Welcome to a weekly article on EPLIndex.com examining some of the statistical Talking-Points from the Premier League fixture week. This week Karsten looks at van Persie’s drought, the supreme Eden Hazard, Guzan Vs Given, stalwart Craig Garner and De Guzman’s passing. All of the Talking Points are below.
van Persie Again Fails to Net
For the sixth time in Manchester United’s last seven fixtures Robin van Persie failed to find the net leading to a flood of drought proclamations from a variety of outlets. Looking at the stats, van Persie does look decidedly out of form. In the last seven games van Persie has had four clear chances which he has failed to convert.
United will hope he responds the same way he did to his last failure to score in three consecutive fixtures from November 10 to 24 when the Dutchman recovered and provided six goals over United’s next seven fixtures.
Conversely, van Persie late season drought for Arsenal last year stretched from March 21 to April 21 with only a single goal scored and seven clear chances squandered over seven matches.
In addition to this Opta tweeted yesterday that this was van Persie’s longest drought since his Feyenoord days where he operated as a winger and not a striker.
Hazard Supreme for Blues
Eden Hazard was electric for Chelsea on Sunday at Stamford Bridge. Playing fluidly and across the entire final third, Hazard was the focal point for Chelsea’s attack and rarely disappointed when he was on the ball.
Hazard attempted and completed more take-ons than any other player this fixture week (some truly incredible) and created five chances for Chelsea. The buildup to his goal nicely encapsulated the essence of his performance containing smart passing, an incisive run, a beautiful touch to take the ball under control, and appropriately impressive finish.
Guzan Keeps Villa Afloat and Given on Bench
Brad Guzan was a crucial factor in Aston Villa’s hugely significant win over QPR this fixture week. Statistically it is hard to substantiate what is clearly evident from an “eye test” of goalkeeping performances. Clean sheets and total goals conceded are as much a reflection of a team’s ability to defend as their goalkeeper’s abilities.
Despite this, comparing Guzan’s statistics to Shay Given’s in 09/10 when he was hyperbolically described as “best in the world” is revealing. Guzan has already made more saves than Given did that entire season, dealt with over twice as many high crosses, and has only conceded 10 more goals playing behind a defense drastically less talented than what screened Given at Manchester City.
By both the eye test and stats, Guzan’s starting spot seems well deserved. Interestingly, Guzan would also appear to be a better distributor of the ball completing 52% of his passes this season versus Given’s 43% completion rate in 09/10.
Gardner Stalwart for Sunderland
Craig Gardner topped the tackling charts this week with six successful tackles in the Black Cats’ home draw against Norwich. While a disappointing team showing where Sunderland failed to take three points from a 10-man Norwich, Gardner has to be happy with his own contributions. Beyond his impressive defensive performance, Gardner was one of Sunderland’s most potent players going forward with two shots on target in addition to converting for Sunderland from the spot.
De Guzman Tidiest in the League
Similar to Gardner, Jonathan De Guzman was unfortunate to put in an exceptional performance but come away with a disappointing result. While not one of Laudrop’s most glamorous signings, De Guzman has put in consistently impressive displays characterized by tidy passing throughout the season. Only twice has his completion rate dipped below 80% in 29 appearance. Saturday’s fixture was exceptional even among these stats. De Guzman completed 89 passes against Arsenal, more than any other player in the Premier League this week, and created two chances for the Swans.