In many ways, football is a simple game: the team that scores the most goals, wins. Yet in every week, league and match, there are intriguing statistical sub-plots that help make the beautiful game the fascinating spectacle that it is. That's why FIFA.com takes a look at the numbers behind the results. In our latest review, veterans Luis Aragones, Michael Baur, Marcos, Gary Neville and Javier Zanetti come under the spotlight, as does the youth of a side Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger fielded in the English League Cup.
appearances for Inter Milan is the landmark Javier Zanetti will reach tonight if, as expected, he runs out against Lecce in Serie A, 13 years and 28 days after debuting for the Nerazzurri. The 35-year-old Argentinian is their third most-capped player behind Giuseppe Bergomi and Giacinto Facchetti, who played 758 and 634 games for the club respectively. Jose Mourinho is also poised for a significant achievement at the San Siro this evening: if his Inter side avoid defeat it will extend his unbeaten run in home matches to 100.
is the number of matches Marcos has now played for Palmeiras, his only club. The 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™-winning goalkeeper celebrated the milestone by keeping a clean sheet in a win over Vasco on Sunday, a result which elevated Vanderlei Luxemburgo's team to within a point of Brasileirao leaders Gremio. Alex Mineiro sealed the 2-0 victory with his 34th and O Verdão's 100th goal of 2008.
km/h is the speed at which AC Milan fullback Gianluca Zambrotta's long-range piledriver arrowed into the Lazio net on Sunday. The goal helped Carlo Ancelotti's win 4-1 and seize their first points of the league campaign from a round abundant on thunderbolts. Indeed, Roma's first win of the season, 3-0 at home to Reggina, was aided by Alberto Aquilani's 93 km/h strike, while Maicon scored a blockbuster in Inter Milan's 3-1 win at Torino.
appearances in the UEFA Champions League is the figure that belongs to Manchester United's Gary Neville following his side's goalless draw with Villarreal at Old Trafford last Wednesday. The long-serving right-back became the tenth player to reach the landmark, and eight of them - namely Raul, Roberto Carlos, Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Luis Figo, Clarence Seedorf and Neville - have played for either the Red Devils or Real Madrid (or both in Beckham's case). Paolo Maldini and Oliver Kahn are the remaining members of the competition's century club.
years 51 days was the age of Luis Aragones when he took charge of Fenerbahce against Porto on the same night. Although the Spaniard watched his team lose 3-1, he did become the second oldest coach in the history of European club football's showpiece event in the process.
years 157 days was Michael Baur's age on Saturday, when he posted an 11th-hour winner to snatch LASK Linz a 2-1 victory over Mattersburg and become the oldest scorer this past weekend in the leagues we covered. The Austrian top flight was also home to another distinction. Baur's recent LASK team-mate Adi Filho's 21-minute treble in Austria Karnten's 6-0 reverse of Kapfenberger made him the fastest hat-trick scorer.
games unbeaten at home was the record Boca Juniors were expected to increase against Tigre on Sunday. The visitors did not adhere to the script, however, and edged a contest in which all five goals were scored within 25 first-half minutes.
years was the average age of Arsenal's youngest all-time team, which lined up against a Sheffield United side including midfielder Gary Speed, 39, in the League Cup yesterday evening. Inexperience failed to hinder the Gunners, though, with Carlos Vela - the oldest of seven teenagers in the XI on his first start - scoring a hat-trick in a 6-0 success.