20 20 Joint eighth: Newcastle – 11% of the Magpies’ goals have come from defenders – In a turbulent season on Tyneside, the Magpies defenders have registered four goals including one for captain Fabricio Coloccini. 20 20 20 1. Everton – 20% of the Toffees’ goals have come from defenders – The Toffees defenders, spearheaded by their rampaging full backs Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines, have at times shown Romelu Lukaku how it’s done. After John Stones’ goal for Everton against Manchester United last weekend, the Toffees now boast some mean goalscoring statistics from their defensive options.Stones, Phil Jagielka, Seamus Coleman and Leighton Baines have contributed nine league goals this season – more than Liverpool’s strikers have managed between them.Defenders in the modern game are expected to exude more than just the traditional defensive responsibilities, with many of them now adding telling contributions at the other end of the pitch.Chelsea captain John Terry, who scored against Leicester City on Wednesday night, embodies that mentality, having scored in 15 consecutive Premier League seasons and now equalling the competition’s all-time goal tally for a defender.As a result, talkSPORT have compiled a list of which club’s defenders have contributed the highest proportion of their team’s goals in the Premier League this season.*All statistics correct on 30 April 2015 Joint 17th: Stoke – 5% of the Potters’ goals have come from defenders – Perhaps a surprising statistic given the Potters’ ‘ugly’ football reputation, but also testament to their changing footballing mentality under Mark Hughes. 20 20 20 Joint third: Hull – 13% of the Tigers’ goals have come from defenders – Hull haven’t scored that many but strikes from defenders, like Michael Dawson’s goal against Liverpool this week, may prove their weight in gold. Joint sixth: Aston Villa – 12% of the Villans’ goals have come from defenders – No team has scored fewer goals than the Villans this season, which might suggest why their percentage is quite high in comparison. Joint 14th: Tottenham – 7% of Spurs’ goals have come from defenders – Eric Dier scored in the opening two games of the season, but only two Tottenham defenders have registered in the Premier League since. 20 20 20 20 20 Joint 10th: West Ham – 10% of the Irons’ goals have come from defenders – Aaron Cresswell has been one of the signings of the season and has scored twice, including a stunning recent free kick against Stoke, for the Hammers in his debut Premier League campaign. Joint 10th: West Brom – 10% of the Baggies’ goals have come from defenders – West Brom have improved drastically under Tony Pulis’ management and the defenders have amassed three goals between them this season. 20 Joint sixth: Crystal Palace – 12% of the Eagles’ goals have come from defenders – The Eagles have had a stable season and central defenders Scott Dann and Brede Hangeland have registered twice apiece. 12. Liverpool – 9% of the Reds’ goals have come from defenders – The Reds defence have had to chip in this season with their strikers falling short on so many occasions, with Alberto Moreno (2) impressing from left back. Joint eighth: Arsenal – 11% of the Gunners’ goals have come from defenders – Hector Bellerin (2) has been one of the finest emerging talents this season as the Gunners continue their fantastic recent form. 20 20 2. Leicester – 19% of the Foxes’ goals have come from defenders – The Foxes’ recent form could propel them to safety from a seemingly impossible position a month ago, and Nigel Pearson’s side have all contributed towards their goal tally. Joint 19th: None of Sunderland’s goals have come from defenders so far this season* – Not a single Black Cats defender has registered this season for the league’s joint lowest scorers. Joint 14th: Manchester United – 7% of the Red Devils’ goals have come from defenders – Chris Smalling (4) is the only recognised United defender to score this season. 20 Joint third: Southampton – 13% of the Saints’ goals have come from defenders – The division’s best defence have also come up with the goods at the other end, with full backs Nathaniel Clyne and Ryan Bertrand particularly impressing. 16. Manchester City – 6% of the defending champions’ goals have come from defenders – The league’s highest scorers boast some incredible firepower in attack, so rarely have to call on their defensive options to bail them out. Joint 19th: None of Swansea’s goals have come from defenders so far this season – The Swans have had a good season, but the majority of the goals have come from strikers like Wilfried Bony and Bafetimbi Gomis. Joint third: Chelsea – 13% of the Blues’ goals have come from defenders – The Blues are marching towards a first Premier League title since 2010, and the likes of John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill have all contributing heavily. Joint 17th: QPR – 5% of the Rs’ goals have come from defenders – Charlie Austin has scored nearly half of the Hoops’ goals, although Clint Hill did open his Premier League account last month. 20 20 20 13. Burnley – 8% of the Clarets’ goals have come from defenders – Like Smalling, Ben Mee (2) is the only defender to have scored for his side this season.
Two years have passed since Sri Lanka bid farewell to the last of their batting greats yet the South Asian side appears no nearer to ending what has been a difficult period of transition. (Captain Upul Tharanga calls for patience before India ODI: Can Sri Lanka turn it around)When the brilliant Kumar Sangakkara followed the equally prolific Mahela Jayawardene into retirement in 2015, even the most optimistic Sri Lankan fans acknowledged the void they left was simply too big to be filled overnight.What they probably did not anticipate was that two years down the line, the team would still be hopelessly in the throes of a seemingly interminable era of regeneration.Once admired, even envied, for their steady supply of freak bowlers with bizarre actions and a near-invincible record at home, Sri Lanka’s recent humiliating 3-0 whitewash at the hands of India made for a particularly painful watch.Only Kusal Mendis and Dimuth Karunaratne offered fleeting glimpses of batting prowess but Sri Lanka were otherwise completely outclassed by the tourists in one of the most lop-sided series of recent times.Reuters Photo”Since I’ve been in this team, this is the worst series loss I’ve experienced,” Test skipper Dinesh Chandimal said after his team lost three matches in 11 days against their neighbours.The debacle followed their first ever one-day series loss to Zimbabwe in July, which prompted a frustrated Angelo Mathews to relinquish the captaincy of both the Test and one-day sides.Mathews appeared to have sparked a revival last year when they whitewashed Australia but the 3-0 home win proved little more than a false dawn.advertisementSri Lanka were subsequently thrashed in both Tests and one-dayers in South Africa, lost a home Test against Bangladesh and then failed to progress beyond the group stage at this year’s Champions Trophy.The India whitewash has led the country’s sports ministry to call for a report from Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) to explain why the side performed so poorly, while former captain Aravinda de Silva believes the board lacks vision.”We are going through a rebuilding process but you can’t be saying that forever,” de Silva, hero of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup triumph, told the Hindu newspaper last week.”Short-term process is good for a few months, one or two series, but not for the future.”So we need to seriously look at the team in the long-term and not keep chopping and changing,” said de Silva, who quit as head of the board’s cricket committee in May. (Ranatunga slams Sri Lankan board after India rout)STRING OF INJURIESHis former teammate and chief selector Sanath Jayasuriya pointed to a string of injuries as one reason for the side’s struggles and dismissed allegations of leading a trigger-happy panel.”Why should we change a squad of players if they are performing well and are injury free?” he told reporters. “Do you know how many players have been injured in the last 14 months?”Asela Gunaratne missed a majority of the series after fracturing his hand on the first day of the opening Test and paceman Nuwan Pradeep was sidelined after picking up a hamstring injury in the second Test.Reuters PhotoRangana Herath, who has helped Sri Lanka overcome the loss of retired spin great Muttiah Muralitharan, missed the final Test with a stiff back.Sri Lanka were twice subjected to being made to follow-on and a lack of balance was evident as they failed to stretch any of the three Tests to a full five days.Jayasuriya sought to explain the lack of competitiveness.”For instance, Mathews is not bowling after his hamstring injury,” the former captain said of the all-rounder.”He used to bowl at least 15 overs in a Test innings earlier but now plays purely as a batsman. So it’s very difficult to get the right balance when your key all-rounder is not bowling.”