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The numbers inside Chelsea's poor start

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How important is Messi to Barcelona?

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Lewandowski's five goals in numbers

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Five Aside: Week 1 Prem Wrap-Up

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W2W4: 2018 World Cup preliminary draw

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Messi by the numbers on 28th birthday

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Friedel's career by the numbers

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Can Bayern overturn a 3-goal deficit?

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Assessing teams in Championship playoffs

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Statistical breakdown of UCL semis

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Inside Chelsea's poor start: The numbers tell a story

ESPN FC's Shaka Hislop tries to make sense of Chelsea's latest defeat - a 3-1 home loss to Southampton which confirmed their worst start to a season since 1978.
While Chelsea took an early lead through a superbly taken free-kick by Willian, it was Sadio Mane who notched the winner for Southampton in their 3-1 win over an under pressure Jose Mourinho.

Chelsea are currently 16th in the Premier League with just eight points. After losing four of their first eight games, they currently sit behind all three -- Watford, Norwich and Bournemouth -- of the promoted teams from the Championship.

Chelsea are off to their worst start in top flight play since 1978-79, when they took four points from their first eight games. At the end of that season, they were relegated from the old English First Division.

Chelsea have only won one of their last five Premier League games.

Here are some other notes about their poor start:


Lionel Messi's importance to Barcelona in numbers: Who can replace him?

Janusz Michallik breaks down the games that the injured Lionel Messi could miss, including El Clasico at the end of November.

Lionel Messi suffered a knee injury early in Saturday's La Liga game at home to Las Palmas and will now face seven to eight weeks on the sidelines, according to the club.

How important is Messi?

- Messi has scored at least 40 goals in each of the previous six seasons for Barcelona, and he leads the team with six goals in 10 games this season.

- Since August 2010, no Barcelona player has had more of an influence than Messi, leading all players in scoring and creativity by a wide margin.

- He has...

Robert Lewandowski's five goals in nine minutes: In numbers

Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski put a performance for the ages, coming in as a sub and scoring 5 goals in a 9 minute span.

Robert Lewandowski came on as a substitute at half-time with Bayern Munich losing 1-0 to Wolfsburg and scored five goals in under nine minutes to help them to a 5-1 win on Tuesday night.

Here are some notes:

- Lewandowski's first three goals came in the span of four minutes, the fastest hat trick in Bundesliga history

- Lewandowski is the 14th player to score five goals in a Bundesliga match

- The first Bundesliga player to do so since Michael Tonnies in 1991

- The first Bayern Munich player to do...

Five Aside: Premier League Wrap-Up -- Week 1

The Premier League season is now underway with 30 goals scored, including four instances of three goals being scored within 15 minutes of each other.

Here are some of the top notes of the weekend:

-- Defending champion Chelsea opened up its title defense with a 2-2 draw at home to Swansea despite losing starting goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois to a red card in the 52nd minute. With a draw, no defending champion has lost in a season opener in the Premier League era.

-- Manchester City went to The...

2018 World Cup preliminary draw in Russia: What to watch for

Sepp Blatter has arrived in Russia ahead of the preliminary 2018 World Cup draw.

The 2018 World Cup preliminary draw is on Saturday at 4 p.m. BST, (11 ET) at the Konstantin Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia.

The six continental confederations will determine the groups, matchups and/or schedules for upcoming phases of qualifying, as 183 nations remain to compete for 31 World Cup berths (host Russia receives an automatic berth). Plus playoff matchups will be determined for teams from four confederations.

There were 208 nations that began the qualifying process for 31 World...

Matteo Darmian versatility a huge boost to LVG and Manchester Utd

ESPN FC's Ross Dyer tells you all you need to know about Manchester United target and Italian international Matteo Darmian.
ESPN FC's Gab Marcotti responds to the reports suggesting Matteo Darmian's possible move to Manchester United next season.
Torino full-back Matteo Darmian is heading to Manchester United.

The right-back position at Manchester United was considered a problem area by Louis van Gaal last season, with the club acting to address the matter in this transfer window.

A deal for Torino and Italy wing-back Matteo Darmian is expected to be completed, with Rafael's days at Old Trafford now very much numbered and Antonio Valencia set to lose his starting berth.

Perhaps the most pertinent thing to mention with regard to Darmian is that he is predominantly a wing-back, capable of playing on either...