Monthly Archives: May 2008

Euro 2008 Preview

The temporary break from Football watching is about to end in a week’s time when UEFA Euro 2008 starts on 7th June, Saturday. Probably the toughest football tournament in terms of sheer competitiveness, the sixteen teams in 4 groups are probably the best in Europe except for say the host nations – Austria and Switzerland. Some of the best stars who play their trade in England, Italy, Spain and Germany would be the dominant players in this tournament.

Of the four groups, Group C is the one that will provide all the thrills with France, Italy, Netherlands and Romania fighting for the two places. France and Italy have been playing against each other for some time now – The World Cup finals, the Euro 2008 Qualifiers, so they know each other quite well. Netherlands and Romania were in the same group for Euro 2008 qualifiers and Romania infact qualified above Netherlands, so that is also a well contested battle on the cards.

Group A should see one of the favourites this year and last year’s finalist Portugal qualifying with Czech Republic, who have been weakened following the injury to Rosicky and Nedved’s unavailability. Portugal has handed over the captaincy and jersey no 7 to Ronaldo and hope that he continues on the rich vein of form that he is in this season.

Group B has one of the firm favourites Germany all set to play the adventurous football that they have been playing for some time. Croatia is an underdog in this tournament and though Eduardo is out with his broken  leg, they have enough quality to spring a surprise.

Group D sees the perennial under-achievers Spain taking on the likes of boring Greece, adventurous Russians and the stylish Swedes. This again will be a tough group as the four teams look evenly matched.

I will be supporting Spain & France in this edition so more on these teams later.

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Filed under Euro 2008, UEFA Euro 2008

Of EPL wages & finance and Samir Nasri

Deloitte published it’s much publicised Annual Review of Football Finance today which covers all the European leagues. It is not any secret anymore that EPL pays its players the highest wages and also bring in the most money by the TV deals as well as the other marketing activities. Chelsea and Manchester United top the list of clubs running on debts and poorly managed as a Footballing club when you look at the Finance part of it.

Arsenal though are third on the list but they have been well planned with respect to the move to Emirates stadium. The assets owned by the club are the highest in England. The stadium utilisation has been the highest in the league at 99.5% and this goes on to show the fans flocking the stadium to see the beautiful passing game of Arsenal.

Telegraph gives a club by club analysis.

Various news websites have reported the signing of Samir Nasri but it is better to be confirmed once the official statement is made on this. The French team for Euro has seen Diarra and Nasri making the grade and Flamini not making it. Probably Diarra got the nod ahead of Flamini because Diarra might be a more flexibile asset to the team as he can play right back as well.

Nasri can play both on the left as well as the centre and would straightaway replace Hleb if he leaves the club. More as and when something concrete is reported.

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Filed under Arsenal, Chelsea, Deloitte, Diarra, EPL, Flamini, Hleb, Samir Nasri, Telegraph

Season Review 2007-08

The season is dead and buried now. It has been a good season for Arsenal given the fact that, Henry’s exit and a new bunch of players playing together for the first time were written off even before the ball was kicked. The Gunners did a creditable job finishing 4 points behind Manchester United and 2 points behind Chelsea, when you take into perspective some refereeing decisions which could have gone either ways and the 8 games without a win that they went through post the Eduardo injury.

Manchester did the double and have grown in strength and look firm favourites for next year already. Chelsea had a late surge towards the end and Arsenal lost steam after being in the front for a long time last season. Here is a list of some of the best of the season in EPL

Team of the year

David James

Sagna Rio Ferdinand Vidic Clichy

Flamini

Ronaldo Gerrard Fabregas Petrov

Torres

David James has been consistent and his presence under the bars was assurance to Harry Redknap’s team. Vidic and Rio provided the stability at the centre of defence which was responsible for the less goals in the Goals Against column on the tables. They complement each other very well. In Sagna and Clichy Arsenal had the best full backs in the league. Sagne was good in the air as well as surging back to defend while Clichy was an engine with energy left to do a run even in the 90th minute.

I am going in with a 4-5-1 combination as the defensive midfielder role has become one of the most important roles in any team. Players like Flamini, Mascherano, Carrick/Hargreaves have got that ability to cut down moves from opposition by coming down with the tackles at the right time. They break moves and win back possession. And in that role Flamini excelled beyond compare.

If a player scores 30 goals in a season and he operates in midfield, that is a performance worth many awards and hence Ronaldo makes his way into the team without any doubt. He along with Gerrard will be the attacking options in this team. Gerrard had a consistent performance and his attitude is one of the best in the league when it comes to leading the team by example. Fabregas added a few goals to the most number of assists in the league and was again the most creative midfielder in the league. On the left wing I am going with Petrov from Manchester City as he came out as a person with an awesome left foot. I wonder why he did not get mention in any other team of the years. He had some lethal crosses throughout the season and looks like a good introduction to the league.

With all the attacking options in the team I think the lone guy forward would be good enough for this team. And if that lone forward is Torres, nothing like it. That guy doesn’t miss many chances and his finishing has been impeccable. Great to see him play in EPL.

Players who scored the most crucial goals

Jamie Bullard – Like Tevez last year for West Ham United, Bullard scored the most crucial goals towards the end of the season when Fulham needed it most to keep their premiership hopes alive. His freekick goals were as best as any that you will in the league and all those goals made for points which saved them relegation.

Carlos Tevez – He was the most important goalscorer for Manchester United this year as he scored in getting some vital points in drawn matches as well as some victorious matches.

Best new Signing

Torres – He was expensive but he has justified every bit of it. He doesn’t miss many chances and his finishing was brilliant. He has got the power and doesn’t go down that easily to challenges

Sagna – He was one of the most stable players in Arsenal this season and he was good with tackles as well as on the air. He complemented Eboue well on the right side and was playing some really good football till he got injured towards the end of the season.

Roque Santa Cruz – When Mark Hughes bought him from Bayern Munich there were many doubters but fifteen goals in the season is very commendable froma player who cost much much less than someone like Torres. He is only 26 and expect more from him next season.

Best match of the season

Manchester United vs Arsenal – This match played in April was a very keenly contested match and Arsenal showed their class. They dominated the match but gave away a dubious freekick and suffered a defeat. Great display from Arsenal and if they had won that match, then it would have been a different end to the season.

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Filed under Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Barclays Premier League, Blackburn Rovers, Cesc, Chelsea, Clichy, Cristiano Ronaldo, David James, Eduardo, Eduardo Injury, England, EPL, Fabregas, Flamini, Fulham, Gael Clichy, Gerrard, Gunners, Hargreaves, Jamie Bullard, Liverpool, Man City, Manchester United, Mascherano, Petrov, Premier League, Rio Ferdinand, Ronaldo, Roque Santa Cruz, Sagna, Tevez, Torres, Vidic, Wenger, West Ham

Manchester United Triumph

An European night to remember for the millions of Manchester United fans around the world as they beat Chelsea in an evenly contested final of the Champions League in Moscow. It had all the drama and thrills of a epic final which lived upto its reputation. There were tragic memories, bruised noses, red card to Drogba, Sudden death, Penalty miss by Ronaldo, a foot slip by Terry on a crucial penalty, all happening at around 1 AM local time on a rainy nite in Moscow. It was a fitting fnale, watched by record viewers around the world and a great climax played by probably two of the strongest teams in Europe.

Ferguson chose to go ahead with a 4-4-2 formation which meant that he was not sitting back and was all set to attack with Tevez and Rooney upfront. It was a good 25 minutes for Man Utd as they hardpressed and eventually got a goal, a brillaint header from Ronaldo. Essien was playing out of position at right back and was no match for the skills of Ronaldo. There was a double save from the brillaint Cech in between all this as Chelsea slowly came back into the game. But Ronaldo’s defensive vulnerability meant Essien got forward, blasted a shot which deflected off Vidic and Rio to fall nicely to Lampard, who did not have much trouble slotting it home. 1-1 at the end of first half. This was definetely what the neutral fans had wished for, an exciting match and not a cagey affair.

Second half saw attacking football from both teams as Chelsea seemed to be on the rise with both Drogba and Lampard hitting the post. Ryan Giggs made his record breaking  appearance for Man Utd and almost scored the winner if not for a superb interception from John Terry. Drogba had a poor match by his standard and was sent off towards the end of the extra time for slapping Vidic, who did a very commendable job controlling the Ivorian. It was a stupid thing to slap a player which these days is a straight red card. His long walk back seemed like a certain exit from Chelsea and probably we have seen the last of him in a Chelsea jersey.

If we thought Penalty shootout was boring, you should watch this again. What an incident filled shootout. Drogba’s exit meant a certain penalty taker missing out. So it was all going ok until Ronaldo came to take it. I am sure a lot of us felt that, this was not going to be as simple for him as it normally is. He stuttered and hit a poor shit which Cech had no issue in saving. So in the end it was left for John Terry to score and take Chelsea to their first Champions League triumph. But it was not there in the plan. Rain had made the pitch quite slippery and Terry slipped on his landing foot and the penalty was wide off target. So it was again back to square one. With Anelka’s shot being saved by Van Der Saar, the team in red, completed their double for the season.

In the end it was a bit of luck that ran with Manchester United as I thought the teams were very evenly matched come the penalties. So Ferguson gets his hand on a second Champions League triumph and will look to build from here for an assault both at domestic front as well as Europe. It was sad to see players like Terry, Cech, Lampard and Ballack at the losing side after playing better football than Manchester United in Europe towards the end. But glory to Manchester United was written on the stars last night and it was a wonderful final for the neutral fan.

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Filed under Alex Ferguson, Ballack, Cech, Champions League, Chelsea, Cristiano Ronaldo, Drogba, Essien, Europe, John Terry, Lampard, Manchester United, Moscow, Rio Ferdinand, Ronaldo, Rooney, Tevez, Van Der Sar, Vidic

It’s been 1 year of blogging

Football is a game which I love to watch and occasionally would love to play. The best I can do on a more regular basis is write about it and that is what I have been doing for the past one year. Yes, I am proud to have kept my blog alive for one year now. Lots of goals have been scored and free-kicks taken that I have written close to 140 posts in the last 365 days.

Thanks a lot guys and gals for stopping over my blog and reading it, sometimes also leaving your valuable comment for me. It has been a pleasure and I can understand why Theirry Henry is one of the most adored player in this whole world. The post about his farewell has received the most hits and comments in this blog. Most of the comments have been like “Henry is the best, I love you”.

The most number of articles have definitely been on Arsenal, on the Premier League and about Football in Europe. You cannot blame it if that is what is the most shown and watched around leagues in the world. But it has been a long journey and I have loved every bit of it.

I have met a few people through the blog from Germany, France and India. It has been a pleasure guys and keep coming back for more. And ya Arsenal has had a decent season to put it realistically. Hope that they would challenge for more honours in this season and give Manchester Uniteds and Chelseas of the world a fight.

EPL – Whatever Keegan has said, it has been one of the best seasons ever with the Title being decided only  in the last day of the season. Manchester United started slow but played consistently well and scored the most and conceded the least to deservedly win the league. Chelsea came back strongly in the second half, but it was too little too late. Arsenal was written off by one and all of the opposition camps but Wenger believed in his players and they proved him good. Next season is again a challenge.

La Liga – Real Madrid were the least worst in the league to put it mildly. Barcelona were in shambles with internal fighting dominating the media and some of the star players not even getting to play. Villareal came back strongly and so did Athletico. Should be interesting to see how they strengthen or weaken the league next year with mass exodus predicted from Barcelona.

Serie A – The top 4 should be Inter, Roma, Juventus and AC Milan hopefully. Milan has been a shadow of the past and need a overhaul for sure. Inter and Juve will be strengthening themselves to fight for the Champions League and Roma will remain a powerhouse with Totti and the likes. There will e new guard in most of the top clubs.

Bundesliga – With Klinsmann taking over Bayern expect an exciting team from Germany in next year’s Champions League. This is going to be my second favourite in Europe next season. They are coming, the Germans…

Champions League – The final on May 21st between Manchester United and Chelsea should be a good watch for Football fans around the world. I have this hunch that Chelsea is going to win the match. Hope next year’s edition brings better luck to Arsenal.

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Filed under AC Milan, Arsenal, As Roma, Athletico Madrid, Barcelona, Barclays Premier League, Bayern Munich, Bundesliga, Champions League, Chelsea, EPL, Europe, football, Inter Milan, Italy, Juventus, La Liga, Manchester United, Milan, Moscow, Premier League, Real Madrid, Serie A, Villareal

Opta Stats for the EPL season 2007-08

Teams

1002 – There have been more goals scored in the Premier League this season than in any campaign since 2003/04.

Portsmouth beat Reading 7-4 to set a new record for goals scored in a Premier League game – 11.

Middlesbrough set a new club record victory in the Premier League with an 8-1 win, while it was Man City’s record defeat in the competition.

Fulham set a new record of 33 Premier League games away from home without a win.

Tottenham dropped 33 points from winning positions his season, equalling a Premier League record held by Chelsea 1995-96 and Wimbledon 1999-2000

Man City won more points against the “big four” teams than anyone else outside the elite four – 7.

Derby went 777 minutes without a goal overall – the second longest run in Premier League history after Crystal Palace (836 minutes) in 1994-95. The Rams ended the run by scoring at Old Trafford.

There have been 15 hat-tricks this season, five more than in the previous two seasons added together.

Derby have gone 32 Premier League games without a victory, a record.

Derby set a record for the lowest points (11) and for goals scored (20) in Premier League history.

Chelsea – No Premier League side ever mustered 85 points (in a 20-team division) and not won the title.

Bolton were the only team not to be shown a red card this season.

Sunderland conceded more penalties than any other team, nine.

Spurs hit the woodwork 15 times this season, more than any other top-flight side.

White Hart Lane saw more Premier League goals than any other ground this season, 80.

33% of the goals United conceded this season were headers – the highest proportion in the top flight.

Blackburn picked up more points from losing positions than any other side this season – 23.

Blackburn, Chelsea and Fulham had six players sent off – the joint-most.

Blackburn conceded more fouls (583) than any other team.

United fired in the most shots (547) while Derby mustered the fewest (288).

Spurs scored more goals from substitutes (13) than any other team.

Aston Villa scored the most headed goals (16).

Spurs conceded the most headed goals (15).

Arsenal scored 27 goals in the final 15 minutes of matches – more than any other side.

Chelsea and Man Utd kept 21 clean sheets each – a joint-league high.

Liverpool allowed their opponents just 90 shots on target against them – a league low.

Middlesbrough scored 53% of their goals in the first half – the highest percentage of any team.

Reading netted 76% of their goals in the second half – the highest proportion in the top flight.

Everton conceded 70% of their goals in the second half – the worst proportion.

West Ham shipped 5*% of all goals conceded in the opening 45 minutes of matches – the worst percentage in the Premier League.

12 different nationalities scored for Arsenal –the most in the league.

41 of Villa’s goals were netted by Englishmen – the most in the division.

The gap between top and bottom of 76 points equals the 38-game league record set in 2005-06.

Going into the last day of the season, Everton were the only team who had not been awarded a penalty, but they got one and scored it against Newcastle.

Wigan were caught offside more often than any other team – 137 times.

Spurs were fouled 536 times – more than any other side.

Arsenal had the best passing accuracy, completing 83% of their passes.

Birmingham had the worst passing accuracy completing just 64% of their distribution.

Arsenal conceded the fewest headed goals (3) this season.

22% of Everton’s goals came from defenders, the highest proportion of any back line.

Players

21 of Fernando Torres’ 24 league goals have come at Anfield.

Torres broke Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of 23 goals by a foreign player in his debut season.

Cesc Fabregas has set up 17 goals this season – the third-highest tally of assists (Henry 20 in 2002-03, Lampard 18 in 2004-05) in a single Premier League campaign since 1996 when Opta began recording data.

Cristiano Ronaldo became only the fifth player ever to score 30+ Premier League goals in a single season – Shearer, Phillips, Andy Cole & Henry are the others.

City’s Stephen Kelly is the only outfield player in the Premier League to have played every minute of every game this season but did not hit a single shot in 3420 mins of action.

Papa Bouba Diop had more shots without scoring than any other player this season, 55.

John Carew committed the most fouls (100) ending Kevin Davies’ reign as the foul-king – the Bolton man has committed the most in the last four seasons, but this campaign saw him finish second behind the Norwegian.

Ronaldo fired in 176 shots – the most in the Premier League.

Cesc Fabregas attempted the most passes (2526) and created the most chances (112).

The most-fouled player was David Bentley (90).

Nicky Butt picked up 13 yellow cards in the league – a divisional high.

Richard Dunne, Sulley Muntari and Ryan Nelsen were all red carded twice in 2007-08.

Reading’s Marcus Hahnemann conceded the most goals (66) but also made the most saves (152).

Elano was the most subbed player in the Premier League being brought off 23 times.

Marlon Harewood and Shane Long were the most used subs, both coming on 22 times in 2007-08.

Roque Santa Cruz scored eight headed goals – more than any other player.

Emmanuel Adebayor scored 24 goals in this his third Premier League season – the same number as Thierry Henry scored in his third league campaign with the Gunners.

Edwin van der Sar had the best saves to shots ratio of all first choice keepers, stopping 80% of accurate shots on target.

262 different players scored this season.

Managers

Eight teams parted company from the managers with whom they started the campaign.

Seven of those teams finished in the bottom half of the table.

Sir Alex Ferguson won his 10th Premier League title in 16 seasons.

Referees

Three of Arsenal’s five domestic defeats occurred with Howard Webb as the referee.

Manchester United have lost three and drawn one of their last four Premier League games with Mark Clattenburg as the ref.

Mark Clattenburg had only dismissed three players in three seasons as a top-flight official before sending off eight this season alone.

Rob Styles awarded the most penalties – 11.

Mike Dean awarded the most red cards – 11

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Total shots attempted

Ronaldo 131
Adebayor 104
Torres 96
Gerrard 89
Rooney 85
Bentley 83
Berbatov 82
Tevez 82
Carew 80
Santa Cruz 77

Number of times hit woodwork

Bentley 4
Berbatov 4
Gerrard 4
Rooney 4
Ashton 3
Downing 3
Fabregas 3
Giggs 3
Hunt 3
Keane 3
Ronaldo 3

Assists

Fabregas 17
Young 14
Barry 10
Kalou 10
Rooney 10
Bentley 9
Berbatov 9
Elano 9
Nani 9
Shorey 9

Total passes and passing accuracy

Fabregas 2318 81.06%
Clichy 1975 83.19%
Flamini 1710 86.55%

Gerrard 1652 77.66%
Butt 1630 75.03%
Scholes 1592 89.70%
Carrick 1585 83.22%
Hleb 1552 82.73%
Ferdinand 1546 84.80%
Neville 1533 72.47%

Crosses and corners attempted and crosses and corners accuracy

Bentley 416 25.72%
Downing 383 25.07%
Young 340 26.76%
Arteta 299 26.42%
Shorey 293 26.62%
Diouf 289 22.15%
Petrov 279 24.37%
Giggs 222 23.42%
Gerrard 219 27.40%
Davies 217 24.88%

Tackles attempted and tackle success rate

Reo-Coker 178 79.78%
Mascherano 165 75.76%
Malbranque 158 75.95%
Muamba 156 76.28%
Butt 151 71.52%
Clichy 150 80.67%
Warnock 130 76.92%
McCann 117 65.81%
Brown 116 81.03%
Brown 112 68.75%

Number of saves made and saves to shots ratio

Hahnemann 152 69.72%
James 138 79.31%
Taylor 134 71.28%
Friedel 123 71.93%
Green 116 69.88%
Hart 107 75.89%
Kirkland 101 67.33%
Howard 89 74.79%
Schwarzer 88 65.19%
Niemi 85 68.55%

Shots without a goal

Papa Bouba Diop 46
John Arne Riise 36
Gary O’Neil 31
Luis Boa Morte 26
Manuel Fernandes 24

Fouls without a card

Dean Ashton 55
Mikael Forssell 33
Lucas 32
Mark Viduka 27
Peter Crouch 23

Percentage of goals involved in

Cristiano Ronaldo 47%
Roque Santa Cruz 47%
Fernando Torres 42%
Elano 39%
Emmanuel Adebayor 37%

Minutes without a foul lost

Michael Johnson 191
Lewin Nyatanga 180
Daniel Braaten 143
Danny Simpson 128
David Cotterill 100

Minutes without a foul won

Ian Harte 306
Ledley King 294
Rade Prica 206
Emiliano Insua 205
Kelvin Etuhu 203

Minutes without a shot

Stephen Kelly 3420
Jonathan Woodgate 1376
Sun Jihai 803
Daniel Gabbidon 766
Elliot Omozusi 689

Minutes per goal scored

Cristiano Ronaldo 88.6
Fernando Torres 105.9
Emmanuel Adebayor 122.2
Yakubu 144.4
Benjamin Mwaruwari 153.3

Minutes per goal conceded

Roy Carroll 33.2
Stephen Bywater 39.5
Shay Given 44.0
Paul Robinson 47.9
Antti Niemi 50.8

Minutes per save

Roy Carroll 20.0
Joe Hart 21.9
Marcus Hahnemann 22.5
David James 22.8
Maik Taylor 22.8

Minutes per discplinary point

Carlton Cole 16.9
Alan Smith 21.2
Kevin Davies 21.2
John Carew 22.3
André Stéphane Bikey 22.4

Minutes per chance created

Francesc Fabregas 25.5

Steven Gerrard 27.3
Ryan Giggs 30.6
Nani 30.7
Florent Malouda 31.8

Minutes per shot

Cristiano Ronaldo 21.0
Wayne Rooney 25.7
Fernando Torres 26.5
Dean Ashton 27.7
Emmanuel Adebayor 28.2

Minutes per foul lost

Carlton Cole 22.3
John Carew 25.7
Kevin Davies 27.9
Tim Cahill 27.9
Luis Boa Morte 28.6

Minutes per foul won

Mikel Arteta 28.8
Alan Hutton 28.9
Cristiano Ronaldo 31.2
Kevin Davies 31.9
Luis Boa Morte 33.1

Minutes per offside

Marcus Bent 43.2
Emmanuel Adebayor 44.4
Dean Ashton 50.4
Nicolas Anelka 57.5
Emile Heskey 59.6

Minutes per tackle

Javier Mascherano 13.1
Gavin McCann 17.2
Nigel Reo-Coker 17.5
Wilson Palacios 17.6
Steed Malbranque 18.0

Minutes per pass

Paul Scholes 1.16
Francesc Fabregas 1.23
Michael Carrick 1.39
Frank Lampard 1.42
John Obi Mikel 1.44

Minutes per cross

David Bentley 8.0
Mikel Arteta 8.2
Nolberto Solano 8.8
Stewart Downing 8.9
El Hadji Diouf 9.2

Shots with none on target

Vedran Corluka 7
Graeme Murty 5
Steve Sidwell 5
Henri Camara 4
Claude Davis 4

Shots with none off target

Jlloyd Samuel 4
Steve Finnan 2
Danny Simpson 2
Glen Johnson 1
Nuno Valente 1

Percentage of team assists

Francesc Fabregas 23%
Simon Davies 22%
Nicky Shorey 21%
Elano 21%
Ashley Young 20%

Goals scored per game

Cristiano Ronaldo 0.91
Fernando Torres 0.73
Emmanuel Adebayor 0.67
Nicolas Anelka 0.56
Benjamin Mwaruwari 0.52

Goals conceded per game

Roy Carroll 2.71
Stephen Bywater 2.28
Shay Given 1.95
Paul Robinson 1.88
Antti Niemi 1.77

Saves per game

Roy Carroll 4.50
Joe Hart 4.12
Marcus Hahnemann 4.00
David James 3.94
Maik Taylor 3.94

Disciplinary points per game

Kevin Davies 3.91
Tim Cahill 3.67
Carlton Cole 3.61
John Carew 3.59
Papa Bouba Diop 3.48

Chances created per game

Francesc Fabregas 3.50

Steven Gerrard 3.06
Mikel Arteta 2.54
David Bentley 2.43
Ryan Giggs 2.35

Shots per game

Cristiano Ronaldo 3.85
Wayne Rooney 3.15
Fernando Torres 2.91
Emmanuel Adebayor 2.89
Steven Gerrard 2.62

Fouls lost per game

John Carew 3.13
Tim Cahill 3.00
Kevin Davies 2.97
Carlton Cole 2.74
Papa Bouba Diop 2.64

Fouls won per game

Mikel Arteta 3.04
Alan Hutton 3.00
Kevin Davies 2.59
Cristiano Ronaldo 2.59
David Bentley 2.43

Offsides per game

Emmanuel Adebayor 1.83
Marcus Bent 1.74
Nicolas Anelka 1.56
Dimitar Berbatov 1.25
Emile Heskey 1.25

Tackles per game

Javier Mascherano 6.60
Nigel Reo-Coker 4.94
Wilson Palacios 4.94
Nicky Butt 4.31
Steed Malbranque 4.27

Passes per game

Francesc Fabregas 72.44
Paul Scholes 66.33
Frank Lampard 57.42
Mathieu Flamini 57.00
Javier Mascherano 53.72

Crosses per game

David Bentley 11.24
Mikel Arteta 10.68
Stewart Downing 10.08
Ashley Young 9.19
El Hadji Diouf 8.50

Most…

Appearances – 12 players – 38
Substitution on – Marlon Harewood, Shane Long – 22
Substitution off – Elano – 23
Passes in own half – Rio Ferdinand – 912
Passes in opposition half – Francesc Fabregas – 1690
Dribbles attempted – Cristiano Ronaldo – 191
Clearances – Martin Laursen – 739
Blocks – Richard Dunne – 37
Interceptions – Gaël Clichy – 136
Fouls conceded – John Carew – 100
Fouls won – David Bentley – 90
Offsides – Emmanuel Adebayor – 66
Yellow cards – Nicky Butt – 13
Red cards – Richard Dunne, Sulley Ali Muntari, Ryan Nelsen – 2

————————————————————————————-

Goals to shots ratio

Aston Villa 17.57%
Arsenal 15.64%
Tottenham Hotspur 15.53%
Everton 15.24%
Manchester United 14.63%
Birmingham City 14.60%
Chelsea 14.32%
Manchester City 13.93%
Newcastle United 12.53%
Liverpool 12.52%
Reading 12.35%
Middlesbrough 12.25%
Blackburn Rovers 11.88%
Portsmouth 11.68%
West Ham United 10.97%
Bolton Wanderers 10.62%
Fulham 10.35%
Sunderland 10.06%
Wigan Athletic 9.37%
Derby County 6.94%

Shooting accuracy

Manchester United 47.53%
Everton 46.81%
Tottenham Hotspur 46.12%
Birmingham City 45.40%
Aston Villa 44.80%
Manchester City 44.27%
Arsenal 43.97%
Bolton Wanderers 43.95%
Blackburn Rovers 43.94%
Chelsea 43.83%
Middlesbrough 43.02%
Newcastle United 42.90%
Fulham 41.96%
Derby County 40.28%
Liverpool 40.00%
West Ham United 39.95%
Reading 39.76%
Portsmouth 38.93%
Wigan Athletic 38.84%
Sunderland 38.27%

Hit the woodwork

Tottenham Hotspur 15
Manchester United 14
West Ham United 13
Arsenal 12
Bolton Wanderers 12
Liverpool 12
Blackburn Rovers 11
Middlesbrough 11
Chelsea 9
Reading 9
Wigan Athletic 9
Newcastle United 8
Aston Villa 7
Birmingham City 6
Portsmouth 6
Derby County 5
Fulham 5
Sunderland 5
Manchester City 4
Everton 3

Penalties taken and penalties scored

Manchester United 8 6
Aston Villa 7 6
Blackburn Rovers 7 5
Chelsea 7 7
Portsmouth 7 4
Tottenham Hotspur 7 4
Arsenal 6 5
Birmingham City 6 6
Liverpool 5 5
Wigan Athletic 5 4
Newcastle United 4 4
Reading 4 2
Fulham 3 2
Bolton Wanderers 2 0
Manchester City 2 2
Middlesbrough 2 2
Sunderland 2 1
West Ham United 2 2
Derby County 1 0
Everton 1 1

Percentage of passes that were long

Reading 21.08%
Birmingham City 20.87%
Middlesbrough 19.19%
Wigan Athletic 18.45%
Derby County 18.45%
Fulham 18.37%
Bolton Wanderers 18.24%
Portsmouth 17.81%
Sunderland 17.63%
Newcastle United 17.37%
Aston Villa 17.33%
Everton 17.27%
West Ham United 17.19%
Liverpool 16.88%
Blackburn Rovers 16.71%
Tottenham Hotspur 15.70%
Manchester City 15.12%
Manchester United 13.86%
Chelsea 12.48%
Arsenal 10.33%

Total fouls conceded

Blackburn Rovers 583
Middlesbrough 562
West Ham United 562
Aston Villa 559
Bolton Wanderers 548
Derby County 548
Birmingham City 546
Portsmouth 541
Wigan Athletic 527
Sunderland 517
Everton 494
Fulham 493
Reading 492
Newcastle United 483
Chelsea 478
Liverpool 465
Manchester City 427
Manchester United 425
Tottenham Hotspur 410
Arsenal 407

Total fouls won

Tottenham Hotspur 536
Blackburn Rovers 535
Everton 532
Bolton Wanderers 514
Aston Villa 511
West Ham United 500
Chelsea 488
Manchester United 483
Newcastle United 480
Wigan Athletic 477
Arsenal 458
Portsmouth 445
Manchester City 444
Sunderland 444
Middlesbrough 442
Reading 441
Liverpool 434
Fulham 425
Birmingham City 424
Derby County 421

Opposition shots on target allowed

Liverpool 90
Chelsea 121
Arsenal 128
Manchester United 130
Everton 132
Aston Villa 147
Middlesbrough 157
Sunderland 159
Wigan Athletic 161
Tottenham Hotspur 172
West Ham United 174
Bolton Wanderers 175
Blackburn Rovers 177
Portsmouth 191
Newcastle United 192
Manchester City 200
Fulham 202
Birmingham City 214
Reading 223
Derby County 236

Players used

Derby County 36
Fulham 33
Bolton Wanderers 31
Sunderland 31
Middlesbrough 30
Tottenham Hotspur 30
Birmingham City 28
Manchester City 28
Portsmouth 28
West Ham United 28
Arsenal 27
Chelsea 27
Newcastle United 27
Wigan Athletic 27
Reading 26
Liverpool 25
Manchester United 25
Everton 23
Aston Villa 22
Blackburn Rovers 22

Players with five or more goals

Chelsea 7
Aston Villa 6
Arsenal 5
Birmingham City 4
Everton 4
Fulham 4
Liverpool 4
Manchester United 4
Middlesbrough 4
Reading 4
Blackburn Rovers 3
Manchester City 3
Newcastle United 3
Portsmouth 3
Tottenham Hotspur 3
Bolton Wanderers 2
Sunderland 2
West Ham United 1
Wigan Athletic 1
Derby County 0

Players with at least one assist

Liverpool 19
Arsenal 18
Everton 18
Manchester United 17
Chelsea 16
Portsmouth 15
Birmingham City 13
Newcastle United 13
Reading 13
Aston Villa 12
Tottenham Hotspur 12
West Ham United 12
Derby County 11
Fulham 11
Manchester City 11
Sunderland 11
Wigan Athletic 11
Bolton Wanderers 10
Middlesbrough 10
Blackburn Rovers 9

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Filed under EPL, Opta Stats

Flamini gone, Hleb rumoured to leave, Next season a challenge for Wenger & a great finish to the season

One of the best performers of last season, Flamini left for AC Milan on a free transfer, which would certainly dent Wenger’s confidence in rebuilding a somewhat stable team. With Hleb also rumoured to leave with his agent coming out in the media with all sorts of a threat of buying out his own contract and joining Inter.

Arsenal has definitely improved as a team from last season with more points and a better position than last year. But the problem is that so has the other teams which meant that Manchester United and Chelsea got just better than Arsenal. Wenger’s hands tied for transfer and salary money means our most valuable player, Fabregas gets half of what say a Ronaldo or Terry might get. Now the challenge is to keep this team like this for next year. Real and Barca can come calling for Fabregas with double of what he is currently getting and this is where all the good will that Wenger has put in with his young players will come through. His relationship with Fabregas and other young players should keep them in this club for couple more years or atleast an year even if they dont win any trophy.

The team is well set at the back with probably a Center back needed and the midfield cover for Fabregas is also required in the Flamini mode. Gilberto could do that next season if he stays and with couple of youngsters set to graduate into the senior team, I guess midfield is taken care of. Vela is set to come back into the first team from Osasuna, where he is on loan. And another finisher in the front would be a welcome addition as Eduardo would not be back before December and Persie can be prone to further injuries. Probably Rosicky would also be fit for next season and play atleast 20-30 matches.

So it is a challenge for Wenger to make sure the likes of Hleb and all stay and get some quality signings like Sagna into the team with whatever little money that he has in his transfer kitty.

Coming to the title run in this year, it is all set to be one of the most watched footballing weekend of all time in the history of football. It is definitely advantage Manchester United as the decider match starts all at the same time. One goal for either team would put pressure on the other, but for me it is United’s to lose than Chelsea’s to win. It is all set to be an awesome Sunday for all football lovers.

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Filed under AC Milan, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Barcelona, Carlos Vela, Cesc, Chelsea, Eduardo, EPL, Fabregas, Gilberto, Hleb, Inter Milan, John Terry, Manchester United, Osasuna, Ronaldo, Rosicky, Sagna, Wenger