Forwards thrive as giants fall
© Getty Images

Roma, Edin Dzeko, Zack Schilawski and Carlos Tevez embraced positive headlines this past week, while Inter Milan and River Plate lamented negative ones. Both, meanwhile, befell Portsmouth. FIFA.com takes a look at the numbers behind the stories.

465

minutes is what has established the worst run without a goal in River Plate’s near-109-year history. Since Gustavo Canales’s 75th-minute strike sealed a 2-0 victory over Huracan exactly one month ago, Los Millonarios have failed to hit the target in defeats by Boca Juniors, Argentinos Juniors, Lanus and Newell’s Old Boys, and in Saturday’s draw with Clausura tailenders Atletico Tucuman, a result that prompted the Buenos Aires giants to fire coach Leonardo Astrada. River, third-bottom with 13 points from 14 games, are suffering their worst-ever season.

25

successive rounds at the Serie A summit is what came to an end for Inter Milan at the weekend. I Nerazzurri’s 2-2 draw at Fiorentina, which left them with just three wins in 11 league matches, allowed Roma to seize outright leadership for the first time since September 2004, courtesy of a 2-1 defeat of Atalanta. Claudio Ranieri’s side are now unbeaten in 23 outings, while, encouragingly, the last time they occupied top spot with five rounds remaining - in 2001 - they emerged champions.

24

hours is the span during which Portsmouth were relegated from the Premier League and produced a colossal upset to reach the FA Cup final. West Ham United’s 1-0 defeat of Sunderland on Saturday left Pompey, who were deducted nine points for entering administration, 17 shy of safety with just 15 to play for. Avram Grant’s team went into their semi-final one day later injury-stricken and having beaten opponents Tottenham Hotspur, who are fifth in the English top flight, just once in 11 attempts. But despite Spurs dominating possession over 90 scoreless minutes, extra-time goals from Frederic Piquionne and Kevin-Prince Boateng, from the penalty spot, sealed an almighty upset and booked Portsmouth a second FA Cup final appearance in three years, against Chelsea on 15 May. No team has ever won the competition and been relegated in the same season.

20

goals in his last 18 appearances – a total secured with a brace in Manchester City’s 5-1 demolition of Birmingham City on Sunday – has earned Carlos Tevez a record nobody in the Premier League can match: Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney and Didier Drogba of Chelsea have managed 19 and 17 respectively in their last 18 outings in the English top flight. The Argentinian forward’s average since beginning that run, with the winner in a 2-1 reverse of Carlo Ancelotti’s side in December, stands at 1.11 per game, while he had previously managed an average of 0.28 – 28 goals in 101 games - since making his Premier League debut in September 2006. Tevez, who now trails this season’s 25-goal leading marksman Rooney by just three, is four goals shy of surpassing his record haul for a league campaign, which he achieved in 38 matches for Corinthians en route to the Brasileirao title in 2005.

11

minutes after scoring his first professional goal, New England Revoution’s Zack Schilawski was celebrating his maiden hat-trick. With his team trailing at home to Toronto FC, the 22-year-old equalised soon after the restart, before finding the net on 51 and 58 minutes to help Steve Nicol’s team to a 4-1 victory that lifted them second in the Eastern Conference after three rounds. In doing so, Schilawski became the only player in Major League Soccer history to post a treble on his home bow, and only the third to manage a hat-trick in his debut season, following Columbus Crew’s Brian Maisonneuve and former Seattle Sounders forward Pat Noonan, who achieved the feat as a Revs player in 2003.

9

goals in his last six games – or 1.5 per game - have thrust Edin Dzeko to the head of the Bundesliga scoring chart, and given Wolfsburg a slim hope of playing in Europe next term. Die Wölfe have won seven of their last eight, and now trail fifth-placed Werder Bremen by five points with four rounds remaining. Dzeko’s opener in a 2-0 win away to Nuremburg on Sunday took him on to 19 for the campaign, one clear of Schalke’s Kevin Kuranyi and Stefan Kiessling of Bayer Leverkusen. If the 24-year-old Bosnian can finish top, he and Grafite, who bagged an unparalleled 28 goals last season, will make history – no two players from the same club have finished as the Bundesliga’s leading marksmen in successive seasons.