Almost everybody loves stats. Politicians love them. Mathematicians love them. Sports fans especially love them, and all top sports and football tipsters rely on them in their detailed analysis before making picks.
Along with the recent proliferation of interactive services, gaming sites and news forums associated with Premier League football, has been the increase in popularity and availability of statistical services which allow the average fan an insight into the types of numbers and data that previous only a dedicated club performance analyst would have been privy too. Sites such as optasports.com, whocscored.com, and squawka.com, amongst many others, offer the armchair supporter the type of information that would have seemed inconceivable just a few years ago.
Indeed, it wasn’t long ago the only meaningful stats available were pertaining to goals, appearances and bookings. It’s hard to believe that assists are only a recently desired measurement of effectiveness, a by-product of the more statically astute game of basketball.
Indeed, American sports (and cricket) have led the way in all things numbers in sport, but that is not to say that the complete measurement of a player can be made by numbers alone – the ‘Moneyball’ approach to football can only be taken so far after all, but what is clear is that statistics are now an integral part of football analysis, and certainly play a vital element in the selection process for the most astute football tipsters and handicappers.
With the Premier League on a two-week hiatus due to a break for international matches, here are some of the most interesting statistics relating to the opening 8 games of this season’s competition. Football tipsters have already taken note.
Goals, goals, goals. When all is said and done, it comes down to who has scored more. So far this season, these are the guys you want on your team – top football tipsters always keep track, perhaps even more so when a side’s main man is missing.
Jamie Vardy (Leicester) – 7
Sergio Aguero (Man City) – 6
Callum Wilson (Bournemouth), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester), Romelu Lukaku (Everton), Odion Ighalo (Watford), Graziano Pelle (Southampton), Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – all 5
Jamie Vardy is the somewhat surprise early leader of the goal-scoring charts – England boss Roy Hodgson will be smiling broadly. All but one of Sergio Aguero’s 6 goals came last Saturday against Newcastle, and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez is another who has benefited from recent form – that’s 5 goals in two games for the Chilean. Odion Ighalo’s 5 goals constitute more than 83% of his team’s total of 6, while Bournemouth’s Callum Wilson is unfortunately ruled out for the next 6 months with an anterior cruciate injury.
You can’t score them unless something makes them (in most cases). Here are the men who are making it happen so far;
David Silva (Man City) – 6
Wes Hoolahan (Norwich) – 5
Yaya Toure (Man City), Mesut Ozil (Arsenal), Sadio Mane (Southampton) – all 4
Manchester City’s David Silva has achieved his 6 assists from just 5 matches so far. Both Wes Hoolahan and Sadio Mane have assisted a single teammate three times already – Nathan Redmond and Graziano Pelle respectively. 3 of the previously mentioned Odion Ighalo’s 5 goals have been assisted by Troy Deeney – where would the Hornets be without them?
Shots Per Game – Player
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool) – 5.4
Alexis Sanchez (Arsenal) – 5.1
Graziano Pelle (Southampton) – 4.3
Sergio Auero (Man City) – 4.1
Bakary Sako (Crystal Palace) – 3.8
Shots Per Game – Team (Total goals) (conversion rate)
Manchester City – 20.6 (19) (11.5%)
Arsenal – 20 (13) (8.1%)
Tottenham – 16.4 (11) (8.3%)
Surprised at Arsenal’s last two results? Prior to their 5-2 win over Leicester, Arsenal had scored 5 goals in 6 matches, hitting a conversion rate of 4.2%, which at that time was one of the lowest in the Premier League. With an average of 20 shots per game, that conversion rate, statistically, was bound to rise, and so it proved. And such is how top football tipsters operate. The key is timing.
Lucas Leiva (Liverpool) – 5.7
Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa) – 4.3
Patrick Van Aanholt (Sunderland) – 4.3
Sebastien Coates (Sunderland) – 4.2
Valon Behrami (Watford) – 4.2
The ostracising of Lucas Leiva was perhaps just another nail in the coffin of ex-Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers – the Brazilian is currently the most prolific tacker in the division, way out in front of his closest rivals. Unsurprisingly, Sunderland’s defenders have also been busy, but have ultimately failed in preventing seeing their side slip to the bottom of the fledgling table. Out of interest, Swansea’s Bafetimbi Gomis currently averages 0.1 tackles per game – the lowest number in the Premier League.
Laurent Koscielny (Arseanal) – 4
Yohan Cabaye (Crystal Palace) – 3.8
Jordan Amavi (Aston Villa) – 3.8
Chancel Mbemba (Newcastle) – 3.3
Etienne Capoue (Watford) – 3.3
Interceptions are often cited as being the finest indication of defensive reading of the game. The fact that Villa’s Amavi features on both the tackles and interceptions list perhaps reveals why the club’s supporters and pundits alike have highlighted the young Frenchman as one of the only bright spots in an otherwise bleak season for the Villains. Take him out of the side, as the finest football tipsters will tell you, and an already fragile defence looks particularly vulnerable.
Alex McCarthy (Crystal Palace) – 4.8
Jack Butland (Stoke) – 4.6
Adrian (West Ham) – 4.4
Costel Pantilimon (Sunderland), Tim Krul (Newcastle) – 4.1
If saves per league position were somehow correlated, Crystal Palace’s Alex McCarthy is worth his weight in gold. His side currently sit in 4th position, and have conceded the joint lowest number of goals. Without his contribution, top football tipsters would think twice about backing the Eagles.
By: Steven Paget