Premier League Team of the Year 11/12 via Opta Stats | Part 1: Defence

Premier League Team of the Year 11/12 via Opta Stats | Part 1: Defence

When the PFA announced the team of the year many fans questioned why their favourite player wasn’t included, so we have derived a concept to see who would have made it into the team of the year if it was based on statistics alone.

We have done this by comparing players for each position using Opta statistics from the 2011/2012 season. We have then awarded the player that comes out on top in each statistic 5 points, the player that comes second 3 points and the player that comes third 1 point and then added up the totals.

This article is the first part of a series. We start the comparison with the Goalkeeper.

Goalkeeper

The results of the goalkeeper comparison support the PFA’s decision to name Joe Hart as the best goalkeeper in the Premier League this season, but not by much as Michel Vorm is not far behind him.

Hart has conceded the fewest amount of goals out of all the goalkeepers this season as he has only conceded 27 goals. This is 2 fewer than De Gea and 8 fewer than Reina who are his two nearest rivals in this statistic. Hart has also conceded the fewest amount of goals per game as he has conceded 0.27 fewer goals per game than De Gea and 0.30 fewer goals per game than Reina.

Hart has also kept 16 clean sheets this season, which is 1 more than Krul and 2 more than Vorm and Friedel.

Michel Vorm does have the best penalty save ratio though as he has saved 66.66% of the penalties he has faced this season. This is 16.6% better than Howard and 33.33% better than both Hart and De Gea.

Vorm has also made the joint highest amount of high cross catches with Cech, as they both have caught 59 balls from high crosses this season. This is 2 more crosses than Foster, 3 more than Krul and 22 more than Hart. Vorm has only missed one cross this season, which is one fewer than Al-Habsi and 2 fewer than Hart, Krul, Cech and Ruddy.

Krul and Foster have not made one error this season that has led to a goal, while Hart, Friedel, Cech and Vorm have made all made one error that has led to a goal this season.

Therefore, as Joe Hart scored one more point than Michel Vorm in this comparison then he is our choice for the goalkeeper position.

Goalkeeper Choice: Joe Hart

Left Back

The results of the left back comparison are quite surprising as Maynor Figueroa, Patrice Evra and Gael Clichy all compare better than the PFA’s choice Leighton Baines.

Enrique has won the highest percentage of his tackles this season out of all the left backs that were attempted as he won 81.16% of his tackles. Enrique has won 1.75% more of his tackles than Riise and 4.24% more of his tackles than Evra who both scored highly in this statistic.

It has also only taken Enrique 16 minutes to win the ball back each time in the defensive third of the pitch, which is 3 minutes more often than Assou-Ekotto and 10 minutes more often than Figueroa.

Figueroa has been accurate with 41% of his crosses this season, which is 13% more accurate than Baines and 14% more accurate than both Assou-Ekotto and Riise. Figueroa and Evra also make a tackle every 31 minutes, which is 4 minutes better than Cole and 7 minutes better than Clichy.

Figueroa has made 93 interceptions this season though, which is 1 more than Assou-Ekotto, 18 more than Clichy and 28 more than Baines. Figueroa has also won the highest percentage of ground 50-50s this season as he has won 5% more than Riise and 6% more than Evra.

Riise has won the highest percentage of aerial 50-50s this season though as he has won an impressive 66% of them. This is 3% better than Figueroa and 10% better than Enrique who have both won an impressive amount of aerial 50-50s this season.

Ashley Cole has completed 85.49% of his passes this season, which is 1.89% better than Evra, 3.46% better than Clichy and an impressive 13.91% better than his England colleague Baines.

Baines has created a chance for Everton every 44 minutes this season though, which is 22 minutes more often than his nearest rival in this statistic Assou-Ekotto and 37 minutes more often than Evra.

Baines and Clichy have also not made any defensive errors this season, compared to Evra who makes a defensive error every 3239 minutes and Riise who makes one every 3141 minutes.

It also takes Clichy 226 minutes to lose possession of the ball, which is 63 minutes longer than Figueroa and 68 minutes longer than Riise. Clichy has also only conceded 0.68 goals per game that he has played this season, which is 0.18 fewer goals per game than Evra and 0.20 fewer goals per game than both Baines and Enrique.

Therefore, as Figueroa has scored 5 points more than Clichy and 8 points more than both Baines and Riise in this comparison he is our choice for the left back spot in the team of the year. Although, to improve next season he will need to focus more on winning his tackles as he has only won 68.87% of his tackles this season.

Left Back Choice: Maynor Figueroa

Next Page: Right Back and Centre Backs are chosen via statistics (click bottom right/top  right for page 2 link or click here)

Right Back

The results of the right back comparison show that Ivanovic is the clear winner in the right back comparison, with Zabaleta coming in second.

Please note: Ivanovic and Jones were included in the right back comparison as they have both played more games at right back this season than they have in any other position.

Ivanovic has won 68% of his ground 50-50s this season, which is 5% more than Sagna and 9% more than Walker. He has also won 77% of his aerial 50-50s this season, which is 3% more than Richards and 7% more than Sagna.

Ivanovic has also completed the highest percentage of his passes out of any of the right backs in this comparison as he has completed 83.44% of his passes this season. This is 0.41% better than Zabaleta and 0.45% better than Rangel. He has also been accurate with 30% of his crosses this season, which is 2% more accurate than Simpson and 7% more accurate than Sagna.

Sagna has been successful with 85.37% of his tackles this season, which and 2.02% better than Simpson and 2.04% better than Walker. It has also taken Sagna 425 minutes to lose possession of the ball this season, which is 236 minutes longer than Ivanovic and 270 minutes longer than Zabaleta.

Zabaleta does make a tackle for his team every 22 minutes though, which is 9 minutes more often than Jones and 12 minutes more often than both Walker and Rangel. Zabaleta has also created a chance every 77 minutes this season, which is 12 minutes more often than Johnson and 13 minutes more often than Sagna.

Zabaleta has also conceded the fewest amount of goals per game this season as Man City have only conceded 0.56 goals per game when he has played. This is 0.24 goals per game better than Jones and 0.26 goals per game better than Johnson.

Johnson along with Walker have won the ball back in the defensive half of the pitch every 22 minutes this season, which is 1 minute more often than Ivanovic and 6 minutes more often than Zabaleta.

Angel has made 95 interceptions this season, which is 28 more than Walker and 35 more than Simpson.

Therefore, as Ivanovic comes out on top in this comparison and scores  5 points more than Zabaleta and 10 points more than Sagna he is our choice for the right back slot.

Right Back Choice: Branislav Ivanovic

Centre Backs

The results of the centre back comparison show that Kompany and Coloccini who were picked for the PFA team of the year do not fare as well statistically and remember this is a statistical comparison for team of the year and not what we watch from the stands or on our televisions.

Lescott has won an impressive 90.70% of his tackles this season, which is 7.72% more than Vermaelen and 8.56% more than Luiz. However, Koscielny has made a tackle every 34 minutes, which is 5 minutes more often than Dunne and 7 minutes more often than Kompany.

Koscielny has also won possession of the ball back in the defensive third of the pitch every 18 minutes, which is 1 minute more often than Luiz and 4 minutes more often than Coloccini. Koscielny has also made the highest number of interceptions this season, as he has made 12 more than Hangeland and 14 more than Kaboul.

Ferdinand has rarely lost possession of the ball this season as he has only given the ball away every 513 minutes, which is 5 minutes less often than Heitinga and 14 minutes less often than Skrtel.

Skrtel has won 69% of his ground 50-50s this season, which is 2% more than Kompany, Ferdinand, Terry, Agger and Kaboul and 3% more than Hangeland. Skrtel has also won the highest percentage of aerial 50-50s, as he has won 3% more than Lescott and 7% more than Terry.

Terry did come out on top in pass completion percentage though, as he has completed 91.07% of his passes this season. This is 1.04% better than Evans and 1.08% better than Ferdinand.

Evans has conceded the fewest amount of goals per game when he has played this season as he has conceded 0.04 fewer goals per game than Kompany and 0.13 fewer goals than Lescott.

Therefore, as Koscielny and Skrtel come out on top in this comparison they are our choices to play at centre back.

Centre Back Choices: Laurent Koscielny and Martin Skrtel

Statistical Team of the Year: Defence

So far our team of the year based on statistics looks like this: Hart, Ivanovic, Koscielny, Skrtel, Figueroa.

Stay tuned in the next couple of days for part 2 when we look at who made it into the team of the year’s midfield.