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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.


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)

James Amey
James Amey
Head of the writers here on EPLIndex! Can also be found on Twitter - @jamesamey316
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