Do stats tell the story?
One thing I’ve always lamented since starting to follow soccer seriously is the lack of statistics that are readily available to the average fan. Other sports (I think of American baseball and football for examples) tend to have large volumes of statistics available to fuel fan debates about who really is the most dominant team, player, etc. I find that pouring over statistics gives me a better understanding of the games and players but it has to be done within the context of looking at the overall game. It’s far too easy to get sidetracked by columns of numbers but it’s also great to have those numbers on hand.
With that in mind, I was delighted to find the Opta stats feature on the Sky Sports website. The current stats say that Cristiano Ronaldo is the Premier League’s most frequent shooter and dribbler, while Cesc Fabregas leads the passer category and Javier Mascherano is the leading tackler. Here are a few of the stats that caught my eye.
Top Shooter – Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd) – 90
Top Passer - Francesc Fabregas (Arsenal) – 1676
Top Tackler - Javier Mascherano (Liverpool) – 129
Most Dribbles & Runs – Cristiano Ronaldo (Man Utd) – 128
Most Crosses - David Bentley (Blackburn) – 306
Most Offsides - Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal) – 54
Most Fouls - Kevin Davies (Bolton) – 76
Team with Most Fouls - Middlesbrough – 422
Team with Most Shots – Man Utd – 420
What are your thoughts on stats? Do you care? Do they really tell us something about a team or player? If you’re into stats, what sources do you use? I’m looking forward to your comments and links!