Everyone knows about Jamie Vardy's 11-game scoring record, Arsenal's 2003/04 “Invincibles” season, and which club is the most successful in the history of the Premier League, but here are a few EPL facts of which you may not have been aware.
Band of brothers
André and Jordan Ayew are the 19th set of brothers to have featured in the same Premier League season. After being relegated last season with Aston Villa, Jordan currently plays his football at Swansea, the club André turned out for in 2015/16 before making a £20 million switch to West Ham.
The first brothers to play in the same Premier League season were the Wallaces. Danny (Manchester United), Rod and Ray (both Leeds United) made appearances in the league's inaugural season in 1992/93 before Danny retired and Rod and Ray gradually slipped down the leagues.
The Premier League's most famous and successful set of brothers are the Nevilles, who won eight winners' medals for Manchester United before Phil left to join Everton in 2005. While the younger Neville eventually made more appearances in the league than his sibling, Gary managed to add a further two titles to his burgeoning trophy cabinet before retiring in 2011.
Kolo and Yaya Touré are another pair of brothers who can claim to be Premier League winners (both were in the same Manchester City squad that memorably usurped Manchester United in 2012), a family achievement shared with former Manchester United full-back twins Fabio and Rafael da Silva, who lifted the trophy in 2009 and 2011.
Other brothers to have made at least one appearance in the same Premier League season are Rio and Anton Ferdinand, Martin and Marcus Olsson, Michael and Will Keane, Shaun and Bradley Wright-Phillips, Craig and Gary Gardner, Luke and Stefan Moore, Shola and Sammy Ameobi, Steven and Gary Caldwell, Justin and Gavin Hoyte, Michael and Andy Dawson, John Arne and Bjørn Helge Riise, Stephen and Noel Hunt, Xabi and Mikel Alonso and Dickson and Kelvin Etuhu.
Relegation is seen as the nadir of a player's career, but several footballers have proved a particularly bad luck charm for their sides, dropping out of the Premier League on multiple occasions.
Icelandic defender Hermann Hreiðarsson is the don of the Premier League drop, having experienced relegation no fewer than five times during his 15-year stint in England. The left-back’s first brush with heartbreak occurred in his maiden season in the top flight with Crystal Palace in 1997/98. He was then part of the Wimbledon squad that fell into Division One on the last day of the 1999/00 season, never to return. A good first season with Ipswich Town, when the Tractor Boys finished fifth, was ruined with a third relegation in 2002, before Hreiðarsson suffered again in his twilight years, first with Charlton (2007) and then with cash-strapped Portsmouth (2010).
Marcus Bent, Nathan Blake, Ashley Ward and Nigel Quashie were relegated four times, while Mark Robins, Steve Kabba, David Nugent and George Boyd suffered the indignity of playing for two relegated sides in the same Premier League season.
47 clubs have enjoyed Premier League status, with six competing in every campaign so far: Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton. Prior to relegation in 2016, Aston Villa had never missed a season of Premier League football.
Blackpool, Barnsley, Cardiff City and Swindon Town were only afforded brief stays in the top flight, with Swindon statistically the worst Premier League club of all time, having conceded 100 goals in 42 games in the 1993/94 season.
Although most former Premier League clubs currently reside in the Championship and League One, several have plumbed further depths. Although none have ever lost their league status, Blackpool, Bradford City, Portsmouth and Swindon Town have all played in League Two since being relegated from the Premier League, while Wimbledon are no more, having relocated to Milton Keynes as MK Dons in 2004.
Bogey teams and bad runs
Despite visiting SW6 in every Premier League season, Tottenham are yet to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, taking just nine points from their 25 encounters. Another notoriously one-sided clash between Premier League regulars is Aston Villa v Manchester United. The Villans have won just three of 48 encounters against the Red Devils, despite regularly finishing in the top six in the league's early years.
Local derbies can often be the source of head-to-head hoodoos, and that's certainly the case on Merseyside. Since beating Roy Hodgson's Liverpool 2-0 in 2010, Everton have failed to get one up on their neighbours in 12 attempts. In the North East, Sunderland currently have the rub on hated rivals Newcastle United. Although the Magpies were relegated at the end of last season, they've failed to defeat the Black Cats in any of their last nine games, losing six.
Derby County currently hold the record for the most Premier League games without a win, with 32. This run, set in their miserable 2007/08 season, could be extended further when the Rams return to the top flight. However, even Derby cannot claim the worst Premier League home run – that dubious honour goes to Sunderland. After beating Liverpool 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on 15th December 2002, the Black Cats had to wait three-and-a-half years – and 29 Premier League games – before tasting victory on their own patch again. A 2-1 victory over Fulham in May 2006 ensured that Kevin Ball's men avoided becoming the first side in English football history to go a whole season without winning at home.
Recently, Bournemouth’s Josh King became the 160th player to score a hat-trick in Premier League history, netting three goals against Watford. The Norwegian striker still has some way to go to beat Alan Shearer, who managed 11 hat-tricks during his career, including five in one season in 1995/96. The former England captain heads up a formidable list, followed closely by Robbie Fowler (nine), Michael Owen and Thierry Henry (eight apiece). Wayne Rooney and Luis Suárez are a little bit further back with six.
Sadio Mané holds the record for the fastest hat-trick in Premier League history, striking three times against Aston Villa in 2015 in just two minutes and 56 seconds. Suárez is the only player to register a “treble treble” against the same team, taking the match ball home on three occasions when Liverpool played Norwich City.
Steve Watson is the only defender to have netted a Premier League hat-trick, in Everton’s 4-0 win over Leeds in September 2003, while six players have managed the feat after entering the field of play from the substitutes’ bench. Ole Gunnar Solskjær is arguably the most famous example: the Norwegian hit four past Nottingham Forest in 12 minutes after coming on in 1999, but Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Robert Earnshaw, Emmanuel Adebayor, Romelu Lukaku and Steven Naismith have all made their managers’ decision to introduce them to the fray look an extremely good one.
League of nations
106 non-UK nations have so far been represented in the Premier League, with Ireland, France and the Netherlands the most popular nationalities of overseas players. However, foreigners haven’t always been so popular. When the league first kicked off in 1992/93, only 13 players hailed from outside of the British Isles. Contrast that with the landscape of the 2016/17 season, where 69.2% of players come from abroad. Representatives of countries as far-flung as Armenia, Benin, Curaçao and Gambia trot out to the Premier League anthem these days, and the trend for “going offshore” has extended to the dugout, with Sean Dyche, Paul Clement, Sam Allardyce, Craig Shakespeare and Eddie Howe the only English managers in the league at the time of writing.
Chelsea were the first club in English football history to field an entirely foreign starting 11, when Gianluca Vialli was manager in 1999, while Arsenal went a step further than their London rivals by naming a squad solely composed of overseas players in 2005.
Did you know...?
- Since Arsène Wenger first stepped into the Arsenal dugout in October 1996, 150 other managers have held top jobs in the Premier League.
- Burnley have the worst away record of clubs that have played more than one season in the Premier League. At the time of writing, in 55 games on the road since first being promoted in 2009, they’ve emerged victorious just four times, losing 40.
- Reserve goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer is the only player to win back-to-back titles with two different clubs. The Aussie was on the books at Chelsea in 2014/15 and Leicester last season but failed to make an appearance.
- In the 2006/07 season, Manchester City failed to score at home after New Year’s Day. The Citizens’ faithful went over 12 hours without celebrating a goal at the (then) City of Manchester Stadium.
- The Premier League has only ever seen one 5-5 draw, in Sir Alex Ferguson’s last ever game in charge of Manchester United.
That brings our round-up of our favourite Premier League facts to a close – now it’s your turn to educate us with your own!