In many ways, football is a simple game: the team that scores the most goals wins. Yet 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, each week, FIFA.com takes a look at the numbers behind the results.
Goals dominate this week's review, from Liverpool's at Old Trafford through Thierry Henry and Vagner Love's in European competition to those scored by a legendary Japanese veteran and two Argentinian brothers.
UEFA Champions League goals have taken Thierry Henry into the realm of the European Cup's greatest-ever scorers. A brace in Barcelona's 5-2 victory over Lyon raised the former Arsenal striker on to the half-century mark, surpassing the great Alfredo Di Stefano's final tally of 49 in Europe's top club competition. With the likes of Eusebio, Gerd Muller and Ferenc Puskas also having been left behind, Henry's sights are now on those above him: Andriy Shevchenko (56), Ruud van Nistelrooy (60) and Raul (64).
Eredivisie matches unbeaten is the sequence that has established a new club record at AZ and inched the Alkmaar club ever closer to an historic league title. In racking up 22 wins and three draws since 13 September 2008, Luis van Gaal's side have surpassed their previous record of 24 matches strung together during season 1980/81. That, unsurprisingly, was also the season in which AZ became the first - and to date only - side to relinquish the stranglehold of the Netherlands' big three on the Eredivisie title. Eleven points now separate them from second-placed Twente with seven matches remaining, and AZ already have another record in their sights: the 23 clean sheets racked up by Twente themselves in season 1971/72, and by PSV Eindhoven 23 years later. With 20 already to their name, four more shutouts from their remaining fixtures will ensure that history is made.
years after Queen's Park Rangers shocked Old Trafford with a 4-1 win, and 87 years on from the club's record home defeat - 7-1 to Newcastle United - Manchester United suffered another landmark loss on Saturday. This time, it was old rivals Liverpool who inflicted the Red Devils' biggest home defeat of the Premier League era and, in doing so, became the first club to inflict home-and-away reverses on United in three separate Premiership seasons. The Reds' comprehensive 4-1 triumph also represented only the eighth time in the past ten years that United have led in a match only to lose all three points.
days after celebrating his 42nd birthday, Japanese legend Kazuyoshi Miura smashed his own record as the J.League's oldest goalscorer. It's now 16 years since the man known as 'King Kazu' to his army of fans became the first Japanese recipient of the AFC Asian Player of the Year award, but his thirst for goals remains as strong as ever. The FC Yokohama midfielder's penalty in his side's 2-1 defeat to Kunamoto in J2 took his tally to 151, just six short of Masashi Nakayama's all-time record of 157.
goals in one UEFA Cup campaign is a haul that, prior to this season, only ten players - among them Jupp Heynckes, Henrik Larsson and Alan Shearer - had accumulated. Vagner Love became number 11 on Thursday when he fired CSKA Moscow to a 1-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk and, with a potential six rounds of fixtures left to play, the Brazilian has in his sights the all-time record. That was set in season 1995/96, when Jurgen Klinsmann fired 15 goals as Bayern Munich became the first German team to complete the collection of European Cup, Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Cup titles.
brothers were on target in Gimnasia de Jujuy's 4-1 win over Independiente on Friday, but only one was left smiling at the end. Daniel Montenegro may be the younger and more famous of the two, having recently won recognition in Diego Maradona's new-look Albiceleste, but it was older brother Ariel who enjoyed the upper hand in this family feud. Daniel did succeed in finding the net with a fine free-kick after 85 minutes, but by this advanced stage his team were already 3-0 down, and there was still time for Montenegro Snr to get in on the goalscoring act. The 33-year-old seemed somewhat embarrassed to have done so, even making a gesture of apology to the travelling Independiente fans, but his goal helped ensure a thoroughly satisfying debut for Gimnasia's debutant coach Hector Arzubialde.