EPL Week 30: The Weekend's Premier League Matches in Numbers
Numbers are hidden everywhere. As any madcap mathematician would tell you, they are the key to infinity.
Infinity ultimately holds little sway in the world of the EPL, but numbers are still of paramount importance. Those pesky three points. That all important goal difference. The sweet, luxurious, probably pretty uncomfortable confines of the Golden Boot.
All of them, the providence of numbers.
Here is your numerical guide to five of the most important matches of EPL week 30: 10 teams, four numbers, five slides and a little bit of the mathematically uncertain territory of prediction.
Manchester City vs. Chelsea: 1
It’s a paltry number, the remainder when you subtract Chelsea’s total clean sheets for the season from Manchester City’s. It is also the number of places between the sides on the current league table.
Joe Hart and the lads have managed to keep their opponents goalless in a whopping 13 games, while Petr Cech and his WWI bomber’s helmet have done the same in 12 games.
Both teams also boats brutal firepower up front. City has scored 45 goals this season, a staggering 18 of which have come compliments of Argentine comet Carlos Tevez.
The Blues, meanwhile, have 51 goals on the season. Dominant Didier Drogba comes first with 11, followed closely by Flourent Malouda and Fernando Torres with nine apiece.
This is a match that may well come down to the defenses’ abilities to hold the opposition, and unfortunately so for City. The side is currently missing defensive anchor Kolo Toure, who’s been a naughty boy and dabbled in the wife’s diet pills.
West Ham United vs. Tottenham Hotspur: 4
Four is a magical number in the upcoming east London showdown between West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur.
It is the number of goals that Demba Ba has scored in his four EPL starts, and the number of consecutive games in which Tottenham has conceded goals.
In its last four league matches, Tottenham has allowed eight goals while also scoring eight. In that same period, West Ham United has allowed five goals and scored nine.
The showdown is the first time these sides have met since the Olympic Committee made the decision to award the use of Olympic Stadium to West Ham in the wake of the 2012 games. No doubt Tottenham will be smarting from that fresh wound and looking to exact vigilante justice.
Statistics show that the match will be decided by firepower, as each team excels when it bludgeons opponents, not holds them to slim victories.
Tottenham is historically the victor in these grudge matches, though the return of Thomas Hitzlsperger and Robbie Keane, and the aggression of Ba in West Ham’s corner will prove crucial.
Arsenal vs. West Bromwich Albion: 6
The lads at Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion have been naughty indeed.
The Gunners and Baggies lead the EPL in red cards with six apiece, which is two more than the next closest sides. Why have Wenger’s boys been so bad? What did the WBA men do wrong?
Gunner Bacary Sagna has transgressions beyond his heinous hair do this season, as he was booted from a game against City for a headbutt on Pablo Zabaleta.
Arsenal golden boy Jack Wilshere and agro Frenchman Laurent Koscielny have also been given straight red cards, the former against Birmingham, and the latter against Newcastle United. Koscielny, the wily minx, is the proud recipient of two red cards this campaign.
On the Baggies end of business, midfielder Youssouf Mulumbu has been sent off twice during the 2010-11 season, and Gonzalo Jara, James Morrison and Ibanez Pablo have all received red cards.
When these maestros of malfeasance meet, who knows which bones will break and whose blood will pour?
Wigan Athletic vs. Birmingham: 27
Given the context, 27 is a sad and lowly number.
That context is Saturday’s fateful showdown between bottom dwellers Birmingham and Wigan Athletic. Each team has scored only 27 goals the entire season, tied for dead last in goal total.
Combined, Wigan and Birmingham have scored fewer goals than either Arsenal or Manchester United during the 2010-11 season. On their own, each team has only eight more goals than Bulgarian Bomber Dimitar Berbatov this campaign.
A win for either team would provide three crucial points, though the Latics would still sit in the relegation zone even with a win.
Everton vs. Fulham: 27
Given the context, 27 is a wildly high number.
The context is Saturday’s fateful showdown between two mid-table sides with key American players, Fulham (Clint Dempsey) and Everton (Tim Howard). The squads lead the EPL in draws. The former has 14 this season, the latter 13, for a combined total of 27 draws.
Each team has tied significantly more games than it has won or lost. Everton’s record is 8-13-8. Fulham’s record is 7-14-8.
The sides are equally matched in other numbers games. While Everton has scored more goals, 38 to Fulham’s 32, the team has also conceded more goals, 38 to Fulham’s 31.
Two evenly matched sides with international Americans, comparable numbers and penchant for drawing matches? Wonder how this one will turn out…