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Stats To Prove United Are The Best

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!

Scoring Players

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.

Providing Players

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.

Passing Players

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!

Unluckiest Players

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?

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. stevetheredabroad says:

    Scott the red Great Marvelous keep up the good work

  2. denton davey says:

    It was Disraeli, the Victorian prime minister, who famously said “Lies, damn lies, and statistics”. If you ever have to endure a debate among politicians then you very well know what he meant.

    In football – as in life – what you did for me yesterday has only a limited purchase on current affairs. Those “historical statistics” can be brought out to calm and soothe frayed nerves but what is more significant is that so far this year UTD have not played especially well in the final-third of the pitch. Will they get better ? I think so – but my opinions count for squat. We’ll just have to see if this really is the best, strongest team SAF has assembled. And, that’s the beauty of being a fan because we don’t know how the story will evolve so we have to endure the roller-coaster ride. Would you have it any other way ?

    On a related point, can the scousers’ last minute heroics continue ? I don’t think so.

    Can the RentBoyz stop-start briliance be read as if only the high points count ? I don’t think so.

    The RentBoyz were absolutely brilliant on Sunday – they simply crushed Aston Villa, That was as dominant performance as you could ever witness BUT, apart from the opening game destruction of ‘arry Redknapp’s motley crew, they have been mostly insipid.

    Sure, the RentBoyz have injuries – most teams do have injuries because it’s a part of the game. To be the champions you have to rely on your second eleven in crucial situations.

    Is UTD best ? who knows – enjoy the ride and support TheLads.

  3. North Stand, Tier 3, Back Row says:

    My head hurts…

  4. Maximiliano says:

    Great mate, i am a regular reader of ur articles and i must say they are brilliant, have you got an email add by anychance? get back to me cheers.

  5. RedDevil says:

    Good article scott. Impressive!

  6. majikthise says:


    well done, great effort, still I, as a stats fan myself, have something to add:

    practicing especially this type of journalism, the author should make the sources (stats the article is based on) available to the readers so as to prevent them from claiming he just made it all up.

    Anyway, as a reader of the blog for a while, excellent job done so far.

  7. ManUnited18 says:

    simply Respect

  8. AJ says:

    Nice stats scott.

    Good Info to use against those who thought we were lucky last season ( i know this sounds new but some people actuality do).

  9. SULLY [South Africa] says:

    “In football – as in life, what you did for me yesterday counts for limited purchase on current affairs” Denton davey fuckin brilliant stuff. True say mate. Made my day… RESPECT denton davey!!!!!

  10. SULLY [South Africa] says:

    “In football – as in life, what you did for me yesterday has only limited purchase on current affairs” Denton davey fuckin brilliant stuff. True say mate. Made my day… RESPECT denton davey!!!!!

  11. raj k says:

    Great article Scott! Please keep up the good work.


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