You can prove anything with statistics apparently, well, apart from the reason behind the enduring employment of Robbie Savage, and as football fans, we often use these nuggets or information to back up our countless disputes.
Although we imagine statisticians as mathematical nerds with a number fetish, there’s a Statto hidden in all of us. From goals per game to number of red cards and from managers’ win ratios to the good old trophies won favourite, we use statistics to discuss the relative merits of players and teams all the time.
Luckily, we don’t seem to have quite the obsession with numbers that afflicts American sports. I remember tuning in to a sports channel once and being amazed to find that it was broadcasting competitive rodeo, of which the highlight was surely the inclusion, for every animal, of a ‘Bull Rating’ in the bottom right hand corner.
The particular bull I saw had a rating of something like 44.76, what on Earth this means is beyond me, but American stats fans were no doubt whoopin’ and a-hollerin’ about it somewhere in Texas. Anyway, I digress, we football fans love a bit of flagrant stattage, and who better to provide it than the masters of sports stats, OPTA. So, for the nerd inside you politely coughing to get out, here are 20 juicy Premier League stats.
Richard Dunne has made more last-man saving tackles than any other player in the Premier League this season, ten in fact.
Despite the stick Dunne often gets for being lumbering, slow, agricultural etc. – the big lad can certainly do the defender’s bread and butter duties with relish (bread and butter with relish? no thanks). Whether it’s putting his head in where it hurts or flinging his body in the way of a goal-bound shot, Dunne plays a very important role for Villa, as the stat above proves.
Sunderland have dropped 20 points from winning positions this season (more than any other team).
Steve Bruce would no doubt shake his head in the world-weary way he often does were he to see this statistic. How frustrating it must be as a fan and particularly as a manger to see your team take the lead, only to bungle the opportunity of victory again and again. Just for the record, had Sunderland avoided dropping those 20 points, they would now be just behind Man Utd in 2nd place in the league.
Manchester United have won all 13 games they have played against Wigan in all competitions scoring 41 goals & conceding just 4.
Underneath the furore over Wayne Rooney’s rogue elbow to James McCarthy’s skull, lay a dominating 4-0 victory for United that carried on their remarkable record of victory over Wigan Athletic and showed the distance between the haves and have-nots.
Roy Hodgson has won only one of his last 28 Premier League away games. Oops.
Hodgson had a hard time of it at Liverpool, never truly accepted by the fans and ushered out of the door after just 6 months in the job, but as we can see from the stat above, his team was not playing well and the worrying lack of away victories, which stretches back to his Fulham days, cannot fill West Brom fans with much hope for the future.
– Only Didier Drogba has hit more shots on target in the PL this season than Fulham’s Clint Dempsey.
While it is unsurprising to see Drogba top of the shots on target list (although perhaps odd that a few more didn’t go in for him), the real point of this stat is to emphasise the usefulness of Clint Dempsey. The American does a sterling job at Fulham, where he often scores very well-taken and spectacular goals, and his accuracy and under-stated profile make him perhaps one of the most under-rated Premier League players.
Robin van Persie is the first player to have scored 10 goals in the first two calendar months of a year in the Premier League era.
Impressive stuff from Arsenal’s Dutch forward, Van Persie has talent in abundance but an unfortunate habit of picking up injuries. 10 goals and 6 assists from 15 games is a fantastic return, it’s just a shame for Arsenal that he has been restricted to making this impact half-way through the season.
Spurs have 38 goals after 27 PL games this season, vs 48 at this time last season.
A worrying statistic for Spurs fans, this record is statistical evidence of the profligacy of their strikers – who have scored 8 league goals between them, an unacceptable return for players being fed by the likes of Modric, Lennon, Van der Vaart and Bale. Tottenham’s goal difference is only +7, compared to +19 & +24 for the clubs around them; should Spurs end the season level on points with Chelsea or Manchester City, it is their lack of goals that could cost them a Champions League place.
Lucas has made 35 interceptions in the PL this term, 48 fewer than Benoit Assou-Ekotto; who has the most (83)
Lucas is supposed to be a defensive midfielder, whose job it is to break down opponents attacking play and send the ball forward to start an attack for his own team – he isn’t doing that good a job of it. Admittedly, Assou-Ekotto is a defender who must block a few crosses, but the discrepancy between the two doesn’t reflect well on the much-maligned Brazilian.
Stoke have scored the most goals in the last 10 mins of PL matches this season.
Tony Pulis’s agricultural side are famed/derided for their route one, unattractive football, but every team does what it can to survive in the ruthless plains of the Premier League and with a record like this one, Stoke are showing their admirable commitment and drive to keep on plugging away even at the death.
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