As the Premier League approaches, the business end of the season, trophies will be lifted, statistics will be created, and records will be broken. The 2016-17 season has been a memorable one for so many reasons, and below are twelve interesting Premier League facts that are good reasons as to why this is the case.
12 Interesting Facts Premier League Facts
The Premier League goes sponsorless for the first time in more than 20 years
2016-17 is the first time that the Premier League has been without an official sponsor since its inaugural season in 1992-93. Between 1993 and 2001, it was known as the F.A. Carling Premiership, before sponsorship switched to Barclays. It was known as the F.A. Barclaycard Premiership until 2004, and the F.A. Barclays Premiership for a further four years. In 2008 it simply became the Barclays Premier League, until the 15 year association with one of Britain’s largest banks came to an end last summer.
The First Ever Premier League season without Aston Villa
When the new Premier League season kicked off in August 2016, it was the first time in its 24 year history that the fixture list did not contain Aston Villa. The former European champions were relegated after a shocking campaign, which saw them win just three league matches. They finished on a total of 17 points, accumulated under four different managers. Only Derby County, in 2007-08, and Sunderland, in 2005-06, have finished a Premier League season with less points.
After years of being linked with a move to the Premier League, Zlatan Ibrahimović finally made the move last summer. He joined Manchester United on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain, and has made an immediate impact. In addition to adding the EFL Cup to his ever-growing list of trophies, he has set a record of his own by becoming the oldest player to score 15 Premier League goals in a single season. This was achieved in United’s 3-0 win over Leicester City, and despite being 35 years old, he doesn’t like he plans to stop anytime soon.
The Worst Premier League Title Defence
Leicester City’s attempt to defend their Premier League crown has been nothing short of a disaster. Having shocked the nation by going from relegation candidates to champions in less than twelve months, they now find themselves battling to stay in the division. They have sacked the man who masterminded that success, Claudio Ranieri, and appointed his assistant, Craig Shakespeare. This is the second consecutive season that the manager who won the Premier League title has been sacked less than a year later.
Two wins so far under Shakespeare have lifted them six points clear of the drop zone on thirty points. By contrast, last season Leicester had accumulated more points than that by the first weekend in December. They are also the only Premier League champions to lose the first game in defending their title. Time will tell whether they are still a Premier League outfit next season, but it is doubtful we will see a worse title defence anytime soon.
Yannick Bolasie’s Unusual Stat
Congolese midfielder Yannick Bolasie set an unusual record at the start of this season. He began the season with Crystal Palace, and featured in their opening day fixture against West Bromwich Albion. Later that week he transferred to Everton, and their next fixture was against the Baggies. In doing so, he became the only Premier League player to face the same opposition in successive matches on the opening two weekends of the season.
The World Record Transfer Fee
Another first in the 2016-17 season was Bob Bradley, who became the first American to manage a Premier League club. He took up the reins at Swansea City in October 2016. When he was sacked after just 85 days, with just two wins from eleven game, it confirmed the second shortest managerial reign in the division’s history. The only permanent manager to be in charge of a Premier League for a shorter period of time was Les Reed. He took over from Iain Dowie at Charlton Athletic in November 2006, only to be replaced by Alan Pardew six weeks later.
Arsène Wenger chasing Alex Ferguson’s appearance record
In spite of all his achievements, Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger has come under fire in recent years for his running of the club. In November 2016, he celebrated twenty years in charge of the Gunners, making him the current longest serving manager at one club. Having taken charge of 752 Premier League matches to date, he is second only to Sir Alex Ferguson (810) in this respect. Rumours are abound that he will be offered a new two year extension at the end of the season. If this happens, he will have the opportunity to overtake his long time rival.
Manchester United 600 Not Out
Manchester United’s 3-1 win at Middlesbrough on March 19th saw them become the first club to record 600 Premier League victories. This particular feat has taken them 951 matches, during which they have had 204 draws and 147 defeats. Arsenal and Chelsea are currently quite a way behind them in this respect, with 517 and 508 wins respectively.
Allardyce does it again?
After a poor start to the season, Crystal Palace sacked Alan Pardew and hired Sam Allardyce to get them out of trouble. He has successfully kept Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United and Sunderland in the Premier League in the past. No side has ever been relegated from the Premier League under his management. After an initial bedding in period, Palace seem to be responding to his methods, having won their last three Premier League games, although they are far from safe. Could this be the year that Allardyce finally experiences relegation from the top flight?
The Longest Premier League Wait
Liverpool signed Austrian goalkeeper Alex Manninger last summer, 14 years after leaving Arsenal, with whom he won the Premier League and F.A. Cup double in 1998. He is yet to make an appearance for the Anfield club, having been signed as back up. If he does make an appearance, however, he will set a record for the longest gap between Premier League appearances. His last game at this level was in a 3-2 defeat away to Southampton in May 2001, almost 16 years ago.
The current holder of this record is Crystal Palace defender Damien Delaney. He was part of the Leicester City side that were relegated in 2002, and played for several Championship clubs over the next eleven years. When the Eagles were promoted back to the top flight in 2013, it ended a wait of more than 11 years to make his next Premier League appearance.
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