A league all of their own

Dunne and Carragher are involved in tussle for an unwanted accolade, that of the top own goal scorer.

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Last weekend saw two veterans of Premier League defending embark on their own personal duel to see their name written in the record books.

It is fair to say that Aston Villa's Richard Dunne, 31, and Liverpool's Jamie Carragher, 32, do not have too many more seasons ahead of them.

Neither has won a Premier League title (Dunne has never won any major trophy) and it appears they are determined to at least leave the game with an individual accolade - Top Own Goal Scorer.

On Saturday, Dunne scored the winner in Villa's match against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. It just happened to be at the wrong end.

His headed own goal in the 1-0 defeat was his eighth in the Premier League. He has played in the top flight since 1996, so that equates to more than one own goal every two seasons.

Not to be outdone by Dunne's dubious achievement, Carragher answered a day later with an own goal against Blackburn Rovers, when Paul Koncheskey, Liverpool's left-back, hit a clearance straight at him and the ball rebounded into the net.

It was his seventh own goal in the Premier League, putting him in the No 2 spot on the all-time list. Luckily for Carragher, his side won 2-1.

The challenge, if you can put it that way, now has to be to reach double figures - at Dunne's ratio he only has to play another four seasons at most to achieve that goal.

If Carragher cannot overtake Dunne at the top of the list, at least he has an achievement of his own to "brag" about.

The Liverpool defender once scored two own goals in one match, against Manchester United, his club's biggest rivals.

That is a feat matched only by Sunderland's Michael Procter, who scored twice past his own goalkeeper in a 3-1 home defeat to Charlton Athletic in 2003. The other Charlton strike that day was another own goal from Sunderland defender Stephen Wright.

And last season Wayne Rooney scored 34 goals for Manchester United, Dimitar Berbatov, his strike partner, netted 12. The club's third top scorer? That's right - 10 own goals.


Red mist descends quickly
Manchester City's Dedryck Boyata was sent off against Arsenal on Sunday after five minutes. A speedy dismissal, but far from the fastest sending off in Premier League history. Two players have been red carded within the first two minutes of a game: Ben Thatcher for Wimbledon (now MK Dons) against West Ham United in 1997/98 and Tim Flowers, the Blackburn Rovers keeper, against Leeds United in 1994/95. But they pale in comparison to three players (listed below) who failed to touch the ball before seeing red after coming on as substitutes. Keith Gillespie's dismissal must be the fastest. He came on as a substitute, tangled with Reading's Stephen Hunt at a throw in and was sent off. As the ball was not in play, he was dismissed after zero seconds.

Sent off without touching ball
Andreas Johansson (Wigan
Athletic v Arsenal, May 7, 2006)Keith Gillespie (Sheffield United v Reading, January 20, 2007)
Dave Kitson (Reading v
Manchester United, August 12,

Most red cards in Premier League history
Duncan Ferguson 8
Patrick Vieira 8
Richard Dunne 8

A derby to delight
While it might not generate quite as much excitement internationally as Liverpool-Everton, the Manchester derby or Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur, Sunday's "Second City derby" between Aston Villa and Birmingham City, will really get the juices going in England's second biggest city. It is a match for numerical patterns, too. Since Birmingham have been in the Premier League, the result has always been the same in both matches that season. And Villa are on a record run of six victories in a row.

Results in Premier League
2002/03 2 Birmingham wins
2003/04 2 draws
2004/05 2 Birmingham wins
2006/07 2 Villa wins
2007/08 2 Villa wins
2009/10 2 Villa wins