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Tyler's Starting Stat - Clash of the titansI was at the Emirates Stadium on Tuesday to see world football's two most successful international teams clash in what was a 'friendly' in name only. Brazil (five) and Italy (four) have won half of the 18 World Cups to date, and 11 finals have featured at least one of them. Two, of course, featured them both - Brazil winning 4-1 in 1970 and, in 1994, on a penalty shoot-out following a 0-0 draw. Tuesday's game was the 12th occasion on which they have met, and the Brazilians' victory was their seventh to Italy's five. The previous meeting between the two, at Le Tournoi in France in 1997, produced the only draw - a 3-3 result which enabled England to lift the trophy. Elano's goal in his side's 2-0 win on Tuesday was his fifth in 24 appearances: he was on target twice when Brazil first played at the Emirates against Argentina in September 2006, while he also scored in his previous appearance against Portugal. Elano's Manchester City team-mate Robinho scored Brazil's other goal against Italy. It was his 19th in 59 matches and sealed the Italians' first defeat under Marcello Lippi since they were beaten 1-0 in Slovenia in October 2004. Lippi was replaced between 2006-8 by Roberto Donadoni, but across his two spells he oversaw an unbeaten run of 31 matches - a joint-record for an international manager which he shares with Argentina's Alfio Basile (1991-3) and Javier Clemente of Spain (1994-97). He has now won 21, drawn 12 and lost just three of his games in charge, with the other defeat coming against Iceland in August 2004 in his first game. Lippi will have a chance to avenge this latest defeat when Italy next meet Brazil - at the Confederations Cup in South Africa in June.
KEEP ON GUESSINGI was listening to your commentary from Upton Park on Sunday and I think I heard you mention that Edwin van der Sar is Manchester United's 11th goalkeeper in the Premier League since Peter Schmeichel, to which Andy Gray replied: 'Name the other 10 - that would make a great quiz question'. Indeed it would - so what is the answer?! Nick.MARTIN SAYS: Well spotted, Nick! By our reckoning, Alex Ferguson used 10 goalkeepers in the Premier League between the great Dane's departure and Van der Sar's arrival from Fulham in the summer of 2005, some more memorable than others. Of the 10 only Fabien Barthez ever made more than 50 league appearances, as you can see from the table below. The one most people struggle to get is Nick Culkin, who who played the final minute of United's 2-1 win at Arsenal in August 1999 after Raimond van der Gouw was injured. Neither Tomasz Kuszczak nor Ben Foster areincluded as their debuts came after Van der Sar's.
Raimond van der Gouw
26 & 11 sub
46 & 3 sub
44 & 1 sub
A REAL SURPRISEI read the other day that Julien Faubert is the 13th player to join Real Madrid directly from a Premier League team. I can think of the likes of David Beckham and Michael Owen, but can you help me with the rest? Thanks, Thomas Doherty.MARTIN SAYS: This is just the kind of question we love getting stuck into, Thomas, and we might have turned up one more than the 13 you were looking for. Julien Faubert, we think, was in fact the 14th player to swap the Premier League for Real Madrid, although of course he is only currently on loan at the Bernabeu. I have a hunch the one which has slipped under the radar is Robert Jarni. Well done to those of you who remembered that the Croatia left-back was signed from Real Betis and sold to Real Madrid by Coventry within the space of a fortnight during the summer of 1998. He never played a game for the Sky Blues. Mention should be made, too, of Raul Bravo and Julio Baptista, who spent time on loan in the Premier League with Leeds and Arsenal. Here's a full list.
Date of move
Ruud van Nistelrooy
West Ham (loan)
FALL FROM GRACEHi Martin, Love the column. It's a very interesting read. I was just wondering: the usual seal of relegation used to be for the team sitting 20th at Christmas, until Bryan Robson managed to keep up West Brom. Watching Hull and the way that their great start has come to a horrible halt and are now dropping quickly down the table I have the feeling they are up for the chop come game 38. They were, however, in 6th place at Christmas. If they were to go down, would that be the highest ranked team at Christmas to end up dropping a division at the end of the season? Thanks, Dan.MARTIN SAYS: Good question, Dan. You are right about West Brom and your suspicion about Hull is also correct - they would be the highest-ranked team at Christmas to go down if that fate befell them. Not that we wish to write off Phil Brown's admirable side, of course. Currently that unenviable record is held by Norwich City, who were seventh at Christmas during the 1994/5 season - 11 points above the bottom three - and went on to be relegated thanks to a run of just 13 points from their final 23 games. The record in a 38-game season is held by last season's Reading side, who fell from 12th to 18th having been seven points clear of the bottom three as they enjoyed their Christmas dinner.
WOODWORK LESSONThanks for your good work. This is a page that I always look forward to since I love statistics and I think they are very significant in football. I was talking with my friends recently and we were discussing the role of luck in football. I believe that Liverpool hit the woodwork 21 times this season in the Premier League. Am I right to believe that this is the highest number in the Premier league this season? Mario Aquilina.MARTIN SAYS: I'm glad you appreciate the column, Mario, and I'm happy to be able to tell you - with a bit of help from our friends at Opta - that you are both right and wrong about Liverpool. The Reds have hit the woodwork more than any other Premier League side this season, but they have done so 18 times, not 21. Here's a full list.
THE CHIMES THEY ARE A-CHANGINGHi Martin, enjoy reading the column. I'm a Portsmouth supporter and, although his record wasn't brilliant, I can't help fearing Tony Adams' departure will put us back to the bad old days when we used to change manager as often as I changed my shirt. I was just wondering: which of the current Premier League sides has had the most bosses since the turn of the century? Thanks, Mark.MARTIN SAYS: This is never the easiest kind of question to answer, Mark, as there is a grey area over caretaker managers. We'll stick to permanent bosses, and you have seen a lot of chopping and changing down on the south coast. In fact, if you count Harry Redknapp's two spells at Fratton Park as two separate changes, Pompey have had eight men in charge this millennium. They are: Tony Pulis, Steve Claridge, Graham Rix, Redknapp, Velimir Zajec, Alain Perrin, Redknapp (again) and Tony Adams. Tottenham are next most prolific with seven: George Graham, Glenn Hoddle, David Pleat, Jacques Santini, Martin Jol, Juande Ramos and that man Redknapp.
LACKLUSTRE LIONS?Martin, following Tony Adams' sacking I was reading about the members of England's Euro 96 squad who have gone into management without much success. I think I'm right in saying four have been Premier League bosses - Adams, Paul Ince, Stuart Pearce and Gareth Southgate - and I wondered which one can boast the best record? Cheers! Jim.MARTIN SAYS: Thanks for the question, Jim. The four you mention are the only members of Terry Venables' squad to manage in the Premier League, though David Platt and - for a brief spell at Kettering - Paul Gascoigne have also tried their hand as bosses. Of the four only Gareth Southgate is currently in a Premier League job, while Pearce is the only one who has managed two different clubs in the top flight - Nottingham Forest and Manchester City. As you can see from the following table, it is he who has the highest win ratio - although his record includes a period as joint-manager of Forest with Dave Bassett during the 1996/7 season.
Points per game
Tyler's teaserHere's one to get you thinking, Martin. There are two teams in the top-four English divisions not named after places. Can you name them? Barry Vine, LondonMARTIN SAYS: It took a while, Barry, but a bit of brainstorming has seen us come up with what we think is the right answer: Arsenal and Port Vale. Arsenal were originally founded by Royal Arsenal workers as Dial Square, while Port Vale - although it apparently existed on maps of the Potteries pre-dating their existence - is no longer a place. Do keep these coming - we enjoy a challenge!