Barrie's View

10 Interesting Stats from Premier League Matchday 34

April 13, 2014 by Barrie

2 – Harry Kane has scored as many Premier League goals in open play as Roberto Soldado this season. The young English striker has made 6 appearances (2 starts) compared to the Spaniard’s 26 (22 starts). Soldado has also scored 4 penalties.

6 – Sunderland have scored 6 own goals in the Premier League this season. Wes Brown’s own goal on Saturday was the only goal of the game as they were defeated at home by Everton.

7 – Everton have won a club record 7 consecutive Premier League matches, beating West Ham, Cardiff City, Swansea City, Newcastle, Fulham, Arsenal and Sunderland. They host Crystal Palace on Wednesday.

7 – Pepe Mel has now gone 7 home games in the Premier League without winning a single one. West Brom were pegged back by a stoppage time equaliser in a 3-3 draw against Tottenham – a mirror image of their 3-3 draw in their last home game against Cardiff. The Baggies have drawn six of their seven at home under Mel.

8 – Sunderland’s defeat on Saturday means that Newcastle United will finish above their rivals for the 8th time in the 12 seasons they have both been in the Premier League together.

12 – Only five teams have kept more clean sheets than Tottenham’s 12 this season. The Spurs defence however has fallen apart in recent weeks and under Tim Sherwood and have now conceded 48 Premier League goals – only 8 teams have conceded more.

15 – Newcastle have failed to score in 15 of their 34 Premier League matches this season – only Crystal Palace (16) have fired blanks on more occasions this season. 11 of these shut outs have been in 2014.

39 – Only four teams have conceded fewer goals than Crystal Palace this season. The Eagles are closing in on safety following their 1-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday that gives them a 7-point lead over the bottom three with 5 games to play.

49 – Liverpool have scored 49 Premier League goals in 15 matches in 2014. They have scored more goals in the calendar year than 13 Premier League teams have scored all season (32-34 games).

66 – Everton have set a club record for most Premier League points in a single season. The Toffees moved onto 66 with a 1-0 win at Southampton on Saturday. The ever-present Premier League failed to match this tally during the 42-game seasons or the 11 seasons under David Moyes.

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Arsenal with and without Patrick Vieira

April 12, 2014 by Barrie

Today Arsenal take on Wigan Athletic in the FA Cup semi-final. With only the in-form Championship side standing between them and a place in the final to face either Hull City or Sheffield United, bookmakers and many an Arsenal fan are confident Arsène Wenger’s side will lift the trophy in May.

Winning the FA Cup this season which lift a huge weight off of Wenger’s shoulders and bring relief to fans who have gone 9 years without their team lifting any silverware.

And lifting a piece of silverware this season would also mean Arsène Wenger will have won his first trophy without Patrick Vieira. Yes, without Patrick Vieira.

There are still at least 180 minutes between Arsenal and success though. And their midfield, not only missing Patrick Vieira for its ninth successive season, has a large number of injuries in it too.

Patrick Vieira – one of the Premier League’s greats. Since joining the Gunners around the same time as Arsène Wenger back in 1996, the 107-time French international lifted 7 major honours at Arsenal and 4 Community Shields.

He successfully replaced Tony Adams as captain. He won both the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 with his country. He was also a talismanic man in the centre of that midfield as part of the 2003-04 Invincibles.

The numbers back up just how important Patrick Vieira was to Arsène Wenger and Arsenal.

The table below shows Arsenal’s Premier League seasons under Arsène Wenger (it also includes the first eight games of the 1996-97 season before Wenger arrived. Vieira made his debut in the sixth game of that season):

Arsenal Premier League seasons with and without Patrick Vieira

After the 1996-97 season which was both Arsène Wenger and a 20-year old Patrick Vieira’s first in English football, the £3.5 million signing from AC Milan finished in the top two with the Gunners in each of his eight seasons at Highbury.

Since Vieira left for Juventus in 2005, Arsenal have not once finished in the top two places in the following eight seasons. 2013-14 is set to be their ninth straight. Coincidence?

Last month I wrote a piece on Nemanja Matić and the importance of a great holding midfielder. Virtually every Premier League winning side has had one. Roy Keane, Vieira, Claude Makélélé. Although Liverpool are in a position to defy that rule this season.

Following the sale of Vieira, Arsenal’s win percentage without him has lowered whilst the number of defeats has increased.

The Gunners had a 62% winning record in the Premier League Patrick Vieira’s final eight seasons with the club. In the eight seasons after he left, only 55%.

Here’s a look at how Vieira compares to the holding midfielders Wenger has tried to replace him with over the years:

Win % of Arsenal holding midfielders post Patrick Vieira

*I have excluded Francis Coquelin, Lassana Diarra, Craig Eastmond and Kim Källström who have only played a handful of games for the club.

Gilberto Silva, who was on the receiving end of a lot of criticism during his time at Arsenal is the only player who can match up to Patrick Vieira in the win department.

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3 familiar names in Champions League semi-finals

April 10, 2014 by Barrie

The UEFA Champions League hasn’t thrown up many surprises this season.

Galatasaray finishing above Juventus in the group stage was certainly the biggest. But that had its own controversy. A postponed match that was played in freezing temperatures saw Galatasaray beat Juventus 1-0. And even then, the Italian side were eliminated into the Europa League where the final is being played in their own stadium.

Olympiacos finished above Benfica. The Portuguese side are looking good in their domestic league and Europa League but they were slow starters and not looking too great to the start the season.

Celtic getting as many as 3 points may have been the next biggest surprise in the group stage.

Then in the round of 16 the majority of the ties were virtually over after the first leg:

Manchester City 0-2 Barcelona
Bayer 04 Leverkusen 0-4 Paris Saint-Germain
Schalke 04 1-6 Real Madrid
Zenit St Petersburg 2-4 Borussia Dortmund
Bayern Munich 0-2 Arsenal

Manchester United overcame a 0-2 first leg defeat to Olympiacos which mean that all eight group stage winners made the quarter-finals.

The quarter-final threw up one surprise. Or at least what I claim to be a surprise. La Liga leaders Atlético Madrid eliminated second place Barcelona 2-1 on aggregate to book their place in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite club competition for the first time in 40 years. That season, Madrid lost the final to Bayern Munich in a replay.

Chelsea sure did leave it late to beat Paris Saint-Germain. But Premier League sides are used to creating late drama so let’s just say that’s what it was. PSG manager Laurent Blanc sure did bottle his gameplan that helped lead to their downfall as they sat further and further back, inviting pressure. This is the 7th time in 11 years that the Premier League side have reached the final four of the competition.

Real Madrid just about hung on to eliminate Borussia Dortmund and reach their fourth consecutive semi-final. Cristiano Ronaldo missed the second leg so still needs one more goal to set a Champions League record for most goals in a single campaign.

Bayern Munich are now three matches away from becoming the first team to successfully defend the Champions League trophy. The last team to successfully defend Europe’s top prize was AC Milan back in 1990 when it was known as the European Cup. This is the 4th time in 5 seasons that the German champions have reached the semi-finals. Last season was the only time during those five years they have lifted the trophy, after losing finals to José Mourinho’s Internazionale and Roberto Di Matteo’s Chelsea.

So that’s one team making their 7th appearance in 11 seasons, another making four consecutive and another making their fourth in the last five. Barcelona’s elimination ended a six season streak of making it past the quarter-finals. If not for Atlético Madrid then the semi-final line-up would have been even more familiar.

From now on though there’s no predictability. It really is an open contest. Atlético Madrid have taken 4 points from Real Madrid in La Liga this season. Bayern Munich are looking more dominant than last season and any side managed by José Mourinho cannot be written off.

The bookmakers make Bayern Munich the favourites currently with odds of 2.44, followed by Real Madrid at 3.3. Atlético Madrid are 6.0 and Chelsea 7.8.

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10 Interesting Stats from Champions League Quarter-Finals

April 9, 2014 by Barrie

1 – Barcelona have only kept one clean sheet in their last eight Champions League matches.

4 – English sides have won the last 4 Champions League knockout ties vs French opponents. Chelsea left it late before Demba Ba’s dramatic late winner to see Chelsea reach the semi-finals at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain.

4 – Bayern Munich have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in four of the past five seasons. The current holders were 4-2 winners over Manchester United on aggregate in the quarter-finals.

4 – Real Madrid have reached the semi-finals for their fourth consecutive season. They have not reached the final in the previous three.

5 – José Mourinho has reached a record 5th consecutive Champions League semi-final. He won the tournament with Internazionale in 2010, then reached three successive semi-finals with Real Madrid, eliminated on each occasion (by Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund) before reaching the final four this season with Chelsea.

7 – Chelsea have reached the semi-finals of the Champions League for the 7th time in 11 seasons.

8 – José Mourinho is the first manager to reach the semi-finals on eight occasions. He has only progressed past this stage before but both times his side have gone on to reach the final they have lifted the trophy.

73 – Manchester United were ahead for just 73 seconds after Patrice Evra’s strike at the Allianz Arena. Little more than a minute later Mario Mandžukić equalised.

141 – Ryan Giggs and Xavi reached 141 Champions League appearances in their quarter-final exits, both one appearance behind record holder Raúl.

2007 – This is the first season since 2007 that Barcelona have not reached the semi-finals.

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10 Interesting Stats from Premier League Matchday 33

April 7, 2014 by Barrie

1 – Sunderland have picked up just 1 point from their last 7 Premier League matches following their defeat at Tottenham on Monday night football. Five of these matches have been since their League Cup final defeat to Manchester City.

9 – Liverpool extended their winning streak to 9 games in the Premier League with a 2-1 win at West Ham on Sunday. Brendan Rodgers’ side are now 1 win away from a club record of 10 in the Premier League which was set under Rafael Benítez during the 2005-06 season.

20 – Arsenal have conceded 20 goals in their away matches vs the other top 5 this season. The Gunners went down 3-0 at Everton on Sunday having previously lost 6-3 at Manchester City, 5-1 at Liverpool and 6-0 at Chelsea this season.

23 – Liverpool have scored in the first half of their last 23 Premier League matches. The Reds extended their record on Sunday thanks to Steven Gerrard’s first penalty shortly before half-time.

56% – 10 of Yaya Touré’s 18 Premier League goals this season have come from set pieces (6 penalties, 4 direct free kicks).

63 – Everton are 3 points away from setting a club record for the most points gained in a single Premier League season. Roberto Martínez’s side have six games to set a new club record.

77% – 10 of Steven Gerrard’s 13 Premier League goals this season have been from the penalty spot. The Liverpool captain added two more to his season’s tally on Sunday to help his side win 2-1 at Upton Park.

296′ – Fernando Torres ended a run of 296 minutes of Premier League football without a shot on target when midway through the first half Saturday’s game against Stoke, the Spaniard gambled on Erik Pieters chest back towards goalkeeper Asmir Begovic. However, his attempt was blocked by the Bosnian.

383′ – Álvaro Negredo has gone 383 minutes without scoring in the Premier League since a last-minute goal at St James’ Park in a 2-0 win back in January. That is the Spaniard’s only league goal of 2014, although the Manchester City striker does have 8

472′ – Fernando Torres has gone 472 minutes without scoring in the Premier League since his late goal in Chelsea’s 2-0 win at Hull City back in January. The Spaniard has now gone 9 league games without a goal after failing to score in the Blues’ 3-0 win over Stoke City on Saturday in which he played the full 90 minutes.

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