Ok ok, ‘we don’t need stats to prove that’ I hear you cry, and I agree with you. We can just look at our trophy cabinet if clarification of our greatness is required, but go with me on this one.
I like a good old statistic, particularly the ones the commentators drag up during a dull spell in a match. Pointless information that proves nothing, but still is rather interesting to hear.
The best one I’ve heard this week is that Tottenham Hotspur are currently enduring their worst start to the season since 1912! Now, they have never really been a team that have crept on to my radar of dislike, afterall, we share a common enemy in Arsenal. We’ve got good memories of Spurs in fact. They kindly rolled over after going a goal ahead on the final day of the season in 1999, allowing us to take our first step in winning the Treble, which in my book, is very generous. There was the game a couple of years later when United faced massive humiliation, going in 3-0 down at half time. They wouldn’t stand for that though and let us score five goals in the second half. However, since the mean comments from Daniel Levy this summer, the 1912 statistic is yet another I can add to the list I already have to make me smile.
Anyway, I did a bit of research on last season and stumbled across some rather pleasing findings. There is some disagreement amongst sources on the exact number of assists and the like, so I’ll deem the source that paints us in the most favourable light the most reliable!
Cristiano Ronaldo obviously had an incredible season, but it’s good to see his scoring statistics broken down. He scored a goal, on average, every 86.6 minutes he was on the pitch, which over the course of a whole season is bloody fantastic! Fernando Torres, who Rafael Benitez believes is the best player in the World, had the next most impressive record, with a goal for every 105.9 minutes he was on the park.
Of the top eleven scoring players in the Premiership last season, United have four of them pulling our jersey this season, with a total of 72 goals. Impressive? Definitely. But probably more impressive when you think Chelsea had a total of 65 goals last season and Liverpool 67.
Cesc Fabregas had the most assists last season, 19, followed by Ashley Young with 17. Rooney was third with 13.
However, Fabregas played in 5 more games than Rooney last season, Young played in 10 more games.
Berbatov, Nani, Ronaldo and Tevez all featured in the top 25.
Fabregas created a goalscoring opportunity for his team, on average, every 25.5 minutes he was on the field, followed by Gerrard every 27.3 minutes. They were followed by our very own Ryan Giggs, with a chance provided every 30.6 minutes, then it was Nani, every 30.7 minutes.
There’s no awards for guessing which player came on top in this category. Of course, it was none other than Paul Scholes. He was the most accurate passer of the ball in the Premiership last season, with an impressive 89.7% success rate. Incredible to think that just 10.3% of his 1592 attempted passes did not reach the intended target!
Scholes was followed by former Arsenal man, Mattieu Flamini, who was successful 86.55% of the time. Then there was Rio Ferdinand, with 84.8% accuracy, although the fact 912 of his passes took place in his own half suggests he doesn’t quite have the range of Scholes. Regardless, his passing shouldn’t be knocked, as no other centre back featured in the top 10 most accurate passers!
Michael Carrick came in 4th, with an 83.22% accuracy, giving us three players in the top four, suggesting that our players are certainly putting in the time at Carrington!
Rooney and Berbatov were joined by Gerrard and David Bentley in the ‘most unlucky’ category, seeing four of their attempts on goal come back off the woodwork. They were followed by Ryan Giggs, Cristiano Ronaldo, Dean Ashton, Steven Hunt, Robbie Keane, Cesc Fabregas and Steward Downing, who all hit the woodwork on three occasions. That means at the least, United hit the post ten times last season!
In comparison to Europe
United scored an impressive 80 league goals last season, averaging out at 2.1 goals per game played. Chelsea scored 65 goals, averaging at 1.7 goals were game, whilst Arsenal scored 74 goals, an average of 1.9 goals per game.
In Spain, Champions Real Madrid scored 84 goals, an average of 2.2 goals per game, with Barcelona, the second highest scoring team, averaging 2 goals per game.
In Italy, Champions Inter Milan scored 69 goals, an average of 1.8 goals per game. The highest scoring teams were 2nd placed Roma and 3rd placed Juventus with 72 goals, an average of 1.9 goals per game.
In Germany, Champions Bayern Munich scored 68 goals, an average of 2 goals per game. 2nd placed Bremen were the highest scorers with 75, an average of 2.2 goals per game.
In the top leagues in Europe then, only two clubs had a better scoring record, and they were Real Madrid and Werder Bremen, beating us by an average of 0.1 goals more per match.
On the defensive front, United conceded just 22 goals, an average of 0.6 goals per game, followed by Chelsea conceding 26 goals, an average of 0.7 goals per game.
In Spain, Real Madrid had the strongest record, conceding 36 times, an average of 0.9 goals per game.
In Italy, Inter had the best defence, conceding 26 times, an average of 0.7 goals per game.
In Germany, Bayern Munich conceded just 21 goals, an average of 0.6 per game (they play just 34 games in Germany, it’s not that my Maths is really bad!)
If we take it down a significant figure or two, United’s average was 0.58 per game, whilst Bayern’s was 0.62 goals per game, meaning United had the best defence in Europe.
Not too shabby eh?
To mark the anniversary of United winning the Treble with a team that had academy products at the core, Made in Manchester is available for just £3 for today only. Some of the best football writers take a player each, from Sir Bobby Charlton to Ryan Giggs, George Best to David Beckham, Duncan Edwards to Paul Scholes, and many more, with 30 articles in total. All profit goes to Trafford Macmillan so please support this fantastic cause.