A clutch of notable achievements come under the microscope in FIFA.com’s first stats review of 2013, from Lionel Messi’s Ballon d’Or through successes for Epinal, Lazio and Xabi Prieto to a milestone strike by Frank Lampard.
Chelsea goals was the landmark reached by Frank Lampard in Saturday’s 5-1 FA Cup win at Southampton, taking him level with Kerry Dixon in second place in the club’s list of all-time scorers. The veteran midfielder needs just ten more to surpass Bobby Tambling at the top of that list, although he may be running out of time to do that, with his contract seemingly unlikely to be renewed at the end of the season. Lampard reached Dixon’s mark by continuing his fine record in the FA Cup, a competition in which he has scored 20 times in his last 30 appearances. His liking for the tournament is shared by the entire Chelsea team, in fact, who are now unbeaten in their last 24 FA Cup encounters.
points at the midway stage of the season is a haul that Lazio have accrued only twice before, and on each occasion they have gone on to win the title. The Rome club’s current points tally matches that of Sven Goran Eriksson’s 1999/2000 team and is just one short Tommaso Maestrelli’s class of 1973/74, the only Scudetto-winning sides in the club’s history. Vladimir Petkovic can also reflect with satisfaction on having made the best start by any coach in his debut Serie A season since Jose Mourinho racked up 41 points in his first year at Inter Milan. Lazio’s goalkeeper, Federico Marchetti, meanwhile, was finally beaten after surviving 606 minutes of football in all competition without conceding, equalling Felice Pulici’s mark from that 1974 campaign but falling short of Luca Marchegiani’s club record of 744 minutes. Nonetheless, I Biancocelesti are now unbeaten in their last 12 matches, while Cagliari – despite finding a way past Marchetti – have now lost six on the bounce.
years had passed since the reigning Coupe de France champions exited the competition before the last 32. That at least was the picture until Sunday, when Lyon crashed out in the most sensational of circumstances to Epinal, a team lying second-from-bottom of the nation’s third tier. The seven-time French champions lost on penalties after a 3-3 draw, and they weren’t the only Ligue 1 side to find it tough against spirited lower-league opposition. Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain squeezed through by the odd goal in seven against fifth-tier Arras, the first time this season they have conceded three times and the only instance in their history that their net has bulged so often against such a lowly team. Yet despite those problems, the match ended in a sixth straight win for the capital club – their best run of results thus far under Carlo Ancelotti.
successive FIFA Ballon d’Ors is the sequence that has allowed Lionel Messi to set yet another record. In landing the game’s most coveted individual prize once again, the Barcelona talisman eclipsed the mark he shared with Michel Platini, who won three Ballon d’Ors in consecutive years between 1983 and 1985. Messi was a resounding winner too, polling 41.60 per cent of the vote to Cristiano Ronaldo’s 23.68 per cent and Andres Iniesta’s 10.91 per cent. And few could argue with honouring the Argentinian for a year in which he served up an incredible 91 goals and 22 assists in just 69 appearances. The award also came just 24 hours after Messi had got off the mark for 2013, scoring in Barcelona’s 4-0 win over to Espanyol to equal a personal record of having scored in eight successive La Liga matches.
goals against Real Madrid on Sunday, albeit in a 4-3 defeat, earned Xabi Prieto a couple of statistical crumbs of comfort. The Real Sociedad midfielder became the first opposing player to score a hat-trick at the Bernabeu since Walter Pandiani in 2007, and having already grabbed a brace there in 2004, is also the only player in the last 15 years to have scored at least twice on two separate visits. Real recovered from Prieto’s goals and the dismissal of goalkeeper Antonio Adan to claim all three points, but any satisfaction was again tempered by events in Catalonia. There, Barcelona were setting a new La Liga record by scoring in their 36th successive top-flight match, and will set another fresh benchmark - for points at the halfway stage of the campaign – should they avoid defeat against Malaga on Sunday.