Lionel Messi's uncanny ability to create history continued with a record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or on Monday.

The decade-long monopoly on football's most prestigious individual prize held by the Barcelona great and Cristiano Ronaldo was broken a year ago by Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric.

But once again it was Messi's name on the prize as he added to the Ballons d'Or he won in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015.

Below, with the help of Opta data, we have scrutinised the numbers behind each of the years Messi has been named the world's best.

2009

Could there really have been any other winner in a year in which Messi swept every major honour? There were six collective titles in total as Pep Guardiola's star-studded class won La Liga, the Copa del Rey, the Champions League, the Supercopa a Espana, the Super Cup and the Club World Cup. Messi contributed 22 goals and 10 assists in LaLiga across the calendar year, while adding a respective six and two in the Champions League.

2010

A year later and there were fewer trophies - just a LaLiga and Supercopa to add to his tally - but it was another phenomenal year for Messi, who scored 58 goals in just 54 appearances for Barcelona – meaning he had a goals-to-games ratio of 1.07. He celebrated 42 of those in just 36 LaLiga games, while he managed a goal a game across 12 appearances in the Champions League. 

2011

A third straight Ballon d'Or arrived in 2011 and justifiably so. The only major honour missing from the list was a Copa del Rey, with Messi again the figurehead in a Barca team that won LaLiga and the Champions League. There were fewer goals, 55 in 57 games across all competitions, but 25 assists was a mark-up from his 2010 numbers.

2012

The last of four in a row and, while Messi had just a Copa del Rey to show for his efforts, individually it was an astonishing 12 months for the Argentina great. In 60 appearances, Messi scored a scarcely believable 79 goals – 59 of which were in LaLiga and 13 in the Champions League. That made for an astonishing 1.32 goals per game, while he added 21 assists for good measure.

2015

In the two years prior and after, it was his great rival Ronaldo who would dominate the Ballon d'Or. But in 2015 there was really ever only one likely winner as Messi formed a devastating trio with Neymar and Luis Suarez under Luis Enrique to win a LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League treble – with a Super Cup and Club World Cup thrown in for good measure. The individual stats did not quite match those of three years previously but he still contributed a mightily impressive 48 goals and 23 assists across 53 appearances.

2019

For a player considered by many as the best to ever play the game, it seems fitting that Messi should hold the record for most Ballons d'Or. This year has thus far been just as sensational as his previous five triumphs, with 41 goals and 15 assists in 44 appearances. Messi also won LaLiga for a 10th time – the most of any Barcelona player in history.

In August 2018, Mauricio Pochettino guided Tottenham to a 3-0 victory over Jose Mourinho's Manchester United at Old Trafford.

In hindsight, it was a defeat that appeared to signal the beginning of the end for Mourinho at United, with the Portuguese coach sacked four months later, replaced – initially on a temporary basis – by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Pochettino was heavily linked with the United hot seat, but Solskjaer's impressive run earned him the job permanently. But while Spurs went on to reach a Champions League final, the Red Devils' form dropped off dramatically.

Now, 16 months on from that clash at Old Trafford, Mourinho returns to his former stomping ground for the first time since his December 2018 sacking, having taken over from Pochettino at Spurs – who dismissed the former Argentina international following a poor start to 2019-20.

Two 3-2 wins on the bounce in the league, either side of a 4-2 comeback victory over Olympiacos in the Champions League, have seen Tottenham climb up to fifth place, two points above United, who could only draw with Aston Villa on Sunday.

Can Mourinho show his old side just what they are missing, or will Solskjaer prove his credentials in a match over which the spectre of Pochettino could loom large.

 

THE 'SPECIAL ONE' RETURNS

Glory in the EFL Cup and Europa League made Mourinho's first year in charge of United a successful one, though those were the only major trophies he won during his stint in Manchester.

After finishing second – well behind neighbours Manchester City – in Mourinho's sophomore year, United's form tailed off at the start of the former Chelsea boss' final campaign in charge.

Their home defeat to Tottenham followed on from a loss at Brighton and Hove Albion, while they also went down to both West Ham and City as they suffered four defeats from their opening 12 matches.

A run of three successive draws against Crystal Palace, Southampton and Arsenal paved the way for a 3-1 reverse at Liverpool to result in Mourinho's departure.

But after almost a year out of management, he was handed a way back into the big time with Spurs, who seem rejuvenated – albeit still with some glaring weaknesses – and Mourinho is now aiming to become just the third manager to win a Premier League away game at Old Trafford with two different clubs.

United, on the other hand, have managed just four league victories this season and head into Wednesday's encounter without a victory in three matches across all competitions.

In fact, since Solskjaer was appointed on a permanent basis on March 28, United have claimed all three points in just six Premier League games.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: MARCUS RASHFORD V HARRY KANE

One shining light for United in recent weeks has been the form of Marcus Rashford, who seems to have taken up the mantle of leading the Red Devils' youthful attack.

Meanwhile, Harry Kane's goals were not enough to save Pochettino's job, but the England captain is still as reliable as ever when presented with a chance.

Both players are on seven league goals for the season, with Rashford's 14 appearances one more than Kane.

Rashford has also played slightly more than Kane in terms of minutes, racking up 1,219 compared to the Tottenham striker's 1,165.

Kane is proving more efficient, with the 26-year-old scoring his seven goals from a total of 36 shots, resulting in a conversion rate of 19.44 per cent, while Rashford's rate stands at 16.67 per cent.

Not much separates the pair in terms of goal frequency – Kane edging this one with a strike every 166 minutes, compared to Rashford's 174.

However, Kane is the clear winner when it comes to expected goals. By this metric, Rashford (8.66) should be on at least eight goals for the campaign, while his opposite number at Spurs has only been expected to score five goals from the chances he has had this term.

FORM GUIDE

Pochettino managed two draws in his final matches in charge of Spurs, meaning Mourinho's side are now unbeaten in four league games.

Should Tottenham win, Mourinho will become their first manager to win his first three top-flight matches in charge. 

Dele Alli seems to have recaptured his best form, scoring twice and providing an assist in the two Premier League matches since Mourinho's arrival – as many as he had in his final 12 appearances under Pochettino.

United's haul of 18 points from their opening 14 Premier League matches this season means the Red Devils have endured their worst start to a domestic season since the 1988-89 campaign, when they also had 18 points and went on to finish 11th.

Both United and Tottenham are equal in one sense, however, with both having dropped 12 points from winning positions in the Premier League this season.

HISTORY SAYS…

United's hopes will not be boosted by the fact they have lost three of their past seven home league meetings against Spurs, after losing only two of their previous 36 at Old Trafford.

However, Tottenham have lost more Premier League games to United than against any other side, though Mourinho can take solace in knowing the away team won in both top-flight meetings last season.

Marco Silva's prospects at Everton look bleak. Sunday's last-gasp defeat to high-flying Leicester City has left the Toffees in 17th and a trip to Anfield does not present the ideal remedy.

Kelechi Iheanacho's VAR–assisted strike in second-half stoppage time cost Everton a share of the spoils at the King Power Stadium, a day short of the anniversary of Jordan Pickford's calamity gifting Liverpool all three points in the first Merseyside derby of last season.

Jurgen Klopp's side have gone from strength-to-strength since then, losing just one Premier League match – to Manchester City in January. 

Everton gained a modicum of revenge in March, when a goalless draw at Goodison Park ultimately proved costly for the Reds, who missed out on the league title by two points.

However, it is difficult to find more contrasting fortunes at present, with Liverpool eight points clear at the top and Everton languishing just two points above the drop zone.

The Toffees have a torrid recent record against Liverpool and, if reports are to be believed, Wednesday's meeting at Anfield could well prove to be Silva's final game of a tumultuous 18-month spell.

Yet, while Silva may ultimately pay the price for a dismal start to the season should Liverpool claim an expected win, Everton's woeful form against their neighbours stretches back much further.

TWENTY YEARS OF HURT

You have to go back over 20 years – to September 1999 – for Everton's last win at Anfield in any competition; Kevin Campbell was the Toffees' hero in a 1-0 success.

Liverpool and Everton dominated English football throughout the 1980s, but since the start of the Premier League era, the derby has become significantly more one-sided.

Everton have just nine wins out of 54 games, with Liverpool claiming 23 victories, while there have been 22 draws.

Seven of Everton's triumphs in that run have come at Goodison, with just two at Anfield, where Liverpool have won 13 times, with the points shared on 12 occasions.

Liverpool have scored 72 goals against Everton in the Premier League, with the Toffees – who have conceded 40 at Anfield – managing just 46 in return.

THE STATS DON'T LIE

Liverpool's dominance over Everton is backed up by even more damning statistics. 

Everton's win percentage against Liverpool is their third-lowest against a Premier League opponent – 16.7 per cent, or nine wins from 54 meetings.

Only against Arsenal (14.8 per cent) and Tottenham (14.5 per cent) do the Toffees have a worse win percentage against in the Premier League era.

Indeed, since their victory at Anfield in 1999, Everton have managed just four wins over Liverpool in all competitions, the most recent of which came in October 2010.

Sam Allardyce was in charge on the last occasion Everton avoided defeat at the ground they used to occupy before Liverpool were formed, with Wayne Rooney's penalty securing a 1-1 draw in December 2017.

Before that, a thunderbolt from Phil Jagielka ensured a share of the spoils back in 2014 under Roberto Martinez, who suffered two 4-0 defeats at Anfield in the space of three seasons.

LIVERPOOL'S DECADE OF DOMINANCE

While Everton's record since the start of the Premier League makes for grim reading, their dreadful form in derbies is magnified when narrowing it down to the past nine years – since Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta led the way to a 2-0 win at Goodison Park in October 2010.

Everton had the better of the derbies in 2010-11, following up their triumph with a 2-2 draw at Anfield the following January.

Since the start of 2011-12, Everton have failed to win any league matches against Liverpool, while their points per game average of 0.56 is their lowest against any opponent in this period.

Liverpool have won seven of the 16 league meetings in this time, with Everton managing draws on nine occasions.

Of the top-flight opponents Everton have faced more than five times since the 2011-12 campaign began, Liverpool are the only team they have not beaten at all, with the Toffees having triumphed twice over Spurs, three times against Arsenal and Manchester City, and four times over Chelsea.

Clashes between Barcelona and Atletico Madrid are always fascinating occasions, with two completely different philosophies pitted against each other.

But Sunday's contest at the Wanda Metropolitano will be intriguing for an entirely new reason – the return of Antoine Griezmann.

The France international's move to Barca was somewhat acrimonious, with Atletico convinced he was talking to his new club long before his release clause dropped from €200million to €120m.

Atletico fans had long been frustrated with Griezmann's behaviour, particularly after his 'Decision' documentary last year showed him considering a move before eventually signing a new deal.

Yet, for all the build-up, drama and soap opera-like twists and turns, Griezmann's adaptation at Camp Nou has been underwhelming.

Ahead of Griezmann's return to the Wanda, we took a look at Opta data to examine how Barca are faring since signing the forward, whether Atletico are suffering without him and how he is doing individually.

Griezmann struggling to influence

It's difficult to find evidence that shows Griezmann has improved Barca in any way. The data suggests they are less effective with him in the team.

Across Barca's 61 matches last season, they averaged 2.3 goals and 2.2 points per match. Both figures have dropped, to 2.2 and 2.1, respectively, while they're winning with less regularity as well, down to 64.7 per cent from 67.2 per cent.

It's a similar story with respect to shots, with their average per match now 11.9 with Griezmann. Last season they recorded 15.3 attempts per game.

In Griezmann's 17 games for Barca, they have a passing accuracy of 78.6 per cent in the final third and 84.4 per cent in the opposing half. Once again, those figures are less than last term (79.2 per cent and 85.1 per cent).

While it would be unfair to suggest Griezmann is to blame in every area, a lack of fluency and effectiveness in Barca's attack this season is difficult to deny.

Yet to find his niche

A relative decrease in productivity can be expected to a certain degree when changing teams, particularly given the contrasting styles imposed by Atletico and Barca, but few would have predicted Griezmann's individual contributions to suffer as much as they have.

At Atletico last term, Griezmann scored 21 goals, laid on 11 assists and created 88 chances in 48 matches. As such, that equates to finding the net every 2.2 games, averaging 4.3 matches per assist and crafting 1.8 opportunities per outing.

This season, Griezmann has scored five times, got three assists and created 12 chances in 17 games.

That means he is only scoring once every 3.4 matches, almost double his record for last term, averaging 5.6 games per assist and laying on just 0.7 chances in each match.

Barca more lethal without Griezy

Griezmann has been out of the starting XI three times for Barca this season and the data does him few favours.

Barca have a 100 per cent winning record and average 4.0 goals in those games, double what they have been scoring with him in the line-up.

Without Griezmann Barca are averaging 15.3 shots each match, a 3.8 increase than when he does feature in the starting XI.

Barca have seen less of the ball across those matches, registering 54.4 per cent possession compared to 65.1 per cent with Griezmann. However, that metric combined with their shot average suggests the Blaugrana are more ponderous and less incisive when the Frenchman plays.

A new era

Atletico have seen a slight decrease across some areas compared to last season since Griezmann's exit.

When the France star featured for Simeone's men, they averaged 1.5 goals and 2.0 points per match. Their figures are down to 1.3 and 1.9, respectively, this term, while Atleti's win percentage is down from 56.2 per cent to 50 per cent.

But the difference in many other areas is negligible, and in fact, they are averaging more shots and conceding fewer efforts at goal since Griezmann left.

At the moment it seems Atletico are slightly less clinical and decisive without Griezmann, though it's difficult to argue they are actually missing him. At least, not the Griezmann who featured for them in 2018-19.

Sunday's Premier League showdown between Leicester City and Everton pits two ambitious clubs with sharply contrasting recent fortunes against one another.

Leicester are the closest challengers to leaders Liverpool, sitting eight points shy of Jurgen Klopp's men and a point better off than champions Manchester City after 13 matches.

An ambitious managerial appointment in the form of Brendan Rodgers has paid dividends, with evergreen striker Jamie Vardy in sparkling form.

Marco Silva, a much-trumpeted arrival at Goodison Park before the start of last season, has work to do to turn around an increasingly dismal situation on Merseyside.

Last weekend's defeat to Norwich City means Everton have now lost 2-0 to all three of last season's promoted sides and they languish in 16th ahead of a tough run of fixtures.

VARDY PARTY GOES ON AND ON

Much of Leicester's charge to the upper-reaches of the table has been powered by the prolific Vardy.

The ex-England striker is the top scorer in the Premier League with 12 this season. He also has 12 in his past 12 home games and is closing in on a half-century at the King Power Stadium in the top flight (48 in 94 matches).

The alliance between Rodgers and Vardy has proved reinvigorating for the 32-year-old, who averages a goal every 98 minutes under the former Liverpool boss.

If Vardy's threat comes predominantly from open play, Leicester will also be keen to test Everton's set-piece vulnerability.

Despite facing the fifth fewest number of corners (55) and the joint-second fewest number of shots (14) from them, no side has conceded more goals from such set-piece situations this season than Everton's four.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: JAMES MADDISON v GYLFI SIGURDSSON

Maddison and Sigurdsson arrived at Leicester and Everton before the 2018-19 campaign to be the creative fulcrum of their sides.

Maddison has broken into the England set up and his form suggests he could yet be a star of Euro 2020.

In 47 starts out of 48 Premier League appearances for the Foxes, the former Norwich star boasts a goal involvement every 195.1 minutes thanks to 11 goals and nine assists.

He has created a phenomenal 128 chances and an 83.71 per cent completion rate from 1,977 passes is evidence of a man who cherishes possession.

A dribble success rate of 61.2 per cent shows another manner in which Maddison can hurt the opposition, while his 110 fouls won are more than double Sigurdsson's number (47).

The set-piece specialist edges Maddison in goal involvements thanks to 14 goals and 7 assists form 46 starts.

Sigurdsson has also created 100 chances, another impressive return that makes it tempting to wonder what he might achieve if his team-mates and manager can collectively pull themselves together.

FORM GUIDE

Leicester have won five consecutive Premier League matches, racking up an aggregate scoreline of 17-1.

The Foxes are aiming for six consecutive top-flight wins for the first time since 1963. They have only lost once in 12 games at home under Rodgers, winning nine.

October's 2-0 win over fellow strugglers West Ham snapped a run of four straight league losses for Everton.

Silva's side have taken four points from their four subsequent games, winning 2-1 over a Southampton side Leicester dispatched 9-0 last month.

HISTORY SAYS…

Everton have been defensively flimsy at times this season and they will have their work cut out to keep Vardy and co at bay.

The Toffees have only managed one clean sheet in their past 13 Premier League meetings with Leicester (W5 D4 L4), which came in a 2-0 win at the King Power Stadium in December 2016.

The corresponding fixture last season also finished in an Everton victory. Leicester have not lost consecutive home league games to the Merseyside club since December 1997.

None of the previous eight meetings between Leicester and Everton have been drawn, with each team winning four apiece.

The 2019 Formula One season comes to a close this weekend with the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

World champion Lewis Hamilton has had a year to remember and could still equal a personal best in terms of race victories if he takes the chequered flag at a venue where he has enjoyed success before.

Constructors champions Mercedes have the chance to match their own record, too, should Hamilton and team-mate Valtteri Bottas manage to claim a podium finish.

While the big prizes have already been won this year, Red Bull's Max Verstappen will be chasing a career high, while Ferrari will hope to avoid matching an unwanted feat last set in 1996.

Using Opta data, we look through the key stats ahead of the final race of the 2019 season in the United Arab Emirates.

 

4 - The Abu Dhabi Grand Prix takes place on December 1, the fourth-latest race in a Formula One year after the United States Grand Prix in 1959 (December 12), the South Africa Grand Prix in 1963 (December 28) and the 1962 in the same country (December 29).

3 - Lewis Hamilton has won three of the past five Abu Dhabi Grand Prix (2014, 2016 and 2018) although he has not managed to win back-to-back editions of the race. The only driver to have won in consecutive races at Yas Marina was Sebastian Vettel, for Red Bull, in the first two races in Abu Dhabi (2009 and 2010).

7 - Hamilton (four) and Vettel (three) have won seven out of 10 races in Abu Dhabi, also finishing top in qualifying six times overall.

1996 - Vettel and Charles Leclerc failed to finish the Brazilian Grand Pix after a collision. The last time two Ferrari drivers failed to finish back-to-back Grands Prix was in 1996 (three in a row).

5 - Mercedes have won the five Abu Dhabi races in the Hybrid Era (Hamilton has won three, Nico Rosberg and Valtteri Bottas once each).

33 - If Hamilton and Bottas finish on the podium, it would take Mercedes to 33 top-three finishes in 209, equalling the record for a single season they set back in 2016.

2 - After winning in Brazil, Red Bull could claim back-to-back grand prix victories for the first time since Daniel Ricciardo's wins in 2014 (Hungary and Belgium). McLaren, meanwhile, could secure consecutive podium finishes for the first time in the Hybrid Era.

11 - If Hamilton wins in Abu Dhabi, it will equal his best year for total wins in a Formula One season (his personal best is 11, set in 2014 and 2018).

7 - Of drivers to not win a world championship, only Ronnie Peterson (nine in 1973) has taken more pole positions in a year than Leclerc this season (seven, level with Juan Pablo Montoya in 2002).

9 - Only Niki Lauda in 1974 (nine) has taken more pole positions than Leclerc in a maiden season for Ferrari (seven).

3 - Red Bull's Max Verstappen has never won back-to-back races and also has the chance to record three podiums in a row for the first time this season. A top-three finish will secure third place in the drivers' standings for the 22-year-old, the best finish in his Formula One career.

Lionel Messi is bidding to score at home in the Champions League for the first time this season as Barcelona take on Borussia Dortmund.

The Argentina international fired his latest blank in the 0-0 draw with Slavia Prague three weeks ago, leaving his side with work to do if they are to progress to the last 16.

Barca will be through if they beat Dortmund or if they draw and Inter fall to defeat at Slavia in the other Group F contest taking place on Wednesday.

Elsewhere, holders Liverpool host Napoli at Anfield aiming to avenge a 2-0 defeat from the reverse fixture, while Chelsea will reach the knockout stages with victory against Valencia.

Below, we have highlighted the key data ahead of Wednesday's eight matches.

Barcelona v Borussia Dortmund

12 - Barcelona forward Messi scored with his last shot at Camp Nou in the 2018-19 Champions League season. He has attempted 12 without success this term, failing to score in both home matches. Should he not to score in this game, it would be first time since October 2011 he has failed to find the back of the net in three consecutive home games in the competition (a run of four).

4 - Borussia Dortmund's Achraf Hakimi has scored four Champions League goals this season – only one Moroccan player has ever netted more in a single campaign, with Marouane Chamakh scoring five for Bordeaux in the 2009-10 campaign.

Slavia Prague v Inter

3,119 - Slavia Prague have given 3,119 minutes to Czech players in the Champions League this season – the most by players of the nation of the club they are representing in the competition this campaign.

3 - Lautaro Martinez has scored in his last three Champions League appearances for Inter. He could become the fifth Argentinian to score in four consecutively, after Hernan Crespo (2002), Lionel Messi (six occasions), Sergio Aguero (2019) and Ezequiel Lavezzi (2013).

Liverpool v Napoli

2 - Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored in his last two Champions League appearances – the only Englishman to score in three consecutive matches for the Reds is Steven Gerrard (five in a row in 2007-08).

3 - Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti was the last manager to win an away Champions League match at Anfield, leading Real Madrid to a 3-0 victory in October 2014. No coach has won more away Champions League games in England than Ancelotti (three – level with Jose Mourinho and Massimiliano Allegri).

Genk v Salzburg

0 - Genk remain winless in all 16 of their Champions League matches (W0 D8 L8). It is the fifth longest winless run in the competition's history and the longest since December 2017 (Maribor – 17 matches).

5 - Salzburg striker Erling Haaland will become just the third player to score in his first five Champions League appearances if he scores in this match. The two to do so are Alessandro Del Piero (1995, Juventus) and Diego Costa (2013-14, Atletico Madrid).

Valencia v Chelsea

3 - Valencia have won three of their last four home Champions League games (W3 D0 L1), having lost four of their previous five (W1 D0 L4).

14 - Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham has had more shots than any other Chelsea player in the Champions League this season (14). However, he has found the net with just one of those shots and has scored as many own goals as he has goals (one).

Lille v Ajax

10 - Lille are winless in 10 home Champions League matches (W0 D4 L6). Only two teams have ever had longer home winless runs – Spartak Moscow (11 between 2001 and 2006) and Steaua Bucharest (13 between 1996 and 2013).

10 - Ajax's Hakim Ziyech has been involved in 10 goals in his last 12 Champions League appearances (four goals, six assists). The Moroccan has either scored or assisted in each of his last six away games in the competition (two goals, five assists).

RB Leipzig v Benfica

30 - RB Leipzig are one of only two teams yet to give a single minute to a player aged 30+ in the Champions League this season, along with Genk. In his 10 games as coach in the competition, Julian Nagelsmann has only used one player aged 30 or older – Hungarian striker Adam Szalai for Hoffenheim last season.

10 - Benfica have lost all 10 of their away matches in Germany in the European Cup/Champions League, facing six different teams without success.

Zenit v Lyon 

2 - Zenit have lost two of their last three home European matches (excluding qualifiers) – one more than they had lost in their previous 21 home games (W18 D2 L1).

4 - Lyon's Memphis Depay has scored in all four Champions League matches this season. No Lyon player has ever scored in five consecutive appearances, while only three Dutchmen have scored in five or more – Roy Makaay (2002), Ruud van Nistelrooy (2002, 2003 and 2007) and Arjen Robben (2013).

Real Madrid still have work to do in their bid to reach the last 16 of the Champions League as they prepare for the visit of Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG are already through to the knockout stages and opponents Madrid can join them with victory at the Santiago Bernabeu.

On-loan striker Mauro Icardi has been in inspired form for the French champions since joining from Inter, scoring 10 times in 11 appearances.

The 26-year-old failed to register in the reverse fixture at the Parc des Princes – a 3-0 win for PSG in September – but he can make some history should he score on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, victory for Atletico Madrid away to Juventus will make certain of a last-16 spot with a game to spare, while Jose Mourinho takes charge of Tottenham in the Champions League for the first time as they welcome Olympiacos to north London.

Here is the pick of the key Opta facts for Tuesday's eight matches.

Galatasaray v Club Brugge

0 - Galatasaray are the only team in this season's Champions League yet to score. There have been six previous occasions in which a team have failed to score in their opening five games, including the Turkish side in the 1993-94 season.

1 - Club Brugge have won just one of their last 18 Champions League games, with that victory coming away at Monaco in November 2018.

Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayer Leverkusen

8 - Since the start of last season, no side have lost more Champions League matches than Lokomotiv.

4 - Leverkusen are without a win in their last four away games in the Champions League, failing to score in their past three outings – the German club's longest-such run in the competition.

Atalanta v Dinamo Zagreb

11 - Only Genk (12) have conceded more goals in open play in this season's Champions League than Atalanta (11).

36 - Dinamo have had the joint-fewest shots of any team in the Champions League this season, level with Galatasaray. They have the best conversion rate of any team, however, scoring with nine of those 36 shots (25 per cent).

Red Star Belgrade v Bayern Munich

11 - Bayern are enjoying their longest ever unbeaten run away from home in the European Cup/Champions League, going 11 matches since last tasting defeat.

7 - Red Star have lost seven of their first 10 Champions League games. Only four teams have lost more in their opening 10 matches - Sturm Graz, Rapid Vienna, Malmo, Maccabi Tel Aviv (eight defeats each).

Juventus v Atletico Madrid

25 - Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo has scored 25 goals against Atletico in all competitions - only versus Sevilla (27) has he netted more.

2009 - Atletico, beaten 2-1 at Bayer Leverkusen last time out, have not lost consecutive away games in the group stage of UEFA's showpiece competition since October 2009 when losing to Porto and Chelsea.

Manchester City v Shakhtar Donetsk

6 - City have won their last six home Champions League matches - the longest current run of any side. The last English team to have a longer run were Chelsea, with seven in a row at Stamford Bridge between March 2008 and February 2009.

0 - Shakhtar have lost on both of their visits to the Etihad Stadium, conceding eight goals without replay. The Ukrainian club have never lost each of their first three away games against a single team in the competition. 

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain

8 - Madrid have won eight and lost none of their 11 Champions League home games against French opposition, winning the last five such matches in a row by an aggregate score of 15-1.

5 - PSG striker Icardi has scored against five of the six teams he has faced in the competition, the exception being Madrid (one game).  No player has ever faced as many as six teams and scored against every opponent, with the record currently held Milinko Pantic, who scored against all four opponents in 1996-97 for Atletico.

Tottenham v Olympiacos

0 - Tottenham have never drawn a Champions League group match on home soil, winning 10 and losing four.

8 - Olympiacos have lost their last six away matches in the competition. Not since between September 2001 and December 2003 have they endured a longer wait for victory on their travels.

Their title hopes dwindling, Manchester City face another tough assignment when Premier League action resumes this weekend as they welcome Chelsea to the Etihad Stadium.

The back-to-back English champions lost 3-1 away to Liverpool in their most recent outing and find themselves fourth in the table, nine points adrift of the unbeaten leaders.

Saturday's visit of Chelsea is far from ideal for Pep Guardiola, then, with Frank Lampard's in-form side sitting a point better off than City after winning six league games in a row. 

Chelsea's youngsters are firing on all cylinders while City's big hitters have seemingly gone off the boil, but the Blues have lost three of their last four top-flight trips to City, including a 6-0 thrashing in this corresponding fixture last season.

CHELSEA PUNCHING ABOVE THEIR WEIGHT

The loss of Eden Hazard, coupled with a transfer ban that, as things stand, will stretch into a second window, was supposed to spell the end of Chelsea's top-four aspirations.

That has been far from the case, however, with Lampard being given freedom to turn to youth in his debut campaign as a Premier League boss.

A 26-point gap separated the sides last season, yet with nearly a third of the current campaign played it is Chelsea who are better positioned.

The obvious question, of course, is whether they can last the distance and maintain their push for silverware on multiple fronts.

Chelsea were also third after 12 games last season, but the mood is far more positive around Stamford Bridge compared to 12 months ago when Maurizio Sarri was in charge.

The shift to focus on youth has yielded dividends, with Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount thriving, but there is one major flaw to this Chelsea side - an inability to defend.

They have conceded 17 league goals so far - no side in the top nine has let in more - and shipped four at home to Ajax in the Champions League earlier this month.

City, too, have had defensive issues of late, highlighted in the defeat at Anfield that saw their makeshift back four opened up countless times.

Guardiola's men have registered four clean sheets in their last 11 league games, contributing to three defeats already this term - one fewer than in the whole of their title-winning campaign last time out.

HEAD-TO-HEAD: SERGIO AGUERO V TAMMY ABRAHAM

Keeping out the opposition has been a problem for both sides, but they have certainly not lacked goals of their own.

No Premier League team has scored more goals than City's 35 this term, with Sergio Aguero responsible for nine of those.

Aguero tends to fare well in this fixture, too, having scored 10 top-flight goals against Chelsea - only versus Newcastle United (15) and Tottenham (11) has he managed more.

The Argentina international has found the net eight times in his last six league appearances against the London outfit, including a hat-trick in the 6-0 thrashing nine months ago.

Only two players have scored more Premier League goals than Aguero in 2019-20, one of those being Tammy Abraham, who will lead the line for Chelsea.

Abraham has netted in back-to-back top-flight fixtures and has opened the scoring in five different league games this term - at least two more than any other player.

Nine of his 10 goals have been scored from open play inside the box - eight with his right foot and one with his head - while Aguero has six open-play goals inside the area.

Both players have two assists to their name, showing that there is more to their game than just finding the back of the net.

FORM GUIDE

City have been beaten by Norwich City, Wolves and Liverpool in their last eight league matches - as many defeats as they suffered in their previous 26 games in the competition.

The 2-0 loss to Wolves came at the Etihad Stadium on October 6 and Tottenham drew 2-2 there in August, but City have won 13 of their 15 home league matches in 2019.

Chelsea beat Palace 2-0 last time out to make it six successive Premier League wins, a feat they last achieved in May 2017 when winning the title under Antonio Conte.

Away from home, meanwhile, Lampard's side have won five in a row, scoring 18 goals in those matches at an average of 3.6 per game.

HISTORY SAYS...

City were penalty shoot-out winners when the sides met in last season's EFL Cup final following a goalless draw and tend to perform well in this fixture.

The reigning champions have won three of the last four Premier League meetings between the sides, keeping three clean sheets in the process.

Chelsea have collected just two victories from their last 10 league trips to City, winning 1-0 in February 2004 and 3-1 in December 2016.

They shipped six goals in the most recent league encounter and have kept only one clean sheet in their last 12 visits to the Etihad Stadium.

Harry Kane and England wrapped up a prolific 2019 with a 4-0 Euro 2020 qualification win against Kosovo on Sunday.

Next year, Gareth Southgate's team will hope to emulate their country's greatest ever side by winning a major tournament at Wembley.

England's current vintage are at least the equal of Alf Ramsey's World Cup winners in one way already – their 38 goals scored in 2019 is the same number that the Three Lions managed in a seminal 1966.

Only once, in 1909, have England managed more goals in a calendar year, when they scored 39 in just seven games.

Kane's individual haul of 12 equalled the record for an England player in a calendar year, standing alongside Everton great Dixie Dean's efforts in 1927 and George Hilsdon in 1908.

The Tottenham star has now netted in each of his past six international appearances and is the only England player to do so in the post-war era – matching his own efforts between October 2017 and July 2018.

MotoGP icon Jorge Lorenzo on Thursday announced he will retire following this weekend's Valencia Grand Prix.

The three-time world champion has endured a frustrating debut campaign with Repsol Honda, for whom Marc Marquez surged to a sixth title in the premier class.

Lorenzo admitted a crash in Assen ahead of the Dutch TT that left him with a fractured vertebrae and kept him out of four races took a significant toll on his desire to continue in the sport.

With the help of Opta, we look at some of the standout statistics from the 32-year-old Spaniard's illustrious career.

2 – Lorenzo has won five world championships across all categories (three in MotoGP, two at 250cc); Angel Nieto (13) and Marc Marquez (8) are the only Spanish riders with more.

3 – Only Valentino Rossi (5) and Randy Mamola (4) have finished a MotoGP season second in the standings more often than Lorenzo (2009, 2011 and 2013).

8 – Only Giacomo Agostini (8), Rossi (7), Marquez (6), Mick Doohan (5), Geoff Duke (4), Mike Hailwood (4), Eddie Lawson (4) and John Surtees (4) have won more titles in the premier class than Lorenzo.

1 – Lorenzo won 44 MotoGP races with Yamaha, a tally bettered onlu by Rossi (56).

5 – The Spaniard ranks fifth for wins in the premier class with 47. He is sixth across all categories with 68.

6 – Lorenzo was most successful at Mugello, a track at which he won six MotoGP races.

114 – Only Rossi (198) has more podiums than Lorenzo in MotoGP/500cc history.

383 – Lorenzo held the record for the most points in a single season in the premier class until Marquez surpassed his benchmark in 2019. The reigning champion heads into the Valencia Grand Prix on 395 points – 12 more than Lorenzo recorded in 2010.

4 – Lorenzo holds the fastest lap record at four of the 19 circuits on the current MotoGP calendar: Barcelona (2018), Motegi (2014), Valencia (2016) and Motorland Aragon (2015).

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.

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.

Unai Emery reached the milestone of 50 Premier League matches in charge of Arsenal on Saturday in the 2-0 defeat at Leicester City, but an overriding sense of disappointment is all he has managed to establish at the club.

Emery arrived in 2018 as Arsene Wenger's replacement, with the Frenchman ultimately paying the price for going 14 years without winning the title.

In fairness to Wenger, spending at the club was significantly reduced in the wake of their move to the Emirates Stadium, particularly when compared to the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool over the same period.

It was hoped Emery's introduction would bring a fresh approach and winning mentality after years of stagnation at Arsenal. However, despite his trophy successes in previous spells with Sevilla and Paris Saint-Germain, some – justifiably – had doubts about the Spaniard's style of play and training methods often criticised as boring.

After reaching 50 Premier League games, it is difficult at present to see him lasting much longer and his record compared to the division's best highlights the gulf in class.

Going backwards after Wenger

Emery's Arsenal have averaged 1.74 points per game across his 50 matches in the top flight. Of those in charge of the traditional 'big six', that figure is only better than Mauricio Pochettino (1.7) and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (1.30) over their 50 most recent Premier League games – though the latter's figures are obviously skewed by his spell at Cardiff City.

That's where the positives end in terms of points per game for Emery, however.

Jurgen Klopp (2.62) and Pep Guardiola (2.52) are way out in front over their past 50 matches, while Frank Lampard – who has only taken charge of 12 in the Premier League – has accumulated a respectable 2.17 points per outing.

Similarly, Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers has done significantly better, averaging 1.84 points per game across his last 50 matches in the Premier League with Liverpool and the Foxes.

But the real kicker is the comparison with the much-maligned Wenger, whose 1.76 average means he too collected more points over his final 50 games at Arsenal than Emery has in his first 50.

Way behind the most prolific scorers

Wenger's Arsenal also scored more than Emery's side. During the Frenchman's final 50 games, they scored 96 times, seven more than they have with the Basque coach.

City have set the bar in terms of scoring over the period in question, netting 130 times, 12 more than Liverpool.

Defensively it is the other way round. While City's record of 33 allowed is exceptional, Liverpool's is even better at just 31.

Arsenal's defensive woes have been well-documented under Emery, with Shkodran Mustafi, David Luiz, Rob Holding, Calum Chambers and Sokratis Papastathopoulos hardly convincing.

As such, they have conceded 68 times since the start of last season, more than double both City and Liverpool and four more than in Wenger's final stretch.

Emery's already had enough time to solve issues

Emery can at least point to the fact he has lost fewer matches (13) than Wenger (16) did over the periods highlighted, though it's a pretty hollow victory.

Klopp and Liverpool again set the standard here, having lost just one of their past 50 Premier League matches, though even Rodgers has been beaten fewer times than Emery over his 50 most recent games, losing 12.

The overarching issue for Arsenal and Emery is a complete lack of identity, something one can certainly argue they still had even in Wenger's latter days.

While these statistics highlight how far behind the Premier League's leading pair Arsenal are, their lack of a discernible style and direction is arguably the main problem, one Emery probably will not get much more time to fix.

After all, there is little doubt they have regressed under his stewardship.

Some players thrive under the spotlight more than others – Liverpool will hope Sadio Mane proves his mettle against Manchester City, when the focus will be on him for more than one reason.

Mane has established himself as one of the Premier League's great entertainers and arguably Liverpool's biggest attacking threat, yet he has also earned himself a reputation as a purveyor of the dark arts – or "diving", as Pep Guardiola put it on Saturday.

Earlier that day, Mane had gone down very easily in the penalty area during Liverpool's 2-1 win at Aston Villa. Under pressure from Frederic Guilbert, the forward theatrically went to ground and was swiftly shown a yellow card for simulation by referee Jon Moss.

Jurgen Klopp and Mane have had their say since and come to the conclusion that the Senegal forward is not a "diver" – and even Guardiola appeared to backtrack – yet this weekend he will come under intense scrutiny over his conduct, performance and attitude, particularly given that this was by no means the first time the former Southampton star courted flak for diving.

Considering Mane's importance to Liverpool, Klopp will be desperate for him to harness that attention to the Reds' benefit on the big stage, something Sergio Aguero has become remarkably adept at. 

Aguero the benchmark

Since joining City from Atletico Madrid in 2011, Aguero's productivity in games against the so-called "big six" has been truly remarkable.

In 67 matches, Aguero has scored 44 goals from 241 shots with a conversion rate of 18.3 per cent. Against any standard of opposition that would be considered outstanding – to boast such a record against the Premier League's best is astonishing.

But he is yet to score in seven trips to Anfield, making it his least favourite away ground. 

Jamie Vardy is the closest to Aguero in terms of goals, with 31 in 59 matches. While that may not be as impressive, the fact that haul comes from 109 shots – giving him a startling 28.4 per cent conversion rate – suggests he relishes such occasions like few others.

Mane's record of 18 goals in 53 matches against the top sides may pale in comparison, but it remains impressive and is bettered by only six players.

Sadio the main Mane at Anfield

There is little doubt Mane has become the most influential attacker at Liverpool this season, with 12 goal involvements (nine goals, three assists). Mohamed Salah has 10 split equally between goals and assists, while Roberto Firmino is on nine (five goals, four assists).

Mane's nine goals across all competitions may not be groundbreaking, but it is only one shy of Raheem Sterling and two fewer than Aguero.

He has proven to be a vital creator for the Reds as well, laying on 29 chances for team-mates, six more than Firmino and eight better than Salah.

It is also worth pointing out Mane's 20.9 per cent conversion rate, as that too is significantly better than those posted by Salah (7.9 per cent) and Firmino (13.2 per cent).

Mane out to make a splash

Mane's reply to Guardiola after Liverpool's Champions League win over Genk suggested he is handling the situation rather comfortably.

Not only did he admit he would do what he did against Villa – what he considered to not be a dive – again, he insisted Guardiola's comments won't change him.

Given he has established himself as Liverpool's chief attacking threat, that'll be music to the ears of Klopp as he prepares his side to potentially go nine points clear at the Premier League summit.

Klopp will hope Mane can make a splash of the right kind against the champions at Anfield.

Page 1 of 7
© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.