Saturday proved a day to savour for English football as 41 goals flew in around the country's top-flight venues, the most on a single day since the division was reduced to 20 teams.
Goalkeepers must have winced as the outfield players made hay, with Louis Saha plundering four for Everton FC, who registered five overall, and Arsenal FC, Newcastle FC and Wigan Athletic FC all rattling off four apiece. Close behind on three were Manchester City FC, Stoke City FC, Blackburn Rovers FC and Blackpool FC, and remarkably the latter two both lost their matches.
It is fast becoming a remarkable campaign in England's elite division as the previous best goal haul in the 20-club era also came this season, when 36 were scored on 27 November last year. Both tallies are far outshone by the all-time English top-tier record, however, which was set on 26 December 1963. On that prolific Boxing Day, ten matches produced 66 goals as Fulham FC led the way by dispatching Ipswich Town FC 10-1.
That record total stands out on the continental stage too, with Spain's highest single-day total of 59 goals, from 17 September 1950, leading the challenge from the rest of Europe's leading leagues. Eventual champions Club Atlético de Madrid posted a 6-4 triumph against FC Barcelona thanks in part to a double from the side's all-time leading scorer Adrián Escudero, while Telmo Zarra nabbed a hat-trick as Athletic Club won 6-3 away to Real Murcia CF. As for Real Madrid CF, they suffered a heavy 6-2 defeat at Real Sociedad de Fútbol.
The following year, in Italy, 54 strikes were racked up on the final day of the 1950/51 campaign. AC Milan had already sealed the title the previous week when, on 17 June 1951, runners-up FC Internazionale Milano got among the goals in a 5-2 victory against Genoa CFC. Other notable encounters included Bologna FC winning 7-2 at S.S. Lazio and Juventus prevailing 6-2 at Atalanta BC.
Three weeks earlier, in France, another final day of the season had produced a similar record haul. Ligue 1's goalkeepers were beaten 50 times on 27 May 1951, when OGC Nice engineered a 4-0 success at already-relegated AS Red Star 93 to capture their first ever championship crown, and the first of four that decade. The result kept them ahead of LOSC Lille Métropole on goal difference alone as the northerners also came out on top, seeing off AS Saint-Étienne 4-3.
In Germany, 53 goals found the target in a single round of matches towards the end of the 1983/84 campaign, SV Werder Bremen setting the tone in their 7-3 handling of Kickers Offenbach 1901 on 11 May 1984. The following day, FC Bayern München swept aside 1. FC Kaiserslautern 5-2 and Hamburger SV enjoyed a 6-1 victory against a 1. FC Nürnberg team already destined for the second tier.
As for the Netherlands, the most goal-heavy day in the Eredivisie came on 31 August 1958, when 51 strikes were recorded despite one of the nine games ending 0-0. Tonny van der Linden hit four as VV DOS downed FC Blauw-Wit Amsterdam 7-3 and a similar four-goal salvo from Richard Brousek helped SC Enschede triumph 6-2 at TSV NOAD, while Fortuna '54 edged Willem II in a 5-4 thriller. The season itself would also go down as the most prolific in history as no fewer than 1,188 efforts were notched overall at an average of 3.88 per fixture.
The last day of the 1996 campaign remains the benchmark in Russia, finally, with 43 goals crossing the line as the clubs signed off for the winter on 3 November. Lowly FC KamAZ Naberezhnye Chelny beat FC Rostselmash Rostov-na-Donu 5-4 and FC Dinamo Moskva enjoyed a 5-2 success against city rivals FC Torpedo Moskva. At the top, wins for both FC Spartak Moskva and FC Alania Vladikavkaz left the duo locked on 72 points, necessitating a championship play-off which Spartak clinched 2-1.
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