Chelsea made 113 substitutions this season, more than any other club… but Jose Mourinho’s side couldn’t reach a century of goals
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Ralph Ellis runs you through what we learned from the weekend’s football. This week Chelsea made their 113th substitution of the season, Robin van Persie has his most productive goalscoring season and Jordan Henderson was the vital cog in the Liverpool machine.
1. Andre Schurrle played super-sub for Chelsea with an equaliser against Cardiff just six minutes after replacing Jon Mikel Obi, and Buy Google Ads VCC then setting up Fernando Torres for the winner four minutes later.
It was the 14th time that a substitute has scored for Jose Mourinho’s team this season, but then the Special One loves making changes. When he brought on youngsters Nathan Ake and John Swift late in the game it took him to 113 Premier League subs, the most of any club this season.
Chelsea’s 71 League goals left them more than 30 behind ton-up Manchester City (102) and Liverpool (101), and they didn’t quite make the century despite playing 57 games in all. The Fernando Torres winner at Cardiff was the 99th in all competitions.
Top of the league: Chelsea made 113 Premier League substitutions this season, more than any other club
2. Manchester United didn’t make a single chance for Robin Van Persie at Southampton – but the Dutchman can head for the World Cup knowing that in between his injuries he’s actually had his most productive goalscoring season.
His 18 in 25 appearances in all competitions gives him an average of a goal every 1.38 games – significantly better even than in his debut season at Old Trafford when his total of 30 goals took him 48 matches, one in every 1.6.
On form: Robin van Persie’s 18 goals in 25 appearances gave him an average of a goal every 1.38 games
3. Jordan Henderson turned out to be the most vital cog in the Liverpool machine – it was the three games he missed through suspension when Anfield’s title chances slipped away.
Brendan Rodgers’ side collected just four points in three matches without him – and the only other of Liverpool’s 43 games he missed all season was the FA Cup defeat at Arsenal.
The 23-year-old gave a reminder of his value against Newcastle – making two chances while playing 98 passes of which 90 found a team mate.
Vital cog: Jordan Henderson was a big miss for Liverpool in the games he missed through suspension
4. The final table proved that experience counts when it comes to the Barclays Premier League.
The bottom four of Cardiff, Fulham, Norwich and West Brom all sacked managers during the course of the season and replaced them with men who had never managed in the English top division. In Fulham’s case they did it twice!
5. Paul Lambert’s format for winning away games on the counter attack was rumbled in the middle of the season.
The 3-0 collapse at Spurs meant that in nine games on their travels since winning at Sunderland on New Year’s Day, Aston Villa have taken just two points while letting in 21 goals.
That compared to 15 points from the first ten away matches in which they lost only three and had a positive goal difference with 12 scored and only 11 conceded.
Travelling woes: Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa picked up just two points from their last nine away games
Heading to the top tier? Derby goalkeeper Lee Grant will play in the Championship play-off final
6. Goalkeeper Lee Grant missed out on a place in the Premier League by walking out of Burnley last summer when he turned down a new contract offer from boss Sean Dyche.
But the 31-year-old still has a chance to make it to the top after booking a place in the Championship play-off final as part of Steve McClaren’s side that thumped Brighton.
Grant, who began his career with the Rams, was part of the squad that won promotion at Wembley in 2007 although he didn’t play that day so this year’s clash with either QPR or Wigan will be a second chance in more than one way.
7. Joe Garner’s spectacular volley that kept Preston in the hunt for a place in the League One play-off final was another reward for the faith in the striker that boss Simon Grayson has shown.
The 26-year-old, booted out of Watford on a free in January 2013 to make way for the Pozzo family’s foreign imports, was always on Grayson’s team sheet despite getting just one goal in his first 22 matches after moving to Deepdale.
Since then he’s found his shooting boots with a remarkable 23 in 33 games, and the confidence came to the fore with the spectacular volley that stopped Rotherham gaining a first leg lead.
8. Arsenal are the only club to have won the double of both the FA Cup and the women’s FA Cup in the same season – a feat they achieved in 1993 and 1998.
With Arsene Wenger’s side facing Hull at Wembley this year, there’s a chance they could do it again after the women’s team clinched a place in the final against Everton at Milton Keynes on June 1st, thanks to a 5-3 extra time win against Chelsea.
The Gunners girls looked on their way out when Chelsea’s Japanese striker Yuki Ogimi put her team 3-2 up with five minutes left, but England star Kelly Smith, who had earlier missed a penalty, equalised just in time with her second goal of the game.
9. Adam McGurk’s goal which gave Burton the first leg lead against Southend was a sharp reminder to old club Tranmere who let him leave on a free last summer.
The 25-year-old struggled to find a club after suffering a collapsed lung in February 2013. Birmingham were among places the former Northern Ireland Under-21 international striker went on trial without winning a contract.
But he’s proved the freak injury – caused when air is trapped between the two linings of the lung – was no long lasting threat to his career by playing 40 games this season, and the winner against Southend was his 11th goal.
On target: Burton Albion’s Adam McGurk celebrates after scoring against Southend
10. Remember Ebbsfleet, the Kent club taken over by a website when 32,000 members paid £35 each to own a bit of the Conference side and vote online about transfers, team selection and other policy? That was back in 2007, but what started with a wave of enthusiasm quickly waned and the club is now back with traditional owners after getting relegated a year ago.
More proof that the Dotcom bubble has well and truly burst came as the team now managed by former Charlton player Steve Brown lost to local rivals Dover in the Skrill South play-off final to face another season outside the Skrill Premier.