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Stats entertainment!

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http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2008/05/14/stats_entertainment_lescott_th.html


here is a round up of the season stat wise, for the premiership - i think it makes for some good reading, let me know what you think.

Wayne Rooney? Michael Owen? Jermain Defoe? Dean Ashton? Pah, if Fabio Capello was doing his job he'd know England's finest finisher is ... Joleon Lescott, who this season recorded a phenomenal goals-to-shots ratio of 42.1%, way ahead of the Premier League's next best (who, as it happens, was also an Evertonian - Yakubu, with 28.3%).

Papa Bouba Diop could do with some lessons from Lescott - of all the players who didn't score this season, he was the one who missed the most, firing off 46 futile shots. Still, at least a few of those efforts made the keeper work; Diop's compatriot Henri Camara could only dream of such accuracy - in 10 appearances for West Ham the striker could not muster even a single shot on target.

But let's turn to someone who did earn his corn. Birmingham's Stephen Kelly was the only outfield player in the league to play in every minute of all his club's matches. Mind you, it seems the full-back was sticking to a strict work-to-rule policy: in his 3,420 minutes of action he didn't venture even one shot.

Those are some amusing curios, but Opta's bumper end-of-season stats package can also be used to support some widely held impressions. It will come as no surprise, for example, to learn that Cristiano Ronaldo was involved in 47% of Manchester United's goals, David Bentley attempted more crosses than anyone else in the country or that the three most prolific passers in the league all play for Arsenal - though it's interesting to note that, sandwiched between Cesc Fábregas and Mathieu Flamini, is Gaël Clichy (if you wanted to further underline what an impressive season Clichy had, you could casually mention that he intercepted 136 passes, more than anyone else in the division).

Presumably chasing the Gunners' passes tired teams out, which is why Arsenal scored more goals (27) than anyone else in the last 15 minutes of matches.

At the back, Arsenal were also the most aerially secure, conceding only three headed goals all season (to sloppy Spurs' 15). Though Liverpool could also claim they were the hardest to penetrate: in 38 matches their opponents managed a combined total of just 90 shots on target (next best were Chelsea with 121). Though Manchester United, of course, conceded the fewest goals partly because Edwin van der Sar had the best saves-to-shots ratio (80%). Derby's Roy Carroll, meanwhile, had to pick the ball out of his net on average every 33.2 minutes - the next most hapless, stooping every 39.2 minutes, was ... Stephen Bywater, also of Derby.

So far, so unsurprising. And it won't shock anyone to discover that, yet again, Blackburn were the dirtiest team in the league. But their fighting spirit served them well, for they picked up 23 points from losing positions, more than any other team. What's more, Blackburn fans, next time your team's disciplinary record is used as evidence against Mark Hughes, be sure to point out that his troops are also the second most brutalised, suffering just one fewer foul than the country's most frequent victims, Tottenham. And only four players were more sinned against than David Bentley (Mikel Arteta being the most hard done by). Poor old Derby, meanwhile, weren't worth even worth fouling: they won far fewer free-kicks than anyone else.

Arsenal, since you ask, were the cleanest team, though cuddly Bolton were the only side not to cop a red card. Kevin Davies must have come close though: in the whole league only John Carew and Tim Cahill had a higher fouling rate than him. But the burly striker was only giving as could as he got, for he was also the third most frequently fouled player.

So just as stats can support widely held views, they can also help alter common perceptions. Steve Coppell won plaudits for the tidy football his side showed in their debut Premier League campaign, but it seems as relegation loomed this term he didn't stick to his principles a la Roy Hodgson: 21.08% of Reading's attempted passes were long balls, the highest proportion of any team in the league. Next came fellow drop-outs Birmingham. The identity of the team that played the second lowest proportion of long balls may also raise a few eyebrows - Chelsea (12.48%). Or does that just confirm that Didier Drogba was missing for long periods?

The figures can also persuade us to look at certain players in a different light. No one will be surprised to hear that the most prolific tacklers in the league were Javier Mascherano and Nigel Reo-Coker, but can you guess who came third? Dainty little Steed Malbranque, that's who. So there's at least one Spur who didn't go on holiday after the Carling Cup.

So stats can be instructive. But more than anything they're addictive. Once you start trying to analyse things by isolating every tiny detail, you can't stop: and so Opta can also tell us that Mark Noble was this season's clearing-off-the-line king, having saved his side four times, and that Martin Laursen performed more clearances (739) than anyone else - and yes, since 1996 they've been employing observers whose job it is to, amongst other things, distinguish between punted clearances that a team-mate happens to latch on to and deliberate long passes. And it's contagious: I found myself phoning the Opta people this morning to ask: "When a player kicks the ball to touch so that an injured team-mate or opponent can receive treatment, is that counted as an incomplete pass?" Apparently it is. Good - maybe now that that's out in the open, players will cut that annoying practice out?

Click here for the Premier League season in numbers.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/may/14/premierleague1

Click here for team rankings.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/may/14/premierleague2

Click here for player rankings.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2008/may/14/premierleague3
 

ajw

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Derby's Roy Carroll, meanwhile, had to pick the ball out of his net on average every 33.2 minutes - the next most hapless, stooping every 39.2 minutes, was ... Stephen Bywater, also of Derby.---LOL at that.

And Lescott most accurate striker, legend. 10 goals for a defender though is pretty dam good. And bolton never got a red :eek:
 
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yet they didnt win the fair play ???
 
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The 6 best goal to shots ratio, and fabrice muamba the 4th best ball winner in the premier league, well that makes up for been the worst passing ratio
 
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I love stats! :D
 
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