Manchester United: Back in the Title Hunt?

Morgan Schneiderlin

After two seasons without a title fight, Manchester United fans are about to head into 2015-16 with more optimism than they ever have since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

Although the Betfair betting markets have United down only as fourth favourites to win the Premier League this season, their activity in the transfer market has them closing the gap on Chelsea.

Louis van Gaal ended last season in good form following a slow start – qualification to this season’s UEFA Champions League meaning everything.

It’s been an exciting couple of days for United fans – the signings of Matteo Darmian (£13m), Bastian Schweinsteiger (£14m) and Morgan Schneiderlin (£25m) all bring real quality to the squad and fill areas where the Red Devils were weak last season.

Darmian is an exciting right-back who offers good support in attack. He will be replacing Antonio Valencia whom was a weak link in defence last season, on top of which his crosses in attacking areas were often wasteful.

Despite being on the sidelines for a lengthy time for each of the past two seasons, Bastian Schweinsteiger remains one of my favourite players in world football. It was 12 months ago today he was lifting the FIFA World Cup, a tournament in which I felt he or Toni Kroos should have been named the best player, over Lionel Messi who was handed the prize.

Schweinsteiger has been dictating games for Bayern Munich in the centre of midfield in both the German Bundesliga and Champions League for numerous years now, and for Germany too. There’s no reason why he won’t do that at Old Trafford, provided he stays healthy.

Morgan Schneiderlin has been one of the top holding midfielders in the Premier League for the past three seasons following Southampton’s promotion to the top flight. Arsène Wenger had been tracking his fellow countryman for more than a year so van Gaal has done a good job to land the 25-year-old.

The French international featured at last summer’s World Cup, offering great protection to the back four of both his national team and Southampton. Michael Carrick was the only player offering that for United last season and in my mind, Schneiderlin is an upgrade on the 33-year-old England international.

Before this trio arrived, United splashed out £25 million on PSV Eindhoven forward Memphis Depay. The young Dutch international was the Eredvisie’s top scorer last season as his side ran away with the title.

Depay offers pace down that left wing and is a good finisher. Does he have the strength to handle the Premier League? That’s what we’re waiting to find out.

Louis van Gaal still has areas to work on. First, the centre of his defence. United relied heavily on outstanding performances from David de Gea last season to keep the goals against tally down. They appear to have failed in luring Mats Hummels and Raphaël Varane to the club this summer, having missed out Thomas Vermaelen and Stefan de Vrij 12 months ago.

Will they land Sergio Ramos or Nicolás Otamendi this time around? They’re in need of a stop star in this position if they want to be in the title race.

Up front is also another area that the Dutch manager may want to add to. Radamel Falcao’s deal was rightfully terminated and Robin van Persie has been sold to Fenerbahçe. The arrivals of two central midfielders though does free up Wayne Rooney to play in attack this season.

With Ángel Di María and Ashley Young as options on the left – does this mean we could also see Memphis Depay playing a central striker role in 2015-16? Or do United have a deal lined up for another striker that we’ve yet to hear about?

The final area in which the United boss is looking at is in goal. He would be mad to keep David de Gea on for a further 12 months. The Spaniard’s head looked turned in the final few games of the season and his performances were not near the high standard he set during the rest of the season.

De Gea’s mind is on Real Madrid, so let him go. He will not be the same goalkeeper at Manchester United as he was last season, whilst he has good value this summer, in comparison to losing him on a free transfer in 12 months’ time.

Manchester United’s betting odds suggest they are fourth favourites for the 2015-16 Premier League. Personally, I think they’re closer to Chelsea than Manchester City right now, but there are still a few areas they need to fill if they want a shot at the trophy.

5 Reasons Why Barcelona Will Thrash Juventus

Luis Suarez + Neymar + Lionel Messi

Barcelona meet Juventus in the UEFA Champions League final at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin this evening.

The winners of this evening’s game will be treble winners after both won their domestic leagues and cups.

It is the Spanish side who are undoubtedly the favourites to bring the trophy home for a fourth time over the past 10 years and here are 5 reasons why I believe Barcelona will thrash Juventus:

1. The Front Three

The reason I backed Barcelona to win this tournament at the start of the year was because I was expecting Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar to kick in and start to obliterate opponents.  They already had the talented midfield to supply them and individually they were exceptional talents.

Since then, the front three have become arguably the best front three in the history of football.  Barely any defence has been able to handle them since the turn of the year and they are in full flow heading into the final.  Lionel Messi is back to his best, Neymar is playing as well as he ever has at Barcelona and regular readers of my blog, dating back as far as 2010 will know I’m a big fan of Luis Suárez.  All of them score and create goals.

Juventus will not be able to cope with them.  They are not used to playing anything as close to this in Italy and one must admit Real Madrid were far short of their best in the semi-finals regardless of how well the Italian side played.  Barcelona are better than Real Madrid.

2. Giorgio Chiellini

A massive blow to Juventus is that their star centre-back is out injured.  Whilst his likely replacement Andrea Barzagli is a top defender himself, it’s going to disrupt the defence no matter what.  Even with Giorgio Chiellini available it would have been difficult enough, if not near-impossible to shut out this Barcelona side anyway.

3. Constant Pressure

Expecting Barcelona to dominate possession and territory as any football fan is likely to be thinking.  It’s all well and good Juventus sitting back to defend as well as Italians have done over the years, but ultimately they’re very likely to make one mistake, leave one player open and they find themselves behind.  Even if they’re to get in at half-time level, they will be gassing later in the second half for all the chasing they’ve done.

Lionel Messi showed at 0-0 in the first leg of Barcelona’s semi-final versus Bayern Munich what he’s capable of when he produced the opening goal almost out of nothing.  Barcelona have three forwards capable of doing that and when they’re constantly in and around your penalty area with the ball, the inevitable is bound to happen…

4. Form

Barcelona have obliterated Europe this season.  They won five of their six group stage matches, beat the defending Premier League champions 3-1 on aggregate (should really have been a lot more but for a top performance from goalkeeper Joe Hart in the second leg), French Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain 5-1 in the quarter-finals and German Bundesliga runaway champions Bayern Munich 5-3 on aggregate (at one stage it was 5-1 before the Spanish side took their foot off the pedal).

Sure, Juventus can say they’ve had some very respectable results – 5-1 versus midtable Borussia Dortmund in the second round, 1-0 versus AS Monaco in the quarter-finals and 3-2 over Real Madrid in the semis.  I’m calling it now – this Barcelona team is the greatest I’ve ever seen in my life – better than the Pep Guardiola era.  The Italian side won’t know what’s hit them at 19.45 when they kick off.

5. Tactics

Max Allergri likes to play a 4-4-2 formation – either he’s going to be brave and stick with two up front versus Barcelona or he’s going to play a more defensive formation in which the team aren’t going to be so experienced with.  His formation is also narrow in midfield which defensively means Messi and Neymar can go one-on-one with the full-backs and even have their own full-backs for overlapping runs – both Dani Alves and Jordi Alba are as defining attack-minded full-backs as you’ll find.

In attack, Juventus will be relying on Álvaro Morata and Carlos Tevez pulling out wide to offer them width going forward as well as Patrice Evra and Stephan Lichtsteiner pushing forward from full-back too.  This of course could leave the Serie A champions exposed on the counter-attack and with the pace Barcelona have they can be dangerous breaking into space.

I am full expecting Barcelona to win this final by at least two goals, after dominating possession and territory.

2014-15 Premier League Goalkeeper Stats

Petr Cech

Here are the statistics for every goalkeeper who made at least one appearance during the 2014-15 Premier League season:

Premier League 2014-15 goalkeeper statistics

(click to see full size)

In all 45 goalkeepers made at least one appearance in the Premier League this season, with only Burnley’s Tom Heaton playing the full 3,420 minutes.  Jussi Jääskeläinen’s 27-minute cameo for West Ham was the shortest spell of action any goalkeeper saw in 2014-15.  David de Gea’s injury versus Arsenal in their penultimate game of the season saw Manchester United hand a debut to Víctor Valdés before handing him his first start on the final day of the season.

Clean Sheets

11 goalkeepers kept at least nine clean sheets during the 2014-15 Premier League season.  Joe Hart won the Golden Glove award for the fourth time in his career, leading the way with 14 clean sheets.  This is based on 90 minutes, as Liverpool’s Simon Mignolet didn’t concede a goal in his 74 minutes versus Burnley on Boxing Day.

Premier League 2014-15 Clean Sheets

Petr Čech has the best clean sheet to games ratio having kept five clean sheets in his seven appearances in what appears to be his final season at Stamford Bridge.  Stoke City’s Jack Butland kept two clean sheets in his three appearances towards the end of the season.

At the other end of the table, Newcastle United’s Jak Alnwick played the most games (6) without keeping a single clean sheet this season.

Minutes per Goals Conceded

Of goalkeepers to have made at least five starts this season, Petr Čech has the best record for average number of minutes played per goal conceded as the Czech Republic international only conceded two goals in his 606 minutes in the Premier League this season.

Premier League 2014-15 minutes per goal conceded

David Ospina, who started the final 18 games for Arsenal averaged 147 minutes of action between goals, whilst Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joel Robles (Everton), Joe Hart (Manchester City), Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea) and David de Gea (Manchester United) all averaged more than one game between goals.  Leicester City’s Ben Hamer averaged exactly one goal against in his eight games.

At the other end of the table, Queens Park Rangers’ Alex McCarthy averaged a goal against every 30 minutes during his two-and-a-half matches for the relegated side.  Shay Given conceded a goal every 34 minutes in his three matches and Jak Alnwick conceded a goal every 35 minutes in his five-and-a-half matches.

Of regular first-team goalkeepers, Aston Villa’s Brad Guzen allowed a goal every 43 minutes – the only regular to concede more than one goal every half on average.

Most Saves

Premier League 2014-15 goalkeeper saves

Swansea City’s summer signing Łukasz Fabiański led the Premier League with 137 saves – five more than Rob Green in second place.  The Polish goalkeeper joined on a free transfer from Arsenal in the summer as Michel Vorm departed to back up Hugo Lloris at Tottenham Hotspur and was particularly busy in the second half of the season.

West Ham’s Adrián was busy throughout the season, keeping numerous efforts out against his team.  His 127 saves was the same number as Burnley’s ever-present Tom Heaton.

Save Percentage

Premier League 2014-15 save percentage

Of goalkeepers to have made at least five starts during the 2014-15 Premier League season, Chelsea’s Petr Čech produced the highest save percentage in the league, saving 16 of the 18 shots he faced.  The Blues backup wasn’t forced into a single save during his first two appearances.

Of regular goalkeepers, David Ospina led the way with 81% – some five percent better than Tottenham’s Hugo Lloris.  Prior to the last game of the season, Boaz Myhill had been performing well in the place of injured Ben Foster.

PFA Team of the Year goalkeeper David de Gea saved 72% of the shots he faced during the course of the season.

At the bottom of the table, Newcastle’s Jak Alnwick saved a mere 33% of the 21 shots he faced on his goal.  Liverpool backup Brad Jones was the only other goalkeeper to save less than half of the shots he faced (44%).

Of regular first-choice goalkeepers, Everton’s Tim Howard had the lowest shots-to-save percentage, keeping out only 60% of shots he faced following the praise he received for his performance for USA in last summer’s World Cup.

Data collected from Opta Sports

200+ Stats from the 2014-15 Premier League Season

John Terry

0 – Chelsea were the only team unbeaten at home in all of England’s top four divisions in 2014-15. There were only three other clubs from Europe’s top 5 leagues that went unbeaten at home this past season: VfL Wolfsburg, Juventus, and Paris Saint-Germain.

0 – Manchester City were the only team not to draw a Premier League game 0-0 this season.

0 – Leicester City prevented Chelsea having a single shot on target in the first half in either of their Premier League games against them this season.

1 – The only game which Manchester United won after falling behind this season was when they went behind early at home to Manchester City before running out 4-2 winners against their rivals.

1 – Back in October, David de Gea became the first goalkeeper to deny Leighton Baines from the penalty spot in the Premier League. The England international had previously scored all 14 of his spot kicks.

1 – Swansea City became the first team to beat Manchester United on the opening weekend at Old Trafford in the Premier League (W8, D3).

1 – Stoke City received the fewest red cards this season.

1 – Yannick Bolasie became the first Crystal Palace player to score a Premier League hat-trick when he netted three times in the space of a 11 minutes versus Sunderland at the Stadium of Light.

1 – Leicester City became the first team in Premier League history to overturn a two-goal deficit and beat Manchester United. The Foxes came from 1-3 down to beat Louis van Gaal’s side 5-3 back in September.

1 – Hull City took their first Premier League point from Manchester United on the final day of the season, having lost their first seven meetings.

1 – Queens Park Rangers were the only team not to win back-to-back Premier League games this season.

2 – Chris Smalling because the first substitute in Premier League history to score twice in the first half during Manchester United’s 3-1 victory over Burnley in February.

2 – Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard are the only two players to have scored against Peter Schmeichel and his son Kasper in the Premier League.

2 – Burnley became only the second promoted side to take points against José Mourinho’s Chelsea at Stamford Bridge when they drew 1-1 this season. The Portuguese managed had previously beaten 14 of the previous 15 promoted sides he’d faced at home in the Premier League, dropping points in a draw with Reading back in December 2006.

2 – Burnley have drawn at Manchester City in both seasons they have spent in the Premier League.

2 – Queens Park Rangers picked up the fewest points in London derbies (D2, L8).

2 – Charlie Austin was the only player to miss two penalties in the Premier League this season.

3 – Swansea City became only the third team in Premier League history to win home and away against Arsenal and Manchester United in the same season (after West Ham United in 2006-07 and Chelsea in 2009-10).

3 – Tony Pulis became only the second manager to beat José Mourinho’s Chelsea by a three-goal margin in the Portuguese manager’s Premier League career. West Brom thrashed Chelsea 3-0 earlier this month; the same scoreline which Gareth Southgate’s Middlesbrough recorded back in February 2006.

3 – Alan Pardew and Tony Pulis joined Mark Hughes as the only managers to have beaten José Mourinho twice in the Premier League.

3 – Leicester City became only the third time to avoid relegation after being bottom at Christmas (after West Brom in 2004-05 and Sunderland in 2013-14).

Leicester City

3 – Dame N’Doye scored in his first three home games for Hull City following his January move from Lokomotiv Moscow.

3 – Burnley were the only team this season to make all three of their substitutions in a single game before half-time. Sean Dyche was forced into the trio of changes due to injuries in their 3-3 draw at Newcastle back in January.

4 – Chelsea have gone on to win the Premier League each of the four times they have been top of the table at Christmas. They have never won the title without being top on 25 December.

4 – John Terry tied Roy Keane’s record of captaining a side to four Premier League titles.

4 – Chelsea lost only four games in all competitions this season, the fewest in a season in the Premier League era. Manchester United held the previous record with five defeats in 1998-99.

4 – Chelsea used the fewest English players in the Premier League this season (Izzy Brown, Gary Cahill, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and John Terry).

4 – Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur saw four penalties awarded for only the second time in Premier League history. The only previous time this had happened was in the Bradford City 4-4 Derby County fixture on 21 April 2000.

4 – Manchester City conceded four goals in a Premier League game for the first time since losing 4-3 to Manchester United in September 2009.

4 – Arsenal became the first team to score four goals in the first-half of a Premier League game versus West Brom.

4 – Manchester United centre-back Chris Smalling scored as many goals as Arsenal striker Danny Welbeck.

4 – Eric Dier became only the fourth defender to score in his team’s opening two matches of a Premier League season (after Neil Clement for West Brom in 2004-05, William Gallas for Arsenal in 2009-10 and Branislav Ivanović for Chelsea in 2012-13).

4 – Adrián received the most cards amongst goalkeepers (3 yellows, 1 red).

4 – Leicester City won four consecutive Premier League games for the first time in their history.

4 – Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last four trips to Anfield (W2, D2) following their 1-0 win at Liverpool early in the season.

4 – Sunderland have had a different manager on the opening day of each of their last four Premier League seasons (Gus Poyet, Paolo Di Canio, Martin O’Neill, Steve Bruce).

4 – Dick Advocaat became the fourth different Sunderland manager in the last four home games versus Newcastle (after Steve Bruce (August 2011), Martin O’Neill (October 2012) and Gus Poyet (October 2013).

4 – Hull City have never won any of their final fixtures in any of their four Premier League seasons.

4 – Burnley have beaten Hull City in all four of their Premier League meetings. The Clarets were 1-0 winners in both fixtures this season.

4 – George Boyd became the 4th player to play for two relegated teams in the same Premier League season (after Mark Robins, Steve Kabba and David Nugent).

5 – Chelsea’s 5-0 win at Swansea in January was the biggest away win achieved by any side this season.

5 – Chelsea received the most yellow cards for simulation.

5 – José Mourinho remains winless at St James’ Park in five Premier League visits (D2, L3) after his side lost 2-1 back in December.

5 – Calum Chambers received a yellow card in each of his first five Premier League starts for Arsenal.

5 – Harry Kane scored more goals inside the six-yard box than any other player.

Harry Kane

5 – Crystal Palace’s win at Everton early in the season means the Eagles have beaten the Merseyside club more times than any other during their time in the Premier League.

5 – Newcastle’s Moussa Sissoko picked up five bookings for dissent, more than any other player.

5 – Sunderland have now won the last five Tyne-Wear derbies versus Newcastle United for the first time in their history. The Black Cats were 1-0 winners both home and away against their local rivals this season.

5 – Aston Villa’s Carles Gil lost all five Premier League games he played this season.

5 – Tom Huddlestone, Paul Konchesky, Kyle Naughton, Moussa Sissoko and Mike Williamson were all sent off on two occasions.

6 – Chelsea have six players named in the PFA Team of the Year (Branislav Ivanović, Gary Cahill, John Terry, Nemanja Matić, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa).

6 – Manchester City failed to win any of their first six Premier League games without Yaya Touré this season but did win their last three that the Ivorian didn’t play in.

6 – Arsène Wenger named the same side for six successive Premier League games for the first time in his career during the 2014-15 season.

6 – Olivier Giroud went six consecutive starts without a Premier League goal for the first time in his career towards the end of the 2014-15 season.

6 – For the sixth time in Premier League history, Manchester United did the double over Liverpool (after 1996-97, 2004-05, 2006-07, 2007-08, 2012-13).

6 – Steven Gerrard has been sent off six times in his Premier League career – twice as many times as any other Liverpool player.

6 – Stoke City became the first team to score six goals in a Premier League game versus Liverpool.

6 – West Ham’s Diafra Sakho became only the second player in Premier League history to score in his first six appearances in the competition, after Micky Quinn for Coventry City in the inaugural 1992 season.

6 – Leicester City were the only team to win on six consecutive games on a Saturday.

6 – Newcastle have received six red cards in their last six Premier League games against Liverpool.

7 – Ángel Di María played the full 90 minutes on seven occasions in the Premier League following his British transfer record move to Manchester United in the summer.

7 – Tottenham Hotspur have won their last seven Premier League games versus Swansea City.

7 – Liverpool lost all seven games they trailed at half-time.

7 – Stoke City have failed to score in all seven of their Premier League visits to Anfield. Liverpool were 1-0 winners in the fixture this season.

7 – Stoke City have recorded more wins over West Brom than they have against any other team during their time in the Premier League following their 2-0 win at the Britannia Stadium earlier in the season (W7, D3, L2).

7 – Tony Pulis remains unbeaten in Premier League games at home to Liverpool following West Brom’s 0-0 draw this season (W3, D4).

7 – Jermain Defoe has now scored seven goals in 19 matches versus Newcastle following his stunning winner in the Tyne-Wear derby at the Stadium of Light.

Jermain Defoe

7 – Aston Villa and Newcastle were on the receiving end of more red cards than any other team.

7% – Aston Villa have won only three of their 46 Premier League matches versus Manchester United after failing to beat the Red Devils in either game once again this season.

7 – Charlie Austin was on the losing side more than any other goalscorer this season.  The QPR striker ended up losing seven games in which he had scored in.

7 – There were seven managerial changes throughout the season (Tony Pulis, Neil Warnock, Alan Irvine, Alan Pardew, Harry Redknapp, Paul Lambet and Gus Poyet all losing their jobs).

8 – Manchester City were awarded the most penalties.

8 – Sergio Agüero has scored eight goals in eight Manchester derbies.

8 – Arsenal recorded the longest winning streak.

8 – Southampton 8-0 Sunderland was the biggest margin of victory.

8 – Mark Noble has scored a Premier League goal in each of the last eight seasons that West Ham have been in the top flight.

8 – Paul Lambert failed to win an of his next eight games after signing a new four-year contract with Aston Villa back in September (D2, L6).

8 – Newcastle United lost eight consecutive Premier League games for the first time in their history.

8 – Newcastle United’s Sammy Ameobi scored after eight seconds of coming on as a substitute at half-time in the 2-1 victory at Tottenham Hotspur back in October. Spurs hold the record of quickest goal conceded by a substitute when Nicklas Bendtner scored for Arsenal, timed at 1.8 seconds of being on the field of play back in 2007.

8 – Joey Barton set a Premier League record for receiving a card in eight consecutive Premier League games. The Queens Park Rangers midfielder had received a yellow card in seven straight appearances before seeing a straight red in match number eight.

9 – Arsenal have won their last nine Premier League games versus West Ham, including 2-1 and 3-0 victories this season.

9 – Steven Gerrard is the top scorer in Premier League Merseyside derbies, scoring his ninth goal in this fixture when these two met at Anfield early in the season.

9 – Steven Gerrard took his penalty miss count up to nine in his Premier League career during this season – only Alan Shearer (11) and Teddy Sheringham (10) have failed to convert more.

9 – Steven Gerrard was Liverpool’s top scorer with nine goals this season – the joint-lowest of any top scorer for the Reds in a single Premier League season.

9 – Everton 3-6 Chelsea at Goodison Park saw the most goals in a Premier League game this season.

9 – West Brom’s Chris Brunt recorded the most assists from set pieces.

9 – Newcastle United have finished above their rivals Sunderland in nine of the 13 Premier League seasons when both sides have been in the top flight.

9 – Sunderland were involved in a league-high nine goalless draws this season.

9 – Rob Green took his penalty save tally up to nine in his career during the 2014-15 season – only four players have saved more penalties in Premier League history (David James 13, Thomas Sørensen 12, Brad Friedel 10 & Schwarzer 10).

10 – Chelsea won 10 consecutive home games during the season – the longest home win run in the league this season.

10 – Sergio Agüero scored the opening goal in more occasions than any other player.

10 – Sergio Agüero has scored 10 goals in seven Premier League matches versus Tottenham Hotspur, winning on every occasion. The Argentine netted all four for Manchester City in their 4-1 thrashing of Spurs at the Etihad and then the only goal in the 1-0 win at White Hart Lane earlier this month.

10 – Bafétimbi Gomis’ seven Premier League goals won his team 10 points, two more than Diego Costa’s 20 won for Chelsea.

Bafetimbi Gomis

10 – Mark Hughes won his first Premier League match as a manager versus Liverpool (D4, L5) at the 10th attempt. Stoke City were 6-1 winners over the Reds on the final day of the season.

10 – There were 10 hat-tricks in the Premier League this season – Diego Costa, Sergio Agüero (x2), Charlie Austin, Jonathan Walters, Harry Kane, Christian Benteke, Yannick Bolasie, Sadio Mané and Theo Walcott.

11 – Manchester City have won their last 11 Premier League matches versus Newcastle United. The Citizens have scored 32 goals during this streak, including a 5-0 and 2-0 victory over the north east club this season.

11 – Manchester United have won their last 11 Boxing Day fixtures and their last 12 after Christmas Day. Louis van Gaal’s side beat Newcastle 3-1 at Old Trafford this season.

11 – Wayne Rooney has scored more goals against Arsenal than any other player in Premier League history. The Manchester United captain took his tally up to 11 with a goal at the Emirates earlier in the season.

11 – Wayne Rooney has scored 11+ Premier League goals in each of his 11 seasons with Manchester United, becoming the first player to score 10+ goals in 11 Premier League seasons.

11 – Sunderland’s Sebastian Larsson took his tally up to 11 goals from direct free kicks this season – only David Beckham (15), Gianfranco Zola (12) and Thierry Henry (12) have scored more.

11 – Queens Park Rangers became the first club to lose their first 11 Premier League away games in a single season.

12 – Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea saw both teams reduced to 10 men before half-time for only the 12th time in Premier League history.

12 – Crystal Palace have never beaten Southampton in the Premier League (D4, L8). The Eagles lost 3-1 and 1-0 to the south coast club this season but did beat them in the FA Cup.

12 – Everton extended their record for finishing in the bottom half of the Premier League on the most occasions.  The Toffees have now finished outside the top half in 12 of the 23 seasons.

12 – Burnley conceded the most goals from corners.

12.1 – Burnley’s George Boyd covered an average of 12.1km per game – the highest in the league.

13 – José Mourinho extended his undefeated record versus Arsène Wenger to 13 games in all competitions this season. The Chelsea manager has won seven and drawn six of those meetings against the Arsenal boss.

13% – Liverpool have won only two of their last 16 Premier League matches versus Arsenal (D8, L6). Brendan Rodgers’ side were held 2-2 at home by the Gunners in December before being thrashed 4-1 at the Emirates in April.

13 – Leicester City went on the longest winless streak.

13 – Newcastle scored the fewest first half goals this season.

13 – Hull City have never won a Premier League game in the month of May, extending their run by picking up only one point in May 2015 (D4, L9).

14 – Joe Hart won the Golden Glove for the fourth time in his career by ending the season with 14 clean sheets.

Joe Hart

14 – Tottenham Hotspur have won none of their last 14 Premier League matches against Manchester United at White Hart Lane (D6, L8). The two sides played out a 0-0 draw this season.

14% – West Brom have won three of their 21 Premier League games on a Monday – beating Chelsea 3-0 in their latest Monday night game.

14 – Lee Cattermole collected 14 yellow cards this season, the joint-most in a single Premier League season, on par with Mark Hughes, Robbie Savage and Cheick Tioté.

14 – Queens Park Rangers were involved in 14 one-goal defeats this season, one short of their joint-record set in the 1995-96 season.

15 – John Terry has scored in each of the last 15 Premier League seasons.

15 – Manchester City scored the most goals from outside the 18-yard box.

15 – Arsenal’s David Ospina didn’t concede a single goal in the first half of each of his first 15 Premier League games.

15 – Everton are winless in their last 15 Premier League visits to Anfield (D8, L7). The Toffees were held 1-1 at Liverpool back in September.

16 – Chelsea have recorded more Premier League victories over Manchester United than any other team. The Blues took four points off the record English champions this season.

16 – Chelsea are unbeaten in the Premier League versus Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United, since José Mourinho returned in 2013 (W9, D7).

16 – Chelsea are unbeaten in their opening Premier League match of the season since 1998-99, winning 14 of 16.

16 – Chelsea want on the longest unbeaten run.

16 – Sadio Mané set a record for the earliest a player has registered three goals in a Premier League game, scoring a hat-trick in 16 minutes versus Aston Villa in May.

16% – Queens Park Rangers have won only 12 of their last 77 Premier League matches, being relegated in each of their last two campaigns in the top flight.

16 – Queens Park Rangers used more English players than any other team this season.

17 – Chelsea kept the most clean sheets.

17 – It took Fernando Torres four months to score his first goal for Chelsea. It took Diego Costa only 17 minutes.

Diego Costa

17 – Arsenal qualified for the UEFA Champions League for a 17th consecutive season.  The Gunners have finished in the top four for each of the past 19 seasons.

17 – Manchester United finished 17 points behind the champions, the second furthest distance they have finished off the top in the Premier League, after finishing 22 points behind Manchester City last season.

17 – Newcastle were 17 points ahead of Leicester City on 28 February but ended finishing two points below the Foxes.

17 – Aston Villa finished in their lowest position in a 20-team Premier League season.  The Villans were fourth from bottom this season, though did finish 18th in the 1994-95 season which was the last time the Premier League had 22 teams.

17% – Allan McGregor saved just one of the six shots on target he faced versus Chelsea this season.

18 – Cesc Fàbregas’ 18 assists this season was second to only Thierry Henry’s 20 during the 2002-03 season.

19 – Chelsea scored the most goals inside the six-yard box.

19 – At 19 years of age, Ruben Loftus-Cheek was the only teenager to start a Premier League game for Chelsea this season.

19 – Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion scored the most goals from set pieces.

19 – It took Peter Crouch only 19 seconds to score versus Arsenal back in December – the earliest goal the Gunners have ever conceded in the Premier League.

19 –All 19 of West Ham’s Premier League seasons have ended with a negative goal difference.

19 – Aston Villa have not won any of their last 19 Premier League matches at home to Manchester United (D7, L12). The Villans recorded a 1-1 draw at Villa Park this season.

19 – John O’Shea has faced Newcastle 19 times in the Premier League and has never been on the losing side (W14, D5). The Irish centre-back was on the winning side both times this season.

19 – Burnley collected the fewest points at home.

20 – Diego Costa netted 20 Premier League goals in 26 matches during his first season in the Premier League.  Former Chelsea striker Fernando Torres took 110 games to score the same amount.

20 – Swansea City versus Manchester City saw more shots on target than any other Premier League game this season.

20 – Arsenal finished above Tottenham Hotspur for the 20th consecutive season.

20 – Emmanuel Rivière became the 20th French player to score in the Premier League for Newcastle.

21 – Harry Kane became the fourth Tottenham Hotspur player to score 20+ goals in a single Premier League campaign, after Gareth Bale, Jürgen Klinsmann and Teddy Sheringham.

21 – Yaya Sanogo has failed to score in all 21 Premier League appearances. The Arsenal striker played 10 games on loan for Crystal Palace this season but failed to break his duck.

21 – Steve Bruce is winless in 21 games as a manager versus Manchester United (D5, L16).

22 – Liverpool collected 22 points less than they did last season.

23 – No defending Premier League champions have ever lost their opening game of the following season (W20, D3). Manchester City beat Newcastle United 2-0 at St James’ Park to kick off their 2014-15 season.

23 – Alan Pardew won 23 points from losing positions this season (13 with Crystal Palace, 10 with Newcastle) – more than any other Premier League manager.

24 – Manchester United put an end to Arsenal’s unbeaten run at the Emirates Stadium that had lasted 24 games with a 2-1 win back in November. United also famously ended the Invincibles’ 49-game unbeaten run back in October 2004.

25 – Chelsea picked up the most points in London derbies (W8, D1, L1).

25% – Five of Diego Costa’s 20 Premier League goals came versus Swansea City.

26 – Sergio Agüero is the highest-scoring Manchester City player in a single Premier League season with his 26 goals scored in 2014-15.

Sergio Aguero

26 – Christian Eriksen attempted more shots from direct free kicks than any other player.

27 – Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Everton at the Emirates in March was their 27th Premier League win over the Toffees – more than they have beaten any other side in the competition.

28 – Didier Drogba made more Premier League appearances than Diego Costa (26) this season.

28 – Manchester United finished eight points above Liverpool this season after finishing 20 points behind their rivals last season – a 28-point turnaround.

28 – Burnley scored the fewest goals.

31 – Aston Villa scored a club record low 31 goals in a single Premier League season.

32 – Chelsea conceded the fewest goals in the Premier League this season.  The Blues have allowed the least amount of goals in each of the five full seasons José Mourinho has been in charge.

32 – Manchester United have won more matches versus Aston Villa than any side has against a single opponent in Premier League history.

33 – The 33 goals scored on this New Year’s Day fixtures was the most on this day in Premier League history.

34 – Queens Park Rangers conceded the most first half goals (34).  In comparison, Chelsea only conceded 32 goals all season.

35 – Turf Moor witnessed the fewest goals of the 20 Premier League grounds this season.

36% – 13 of the 36 goals Arsenal conceded were from headers – the highest percentage in the Premier League.

36 – Manchester United’s come-from-behind win in the Manchester derby in April was only the second of 36 Premier League meetings between these two to be won by the team conceding first. The previous time that happened was when Manchester United came from 0-2 down to win 3-2 at Maine Road in November 1993.

37 – Chelsea and Manchester City scored the most first-half goals.

37 – Didier Drogba was the oldest goalscorer in the Premier League this season, at 37-years-old, 49 days (versus Leicester City in April).

38 – Steven Gerrard was sent off after only 38 seconds after being brought on as a half-time substitute in defeat at home to Manchester United back in March.

38 – Newcastle players were caught offside on the fewest occasions this season (next fewest was Leicester City, 60 times).

39 – John Terry became the Premier League’s highest-ever goalscoring defender when he headed in his 39th goal versus Liverpool.

39% – Manchester City have collected 403 of their total 1,027 Premier League points in their last five seasons, after picking up only 624 in their first 13 seasons in comparison.

39 – When Frank Lampard equalised for Manchester City against his former team, Chelsea, the former England international had scored against a 39th different Premier League opponent – more than any other player.

43% – Charlie Austin scored the highest percentage of his team’s goals this season.

45 – Manchester City’s Jesús Navas attempted more shots on goal than any other player not to score this season.

45% – Five of Hull City’s 11 Premier League away wins have come in London. Two of their three away wins were at Queens Park Rangers and Crystal Palace this season.

45 – There were 45 different goalkeepers used in the Premier League this season.

47 – Peter Crouch has scored more headed goals than any other player in Premier League history, moving one ahead of Alan Shearer on the final day of the season.

Peter Crouch

47 – West Ham United’s Premier League average points tally over 19 seasons has been 47 points. They finished the season on 47 points.

47 – Bournemouth will be the 47th team to play in the Premier League when the 2015-16 season kicks off.

48 – Crystal Palace set a club record points tally by reaching 48 this season.

49 – Liverpool scored 52 goals this season compared to 101 in 2013-14; a decline of 49 goals in a 38-game season.

50% – Burnley completed just 50% of their passes in victory at home to Aston Villa back in November.

52 – Liverpool scored 52 Premier League goals in 2014-15.  Luis Suárez and Daniel Sturridge scored 52 league goals between them for the Reds last season.

53 – Swansea City received the fewest number of cards (48 yellow, 5 red).

54 – Stoke City recorded a club record 54 points in the Premier League this season.

56 – Swansea City recorded a club record 56 points in the Premier League this season.

58 – The Etihad saw more goals in the 2014-15 Premier League season than any other stadium.

59% – Victor Anichebe has scored the highest percentage of his goals as a substitute in Premier League history (min 20 goals).  The West Brom striker is the only player above 50 per cent (59.1), scoring 13 of his 22 Premier League goals as a substitute.

61 – Harry Kane became the 61st Englishman to score a hat-trick in the Premier League as the Tottenham Hotspur striker helped his side to a 4-3 victory over Leicester City in March.

61 – Players of 61 different nations made an appearance during the 2014-15 Premier League season.

66% – Sunderland were tied at half-time in 25 of their 38 games.

66 – There were 66 different players to receive at least one red card this season.

66.8 – Crystal Palace had the lowest pass completion rate.

69% – Aston Villa scored nine of their 13 away goals in their last five away games of the season having only scored four in their first 14 games away from Villa Park this season.

69 – Queens Park Rangers conceded the most goals.

70 – Manchester United’s points tally of 70 was the second-lowest in their Premier League history, after last season’s record of 64.

72% – 13 of the 18 Premier League games between Everton and Leicester City have ended in a draw. Both fixtures between these two sides ended 2-2 this season.

74 – Ashley Barnes committed the most fouls.

Ashley Barnes

75 – The 2015-16 Premier League season starts in 75 days!

78 – Sergio Agüero is Manchester City’s all-time Premier League top scorer, having scored 78 goals in his four seasons at the Etihad.

78% – Liverpool won seven of their nine Premier League games without Steven Gerrard, compared to only 11 of 29 (38%) games with their captain in the team.

81% – Arsenal’s David Ospina had the highest save percentage amongst goalkeepers to have made at least 10 appearances.

82.9% – Manchester United had the highest pass completion rate.

83 – Manchester City were the division’s top scorers for a second consecutive season (83 goals).

83% – On five of the six occasions Manchester United conceded two or more goals under Louis van Gaal, Michael Carrick was absent from the side. The one occasion this happened when the England international played they beat Manchester City 4-2.

92 – Chelsea have taken 92 points from their 46 Premier League games versus Tottenham Hotspur. The Blues record is: W25, D17, L4 – that fourth loss came on New Year’s Day.

92% – 11 of Wayne Rooney’s 12 Premier League goals were scored at Old Trafford (the other at the Emirates).

92% – 11 of Graziano Pellè’s 12 Premier League goals were scored at St Mary’s (the other at Upton Park).

93 – Southampton players were caught offside on the most occasions this season.

94 – Sunderland’s 94 yellow cards was an all-time Premier League record for a single season.

95% – Southampton maintained their record as the best record of any Premier League team to have taken 10+ in history (52 goals from 55 attempts) despite only converting two of three this season.

95 – Aston Villa extended their record to 95 goalless draws in Premier League history with another four this season.

96 – Martin Škrtel’s equaliser for Liverpool against Arsenal back in December was the latest goal scored this season (96 minutes, 5 seconds).

96 – Sunderland received the most cards (94 yellows, 2 reds).

98 – José Mourinho has lost just one of his 98 Premier League matches at Stamford Bridge (W74, D20, L1).

Jose Mourinho

100% – Petr Čech made the most Premier League appearances (7) amongst players to have won all of their games this season.

100 – Alexis Sánchez became the 100th different player to score a Premier League goal for Arsenal when he scored in the 1-1 draw with Leicester City back in August.

100 – Jack Wilshere made his 100th Premier League appearance for Arsenal on the final day of the season.  He scored his 6th league goal for the Gunners in their 4-1 win over West Brom.

100% – Liverpool are the only team to have beaten Burnley all four times amongst the teams that have faced the Clarets in both seasons they have been in the Premier League. The Reds have scored 11 and not conceded in these meetings.

101 – Eden Hazard created more chances than any other player during the 2014-15 Premier League season.

104 – José Mourinho’s Chelsea have kept 104 clean sheets during his 196 Premier League games in charge.

104 – Gareth Barry became the all-time recipient of yellow cards in the Premier League, taking his tally up to 104 in his career.

106 – Mike Williamson scored the first Premier League goal of his career in his 106th appearance in the competition, versus Crystal Palace on 30 August.

113 – Eden Hazard was fouled more than any other player.

134 – There have been 134 goals in games between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League – more than any other fixture.

134 – Referee Martin Atkinson handed out the most cards this season (127 yellows and 7 reds).

137 – Swansea City’s Łukasz Fabiański made the most saves in the Premier League.

140 – Leicester City set a record for being bottom of the Premier League table for the most days and avoiding relegation.

148 – Sergio Agüero attempted the most shots on goal in the Premier League this season.

176 – Southampton’s Sadio Mané broke the Premier League record for the quickest hat-trick when he netted three goals in the space of 2 minutes 56 seconds in a 6-1 thrashing of Aston Villa.

177 – Frank Lampard ends his Premier League career with 177 career goals – the fourth highest scorer in Premier League history.

185 – Wayne Rooney overtook Thierry Henry in becoming the Premier League’s all-time top scorer during the 2014-15 season. He finished the season on 185 career goals, two behind former Manchester United striker Andrew Cole.

Wayne Rooney

185 – There were 185 different Englishmen to make an appearance in the Premier League this season.

217 – Queens Park Rangers allowed their opponents more shots on target against them than any other team in the Premier League.

244 – There were 244 different goalscorers in 2014-15 (excluding own goals).

274 – Chelsea were top of the Premier League for a record 274 days.

333 – Petr Čech played his 333rd Premier League game for Chelsea on the final day of the season – only two goalkeepers have played more games for a single club (Jussi Jääskeläinen, 379 for Bolton Wanderers and Shay Given, 354 times for Newcastle).

343 – Leon Osman has made more Premier League appearances for Everton than any other player.

382 – The Manchester United defence allowed the fewest attempts on goal.

387 – 387 different players received at least one yellow card in the Premier League this season.

408 – Sunderland attempted the fewest shots on goal.

466 – Liverpool received the most free kicks.

482 – Arsenal have gone 8 hours and 2 minutes of Premier League action without a goal against Chelsea after failing to score in both meetings this season.

504 – Steven Gerrard ended his Premier League career after making 504 appearances in the top flight for Liverpool.

524 – There were 524 players to make an appearance in the Premier League this season.

527 – Crystal Palace committed the most fouls.

560 – Wayne Rooney went more than 9 hours of action before he fired in his first shot on target in the Premier League in 2015. After 560 minutes, the United captain finally tested Swansea City’s Łukasz Fabiański in late February.

628 – The Sunderland defence allowed the most shots on goal.

631 – Burnley went on a run of 631 minutes without a goal in the Premier League. On only five occasions have sides gone longer without scoring.

634 – The distance from Sunderland to Southampton and back is 634 miles. That’s the round journey for fans in the city who went down to St Mary’s to watch their side get hammered 8-0 back in October.

670 – Manchester City attempted the most shots on goal this season.

804 – Mario Balotelli went 804 minutes until he scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool, his only league goal of the season following his summer move from AC Milan.

1027 – Manchester City moved up to ninth in the all-time Premier League table, also becoming the ninth team to cross the 1,000-point barrier.

1500 – Alexis Sánchez’s scored Arsenal’s 1,500th goal in the history of the Premier League. Only Manchester United reached this landmark quicker.

3420 – John Terry became only the second outfield player to win the Premier League title and play every single minute in the same season (after Garry Pallister in a 42-game season back in 1992-93).

3420 – Burnley’s Tom Heaten was the only goalkeeper to play every minute for his side this season.

3420 – Aaron Cresswell, Ahmed Elmohamady, Branislav Ivanović and John Terry were the only four outfield players to play every minute this season.

7700 – Charlie Austin’s hat-trick for Queens Park Rangers against West Brom back in December ended a run of 7700 days of waiting for a QPR player to score a top flight hat-trick, dating back to Bradley Allen’s hat-trick versus Everton in November 1993 – the longest run between hat-tricks for any side in Premier League history.

16163 – Queens Park Rangers versus Stoke City at Loftus Road saw the the lowest attendance.

75454 – Manchester United vs West Brom saw the highest attendance.

13746753 – Recorded attendances totalled 13,746,753 spectators at Premier League games this season.

10 Interesting Stats from Premier League Matchday 38

4 – George Boyd has become the fourth player in Premier League history to play for two relegated sides in the same season (following Mark Robins in 1994-95 with Leicester City and Norwich City, Steve Kabba in 2006-07 with Sheffield United and Watford and David Nugent in 2009-10 with Burnley and Portsmouth).

6 – Liverpool conceded six goals in a Premier League match for the first time, hammered 6-1 at Stoke City.

7 – Ángel Di María completed 90 minutes only seven times in his debut Premier League season following his British transfer record fee move from Real Madrid at the start of the season.

10 – Theo Walcott has scored 10 goals in his last nine Premier League starts.  The Arsenal forward netted a hat-trick on the final day of the season versus West Bromwich Albion on Sunday.

21 – Steve Bruce is winless in all 21 matches as a manager against Manchester United following Hull City’s 0-0 draw at home to the Red Devils on Sunday (D5, L16).

24 – Harry Kane’s winner at Everton means the England international won his team more points than any other player in the Premier League this season.

47 – Peter Crouch has scored more headed goals than any other player in Premier League history, moving one ahead of Alan Shearer on the final day of the season.

56% – Alan Pardew won 10 of his 18 Premier League matches in charge at Crystal Palace, compared to Neil Warnock’s three wins in 16 matches at the start of the season.

333 – Petr Čech played his 333rd Premier League match for Chelsea on Sunday – only two goalkeepers have played more for a single club in the competition’s history (Jussi Jääskeläinen, 379 for Bolton Wanderers and Shay Given, 354 for Newcastle United).

3420 – John Terry became only the second outfield player to win the Premier League title and play every single minute in the same season (after Garry Pallister in a 42-game season back in 1992-93).