Islam Slimani scored his sixth goal of 2016 alone against Porto on Tuesday night – a habit that's earned him his 'Dragon Slayer' tag. FFT's Joe Brewin picked out the bogeymen who’ve forever aggravated the same team
They're every fan's worst nightmare - the kind of player you know will ruin your afternoon whether he's on the pitch for 30 seconds or an hour, and there's nothing you can do about it.
Your mates will forever tell you that 'X' always scores against their team – but do they really? If your team features (and some do repeatedly, we're afraid), we're sorry. If it doesn't and you think we've missed someone off, don't hesitate to tweet us at @FourFourTwo and we'll add them to the list.
1. Didier Drogba vs Arsenal
Apps: 15. Goals: 13. Games scored in: 8.
Drogba’s goals against the Gunners meant he was only ever on the losing side against them once – the last appearance of his first spell in west London. The Ivorian powerhouse netted in five league games against Arsene Wenger’s men – three of them braces – and again in the FA Cup, League Cup and Community Shield (including another two doubles). Forever Arsene’s nightmare.
2. David Nugent vs Ipswich
Apps: 15. Goals: 15. Games scored in: 12.
For Ipswich fans, Public Enemy No.1 is surely Middlesbrough's Nugent (or 'David f***ing Nugent' as he’s known in Suffolk).
The former England man has haunted the Tractor Boys with four different clubs – Preston, Portsmouth, Leicester and Boro – never failed to score at Portman Road, and been on the losing side only once. Heck, he even bagged there for England U21s in 2006, when Theo Walcott became the age group’s youngest-ever scorer against Moldova.
“You could say they are one of my favourite teams to play against,” he once said, before netting a brace the following day. “I made my debut for Preston at home against them and scored, and it’s kicked on from there. It is weird.”
3. Everyone else vs Ipswich
Let’s just get their misery out the way. While Nugent might be their modern-day nemesis, there’ve been others before him…
Cole made a mockery of the Tractor Boys in his Premier League days with Newcastle and Manchester United
Apps: 8. Goals: 10. Games scored in: 6.
Andy Cole made a mockery of the Tractor Boys in his Premier League days with Newcastle and Manchester United. His first four appearances against them all produced net-ripplers, the fourth being his famous five-goal haul in the Old Trafford side’s record 9-0 thumping. He wouldn’t face them for another six seasons, eventually giving them rare respite for a game in 2000/01, before netting for both United and Blackburn in the 2001/02 campaign.
Apps: 5. Goals: 8. Games scored in: 4.
Only in Ian Wright’s first game against Ipswich, in 92/93, did he not net against them. In the two campaigns that followed he smashed in eight goals, including hat-tricks in both seasons as Arsenal ran riot.
Apps: 6. Goals: 6. Games scored in: 5.
James Beattie only failed to bag against Ipswich once, in a 3-0 defeat for Southampton back in 2000/01. He’d netted in the reverse fixture, though, and did it again the following season, before striking on each of the three occasions he played against them for Sheffield United in the Championship.
4. Robin van Persie vs Stoke, Blackburn
Apps: 12. Goals: 11. Games scored in: 10.
No player in English football had scored in eight successive league appearances against a single opponent until the Dutchman did just that against Stoke in February 2014. He bagged a third-round FA Cup winner against the Potters in his first appearance, and had only failed to score in his first league outing against them until his final two appearances for a United side on the slide.
Apps: 13. Goals: 13. Games scored in: 9.
And then there’s Blackburn too, who’ve conceded even more against the formerly prolific striker. Van Persie found the net in eight of his nine first appearances against the Lancashire outfit, including two braces, and most recently plundered a hat-trick in Arsenal’s 7-1 win in 2011/12.
5. Romelu Lukaku vs West Ham
Apps: 10. Goals: 8. Games scored in: 8.
The net-busting Belgian has scored in all eight of his appearances against the Hammers for Everton, and became the first player in Premier League history to score in six consecutive games against an opponent for the same club in 2015/16. Lukaku's goals have contributed to four Toffees victories in the top flight, but he could have added another to that pile had his penalty not been saved last season with Everton leading 2-0. They lost 3-2.
6. Michael Owen vs Newcastle
Apps: 10. Goals: 13. Games scored in: 7.
Only twice did he fail to net against his future club while playing for Liverpool, while his other ‘failure’ was in a nine-minute cameo for Manchester United.
Owen terrified the Magpies from 1998-2001, thumping a St James’ Park hat-trick in 1998/99 before following that with two braces and another treble in his next three appearances against them. Fittingly, his equaliser against the Tyneside outfit in May 2004 came on his last appearance for Liverpool. He'd later score 26 league goals in four years for Newcastle - only double the amount he’d scored against them.
7. Ruud van Nistelrooy vs Newcastle
Apps: 10. Goals: 11. Games scored in: 8.
Them again. When Owen scarpered for Real Madrid, someone else had to carry on the job of annoying Newcastle fans on a bi-seasonal basis. Actually, Van Nistelrooy had been making a good fist of it two seasons before the Liverpool man’s exit, striking in each game of his debut 2001/02 season, a hat-trick in the next and then two more in the following matches. He scored twice in the FA Cup in 2004/05 (after doing so in the league), and then notched another in his final season at Old Trafford.
8. Thierry Henry vs everyone
Henry netted 12 times against Aston Villa, Middlesbrough and Charlton in his first spell with the Gunners, and added Leeds to the pile with that dramatic FA Cup third-round effort on his comeback.
Middlesbrough fans have actually been on the receiving end in the most games (nine), but the others aren’t too far behind on eight. Charlton fans were subjected to braces on his first three appearances against them from 2000-02, and another goal on his fourth. Swansea are the only English side not to have been stung at some point, but that was in a 27-minute substitute’s display the second time around.
Across the pond in MLS, Montreal Impact were stung badly by Henry. In the Frenchman's five appearances against them he scored nine times, including two braces and a hat-trick in his first outing.
More on the next page: Cantona! Lambert! Sir Les!