In the dying moments of Barcelona’s Champions League triumph in May, coach Pep Guardiola made a substitution to run down the clock. Andreas Iniesta was the player sacrificed. The diminutive midfielder produced a stirring display on the night, along with partner in crime Xavi. Both tormented the Manchester United midfielder to such an extent, Darren Fletcher was almost missed. His replacement was yet another graduate from the Catalan’s outstanding academy, Perdito. It was a surprising choice, as the young forward only appeared in sporadically during their historic treble-winning season. However, one third of the way through the 2009/2010 campaign, he is 2nd in the Barca scoring-charts, just behind a certain Lionel Messi. This season, he has grown into Pedro.
Having been invaded by wingers, second strikers and midfielders last season, the Premier League top scorers chart is beginning to have a familiar look to it again. It’s populated by centre-forwards. 7 games into the season the top 10 scorers in the league are all strikers. No sign of the Gerrards, Lampards or Ronaldos. We seemed to be drifting towards an era of teams playing just one up top, but now it seems strike partnerships are en vogue again, and the league is all the more entertaining for it: 196 goals in 66 games, an average of 2.97 goals per match.