Van der Sar shows life does begin at 40

Edwin van der Sar, the Manchester United goalkeeper, joined an elite group of players to play past the age of 40 in the Premier League last weekend.

Edwin van der Sar, the Dutch goalkeeper, joined an elite group of men to play past the age of 40 in the Premier League when he took to the field for Manchester United last Saturday.

The previous player to reach that mark was Alec Chamberlain, Watford's reserve keeper, who came on as a substitute in the last game of the 2006/07 season aged 42.

The oldest Premier League player was John Burridge, the Manchester City keeper who is now the goalkeeping coach for Oman's national team, when he played against Newcastle United in 1995 at 43 years and 146 days old.

The oldest goalscorer was Teddy Sheringham. The former Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United and Portsmouth striker netted for West Ham United against Pompey on December 26, 2006 at the age of 40 and 268 days.

I don’t like Sundays

Sunderland’s 5-1 defeat at the hands of local rivals Newcastle United was the most eye-catching result of last weekend. It also continued a trend for poor Sunderland, who just do not seem to like Sundays.

The north east club have played 55 matches on a Sunday since the Premier League began in 1992. They have won just nine of them, a woeful 16 per cent. Steve Bruce, below, has seen his men win just two games away from home last season, and have yet to get off the mark on their travels this time after five games.

Before they conceded the first three at St James’ Park, Sunderland had only let in two first-half goals all season, while Titus Bramble’s red card in the game was the club’s third this season – level with Arsenal and Bolton Wanderers.

The pressure of high expectations

Such are the targets for Roberto Mancini at Manchester City this season that two defeats in a row have led to the British tabloids speculating about his future.

City are unlikely to sack the Italian after investing so much money in the squad in the summer. But a worrying statistic for Mancini is that his side have fewer points after 10 games (17) than they had in the 2007/08 season during Sven-Goran Eriksson’s first term in charge (22) or last season under Mark Hughes (20).

City after 10 games
2006/07 12(Stuart Pearce)
2007/08 22 (Sven-Goran Eriksson)
2008/09 13 (Mark Hughes)
2009/10 20 (Mark Hughes)
2010/11 17 (Roberto Mancini)