Leaders' new records, Reds' new low
© AFP

League leaders dominate this week’s statistical review, with the exploits of Mainz, Rennes and Scotland’s big two all coming under the microscope along with Liverpool’s wretched start to the season and a Jose Mourinho rarity.

42

points from a possible 42 is the record haul accrued by Celtic and Rangers from their opening 14 Scottish Premier League fixtures. Dominant though the Old Firm clubs have long been, never before have they each begun a season with seven straight victories, with this current run surpassing the previous benchmark of six set 94 years ago in season 1916/17. Celtic manager Neil Lennon can even boast of having won every one of his 15 SPL matches since taking charge in March and is closing in on the league record of 25 consecutive successes, a record which he helped set as a Bhoys player in 2004. Both Glasgow giants had to come from behind to continue their winning runs on Saturday, and Rangers also had a week to remember in Europe, with Steven Naismith’s winner against Bursaspor ending a goalless sequence of 300 consecutive minutes in the UEFA Champions League – and leaving the Ibrox side joint-top of Group C.

40

years after they last topped the Ligue 1 table, Rennes returned to the summit of the top flight on Sunday. The Brittany outfit, who have never won the French title, last topped the standings in October 1970 – the same season in which they won the Coupe de France, their last major domestic trophy. Sunday’s 3-1 win over early pacesetters Toulouse returned Les Rouges et Noir to this lofty and unfamiliar position and preserved their unlikely status as the only Ligue 1 side this season never to have been behind. Rennes, who remain unbeaten after eight matches, also boast the division’s joint-best defensive record, with just four goals conceded in eight outings. The past weekend also brought relief to Andre-Pierre Gignac, who ended a run of 508 minutes without a league goal, while Auxerre coach Jean Fernandez reached a notable milestone, taking charge of his 500th Ligue 1 match.

7

straight wins have given Mainz a share in the record for the best-ever start to a Bundesliga season. Only Bayern Munich in 1995/96 and Kaiserslautern in 2001/02 had previously reached this stage still boasting an unblemished domestic record, and Thomas Tuchel’s side secured their place in the record books with a 4-2 win over Hoffenheim on Saturday. This latest high-scoring triumph is typical of a prolific team who have scored at least twice in each of their seven fixtures thus far, racking up over three times as many goals as a Bayern side enduring their worst-ever start to a Bundesliga campaign. Mainz’s closest challengers, both in the league and the scoring charts, are Borussia Dortmund, who on Sunday extended their winning run to six games by beating Bayern at home for the first time in over three years and nine months.

6

goals were scored by Real Madrid against Deportivo La Coruna on Sunday – the first time a Jose Mourinho side has managed this in a league match since Leiria beat Salgueiros 7-0 in December 2001. Despite all his many successes with Porto, Chelsea and Inter Milan, the Portuguese coach never witnessed any of these teams score six in a single game during his reign, although the English side have managed it eight times since his 2007 departure. Sunday’s thumping win was also only the second time Real had put six past Deportivo in La Liga, and came 65 years after this first happened back in 1945. The visitors did at least end a run of 639 consecutive minutes without scoring from open play, but they have now won just twice in 41 matches at the Bernabeu and languish at the foot of the Spanish standings.

1

win, three draws and three defeats have added up to Liverpool’s worst start in 57 years and left Roy Hodgson’s side languishing in the Premier League relegation zone. Season 1953/54 began in similarly dismal fashion, with the Reds opening with one win, two draws and four defeats, and ended - worryingly for the Anfield faithful – with the club being relegated. Blackpool, meanwhile - Liverpool’s surprise conquerors and the Premier League’s early season sensations - now boast the division’s best away record. However, top spot is still held by Chelsea, for whom Didier Drogba continued to prove Arsenal’s nemesis on Sunday with his 13th goal in as many appearances against the Gunners. In the 16 games Chelsea and Arsenal have contested since the Ivorian’s arrival at Stamford Bridge, the Blues’ record with him in the team is ten wins, three draws and no defeats. In the three matches Drogba has missed out on, Chelsea have lost two and drawn one.