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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.


Five longest winning runs in Champions League history

A competition that pits European football’s elite together to determine the finest side on the continent, the Champions League has long been the pinnacle of success in club football.

The leading sides from respective nations across Europe do battle, so putting together a winning streak in the competition is far from easy. We’ve looked back at some of the most successful sides in Champions League history, who have managed to maintain impressive runs of momentum. All data collects from iSports API.

Borussia Dortmund:8 matches (04/12/1996 – 01/10/1997)

Borussia Dortmund would embark on a memorable run in the mid-nineties, a run of consecutive wins that would see the club crowned champions of Europe for the first time in their history.

Ottmar Hitzfield’s side actually finished second in their group, level on points with Atletico Madrid, though it would be an entertaining 5-3 victory over Steaua Bucharest in the final fixture of the group stage that would begin their winning run.

Dortmund would beat Auxerre home and away at the quarter-final stage, before also achieving the same feat with a pair of 1-0 wins over Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United in the last four.

Facing a formidable Juventus side featuring the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Didier Deschamps and Christian Vieri in the final, the underdogs would secure a sixth successive win to lift the Champions League for the first time with a 3-1 victory in the Olympiastadion in Munich.

Their defence of the crown would begin with consecutive group stage victories over Galatasaray and Sparta Prague the following season, before a Hernan Crespo goal condemned the club to a 1-0 defeat at Parma in October 1997, as per iSports API.

Barcelona:9 matches (18/09/2002 – 18/02/2003)

The only side in this list not to have lifted the famous trophy during their winning streak, Louis van Gaal’s Barcelona side looked like genuine contenders to become European champions for just the second time in their history after winning nine consecutive fixtures in the 2002/03 season.

The Catalonian side would qualify from the first group stage with a perfect record from home and away fixtures against Galatasaray, Lokomotiv Moscow and Club Brugge, before being given a tougher looking test in the then second group stage round.

Drawn against Inter Milan, Bayer Leverkusen and Sir Bobby Robson’s Newcastle United, Barcelona would beat each of their three opponents before a goalless draw at the San Siro halted their winning run at nine matches, according to iSports API.

The draw would be the only points the club dropped over 12 group stage fixtures, though their early form in the competition counted for little as they were eliminated by Juventus at the quarter-final stage.

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Barcelona:9 matches (21/10/2014 – 06/05/2015)

Barcelona would once again put together a nine-match winning streak in the Champions League over a decade later, though this time it would come in a campaign that the club were crowned champions of Europe.

Having lost a thrilling group stage clash 3-2 at Paris Saint-Germain, Luis Enrique’s side would respond with back-to-back victories over Ajax before defeating Apoel Nicosia and PSG in the return fixture to qualify for the knock-out stages as group winners.

Premier League champions Manchester City were defeated home and away in the last-16 to set up a rematch with PSG in the last eight, where the Spanish giants would again win both legs to progress to a semi-final meeting with Bayern Munich.

An inspired Lionel Messi would to the damage as the German side were beaten 3-0 at the Nou Camp in the first leg, before a 3-2 defeat in Munich ended the club’s winning streak, as per iSports API.

It would matter little, however, as Barcelona advanced to a final meeting with Juventus where they would win the Champions League for a fifth time in Berlin, completing a famous continental treble in the process.

Real Madrid:10 matches (23/04/2014 – 18/02/2015)

Real Madrid would finally win their elusive La Decima in 2014, ending a 12-year wait for Europe’s biggest prize which would be the start of their equal-record 10-game winning run.

Their streak would begin in the semi-final stage, as Bayern Munich were beaten both home and away, the second leg a memorable 4-0 victory in Germany as Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo both netted twice.

Those victories set up the first Champions League final meeting between two teams from the same city, as Real headed to Lisbon to face Atletico Madrid. Sergio Ramos’ 93rd minute goal would dramatically send the contest into extra-time, where Real would score a further three goals to beat their shell-shocked city rivals 4-1 and be crowned European champions for the tenth time.

The following season saw the club complete a flawless group stage campaign, including home and away victories over Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side to make it nine consecutive wins, before a tenth was secured with a 2-0 victory at Schalke in the first leg of their last-16 clash.

The Bundesliga side would ultimately end Real’s winning streak by winning a topsy-turvy second leg 4-3 at the Bernabeu, though Madrid would progress before seeing the defence of their crown ended by Juventus in the last four.

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Bayern Munich:10 matches (02/04/2013 – 27/11/2013)

In the 2012/13 edition of the tournament, Jupp Heynckes’ Bayern Munich side would start their impressive winning streak by beating Juventus home and away in the Champions League quarter-finals before repeating the trick in the semi-finals against Real Madrid, thrashing the two European giants by a combined aggregate score of 11-0.

Dortmund would await in the final in the first-ever all-German showpiece at Wembley, where a late Arjen Robben goal secured a fifth European title and complete a continental treble.

The club would continue their winning streak under the guidance Heynckes’ successor Pep Guardiola the following season, winning five successive group stage fixtures to take their tally to 10 before a home defeat to Manchester City in November 2013.

For more information, please click iSports.com.


7 worst Arsene Wenger signings of all time in Arsenal

Arsene Wenger signed a lot of players after taking charge in 1996, but who were the worst Arsene Wenger signings of all time?

There have been some bad signings down the years but when it comes to worst Arsene Wenger signings, there are a few to pick from given how long he was at the club.

They can’t all be winners, but we saw some particularly disastrous buys feature for Arsenal quite regularly during Wenger’s time at the club.

Here are seven of his worst signings, all players' data collects from iSports API.

Igors Stepanovs

If you thought Arsenal signing obscure players from out of nowhere was a modern Wenger-thing, then think again.

It 2000, Arsenal signed a young defender from Latvian side Skonto Riga called Igors Stepanovs who opens up our list of worst Arsene Wenger signings.

The centre back didn’t play right away, but injuries gave him a chance.

He didn’t start too badly, either. Arsenal won four out of his first seven games.

Then they went and lost 6-1 at Old Trafford, and he never quite recovered.

He went on to make just 17 Premier League appearances, most of which came in his first season, before being released in 2004, as per isports API data.

Amaury Bischoff

A more modern example of the “random player out of nowhere” fad at the club. In 2008, the club signed French-born Portuguese youth international, Amaury Bischoff, from Werder Bremen for a nominal fee.

The then 20-year-old was signed despite serious injury problems, making his signing a gamble before he even put on an Arsenal shirt.

He managed four first team appearances in his one and only season with the club before being released in 2009.

Andre Santos

This is a bit harsh on the jolly Brazilian, who at least brought plenty of personality to the Arsenal squad. It was just his footballing ability didn’t quite match it.

Part of the infamous trolley dash of 2011, Santos arrived from Fenerbahce to replace Gael Clichy at left back. A full Brazil international, we thought we were signing a decent wing back.

What we got was a player who was rather unfit, a little slow and incapable of completing a tackle.

He did, at least, score a couple of goals for the club. His first was in a 5-3 win over Chelsea, and his last was in a vital 3-2 win over West Brom.

Still, you wonder how desperate we were for left backs when we signed him.

Francis Jeffers

Francis “fox in the box” Jeffers had everything going against him the moment he arrived.

The then-Everton youngster came to the club due to Wenger’s need for a penalty-box poacher to complement his speedy, creative forwards.

The club paid a handsome fee to sign him so he could convert the numerous chances the team was creating.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t handle the weight of expectation, and suffered a few injuries on top of that.

Jeffers left in 2004 and had a journeyman career before retiring in 2013.

Sebastien Squillaci

Arrived with a decent reputation from Sevilla in 2010, but very rarely looked comfortable in the Premier League.

Squillaci always lacked the physical attributes to succeed in the division, and proved to be highly error prone.

He made 39 appearances for the club before he was let go to Bastia in 2013, according to iSports API.

Mikael Silvestre

Fans awoke the day after deadline day in 2008 to discover that club had signed Mikael Silvestre from Manchester United for under £1m.

The sheer confusion over the deal defined his time at the club. He was cover for left back and centre back, yet fans couldn’t work out why the club had signed someone who couldn’t get into United’s first team.

His most telling contribution was a goal against Tottenham and an excellent one-two with Lionel Messi during a 4-1 thrashing against Barcelona.

Park Chu-Young

To this day, the signing of Park Chu-Young remains a mystery.

The forward’s one and only accomplishment at Arsenal was ensuring they’d be on South Korean TV for a third round League Cup tie against Bolton.

He scored a very nice goal that evening, and fans believed he could a be a solid back-up.

Then, he disappeared. He played seven minutes of Premier League football then vanished for a season. He popped up for a League Cup cameo in 2013, and then disappeared again.

There might be an interesting story about this signing.

As it is, he has to be Wenger’s worst ever buy.

For more information, please click isportsapi.com.


Every goalkeeper to have reached 100 clean sheets in the Premier League

Every single goalkeeper to have kept the ball out of the net in 90 minutes of action a hundred times or more in the history of the Premier League.

The 100 club generally refers to those who have broken a century of goals in the Premier League, a list containing such footballing luminaries as Alan Shearer, Sergio Aguero and Thierry Henry. An even harder club to break into, however, is the one featuring goalkeepers and the milestone of reaching 100 clean sheets.

Only 15 feature in that roll call compared to the 22 goalscorers who terrorised their gloved foes over the years, but there was one very recent addition; Manchester United’s 0-0 draw against Liverpool was David De Gea’s 100th game without conceding a goal in the Premier League. He is one of only three active keepers to carry that achievement.

The 15 goalkeepers to have reached 100 clean sheets in the Premier League, according to :

15. David De Gea – 100

The Manchester United shot-stopper is arguably the best in the world in his position and could very easily shoot right up this list before his career ends, if not at least a couple of places before the season finishes. Only six goalies have 100 or more clean sheets with one Premier League club, and De Gea is now one of them. At just 28 years of age, the Spaniard could play on for another decade and a half judging by the longevity of some of the other players on this list.

14. Thomas Sorensen – 107

The retired Danish goalkeeper kept his sheet spotless in 107 games for Sunderland, Aston Villa and Stoke City during his Premier League career. His 35 clean sheets for the Black Cats is particularly impressive considering how poor that team was while he was there.

13. Jussi Jaaskelainen – 108

A Bolton Wanderers legend, the Finnish shot stopper played in excess of 500 games for the Trotters in all competitions, before spending three seasons at West Ham United. Another two years at Wigan Athletic preceded a very short stint at Indian Super League outfit ATK, before Jaaskelainen retired at the age of 42 in 2018.

12. Shay Given – 113

The Irish international is to Newcastle United what Jaaskelainen was to Bolton — a tremendous pair of hands that could have arguably played at a higher level but stayed loyal to their clubs for many years. However, Given eventually left St. James’ Park in the 2009 winter transfer window, a few months before suffering relegation. The Donegal native went on to play for Manchester City, Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Stoke City, before emulating his blond-haired counterpart by also retiring at the age of 42 last year.

11. Joe Hart – 127

There’s an argument to be made that Hart is the worst goalkeeper on this list, given the incredible players it contains compared to the hapless Englishman. The buzz created by his admittedly impressive displays in the early part of his career for the cities Birmingham and Manchester has subsided greatly following error-strewn spells at Torino, West Ham and Burnley.

And, of course, he’ll always be the guy that got absolutely rinsed by Andrea Pirlo in a penalty shootout.

10. Peter Schmeichel – 128

Widely regard as the greatest goalkeeper the Premier League, and indeed English football, has ever seen, Peter Schmeichel was the personification of a brick wall in front of goal, only much louder and more painful when he collided with opposition players.

The Great Dane would have moved several places up in the list if not for his two season sojourn in Portugal with Sporting CP.

9. Brad Friedel – 132

Enjoying a 20 year senior career spanning four different countries, Friedel is best known for his time between the sticks at Blackburn Rovers in the noughties. The American also played for Liverpool, Aston Villa and Spurs in the Premier League, before retiring at the age of 44 in 2015.

8. Tim Howard – 132

Howard, who coincidentally kept the same amount of Premier League clean sheets as his compatriot Friedel, is one of the few active players on this list. Signed from MLS side MetroStars by Man United in 2003, the New Jersey-born goaltender was fixed to be the man to finally replace Schmeichel, but after one season at Old Trafford it was decided he wasn’t the one to fill such illustrious boots.

Nonetheless, Howard would end up having a fine career, pulling off some spectacular performances for both the US national team and Everton, where he cemented his status as a club legend with 116 shutouts, as he might say himself. He’s currently back in MLS playing for Colorado Rapids.

7. Edwin Van Der Sar – 132

After four great years at Fulham in the early noughties, the Dutchman became a phenom at Manchester United, becoming the long-awaited replacement for a certain Dane.

Van Der Sar would help the Red Devils win multiple Premier League titles, as well as Champions League, keeping the ball out of the net on 90 occasions in the top flight. He also set a new record of 14 consecutive clean sheets in the 2008-09 season, smashing the previous record of 10 set by the man topping this list.

6. Pepe Reina – 134

During his nine years at Liverpool, the Spaniard was unstoppable in almost half of the league games he played in, which either shows how ridiculously strong Rafael Benitez’s defences were or how underappreciated Reina is as a goalkeeper; or both could be true. Currently warming the bench at AC Milan after spending three good years at Napoli, he also has the best clean sheets to games ratio in the history of the Premier League.

5. Nigel Martyn – 137

Martyn’s best years were spent at Leeds United in between spells at Crystal Palace and Everton, accumulating a rake of incredible stops along the way. Criminally underrated in the pantheon of great top tier English goalkeepers, watch back his saves and one might conclude he was a prototype David De Gea.

4. David Seaman – 140

Just like Nigel Martyn, Seaman’s early playing career predates the Premier League, meaning his numbers are in fact more impressive than his post-1992 statistics illustrate. The ex-England goalie played for a number of teams before landing in north London, where he became a mainstay between the sticks at Arsenal for 13 years, keeping 137 clean sheets for the Gunners.

3. Mark Schwarzer – 151

The Australian only joined one of the top clubs towards the end of his career, signing for Chelsea in 2013 as a backup, but he was one of the most consistent performers in his position while lining out for Middlesbrough and Fulham. A Europa League finalist with both clubs as well as a League Cup winner with Boro, Schwarzer holds the distinction of being the first non-British or non-Irish player to reach 500 Premier League appearances.

2. David James – 169

Often liable to make a howler, James’ sheer longevity propels him so far up this list. Then again, there’s a reason why so many teams have called on his services over the course of a 26-year career. Making his big break at Liverpool in the nineties, he would go on to appear for Aston Villa, Man City, West Ham, and Portsmouth, before heading to Iceland and India to finish out his playing days, retiring at the age of 44.

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1. Peter Cech – 202

Having only announced his impending retirement in January, Cech is the only goalie in Premier League history to have kept 200 or more clean sheets, keeping 162 of those for Chelsea during his highly successful stint before moving to London rivals Arsenal.

Although he could never quite get back to the level he was at before suffering an unfortunate head injury in the first minute of a match against Reading in 2006, the Czech international was at one point during the noughties the undisputed best in his position. His stats tell a story of just how unstoppable he was, especially at Stamford Bridge where he made up part of arguably the stingiest defence in English football ever.

The Czech Republic international is unlikely to add to his tally before retiring, with Bernd Leno seemingly preferred as number one, but it seems highly unlikely that anyone will catch up to his phenomenal record either.

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Five famous footballers who were hated by their own fans

Granit Xhaka’s popularity at Arsenal has reached a new low, the much-maligned midfielder’s angry reaction to the crowd’s jeers during Sunday’s draw with Crystal Palace sparking outrage amongst the club’s support.

Xhaka’s ill-advised decision to cup his ears and mouth “f*** off” to his own supporters has made his position at the club uncertain, not least because he was appointed club captain ahead of the new campaign.

The Switzerland international is not the only player to have suffered a difficult relationship with his own supporters, however, and he is likely not to be the last.

Five famous footballers who were hated by their own fans, all data collects from iSports API:

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Gareth Bale – Real Madrid

A world-record signing who has helped his side to four Champions League titles in six seasons, including performing match-winning antics in two of those finals, Gareth Bale must be left wondering quite how it turned so sour for the Welshman at Real Madrid.

Having established himself as arguably the finest player in the Premier League, Bale headed for Spain in 2013 in a record-breaking move and success soon followed. The former Tottenham Hotspur star ended his first season by helping Real to La Decima, scoring in the club’s final success over city rivals Atletico Madrid.

A host of major honours, including three consecutive Champions League triumphs have followed, Bale producing a stunning performance off the bench to score twice and beat Liverpool in the 2018 showpiece in Ukraine.

However, the Welsh winger has fallen out-of-favour under manager Zinedine Zidane who has been desperate to offload the player, whilst he has been targeted by fans as a scapegoat during the club’s worst performances in recent times.

Such has been Bale’s unpopularity at the Bernabeu that the club tried to force him to move China, whilst the Spanish side’s supporters have attacked his car and chanted ‘desagradecido’, the Spanish word for ungrateful, as he has arrived for training.

His reluctance to leave – his current contract worth £600,000-a-week running until 2022 – has made him further disliked and his future at the club remains uncertain.

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Joleon Lescott – Aston Villa

The former England defender was part of Aston Villa‘s dismal relegation campaign four years ago, producing a series of uninspired performances as the Midlands side dropped into the second tier for the first time in over two decades.

Many of the side which finished rock bottom of the division were targeted for jeers by the club’s supporters, though Lescott made himself especially unpopular following a pair of rather idiotic incidents.

Following a 6-0 defeat to Liverpool in February, Lescott reacted to the club’s biggest home defeat in 81 years by tweeting a picture of his luxury Mercedes just two hours after the full-time whistle, further fracturing his relationship with an incensed fanbase which had seen their team slump to eight points from safety following a chastening defeat.

Lescott would somewhat embarrassingly claim he ‘pocket tweeted’ the image by mistake, though the common consensus was that this was a middle-fingered salute to the Aston Villa boo boys

The defender would later described the confirmation of the club’s early relegation as a “a weight off the shoulders”, a statement which unsurprisingly did little to boost his popularity.

Charles Itandje – Liverpool

Remember him? Probably not.

A famous face in only the sense that he was a professional footballer at one of world football’s biggest clubs, the former Cameroon goalkeeper endured an all together forgettable time during a three-year spell at Liverpool, making just seven first-team appearances all of which were in cup competition.

However, Itandje is remembered for all the wrong reasons on Merseyside for one particular incident. During the club’s memorial service for the twentieth anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, Itandje was pictured laughing and behaving inappropriately during the service.

He was subsequently suspended by the club and would never play another game at any level in a Red shirt before leaving for Greek side Atromitos, while he also claimed to have been threatened by the club’s supporters following the backlash.

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Mauro Icardi

Immensely talented, though a player who endured somewhat of a love-hate relationship with the Inter Milan support.

The Argentine striker has established himself as one of the deadliest forwards in Italian football and was appointed as Inter’s club captain at the age of just 22, though despite his prolific returns in front of goal his relationship with his own fans soon deteriorated.

During a disappointing 2014/15 season in which Inter finished 14 points adrift of Champions League qualification, Icardi was involved in an angry altercation with the Inter ultras, who threw his shirt back in his face after he had given it to the crowd following a 3-1 defeat to Sassuolo.

It was, however, Icardi’s recollection of the events in his autobiography which sparked controversy. Icardi heavily criticised the club’s ultras, going as far to challenge them to a fight and threatening to fly over 100 Argentine criminals to ‘kill them on the spot’.

Unsurprisingly, his comments did not go down well and he was later stripped of the captaincy. He continued to endure a difficult relationship with the club’s supporters in the years since, his wife and agent Wanda Nara continuing to stir proceedings in the background, before joining Paris Saint-Germain on a season-long loan deal last summer.

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Granit Xhaka

The most recent player to feature in this list is the Arsenal captain, whose position at the club is uncertain following his aforementioned reaction to jeers from the home support.

The Swiss international has rarely been a popular figure at the club during three seasons at the Emirates, producing a series of inept displays and being targeted, often justified, for some of the club’s poorer performances in recent seasons.

Voted in as club captain during the summer, Xhaka was supposed to be the leader behind a new era under Unai Emery, though that looks unlikely given his actions last weekend.

Having waved his arms and cupped his ears to the supporter’s boos, Xhaka would proceed to tell the Arsenal fans to ‘f*** off’ before visibly removing his shirt as he left the field.

Xhaka’s actions were unacceptable, particularly from a club captain, however it was a visible demonstration of his frustration at a difficult relationship with his own support.

Whether he can come back from this remains to be seen, though it will take some effort to win back the affection of the Arsenal faithful.

For more information, please click iSports API.


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 5 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.

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.

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.

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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.

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 click iSports API.


Top ten most saves by a goalkeeper in a single Premier League match

Where does Paulo Gazzaniga’s performance against Liverpool rank in the list of greatest save makers in a single Premier League match?

Tottenham Hotspur‘s poor start to the 2019/20 campaign continued this past weekend when they lost 2-1 to Liverpool at Anfield. It was their 4th league defeat thus far and their 17th since the beginning of last season, whereas the Reds have only lost once over the same period, according to iSportsapi.com.

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While the Merseyside outfit are embarking on their best start ever, Spurs are having their worst under manager Mauricio Pochettino, having gained just 12 points from 10 games. The visitors did have the better start though, as Harry Kane opened the scoring inside the first minute. The England striker capitalised on the rebound from Heung-min Son’s long-range effort to give them the lead.

In an effort to restore parity in the scoreline, the hosts peppered the goal with shots, ending the game with 21 in total. The only reason Spurs went in at half-time with their lead and a clean sheet still intact was their goalkeeper.

Paulo Gazzaniga was in exceptional form on Sunday, keeping Liverpool’s deadly trio of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah at bay as they chased an equaliser. There were too many saves to pick out just one, as several of them were spectacular. Ultimately he was let down by his defence; firstly Danny Rose, who failed to track Jordan Henderson’s run in the 52nd minute, and then Serge Aurier, who clumsily kicked the back of Mane’s leg.

Without Salah’s penalty with 15 minutes to go, the North London outfit may well have come away with a draw. The Argentine netminder did not look like conceding for much of the game, making an incredible 12 saves. Only nine players have made more saves in a Premier Leaguefixture since Opta began tracking those statistics.

The record currently stands at 14, which was first achieved by Tim Krul when he lined out for Newcastle United against Spurs in 2013, and most recently equalled by David de Gea in 2017. That was in the infamous game between Manchester United and Arsenal, who lost 3-1 despite having 15 shots on target. Then-United boss Jose Mourinho said it was a “world’s best” goalkeeping performance.

Gazzaniga was not quite on that level on Sunday, but he has proved himself to be a more than capable deputy to Hugo Lloris, who is out for the rest of 2019 due to injury. Now if only Spurs could sort the rest of their team out…

Most saves in a single Premier League match, as per iSports API data:

=10. Paulo Gazzaniga – 12 (Liverpool vs Spurs, 27 Oct 2019)

=10. Edwin van der Sar – 12 (Arsenal vs Fulham, 30th Nov 2003)

=4. Vito Mannone – 13 (Sunderland vs Chelsea, 19 Apr 2014)

=4. Lukasz Fabianski – 13 (Spurs vs Swansea, 28 Feb 2016)

=4. Boaz Myhill – 13 (Man City vs West Brom, 21 Mar 2015)

=4. David James – 13 Man City (Spurs vs Man City, 8 Apr 2006)

=4. Mark Crossley – 13 (Newcastle vs Fulham, 7 Nov 2004)

=1. David de Gea – 14 (Arsenal vs Man United, 2 Dec 2017)

=1. Vito Mannone – 14 (Liverpool vs Sunderland, 19 Apr 2014)

=1. Tim Krul – 14 (Spurs vs Newcastle, 10 Nov 2013)


PSG announce new long-term deal for Marco Verratti.

Midfielder Marco Verratti has signed a new contract at Paris Saint-Germain, tying him to the club until 2024.

The popular Italian’s previous deal had been set to expire in two years, as per iSports API data.

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But PSG have avoided losing him on a lower fee by tying Verratti down to a new five-year extension.

Still just 26, Verratti has been at the club since 2012, having arrived from hometown club Pescara that year.

He has since made almost 300 appearances for the Parisian club and won every major domestic honour available, according to iSports API.


Footballing siblings who played together for the same Premier League club

Matthew Longstaff made his dream debut for Newcastle United by putting in a top performance and scoring the winning goal against Manchester United – and he did it while playing alongside his older brother, Sean.

The pair are not the first brothers to play on the same team together, and they probably won’t be the last. Given the promising start both youngsters have made to their careers, they could be anchoring the Magpies midfield for years to come.

Only time will tell, and then we can judge the pair up against the very best siblings to have teamed up.

Brothers who played on the same Premier League team together, all data collects from iSports API.

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Kolo and Yaya Touré – Man City & Cote d’Ivoire

The Ivorian duo probably have a strong claim to being the most talented brothers to ever play with each other, although one can imagine Danish legends Brian and Michael Laudrup would have a lot to say about that.

The Touré’s played together for three years at Manchester City, where they helped the club capture their first Premier League title in 2012. They were also teammates on the Cote d’Ivoire national team, with whom they won the African Cup of Nations in 2015, but their greatest contribution to football has to be the Yaya Kolo song that City fans used to belt out.

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Rafael and Fabio Da Silva – Man United & Brazil

Identical twins are extremely rare in professional football, but the Da Silva brothers were both snapped up by Man United in 2008 when they were just teenagers at Fluminense.

Fabio made a decidedly lesser impact with the Red Devils than his sibling though, making just 22 league appearances (and taking one title winner’s medal) before leaving the club in 2014. Rafael, on the other hand, played 109 times in the top flight for United, winning five major honours along the way as well as playing in the 2011 Uefa Champions League final.

They both have two caps for the Brazil senior national team, although they didn’t overlap with each other, but they did play together in the youth ranks all the way up to U17 level. Both men currently play in France, Fabio for Nantes and Rafael for Lyon.

Five players Man United should never have let go in the post-Alex Ferguson era

Shola and Sammy Ameobi – Newcastle

Both of the Ameobi brothers came through the academy at Newcastle and spent the majority of their careers at the club. Their time in the senior team overlapped for four years until Shola was transferred to Turkish outfit Gaziantep in 2014.

Sammy is currently playing for Notts Forest, while his elder brother is back on Tyneside as the club’s loan player coordinator, despite never officially retiring. Their brother Tomi is also a professional footballer.

Six of the best players to switch international allegiances

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Shaun and Bradley Wright-Phillips – Man City

Both of the Wright-Phillips brothers came through the academy at Man City and spent a brief time together as part of the senior setup. It was Shaun, adopted son of Ian Wright, who had the more successful Premier League career, while Bradley, biological son of the Arsenal legend, has carved out a name for himself in north America.

The former Southampton forward moved to MLS outfit the New York Red Bulls in 2013 and has since won the league’s Golden boot award on two occasions. Shaun reunited with his brother when he made the same transatlantic move in 2015, playing together for two seasons.

The longest unbeaten runs in Premier League history

Andre and Jordan Ayew – Swansea City & Ghana

The Ayew brothers have been in English football since 2015, but have only played together at club level for six months. In January of 2018 Andre rejoined Swansea City, where his brother Jordan was already playing.

The latter had moved to Wales the previous summer from Aston Villa, who had just been relegated, and the Swans suffered the same fate that season. Jordan is now at Crystal Palace, while Andre remains at Swansea in their bid to gain promotion from the Championship. They also play together for the Ghanaian national team.

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Gary and Phil Neville – Man United & England

Together they won six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and a Uefa Champions League. There isn’t a pair of brothers alive who have achieved such success together as Gary and Phil Neville did while at Man United, and there probably won’t be ever again.

Phil went off to play for Everton in 2005, while Gary stayed at Old Trafford and won even more silverware. The latter has since become arguably the most well-known football pundit in the country, while the younger brother is currently managing the England women’s national team. They also coached together for a brief time at Valencia, but the less said about that the better.

Christian and Jonathan Benteke – Crystal Palace

And now to finish on an odd one. This fraternal partnership wouldn’t even warrant mentioning if it wasn’t for the strange circumstances surrounding their link-up at Crystal Palace.

Christian Benteke joined Palace from Liverpool in the summer of 2016, and his younger brother arrived at the club not long after. Jonathan had just been released by Belgian side Zulte Waregem, but was somehow deemed good enough for a Premier League team.

The elder Benteke insisted his sibling was there on ability and merit, but Alan Pardew confirmed that he had been recommended by Christian himself.

Jonathan only made one substitute appearance for the Eagles in 2016, coming off the bench for the last six minutes against Middlesbrough – so they didn’t even play together. But we couldn’t leave them out.

For more information, please click iSports API.


Five youngest goal scorers in Champions League history

The opening two gameweeks of the Champions League has already seen four teenage talents make their mark in the goals scored column, with Red Bull Salzburg’s 19-year-old goal machine Erling Braut Haland hitting the headlines for his hat-trick against Genk.

Whilst the quartet, including Manchester City’s Phil Foden, are all impressing at a young age on Europe’s biggest stage, they all remain some way off this list of precociously talented goal scorers.

Here are the five youngest goal scorers in Champions League history, according to iSports API football data.

Martin Klein – 17 years, 240 days

The defender most recently played his football in the Maltese Premier League for Birkirkara FC, following spells at clubs in Hungary and Kazakhstan which probably tells you that his place in this list is probably his career highlight.

Rewind back to the 2001/02 season, and Sparta Prague handed their young defender a chance to play against the likes of eventual winners Real Madrid and Panathanaikos as the Czech side impressively reached the second group stage.

It was against the latter that Klein would write his name into history, scoring in a 2-1 defeat in Greece at just 17 years and 240 days old, as per iSports API. His career would never quite reach those same heights as he enjoyed a nomadic existence, though he did earn a solitary cap for the Czech Republic back in 2009.

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Cesc Fabregas – 17 years, 218 days

Plucked from Barcelona’s famed La Masia academy, Cesc Fabregas was promised an easier route to first-team football at Arsenal and the midfielder did not have to wait long for his opportunity under Arsene Wenger.

Handed his debut as a 16-year-old, Fabregas was slowly integrated into the first-team at Highbury and set a whole host of records including becoming their youngest ever player. The Spaniard would make his mark in Europe also, becoming the club’s youngest ever Champions League goalscorer when he found the net in a 5-1 win over Rosenborg in 2004, as per iSports API database.

Despite winning a host of major honours including the Premier League with Chelsea, La Liga with Barcelona and the World Cup with Spain, Fabregas never quite reached the pinnacle in the Champions League, his nearest miss being part of the Arsenal side beaten in the 2006 final.

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Bojan Krkic – 17 years, 217 days

Pipping Fabregas by just a single day is former Barcelona forward Bojan, once regarded as the heir to Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp. Whilst those lofty comparisons seem far-fetched in hindsight, the former Stoke forward began his career in impressive fashion.

Having broken Messi’s record as Barcelona’s youngest ever player, Bojan would score an impressive 12 goals in all competitions in his debut season, including his first Champions League goal, as per iSports API data.

That came in a quarter-final at Schalke, Bojan scoring the only goal of the game to give his side a precious first-leg lead. Barcelona’s run would ultimately end with semi-final defeat to eventual winners Manchester United, though Bojan’s place in history was secured.

His career would never quite hit the heights projected, though he would win the competition twice, the forward being an unused substitute during Barcelona’s final victories in 2009 and 2011.

Mateo Kovacic – 17 years, 215 days

Fractionally younger than Bojan is current Chelsea midfielder Kovacic, whose precocious talent was recognised by Dinamo Zagreb as they threw him into Champions League action as a teenager.

Having come through an acid test against Real Madrid on his first appearance in the competition, Kovacic would become the second youngest goalscorer in the tournament’s history when he gave Zagreb the lead against French side Lyon.

The game would ultimately end in disappointment and a humbling 7-1 defeat for the Croatian outfit, though it did little to harm the midfielder’s progress as he would go on to become the club’s youngest ever captain, as per iSports API data.

Moves to Inter Milan and Real Madrid followed, before joining Chelsea on a permanent basis this summer following a successful loan spell last season.

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Peter Ofori-Quaye – 17 years, 194 days

No doubt a piece of pub quiz trivia known only by the most statistician-like of football fans, Ghanaian forward Ofori-Quaye is the youngest goalscorer in Champions League history after finding the net for Olympiakos in 1997.

That the goal came as a consolation in a 5-1 defeat is bound to matter little to the history-maker, who was regarded as a bright prospect upon his arrival at the Greek side that year. Whilst he would make little impact on Europe throughout the rest of his career, he did win six successive league titles with the club before leaving in 2003.

Spells at six clubs including the likes of OFI Crete and AEL Limassol would follow, whilst he also earned several caps for Ghana and featured at the 2000 Africa Cup of Nations.

The youngest goalscorer in the history of the Champions League, remember the name, Peter Ofori-Quaye.

For more information, please visit reliable football data provider iSports API.


Cross Kings – Most prolific crossers in the Premier League

Modern football continues to advance and we regularly see the birth of innovative tactics, though one attacking art form that continues to thrive is effective delivery from out wide.

The opening weeks of the new Premier League season has seen some of the division’s leading lights showcase their talents, from lofted arched crosses to driven balls across the famed ‘corridor of uncertainty’.

We’ve decided to delve into the stats as the new campaign begins to take shape, and look at some of the Premier League’s most prolific crossers.

Here are the league’s top five, according to iSports API football data.

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Luka Milivojevic – Crystal Palace – 50 crosses

The Crystal Palace captain and set-piece specialist continues to deliver regularly for Roy Hodgson’s side, with the Serbian having fired in 50 crosses in seven Premier League appearances so far this season.

The midfielder has played a key role in Palace’s impressive start to the new campaign, the Eagles currently sitting sixth in the table following their win at West Ham prior to the international break.

Despite his prolific crossing, remarkably, Milivojevic is yet to register a single assist so far.

Kevin De Bruyne – Manchester City – 54 crosses

Unsurprisingly featuring highly in this list is Manchester City’s brilliant Belgian, who continues to provide arguably the best delivery in the division.

De Bruyne has enjoyed a scintillating start to the new season, providing eight assists already and will have one eye on breaking Thierry Henry’s record of 20 in a single Premier League campaign.

Central to De Bruyne’s success has been his superb delivery from wide areas, usually from the inside right position, the 28-year-old having made 54 crosses for the season so far.

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James Maddison – Leicester – 55 crosses

Slightly ahead of De Bruyne is Leicester star Maddison, who continues to demonstrate why he regarded as one of the most promising creative talents in the Premier League.

The 22-year-old has shone for Brendan Rodgers’ exciting young side, the Foxes currently sitting in the Champions League places following an impressive start to the season.

Maddison created more chances than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues last season, and could feature highly again in those rankings having fired in 55 crosses and registered two assists over the first eight rounds of fixtures.

Lucas Digne – Everton – 66 crosses

A fan’s favourite at Goodison Park after being crowned as Everton’s Player of the Season last term, the French full-back has continued to perform despite the club’s difficult start to the season.

The former Barcelona left-back provides pinpoint delivery from wide areas, whilst he also shares set-piece duties as chief supplier for Everton’s forward options.

Having provided six assists last season, the 26-year-old is on course to beat that tally already in the opening weeks of the new campaign, having registered two assists and provided 66 crosses for Marco Silva’s side.

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Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool – 78 crosses

The Premier League’s cross king in the opening weeks of the new season is Liverpool’s flying full-back, who alongside Andy Robertson on the opposite flank has become key to Jurgen Klopp’s winning machine.

The England international broke the record for most assists in a single season by a defender last term, and should he not surpass that figure this season it will not be for a lack of trying.

The 21-year-old has whipped in 78 crosses for the league leaders so far, comfortably the most in the division, registering two assists already as he looks to once again provide the ammunition for Liverpool’s formidable forward line.

For more information, please click iSports API.


Five longest gaps between title wins in English football history

Liverpool’s perfect start to the new Premier League season has sparked optimism on Merseyside that the club can finally end their long wait for a league title, having last been crowned champions of England almost 30 years ago.

Jurgen Klopp’s side came agonisingly close to ending their title drought last season, missing out to champions Manchester City by just a single point following an enthralling title race.

Many feel this could be the year the club are finally crowned champions again, though should their winless record extend they could join a list of clubs with the unwanted record of the longest gaps between titles wins.

Here are the five longest gaps between title success in English football history, according to iSports API football data.

Burnley – 31 seasons

Perhaps hard to imagine in the current climate of the Premier League, but Burnley have twice been crowned as the best side in England. The Lancashire side’s first triumph came way back in 1921, where a 30-game unbeaten run helped them to finish top of the division.

Their success would not be sustained, however, as Clarets fans would have to wait until 1960 for the club’s next title. Burnley would pip Wolves and Tottenham to the title, earning entry to the European Cup for the first time the following season where they were eliminated by Hamburg in the quarter-finals despite winning the first leg at Turf Moor.

Since then their highest finish has been a runners-up position two seasons later, though the club are one of just a select few to have won each of English football’s four divisions in the ensuing years as they bounced around the footballing pyramid.

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Manchester City – 43 seasons

Manchester City fans must continue to count their blessings following Sheikh Mansour’s takeover of the club just over a decade ago, the billionaire’s investment catapulting the club from mediocrity into one of Europe’s finest footballing sides.

City would endure a 31-year gap between their first title in 1937 and second in 1968, a team featuring the likes of Colin Bell and Mike Summerbee pipping rivals Manchester United – who would win the European Cup that year – to the title.

The club would struggle for silverware over the next four decades, before the world of their loyal fanbase was transformed by their new owners. It would take just four years for their takeover to deliver the ultimate success, Sergio Aguero’s iconic late goal on the final day of the season ending the club’s title drought.

The club have continued to go from strength to strength, adding a further three Premier League trophies to their growing cabinet, and look unlikely to suffer such lean years ever again.

Chelsea – 49 seasons

Another club for whom a takeover would change their history forever, Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bankrolled Chelsea’s ascent to the top of the English game.

Arriving with the club on the verge of bankruptcy in 2003, Abramovich would help transform Chelsea into contenders with a series of star signings.

Prior to his arrival Chelsea had been crowned champions just once, the first major trophy of the club’s existence coming with title success in 1955.

That would all change just two years after Abramovich’s arrival, as Jose Mourinho would inspire the club to title success in 2005.

Having waited 49 seasons for title success, Mourinho would deliver a second successive championship the following season as a new era of success began at Stamford Bridge.

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Aston Villa – 59 seasons

One of the grand old clubs of English football and founding members of The Football League, Aston Villa would enjoy much success in the early years of the competition, winning the title six times between the league’s formation in 1888 and 1910.

From there, however, the Midlands side would struggle to challenge, a series of runners-up positions following their triumph being mixed with relegation to the second and third tier.

Having established themselves back in the top flight the club’s long wait would finally end in 1981, some 59 seasons and 71 years since their last league title. Peter Withe’s goals would inspire the club to glory, and the forward would be the hero once more with the winning goal as Villa secured European Cup success the following season.

Their 1981 title triumph remains the last time the club were crowned champions.

Blackburn Rovers – 71 seasons

Another side who would enjoy early success in The Football League, winning titles in 1912 and 1914 shortly before the beginning of the first World War.

It would be a long, long wait for the Lancashire side to return to the top of English football, but like Chelsea and Manchester City after them, Blackburn would thrive following significant investment during the Premier League era.

Jack Walker’s chequebook would allow Kenny Dalglish to build a side capable of challenging English football’s elite, and a side propelled by the prolific Alan Shearer would pip Manchester United to the title in 1995.

The title race would famously go to the final day, Blackburn loss at Liverpool almost proving costly, though Manchester United’s failure to win at West Ham finally ended Rovers’ 71 season wait for title success.

For more information, please click iSports API.


Top six teams with the fewest defeats in a single Premier League campaign

Only six clubs in the 27 year history of the Premier League have lost three games or fewer in a single season.

Of course, the best way to win titles is by winning as many games as possible. Or, more pertinently, by not losing them. Every great team manages to stave off defeat for as long as possible, creating an aura of invincibility that appears impenetrable from the outside.

The Reds have done a good job so far in building up that aura this season, but they will have to keep it going for as long as they can if they are to join the immortals and win their first league title in three decades.

Top six teams with the fewest defeats in a Premier League season, as per iSports API data:

6. Manchester United – 3 – 1998/99 and 1999/00

Man United truly peaked between 1998 and 2000, losing just six league games over two seasons. Alex Ferguson’s charges won five out of eight major trophies available, including the first treble in English football.

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5. Leicester City – 3 (2015/16)

The fairytale season to end all fairytale seasons, Leicester City‘s unlikely title triumph was aided by their unwillingness to lose matches. They got a lot of luck along the way, but they were simply unstoppable with Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez taking apart opposition teams.

Ironically, two of their three defeats in that campaign came against Arsenal – who finished second in the table.

4. Manchester City – 2 – 2017/18

Manchester City broke just about every Premier League record going when they won their first title under Pep Guardiola, including the most goals scored and highest points total of any team in a single campaign.

Their only league defeats came in a thrilling 4-3 contest with Liverpoolat Anfield and a 3-2 turnover against Man United at home, despite leading by two goals at half-time.

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3. Chelsea – 1 – 2004/05

Jose Mourinho transformed Chelsea from a good team to an unstoppable juggernaut in 2004/05, taking the Blues to their first league title in 49 years. Their only loss came in October against Man City thanks to a Nicolas Anelka penalty.

2. Liverpool – 1 – 2018/19

The only team to reach 90+ points in a season without winning the league; only the third team in the last decade to top the table at Christmas and not win the league (the other two? Also Liverpool); and the only team in this list to lose three or fewer games and, well, you know the drill.

Last season the Reds were just one game away from emulating the Invincibles and going a whole campaign undefeated, but that one defeat was the most crucial of all: it came against eventual winners Man City. Surely one of these days they’ll overcome their unwanted records?

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1. Arsenal – 0 – 2003/04

For 115 years, Preston North End were the only English team to ever go an entire league campaign without suffering defeat. They now share that mantle with Arsene Wenger’s 2003/04 Arsenal side, who won the title at a canter.

The Gunners’ undefeated streak stretched to 49 games, but they were denied the half century by rivals Man United in the now infamous Battle of the Buffet, in which Cesc Fabregas planted a pizza on Alex Ferguson.

For more information, please click iSports API.


Five highest scorers in Euro qualifying history

Cristiano Ronaldo’s one-man assault to claim every goalscoring record ever invented continued this week, the Portuguese superstar scoring the 700th goal of his magnificent career during Portugal’s Euro 2020 qualifier with Ukraine.

It was the latest landmark in Ronaldo’s extraordinary legacy and continued his prolific record in European Championship qualifying, but where does he rank amongst all-time greatest goalscorers in qualification history?

The five highest scorers in Euro qualifying history,according to iSports API football data:

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic – 19 goals

The Swedish superstar is still going strong at the age of 38 in MLS, though the former Manchester United man called time on his international career as arguably his country’s greatest ever player back in 2016.

Comfortably Sweden’s all-time great goalscorer following a 15-year international career that delivered 62 goals in 166 caps, Ibrahimovic fired 19 goals during Euro qualifying as Sweden qualified for four successive finals between 2004 and 2016.

One of the greatest forwards of his generation, 11 of Ibrahimovic’s qualifying goals would come as Sweden reached the 2016 finals, though after a disappointing group stage exit he would retire from international duty at the conclusion of the tournament.

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Hakan Sukur – 19 goals

Known as the ‘Bull of Bosporus’, Sukur broke several goalscoring records in a career which spanned more than two decades, including becoming the greatest goalscorer in the history of the Turkish national team during a memorable international career.

Sukur would net seven times as Turkey qualified for the 1996 championships in England, though failed to replicate that form at the finals as his side were eliminated without scoring a single goal.

Capped 112 times, Sukur would score 51 international goals, including a huge 19 in Euro qualifying. His goals would help Turkey once again reach the finals in 2000, where they were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Portugal.

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Jon Dahl Tomasson – 19 goals

The Danish forward couldn’t buy a goal during a disappointing Premier League spell at Newcastle, though Tomasson was a different proposition in the red shirt of his national team.

He would fire six goals as Denmark qualified for the finals in 2000, while another haul of five saw them once again qualify for Euro 2004, where he was named in the team of the tournament.

A deep-lying forward, Tomasson’s best personal haul would be in qualifying for Euro 2008, though Denmark failed to reach the finals despite his eight strikes.

The former AC Milan striker would remarkably never go more than two qualifiers without finding the net, retiring from international duty in 2010 as his country’s joint all-time record goalscorer with 52 goals.

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Robbie Keane – 23 goals

The talisman for the Irish for virtually the entirety of his international career, Keane would prove prolific at international level scoring 62 times for the Boys in Green.

The joint-fifth highest European international goalscorer of all-time, Keane is also the second most prolific player in the history of Euro qualifying.

Despite the regularity of his cart-wheeling celebration in qualifiers, Keane would reach just two finals, in 2012 and 2016 where a place in the last 16 was their best finish. His 23 goals would prove the benchmark, until it was surpassed by one man in September 2019…

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Cristiano Ronaldo – 27 goals

Who else? One of the game’s all-time greats continues to set new records and landmarks, surpassing Keane to become the greatest goalscorer in European Championship qualifiers in September 2019. He achieved the feat in typical Ronaldo fashion, hitting four goals in a thrashing of Lithuania.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner further extended his record by scoring in October’s qualifiers with Luxembourg and Ukraine, the latter being the 700th goal of his illustrious career.

Portugal’s all-time record goalscorer now has 95 goals in 162 caps for his national side, whilst he is quickly closing in on Iranian Ali Daei’s record of 106 goals as the greatest goalscorer in the history of international football.


The 20 finalists for the 2019 Golden Boy award have been revealed

The 20 finalists for the best U21 player of the year have now been announced.

The Golden Boy trophy is dished out annually by Italian outlet Tuttosport and was last year won by Matthijs De Ligt.

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The 20-year-old Dutchman is in the running for the award again this year and the winner will be announced on 16 December.

In the meantime, here are the 20 finalists …

1) Matthijs DE LIGT, (Juventus, The Netherlands)

2) Alphonso Boyle DAVIES, (Bayern Munich, Canada)

3) Gianluigi DONNARUMMA, (Milan, Italy)

4) Ansu FATI, (Barcelona, ​​Spain)

5) Philip Walter FODEN, (Manchester City, England)

6) Mattéo Olié GUENDOUZI, (Arsenal, France)

7) Erling Braut HÅLAND, (Salzburg, Norway)

8) Kai HAVERTZ, (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany)

9) JOÃO FÉLIX , (Atlético de Madrid, Portugal)

10) Dejan JOVELJIC (Eintracht Frankfurt, Serbia)

11) Moise Kean (Everton, Italy)

12) KANG-IN LEE (Valencia, South Korea)

13) Andrij LUNIN (Valladolid, Ukraine)

14) Donyell MALEN (PSV Eindhoven, The Netherlands)

15) Mason MOUNT (Chelsea, England)

16) Rodrygo Goes (Real Madrid, Brazil)

17) Jadon SANCHO (Borussia Dortmund, England)

18) Ferrán Torres (Valencia, Spain)

19) VINICIUS Jr. (Real Madrid, Brazil)

20) Nicolò ZANIOLO (Rome, Italy)


The longest serving player at Premier League Big 6 club

Some surprise names and some surprise tenures! Here are the longest serving players for each Premier League club right now.

Players currently out on loan not included, data according to iSports API.

Arsenal: Emiliano Martinez

The Argentine goalkeeper, currently on international duty for the first time in eight years, has never been closer to the number one slot at Arsenal.

Having made his debut for the club way back in 2012, Martinez has since gone on six different loan spells. Now, at 27, he’s the Gunners’ cup keeper for the season.

Chelsea: Cesar Azpilicueta

Mister Reliable himself. Azpilicueta is a rare long-serving player at Stamford Bridge.

The club captain has won two Premier League titles and two Europa League titles since his arrival from Marseille in 2012.

Liverpool: Jordan Henderson

Signed in the summer of 2011 when Kenny Dalglish was in charge of the club, Henderson came with a big price tag and lofty expectations.

The midfielder has gone on to replace Steven Gerrard as captain and lifted the Champions League trophy in June – not bad!

Manchester City: David Silva

An absolute magician with four Premier League titles to his name.

Now in his final season with the club, Silva is a bonafide legend not just for Manchester City but in Premier League football.

Manchester United: Phil Jones

Yep, Phil Jones, who joined from Blackburn in 2011 and has a contract at Old Trafford until 2023.

Doesn’t that just sum up the malaise at Manchester United?

Tottenham: Danny Rose

Signed by Martin Jol in 2007 – yes, 2007! – Rose had to wait a while to make his mark at Spurs.

He made it, though, and did so in style, scoring a screamer against Arsenal on his debut in 2010. The left-back has been a regular under Mauricio Pochettino.
For more details, please visit iSportsAPI.com

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