EPL

James joins Zlatan, Yorke and Van Persie in United flyer

By Sports Desk August 31, 2019

Daniel James' brilliant opener in Manchester United's 1-1 draw at Southampton continued a stunning start to life in the Premier League for the Wales youngster.

James capped an opening weekend thumping of Chelsea and was also on target in last weekend's 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace.

Three goals in his first four United appearances places the 21-year-old in some elite company but being prolific in your opening games for the club does not necessary mean long-term success.

Here are the other Red Devils who got off to a flyer in the Premier League era.

Robin van Persie – four in three

Van Persie's decision to shun Manchester City to move to United from Arsenal instantly endeared him to the Old Trafford faithful. His debut from the bench could not avert a 1-0 loss to Everton at Goodison Park, but he thrashed in a sublime volley in a 3-2 win over Fulham before a hat-trick saw off Southampton by the same margin. The Dutch forward maintained his prolific form, scoring 26 Premier League goals as United sent Alex Ferguson into retirement with one more title.

Louis Saha – four in four

Rarely do January signings prove such an instant hit as Saha, following his switch from Fulham midway through the 2003-04 campaign. He opened the scoring in wins over Southampton and Everton, completing a double in the latter game. The France international did likewise at Fulham before his old employers battled back to a 1-1 draw. Saha collected a pair of Premier League medals and also became a Champions League winner during his time at United, although injuries frequently interrupted his progress.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic – four in four

Never likely to tolerate a quiet introduction to English football, Ibrahimovic drove in from long range to cap a 3-1 win at Bournemouth on his debut in 2016. His double to sink Southampton ensured a memorable maiden turn at Old Trafford, where he also found the target in a derby loss to Manchester City. Ibrahimovic scored 28 times in 46 appearances as United claimed EFL Cup and Europa League glory. However, a serious knee injury meant he was a spectator for the latter triumph and an underwhelming return the following season preceded his move to LA Galaxy.

Romelu Lukaku – four in four

It would have been very hard to envisage Lukaku being hastily bundled out of Old Trafford to Inter without a replacement being sought after he produced an instant return on Jose Mourinho's £75million investment in 2017. The Belgium striker hit a brace in a 4-0 opening-weekend win over West Ham. He also scored as Swansea were beaten by the same margin and netted in a 2-2 draw at Stoke City to go four in four. It was part of a hot streak of 16 goals across 13 appearances for club and country – something Antonio Conte clearly has designs on Lukaku rediscovering at Inter.

Dwight Yorke - three in four

Some eyebrows were raised when Ferguson paid a then club-record £12.6m to bring in Yorke from Aston Villa in August 1998. Although he drew a blank in a 0-0 debut at West Ham, a brace against Charlton Athletic – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was also at the double in a 4-0 win – got him off and running. The opener in a 2-0 victory against Coventry City next time out ensured United had a new hero who would prove pivotal in that season's historic treble.

Anthony Martial – three in four

Like James, Martial came off the bench to delight Old Trafford on his debut, dispatching an unforgettable solo effort to down bitter rivals Liverpool. Southampton, who would seemingly do well to avoid attackers in the early stages of their United careers if possible, then copped for a brace at St Mary's. Now restored to a central striking role in a depleted attack, the onus is on Martial to make good on that early promise this season.

Marcus Rashford – three in four

The remaining member of United's first-choice attack also flew out of the blocks. Rashford was Louis van Gaal's most successful punt on youth during his time in charge – a brace against Arsenal on his 2016 Premier League bow actually followed a Europa League double versus FC Midtjylland the preceding midweek. On his fourth league appearance, Rashford brilliantly scored the only goal to sink City in the derby.

Related items

  • MotoGP Raceweek: World champion Marquez targeting 400 points – Valencia Grand Prix in numbers MotoGP Raceweek: World champion Marquez targeting 400 points – Valencia Grand Prix in numbers

    MotoGP champion Marc Marquez will be aiming to cap another extraordinary season with yet another record in the final race of the campaign in Valencia.

    Marquez had his sixth world title wrapped up with four races to spare after triumphing in Thailand last month, and has since gone on to set a new points record in MotoGP.

    The Repsol Honda rider is now just five shy of becoming the first rider to reach 400 points in a single season.

    Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi needs a podium finish in the season finale to avoid equalling his longest run without one in MotoGP.

    Using Opta numbers, we take a look at the best facts ahead of the final race of 2019.

    395 – Marquez's tally of 395 is a MotoGP record for a single season, while the Spaniard has also achieved 17 podium finishes.

    23 – Excluding abandonments, Marquez has finished in first or second place in each of his last 23 races, his best such run in MotoGP.

    7 – Maverick Vinales has finished on the podium seven times in 2019. He has never tallied eight podiums in a MotoGP season.

    15 – Rossi, who has not won in his last 45 Grands Prix appearances, has not finished on the podium in his last 15 races, meaning he needs to do so on Sunday to avoid matching his poorest run of 16 between 2011 and 2012.

    8 – There are some good omens for the Italian, however, with Rossi having triumphed eight times at the Ricardo Tormo circuit – more than any other rider.

    12 – Andrea Dovizioso won the last Valencia Grand Prix, breaking a 12-year run without a victory for an Italian rider in the traditional season finale.

    50 – Alex Rins will be bringing up a half-century of MotoGP races; he has two wins, eight podium finishes and two fastest laps in the top category.

    244 – Marquez, who has won in only one of his six appearances at Valencia, has led for 244 laps this season in MotoGP – 51 more than the rest of the riders combined.

    0 – Jorge Lorenzo could finish without a win, podium or pole position for the first time in his 12 seasons in MotoGP.

  • England reach 1,000 games: The key Opta facts from Three Lions' first 999 matches England reach 1,000 games: The key Opta facts from Three Lions' first 999 matches

    England's upcoming Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro is attracting massive media attention due to a bust-up between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez, but it is also an historic occasion for the Three Lions as it will be their 1,000th international match.

    Gareth Southgate's England host Montenegro at Wembley on Thursday aiming to secure a place at Euro 2020, though it will be a momentous occasion even if they fail to win.

    It has taken England 147 years to rack up 1,000 fixtures and it will be the second successive century milestone reached against Montenegro.

    Ahead of the landmark match, we looked at the key Opta data from England's first 999 matches.

    Matches

    1 – England's first international was against Scotland at Hamilton Crescent on November 30, 1872. The game finished 0-0. Montenegro were also the opponents for the Three Lions' 900th match, sharing a 2-2 draw in Podgorica.

    568 – Out of 999 games, England have won 568. The first victory arrived courtesy of a 4-2 triumph over Scotland at Kennington Oval in March 1983.

    114 – Scotland have been England's most frequent opponents. They have also never suffered more defeats (41) to a single country, while England have never beaten a nation more often than Wales (67).

    13 – England's biggest ever win was a 13-0 victory over Ireland in February 1882. They beat the same opponents 13-2 exactly 17 years later in the Three Lions' most comfortable competitive triumph.

    7 – The Three Lions' heaviest defeat was 7-1 away to Hungary in May 1954, coming just six months after getting hammered 6-3 by the Hungarians at Wembley.

    Players

    1,244 – Ahead of Thursday's match, 1,244 players have represented England. Nine have reached 100 caps, while 356 have just one.

    125 – Goalkeeper Peter Shilton holds the record for most caps with 125. Wayne Rooney (120) is the most-capped outfield player in England's history.

    17 – Theo Walcott became England's youngest-ever player in May 2006 at the age of 17 years and 75 days. He still holds that record, though Rooney is the team's most junior scorer after his effort against Macedonia in September 2003 (17 years, 317 days).

    53 – Rooney is also England's record goal-scorer, having found the net 53 times, four more than Bobby Charlton.

    41 – By contrast, Stanley Matthews is the oldest scorer for England, having struck in October 1956 when he was aged 41 years and 248 days.

    Managers

    1 – Walter Winterbottom was appointed England's first manager in 1946, with the team selection previously made by a committee. He was in charge for a record 16 years.

    19 – England have had 19 permanent managers, with Winterbottom (139 matches) overseeing the most games. Sam Allardyce presided over the fewest (one).

    2 – Fabio Capello and Sven-Goran Eriksson are the only non-British managers to ever take charge of England.

  • Hamilton chasing winning milestone, Raikkonen to match Alonso - Brazilian GP in numbers Hamilton chasing winning milestone, Raikkonen to match Alonso - Brazilian GP in numbers

    Lewis Hamilton may have wrapped up the Formula One drivers' title last time out, but he will have a personal milestone in his sights at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

    Mercedes driver Hamilton clinched his sixth championship and third in succession by finishing second at the United States Grand Prix, with team-mate Valtteri Bottas claiming the win.

    Bottas will be seeking to break new ground in his F1 career with another victory at Interlagos, a circuit at which Red Bull's Max Verstappen has shown great pace in recent years.

    With the help of Opta, we look at the standout statistics ahead of this weekend's race in Brazil.

     

    11 - Hamilton has 10 wins this season and can equal his personal best of 11 in a single year with victory in Brazil.

    2 - Bottas has won two of the past three F1 races but has never secured back-to-back victories.

    4 - The drivers' championship has been decided at the Brazilian GP six times – more than at any other track. However, the title has been sealed before this race in four of the past five seasons.

    15 - Kimi Raikkonen's 2007 success at Interlagos was the only time in the past 15 Brazilian GPs that a driver has triumphed having not started from the front row of the grid.

    312 - Alfa Romeo driver Raikkonen will take part in his 312th grand prix in F1, joining Fernando Alonso in second on the all-time appearance list. Only Rubens Barrichello (323) has more.

    6 - Mercedes will equal Williams' record of six successive pole positions at this race if Hamilton or Bottas qualify first.

    33 - The Silver Arrows can match their F1 record of 33 podiums in a single season from 2016 by getting both drivers to finish in the top three.

    9 - Ferrari have taken as many pole positions as Mercedes this season (nine each); the last time the Scuderia topped this ranking across a season was in 2008 when they secured eight, level with McLaren. However, Charles Leclerc will take a new power unit and is expected to receive a grid penalty of at least 10 places.

    2 - Verstappen has recorded two of the past three fastest laps at the Brazilian GP, more than in any other race in his F1 career.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.