Cristiano Ronaldo breaks free-kick jinx; Lionel Messi first to 40; Bruno Fernandes emulates Eric Cantona

    The games are coming thick and fast since football’s return, and here are the best numbers from the latest round of action.

    Premier League

    Manchester City summed up their season over a three-day span, a 4-0 evisceration of champions Liverpool followed by a 0-1 defeat at Southampton. In the race for Europe, Leicester City, Chelsea and Manchester United all registered handsome wins, while a few places below them Arsenal continued their mini-resurgence with a 2-0 win over Wolves.


    This was, in fact, Arsenal’s first away league victory against a side starting above them in the league table for nearly five years — they last did so with a 5-2 win at Leicester in September 2015.


    Pep Guardiola has lost three consecutive away league games for the first time in his managerial career.

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    Bruno Fernandes (6 goals & 5 assists) has reached 11 goal involvements in his ninth PL appearance for Manchester United, the joint-quickest of any player for the club, along with Robin van Persie and Eric Cantona.


    Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial each have 20 goals across all competitions, the first pair of teammates to do that for Manchester United since 2010/11 when Dimitar Berbatov scored 21 and Javier Hernandez scored 20.

    This, from the last of the mid-week action was too remarkable to leave out —


    Liverpool’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester City is the joint-heaviest defeat by a team already crowned Premier League champions in a season. (Along with Arsenal’s 4-0 defeat at Liverpool in 1997/98.).

    La Liga

    Barcelona smashed Villarreal 4-1, Atletico Madrid beat Mallorca 3-0, but the most significant result of them all saw Real Madrid beat Athletic Bilbao 1-0, thanks to a Sergio Ramos penalty. They are now 4 points ahead of Barca, with just 4 games to go.


    This is the first time in the last 20 seasons that Real Madrid have recorded back-to-back 1-0 wins in La Liga with a penalty.


    Just to put Real Madrid’s perceived penalty ‘bonanza’ in further perspective, they have had 9 penalties called in their favour in La Liga this season. That ranks outside the top 80 for most penalties awarded to a team in a single season of the Top 5 European Leagues over the last 10 years.


    Sergio Ramos is the first defender to reach 10 goals in a single La Liga season since Mariano Pernia for Getafe in 2005/06.

    Serie A

    Inter lost 2-1 to Bologna, Lazio was brushed aside 3-0 by AC Milan, and that means Juventus have opened up a 7-point lead atop Serie A with 8 games to go as they marched past Torino 4-1.


    A personal milestone for Romelu Lukaku in Inter’s defeat. He is only the 4th Inter player to score at least 20 goals in his first season in Serie A in the first 30 games — after Giuseppe Meazza in 1930, Stefano Nyers in 1949 and Ronaldo in 1998.


    Gianluigi Buffon played his 648th Serie A game, starting for Juventus in the Turin derby. He now overtakes Paolo Maldini and becomes the player with the most top-flight Italian league appearances.

    DFB Pokal

    Bayern Munich beat Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 in the DFB Pokal final, and with the trophy came a spate of records.


    Hansi Flick is the first German to win the German double (Bundesliga & DFB Pokal) as a player and manager. Overall, only Niko Kovac has achieved this before.


    Robert Lewandowski has scored 6 goals in finals of the Pokal, more than any other player.


    This is the 13th domestic double in Bayern’s history. No other German club has more than 1


    Bayern Munich are the first team in German professional football to win 17 consecutive games in all competitions (Leverkusen had 16 wins in a row back in 1978)


    Bayern Munich is the third team to win at least 20 Domestic Cup titles in any of Europe´s Top 5 leagues (Barcelona 30, Athletic Bilbao 23) [Note for England: This includes only the FA Cup]


    Cristiano Ronaldo scored a belter of a freekick for Juventus, Lionel Messi created two and scored one for Barcelona. Fair to say, the two had a decent weekend.


    This is Ronaldo’s first goal from a direct free-kick for Juventus. He only took the 43 attempts. Before Torino, his last goal from a direct free kick came for Real Madrid at the Club World Cup against Grêmio on Dec 16, 2017. In that time, Messi has scored 18. Overall, though, Ronaldo holds the edge – he has 55 goals from direct free-kicks, Messi 52.


    Ronaldo is the first Juventus player to score 25 or more goals in a single Serie A season since Omar Sívori in 1960/61. What makes this stat even more remarkable is that, in that time frame, Juve won 23 league titles without a 25+ goal striker!

    Also, 25: Ronaldo is the first player to score 25+ league goals in a season in England (PL era), Spain and Italy. Master of them all.


    Messi has provided 19 assists for FC Barcelona in La Liga this season, his best ever return in a top-flight season.


    The only player to reach 40 goal contributions in league competition across Europe’s top 5 leagues this season? Messi, with 41 [22 goals, 19 assists]

    (Stats courtesy: ESPN Stats and Information Group)

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