League goals
Andrew Cole (65)
Alan Shearer (66)
Ruud van Nistelrooy (68)
Fernando Torres (72)
Thierry Henry, Kevin Phillips (83)
Luis Suarez (86)
Ian Wright (87)
Robbie Fowler (88)
Teddy Sheringham, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (94)
A treble of trebles
Hi Martin, Huge fan of your column. This season we have had only two hat-tricks till now both by Luis Suarez against West Brom and Norwich. Can you tell me if there had been seasons with fewer hat tricks than this in Premier League? Ashwani Rana (Chelsea Fan)
MARTIN SAYS: We received your question last Friday and since then there has been a third hat-trick scored in the Premier League with Adam Johnson scoring the first treble of his career in Sunderland's 4-1 win over Fulham. So that means we've seen three hat-tricks so far.
As a result of Johnson's efforts we have already matched the Premier League season with the fewest hat-tricks. Remarkably, back in 2006/07, there were just three hat-tricks in the entire season - scored by Wayne Rooney, Didier Drogba and Peter Crouch. By January 14 that season only two had been scored, so we are doing better than that!
As you can see in the table below, that's the only season that has seen fewer hat-tricks by this stage. In five previous seasons - 1993/94, 1995/96, 1997/98, 2000/01 and 2011/12 - we have been in double figures by mid-January! The record for an entire Premier League season is 19 hat-tricks, which was achieved in 1993/94 (a 42-game season) and also in 2011/12. That year broke the record for a 38-game season and we saw trebles from Edin Dzeko, Wayne Rooney (2), Sergio Aguero, Demba Ba (2), Frank Lampard, Andrew Johnson, Robin van Persie (2), Yakubu, Dimitar Berbatov, Clint Dempsey, Peter Odemwingie, Pavel Pogrebnyak, Steven Gerrard, Carlos Tevez, Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres.
|Season||Hat-tricks by Jan 14||Total hat-tricks|