Thursday 01 March 2012
The Barclays Premier League title race is usually a thrilling affair - but this season's big matches have taken the excitement to a new level.
The top five teams - Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Chelsea - have been involved in some extraordinary head-to-head matches so far during the 2011/12 campaign.
Sunday sees Spurs hosting United at White Hart Lane - the 15th match between the top five this season and the latest mouth-watering clash in what has been a vintage season for goals.
To date, the 14 Barclays Premier League matches between top five clubs have seen an incredible 68 goals scored - an average of 4.86 per match.
In the 20 matches between the same top five last season, 42 goals were scored at just 2.10 per match.
The previous season saw the clubs produce 63 goals in 20 matches at a healthy 3.15 per match average - though still some way behind the current term.
A mini-league table incorporating only the matches between the big guns shows it is definitely advantage Manchester this season:
The stats also show that the star players are showing off their talents in the biggest matches of the season.
Wayne Rooney is the top scorer with seven goals, just ahead of six-shooters Robin van Persie and Edin Dzeko - with the Bosnian's four goals against Tottenham in August the biggest individual haul so far.
Here is a reminder of six of the best jaw-dropping scorelines from a season which is sure to be remembered for many years to come.
When: 28th August 2011
Sharp shooter: Edin Dzeko got four for City
What they said: "At the end of the season, Tottenham will be bang in there again I've got no doubts about that" - Harry Redknapp
Did you know? It was City's first League win at Spurs for nine years
When: 28th August 2011
Sharp shooters: Wayne Rooney got three and Ashley Young two for United
What they said: "Arsene's been a big adversary to me - and he will continue to be that" - Sir Alex Ferguson
Did you know? Manchester United's margin of victory has been bettered only 11 times in Premier League history
When: 23rd October 2011
Sharp shooters: Balotelli and Dzeko bagged two apiece for City
What they said: "It was crazy football - and ended up being an embarrassment" - Sir Alex Ferguson
Did you know? It was the first time Manchester United had conceded six at home since 1930
When: 29th October 2011
Sharp shooter: Robin van Persie hit a hat-trick
What they said: "The results [in the Barclays Premier League this season] reflect how chaotic the game is and how beautiful it is at the same time" - Andre Villas-Boas
Did you know? This is the only time Chelsea have conceded five goals at Stamford Bridge in the Premier League
When: 5th February 2012
Sharp shooter: Wayne Rooney's two penalties helped United fight back from 3-0 down
What they said: "That match epitomises what English football is all about - you couldn't take your eyes off it" - Sir Alex Ferguson
Did you know? This was the first time Chelsea had failed to win a Premier League match in which they had led 3-0
When: 26th February 2012
Sharp shooter: Theo Walcott hit two as the Gunners came back from 2-0 down
What they said: "Arsenal are alive more than anybody thought before the game" - Arsene Wenger
Did you know? It was something of a role reversal from last season - when Spurs came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2