At the halfway point of the Premier League season one statistic stands out more than most - Everton's 33 goals conceded. Despite coming close to knocking Arsenal out of the top four last season, and being tipped by experts, pundits and betting news sources, such as Blue Square, to finish high up the table again this year, Everton’s defence is causing Roberto
Martinez some real headaches. Without significant improvement, they will struggle to make the top ten by May.
Worst Ever Start
To contextualise Everton's defensive woes, it is worth highlighting the fact that they currently have the joint second worst defence in the league (along with bottom club Leicester). Only Harry Redknapp's QPR have been more generous at the back. This time last season
Everton get this week's Performance of the Week for their 4-4 draw at Manchester United
- They became the first team to concede four goals against Manchester United at Old Trafford and avoid defeat since Newcastle United in 1959.
Not that it was needed, but Steven Gerrard enhanced his reputation as a Liverpool legend with his hat-trick in last night's Mersey derby victory against Everton at Anfield.
The 31 year-old marked David Moyes’ tenth anniversary as Everton manager by becoming the first player to score three goals in this fixture since Ian Rush hit four at Goodison Park in November 1982.
Steven is only the fifth Liverpool player to notch a Mersey derby hat-trick at Anfield. The most recent came from Fred Howe in September 1935.
Only Ian Rush has scored more Reds goals (19) against the Toffees than Steven's eight. He shares second position with Harry Chambers and Jack Parkinson.
It all came on the night that he became the 25th player to reach the 400 appearances mark in the Premier League.
This week's prestigious goal of the week goes to Arsenal’s marvellous Robin Van Persie for his strike against Everton.
On the day the club celebrated its 125th anniversary, the Gunners celebrated their famous mantra of one-nil to the Arsenal in glorious fashion.
The goal came out of nothing against a stubborn Everton rearguard. From Alex Song’s clever chip, after the ball came across his body, goal-machine Van Persie scored with a sumptuous left-foot volley.
The modern day legend brought a host of Arsenal legends to their feet in stunned appreciation.
It was Van Persie’s 33rd Premier League goal of the year, leaving him one behind the club record held by Thierry Henry.
Arsenal & Stoke City
· Stoke City have lost on all of their nine league and cup visits to Arsenal since 1983.
· Arsenal captain Robin Van Persie has scored 23 goals in 25 Premier League appearances in 2011.
· Stoke City have conceded only two goals in the second-half of their Premier League games this season; fewer than any other team.
Blackburn Rovers & Tottenham Hotspur
· Tottenham Hotspur have won all of their last four meetings with Blackburn Rovers.
· Blackburn Rovers are the only team who have yet to be in the lead at half-time in a Premier League game this season.
· Tottenham Hotspur have drawn 99 of their all-time 371 away games in the Premier League (won
Aston Villa & Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa have scored only two goals in Wigan Athletic’s six previous Premier League visits to Villa Park.Having been held in their last three games, Aston Villa could complete a sequence of four consecutive Premier League draws for the first time since September / October 2004.After taking five points from their first three games, Wigan Athletic will be aiming to avoid a run of four consecutive Premier League games for the first time since October 2008.
Blackburn Rovers & Manchester City
Manchester City are unbeaten in their last seven Premier League meetings with Blackburn Rovers.Other than newly promoted Norwich City, Blackburn Rovers are the only team who have yet to keep a clean
Arsenal & Bolton Wanderers
Bolton Wanderers have lost all five previous visits to the Emirates Stadium in the Premier League.Only Southampton (16 in 1998-99) and Derby County (15 in 2007-08) have conceded more goals than Arsenal after five games of a Premier League season.Bolton Wanderers have lost nine of their last ten Premier League games.
Chelsea & Swansea City
Swansea City have not won at Stamford Bridge since November 1925 when they were known as Swansea Town.Chelsea have kept only one clean sheet in their last nine Premier League games.Swansea City have conceded only one goal in their last four Premier League games.
Liverpool & Wolverhampton Wanderers
Last December’s 1-0 victory was only Wolverhampton
Aston Villa & Newcastle United
Newcastle United have lost on all of their last four visits to Villa Park and scored only one goal in the process.Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last nine league and cup games.All four of Newcastle United’s Premier League games this season have been goalless at half-time. Last season, they won just one of the 13 Premier League matches in which they were level at the interval.
Blackburn Rovers & Arsenal
Arsenal have lost only one of their last ten Premier League meetings with Blackburn Rovers.Blackburn Rovers have scored more than one goal in only one of their last 12 Premier League games.Arsenal have lost 99 away games in their Premier League history.
Bolton Wanderers & Norwich City
Arsenal & Swansea City
This is only Swansea City’s fifth visit to Arsenal in all competitions and their first since New Year’s Day in 1983.Prior to their recent defeat at Manchester United, the last time Arsenal conceded seven goals in a top division game was at Leicester City (2-7) on 31 August 1963. Frank McLintock, who became the captain of the Gunners 1971 double-winning side, scored one of the goals.Having failed to score in their first three Premier League games, Swansea City will be aiming to avoid failing to score in the first four games of a league season for the first time in their history.
Bolton Wanderers & Manchester United
Bolton Wanderers have won only one of Manchester United’s 11 previous visits to the Reebok Stadium (all Premier League). That
The 11v11 Premier League Performance of the Week is back! This week the honour goes to Queen's Park Rangers for their performance in beating Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park.
QPR had to cope with the absence due to virus of DJ Campbell, Abdel Taarabt and Matt Connolly.
Given the circumstances, Neil Warnock dubbed the victory as one of the best of his career.