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IN DEPTH STATS: Passing Ability – Scholes/Ando vs Fabregas

These statistics compare the passing success of Arsenal captain, Cesc Fabregas, Paul Scholes and Anderson in the games they’ve played against each other for Manchester United and Arsenal.

The stats are taken from all the games where at least two of the three players featured and show how many passes per minute were successfully completed, as well as what percentage of their attempted passes were completed.

The purpose of the diagrams is to show the range of passing. Players like Denilson have a high completion rate, but unlike Scholes, Fabregas and Anderson, doesn’t attempt many long range passes.

[edit] For all the overly sensitive Goons who have come flocking in, desperate to comment on a Manchester United blog (?), I’ll stress that at no point in this article does it say which player is better than another. This article simply compares the effectiveness of the passing between the key midfielders when the teams meet. Given that Cesc Fabregas will soon play for the best team in the world, it is interesting for Manchester United fans to see how our players compare. So put your dummies back in and feel free to provide any other statistics/arguments about anything else related. [/edit]

- Scholes has the highest passing success rate with an average of 89% completion (90%, 96% and 82%). Anderson has the second highest passes success rate with an average of 82% completion (93%, 89%, 78% and 66%). Finally, Fabregas with an average of 73% completion (77%, 72%, 76%, 75%, 73% and 65%).
- Fabregas has the highest number of successful passes per minute on the pitch, 0.6 (284 passes in 476 mins). Scholes has the second highest number of successful passes per minute on the pitch, 0.48 (111 passes in 233 mins). Then Anderson, 0.34 (91 passes in 266 mins).

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About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Shak says:

    Oi u sad gooners cunts, how’s this for stats-
    Anderson 3league titles, 1 European cup
    fabregas fuck all

    Dig into that u sad cunts

  2. Paul Parker says:

    Great statistics Scott, enjoyed reading that – it would be interesting to contrast that with successful tackles made in those same matches, so we can see what these players do going backwards as well as forward. We already know what Scholes is all about, but I think Ando does alot of break up play too, more so than Cesc. The Brazilians got more to his game than just passing, he also splits defences from time to time with the ball stuck like glue to his boots, and constantly nicks the ball of opposition. Cesc is a quality player, if not for his level of development at a young age (he’s been playing at the high end of the league for a long time) – but for me Ando is head and shoulders the better prospect, he just needs more and more games under his belt – the only aspect thats lacking is his goals, and Alec’s said on the training pitch he’s got one of the better shots!

  3. King Eric says:

    United. Strange name considering a lot if your posts seem to bitch about united. Fgabreghas aint in the same fucking leahue son as a thirty six year old nebermind in his prime. To all you mouthy southern fairies come back when cesc has done the business in a BIG GAME and I will listen.

  4. King Eric says:

    Bastard phone. Fabregas. And a thirty six year old paul.

  5. Hamhamlp says:

    Fabregas is a great player, no doubt about that and yes better than Andi fir the time being.
    But you can’t even dare compare him to scholsy.
    I think that Zidane sums it up :

    “He’s almost untouchable in what he does. I never tire of watching him play. You rarely come across the complete footballer, but Scholes is as close to it as you can get.

    “One of my regrets is that the opportunity to play alongside him never presented itself during my career.”

  6. luke says:

    … 1 more thing… i’d just like to state, for the record, that ray parlour was an objectively better footballer than paul gascoigne. anyone who doesn’t believe me simply needs to look at the stats

    * FA Premier League – winner 1998, 2002, 2004
    * FA Cup – winner 1993, 1998, 2002, 2003; runner-up 2001
    * League Cup – winner 1993
    * European Cup Winners Cup – winner 1994; runner-up 1995
    * UEFA Cup – runner-up 2000


    * FA Cup: 1991

  7. anirudh says:


    I love your blog and the things that you write – what i like most is your attention for details even when you look at stats – but by omitting a few details you have changed the context of these stats (red tinted specs – i suppose).


    i think you should look at the passing stats and see the areas in which the passes have been made/ missed by Fabregas, Anderson and Scholes. You will find the following (and the stats will surely back it up):-

    - Fabregas has a similar/ greater pass percentage in areas where Anderson and Scholes have been passing the ball

    - Fabregas has more assists than both players

    - Fabregas has more attempted passes in the final third and like all of us who watch football know – thats the area where a good central midfielder needs to dominate.

    - Scholes stats in such matches in 1990′s would be much better than Fabregas, these stats just reflect a time when he has started playing like a quarter-back with little to no- box to box movement

    JUST FYI- Im not a Fabregas fan and quite dislike him, but i would not question his class/ suggest that he is not a more effective overall player than the midfield we have at the club. If we get a player like Fabregas (and Anderson is capable – just not as effective yet) in our midfield, we as a team would get back into the Barcelona bracket (like we were in 2008-09).

    Feel free to disagree, but analyze the stats again- i would love to be proved wrong.

  8. Utd4life says:

    Lets see how good cesc is when he is 36…Right now..Scholsesy>fab>ando..

  9. thesavage says:

    One comment: Cesky, outside now you patronizing, idiotic cunt.

  10. YorYor says:

    Hah, touchy Arsenal supporters. So quick to defend a soon-to-be ex-player. Let’s see how much he can fetch for Arsenal… once they lose Fabregas, they’re gonna have to change their game so much… I wonder who they can revolve their play around now. None of the rest look capable of carrying the team.

  11. MyCowIsTheBest says:

    the stupidest comment i have read is mannie’s. Fabregas has won the World Cup and the Euro, Ando and Scholes have not. So what? That is international football.. not club football. Fabregas has been a PASSENGER in both competitions. Never been in anyway a fixture in the starting line-up. I wont go as stupid as that to counter Fabregas’ international medal with Ando’s and Scholes’ club medals.

    You arsenal fans should be honoured we put Fabregas’ stats here on a United blog for comparison to Scholes.

  12. Alex says:

    nah it cheapens fabregas to have him mentioned alongside those 2 worthless cloggers. it’s distasteful.

  13. luke says:

    “Fabregas has been a PASSENGER in both competitions. Never been in anyway a fixture in the starting line-up.”

    I would have thought United fans would be aware of the value of having a complete squad not simply a starting eleven.

    Fabregas started more than one match in the 06 world cup when he was a teenager

    In 2008 he made 3 assists and scored a goal. He was unquestionably man of the match after coming on after half an hour in the semi final so then started in the final

    In 2010 he was coming off an injury yet still got a fair amount of game time, coming of the bench when the quarter final and final were level, and setting up the goal that won the world cup.

    He has 58 caps for the best team in the world at the age of 23. Paul Scholes, obviously an all time great, didn’t play a match for England until he was 22 and only ever received 66 caps.

    If you really don’t rate such a clearly excellent player then that’s fine but relying upon skewed facts and outright lies doesn’t reflect well. I’ve never understood the need many fans have to try and belittle the top players at other clubs. If the best Arsenal player is so much below the expected man utd level then how can you even gain any sense of achievement at regularly beating them and coming above them in the league?

  14. willierednut says:

    Alex – Are you an idiot? You sound like one. Did your mummy, give you the breast too much, or not enough maybe?

  15. UTd4ever says:


    some gooners dont even understand english.
    just like their french manager
    author said that he is not trying to prove who is better player, but simply stating a fact about the passing of 3 players.
    have to whine about everything, dont you?

  16. richard says:

    Fabby played bit parts in Spain’s WC and European Nations Cup titles. Xavi and Iniesta where the MF dynamos for Spain in both. On the other hand when Fabby raises the CL trophy with Arsenal than let’s talk.

  17. willierednut says:

    And, when Fabregas came on, Holland were down to 10 men. Arsenal again fail the test against City, We’re really worried down here, ahhhhhhhh

  18. Gooner T says:

    You want a real stat?
    Fabregas has 80 assists in 4 years (prem)
    Scholes has 34 assists in his career at Man u (prem)

    Say no more.


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