On the 8th of January 2012 Sir Alex Ferguson made one of his most inspiring moves of his career – bringing Paul Scholes out of retirement.
Since that day United have taken 34 out of a possible 36 points in the league with the only slip up coming in the 3-3 draw at Stamford Bridge in February. This is compared to the previous twelve games without Scholes when United took a possible 25 out of 36 points. During this period they lost three and drew one out of the twelve games that they played.
The team is now on the brink of their 20th Premier League title and a lot of credit has to be given to Paul Scholes who has had a massive impact since he returned. United have taken nine more points in the twelve games since Scholes returned than they did in the twelve games previous, which has helped put them eight points clear of rivals Man City.
Man United have also conceded half the amount of goals since Scholes returned as they have only conceded seven goals in the last twelve games compared to the fourteen they conceded in the twelve games prior. Although, six of the fourteen goals were conceded in the 6-1 defeat to Man City in October. They have also kept the same amount of clean sheets (7) in the twelve games before Scholes returned as well as the twelve games since he returned.
On the other hand, United have scored six less goals since Scholes returned as they have only scored 29 goals compared to the 35 goals they scored in the twelve games before he came out of retirement.
As you can see from the table above Paul Scholes has scored 3 goals in the 769 minutes that he has played, which is a goal every 256 minutes.
Next Page: Scholes passing & loss of possession compared to Toure, Lampard, Arteta and Modric.
Scholes has also made 813 passes since his return with a pass completion rate of 92.37%. This coupled with the fact that he has only lost possession of the ball five times just goes to show why Scholes is such an important player for Manchester United.
To show just how impressive these statistics are we have compared him to other midfielders from the other teams in the top five.
As you can see from this comparison Scholes comes out on top on pass completion percentage and on the amount of minutes it takes to lose possession. Paul Scholes passing completion rate is 2.65% better than his nearest rival Yaya Toure and an impressive 8.48% better than Frank Lampard. It also takes Scholes an extra 29 minutes longer to lose possession than Mikel Arteta and an astonishing 84 minutes longer to lose possession than Luka Modric.
From this comparison we can see why Paul Scholes has been nicknamed “Sat Nav” by his teammates as he does just not lose possession of the ball. His passing accuracy is second to none and is better than any of the other players in the comparison above.
Paul Scholes’s consistency as well as the fact that he has made 813 passes in the 769 minutes he has played just shows how successful he is at making himself available for the ball and how quickly he moves the ball when he receives it.
This just shows just what a big problem opposing managers face when playing Manchester United as if you give Paul Scholes time and space then he will pick you apart with his passing but if you push higher and try to take Scholes out of the game you give players like Rooney space in the middle of the pitch which you just cannot afford to do.
These statistics just go to show just how irreplaceable Paul Scholes is and just how happy Sir Alex Ferguson was when he found out that the United legend was returning.
Scholes’s incredible statistics since he came back are made even more impressive by the fact that he is 37 years old and had been out of the game for seven months before his sensational return.
If I was Sir Alex Ferguson I would be doing all I could to persuade Scholes to stay for one more season, even if it was for a bit part role in the team. His experience and knowledge of the game are second to none and his presence around the team will do nothing but help the development of players such as Tom Cleverley and Paul Pogba, who are coming through the ranks.