What do Tottenham Hotspur and Star Wars antagonists the Sith have in common?

They only deal in absolutes.

And while it didn’t do Anakin Skywalker any good as he still allowed Obi-Wan Kenobi to chop his legs off, in Tottenham’s case it just means they don’t like drawing games of football.

We also look at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s sparkling record, analyse yet another brilliant performance from Sergio Aguero and ponder whether Gonzalo Higuain is in decline or if can revive his goalscoring form.

But first…

Pochettino’s men refuse to draw

Tottenham’s last draw came a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… (at Brighton’s Amex Stadium in April 2018).

And while their 1-0 win over Newcastle may not have been the best advert for football when it comes to selling the sport to aliens from another planet, it did set a new record.

Not only did Son Heung-min’s 83rd-minute strike earn Spurs a hard-fought victory, it also extended their run of league games without a draw to 29.

That eclipses Bolton’s 28-game streak between 2010-11 and 2011-12, during which they lost 21 and eventually succumbed to relegation.

In contrast, Tottenham’s run features an impressive 22 victories – though they have thrice gone close to the dreaded draw.

They needed injury-time winners to beat Burnley in December 2018 and Fulham in January 2019, while their former midfielder Jake Livermore came back to haunt them in May 2018 when he netted a 92nd-minute winner for West Brom.

Longest run of games without drawing
TeamSeasonsGames without drawingWinsDefeats
Tottenham2017-18 to 2018-1929 (ongoing)227
Bolton Wanderers2010-11 to 2011-1228721
2017-18 to 2018-19251510
Crystal Palace2014-15 to 2015-16231211
2014-15 to 2015-1623176

“Help me, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. You’re my only hope…”

…is probably not what executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward said when he approached the Norwegian about becoming caretaker boss at .

Nonetheless, the way Solskjaer has turned the Red Devils’ fortunes around since the sacking of Jose Mourinho has been remarkable.

Marcus Rashford’s winner at Leicester means United have now won nine of the Norwegian’s 10 games in charge – with the only blemish being the home draw with Burnley in the league last week.

Sunday’s victory at the also means they have won more points than any other team since Solskjaer took over.

Indeed, he has claimed nine more points than league leaders Liverpool – although Jurgen Klopp’s side have played two games fewer – and seven more than .

Maybe Ole is United’s chosen one.

top seven since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took over
TeamPWDLGFGAGDPoints
Man Utd87102061422
Tottenham86022081218
Man City85031810815
Liverpool6411167913
Wolves74121411313
74121310313
Chelsea8413109113

Brilliant Aguero shines bright for City

In his last two games Sergio Aguero has been scoring goals faster than the Millennium Falcon can complete the Kessel run.

It took him just 24 seconds to break the deadlock in Manchester City’s midweek defeat by Newcastle and he was at it again on Sunday – scoring after only 46 seconds against .

The Argentina international also managed to bag a further two goals during the win over the Gunners, which saw him complete his 10th hat-trick.

Only ex-Blackburn and striker Alan Shearer, the ’s all-time leading scorer, has netted more (11).

His three goals on Sunday also took his tally against the league’s ‘big six’ to 42 – that’s almost double Harry Kane’s tally – albeit Aguero has played 20 more games.

Goals scored against the ’s ‘big six’
PlayerGames playedGoals scored
Sergio Aguero6340
Harry Kane4321
Eden Hazard6217
Romelu Lukaku7316
209
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang112

Is Higuain in decline?

Well, judging by his double on his home Premier League debut, you’d think not.

But when you take a closer look at the stats over the past few seasons, a worrying trend starts to emerge.

In 2015-16, the 31-year-old Argentina international enjoyed his best goalscoring campaign – netting an incredible 36 goals in 35 appearances as Napoli finished runners-up to Juventus, who then acquired his services that summer for £75.3m.

His form has waned since then and his league goal tallies have dropped considerably season by season. In fact, they have fallen by a third each year, from 36 to 24 and from 24 to 16.

If that mathematical trend continues, Chelsea fans will only have a few more Higuain strikes to celebrate.

However, he has netted 38 goals in 37 league games under , his former boss at Napoli who is now in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Perhaps under the Italian’s guidance Higuain can discover his old goalscoring powers once again.

Gonzalo Higuain’s goalscoring record over the past four seasons
SeasonClubGames / goals (League)Games / goals (All comps)
2018-19AC Milan / Chelsea17 / 825 / 10
2017-18Juventus35 / 1650 / 23
2016-17Juventus38 / 2455 / 32
2015-16Napoli35 / 3642 / 38

Burnley finally win a spot-kick

Clarets fans, players and manager alike were rejoicing come full-time on Saturday.

Not because they had scored an equaliser deep into injury time to claim another vital point in their bid to avoid relegation.

Not because Ashley Barnes was wheeling away to celebrate his second goal in as many games.

Not because deadline-day arrival Peter Crouch had played a key role in the build-up to the goal.

The reason? It was because Anthony Taylor had awarded Burnley a penalty – thus ending their run of 67 games without one.

But if Sean Dyche thought his team were unlucky, how would he have felt about Queens Park Rangers’ 72-game run in the mid-90s or when Wimbledon went 91 games without being awarded one between November 1997 and March 2000?

Longest run of games without a penalty
TeamDate of first gameDate of last gameGames without a pen
Wimbledon01/11/199704/03/200091
Queens Park Rangers05/03/199425/11/199572
Burnley23/04/201729/01/201967
Crystal Palace02/11/199225/01/199555
Swansea17/03/1206/10/201355

Gracia’s magic 39

No-one had ever managed Watford for more than a single season prior to Javi Gracia’s arrival at Vicarage Road.

Therefore he could have been forgiven if he thought ‘it’s a trap’ when he took control following Marco Silva’s departure in January 2018 – but that couldn’t be further from the case.

Thanks largely to ’s heroics in goal, Watford were able to take a point from their trip to Brighton on Saturday in what was Gracia’s 39th league match in charge.

The most any previous Hornets boss had managed was 38 games – a feat achieved by club legend Graham Taylor and Aidy Boothroyd, who both took the club into the top flight but were immediately relegated the following season, resulting in them losing their job.

Quique Sanchez Flores and Walter Mazzarri were also at the helm for 38 matches. They both ensured Watford beat the drop, in 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively, only to be sacked at the end of the campaign.

But, when you compare Gracia’s record with his predecessors, it’s easy to see why the Hornets faithful have been happy to see him stick around.

Watford managers in the era
ManagerSeason(s)PWDLWin %Points per game
Javi Gracia2017-18 to 2018-193913101633.31.26
Marco Silva2017-1824751229.21.08
Walter Mazzarri2016-17381172028.91.05
Quique Sanchez Flores2015-16381291731.61.18
Aidy Boothroyd2006-07385132013.20.74
Graham Taylor1999-0038662615.80.63