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 comes from Carrow Road.
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I was at Carrow Road on Sunday where Chelsea remained unbeaten in 10 games against Norwich (all competitions), winning eight and drawing two since a 3-1 win for Norwich in December 1994. That day there were two goals from Ashley Ward and one from Jamie Cureton, who is still going strong and scoring for Cheltenham at the age of 38.
Chelsea became the first team other than Aston Villa to beat Norwich at Carrow Road in 2013 - although Paul Lambert's new club have beaten them twice in this calendar year.
Willian scored on his Premier League debut, while Eden Hazard scored a year to the day after scoring against Norwich in a 4-1 home win - October 6 is clearly a day to avoid for Norwich fans!
John Terry played his 400th career league game (including 6 for Nottingham Forest), while Petr Cech played in his 299th Premier League game for Chelsea - but the most interesting stat for me is that no main Chelsea striker has scored in seven Premier League games this season - and only one of their last 29 Premier League goals have come from a recognised centre-forward (Torres v Everton on the last day of last season). It should be pointed out that Demba Ba played very well on Sunday, though.
A point about Sunderland
Dear Martin. I enjoy listening to your commentary each week. As a Sunderland fan I'm concerned about our start to the season and was wondering if we should start planning for relegation already because we have only picked up one point in our first seven matches. Has a team ever started the season so badly and stayed up? Kris (Sunderland fan)
MARTIN SAYS: Sunderland are only the sixth side in Premier League history to pick up less than two points from their opening seven games. However, such a bad start does not necessarily result in inevitable relegation as you can see from the mixed fortunes of the previous five...
PORTSMOUTH 2009/10 - Four seasons ago, Portsmouth had an even worse record than Sunderland do now, becoming the only team in Premier League history to lose their first seven matches. They were eventually relegated in 20th place, although their cause was not helped by a nine-point deduction for going into administration.
NEWCASTLE 1999/00 - Sunderland's local rivals Newcastle had only one point from their first seven games in 1999/00 prompting the resignation of Ruud Gullit early in the season. However, the arrival of Bobby Robson soon changed their fortunes and they won their eighth game - at home to Sheffield Wednesday - by an incredible 8-0 scoreline. They went on to finish 11th in the table and avoided relegation comfortably.
SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1999/00 - In the same season, Sheffield Wednesday picked up just one point from their first nine games and, as mentioned above, suffered an 8-0 thrashing to Newcastle in game eight. They took their relegation scrap to the penultimate game of the season but ultimately finished 19th and went down.
SOUTHAMPTON 1998/99 - Southampton are the second example of a team having one point after seven games, but still staying up. They lost their first five matches - including an embarrassing 5-0 loss to newly-promoted Charlton - and were in the relegation zone until April. However, they won their final three matches of the campaign to finish 17th and beat the drop.
MAN CITY 1995/96 - Manchester City picked up only one point from their first seven games under Alan Ball and failed to win any of their first 12 matches in total. However, their form improved and they were eventually relegated on goal difference behind Southampton and Coventry, despite a 2-2 draw with Liverpool in the final game.
So as you can see, two of the previous five teams to open the season with less than two points from the first seven games managed to survive - so it's certainly not an impossible task for new Sunderland manager Gus Poyet!
I commentated on Gus Poyet's first game in charge of Brighton - a really tough ask away to Southampton and they won 3-1 - so maybe Swansea should beware the weekend after next!
Teams with less than two points from opening seven Premier League games:
Dear Martin. I was looking at the Premier League table and noticed that Southampton have only let in two goals this season, which seems quite incredible. Has a team ever had such a good defensive record after seven games of the season? Callum (West Ham fan)
MARTIN SAYS: Southampton's strong defensive displays this season come as quite a contrast to last season. After seven games last year they'd conceded 20 goals and had the worst defensive record in the Premier League by a distance.
However, this season they have become only the 10th side in Premier League history to concede less than three goals in their first seven games. Of the previous nine sides to achieve the feat, eight went on to finish the season inside the top six and three ended up as champions. The only side that failed to secure a European spot after such a strong defensive start was the Leicester City team of 2000/01 - however it's worth pointing out that all, but one of those nine sides had more points than Southampton at this stage.
Teams who've conceded less than 3 goals in opening 7 Premier League games:
Hello Martin, noted that our newly recruited Belgian teenager Adnan Januzaj netted a brace en route to a Manchester United's comeback win over Sunderland. I heard the commentator say that this was his first Premier League start during the pre-match line up presentation so I was amazed over the fact that he had scored on his first inclusion into the team's starting eleven. I felt that this was quite a feat therefore I would like to know the other players to have scored not once but twice on their first Premier League start? Thank you. Mark Kawanga.
MARTIN SAYS: Januzaj became the 27th player to score at least two goals on his first start in the English top-flight since the formation of the Premier League and the first since Michu achieved the feat when he scored twice for Swansea against QPR last August. He is only the second Manchester United player to do it in the Premier League era; the other being Ruud van Nistelrooy who bagged a brace against Fulham on his Premier League debut for Manchester United in 2001.
I have listed the 27 players for you below, but it's worth pointing out that two of those players actually scored hat-tricks on their first Premier League starts. Fabrizio Ravanelli famously did it for Middlesbrough against Liverpool in 1996 and Jermaine Pennant scored three times for Arsenal on his first Premier League start against Southampton in May 2003.
Players to score twice on their first English top-flight start in Premier League era:
08/05/1993: Efan Ekoku
10/12/1994: Ashley Ward
06/03/1996: Regi Blinker
17/08/1996: Dean Sturridge
17/08/1996: Fabrizio Ravanelli*
21/09/1996: Patrik Berger
21/08/1999: Robbie Keane
11/09/1999: Davor Suker
15/01/2000: Malcolm Christie
19/08/2000: Mario Stanic
19/08/2000: Alen Boksic
09/12/2000: Shaun Bartlett
18/08/2001: Kevin Nolan
19/08/2001: Ruud Van Nistelrooy
14/09/2002: Milan Baros
07/05/2003: Jermaine Pennant*
08/11/2003: Gary O'Neil
12/04/2004: Collins John
25/08/2007: Cameron Jerome
20/09/2008: David Di Michele
26/12/2008: Felipe Caicedo
06/11/2010: Asamoah Gyan
12/02/2011: Demba Ba
18/08/2012: Mladen Petric
*Scored three goals
NB This list only includes players making their first English top-flight start since the formation of the Premier League, not necessarily their first Premier League start
Interestingly Januzaj became the youngest player to score twice in a Premier League game for Manchester United, topping a list of very illustrious names...
Adnan Januzaj: 18yrs 242days (v Sunderland, 2013)
Wayne Rooney: 19yrs, 21days (v Newcastle, 2004)
Ryan Giggs: 19yrs 83days (v Southampton, 1993)
Cristiano Ronaldo: 19yrs 362days (v Arsenal, 2005)
Paul Scholes: 20yrs 24days (v QPR, 1994)
David Beckham: 20yrs 362days (v Nottingham Forest, 1996)
He's also the fifth youngest Premier League scorer for Manchester United behind Federico Macheda, Danny Welbeck, Rafael and Nick Powell.
Top of the stops
Dear Mr Tyler. Could you tell Petr Cech's standing in terms of most clean sheets ever? I would assume that he's not far off from David James (who I believe holds the record for the most clean sheets in Premier League history). Regards, Brij
MARTIN SAYS: At the end of last season, Petr Cech moved up to third on the all-time list of Premier League goalkeepers in terms of clean sheets. He equalled David Seaman's tally of 140 and has now moved on to 145 clean sheets. I must make it clear that this only includes games that were completed and not when the goalkeeper went off at any point in the match.
He is just three clean sheets shy of second spot on the all-time list. That spot is currently held by the man who is Cech's understudy at Stamford Bridge, Mark Schwarzer. The former Middlesbrough and Fulham goalkeeper has 148 clean sheets to his name.
As you suspected, the man at the top of the list is David James who achieved 169 clean sheets in his 572 Premier League appearances. Cech needs 24 more clean sheets to reach that tally, while Schwarzer would need 21 shut-outs.
Below are 13 goalkeepers with more than 100 Premier League clean sheets to their name:
1. David James (169)
2. Mark Schwarzer (148)
3. Petr Cech (145)
4. David Seaman (140)
5. Nigel Martyn (137)
6. Jose Reina (134)
7= Edwin van der Sar, Brad Friedel (132)
9. Peter Schmeichel (128)
10. Shay Given (112)
11. Thomas Sorensen (107)
12. Tim Howard (106)
13. Jussi Jaaskelainen (104)
Hello Martin, great column, great commentary. Keep up the good work! My question relates to clubs liking players from certain nationalities. Over the years we've often associated Arsenal with French players, Chelsea with Italians etc.. could you please tell me, during the Premier League era, what each club's 'second nationality' would be based on their foreign signings over the years? Many thanks. Bob Shanook
MARTIN SAYS: As you've assumed, each team in Premier League history has used more players from England than from any other nation, but a wide variety of countries are covered by the "second nationalities" you refer to.
Of the 46 teams to have played in the Premier League, the most popular "second nationality" is unsurprisingly Scotland (17 teams), followed by the Republic of Ireland (14 teams). Then 11 clubs have had more French players than any other nationality besides English.
You may associate Chelsea with Italy, but they've in fact been represented by 12 players from France and the Netherlands over the years. The second nationality at Liverpool and Swansea is Spain, while Wimbledon's was Norway and Watford boasted more Jamaican players than any other nation besides England!
|Second Most Popular Nationalty - All-Time PL||Country||Players|
|Aston Villa||Republic of Ireland||15|
|Birmingham||Republic of Ireland||10|
|Blackburn||Republic of Ireland||13|
|Cardiff||France / Scotland / Wales||2|
|Charlton||Republic of Ireland||5|
|Chelsea||France / Netherlands||12|
|Crystal Palace||Republic of Ireland||8|
|Hull||Republic of Ireland||7|
|Leeds||France / Scotland||7|
|Manchester City||Republic of Ireland||11|
|Middlesbrough||Republic of Ireland||10|
|QPR||Brazil / Wales||3|
|Reading||Republic of Ireland||8|
|Sheffield United||Republic of Ireland / Scotland||5|
|Sheffield Wednesday||Northern Ireland||7|
|Stoke||Republic of Ireland||7|
|Sunderland||Republic of Ireland||26|
|Swindon||Northern Ireland / Scotland||2|
|WBA||Republic of Ireland / Scotland||6|
|Wolves||Republic of Ireland||12|