FOOTBALL – Thirty-five years ago Aston Villa famously, and surprisingly, won the league title with just 14 players. Three years earlier, Nottingham Forest won the league immediately after promotion using just 16 players. Arsenal’s 1989 title win, their first for 18 years, was achieved with just 17 starters. This season, Leicester City have been the great surprises of the Premier League and have also followed a similar pattern in their selections. In the first 22 matches of the season, Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri has picked just 17 players in his starting line-ups and the club could still equal the Premier League era record for fewest starting players in a season. Continue reading →
FOOTBALL – Aston Villa lost 2-0 at Hull City on Tuesday evening and set a new PL record for the fewest goals after 25 matches of a season (12 goals). Only Leicester City (11 in 1977/78) scored fewer after 25 matches of a top flight campaign.
FOOTBALL – 61 days ago – today is day 62 – Tottenham Hotspur lined up in Turkey to play their final Europa League group match against Besiktas which they went on to lose 1-0. Two days earlier, Liverpool drew 1-1 with FC Basel in what was their final Champions League match of the season. This evening, the two clubs play each other and for both, it will be their 17th match of the last nine weeks, the most played by any European club over that period.
With 17 matches remaining in this season’s Premier League, the race to the title currently involves just two teams, one of which has around twice the chance of the other of ending the season as 2014/2015 Premier League champions. Five more clubs have a realistic chance of a top-4 spot whilst eight teams are currently involved in the relegation battle. This leaves just five – West Ham, Swansea City, Stoke City, Newcastle United and Everton – without much left to play for.
FOOTBALL – Italian champions Juventus have climbed to fifth place, their best position in the Euro Club Index since its inception, after wins against Malmö and AC Milan over the last week. However, the big news is that there is no Premier League club in the top-5 for the first time since the Euro Club Index began in 2007. During much of the first couple of years of the Euro Club Index’s existence, there were four clubs – Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United – in the top-5 but that number gradually declined from November 2009 onwards, the last time that a quartet of Premier League clubs occupied four of the top five places.
FOOTBALL – The Madrid derby took all of the attention at the weekend with two of the top four Euro Club Index teams playing against one another but it is the other La Liga giants, FC Barcelona, who took advantage of the result in that match and returned to top spot in the ranking of Europe’s top flight clubs.