Spanish invention, Mexican steel
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The creativity the two Spaniards in the English top flight, a title-inspiring defensive record in Mexico and an unwanted record for Roma feature in FIFA.com’s latest statistical review, alongside goal flurries for a Dutch striker and a Bolivian heavyweight.

24

minutes is the average Juan Mata has required to create a chance for a Chelsea team-mate in the Premier League this season, seven of which have resulted in goals. The competition’s second-most inventive player this term has been fellow Spaniard David Silva, who has made a shooting opportunity for a Manchester City colleague every 28 minutes and an unparalleled nine assists – the same total the diminutive 25-year-old managed in the entire 2010/11 campaign. From open play, Silva has created a chance every half-hour on average – two minutes quicker than Mata. Ex-Arsenal forward Thierry Henry holds the record for the most direct assists in a Premier League season – 23 in 2002/03 – while long-serving Manchester United midfielder Ryan Giggs is the only man to have broken the century barrier since the competition was incepted in 1992. However, the best assists-per-games ratio belongs to another Spaniard, Cesc Fabregas, who posted one just over every two-and-a-half games during his time in the Gunners' engine room.

7

is the number of Serie A matches Roma have gone without victory at home to Juventus following the sides 1-1 draw on Monday, which broke the six-game club record I Giallorossi went without beating I Bianconeri at the Stadio Olimpico between 1967 and ‘73 and 1979 and ’85. Roma's last defeat of Juve in the capital was the 4-0 success masterminded by Fabio Capello in February 2004 – one in which Francesco Totti, who spurned a penalty which would have ultimately ended his team’s home drought two days ago, scored from the spot and Antonio Cassano hit a double. Thereafter, Roma have taken just two points from a possible 21 against their latest opponents in front of their own fans, and won just once in 13 league contests home and away.

5

goals is what Bas Dost netted on Saturday to propel Heerenveen to a 5-0 success at Excelsior and himself past five players en route to the top of the Eredivisie scoring chart. The towering 22-year-old striker’s quintet, which ensured Ron Jans’ team won and scored five times for the second match in succession, came within 53 minutes - an average of a goal less than every 11 minutes. The three points elevated Heerenveen to fifth, ten points behind leaders AZ. Dost, who has hit 14 goals in 16 league games this campaign, is one clear of PSV’s Dries Mertens in his quest to become the third Heerenveen player to finish as the Dutch top flight’s leading marksman, after Afonso Alves in 2006/07 and Klass-Jan Huntelaar the following season. The Abe Lenstra Stadion side, whose 91-year history includes just one major title – the KNVB Cup in 1999 – have earned a reputation for nurturing soon-to-be celebrated strikers in recent years. Among them, alongside Afonso Alves and Huntelaar, are Jon Dahl Tomasson, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Marcus Allback and Miralem Sulejmani.

4

goals is what The Strongest scored without reply in a 20-minute spell towards the end of the first leg of their Bolivian Apertura semi-final with Oriente Petrolero to turn a two-goal deficit into a 5-3 victory. Mauricio Soria’s men have now netted five against Los Refineros in back-to-back games, having recorded a 5-0 victory over the same opponents last month. Despite scraping through to the play-offs with the worst record from the first phase, The Strongest were easily its most prolific team, having struck 34 goals in their 12 matches (2.8 per game). And having overturned a first-leg loss to Bolivar with a 4-0 thumping in the quarter-finals, and put one foot in the final on Monday, the seven-time national champions – only 17-time kings Bolivar have lifted the trophy more times in the professional era – are on course to end a club record 14 campaigns without a title.

1

goal is all Tigres conceded during their six Liguilla matches en route to the Mexican Apertura title on Sunday, making them the first team in the 58 editions since the championship adopted its end-of-campaign knockout format to leak fewer than two goals in the play-offs and lift the trophy. Tigres won the first leg of the final 1-0 away to Santos Laguna, but despite having goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez sent off on 11 minutes, the visitors equalled the aggregate score – and ended goalkeeper Enrique Palos’s run without conceding at the 615-minute mark – through Oribe Peralta’s opener on the half-hour. Tigres nevertheless scored thrice without reply in the second half to secure the third domestic crown in their history and first in 46 attempts since 1982. The contest was Ricardo Ferretti’s 800th in the dugout in the Mexican top tier – only Ignacio Trelles, on 1,083, has coached more matches – and the 57-year-old Brazilian celebrated the landmark by winning his third title with his third different club in what was his sixth final (he previously guided Guadalajara to Verano 1997 glory and Pumas to Clausura 2008 gold). Tigres’s triumph means teams from the city of Monterrey have conquered the last three Aperturas, given that their arch-rivals Monterrey won the previous two instalments.