In many ways, football is a simple game: the team that scores the most goals wins. Yet in every week, in every league and in every single match, there are intriguing statistical sub-plots that help make the beautiful game the fascinating spectacle that it is.
That's why, every week, we at FIFA.com take a look at the numbers behind the results, highlighting football's biggest winners and losers from the week just past. This, the latest of our regular round-ups, is sure to make especially pleasant reading for Standard Liege, Liverpool and Real Madrid fans, while supporters of Uruguay's Rampla Juniors supporters would be well advised to look away now.
Primera Liga goals was the milestone reached by Raul on Saturday when he fired home a 72nd-minute penalty to seal Real Madrid's 2-1 win over Espanyol. In doing so, the 30-year-old became only the seventh player in the history of the Spanish top-flight to reach a double century, leaving him just 27 goals shy of the legendary Alfredo Di Stefano's final tally. The late, great Telmo Zarra, who starred for Athletic Bilbao between 1939 and 1955, is the all-time record-holder with 251 goals, and while that target might seem ambitious, Raul has defied the doubters too many times to recall. It is now almost 13-and-a-half years since the Real captain opened his Liga account on 5 November 1994 and with 13 goals already this season, many believe that he is returning to his predatory best.
days ahead of his 38th birthday, veteran Czech defender Jiri Novotny became the week's oldest goalscorer when he found the net for Slovakian side MFK Ruzomberok in a 2-2 draw with FC Nitra. The former Sparta Prague stalwart, capped 33 times during a distinguished international career, has led a somewhat nomadic existence since leaving the Czech capital in 2003 to end a love affair with Sparta that had spanned over 11 years and 315 matches. His current side, however, show no signs of being able to challenge the Corgon Liga's dominant top two, MSK Zilina and Artmedia Bratislava, who sit perched 13 and 12 points clear respectively of third-place Spartak Trnava.
minutes was all the time Herman Pietrobon required to to fire home the week's fastest hat-trick in Bulgarian side Pirin Blagoevgrad's 4-0 win over Marek Dupnitsa on Saturday. Pietrobon's goals, which came between the 34th and 63rd minute of a comfortable win for the southwestern outfit, nevertheless had little impact on a title race that CSKA currently lead by eight points from Sofia rivals Levski and Lokomotiv. Other hat-trick heroes over the past week included Mallorca's Juan Arango, VfB Stuttgart's Mario Gomez, Tuma Hamed of Maccabi Herzliya, Dyskobolia Grodzisk Wielkopolski's Adrian Sikora and Liverpool's new talisman, Fernando Torres. More about Torres later.
rounds of matches have been played in Belgium and, still, Standard Liege have yet to taste defeat. The Jupiler League leaders continued their remarkable unbeaten streak with a 2-1 win over struggling Sint-Truiden on Saturday, a win that maintained their four-point advantage over nearest challengers Club Brugge. Standard, who last won the championship a quarter-of-a-century ago in 1983, are now within a single match of emulating the record 26-game run strung together by WAPDA during the Pakistani league season.
of Fernando Torres' 19 Premier League goals, 89 per cent, have come at Anfield. That was the statistic created when the new darling of the Kop scored the second of Liverpool's goals in Saturday's comprehensive 3-0 victory over Newcastle United. The Spanish striker is currently in a rich vein of form with with eight goals in his team's last four home matches, including two hat-tricks, and needs to find the net only once more to become the first Reds player since Robbie Fowler in 1996 to reach the 20-mark in a Premier League season.
unanswered goals against Rampla Juniors gave Uruguay's River Plate the week's biggest win. Henry Gimenez and Jorge Zambrana both bagged braces as the Montevideo-based Clausura contenders kept to within two points of leaders Nacional. Rampla Juniors, meanwhile - who finished third in the Apertura, ahead of both River and Nacional - remain anchored to the foot of the table, with just a single point and a goal difference of minus-14 to show for their first four Clausura encounters.