#360stats: Pick of the facts and figures

niall 31/12/2015
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Cesc Fabregas has assisted eight goals in his last eight Premier League games against Tottenham and scored two himself.

Ahead of every round of Premier League games, Sport360 – with some help from our friends at Opta Stats – will provide the pick of the facts and figures. Here are this week's highlights:

1 Jan 16:45 (GST) – Stoke City v Manchester United

  • Manchester United have won 11 and lost just one of the 13 Barclays Premier League meetings with Stoke City.
  • Robin van Persie has scored 10 goals in 10 Premier League appearances against the Potters, including four in five for Manchester United.
  • Mark Hughes played 467 times for Manchester United in all competitions – the all-time 14th highest appearance maker for the club.
  • Man Utd have won five and lost just one of their last seven away games in all competitions against Stoke.
  • The Red Devils have won six and lost just two of their 11 Premier League matches played on New Year’s Day.
  • Wayne Rooney needs two more goals to become the first player in Premier League history to score 10+ goals in 11 consecutive seasons.
  • Rooney has provided five goals and two assists in his last seven Premier League appearances. 

1 Jan 19:00 (GST) – Aston Villa v Crystal Palace

  • Aston Villa are unbeaten in their last six matches on New Year’s Day in the Premier League (W4 D2).
  • Aston Villa scored only 11 goals in the first half of the 2014-15 PL season. The lowest scorers in an entire Premier League season are Derby in 2007-08 with 20.
  • Neil Warnock posted a win percentage of 19% in the Premier League at Palace, compared to Tony Pulis’s rate of 42%.
  • Palace have the lowest pass completion of any Premier League team this season (68%).
  • Crystal Palace have exactly the same number of points that they had at the halfway stage of the 2013-14 season (16 points from 19 games) – they ended last season in 11th place.
  • Gabriel Agbonlahor has scored against 32 of the 35 different teams that he has faced in the Premier League; but Palace are one of the three sides he is yet to score against (in three PL apps). The other teams he’s failed to net against in the PL are Cardiff and Leicester.
  • Of the 17 ever-present sides in the Premier League during 2014, Aston Villa scored the fewest goals (32) in the calendar year.
  • Crystal Palace have won just one of their last 13 Premier League matches (W1 D5 L7).

1 Jan 19:00 (GST) – Hull City v Everton

  • Gaston Ramirez has scored two goals in three Premier League meetings with the Toffees.
  • Romelu Lukaku has scored in two of his three meetings with Hull City as an Everton player.
  • Everton have won four of the seven Premier League meetings with Hull (W4 D2 L1).
  • Everton have won only three and lost seven of their 12 Premier League games played on New Year’s Day.
  • Everton have conceded 31 goals already this season after only letting in 39 in the whole of 2013-14.
  • Everton have made fewer crosses (excl. corners) than any other side this season (245).
  • Hull have made fewer touches in the opposition penalty area than any other Premier League team this season (256).
  • The Tigers have collected three red cards in their last eight Premier League games.

1 Jan 19:00 (GST) – Liverpool v Leicester City

  • Liverpool have won their last three meetings with the Foxes at Anfield; this after a run of three successive defeats there.
  • Liverpool have won five and lost just one of their seven Premier League games played at Anfield on New Year’s Day.
  • Liverpool’s win against Swansea on Monday was the first time they had scored 4+ goals in a Premier League game since March (4-0 v Spurs).
  • Liverpool are looking to win three Premier League games in a row for the first time since their run of 11 successive wins in the spring.
  • Adam Lallana has two goals and an assist in his last two Premier League games at Anfield and scored in the reverse fixture against the Foxes last month.
  • Liverpool, along with Arsenal and Stoke, are the only teams to win all their games in the festive period so far (Boxing Day + Dec 28-29).
  • Liverpool have scored more goals in their past three games (7) than they had in the previous eight combined (6).

1 Jan 19:00 (GST) – Manchester City v Sunderland

  • Manchester City have won eight and lost none of their 10 previous Premier League home games against the Black Cats.
  • Sunderland have never kept an away clean sheet against Manchester City in the Premier League era (conceding 28).
  • James Milner has scored more goals against Sunderland (5) than he has versus any other Premier League opponent.
  • Manchester City have won six and lost just one of their last nine Premier League games on New Year’s Day. The one defeat was a 0-1 loss to Sunderland in 2012.
  • Connor Wickham has scored three goals in two Premier League appearances against Man City.
  • There have been 25 goals netted in the last five meetings between these two sides at the Etihad Stadium.
  • Sunderland have kept four successive clean sheets away from home for the first time in their Premier League history. They last kept four in a row in the top-flight in Feb 1902 and have never kept five in succession in the top tier.

1 Jan 19:00 (GST) – Newcastle United v Burnley

  • These sides have not met in the North East since November 1982, when Newcastle won 3-0.
  • Burnley’s last victory at St James Park dates back to April 1976; they have drawn one and lost two since that 1-0 triumph.
  • Newcastle are unbeaten at St James Park on New Year’s Day winning four and drawing one of their five home fixtures on that date in the Premier League era.
  • Burnley have named the same team in their last five Premier League games and their starting XI all played 90 minutes against Manchester City on December 28.
  • On average Burnley are covering more distance (116.2 km per game) than any other Premier League team this season.
  • Cheik Tiote has been booked in four of his last five Premier League appearances.
  • If you count Ashley Barnes as English (born in Bath but has played for Austria u20s) then all 22 players that Burnley have used this season have come from the UK & Ireland.

1 Jan 19:00 (GST) – Queens Park Rangers v Swansea City

  • There have been eight goals in two PL clashes between these sides at Loftus Road, with QPR winning 3-0 and Swansea winning 5-0.
  • All 18 of QPR’s points this season have been won at Loftus Road.
  • QPR have already won four more points at Loftus Road this season (18) than in the entire 2012/13 campaign (14).
  • Charlie Austin has been directly involved in 67% of QPR’s league goals this season; more than any other player in England’s top four tiers.
  • Austin is only the second player to score 12 or more Premier League goals for QPR in a single season after Les Ferdinand (92/93, 93/94, 95/96).
  • No side has conceded more set-piece goals this season in the Premier League than QPR (11) – level with Crystal Palace.
  • QPR have won four and lost none of their last six Premier League matches at Loftus Road, this after winning just three of the previous 23.

1 Jan 19:00 (GST) – Southampton v Arsenal

  • Southampton are without a win in 10 Premier League meetings with the Gunners (D4 L6).
  • Arsene Wenger has come up against Ronald Koeman on eight occasions, winning just two matches, drawing four and losing two.
  • Arsenal have won seven and lost just one of their nine New Year’s Day fixtures in Premier League history. The one draw came away against Southampton in 2013.
  • There have been five red cards in just six Premier League meetings between Arsenal and Southampton at St Mary’s.
  • Alexis Sanchez has only scored one goal in his last five Premier League appearances.
  • But Sanchez has scored or assisted 47% of Arsenal’s Premier League goals this season (16 of 34).
  • Southampton have faced a league-low 174 shots at their goal, while Arsenal have conceded the next fewest (191).

1 Jan 19:00 (GST) – West Ham United v West Bromwich Albion

  • West Ham have only lost two of their last 12 Barclays Premier League clashes with the Baggies (W5 D5).
  • The Baggies have not won at Upton Park since their first Premier League trip there in September 2002 (D3 L2).
  • West Ham have lost seven of their 10 Premier League New Year’s Day games (W3 L7).
  • Saido Berahino has scored in two of his three Premier League games against West Ham.
  • West Ham and West were two of only three sides to lose both of their games over the Boxing Day and December 28 matchdays (along with Everton).
  • West Brom have conceded eight goals in their last three Premier League games.
  • Stewart Downing has created 54 goalscoring chances this season, more than twice as many as the Baggies’ top creator (Dorrans, 25).
  • 11 of Andy Carroll’s 24 shots (excl. blocked) this season in the Premier League have come via his head.

1 Jan 21:30 (GST) – Tottenham Hotspur v Chelsea

  • Spurs have won three and lost just one of their last eight Barclays Premier League home games against the Blues (D4).
  • Didier Drogba has scored four goals and assisted five more in his last nine Premier League games against Spurs.
  • The Blues have won six and lost two of their eight New Year’s Day Premier League fixtures.
  • Loic Remy has scored in two of his three Premier League appearances against Spurs.
  • Cesc Fabregas has assisted eight goals in his last eight Premier League games against Tottenham and scored two himself.
  • Chelsea are unbeaten in the last nine Premier League games against Spurs (W4 D5).
  • Since 2006-07 Chelsea have picked up 17 yellow cards for simulation, more than any other Premier League side (Tottenham have 16 in that period).
  • Every time Chelsea have scored two or more goals in the Premier League this season they have won (14 times), every time they have scored fewer than twice they have failed to win (five times).

All statistics and facts are brought to you by Opta Sports.

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Real Madrid v AC Milan proves a hit with passionate fans in Dubai

Scott 31/12/2015
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Fans enjoyed the atmosphere at the Dubai Rugby Sevens as Real Madrid took on AC Milan in the Dubai Football Challenge.

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El Shaarawy goals see AC Milan past Real

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AC Milan's captain Riccardo Montolivo (L) celebrates with his teammates as he raises the Dubai challenge cup trophy after beating Real Madrid.

It was not the result the partisan 7he Sevens crowd wanted to see. But this was a night when scorelines did not matter.

AC Milan came away with the honours from the Dubai Football Challenge, Stephan El Shaarawy's brace helping the Italians to inflict a 4-2 defeat on Real Madrid – their first since September 13.

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– Real Madrid sweep the board at Globe Soccer Awards – Atlantis, Dubai

The reigning Champions League and Club World Cup holders will care little, a Spanish record 22-match winning run in competitive games remains intact.

This friendly, the most high-profile ever played on UAE soil, was more about winning hearts and minds. In this battle, there was only one victor.

Italy forward El Shaarawy dominated the match, a welcome confidence boost for a 22-year-old struggling to re-discover his best form in Serie A following crippling foot injuries.

The game, however, came to life whenever Cristiano Ronaldo was involved. Screams met his every touch prior to his half-time removal, the loudest noise from a crowd that often sat in reverence rather than revelling in the moment.

Only tennis world no1 and Milan fan Novak Djokovic's arrival at the break, which included a centre-circle kick about with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema, ever threatened the 29-year-old's top billing.

The stands at the sold-out 7he Sevens were packed to see the Portugal superstar and his fellow Galacticos, partisan Real supporters still trying to force their way into the ground long after the start as the narrow roads leading in heaved under the volume of cars.

Dubai has been transfixed by the presence of these giants of football, the most decorated clubs in European Cup history.

As far as mid-winter friendlies go, the supporters can feel they got good value for money. Both bosses were as good as their pre-match words, Real's Carlo Ancelotti and Milan's Filippo Inzaghi showing off their squads.

The sides operate in very different realms these days. Milan are re-building under former striker Inzaghi, sitting seventh in Serie A.

Real's last outing was in Morocco where they became the FIFA Club World Cup champions, crowning a tremendous 2014 which saw the haloed 'Decima' – their 10th Champions League/European Cup trophy – claimed.

This disparity did not transfer to the Emirates, though a helping hand was required.

Stand-in Real centre-back Nacho Fernandez's under-hit back-pass was lapped up by Jeremy Menez in the 24th minute, the on-song France forward dumping goalkeeper Keylor Navas on the ground before stroking home.

Former Milan hero Carlo Ancelotti, a serial trophy winner as player and head coach, was not amused.

Things soon got worse for Los Blancos. El Shaarawy was excellent throughout, his first effort fired in low at the near post from the edge of the area.

Ronaldo was the most celebrated starter for the Spaniards and he did not disappoint his adoring public. His first-time shot on 35 minutes caught leaden-footed Diego Lopez unaware at the near post, heaping embarrassment on the ex-Real shot stopper.

Hope was extinguished soon after Djokovic's star turn. El Shaarawy was one of the few star men left after a raft of substitutions, the Genoa youth product completing his brace with a composed low finish after a slip from Real right-back Dani Carvajal played in Andrea Poli.

The game was pushed beyond the Champions League holders when centre-back Pepe left substitute Giampaolo Pazzini unmarked to head in Milan's fourth.

There was still time for France centre forward Karim Benzema to slot home a late penalty after Fernandez was felled by Mbaye Niang. Gareth Bale fired straight at Michael Agazzi in injury-time as Real pushed, in vain, for more.

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