In FIFA.com’s latest review of the week’s football stats, we reflect on records for Gareth Bale, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund, an unbeaten streak in China PR and the ending of a long drought at Anfield.
seconds were on the Bernabeu clock on Saturday when Gareth Bale scored the fastest goal of his career. The early strike, which sparked a 5-0 win over Real Betis in which Bale later added a second – the 117th of his career - was the Welshman’s first league goal in almost five months. It also came in a weekend strange and notable for the fact that neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi joined Bale in finding the net. Both had also failed to score the week before, meaning that – for the first time in Spain's La Liga – consecutive rounds of matches passed with these two living legends playing, but failing to get among the goals. Not that Barcelona will be worried by Messi’s ‘drought’. The reigning champions are now unbeaten in 16 league games, have scored in each of those matches and possess a goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo, unbeaten in his last eight.
years without a win at Anfield was the run that came to an emphatic end for West Ham United on Monday. The Londoners stunned Liverpool with a 3-0 win – the Reds’ heaviest home league defeat in a decade – to end a painful streak of 31 losses and 11 draws in their 42 visits since 1963. If Anfield was miserable for its home fans, so too was Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea lost again in Jose Mourinho’s 200th Premier League match and 100th home fixture. Crystal Palace were their conquerors on this occasion, leaving Alan Pardew with the distinction of being the only manager in England, Spain, Portugal or Italy to have claimed three league wins over Mourinho. The result also left Chelsea as England’s worst-placed defending champions after four rounds of matches since Blackburn Rovers two decades ago – that in a season when Alan Shearer and Co ended up finishing seventh. All this is especially worrying for Chelsea fans as Manchester City have made a near-perfect start, becoming just the fourth team in English top-flight history – after Aston Villa (1900), Ipswich Town (1974) and Chelsea (2005) – to begin the season with four wins and zero goals conceded.
matches and five months have now passed since Luiz Felipe Scolari's Guangzhou Evergrande last tasted defeat in the Chinese Super League. That impressive sequence has left the four-time champions just three matches short of the club record set in 2011, the year in which they began their recent dominance of the top flight. But despite their fine run, Scolari’s side are still far from assured of a fifth successive crown, with Shanghai SIPG – coached by Sven-Goran Eriksson – currently a point clear the summit, despite having lost one more match. Guangzhou are even further away from breaking the league’s all-time record unbeaten streak. That was set by the now-defunct Dalian Shide, who avoided defeat from the middle of the 1995 season until the last match of the ’97 campaign – a run spanning an incredible 55 games.
wins from as many games: that is the start to the season which has seen Borussia Dortmund equal a club record first set in 1976. Thomas Tuchel has also enjoyed the best-ever start by a new Dortmund coach, having overseen a spectacular beginning to the club’s 2015/16 campaign. Top of the German Bundesliga with a perfect record, Tuchel’s Dortmund went into the weekend having opened the league season with two clean sheets for the first time since their title-winning campaign of 2001/02. And while their defence was finally breached in a 3-1 win over Hertha Berlin, it is at the other end that BVB are making most headlines. That is all but inevitable considering that they have already found the net 30 times this season, with 22 goals scored in their last five alone. Indeed, Dortmund’s 7-2 UEFA Europa League win over Odd of Norway last week left them having scored four or more goals in four consecutive games for the first time in Bundesliga era.
defeats in as many games have given Juventus the worst start of any reigning Italian Serie A champions since Bologna in 1941/42. The sequence already represents the worst opening to a season in Juve’s Serie A history, and their worst run at any stage of the campaign since 2011. Roma inflicted their latest defeat, giving coach Rudi Garcia the first win of his career over the Turin giants. Salt was rubbed in Bianconeri wounds by the dismissal of Patrice Evra, the Frenchman’s first red card since collecting one for Monaco against Auxerre in August 2005. Rubinho was also sent off from the bench, taking the number of red cards in this fixture since 1994/95 to a remarkable 27 (14 for Juventus, 13 for Roma). But while one side of Turin is lamenting, the other is rejoicing, with Torino having started a Serie A season with two straight wins for the first time in 22 years. They saw off Fiorentina 3-1, a match in which Fabio Quagliarella marked his 300th Serie A appearance with his 90th top-flight goal.