Lionel Messi's career first 8, Liverpool's record 63, Monza's first in 7083: Saturday football stats

Another packed Saturday night of football action and more records and statistics to pore over. While Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea all registered wins in the Premier League, Real Madrid and crosstown rivals Atletico Madrid both got comfortable wins in La Liga. Lionel Messi and Barcelona were held to a disappointing draw at Alaves, and in Serie A, Inter Milan came back from 2-0 down to snatch a draw against Parma. Meanwhile, Juventus will be hoping to have Cristiano Ronaldo back for their game against Spezia tonight.

Here are the best numbers from Saturday's action.

Premier League

The big boys all won, although with differing degrees of comfort. Manchester City eased past Sheffield United 1-0, Chelsea swatted away Burnley 3-0 and Liverpool came from behind to break down West Ham 2-1.


Liverpool are only the second side in PL history to concede the first goal in three consecutive home matches but still win all three, after Blackburn Rovers in November 2009.


More seconds at Anfield. Diogo Jota is just the second player to score in all of his first three PL appearances for Liverpool at home, after Luis Garcia in October 2004.


A wonderfully obscure stat -- all four of Pablo Fornals' PL goals have been scored against teams beginning with L (two vs Leicester, two vs Liverpool). That is the most goals scored in PL history with all goals coming against teams starting with the same letter.


Another fun, rather out-there stat. Manchester City have won more top-flight matches on October 31 than any other team in top-flight history (11).


A touch more somber 11 -- Chris Wilder, currently on 99 wins as manager of Sheffield United, is without a win in 11 matches in all competitions (D2 L9), the longest winless run of his managerial career.


Not a stat you were expecting -- since clinching the title last season, Liverpool have allowed 27 goals in the PL, more than anyone else has! Newcastle United are 2nd with 26. If you were to take just this season, their tally of 15 goals conceded is still the worst in the league!


Timo Werner scores for fun, doesn't he? Since the start of last season in Europe's top-5 leagues, only Robert Lewandowski (37) has scored more goals when excluding penalties than Werner (28).


Liverpool have extended their unbeaten home league run to 63 games (W52 D11), matching their best-ever such streak set in December 1980. The only team to have ever gone on a longer unbeaten home run in English top-flight history? Chelsea - 86 games (2004-08).


In his 100th PL game on Saturday, Trent Alexander-Arnold earned his 77th win. Only Ederson (79) won more of his first 100 appearances of any player in the competition's history.

La Liga

Real Madrid beat a better-than-the-score-suggests Huesca 4-1, Atletico Madrid beat Osasuna 3-1 and Athletic Club came from behind to beat Sevilla 2-1. Oh, and 10-man Alaves put on a show to keep Barcelona at bay, with the game ending 1-1.


Barcelona, in 12th now, have its fewest points (8) after its opening 6 matches in La Liga since 2002-03 (also 8). Then, Barca finished in 6th place, under Louis Van Gaal first and Radomir Antic after.

This is also first time that Barcelona are trailing Real Madrid (who have 16 points, and are on top of the table) by 8 or more points at any point in the season since the final match week of the 2011-12 season. That time around, Madrid finished 1st (100 Pts) and Barcelona 2nd (91 Pts). Of course, this season, Barca have played one less game than Madrid.


Atletico Madrid are on their best unbeaten streak in La Liga history (P22 - W13 D9). This equals the fourth-best unbeaten run in the history of the competition (Deportivo de La Coruna - 22 matches in 1994). The only teams to do better are Real Madrid (31 in 1988-89), Real Sociedad (38 in 1979-80), and Barcelona (43 in 2017-18).


Barcelona had 25 shots against Alaves, their most in a league game that did not end in a win since a 0-0 draw vs Malaga in Nov. 2016 (when they had 29 shots).


Saturday marked Sergio Ramos' 500th La Liga appearance. He's the 10th player and 3rd defender to reach the milestone (after Manolo Sanchis' 523 and Miguel Soler's 504). In fact, Ramos and Real Betis legend Joaquín (558) are the only active players with 500+ appearances in La Liga.

Stat of the day


At Monza, it's not just the Formula 1 that they're celebrating this weekend. AC Monza have won a Serie B match for the first time in 7083 days (3-1 v Pistoiese in June 2001)! The club with the most Serie B seasons (39) without ever once making a Serie A appearance are now 10th in the second division after five games.

Messi-Ronaldo watch

Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus play tonight. Lionel Messi, meanwhile, didn't have a happy Saturday night outing in the Basque country.


This is the first time ever that Messi has failed to score an open-play goal in his first 8 games of a season with Barcelona (playing his 17th season for the club). This is a concerning drought by Leo Messi standards. He has 3 goals this season (all penalties), with his last open-play goal coming on August 8 vs. Napoli in the 2019-20 UCL Round-of-16.


And yet, even when he doesn't score, there's always some stat that he's pushing to the edge. On Saturday, he completed a rather incredible 13 take-ons against Alaves, just two away from his all-time La Liga record.


Lionel Messi has now had 45 direct free kick shots in the last 41 games in all competitions for Barcelona and scored just once (vs. Osasuna in July 2020). He had scored 4 of 12 taken before that.

(Stats courtesy: ESPN Stats and Information Group)