Archive for December 2008

Liverpool increase lead at the top

Wednesday, 31st December 2008 1:04pm
Liverpool increased its lead on Chelsea to three points after beating Newcastle and Chelsea could only draw against Fulham in round 20 of the English Premiership.

It was Chelsea's second successive away draw after drawing Everton in the last away match and the four points lost could prove crucial in May.

Manchester United's win over Middlesborough means the Old Trafford outfit maintained their third place but they have two games in hand against Wigan and Fulham.

Aston Villa's win over Hull City kept them in fourth place and Hull are beginning to slip having been third at one stage in the season. Hull now lie eighth.

There were no changes in the bottom three but West Bromwich Albion is now tied with Blackburn Rovers on 18 points and are last on goal difference.

Its interesting to see that the bottom ten sides are separated by just five points.

After looking at the away ladder after round 18, this time we take a look at the home ladder.

Below is the home ladder - showing only the home matches so far this season:


Team Win Draw Lost Goal Diff Points
Man Utd 7 1 0 16 22
Liverpool 6 4 0 10 22
Fulham 6 3 1 8 21
Arsenal 6 2 2 6 20
Aston Villa 4 5 1 5 17
Stoke 5 2 3 1 17
Wigan 5 2 3 1 17
Chelsea 4 4 2 11 16
Man City 5 0 5 13 15
Newcastle 4 3 3 -1 15
Portsmouth 4 2 4 -3 14
West Brom 4 2 4 -3 14
West Ham 4 1 5 -2 13
Tottenham 3 3 4 0 12
Middlesbrough 3 3 4 -5 12
Sunderland 3 2 5 -2 11
Bolton 3 2 5 -3 11
Hull 3 2 5 -10 11
Everton 2 4 4 -3 10
Blackburn 2 3 5 -7 9



So at the moment Manchester United has the best home record but are top over Liverpool on goal difference.

Also Man Utd have two home matches in hand and I think the most telling statistic is that there has been just one draw at Old Trafford compared to four at Anfiled.

Fulham have an impressive home record with the same number of wins as Liverpool and Arsenal. Only if Fulham could translate that home form to away matches.

On the other end of the table, Blackburn have the worst home record having picked just nine points at home and a few more wins at home could see them climb the ladder.

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Category: English Premiership | Comments : 2


Jets slip out of finals

Monday, 29th December 2008 10:41pm
Newcastle Jets slipped out of finals contention after the loss to the Central Coast Mariners having taken an early lead in that match.

The defending champions are on have 15 points and are 10 points adrift of the Mariners who currently lie in fourth place and have 25 points.

The maximum points the Jets can now get from their remaining four matches is 12 but they also have a goal difference of -10 and therefore finals are out of the equation now.

The Jets' next battle is now to avoid getting the wooden spoon and that battle begins with the match away to the Wellington Phoenix who can still reach the finals.

There was a one goal margin win in all the matches in round 17 and for two consecutive rounds there have been no draw.

Apart from the Perth/Adelaide match there was a goal in the last ten minutes of the match in the other three matches.

One interesting statistic to come from the Melbourne/Sydney match is the fact that this is the first time this season for a home team to win after trailing at half time.

Away teams have won twice after trailing at half time this season and the second of those matches was the match between Jets and the Mariners where the Mariners where trailing 1-0 at half-time but emerged 2-1 victors at full time.

With no draws in two consecutive round, this week we will look at the number of draws for each team and the goals scored in those draws.

The table below shows the number of draws so far this season and the goals involved in those draws.


TeamPlayedGoals ForDraws
Central Coast Mariners 17 127
Newcastle Jets 17 96
Queensland Roar 16 55
Sydney FC 17 55
Perth Glory 17 84
Wellington Phoenix 17 44
Adelaide United FC 15 53
Melbourne Victory 16 22


The Mariners have had the highest number of draws and the high number of goals scored in the draws is due to the two 3-all draws.

Victory has drawn the least with just two draws and is closely followed by Adelaide with just three draws so far.

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Category: A-League | Comments : 0


Villa maintain fourth place

Sunday, 28th December 2008 1:38pm
There were no big surprises in round 19 from the Boxing Day English premiership matches but Aston Villa's draw against Arsenal meant the Midlands team maintained fourth place.

Villa had to avoid defeat in order to hold on to fourth and they did that the hard way coming from 2-nil down to snatch a draw in injury time.

This was Villa's first scoring draw after having four goalless draws before this match. Interestingly, all Villa's five draws have been at home.

The only team now left with no scoring draws is Bolton Wanderers. Bolton has had two goalless draws so far this season and like Villa both these draws have been at home.

Manchester City's big win over Hull City meant they left the relegation zone.

Stoke took its place after the narrow loss to Manchester United but there are three teams currently on 20 points and so it could be a temporary stay for Stoke.

Stoke's next match is away to West Ham.

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Category: English Premiership | Comments : 0


Man City in relegation zone

Tuesday, 23rd December 2008 1:47pm
Manchester City dropped into the relegation when Sunderland beat Hull City and stayed there when they failed to beat West Bromwich Albion.

So far City's season has been marked with inconsistency and they now go into the busy Christmas period trying to get themselves out of the relegation zone.

All the teams that were in the relegation zone at the start of the round won with Blackburn Rovers beating Stoke City at home and Sunderland overcoming Hull City away.

West Brom won but they still prop the ladder and therefore go into the Boxing day fixture bottom on the ladder.

At the top for the second successive round only Aston Villa of the top six placed teams managed to secure all three points.

The match of the round between Arsenal and Liverpool was drawn and Liverpool maintained its top position after Chelsea were held to a goalless draw by Everton at Goodison Park.

Its the first time for Chelsea to drop points away from the Bridge.

Manchester United's match against Wigan was postponed because they were involved in the FIFA World Club Cup in Japan where they won the tournament.

Below is the away ladder - showing only the away matches so far this season:


Team Win Draw GF Points
Chelsea 8 1 20 25
Liverpool 6 2 8 20
Everton 6 1 4 19
Aston Villa 6 0 5 18
Hull 4 4 5 16
Arsenal 4 2 4 14
Man Utd 3 4 2 13
Portsmouth 3 4 -8 13
Sunderland 3 2 -3 11
West Ham 2 3 -5 9
Wigan 2 2 1 8
Tottenham 2 2 -3 8
Middlesbrough 2 2 -6 8
Blackburn 2 2 -7 8
Newcastle 1 4 -4 7
Man City 1 3 -5 6
Fulham 0 4 -4 4
West Brom 1 1 -14 4
Stoke 0 3 -15 3


So Stoke and Fulham are the only teams still to taste an away victory but there are also three teams in Newcastle, Man City and West Brom who have won just once away from home.


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Category: English Premiership | Comments : 0


Glory within striking distance

Monday, 22nd December 2008 11:30pm
Perth Glory beat Sydney FC to come within striking distance of the top four places on the A-League ladder.

With Wellington Phoenix winning their match against the Central Coast Mariners, the Glory position on the ladder did not change as they remained in seventh place but another win then they will reach fifth if other results go their way.

If it wasn't for the goal difference then they could reach fourth position and be in the finals positions at the right time of the season.

The Phoenix lie fifth at the moment and could reach first position with a win in their next match against Queensland Roar if Adelaide lose and Melbourne Victory draw or lose.

That would have been unthinkable not so long ago but a few wins for the Glory and the Phoenix have made the two teams likely finals candidates.

Adelaide went to the FIFA World Club Cup on top and they come back into the fray this weekend against the Glory still on top.

During their absence the Victory and Sydney FC have failed to add to their tally and therefore Adelaide will not have as much pressure and now sit comfortable with two games in hand.

Below is the recent form for the last six matches for the A-League teams:


TeamLast 6 matches
Adelaide United FCWLLWDW
Central Coast MarinersWLDDWL
Melbourne VictoryWWWLLL
Newcastle JetsDLDLLW
Perth GloryDLDWDW
Queensland RoarWLWDDW
Sydney FCLLDWLL
Wellington PhoenixWWWLDW


In the other weekend match, Victory lost to Newcastle Jets to complete a three match losing streak away from home.

Victory's next match is against Sydney at home.

For just three matches in the round so many goals were scored with 12 goals scored in total.


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Category: A-League | Comments : 0


Back to the Bridge for Ranieri

Sunday, 21st December 2008 2:19pm
The UEFA Champions League draw has been made and Claudio Ranieri's Juventus has been paired against his former club Chelsea.

Incidentally all three Italian teams in the draw were paired against English teams and so Arsenal will face Roma and defending champions Manchester United will face Inter Milan.

Liverpool will play Juande Ramos' Real Madrid with the second leg being played at Anfield.

Panathinaikos who topped their group will have to fight it out against Villareal whilst Bayern Munich have a test against Sporting Lisbon.

High flying Barcelona will have to pass through the French champions Lyon in the bid to reach the final in Rome.

Former champions FC Porto will have a tough match against Atletico Madrid but as group winners the second leg will be at home.

Eight very interesting ties which will decide who reaches the quarters.

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Category: Champions League | Comments : 0


Liverpool, Chelsea struggle at home

Tuesday, 16th December 2008 9:48pm
In round 17 of the English Premier League, both Liverpool and Chelsea drew at home and both teams have failed to win convincingly at home despite being first and second in the league.

Two weeks ago Liverpool played West Ham when Chelsea had already drawn against Newcastle and that goalless draw at Anfield meant that Liverpool could not increase its lead at the top.

In this round it was Chelsea who played knowing that Liverpool had already drawn and they failed to win interestingly also against West Ham and therefore stayed a point behind.

Of the top six teams on the ladder only Aston Villa managed to get a win with the other five all drawing.

Villa's win meant that they leapfrogged the Gunners into fourth and with the Gunners playing Liverpool next they could keep that spot for a while.

But it is consistency that has become elusive for the top teams and I think whichever team can be consistent over a number of matches it can create a healthy lead which will be handy come May next year.

The table shows Liverpool's results at home:


Saturday, 13th December 2008 3:00pm
LiverpoolHull City
Saturday, 6th December 2008 3:00pm
LiverpoolWest Ham
Saturday, 22nd November 2008 3:00pm
LiverpoolFulham
Saturday, 15th November 2008 12:45pm
LiverpoolWest Bromwich Albion
Saturday, 1st November 2008 5:30pm
LiverpoolPortsmouth
Sunday, 26th October 2008 1:30pm
LiverpoolWigan
Sunday, 5th October 2008 2:00pm
LiverpoolStoke City
Saturday, 13th September 2008 11:45am
LiverpoolManchester United
Sunday, 31st August 2008 3:00pm
LiverpoolMiddlesbrough


The three goalless draws stand out and three points in three matches is equivalent to losing two and winning one.


The table shows Chelsea's results at home:


Sunday, 14th December 2008 4:00pm
ChelseaWest Ham
Saturday, 6th December 2008 3:00pm
ChelseaArsenal
Saturday, 22nd November 2008 3:00pm
ChelseaNewcastle
Saturday, 15th November 2008 5:30pm
ChelseaSunderland
Wednesday, 29th October 2008 7:45pm
ChelseaLiverpool
Saturday, 18th October 2008 11:45am
ChelseaAston Villa
Saturday, 27th September 2008 2:00pm
ChelseaManchester United
Saturday, 13th September 2008 4:30pm
ChelseaTottenham
Sunday, 24th August 2008 12:30pm
ChelseaPortsmouth


Whilst Liverpool hasn't lost at home yet, Chelsea has actually lost two matches at home.

It could be the home form that could decide who wins the championship.


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Category: English Premiership | Comments : 0


Roar up to third

Monday, 15th December 2008 10:48pm
Queensland Roar rose up to third position on the ladder in the A-League after coming from behind to beat defending champions Newcastle Jets at the Suncorp Stadium.

After struggling with home form at the start of the season the Queensland team seam to have put that statistic behind them as they now win home matches. It was a late winning goal but it was enough to propel the Roar to third on the ladder.

There were just three matches this weekend because of Adelaide United's participation in the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.

Adelaide stayed top of the A-League despite not playing because with 24 points no team playing at the weekend could have overtaken them.

This will change though if Melbourne Victory can get a result against Newcastle Jets in round 16.

A draw between Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory meant that the two teams kept their sixth and seventh positions respectively on the ladder.

Glory's draw combined with Jets' loss means that the Glory will not be bottom at Christmas and that honour will go to the Jets as they are now four points behind the Glory.

Another team to leave it very late was the Central Coast Mariners as they overcame Sydney FC 2-1.

Of the three matches this weekend, two of them finished 2-1 and so this week we will focus on score lines and their frequency.

The table below shows the scoreline and the frequency( draws are not considered):


Scoreline Frequency
2 - 1 7
1 - 0 5
0 - 1 5
2 - 0 4
1 - 2 3
3 - 0 3
0 - 2 2
2 - 3 2
2 - 4 2
4 - 1 2
4 - 0 1
5 - 0 1
6 - 1 1
3 - 1 1
5 - 2 1
0 - 3 1


So the most popular result so far this season is 2-1 which occurred 7 times but if you consider the the flip side 1-2 then it will be ten times.

Its not surprising that the second most popular scoreline is 1-0 or 0-1 with a combined ten.


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Category: A-League | Comments : 0


Celtic notches first win

Thursday, 11th December 2008 1:17pm
Celtic got its first win in this season's UEFA Champions League campaign after beating Villareal at Celtic Park.

Celtic's win even though they were already out of the competition meant that they did not join four other teams who finished without a single win.

Basle, Steaua Bucuresti, Fenerbahce and BATE Borisov all finished without wins and relied on draws to get points.

There were no real surprises for the matches on the second day of match day 6 of the UEFA Champions League.

In all the groups all the teams qualifying for the knockout stages had been decided and it was a matter of deciding who would win the group.

Celtic and BATE Borisov were already out of European competition for the season and they are now joined by Fenerbahce and Steaua Bucuresti who both lost their last matches.

In group E, Manchester United's draw against AaB Aalborg was enough to secure them top place because Celtic beat Villareal. Celtic finished unbeaten at home.

Bayern Munich's three first half goals were enough to win away to Lyon and finish top of group F. The match was a direct fight for top place.

Fiorentina will drop into the UEFA competition after beating Steaua Bucuresti. Its interesting to note that Steaua Bucuresti and Basle are the only two teams to finish with just one point this season.

In another direct fight for first place FC Porto came tops after beating Arsenal in a group G match and Dynamo Kiev did enough to make sure they can continue playing in Europe this season.

In group H Juventus' superior head to head record over Real Madrid made sure that a draw was enough to win the group. Juande Ramos made a good start to his career at the Bernabeau when his team beat Zenit St Petersburg who were assured of third place.

The draw for the next round takes place on the 19th of December and with teams like Real Madrid, Chelsea and Inter Milan and Arsenal finishing second in their groups there could be some very appetising ties in the round of 16.


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Category: Champions League | Comments : 3


Panathinaikos, Liverpool and Roma top groups

Wednesday, 10th December 2008 1:53pm
Going into day six of the UEFA Champions League, group leaders in groups A, B and D were still to be decided and Roma, Panathinaikos and Liverpool took those positions.

Barcelona who lost at home to Shakhtar Donetsk had already won their group and therefore the last match did not have any relevance to them.

Its the end of road in Europe this season for debutants CFR Cluj-Napoca and Anorthosis Famagusta plus Basle and surprisingly PSV Eindhoven.

PSV has been a consistent performer in Europe over the last few years but the team could only win one match in this year's competition.

In Group A Chelsea will take the runners-up place and Bordeaux will continue their European journey in the UEFA Cup.

Inter Milan's loss to Werder Bremen means that they finish second but the win for Werder Bremen means that the Bundesliga team overtook Anorthosis Famagusta who would have taken third place had Werder lost or drawn.

In Group C the positions were already sorted out before the matches but Basle go out without adding to their lone point or two goals.

Atletico Madrid's draw in the final match means that they lost first position but Marseille's third position was secured before the match because they had a better head to head record against PSV.

The next stage will now a knockout stage and Panathinaikos topping Group B has been the real surprise but after a poor start they managed to beat every team in that group.

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Category: Champions League | Comments : 0


Ramos replaces Schuster at Real

Wednesday, 10th December 2008 1:09pm
Juande Ramos has replaced Bernd Schuster at Real Madrid with Real lying fifth in La Liga and nine points behind league leaders Barcelona.

Ramos started the season with Tottenham Hotspurs where he was replaced by Harry Redknapp after a string of poor results that left Spurs bottom of the ladder.

On the other hand Schuster replaced current England coach Fabio Capello last season and managed to win the title in his first season.

But things have not been as smooth this season for Real after a spate of injuries to key players including Arjen Robben, Mahamadou Diarra, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Gabriel Heinze, Pepe, Wesley Sneijder, Miguel Torres and Ruben de la Red .

Schuster's next league match would have been against arch-rivals Barcelona but that will now be Ramos' problem.

Below is the full list of results for the thirteen UEFA Champions League matches Real played under the guidance of Schuster:


Tuesday, 25th November 2008 7:45pm
BATE BorisovReal Madrid
Wednesday, 5th November 2008 7:45pm
Real MadridJuventus
Tuesday, 21st October 2008 6:45pm
JuventusReal Madrid
Tuesday, 30th September 2008 6:45pm
Zenit St Petersburg Real Madrid
Wednesday, 17th September 2008 6:45pm
Real MadridBATE Borisov
Wednesday, 5th March 2008 7:45pm
Real MadridRoma
Tuesday, 19th February 2008 7:45pm
RomaReal Madrid
Tuesday, 11th December 2007 7:45pm
Real MadridS S Lazio
Wednesday, 28th November 2007 7:45pm
Werder Bremen Real Madrid
Tuesday, 6th November 2007 7:45pm
OlympiakosReal Madrid
Wednesday, 24th October 2007 6:45pm
Real MadridOlympiakos
Wednesday, 3rd October 2007 6:45pm
S S LazioReal Madrid
Tuesday, 18th September 2007 6:45pm
Real MadridWerder Bremen


Please note that the kick-off times are for the GMT timezone.

So in the thirteen matches, Real won just 6, lost 5 and drew 2 and both draws were away from home.

The two losses at home were to Italian teams Roma and Juventus.

Its interesting to see that Real failed to score in just two matches but worringly only managed clean sheets against two teams BATE Borisov and Olympiacos.

Ramos will take over in the match against Zenit St Petersburg and he has signed a contract to the end of the current season. He will have some work to do.

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Category: Champions League | Comments : 0


Top six back to winning ways

Tuesday, 9th December 2008 10:52pm
After a spate of draws and losses for the top teams in the English Premiership in the last few rounds, this time all the top six teams on the ladder won.

Manchester United and Aston Villa needed injury time goals to secure all three points whilst Arsenal and Chelsea settled their matters early in the first half.

Liverpool's win over Blackburn means that the Anfield outfit maintained top position and Hull's comeback win over Middlesborough means their chase for a European place next season is alive and well.

At the bottom, of the teams in the relegation zone only West Bromwich Albion managed to get something out from the weekend matches.

Blackburn lost to Liverpool while for Sunderland it was a heart-breaking loss as they lost at Old Trafford to an injury time goal scored with seconds left on the clock.

A quick look at the recent form for all the teams shows that no team at the moment has won the last six matches:


TeamRecent Form
ArsenalLWLLWW
Aston VillaLLWDDW
BlackburnDLLLLL
BoltonWWLWWL
ChelseaWWWDLW
EvertonWWDLWL
FulhamLWWDDD
Hull CityLLDDDW
LiverpoolLWWDDW
Manchester CityLLDWLD
Manchester UnitedWLWDWW
MiddlesbroughDWDLDL
NewcastleWLDDDD
PortsmouthLWDDWD
Stoke CityWDLWDD
SunderlandLLWLLL
TottenhamWWLWLW
West Bromwich AlbionDLLLLD
West HamDLDWDL
WiganWDDWWL


Not surprisingly the worst record belongs to the teams lying in the relegation zone.

In the coming round its going to be interesting to see what happens between the Black Cats and the Baggies.

Another interesting match will see Spurs face Manchester United and that will be a good test for Harry Redknapp's team.


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Category: English Premiership | Comments : 0


Adelaide turn on the style

Monday, 8th December 2008 9:45pm
Adelaide United turned on the style as they beat Wellington Phoenix 6-1 at Hindmarsh Stadium in their last match before going to the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan.

Before the match the Phoenix were on a very good run after winning three matches in a row but they collapsed in the second half although at one time they were just 2-1 down in that second half.

This is actually the first time that a team has scored six goals in an A-League league match. The other time a team scored six goals was in an A-League grand final where Adelaide lost 6-nil to Melbourne Victory.

The table below shows all the A-League matches were one of the teams has scored five goals or more.


Home Team Away Team
Adelaide United FC 5 1 Newcastle Jets
Queensland Roar 5 0 New Zealand Knights
Newcastle Jets 1 5 Perth Glory
Melbourne Victory 5 0 Sydney FC
Central Coast Mariners 1 5 Sydney FC
Newcastle Jets 0 5 Queensland Roar
Melbourne Victory 6 0 Adelaide United FC
Central Coast Mariners 4 5 Sydney FC
Central Coast Mariners 2 5 Melbourne Victory
Melbourne Victory 5 0 Newcastle Jets
Sydney FC 5 2 Perth Glory
Adelaide United FC 6 1 Wellington Phoenix


Elsewhere Melbourne Victory's poor form as they lost 3-1 to Perth Glory. In the last round the Victory lost 2-1 to the Phoenix and now sit in second place on the ladder.

Another comeback was needed but this time just one goal needed as the Central Coast Mariners drew the Queensland Roar.

Reigning champions Newcastle Jets poor season continued as lost 2-1 at home to arch-rivals Sydney FC. The result secured Sydney FC third place on the ladder.

For the next two rounds there will be three matches in each round as Adelaide participate in the FIFA Club World Cup and it could be the two weeks rest the Victory needs to recharge.

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Category: A-League | Comments : 0


Keane leaves Sunderland

Friday, 5th December 2008 1:30pm
Sunderland will soon be the fifth team to have a different manager than the one they started with at the start of the season after Roy Keane decided to leave his position as manager at the club.

Sunderland under Keane had a very successful 2006/7 season when they got promotion to the Premier League from the Championship.

In their first year in the premiership with Keane they just survived after finishing just three points above the relegation zone.

After 15 rounds the Black Cats lie in the relegation zone with 15 points but it should be noted that a few wins in the next few matches could easily lift them to the middle of the table.

On 15 points are Newcastle and Tottenham Hotspurs and there are three more teams within three points reach of Sunderland.

Sunderland at this moment is one of four teams to have a poorer home record compared to the away one. They have lost five games at home compared to three away.

The other three teams to have better away records at the moment are Chelsea, Hull and Everton.

Losing home games can really put pressure on managers and players alike but Sunderland's position is nowhere nearer as bad as Spurs' one was when Juande Ramos left.

Below is a few stats for Keane's Sunderland in the Premiership from August 2007 to November 2008 in 53 matches:


Number
Won 15
Drawn 10
Lost 44
Away wins 4
Home wins 11
Goals scored 49
Goals conceded 75
Home goals scored 30
Away goals scored 19


So Keane's Sunderland nearly averaged a goal a match with sixty percent of the goals scored at the Stadium of Light.

The team also managed to win just under thirty percent of the league matches it played and that was also nearly the average so far this season.


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Category: English Premiership | Comments : 0


Liverpool in another stalemate at home

Tuesday, 2nd December 2008 11:12pm
For the second successive round Liverpool were held at home to a goalless draw and this time by West Ham.

Last week Liverpool were held goalless by Fulham and the other team to go with one point from Anfield after holding Liverpool at bay was Stoke City.

The single point was good enough to see the Anfield outfit top the ladder after Chelsea lost to Arsenal for their second home defeat this season.

Liverpool was not the only team to have successive goalless draws because they were joined by Newcastle, Fulham and Aston Villa who also managed to keep clean sheets for two consecutive weeks but without troubling the opposition as well.

Villa's draw with Fulham meant they lost fourth position to Arsenal who are back on track after trailing at half time at Stamford Bridge but then scoring two quick second half goals.

Maybe at this point we can take a look at the draw scores so far this season.

The table below shows the draw score and the frequency of that score:


ScorelineFrequency
0-015
1-112
2-27
3-30
4-41
5-50


Its not surprising to see that the 0-0 scoreline has now overtaken the 1-1 scoreline which was leading at the end of October.

But there has also been a slight increase in the number of 2-all draws

Looking at the relegation zone, the three teams in there have one thing in common: they have all lost five of their last six matches.

Blackburn and West Bromwich Albion have actually failed to get a win in their last six matches and they plus Hull City are the only three teams to have done so.

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Category: English Premiership | Comments : 2



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