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.
History features prominently in this week's review, from a 115-year-old English derby to long-standing records that Carlo Ancelotti and Dutch league leaders AZ are in the process of pursuing.
matches in the AC Milan dugout was the landmark reached by Carlo Ancelotti on Sunday as his side claimed an impressive 4-1 win away to Bologna. The 49-year-old is already the longest-serving coach in Serie A and now has within his sights the legendary Nereo Rocco, who led the Rossoneri in a record 459 matches between 1961 and 1973. As Ancelotti himself said: "I don't say I want to be Milan coach for another 400 games but I would surely like to match the great Rocco." The Milan boss, one of just five men to have won the European Cup as a player and a coach, also insisted that his side - bolstered by the recent arrival of David Beckham - are gathering enough momentum to win their first Scudetto since 2004.
meetings between Everton and Liverpool make the Merseyside derby the FA Cup's most frequently-contested tie - and Sunday's 1-1 draw at Anfield means we now have a 22nd to look forward to. These great rivals from England's most successful football city first clashed in the beautiful game's oldest tournament way back in 1902, and the 107 years since have witnessed many memorable and dramatic contests. Liverpool have a narrow FA Cup edge, with nine victories to Everton's six, but they needed a second half equaliser from captain Steven Gerrard to earn another 1-1 draw in Sunday's latest showdown at Anfield. The result is a replay at Goodison Park a week from today and a third Merseyside derby in the space of 19 days.
days ahead of turning 38, Gabriel Caballero proved that he is still a scoring force to be reckoned with by grabbing a decisive double in Pachuca's 2-1 win at Real San Luis. The former Mexico international, a member of El Tri's 2002 FIFA World Cup™ squad, told FIFA.com last month that he is planning to hang up his boots at the end of the current Clausura campaign, this after leading his side to fourth place at the FIFA Club World Cup. However, many will feel that Pachuca could do worse than convincing their influential captain to postpone his retirement, especially after his goals maintained the reigning CONCACAF champions' early 100 per cent record in Group 1. Home to the week's oldest goalscorer, Mexico also witnessed the week's fastest hat-trick, with Cruz Azul's Edgar Gerardo Lugo taking just 26 minutes to put Atlas to the sword in a 4-0 win.
consecutive home clean sheets is the streak that has helped propel AZ to a position of strength at the top of the Dutch Eredivisie. Saturday's 2-0 win over De Graafschap, which was also Luis van Gaal's side's eighth straight clean sheet home and away, took the Alkmaar outfit six points clear of nearest challengers Ajax and closer to a first top flight title in 28 years. Only PSV, who currently languish 15 points behind the leaders, can boast a better run, having gone 13 home matches without conceding in 1977. AZ's run of eight straight clean sheets is also the joint-fifth longest in Eredivisie history. PSV hold this record too, having racked up 12 on the spin under Guus Hiddink in 2004.
successive defeats is the miserable record that has left Inverness Caledonian Thistle anchored to the foot of the Scottish Premier League. This losing sequence also cost Craig Brewster his job as manager and now the team from the Highlands have turned to a famous former England captain to help salvage their season. Yesterday, Terry Butcher agreed to replace Brewster after agreement was struck to enable the 77-times-capped former centre-half to combine this new role with his responsibilities as Scotland's assistant coach. Butcher enjoyed a successful stint as manager of Motherwell between 2002 and 2006 but arrives in Inverness with a point to prove after struggling to make an impact with Australia's Sydney FC and English outfit Brentford.