Heroes, hat-tricks and a hammering
© AFP

Goalscorers dominate FIFA.com’s latest statistic review, with Diego Rivarola, Mario Gomez, Roberto Soldado and Marta taking top billing alongside Arsenal’s capitulation at Old Trafford.

100

Universidad de Chile goals was the landmark reached by Argentinian striker Diego Rivarola on Sunday as he strengthened his position as the highest-scoring foreigner in the club’s history. The 35-year-old, arguably Universidad’s biggest idol since the retirement of Marcelo Salas, is edging closer to one of his legendary predecessor’s club records, with just five more league goals needed to eclipse Salas’s final tally of 87. Reaching the 100-mark in all competitions ended a frustrating wait for Rivarola, who had been stuck on 99 for over two months, enduring six goalless games before finally striking from the penalty spot to complete his century.

8

goals were conceded by Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday, a record number for the Gunners in a top-flight fixture. The struggling Londoners had conceded eight once before – to the long-defunct Loughborough in December 1896 – but that was in Division 2, and their conquerors were out of business within four years. There seems little danger of that fate befalling Manchester United, whose tally of 13 goals in their first three games is the second-best ever seen at this stage of a Premier League campaign (Chelsea racked up 14 at the start of last season). If United are to be displaced, it could well be their Manchester rivals who manage it, with City’s 5-1 victory at Tottenham Hotspur extending a club record sequence of six successive Premier League wins. With four goals, Edin Dzeko became the first player to score six in his first three Premier League appearances of the campaign, while new signing Samir Nasri chalked up three assists – two more than he managed for Arsenal throughout the whole of last season.

7

Bayern Munich hat-tricks have now been racked up by Mario Gomez in less than 11 months, this after the in-form striker claimed his latest treble in Saturday’s 3-0 win at Kaiserslautern. The Germany international, who has 19 goals in his last 17 appearances, is becoming something of a hat-trick specialist. In the Bundesliga alone, he has scored eight trebles since the start of the 2008/09 season; no-one else has managed more than two in the same period. Gomez’s relationship with Thomas Muller is also flourishing, with the latter laying on an assist for his international colleague in each of Bayern’s first three matches of the season. Admittedly, the Bavarian giants, who returned to top spot for the first time in 476 days on Saturday, did benefit from two penalties – twice as many as they had been awarded in their last 41 visits to Kaiserslautern combined.

3

goals and one own goal in the same match was the unique La Liga distinction claimed by Roberto Soldado on Saturday. Despite scoring a second-minute opener, putting through his own net five minutes later looked to have left the Valencia forward contributing to a 3-2 win for Racing Santander. That, however, was until Soldado’s road from hero to zero and back to hero was completed with a couple of decisive goals in the final two minutes as Los Che clinched a thrilling 4-3 win. The 26-year-old also became only the third player in La Liga history, and the first since the 1950s, to score two opening-day hat-tricks, having managed the same feat for Getafe - also against Racing – in the first weekend of the 2009/10 season. Spanish landmarks didn’t begin and end at the Mestalla, though. Victor Valdes, with his 410th Barcelona appearance, equalled Andoni Zubizarreta’s long-standing club record, while Lionel Messi scored his 100th and 101st goals at Camp Nou, taking his tally to 59 in his last 59 club outings. Better still is Cristiano Ronaldo’s remarkable record of 69 goals in 64 La Liga appearances, with Real Madrid’s Portuguese talisman boosting that tally with a hat-trick as Los Merengues equalled their biggest-ever away win in Spain’s top flight with a 6-0 thrashing of Real Zaragoza.

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consecutive seasons of Women’s Professional Soccer seasons have now ended with the same top scorer: Marta. The five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year has more than lived up to her billing since moving to the USA’s star-studded top flight in 2009, fending off challenges from runners-up Camille Abily (2009), Abby Wambach (2010) and Christine Sinclair (2011) to maintain an iron grip on the league’s golden boot award. There has also been no shortage of team prizes to add to these personal honours, with Marta’s three WPS clubs – Los Angeles Sol, FC Gold Pride and Western New York Flash – topping the regular-season table in each of the fledgling division’s three seasons. Flash’s penalty shoot-out win over Philadelphia Independence in Saturday’s final play-off also secured the 25-year-old’s second championship winner’s medal in as many seasons, although she missed out for the first time on the WPS Player of the Year award, which went instead to the impressive Spaniard, Veronica Boquete.