Five most expensive signings in Bundesliga history

Germany’s Bundesliga clubs broke their record transfer spend in the 2019 summer transfer window, with the 18 clubs splashing out around £670m on new talent.

Notable arrivals to the division included the likes of Atletico Madrid defender Lucas Hernandez and Barcelona’s Philippe Coutinho, whilst stars such as Benjamin Pavard, Mats Hummels and Thorgan Hazard transferred between divisional rivals.

Following another summer of spending, where do the new additions rank in terms of the Bundesliga’s biggest ever buys?

Here are the six most expensive signings in Bundesliga history, and it’s a list unsurprisingly dominated by one club, as per iSports API data.

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Arturo Vidal

Juventus to Bayern Munich – €37m

The powerhouse midfielder had spent four impressive years in the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen before departing for Serie A and Juventus, before Bayern Munich opted to bring the Chilean back to German football in a €37m deal n 2015.

Three seasons in Munich would deliver three successive Bundesliga titles, with Vidal bringing tenacity to his role as a box-to-box midfielder.

He would also win one German Cup and two German Super Cups, scoring 22 goals in 123 appearances for the club before leaving for Barcelona in 2018, as per iSports API.

Mario Götze 

Borussia Dortmund to Bayern Munich – €37m

Having been a key figure in the Dortmund side which won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012, emerging star Götze shocked the club in 2013 by announcing he would be leaving for rivals Bayern Munich.

The timing of the announcement sparked anger and came on the eve of the club’s Champions League semi-final with Real Madrid, with the news that the Dortmund starlet would defect for the Bavarian giants.

Götze’s decision was in part due to the arrival of Pep Guardiola as manager in Munich, though the attacking midfielder struggled to establish himself as an undisputed first choice. Three seasons at Bayern brought three successive titles, though having found himself on the periphery and returned to Dortmund in 2016.

Gotze looks like he will never quite fulfil that early promise, although he can console himself with having scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup.

Javi Martinez 

Athletic Bilbao to Bayern – €40m

Bayern Munich broke the Bundesliga transfer-record to sign midfielder Javi Martinez in 2012, activating the Spaniard’s €40m release clause in his Athletic Bilbao contract.

Since his arrival from La Liga seven years ago, Martinez has won a host of trophies in Munich, including seven successive league titles, four German Cups and the 2013 Champions League, according to iSports API.

Now 31, he continues to play an important role in the Bayern squad, with his ability to be equally adept in central midfield or at centre-back proving invaluable.

Corentin Tolisso 

Lyon to Bayern Munich – €47.5m

Despite boasting a wealth of midfield talent, serial Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich once again broke the league’s transfer-record in 2017, as Lyon midfielder Tolisso moved to Munich in a deal worth up to €47.5m in 2017.

The 25-year-old scored 10 goals in 40 appearances during his debut season at the club, before a ruptured cruciate ligament injury hindered his progress and saw him miss the majority of the 2018/19 season, as per iSports API.

An athletic box-to-box midfielder who is comfortable in a variety of midfield roles, Tolisso will hope to re-establish himself in the Bayern side this season as the club seek a record-extending 29th league title.

Lucas Hernandez 

Atletico Madrid to Bayern Munich – €80m

The most expensive signing of Germany’s 2019 summer transfer window and the most expensive in Bundesliga history, champions Bayern Munich secured the signing of Atletico Madrid’s French international Hernandez for a fee of €80m.

The 23-year-old played a key role as France were crowned world champions in 2018 and had impressed  in La Liga during his time in the Spanish capital, also helping Diego Simeone’s side to the 2018 Europa League.

Comfortable centrally or at left-back, he bolsters a defensive line already including the likes of Niklas Süle and Jerome Boateng and will be looking to establish himself as a leading figure in Niko Kovac’s side.

A knee injury delayed his start to life in Munich but having now returned to full fitness, will be hoping to make a major impact following his arrival in Germany.

For more information, please click iSportsAPI.com.


Rating the six players with the most Champions League hat-tricks

Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski joined an exclusive list of players on Tuesday night, scoring four times against Red Star Belgrade to become just the sixth player in history to score three or more Champions League hat-tricks.

Lewandowski’s fine form has seen him score 10 times already in this season’s group stage, but how does the prolific Pole compare to the players with the most Champions League trebles?

Here are  six players with the most Champions League hat-tricks, according to iSports API data.

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Mario Gomez – 3 hat-tricks

The veteran forwards three hat-tricks all came during a successful and trophy-laden four-year spell at Bayern Munich, in which Gomez helped the club to seven honours including the 2013 Champions League.

Gomez’ first treble came in a 4-0  group stage thrashing of CFR Cluj in November 2010, before repeating the feat almost a year to the day the following season in a thrilling 3-2 victory over Napoli at the Allianz Arena.

The German got his third hat-trick during a 7-0 humiliation of Basel in the last-16 in 2012, helping himself to a four goal haul as Bayern recovered from a 1-0 first leg defeat to set a new record for biggest ever knock-out stage victory.

A regular goal scorer at Champions League level, Gomez has scored 26 goals in 44 appearances in the tournament for Stuttgart and Bayern, recorded by iSports API.

Luiz Adriano – 3 hat-tricks

Perhaps a surprising name on this list, the Brazilian was for some time Shakhtar Donetsk’s go-to man as the Ukrainian side looked to make an impression on Europe’s biggest stage, netting his first Champions League treble in a 5-2 group stage victory over FC Nordsjælland in 2012.

Adriano gained notoriety two years later however, becoming the first player in history to score hat-tricks in back-to-back games, a feat since matched by only Cristiano Ronaldo.

Bate Borisov were the forward’s victims on both occasions, being thrashed by an aggregate score of 12-0 over two group stage fixtures, whilst the first of those meetings saw Adriano become just the second player in the tournament’s history to score five times in a single fixture.

The former AC Milan and Spartak Moscow forward can be proud of his records, however, his lack of impact at the business end of the tournament counts against him in our rankings.

Filippo Inzaghi – 3 hat-tricks

An iconic penalty-box poacher of European football, Inzaghi would enjoy a stellar career at the likes of Juventus and AC Milan. Only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Raul have scored more than Inzaghi’s 70 goals in European club competition, with 46 of those strikes coming at Champions League level.

That total is boosted by a record of three hat-tricks, the first coming in 4-1 victory against Dynamo Kiev for Juventus in 1998 before also netting a treble for the Turin side in an entertaining 4-4 draw with Hamburg two years later, according to iSports API.

The Italian’s greatest success on the European stage would come with Milan, however, twice lifting the trophy which included scoring a match-winning brace in the 2007 final against Liverpool in Athens.

Inzaghi scored a third Champions League hat-trick prior to that, hitting a treble in a 4-0 away victory at Deportivo La Coruna. A prolific scorer on football’s biggest stage and a two-time Champions League winner, Inzaghi scores highly in our ratings.

Robert Lewandowski – 3 hat-tricks

The latest player to join this list courtesy of a four-goal haul against Red Star Belgrade, the Bayern Munich forward is arguably enjoying the finest form of his career at present.

The Polish international has long been recognised as one of the great forwards in the world game, having hit 63 goals in just 85 Champions League appearances during spells at Borussia Dortmund and Bayern.

It would be Lewandowski’s first treble that would truly announce himself as a superstar, producing one of the great individual Champions League displays to hit four goals against Real Madrid in the 2013 semi-finals.

Lewandowski’s performance would help Dortmund advance to a final meeting with Bundesliga rivals Bayern, ultimately ending in defeat in agonising fashion at Wembley.

Since making the switch to Munich his incredible goalscoring exploits have continued, the 31-year-old hitting his second treble against Dinamo Zagreb in 2015 before his one-man demolition of Red Star.

His latest showing saw him score four times in just 14 minutes, Lewandowski joining Lionel Messi as only the second player to score four or more Champions League goals in two different matches.

Cristiano Ronaldo – 8 hat-tricks

Holding the joint record for most Champions League hat-tricks is Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, with perhaps no player in history having thrived quite as much on European club football’s biggest stage.

The most prolific goalscorer in the history of the competition, Ronaldo became the first player in the Champions League era to win the trophy five times, also becoming the only player to score in three separate finals.

Ronaldo’s feats include scoring back-to-back hat-tricks against Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid in the knockout stages as Real Madrid would win the second of three consecutive titles in 2017, remarkably netting two trebles within the space of 14 days in the latter stages of the tournament.

Ronaldo would score seven hat-tricks during his spell in the Spanish capital before adding an eighth during his debut season at Juventus, the five-times Ballon d’Or winner having scored an incredible 127 goals in 167 appearances in the Champions League, as per iSports API.

His move to Juventus was confirmed with the hope Ronaldo could inspire the Turin side to an elusive Champions League title, few would back against the forward delivering.

Lionel Messi – 8 hat-tricks

Level with Ronaldo is generational rival Lionel Messi, the duo having vied for the position of world’s best player for over a decade.

The Barcelona star has lifted the trophy on four occasions with the Catalan side, scoring 113 Champions League goals in just 139 appearances during a glittering career at the Camp Nou.

Those goals include eight hat-tricks, memorably dismantling Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal with a four-goal haul in a quarter-final in 2010 for his first Champions League treble, before becoming the first player in the competition’s history to score five times in a single fixture against Bayer Leverkusen two years later.

The first of those performances led to former Arsenal boss Wenger describing Messi as the greatest player he had ever seen, and who are we to argue with that assessment?

For more information, please click iSportsAPI.com.


Rating the 10 managers to have won the Premier League title

Only 10 managers have tasted the ultimate success since the inception of the Premier League in 1992, owing largely to the serial success of a certain Scot at Old Trafford.

Remarkably no English manager is yet to win the country’s top flight since the formation of the Premier League, Howard Wilkinson at Leeds the last Englishman to have seen his side crowned champions in the season prior to the competition’s inaugural campaign.

That said, several coaching greats have plied their trade in English football in the years since, and we’ve decided to rate each of the exclusive eight title-winning managers.

Here is the Football Faithful‘s rating of the eight managers to win the Premier League, according to iSports API.

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Sir Alex Ferguson

The Manchester United great would guide the club to the league title in the Premier League’s first-ever season, ending the club’s long title drought before overseeing two decades of domestic dominance.

During his 26-year dynasty at the club he would win 36 trophies, including a record-breaking 13 Premier League titles as he evolved his winning machine at Old Trafford.

Ferguson once famously said his greatest challenge was knocking arch-rivals Liverpool ‘off their f****** perch’, a promise he made good on as he eclipsed their 18 title landmark before retiring following United’s 20th league success in 2013.

From the iconic hairdryer to the manipulative mind games, they simply don’t make them like Fergie anymore, arguably the greatest manager in the history of the game.

Rating: 10/10

Kenny Dalglish

The first side to challenge the dominance of Manchester United were Blackburn Rovers, who backed by Jack Walker’s millions began an ambitious project to conquer English football.

Guided by former Liverpool legend Kenny Dalglish and propelled by the goals of Alan Shearer, Blackburn would deliver the ultimate success following a tantalising title race that would go down to the final day.

Dalglish had guided the club to promotion to the top flight and on to a Premier League title triumph, but his switch to a Director of Football position coincided with the club’s decline.

He would later enjoy less successful spells at Newcastle and Liverpool, though remains one of a select few managers to have won titles with two different English clubs, having won the old Division One three times in his first spell with Liverpool pre-Premier League.

Rating: 5/10

Arsene Wenger

An unknown upon his arrival at Highbury from Japanese football, Arsene Wenger would go on to become a revolutionary figure in the history of the Premier League.

The Frenchman would help end Arsenal’s famed drinking culture and introduced innovative sports science methods, whilst his ability to unearth unheralded gems from foreign soils helped him develop a formidable side in North London.

His early years would see him twice win a league and FA Cup double, before embarking on one of the most memorable campaigns in the history of English football by guiding Arsenal to an unbeaten season in 2003/04, becoming the first side in 115 years to complete a season without defeat.

Wenger would spend an incredible 26 years at the club, though his latter years were hindered financially by the club’s move to the Emirates Stadium and saw Arsenal endure a nine-year trophy drought, as per iSports API.

New challenges following billionaire takeovers of Chelsea and Manchester City also made silverware more difficult to obtain, though Wenger undoubtedly produced one of the Premier League’s great teams in the early 2000’s.

Rating: 8.5/10

Jose Mourinho

From the moment Jose Mourinho declared himself as ‘The Special One’ at his unveiling as Chelsea manager, the Premier League sat up and took notice.

The charismatic Portuguese coach arrived at Stamford Bridge after guiding underdogs Porto to Champions League glory, and backed by Roman Abramovich’s millions turned Chelsea into a force in English football.

His first season saw Chelsea end a 50 year wait for a league title, remarkably conceding just 15 goals in the process, before back-to-back titles were secured the following year. However, as has been the way for much of Mourinho’s career, his spell was short, sweet and then a little sour and he departed in surprise circumstances in 2007.

Successful spells in Italy and Spain followed before a return to Chelsea, where he again guided the West London club to the league title. After leaving Stamford Bridge for a second time he would join rivals Manchester United, though despite League Cup and Europa League success a runners-up finish would be as good as it got at Old Trafford, Mourinho famously declaring their second-placed finish as amongst his greatest achievements.

Undoubtedly a brilliant manager who often gains the full respect and admiration of his players, however, Mourinho’s magic often fades a little too fast.

Rating: 8.5/10

Carlo Ancelotti

Few managers in European football possess a CV as impressive as that of Carlo Ancelotti, who has won league titles in four countries and lifted three Champions League trophies during an illustrious career in charge of some of the continent’s leading sides.

It was no surprise then that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich turned to the serial winner to take charge following unsuccessful spells under Avram Grant and Luiz Felipe Scolari, and the Italian certainly delivered instant results.

Ancelotti’s debut season began with the club winning the Community Shield, before he guided Chelsea to the club’s first ever domestic double, becoming the first team in the Premier League era to score over 100 goals as his attacking side pipped Manchester United to the title.

The following year, however, saw Chelsea finish without silverware and Abramovich’s trigger-happy nature was once again evident, sacking Ancelotti at the end of the 2010/11 campaign despite him boasting the third best win percentage in Premier League history, according to iSports API.

Rating: 7/10

Roberto Mancini

The second of four Italian’s to have lifted the Premier League title, Roberto Mancini will be an ever-popular figure at Manchester City after guiding the club to their first silverware since their billionaire takeover in 2008.

Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of the club catapulted City into the elite of English football, and Mancini was the winner who oversaw their transition to regular contenders for the game’s biggest prizes.

Having ended the longest trophy drought in the club’s history the previous season, Mancini would lead City to the Premier League title in the most dramatic conclusion to a season in history in 2011/12.

Needing to win to pip rivals Manchester United to the title, City trailed at home to QPR in stoppage-time before scoring twice late on to snatch the title on goal difference, Sergio Aguero immortalising himself in Premier League history with an iconic late winner.

He would, however, fail to build on that success and was sacked at the end of the following season, though his place in the club’s history is assured.

Rating: 6/10 

Manuel Pellegrini 

The first and so far only non-European manager to win the Premier League title, Manuel Pellegrini was the second Manchester City manager to see his side crowned champions of England in 2013/14.

The former Real Madrid boss saw his side pip a Luis Suarez-inspired Liverpool to the title, Steven Gerrard’s now infamous slip handing City the title initiative and a flawless end of season run delivered the club’s second Premier League title.

Pellegrini would spend three unassuming years in charge at the Etihad and whilst always a likeable character, was never truly regarded as the man to take the club to the next level as they sought Champions League success.

Ushered out of the door and replaced by Pep Guardiola, he is currently in charge of West Ham where he has overseen an indifferent beginning to his time at the London Stadium.

Rating: 5/10

Claudio Ranieri

Perhaps the hardest of the eight managers to rate, given his relatively mediocre Premier League career was crowned with arguably the biggest anomaly in the history of English football.

The former Chelsea boss was appointed as Leicester City manager in 2015, a decision which was questioned by many given the Italian’s relevant lack of success in recent roles.

With Leicester having performed a miraculous recovery to escape relegation the previous season many anticipated another season of struggle despite the new coach at the helm, though what followed will live long in the memory for football fans worldwide.

A strong start to the season saw Leicester build momentum, momentum which would not slow as Ranieri guided his team of underdogs to an unthinkable title triumph, the Foxes being crowned champions for the first time in their 132-year history despite being odds of 5000-1 at the season began.

Their success would not transfer to the following season, however, and Ranieri was sacked, later being appointed at Fulham but lasting less than four months after winning just three of his 17 games in charge.

Ranieri’s managerial career in the Premier League may be entirely forgettable, but for one unforgettable season, though that’s enough for a solid score from us.

Rating: 7/10

Antonio Conte

Another Chelsea manager who brought instant rewards, only to be swiftly shown the door as things began to take a turn for the worse.

Conte arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2016 having previously guided Juventus to three Serie A titles, and would deliver Chelsea the ultimate success in his maiden campaign in charge.

The Italian’s title-winning season was notable for a defining mid-season change in tactics, switching to his preferred 3-5-2 formation following a humbling defeat at Arsenal which proved the catalyst for a 13-game winning streak, as per iSports API.

Conte would become the first manager in history to win three consecutive Premier League Manager of the Month awards, securing the title with two games to spare and setting a new record for most wins in a season in the process.

Despite FA Cup success the following year the club the wheels had already begun to come off for the fiery Italian, and he was sacked amid unrest in the dressing room in July 2018.

Rating: 6/10

Pep Guardiola

The former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager arrived in English football with a reputation as one of the greatest coaches of his generation, with the Manchester City hierarchy convinced the Spaniard was the right man to finally deliver Champions League success.

Whilst that is yet to happen in Guardiola’s first three seasons at the Etihad, there can be no denying that the current City boss has left an everlasting mark on the Premier League.

His first season saw the club finish third as he acclimatised to the demands of the English game, though having identified his side’s weaknesses, he would strengthen to form arguably the best team the division has ever seen.

That second campaign would see City romp to the Premier League title, breaking a whole host of records including most wins, most goals, biggest winning margin and becoming the first side in history to reach 100 points.

They would follow that up with another similarly impressive campaign, pushed all the way by Liverpool but delivering back-to-back titles and a huge 98 point haul. That title was joined by FA Cup and League Cup success, making City the first side ever to complete English football’s domestic treble.

Aside from the extensive silverware Guardiola has implemented innovative and attractive football, his City side a relentless winning machine in what is often regarded as the most competitive league in world football.

Rating: 9/10

For more information, please visit iSportsAPI.com.


Five of the most iconic football kits of all-time

As all fans know, a football shirt is more than just a shirt. The plainest kit can become a vessel for euphoric emotion when worn by a winning side, while even the most lavishly designed shirt can’t cover up the disappointment of a dismal defeat.

That’s why the combination of a classic shirt and a truly exceptional team feels so special to football fanatics – when you find a truly iconic kit, just looking at it can summon up memories of winning goals and incredible skills, and wearing it is like putting on a piece of sporting history.

With this in mind, the team from ​iSports API​ have put together a rundown of five of the most iconic football kits of all time, digging into what they have come to represent for fans all over the world – and why they will never be forgotten.

Liverpool FC – 1982

As any Reds fan will tell you, Liverpool FC are a club with more than their fair share of historic moments to choose from, and an equally generous selection of iconic kits to pick out. However, few are more instantly memorable than the instantly recognisable pinstriped design they sported during their glory days in the 1980s.

Emblazoned with the distinctive Crown Paints logo, this striking shirt conjures instant memories of the Red Machine in full effect, with players like Ian Rush, Alan Hansen, Phil Thompson, Graeme Souness and King Kenny Dalglish driving the side to First Division and European Cup glory, as per iSportsAPI football data.

Although the white pinstripes on the famous red would only last for a few years, from 1982 to 1985, it has become so associated with success at Anfield that the side has revived the look for the 2019-20 season – and Scousers everywhere will be hoping that they prove to be a lucky omen as they compete once again for a long-overdue league title!

Brazil – 1970

This list is all about picking out legendary kits worn by legendary players – so how can we leave out the one worn by the man who perhaps remains football’s most enduring icon?

To be fair, there are endless reasons why the Brazil side who competed in this classic yellow-and-green kit at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico ended up as superstars of the sport. From the attacking talents of players like Jairzinho, Rivelino and captain Carlos Alberto, to their defeat of reigning champions England, there was much to remember about the side who earned Brazil the right to keep the Jules Rimet Trophy for good.

But even so, it’s hard to see this shirt without thinking of one name – Pelé. For this was the World Cup that Edson Arantes do Nascimento cemented his reputation as maybe the greatest player of them all, being named player of the tournament and becoming the only man ever to win the World Cup three times.

What could be more iconic than that?

Barcelona – 1974

You couldn’t have a list of the most iconic football kits of all time without at least one entry from the legendary FC Barcelona, purveyors of the greatest red-and-blue kits of all time (with apologies to Crystal Palace fans).

The incredible purity of that classic striped kit is such that the Catalan club were able to maintain a tradition of keeping the shirt free of commercial sponsorship for 111 years, creating a real sense of timelessness around their aesthetic, according to iSports API.

With so many iconic Barca kits to choose from, we’ve gone for the edition worn by their 1973-74 side. Why? Because this was the shirt worn by the indelible Johan Cruyff in the year that he led the Blaugrana to their first La Liga title since 1960, thrashing bitter rivals Real Madrid 5–0 at the Santiago Bernabéu and being named European Footballer of the Year along the way, that’s why!

Argentina – 1986

The blue-and-white stripes of the Argentina national side are difficult to ignore in any conversation about iconic kits – especially those worn by Diego Armando Maradona, one of Pelé’s few rivals for the title of football’s greatest icon.

Even so, it’s hard to think of a football shirt with so many specific memories attached as the kit worn during Argentina’s 1986 World Cup campaign in Mexico, during which Maradona created some unforgettable moments – both good and bad! – as he practically single-handedly hauled Argentina to the title

Although the 3-2 final victory over West Germany was a hugely memorable encounter, the tournament will always be best known for Argentina’s intense 2-1 victory over England in the quarter-final – during which Maradona first scored the infamous “Hand of God” handball goal, before following it four minutes later with a virtuoso solo effort that became known as the “Goal of the Century”. That’s a lot of legacy for one player and one shirt to hold!

England – 1966

Perhaps it’s true that England’s unassuming red long-sleeved kits from 1966 don’t have the same cultural weight worldwide as many of these others – but for those born and raised with stories of Gordon Banks, Geoff Hurst and Bobby Moore, there is no shirt that means more.

For generations of England fans, the kit worn by the national team’s only World Cup-winning team has become both a promise and a curse. It’s a constant reminder of the 50-plus years of despair and disappointment that fans have felt as England have fallen short in every subsequent tournament – but it’s also a beacon, a symbol of what’s possible, and how much it would mean if history were to repeat itself.

That’s why generations of England fans will continue to revere and wear this shirt for years to come, even if their fathers weren’t even alive during that 4-2 final victory over West Germany in 1966 – because it’s come to represent everything they hope for, as per iSports API.

And if that’s not the true meaning of the word “iconic”, we don’t know what is!

For more information, please visit iSportsAPI.com.


Five of the best all Premier League Champions League games

Sure, we already have the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and even the Charity Shield but there’s something about All-Premier-League games in the Champions League that really get the juices flowing.

With that in mind, we thought we might as well take a walk down memory lane and revisit some of the best ever All Premier League Champions League games!

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Liverpool 1-0 Chelsea 2005

Funny enough, Liverpool and Chelsea actually feature heavily in this list and this game at Anfield was an absolute doozie!

Liverpool fans will often talk about the atmosphere at their ground on “Big European Nights” and never was that more true than in this game when the home crowd, hassled and harangued Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea team while also driving their side on.

Luis Garcia scored the goal that would go on to be known as the “ghost goal” that settled the game and helped Liverpool to a first final in twenty years and the rest, as they say, is history…

Manchester Utd 1-1 Chelsea 2008

Another tough one for Chelsea to take here as Manchester United won the Champions League final having being brought the distance.

Ronaldo gave the Reds the lead before Frank Lampard equalised and when John Terry placed the ball down to score what would have been the winning penalty it looked as though they would finally get their hands on the iconic trophy.

A slip. some tears and another missed penalty from Anelka later and Sir Alex Ferguson had his second Champions League title.

Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United 2009

Manchester United went into this Champions league semi-final looking to make their way to a second final in a row having won the competition the year before. Arsenal meanwhile were hunting a first European title having lost in the final in 2006.

The problem for Arsenal was that this was a Manchester United side that featured Cristiano Ronaldo just as he was establishing himself as one of the best in the world. Two goals from the Portuguese superstar, including one long range free-kick, saw United ease past their league rivals.

Chelsea 4-4 Liverpool 2009

A Steven Gerrard-less Liverpool were given little chance of overturning a 3-1 deficit from the first-leg when they travelled to Stamford Bridge to face a star-studded Chelsea in 2009. However, Chelsea hearts were soon in their mouths after a cheeky free-kick from Fabio Aurelio and a Xabi Alonso penalty saw the Reds move into a two-nil lead within 28 minutes.

Chelsea seemed to have regained control via a sensationally struck thunderbastard from Brazilian centre-back Alex and goals from Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba.

However, Liverpool’s world-class duo of Dirk Kuyt and Lucas hit back in the 81st and 82nd minute to set up a blockbuster finish, only for Lampard to kill off Rafa Benitez’s side hopes of another famous comeback with a fine strike in the last minute. A truly classic game of football.

Man City 4-3 Spurs 2019

Man City went into the game trailing Spurs 1-0 from the first leg, and well, words just can’t do what happened next justice.

For more information, please visit iSportsAPI.com.


Each top six clubs youngest ever Premier League goalscorer

The opening months of the new season have been positive for the division’s best young talent, with a series of exciting prospects having been handed their opportunities at the league’s leading sides.

New Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has shown his faith in the club’s best academy graduates, the likes of Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham having taken their chance to shine at Stamford Bridge.

Elsewhere, Unai Emery has phased in some of Arsenal’s brightest talents, whilst European champions Liverpool’s only summer business was a pair of talented teenagers in Harvey Elliot and Sepp van den Berg, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is committed to blooding Man United’s most recent batch of academy starlets.

With youngsters enjoying somewhat of a starring role in English football at present, we’ve decided to look back at some talented teenagers who etched their place into history.

Here are each of the top six clubs youngest ever Premier League goalscorers, accordiong to iSports API.

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Arsenal: Cesc Fàbregas – 17 years, 114 days

The most successful player on this list, the Spanish midfielder has enjoyed a glittering career including spells at Arsenal, Barcelona and Chelsea.

Having emerged at Arsenal following the club’s famed unbeaten season in 2004, Fabregas would eventually step in to the huge void left by the departure of iconic midfield general Patrick Vieira. Having become the club’s youngest ever player following his debut as a 16-year-old in 2003, he would register his first Premier League strike in a comfortable 3-0 win over Blackburn in August 2004.

He would leave in 2011 and enjoy trophy-laden spells at Barcelona and later Chelsea, whilst honours also came on the international stage as he won the World Cup and two European Championships with Spain.

The youngest player to feature on this list, he remains the fourth youngest goalscorer in Premier League history behind only James Vaughan, James Milner and Wayne Rooney.

Chelsea: Mikael Forssell – 17 years, 342 days

The Finnish forward failed to make the grade at Stamford Bridge, struggling amidst competition from the likes of Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink and Gianfranco Zola, though his name remains in the record books of the West London side courtesy of a strike against Nottingham Forest in 1999.

A seven year spell at Chelsea would wield just 33 league appearances, however, Forssell spending time on loan at the likes of Crystal Palace, Borussia Monchengladbach and Birmingham City before joining the latter on a permanent basis in 2005.

He would form a decent career over spells in England, Germany and his native Finland, whilst he also scored 29 goals in 87 caps for his national side, as per iSports API.

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Liverpool: Michael Owen – 17 years, 144 days

Arguably one of the most exciting teenage talents to emerge in Premier League history, former Liverpool forward Owen announced his arrival at the top level with a debut goal against Wimbledon in May 1997.

Possessing blistering pace and ruthless finishing ability, Owen would go on to win back-to-back Golden Boots in each of his first two full seasons, establishing himself in the England team and announcing himself to the world with that goal against Argentina.

A Ballon d’Or would come in 2001 as he became just the fourth Englishman to win the award, after helping Liverpool to a treble of cup successes. A career of two halves, injuries blighted his later years and he became a shadow of his former player.

Perhaps more recognisable now for his often dull and uninspiring punditry work to a younger audience, it should be remembered that Owen was once one of the true Premier League wonderkids.

Manchester City: Micah Richards – 18 years 101 days
Like Owen, another career that promised so much in its infancy but faded into obscurity. Still the youngest ever defender to debut for England, Richards was tipped for a huge future following his emergence at Manchester City.

The powerful defender scored his first goal for the club with a late, late equaliser in an FA Cup tie against Aston Villa, before repeating the trick in the Premier League against Everton with virtually the last kick of the game.

The oldest player to score on this list, Richards goal and subsequent exuberant celebration came in October 2006, just three months after he was legally allowed to purchase his first pint.

Two Premier League titles at the Etihad would prove the highlight of his career, before he retired aged just 31 at Aston Villa, having failed to make an appearance for three years following a series of serious injury problems.

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Manchester United: Federico Macheda – 17 years, 226 days

Perhaps the most memorable goal on this list, teenage forward Macheda made his impact at Old Trafford in stunning fashion back in 2009.

Manchester United were in the midst of a tense title race with arch-rivals Liverpool and having come from behind to level with Aston Villa, Ferguson turned to 17-year-old Macheda as one last throw of the dice.

The debutant would win the contest in stoppage time in spectacular fashion, turning in the box before curling home brilliantly to seal a vital win. He would repeat the trick with a goal at Sunderland the following week, wins that would prove crucial as United finished four points clear of their Merseyside rivals.

His United career would fizzle out and he currently plays for Panathanaikos after spells at the likes of Cardiff and Novara, according to iSports API, though his contribution will be forever remembered.

Tottenham: Andy Turner – 17 years, 166 days

Following on from perhaps the most memorable goal, we have most certainly the least.

Former Republic of Ireland U21 international Andy Turner would make just 20 league appearances for Tottenham, though remains their youngest ever Premier League goalscorer after scoring as a 17-year-old in the league’s inaugural campaign.

His goal would see him become newly formed top-flights youngest goalscorer, the winger firing home an injury-time winner against Everton in September 1992.

After falling out with manager Ossie Ardiles he would enjoy a nomadic career, taking in spells at a huge 23 clubs including the likes of Portsmouth, Rotherham and non-league sides Northwich Victoria, Cinderford Town and Banbury United.

For more information, please visit iSportsAPI.com.


Jose Mourinho – 10 of his best Quotes

Jose Mourinho is not a man to mince his words. He’s not too short on self confidence either and ever since he arrived in England to manage Chelsea in 2004 he has been a source of some of the all time great managerial quotes.

Some big himself up, others tear down his opponents and some are just plain weird but more often than not they are pure gold.

So with Mourinho heading back to the Premier League to take over at Tottenham Hotspur, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the best quotes by the former Manchester United and Chelsea boss.

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What he said…

“I have a problem, which is I’m getting better at everything related to my job since I started.” – Modest as always.

“Some clubs are treated as devils, some are treated as angels. I don’t think we are so ugly that we should be seen as the devil and I don’t think Arsene Wenger and David Dein are so beautiful that they should be viewed as angels.” – A thinly-veiled dig at Arsenal

“Please do not call me arrogant because what I say is true. I’m European champion. I’m not one out of the bottle, I think I’m a special one.” – THE iconic Jose line.

“Fear is not a word in my football dictionary.” – You can’t be afraid when you’re behind a bus.

“If he is right and I am afraid of failure it is because I didn’t fail many times. Eight years without silverware, that’s failure! He’s a specialist in failure. If I do that in Chelsea, eight years, I leave and don’t come back.” – Another classic dig at Wenger.

“The style of how we play is very important. But it is omelettes and eggs. No eggs – no omelettes! It depends on the quality of the eggs. In the supermarket, you have class one, two or class three eggs and some are more expensive than others and some give you better omelettes. So when the class one eggs are in Waitrose and you cannot go there, you have a problem.” – We told you some of them were weird.

“If I wanted to have an easy job…I would have stayed at Porto – beautiful blue chair, the UEFA Champions League trophy, God, and after God, me.” – There’s that modesty again.

“[Luke Shaw] had a good performance but it was his body with my brain. He was in front of me and I was making every decision for him.” – Never get on Jose’s bad side.

“I think the lady needs to occupy her time, and if she takes care of her husband’s diet she will have less time to speak about me.” – A double dig at the Benitez’s.

“When you enjoy what you do, you don’t lose your hair, and Guardiola is bald. He doesn’t enjoy football.” – We’re not so sure Jose, he seems to be enjoying things now!

For more information, please visit iSportsAPI.com.


Five of the Premier League’s most notorious divers ever

The most recent debate over diving reminded us of some of its worst proponents in the Premier League era.

There was a bit of a stir created by Pep Guardiola this week when, after both Manchester City and Liverpool had completed dramatic late comebacks against Southampton and Aston Villa respectively, he suggested that Sadio Mane had won vital points for the league leaders through diving.

“Sometimes it is diving, sometimes it is this talent to score incredible goals in the last minute,” the Catalan said of their ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, although he never directly referenced the Senegalese.

A verbal catfight ensued, in which Jurgen Klopp highlighted City’s propensity for cynical fouling to stop opposition attacks, before Guardiola tried to set the record straight by saying that he wasn’t trying to insinuate Mane was a diver.

It would be churlish to argue that Liverpool and Mane are the only ones in the Premier League trying to con referees by going down suspiciously easily under a challenge, because it’s become regrettably common in the modern game.

From a player’s perspective though, sometimes you have to make the decision for the referee and make the most of it, otherwise you won’t get the foul called. Some are worse than others however, to an almost embarrassing degree.

Five of the biggest divers in Premier League history, according to iSports API.

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Dele Alli

It happens often enough that it’s fair game to label Dele Alli a serial diver rather than someone who just takes a tumble every now and again, as most players do nowadays.

That was such a spectacular dive by Dele Alli. He got more air on that than most skaters do going up ramps.

The Tottenham Hotspur midfielder has made such a habit of it that his own manager has called him out on it in the past – not that it’s stopped him.

“He needs to learn,” Mauricio Pochettino warned the midfielder after a particularly dramatic dive against Huddersfield in 2017. “This type of action doesn’t help him, doesn’t help the team and doesn’t help football. We have talked in the last few years about fair play and being honest.”

Because it seems to have been taken down AGAIN... heres Dele Alli’s shameful dive earlier on! I know it wasn’t given, but surely he’s got to be punished for persistent diving? It’s every game now!

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Luis Suarez

You would think that great footballers would have less reason to dive – they have more than enough ability to create goal scoring opportunities for themselves, why bother cheating?

Luis Suarez is the greatest example of this. Few players have been so talented and yet so willing to cheat their way to victory simultaneously (Diego Maradona, maybe?). His finest moment came after scoring a legitimate goal for Liverpool in the Merseyside Derby, after which he raced to the sideline and flopped like a fish in front of the Everton bench in response to then Toffees boss David Moyes’ complaints about his fondness for a dive.

The Uruguayan has almost elevated diving to an artform, as illustrated by the one he took during Barcelona’s 5-1 win over Lyon in the Champions League knockout stages last season. He simultaneously fouls the defender and wins the penalty at the same time, thereby taking shithousery to a new plane.

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Ashley Young

Another player warned by his own manager about diving, Ashley Young’s reputation certainly precedes him when it comes to the act of leaping. So much so that he’s probably lost the benefit of the doubt from referees when it comes to actual fouls.

We could pick out numerous examples of the Manchester Unitedwinger going down too easily, but this clip is the best instructional guide from a veteran you can possibly find. Young cleverly knocks the ball away so there’s no possibility of the challenger cleanly winning the ball, before initiating contact by sticking his leg out, then finally falls over.

The former Aston Villa man doesn’t dive as much as he used to, but that’s likely has more to do with the fact that he doesn’t have the legs to take on defenders anymore.

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Arjen Robben

A world-class player in his day with a world-class ability to hit the deck when the exact moment calls for it. In the same way Arjen Robben became renowned for cutting in off the right before shooting at goal, he gained an extraordinary reputation for diving throughout his career.

The Dutchman did it in the Premier League with Chelsea, in the Champions League with Bayern Munich (much to the chagrin of former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger), and for his national team on the biggest stage possible, ensuring the Netherlands’ progress in the 2014 World Cup.

The winger dived with such regularity that there was such a thing as a ‘textbook’ Robben dive. They didn’t always look the most convincing, but more often than not he won fouls in dangerous areas that gave his team an excellent chance of scoring.

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Cristiano Ronaldo

Before the Ballon d’Or awards, before all of the broken records, and before establishing himself as the second-best footballer in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo was all sizzle and no steak. A fancy dan baller with no end product. TV pundit and former Millwall player Eamon Dunphy famously dubbed him a “cod” and a “disgrace to the game”, predicting he wouldn’t become a great player.

The Portuguese winger eventually proved them all wrong, but in his early years at Man United he was notorious for diving at every available opportunity. This was in the mid-2000’s when it wasn’t quite as common as it later became, so Ronaldo inevitably became the poster boy for those pesky foreigners who infected the English game with such a despicable deed.

Ronaldo kept it up long after he left Old Trafford for Real Madrid and his national team, more often than not making a fool of himself rather than win fouls or get opposition players sent off.

Dishonourable Mentions: Jamie Vardy, Harry Kane, Didier Drogba, Steven Gerrard, Robert Pires, David N’Gog, Robinho, Jurgen Klinsmann, Morten Gamst Pedersen, El Hadji Diouf, David Ginola, Nani.

For more information, please click iSports API.


The youngest players to make their England bow in the Premier League era

The youngest players to make their international bow for the England football team since 1992, the year the Premier League broke away from the EFL.

Despite a surprise 2-1 defeat to Czech Republic last week, the England national team is looking as strong as ever. They followed up that loss with a 6-0 thrashing of Bulgaria. It was the fifth time they scored four or more goals in a qualifier in this campaign.

What’s more impressive though is the wealth of young talent coming through the ranks while the Three Lions continue to destroy their opposition. The average age of the starting line-up on Monday was just a shade over 25, with the eldest of the group being 29-year-old Jordan Henderson.

one look at the bench shows that Gareth Southgate pretty much has the next generation lined up and ready to go: Chelsea pair Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori are both 20 and 21 respectively; goalkeeper Dean Henderson is 22, the same age as Tammy Abraham, who already looks like he could be an elite finisher, and Liverpool defender Joe Gomez; Jadon Sancho is still only 19-years-old, as per iSports API.

Then you have the usual starters who didn’t even get a minute off the bench at the Stadion Vasil Levski, the likes of Declan Rice (20) and Trent Alexander-Arnold (21), and those who missed out on being selected such as Aaron Wan-Bissaka (21), which just goes to show the depth the team currently possesses.

Southgate’s decision to blood in young players early is paying dividends already and could pay off at Euro 2020 and major tournaments down the line. Looking back at the list of players to have made their bow in their teens, there is a high success rate, justifying their selection in the first place.

England’s youngest debutants in the Premier League era, all data collects from iSports API.

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Callum Hudson-Odoi – 18 years & 135 days

The Chelsea winger only made his debut this past March in a 5-0 home win against the Czech Republic, which he followed up with an assist in the 5-1 victory over Montenegro. At the time he had made 22 first team appearances for his club, scoring five goals.

A ruptured Achilles tendon towards the end of the season was a big blow to Hudson-Odoi, and meant he missed out on the Uefa Nations League semi-final against Netherlands in the summer. He is back from that injury now, easing himself back into action, and scored a wonderful goal for the England U21’s following a thrilling solo run against Austria.

Michael Owen – 18 years & 59 days

The second half of Michael Owen’s career didn’t provide much fodder to write home about, the striker was an absolute sensation when he first broke through at Liverpool. After scoring 15 goals in his first 33 senior appearances at club level, Glenn Hoddle saw fit to call him up for a demoralising 2-0 defeat to Chile in 1997.

Owen scored his first goal for the national team on his fourth cap, which turned out to be the winner in a friendly fixture with Morocco. The lighting quick youngster then announced himself to the world by scoring an iconic solo goal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup in France. He went on to score 40 times in 89 appearances for his country, an excellent scoring record all told, according to iSports API.

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Raheem Sterling – 17 years & 342 days

Manchester City‘s wily winger became just the fifth 17-year-old of all-time, and only the third in the Premier League era, to play for the England senior team.

Sterling’s debut was a rollercoaster of a game – the famous 4-2 friendly defeat in Sweden. The then-Liverpool player was a handful for the Swedes, winning the free-kick that led to England’s second goal, and Danny Welbeck scored a nice volley, but it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic who stole the show. The striker scored all four goals for the hosts, including an insane long-range bicycle kick.

At the time he had made 20 first team appearances for the Reds. It took him a while to establish himself as an England regular, but Sterling is now arguably the nation’s star player. He currently has 55 caps and has provided 12 goals and 20 assists for the team, as per iSports API.

Wayne Rooney – 17 years & 111 days

It’s easy to forget just how much excitement surrounded the emergence of Wayne Rooney as a 17-year-old. The young striker burst onto the scene at Everton with his stunning winner against Arsenal and looked to have all the makings of a world class player.

Whether or not the former Manchester United forward truly fulfilled that potential is up for debate, but his explosiveness at such a young age was a sight to behold. Sven Goran Eriksson gave him his national debut after just 26 first team appearances, in which he had scored five times, according to iSports API.

It wasn’t until his sixth cap that the boy wonder broke his duck, but once he got off the mark he didn’t stop. He made a huge impression at Euro 2004, scoring four goals in four games. That tournament was probably the peak of his international career, but he went on to find the net 53 times for England, making him the all-time record goalscorer, pipping Bobby Charlton to top spot.

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Theo Walcott – 17 years & 75 days

The youngest of the lot, but the one with the least distinguished international career (discounting Hudson-Odoi’s fledgling career, of course).

Theo Walcott was hailed as the new Thierry Henry when he broke through, especially after Arsene Wenger chose to buy him Southampton for just £5 million. Sven gave him his England debut after 23 first team appearances and took him to the 2006 World Cup, but he didn’t play a single minute in Germany.

He failed to measure up to expectations over the course of his career, his inability to evolve hampering his progress. He did, though, have his moments in a white shirt, the highlight being his hat-trick against Croatia in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.

Walcott didn’t make the final squad for that tournament, however, and he would only feature at one major competition for England in his career, Euro 2012. He ended up with 47 caps, the last of which came in a friendly draw with Spain in 2016.

For more information, please visit iSportsAPI.com.


Five high profile managers who tanked in the Premier League

With every managerial appointment comes hope. The hope that that person will be able to steer your club away from danger, take them to the next level, or bring unprecedented success. And some hirings inspire delirious giddiness in a fanbase.

Everyone gets excited by a big name coming to town, ready to turn the team into a winning machine, just like they’ve done in times before. But sometimes those expectations are never met; in fact, sometimes they perform downright shambolically.

There’s nothing worse than getting your hopes up high only to have them dashed so devastatingly. But where does it go so wrong for these high profile managers? Why did they fail in one place yet achieved success elsewhere?

Five high profile manager who flopped in the Premier League, according to iSports API football data.

Luiz Felipe Scolari

Arriving in south London in 2008, Big Phil was only six years removed from guiding Brazil to their fifth World Cup triumph and four since he brought Portugal to the final of Euro 2004. But he was only seven months away from getting the sack at his new job.

Scolari’s reign as Chelsea manager got off to a good start, but it steadily declined over the course of the campaign. In October they lost their four-year long unbeaten home record in the league, losing 1-0 to Liverpool. They lost to the Reds again in February, followed up by a goalless draw with Hull City.

That spelled the end for the Brazilian’s career in the Premier League, the club reasoning that “the results and performances of the team appeared to be deteriorating at a key time in the season”. When he left, the team were fourth in the table and had a respectable 55.5% win rate. But faith in the manager had evidently waned in the dressing room and the board acted accordingly.

Ruud Gullit

“I didn’t like his arrogance – in fact I never liked him” — Ken Bates after the Chelsea chairman sacked player-manager Ruud Gullit in 1998. And that was despite winning the FA Cup the year before and having a 49% win rate, so you know he really didn’t like him.

The Blues had just been outplayed by Arsenal in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final, a game in which the Dutchman played woefully and was responsible for the opposition’s opening goal.

Bates’ comments should have sent sirens off at Newcastle United, who hired Gullit as their new manager a few games into the next season. He had a tough act follow in succeeding Kenny Dalglish, but the idea was that he would bring free-flowing Dutch football to St. James Park instead of the rudimentary style employed by the Glaswegian.

Gullit couldn’t win games like his predecessor though and, despite reaching an FA Cup final, ended with a win rate of just 34%. In his autobiography Any Given Saturday, goalkeeper Shay Given wrote that from the moment of his arrival Ruud gave off the impression that “he was doing us a massive favour to leave London for the north-east”. The Irishman continued:

“In football, and in life itself, some people are just tone deaf to what’s happening around them. It’s as if they sort of get it but they don’t quite understand or plug into a place or a people or a purpose.”

Gullit’s inability to adjust to life on Tyneside was a huge contributor to his downfall, as was the fractious relationship he had with key players. His fallout with Alan Shearer has been well documented, culminating in the manager dropping arguably the greatest Premier League striker of all-time for the biggest game of the year: the Tyne-Wear Derby against Sunderland.

Given called it “the single stupidest decision ever made by a Newcastle manager”, and with Duncan Ferguson also relegated to the bench, the Magpies lost 2-1. To compound matters, he replaced them with lifelong Black Cats fan Paul Robinson. Gullit lost the faith of the team, the fans and, crucially, the board, who sacked him soon after.

Felix Magath

When Felix Magath arrived in south London, he brought with him an impressive CV, but left with a tarnished reputation.

The German had won three Bundesliga titles as manager of Bayern Munich and VFL Wolfsburg, and was a three-time German manager of the year in the noughties. This is why in 2014 Fulham turned to him for help in their fight to survive the drop from the top flight.

The Cottagers had already been through two managers that season, having discarded Martin Jol and Rene Meulensteen. The latter was sacked after his side lost 3-2 to Liverpool thanks to a late Steven Gerrard penalty in a spirited display at home. That left the Whites bottom of the table on 20 points and four from safety with 12 games left to run, as per iSports API.

Magath had gained notoriety for his taxing training sessions by running his players into the ground, but he was made famous for his unusual healing techniques. Defender Brede Hangeland claimed on Norwegian radio that the manager suggested rubbing a mixture of cream cheese and alcohol on his injury to help him recover. Magath admitted to saying just that, but he also called it a “false story” that was “distorted” by the media.

The former Hamburger SV player also concocted an unusual punishment for his players following one particular defeat. He brought the players in early the next morning on a designated day off and had them line up in their match formation and just stand there silently.

“It was a cold day, there were a couple of lads with gloves on – they were off straight away. There were leaves blowing across the pitch… You couldn’t make eye contact with anyone, you just had to stand there. I think we were there for about 40 minutes. Just standing there.”

Despite overseeing the club’s eventual relegation to the second tier, he was retained as manager for the following campaign, but it somehow got even worse. The team lost six of the first seven games in the Championship, gaining a solitary point. They were bottom of the league when the German was sacked, much to the delight of fans and players alike.

Jacques Santini

Big things were expected from Jacques Santini upon his arrival to the Premier League, with Tottenham Hotspur fans hoping he would take the club to the next level. Things unraveled very quickly however, and the Frenchman was gone after 13 games.

Santini had a distinguished career as a player, winning Ligue 1 five times and four French Cups with Saint-Étienne. As a manager he went on to win the league and the cup with Lyon, before taking over the national team in 2002 and winning the Confederations Cup. Renowned magazine France Football named him the country’s best coach in 2002, and he seemed destined for greater things.

That’s when Spurs came calling, and Santini agreed to join the club before the end of Euro 2004, a decision he later likened to digging his own grave. The Lilywhites went on to make their worst start in front of goal to a Premier League campaign, scoring just six goals.

A power struggle with sporting director Frank Arnesen ensued, and Santini resigned from his post after a run of four defeats in his last five games. Chairman Daniel Levy had made such a big deal of installing a continental system to run team affairs, the first of its kind in English football. By November it had blown up in his face.

Five years later Santini gave an interview to France’s Journal di Dimanche explaining why tensions existed between him, the club and Arnesen:

“They promised me a big apartment on the beach and I found myself 200m from the sea with a view of my neighbours,” he said, adding that his “only regret is having signed too early (for Tottenham). I should have waited until after Euro 2004 even if that means I might have missed my chance.”

On the subject of Spurs’ transfer policy, he lamented that he “learned on the day of our team photo that our captain (Stephen Carr) was leaving the club.”

André Villas-Boas

If ever a manager seemed primed for success in English football, it was André Villas-Boas. The Portuguese had a grandmother from Stockport, as a sixteen-year-old he learned under the tutelage of then-Porto manager Bobby Robson, and later worked for Jose Mourinho at Chelsea and Inter Milan.

Few foreign managers get such an education of the English game before taking on a managerial role, and yet it just didn’t click for Villas-Boas. During his stint at the Blues he lost the confidence of several senior players, especially after he dropped Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Michael Essien for the 3-1 loss to Napoli in the Champions League knockout rounds. He was sacked in February of his first season.

It has to be remembered that AVB was only 33 years of age when he took the reins at Stamford Bridge, and had plenty of time to fulfill his potential as a head coach. He fared better at Spurs, where there was less expectation to succeed, being in charge for twice as many games as his previous job and winning a respectable 55% of them, as per iSports API.

The former Porto manager, however, was criticised for being overly tactical and was abrasive with the media, which earned him few friends in the press pack. His biggest crime though was playing an aggressively high line against Manchester City and Liverpool, both of whom thrashed Spurs 6-0 and 0-5 respectively. His tactical naivety cost him his position, and he was mutually consented in December 2013.

In 2018 Villas-Boas admitted “England was bad for me, I was not flexible in my ideas.

“I learned to be more flexible when I went from Chelsea to Tottenham. I always thought more in the long run without thinking in the short term,” he said. “I was thinking about the future, but the results were irregular.”

AVB is currently managing Marseille in Ligue 1.

For more information, please click iSportsAPI.com.


The eight biggest winning margins in Premier League history

Leicester City’s 9-0 win over Southampton equalled the record for the biggest winning margin ever in the Premier League, as per iSports API football data.

The Foxes shocked the world when they claimed the Premier League title in 2016, but they will forever be in the history books after Friday night’s demolition of the Saints.

It was one of those nights where everything the Leicester players touched went in the net, but it was no fluke and they thoroughly deserved to win by a distance.

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Only one other team can claim to have inflicted as big a defeat on an opponent, while six other teams have come incredibly close with eight goal victories over the years.

The eight biggest winning margins in Premier League history, according to iSports API.

Man City 8-0 Watford – 2019

We are literally just a month removed from the last time a club dished an absolutely devastating one-sided thrashing. Unfortunately for Quique Sanchez Flores, it came in just his second match on his return to the Watford dugout, losing by eight goals to a rampant Manchester City.

It was the quickest any team had ever scored five goals in an English top flight match (18 minutes), as the reigning champions were determined to make up for their shock 3-2 defeat to Norwich City the previous week. Remarkably, Raheem Sterling didn’t even get a minute of game time in this fixture, but Pep Guardiola’s side still had more than enough firepower to win extremely comfortably.

Southampton 8-0 Sunderland – 2014

Well, well, well. How does it feel to be on the other end of a complete shanking, Southampton? It was only five years ago that the Saints dished out a club record beating of their own, defeating Sunderland by eight goals to nil.

The South Coast outfit were close to their peak at that stage, playing this game with an impressive line-up: Sadio Mane, Toby Alderweireld and Dusan Tadic, before they made big moves elsewhere; then you had guys like Victor Wanyama, Shane Long, Nathaniel Clyne, Graziano Pelle and Morgan Schneiderlin when they were still very good. What would they give to have a squad like that now?

The Black Cats somehow avoided relegation that season, but they were generally terrible for several years before eventually suffering the drop. The whole affair was summed up by the opening goal of the game, Santiago Vergini’s spectacular 12th minute volley – past his own goalkeeper.

Chelsea 8-0 Aston Villa – 2012

The Blues were in an unforgiving mood when they faced Aston Villa in December 2012, putting eight past the visitors at Stamford Bridge.

It was 3-0 by half-time, but the Villains were unable to put any respectability on the scoreline after the interval. Things only spiralled in fact, and Chelsea ended the game with seven different goalscorers.

Chelsea 8-0 Wigan – 2010

For all the flak Chelsea have gotten over the years for being defensive and parking the bus under managers like Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, they have always been able to find the net without much bother.

That was particularly the case in the 2009/10 campaign when, under the guiding hand of Carlo Ancelotti, the Blues scored 103 goals on their way to winning the title. That was a Premier League record until Man City scored 106 times in the 2017/18 season.

This fixture fell on the last day of the season, when the South West London outfit picked up the trophy, but it was most notable for a heated disagreement between Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba over who would take their second penalty of the game. Although the Ivorian was chasing the Golden Boot, Lampard took it as he usually does, but they soon made up.

Newcastle 8-0 Sheff Wed – 1999

As first games go, it doesn’t get much better than this. Bobby Robson had just taken the reins at his local club Newcastle United and immediately breathed new life into the organisation, which had become toxic under his predecessor.

Team morale had steadily eroded under Ruud Gullit, culminating in an embarrassing defeat to Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear Derby. The Dutchman’s decision to drop Alan Shearer in that game was described by goalkeeper Shay Given as “the single stupidest decision ever made by a Newcastle manager”.

It proved to be his undoing, and Robson came in off the back of successful stints at Porto, Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven. He immediately got the best out of Shearer, who scored five goals in an 8-0 thrashing of Sheffield Wednesday.

Spurs 9-1 Wigan – 2009

It truly is a miracle that Wigan Athletic managed to survive the drop in the 2009/10 season, considering they were on the received end of two maulings in the one campaign.

On this occasion Jermain Defoe would set a joint-record for the most Premier League goals in one game by scoring five for Tottenham Hotspur. The other goal scorers were Peter Crouch, Aaron Lennon, David Bentley and Niko Kranjcar.

Man Utd 9-0 Ipswich – 1995

The long-standing record for biggest winning margin no longer stands by itself. But in the 14 years since Manchester United crumpled Ipswich Town like a paper cup, it seemed like no one would match that elusive 9-0 scoreline.

Andy Cole made history that day, becoming the first player to score five goals in a single Premier League match. Mark Hughes nearly scored a spectacular bicycle kick, only for it to smack off the crossbar and fall to the feet of Cole for an easy tap-in.

The Welshman would go on to score twice anyway, with Roy Keane and Paul Ince rounding out the scoreline. Curiously, Ipswich are the only team on this list to get relegated in the same season as suffering their record Premier League defeat.

Southampton 0-9 Leicester – 2019

It all went downhill for Southampton when they suffered the double whammy of conceding a Ben Chilwell goal and a Ryan Bertrand red card in almost the same breath. But there shouldn’t be any excuses for a performance that was so bereft of effort, energy or belief.

One the goals starting coming, you had no confidence that the home side would be able to stop them flowing. Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl will be heavily criticised for this result, and more than likely lose his job, but the players should be utterly embarrassed by themselves that they barely even tried a leg.

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Six best starts to a League campaign in English football history

It’s advantage Liverpool in the title race after Jurgen Klopp’s side opened up an eight-point gap at the top of the Premier League with victory over Manchester City, the only blemish on their impressive start to the season being a draw at Manchester United in October.

Their almost flawless start has raised expectations that the Premier League title could finally be heading to Merseyside, but where does it rank amongst the best ever starts to a league campaign?

Here are the six best league starts after 12 games in English football history, according to iSports API data.

Tottenham – 1960/61 (34 points)

Silverware has been a little harder to come by for the North London side in recent years, though in the early sixties it was Spurs who were the team to beat in English football’s top flight. The club would win a famed domestic double in the 1960/61 season, in which a fast start built the club an unassailable advantage at the top of the division.

Bill Nicholson’s team would begin the campaign with 11 successive victories, their run eventually halted by a draw with Manchester City at White Hart Lane in their 12th fixture.

It would matter little, however, as the club would go on to be crowned champions ahead of Sheffield Wednesday, the second and so far last time the club have won a league title.

* points total adjusted from two points to three per win

Manchester United – 1985/86 (34 points)

Ron Atkinson’s Manchester United side entered the 1985/86 season with hopes of finally ending their 20-year wait for a league title, hopes that were further raised following a brilliant start to the season that saw the club win their first 10 league matches.

A draw at Luton was the only blemish on their record after 12 fixtures, whilst they remained unbeaten for their first 15 until defeat at Sheffield Wednesday, as per iSports API. Their run would not last, however, as a torrid run of form over January and February saw them slip from the top, eventually finishing a disappointing fourth.

Liverpool – 1990/91 (34 points)

The second side on our list to enjoy a fast start, only to tail off and miss out on the league title. Liverpool were the reigning champions heading into the 1990/91 season and began the defence of their crown in style, winning 11 of their first 12 fixtures with a draw at Norwich their only dropped points.

That run included a 4-0 hammering of Manchester United, whilst the likes of Everton and Tottenham were beaten away from home. Eight defeats over the remainder of the season would ultimately cost them the title, manager Kenny Dalglish resigning in the February of 1991 as the club finished nine points behind champions Arsenal.

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Manchester City – 2011/12 (34 point)

Having emerged as a true contender in English football following their billionaire takeover, 2011/12 would finally become the season that Manchester City were crowned champions of England once again.

Their substantial investment built a side capable of challenging, and they began the new campaign with 11 wins in 12 fixtures, a run of form that included a 5-1 win at Tottenham and that 6-1 thrashing of Manchester United at Old Trafford, according to iSports API.

They would suffer dips of form throughout the campaign but stayed largely consistent, a run of six successive wins at the end of season snatching the title on goal difference courtesy of Sergio Aguero’s infamous late goal.

Manchester City – 2017/18 (34 points)

Arguably the greatest league season in English football history, Manchester City would become the first Premier League side ever to reach 100 points after a stunning campaign to win the title in 2017/18.

Their run would begin with 11 wins and one draw from their opening 12 fixtures, a 1-1 home draw with Everton their only blemish on a run which saw them thrash the likes of Liverpool (5-0), Watford (6-0), Crystal Palace (5-0) and Stoke (7-2).

Pep Guardiola’s side would lose just twice all season, setting a number of records including most wins (32), most goals (106) and most consecutive victories (18). They would finish a huge 19 points clear of nearest challengers Manchester United, another Premier League record.

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Liverpool – 2019/20 (34 points)

Liverpool’s start to the new season is the equal best of any recorded in English football history, having amassed 34 points from their 12 fixtures so far. Jurgen Klopp’s side have raced into an early lead in the title race, having won 11 times so far including victories over Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Leicester and Manchester City.

Their only dropped points so far came at Old Trafford, Adam Lallana’s late goal salvaging a point and their unbeaten start. Hopes have been raised that the club can end their long wait for a league title this season, with no team having ever started better.

For more information, please visit iSportsAPI.com.

The five teams with the worst defensive records in Premier League history

It’s said that a good attack can win you a game, but a good defence can win you a title.

Someone should really have told this lot…

The greatest teams are built on solid foundations, though we’re not sure any side on this list could quite be called that.

The Premier League has seen some truly dodgy defences, and we’ve decided to compile a list of the very worst. Here are the five leakiest defences of the Premier League era.

The five teams with the worst defensive records in Premier League history, according to iSports API football data.

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5. Wolves – 2011/12 – 82 goals

A miserable campaign for the Midlands club, who finished bottom of the Premier League having won just five league games all season.

They actually scored more goals than both Stoke City and Aston Villa who survived the drop, but a leaky backline which shipped 82 goals saw them relegated to the second tier, as per iSports API.

Manager Mick McCarthy was sacked in February and replaced by Terry Connor, though neither manager had a solution to their defensive troubles.

4. Burnley – 2009/10 – 82 goals

Now an established top division side, the Burnley of a decade ago were a different outfit to the current team.

The Clarets arrived in the Premier League for the 2009/10 for the very first time, full of excitement for their first top-flight season in 33 years.

Their excitement didn’t last long…

A league-high 82 goals conceded saw the Lancashire side swiftly return to the second tier, finishing 18th in the division. Their 6-1 defeat to Manchester City the equal highest home loss of the season.

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3. Fulham – 2013/14 – 85 goals

The 2013/14 season was the first time two sides (Manchester City & Liverpool) had scored a century of league goals.

In a high scoring season, it seemed Fulham also wanted in on the act.

Sadly, for the West London club, the vast amount of goals in their fixtures were at the wrong end as a poor defence cost them their Premier League status.

The Cottagers shipped 85 league goals, seeing them relegated after a 13-year stay in the top flight, according to iSports API.

2. Derby County – 2007/08 – 89 goals

No team in Premier League history has perhaps been as out of their depth as Derby County in 2007/08.

A record-breaking season for all the wrong reasons, the Midlands side set a whole host of unwanted records, including the lowest ever points total with a paltry 11.

The Rams conceded 89 goals on route to their relegation, a record for a 38 game season, with the low point of a season featuring a 32-game winless run a 6-0 hammering at home to Aston Villa.

They have not been seen in the top flight since.

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1. Swindon Town – 1993/94 – 100 goals

For younger readers, the thought of Swindon Town as a Premier League club may be too hard to grasp, but rewind back to 1993 and the Robins reached the promised land after 73 years of trying.

Their stay lasted just the one season, with Swindon finishing bottom of the then 22-team division having conceded a whopping 100 goals. Yes, a century of goals conceded, as per iSports API.

The lowlight was perhaps a 7-1 thrashing at Newcastle, with Peter Beardsley, Rob Lee and Steve Watson all scoring braces.

In fairness, their record comes from the now-defunct 42 game season, but that’s about as much credit as we’ll give them for a truly woeful record.

For more information, please visit iSportsAPI.com.


Five of the best teenage talents in Premier League history

There’s nothing quite like the emergence of a talented teenage star to truly excite football fans, and throughout the history of the Premier League we have seen some precocious talents star for some of the division’s biggest sides.

We’ve decided to look back at some of the very best starlets of the EPL era, here are five of the best teenage talents in Premier League history, data from iSports API.

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Robbie Fowler

With the club’s all-time record goalscorer in Ian Rush coming towards the end of his illustrious career, Liverpool needed a new goalscoring hero and swiftly found one within their very own academy ranks.

There was much hype around Merseyside surrounding a Toxteth-born teenage talent, who would make an immediate impact at the club when handed his opportunity as an 18-year-old, scoring on his debut in a League Cup tie against Fulham before truly announcing himself with a five-goal haul in the second leg two weeks later.

Fowler would emerge as one of the most natural finishers the Premier League has seen, scoring a hat-trick on just his fifth league appearance for the club and finishing his first season as the club’s leading scorer with 18 goals in all competitions, including a then EPL record quickest ever hat-trick against Arsenal.

His second season and last as a teenager before turning 20 in April would see him plunder 25 Premier League goals, whilst he also scored deciding goals in both legs of the League Cup semi-finals as Liverpool lifted the trophy just a week shy of his 20th birthday.

Named as the PFA Young Player of the Year at the end of that season, he would retain the award the following season in his early twenties and establish himself as a Liverpool legend during two spells with the club.

Rio Ferdinand

West Ham have long had an impressive history of producing young talent, and the club’s academy would once again pay dividends with the emergence of several future England international’s either side of the millennium.

One of the first of that batch to make a breakthrough was Rio Ferdinand, who would quickly establish himself as a favourite at Upton Park before moving on to become one of England’s great defenders.

Ferdinand was handed his debut as 17-year-old, before swiftly becoming a fixture in the first-team and developing a burgeoning reputation. The defender would make almost 100 appearances in all competitions for West Ham before his 20th birthday, being named as the club’s Player of the Year as a 19-year-old at the end of the 1997/98 season.

He would later go on to twice break the record for the world’s most expensive defender with moves to Leeds and latterly Manchester United, winning six league titles at Old Trafford and retiring from international duty with 81 caps for England,according to iSports API.

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Michael Owen

Liverpool would not have to wait long for their next boy-wonder to emerge from their academy ranks, with Michael Owen making an instant impact when scoring as a 17-year-old on debut against Wimbledon in the penultimate game of the season in 1997.

The following season he would become a first-team regular, scoring 18 league goals to win a host of accolades including the Premier League’s Golden Boot and Player of the Season award. Still in his teens he would then star in the World Cup with that goal for England against Argentina, before making it back-to-back Golden Boots the following season with another 18 goal haul, as per iSports API.

Owen’s teenage years were arguably his peak years, his electric pace and ruthless finishing making him a difficult proposition for defenders many years his senior.

He would later win a Ballon d’Or in 2001 before joining Real Madrid three years later, though his latter career was decimated by injuries at Newcastle, Manchester United and Stoke City as he looked a shadow of his former self.

Wayne Rooney

Few players have ever caused as much excitement as the emergence of a 16-year-old prodigy wearing Everton blue.

There had long been whispers at Goodison Park of a generational talent amongst the club’s academy system, though few could have anticipated the impact Wayne Rooney would make so early in his career.

The boyhood Blue would announce himself to Premier League fans with a stunning late winner to end champions Arsenal’s 30-game unbeaten run, before becoming England’s youngest ever debutant and goalscorer.

After scoring four times at the 2004 European Championships as an 18-year-old he would become the most expensive teenager in history when moving to Manchester United, scoring a hat-trick on his debut and being crowned PFA Young Player of the Year in his first season.

In 13 seasons at Old Trafford he would win every possible major honour including five league titles and the Champions League, becoming both club and country’s all-time record goalscorer in the process and winning a host of individual accolades.

Only a handful of players have enjoyed careers as successful as Rooney’s, though there is a feeling that he never quite fulfilled his early potential.

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Cesc Fabregas
Arguably a ray of hope as Arsenal’s famed Invincible side began to dismantle, the Spanish midfielder was plucked from the Barcelona academy as he sought a clearer pathway to first-team football.

Fabregas would not have to wait long for his opportunity in North London, making his debut as a 16-year-old in 2003 before becoming a fixture in the first-team following captain Patrick Vieira’s departure for Juventus two years later.

Fabregas would make over 100 appearances for the club before his 20th birthday, helping the club to FA Cup success in 2005 and a Champions League final the following year, establishing himself as one of the best young talents in the Premier League with his creativity and passing range.

Named as the Golden Boy in 2006, he would become the youngest player ever to play and score for the club, later becoming club captain before enjoying trophy-laden spells with Barcelona, Chelsea and the Spanish national side.

A precocious talent following his emergence, he would go onto become of the division’s great midfielders with only Ryan Giggs have registered more than Fabregas’ 111 Premier League assists, as per iSports API football data.

For more information, please visit iSportsapi.com.


The five most wasteful Premier League sides in front of goal this season

The Premier League season is almost a third of the way through already, as festive football rapidly approaches in the coming weeks.

Liverpool and Manchester City unsurprisingly lead the way in the title race, though few expected both Leicester and Sheffield United to currently be occupying European places.

We’ve decided to look back over the opening months of the campaign and analyse some of the Premier League’s best stats, and this feature is dedicated to the misfiring members of English football’s top flight.

We’ll look at those who have spurned the most big chances – a chance where a player should reasonably be expected to score.

Here are the five most wasteful Premier League sides in front of goal this season, data collects from iSports API.

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Manchester United – 16 big chances missed

Manchester United have endured the club’s worst start to a season in 30 years, and their hopes of securing a top four finish seem to be diminishing with each week as the club continue to stutter.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have struggled to score goals, having amassed just 13 in 11 fixtures so far and their wastefulness in front of goal is a key reason for their disappointing results.

Their wretched record from penalties has been well documented, though they have also proved far from efficient with chances in a team that often lacks creativity.

The club have missed 16 big chances already this season, and Solskjaer’s admission that the ‘fine margins’ have cost his side has never looked more apparent.

Everton – 17 big chances missed

Another team performing well below expectations is Everton, who despite a summer of significant investment find themselves languishing near the foot of the division.

Ambitions of pushing towards the top six have all but been extinguished as they sit just one place outside the bottom three, with the club ranking highly for big chances missed.

Marco Silva’s side have averaged just one goal per game in their 11 fixtures so far, spurning 17 big chances in that same period, as per iSports API.

Summer signing Moise Kean is still yet to open his account for the club in nine league appearances whilst Dominic Calvert-Lewin, often accused of not being a natural goalscorer, has been their guiltiest culprit with five big chances missed.

Chelsea – 23 big chances missed

Chelsea‘s young side have received plenty of plaudits this season following their refreshing emergence under Frank Lampard, though their attacking displays have often seen chances go begging.

Lampard’s lads have missed 23 big chances so far this season, the third highest total in the division. Logic says that the more chances created, the more that will be missed, though Lampard will hope his side can be more ruthless as they bid to close the gap to the top two, according to iSports API football data.

Tammy Abraham has shone this season and currently sits second in the race for the Golden Boot, though the 22-year-old has missed eight big opportunities so far – the equal highest amount in the Premier League.

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Liverpool – 24 big chances missed

Slightly ahead of Chelsea are league leaders Liverpool, who have missed 24 big chances during the opening weeks of the new season.

So far, their wastefulness around goal has failed to hamper their prospects, with the club currently possessing a six-point advantage at the top of the division.

Sadio Mane sits level with Tammy Abraham as the player with the most big opportunities missed this season (8), though teammates Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are not far behind the Senegalese star with six and five big chances missed respectively.

Manchester City – 31 big chances missed

The most wasteful side in the Premier League so far has been the defending champions, with Pep Guardiola’s side having missed 31 big chances in their opening 11 fixtures of the season.

The club’s high ranking is due to their relentless ability to create opportunities, however, with Man City currently the highest scoring side in England’s top flight.

Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling, both amongst the early contenders for the Golden Boot, are also amongst the leading players for big chances missed having spurned six opportunities apiece, with Gabriel Jesus just one behind.

For more information, please visit iSportsAPI.com.

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