Vithushan Ehantharajah analyses another fascinating weekend of Premier League action with the Stats Zone app from FFT & Opta... try it today!
The main talking point for this weekend’s Merseyside derby was of course the dismissal of Everton’s Jack Rodwell, but it’s worth pointing out that Liverpool were already out-passing their rivals prior to that controversial incident, completing 62 passes to Everton’s 32.
That being said, the loss of their defensive shield inevitably left them susceptible to more attempts on goal – after Rodwell’s red-card, Liverpool managed 15 shots on goal, having managed just the one when the game XI vs XI.
In more derby related stat fun, the Battle of North London threw up a couple of surprising tidbits – Luka Modric had a modest afternoon by his standards, completing only 29 of 38 attempted passes (a success rate of 76%) – even Arsenal’s Per Mertersacker made more. This put Sunday’s fixture in the Croatian’s all-time Premier League bottom ten as far as pass attempts and completion are concerned.
The game as a whole was an accurate representation of the Arsenal we have come to expect over the last few years – they out-passed their opposition (415 completed to Spurs’ 228, in this case), but Harry Redknapp’s side were perhaps more direct with theirs - mustering more shots on goal, more shots on target and – decisively – more goals…
It was a similar story at Villa Park, where Wigan passed the proverbial pants off Aston Villa – Roberto Martinez’s men completed an impressive 368 passes out of 437 (84%), making a mockery of the home side’s 194 of 272 (71%). And these weren’t all sideways passes across the back four, either - Wigan had the three players who made the most passes in the final third.
Chelsea’s 5-1 demolition of Owen Coyle’s men at the Reebok was as much their doing as it was the home side. While there’s no question Chelsea were just far too powerful, it’s interesting to note that they only had 43.5% of the territory, choosing instead to largely ape Swansea's chevron and hit Bolton on the break, unremorsefully.
While the main source of the “Lampard’s finished” talk gets his coat, it’s interesting to see how big an influence he was, in all areas of the pitch. Here’s a comparison with the equally effective (if not in front of goal) Scott Parker, as the two report for England duty ahead of this Friday’s qualifier against Montenegro. Parker attempted seven tackles - more than any other player in the Premier League this weekend, with his 21 over the course of the season so far the highest in the Premier League, despite him having only played four matches.
At Craven Cottage, which housed another, albeit one-sided goal-fest, both sides had very similar use of the ball and the facilities – Fulham had 22 shots on goal, 4 more than QPR’s 18, though the home side missed the target with 11 of them. Neil Warnock’s men missed the goal with 12 of their attempts
Manchester United tightened things up this weekend, allowing their opponents – Norwich in this case - less than 20 chances in a game for the first time this season. Though United fans shouldn’t get too excited – they did still allow 17 shots on their goal.
Yesterday’s impressive win against Stoke, contrary to popular belief, was not down to Swansea’s passing play. In fact, yesterday their pass completion percentage was only 77.8%, their worst of the season so far, including the heavy defeats away to Manchester City and Chelsea.
Manchester United’s passing stats suffered similarly against Tony Pulis’ men last week, perhaps an indication of his sides battling & pressing across the park.
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