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Premier League by the numbers: Looking at the season’s statistical leaders

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A quick look at some of the leader boards at the end of the 2013-14 Premier League season:

Goals scored, team

  • 102 – Manchester City
  • 101 – Liverpool
  • 71 – Chelsea

Two of the top scoring teams in Premier League history not only challenged the record of Carlo Ancellotti’s 2009-10 Chelsea team (103), they lapped the rest of the league. You’d have to take away all of Luis Suarez’s goals to reduce Liverpool to Chelsea’s level.

Goals scored, individual

  • 31 – Luis Suarez
  • 21 – Daniel Sturridge
  • 20 – Yaya Toure

Together, Suarez and Sturridge outscored 11 Premier League teams, but Yaya Toure’s contribution may have been as impressive. The Ivorian midfielder tallied more goals than Chelsea’s Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Torres, and Demba Ba combined (19).

Goals from English players

  • 48 – Liverpool
  • 38 – Southampton
  • 34 – Manchester United

Not that it matters.

Assists, individual

  • 13 – Steven Gerrard
  • 12 – Luis Suarez
  • 9 – two players

Two assists on the final day helped Gerrard claim this honor from Suarez, but the Uruguayan’s standing is a reminder of his year’s dominance.

Shots on target, individual

  • 81 – Luis Suarez
  • 45 – Romelu Lukaku
  • 43 – Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney

You knew Suarez would be on top, and as you’d suspect with a large gap on top of the goal scoring charts, the margin here is large, too. Daniel Sturridge had 42.

Passes completed, team

  • 18,532 – Arsenal
  • 17,993 – Swansea City
  • 17.863 – Manchester City

Or about 488 per game, for Arsenal.

Passes completed, player

  • 2,255 – Yaya Toure
  • 1982 – Mikel Arteta
  • 1,908 – Steve Gerrard

Like Suarez with shots, what’s remarkable here is the gap. Toure averaged 69 completed passes per 90 minute(though Arteta averaged 74).

Headed goals, team

  • 14 – Liverpool
  • 12 – Arsenal
  • 10 – five teams

One out of every 5.7 Arsenal goals came off somebody’s head, with Olivier Giroud’s four second only to Wilfried Bony (five) for the league’s lead.

Hit the woodwork, individual

  • 9 – Luis Suarez
  • 5 – three players

Hitting the woodwork isn’t bad luck, as is often implied, but it’s worth noting how close Luis Suarez was to an even more staggering goal total.

Penalty goals, individual

  • 10 – Steven Gerrard
  • 6 – Yaya Toure
  • 4 – three players

“Stevie G” scored 13 total goals this season, but imagine if Suarez took the spot kicks instead. He would have approached 40 goals while Gerrard’s place in our teams of the season may have gotten a second thought.

Tackles, indiviual

  • 133 – Mile Jedinak
  • 121 – Steve Sidwell
  • 120 – Pabl0 Zabaleta

You expect central midfielders to be on this list, but Pablo Zabaleta is a right back. Farther down the list, Erik Pieters, Joel Ward, and Geoff Cameron also claim spots in the top 10.

Saves, individual

  • 149 – David Marshall
  • 130 – Vito Mannone
  • 124 – John Ruddy

Vito Mannone is sandwiched between two relegated keepers despite playing only 29 games.

Fouls won, team

  • 454 – Sunderland
  • 450 – Chelsea
  • 448 – Manchester United

The Black Cats were fouled 44 more times than Liverpool, though Fabio Borini, the teams leader in fouls won, was only 10th in the league. Why were opponents so willing to draw whistles against Sunderland?

Fouls won, individual

  • 89 – Eden Hazard
  • 79 – Robert Snodgrass
  • 76 – Adam Lallana

Surprisingly, Luis Suarez is only fourth, 22 fouls behind Hazard. Then again: forward versus attacking midfield.

Fouls conceded, team

  • 491 – Aston Villa
  • 486 – Stoke City
  • 448 – Sunderland

For Stoke, this may be the legacy of Tony Pulis, with Mark Hughes having inherited the former manager’s combative squad. For Aston Villa, Paul Lambert’s team spent most of its season without the ball (18th in possession, 43.8 pct.).

Fouls conceded, individual

  • 66 -Cheick Tiote
  • 62 – Steve Sidwell
  • 60 – Mile Jedinak

Whereas Jedinak and Sidwell were also among the league’s most prolific tacklers, Tiote finished 10th on that list (107).

Times subbed off, individual

  • 19 – Leon Osman
  • 19 – Adam Lallana
  • 19 – Marouane Chamakh

It’s surprising to see Lallana’s name here, but it also makes sense that three teams with consistent (game-to-game) plans had regular substitution patterns.

Offsides, individual

  • 33 – Luis Suarez
  • 32 – Loic Remy
  • 30 – Christian Benteke

And Benteke only played 26 games. For Suarez, this is likely a function of his team’s prolific attack.

Yellow cards, team

  • 78 – Aston Villa
  • 72 – Stoke City
  • 72 – Manchester City

Manuel Pellegrini’s team wasn’t even in the top 10 in fouls. When the Citizens went in, they made it count.

Yellow cards, individual

  • 11 – Pablo Zabaleta
  • 10 – three players

Lee Cattermole is jealous. The Sunderland’s human IED didn’t even make the top 10.

Red cards, team

  • 7 – Sunderland
  • 6 – Newcastle United
  • 5 – two teams

Black Cats defender Wes Brown led the league with three dismissals. Only five other players drew multiple red cards.

Clean sheets, individual

  • 16 – Wojciech Szczesney
  • 16 – Petr Cech
  • 15 – Tim Howard

Chelsea also led the league as a team with 18 shutouts.

Players used

  • 39 – Fulham
  • 32 – Cardiff City
  • 31 – Sunderland
  • 31 – Crystal Palace

All four changed managers (at least once) mid-season.

All stats courtesy of Opta.

‘The Workers Cup’ sheds light on migrant workers in Qatar

DOHA, QATAR - APRIL 09: Migrant workers play football on an area of wasteland beneath the sky scrapers of Doha's West Bank on April 09, 2016 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)
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PARK CITY, Utah (AP) Director Adam Sobel never intended to end up in Qatar, but it was 2010, jobs were scarce in the U.S. and his longtime girlfriend – now his wife – had just been offered a job teaching at a Northwestern University Qatar. So they went.

[ MORE: Man City, Spurs draw and more in Saturday’s PL action ]

While there, Sobel found work with a local production company that did news stories and documentaries for outlets like BBC, CNN, and HBO. One particular story was requested frequently: That of the migrant workers who were building the facilities for the 2022 Qatar World Cup. He didn’t know it at the time, but the assignment would ultimately provide the foundation for his documentary, “The Workers Cup,” which premiered Thursday night at the Sundance Film Festival.

“Because the subject is so sensitive and because media restrictions were so significant, we either had to hide people’s identities or work undercover. The human touch was lost,” Sobel said. “We wanted to do something that went much deeper than that and really honored the workers for their sacrifices and their hopes and their dreams rather than doing something that just saw them as victims … I wanted to build empathy for the workers instead of sympathy.”

The film centers on the multinational men, from Kenya, Ghana, India and the Philippines, who have given their lives over to slavery-like contracts and dangerous conditions to build the stadiums from the ground up. One man, Kenneth, who was a soccer player in Ghana, shares his story about how a recruiter had told him that if he came to Qatar, he’d get a club soccer contract. It was a lie, and now he’s stuck in Qatar under horrific circumstances.

“We’ve had a lot of context about how the recruiting agents are selling a false bill of goods but certainly I didn’t expect that to be wrapped up in a professional soccer contract,” Sobel said.

The title of the documentary refers to the FIFA-sponsored “workers cup” whereby teams from different construction companies play against one another in a tournament. For men like Kenneth, it takes on a greater poignancy. Yes, it’s a welcome distraction from the conditions, but the fact remains that they are still stuck there.

“We saw (the tournament) as an opportunity because we knew they were interested in promoting this and showing to the world that workers welfare standards were improving,” Sobel said. “There was a definite PR angle there that we took advantage of and we somehow managed to stick around and keep shooting in the camps. We were able to actually get pretty close to the story.”

Sobel worked on the documentary for three years, and kept it completely secret for two due to the sensitive nature of what he planned to show and the strict media standards in the country. He’s excited that his subjects are getting their voices heard at Sundance.

“It’s a story about these guys whose lives have been sacrificed in some way for our own entertainment and that in and of itself reveals that we’re all complicit in the system,” Sobel said. “This is a story of globalization.”

Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ldbahr

French league responds after Mario Balotelli racially abused

FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016 file photo, Nice's Mario Balotelli controls the ball during the Europa League group I soccer match between OGC Nice and FC Salzburg, at the Nice stadium, southeastern France. Italy coach Gian Piero Ventura says he will talk to forward Mario Balotelli before the Azzurri's next set of matches in March. Balotelli has revived his career in France, scoring eight goals in as many matches for Nice, but has not played for Italy since the 2014 World Cup. (AP Photo/Claude Paris, File)
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PARIS (AP) The French league will open an investigation after Nice striker Mario Balotelli spoke out against Bastia fans he said made monkey noises during a match on Friday night.

[ MORE: City, Spurs draw, Reds fall to Swansea in Saturday’s PL action ]

In a brief statement Saturday afternoon, the French League said it “deplored all of the incidents” that happened on Friday. Before the match, Nice’s team bus had been pelted by stones as it arrived at the stadium.

[ MORE: Saturday’s results from around the Bundesliga ]

The LFP’s disciplinary committee will start looking into the matters when it convenes on Thursday and once it has received further information from officials and both clubs.

Balotelli wrote a message on his Instagram and Twitter pages earlier on Saturday, describing the abuse he heard during the 1-1 draw at the 20,000-capacity Armand Cesari stadium in Corsica and complaining that the French league had not acted swiftly enough.

“Is it normal that Bastia supporters make monkey noise (and) `uh’ `uh’ for the whole game and no one of the `commissions discipline’ say nothing?” Balotelli wrote, referencing the French league’s disciplinary committee. “So is racism legal in France? Or only in Bastia? Football is an amazing sport. Those people like Bastia supporters make it horrible!”

Balotelli, 26, the son of Ghanaian immigrants to Italy, concluded his post by writing in French that what happened was “une vrai honte,” or a total disgrace.

Nice’s official Twitter account shared Balotelli’s message. On its website, the French Riviera club threw its support behind Balotelli.

“Nice, which already had stones thrown at its bus before the game, is outraged by what happened to its players on Friday night, and in particular to Mario Balotelli,” a statement read.

Bastia did not immediately respond to an email from the AP seeking a response to Balotelli’s claim.

Balotelli joined from Liverpool on a free transfer in August and has scored eight league goals in 10 games to help Nice challenge for the title.

He did not say in his message whether or not he had informed referee Clement Turpin, who had the authority to stop the game, of the crowd’s actions. Commentators from broadcaster Canal Plus, which covered the game, made no mention of any racist abuse during the match.

In May 2013, when playing for Italian side AC Milan, Balotelli was subject to racist abuse from visiting Roma fans, causing the Serie A game to be briefly halted by the referee during the second half after warnings to stop the abuse were made throughout the stadium. Massimiliano Allegri, Milan’s coach at the time, made stinging comments against those who had racially abused Balotelli.

Bastia was docked two points by the LFP in the 2007-08 season after its fans racially abused Burkina Faso forward Boubacar Kebe by holding up a banner during a second-division home game against Libourne. The kickoff was delayed by a few minutes until the banner aimed at Kebe was removed.

PL Sunday preview: Chelsea looks to extend lead, Gunners host Burnley

HULL, ENGLAND - MARCH 22:  Diego Costa of Chelsea (2L) celebrates with Filipe Luis (L) and Cesc Fabregas (2R) as he scores their second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Hull City and Chelsea at KC Stadium on March 22, 2015 in Hull, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
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Antonio Conte‘s Chelsea received everything they wished for on Saturday after several of the Premier League’s big boys all dropped points in crushing fashion.

Now, the Blues have the opportunity to extend their gap at the top of England on Sunday while two other matches are slated on the day.

[ MORE: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Southampton vs. Leicester City — 7 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The Saints will have to make do without one of its most important defensive figures following the sale of Jose Fonte, however, Claude Puel‘s men won’t have to deal with several of Leicester’s attacking threats as the African Cup of Nations rolls on. Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani and Daniel Amartey will each be absent for the Foxes as they play for their respective sides at the tournament.

Southampton has taken points against Leicester in four straight PL fixtures (1 W, 3 D), however both sides have been vastly inconsistent in form throughout the campaign. Leicester striker Jamie Vardy and his side continue to struggle, with the Englishman having posted just five goals this season after netting 24 in league play a season ago.

[ MORE: Saturday’s PL roundup — Man City, Spurs finish level ]


Arsenal vs. Burnley — 9:15 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The Gunners are unbeaten in five straight matches against Burnley, and Sunday presents the chance for Arsene Wenger‘s side to win its fifth consecutive fixture against the Clarets. Wenger’s men currently sit eight points behind league leaders Chelsea, and after the rest of the the PL’s title contenders slipped up on Saturday the Gunners will be looking to avoid any stumble at the Emirates Stadium.

Olivier Giroud is expected to be back for Arsenal, while Hector Bellerin, Kieran Gibbs and Francis Coquelin are also healthy once more. Meanwhile, the Clarets are said to be expecting Dean Marney, Ashley Barnes and Johann Berg Gudmundsson back in the squad after missing the team’s FA Cup victory during the midweek.

[ MORE: WATCH — Wayne Rooney’s top Man United goals ]


Chelsea vs. Hull City — 11:30 a.m. ET, on NBCSN and NBCSports.com

The Blues will be expected to take advantage of this match but all eyes will be on Antonio Conte’s team sheet, particularly with close attention on Diego Costa. The Spaniard was said to have missed the team’s last PL match due to a back injury, although reports have also suggested interest from China. Chelsea has yet to lose to Hull in nine PL fixtures, having won seven encounters and drawn the other two matches.

Meanwhile, Hull could have some of its reinforcements available on Sunday, including Olympiakos defender Omar Elabdellaoui. The Tigers will have a massive task at hand against the Blues, who have won 14 of their last 15 league matches. Marco Silva’s side currently sits in the relegation zone, however, a victory could propel the team above both Crystal Palace and Swansea City.

Watch: USMNT midfielder Hyndman provides assist in Rangers debut win

United States midfielder Emerson Hyndman (8) gets past Cuba defender Adrian Arturo Diz Pe during the first half of a CONCACAF men's Olympic qualifying soccer match Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015, in Kansas City, Kan. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
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Well, it didn’t take long for Emerson Hyndman to make an impression at his new club.

[ MORE: Man City, Spurs finish level in Saturday’s PL action ]

The U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder provided the game-winning assist for Scottish side Rangers in Saturday’s 2-1 Scottish Cup win over Motherwell after picking out Kenny Miller for his second goal of the match.

[ MORE: Ghana books place in AFCON quarterfinals, Egypt edges Uganda ]

Hyndman, 20, joined the Scottish giants in January after coming over on loan from Premier League side Bournemouth. The rising USMNT attacker only made three appearances for the Cherries prior to completing the loan move to Rangers.

The former FC Dallas academy product has risen through the USMNT set up over recent years, appearing for the Under-17, U-20 and U-23 sides before Hyndman earning his first cap with the senior team in 2014.

Check out Hyndman’s game-winning assist below.