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 – 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 – Paris Saint-Germain have swapped places with Arsenal in the Euro Club Index over the last week, moving into ninth position with Arsenal dropping to 10th. AC Milan are back in the top-25 for the first time since February, replacing Athletic Bilbao.
FOOTBALL – Arsenal defeated Newcastle 3-0 in the Premier League today. It was the sixth successive PL defeat for Newcastle. Newcastle had never lost six successive PL matches before. The last time they lost six in a row in the top flight was 27 years ago, between December 1986 and January 1987.
FOOTBALL – On Saturday, Frank Lampard netted his 10th goal of the season in Chelsea’s 3-2 defeat at Newcastle United. The Chelsea midfielder has now scored at least 10 goals in 10 different Premier League seasons. The only player to have reached 10 goals in 11 PL seasons is Alan Shearer.
> Lampard has scored at least 10 goals for Chelsea in every PL season since 2003/2004.
> Alan Shearer scored 10+ goals in 11 seasons for Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United between: 1992/93 -1996/97 and between 1998/99 – 2005/06.
> Andy Cole netted at least 10 goals in nine different Premier League seasons between 1993/94 and 2003/04.