Ok so Manchester United won the Premier League, comfortably. There’s no denying the other teams just weren’t good enough, or weren’t consistent enough to seriously put up a challenge. But what got me thinking whilst trawling through all the stats, was what would the league table look like if it was sorted by different categories?
I’ve gone for Win%, Pass Success %, Average Possession %, Shot accuracy %, and Total Chances Created. I’m using them because I feel these are the most important and talked about categories. It will also give an insight into whether the other categories except Win% have a bearing over how well teams do in the league.
So let’s be honest, wasn’t expecting much to be different, it’s obvious that the more you win, the better you’ll do. From 1st to 8th the positions are the same as their actual league position, until it gets to Swansea who drop down to 12th. Then the bottom 4 is exactly the same as their actual league position.
Pretty simple, the more you win, the higher you’ll finish, nothing new there.
Pass Success %
Some positive correlation here, not particularly strong, but you would assume that the more passes that are successful, the better your team will do. The only teams challenging that strongly are Wigan (who’ve moved up 9 places), Norwich and West Ham (both moved down 7 places). We’d expect Arsenal to be near the top, with their distinctive style of play, the same with Swansea who now occupy the final Champions League place.
It can’t be said that by being better at passing you will definitely finish higher (as we can see with teams like Chelsea, Spurs, Everton and West Brom, all dropping down), but it most certainly helps.
Things begin to become a lot more mixed up now, with Wigan putting a decent shift in finishing 7th. Arsenal edge it as champions like we’d expect, it’s clear to see Wenger sticking with his passing style. Brendan Rodgers influence at Liverpool is another highlight, moving up into a Champions League place with a very good possession average. Rodgers’ old club Swansea also doing well picking up the Europa league places. It’s unfortunate to see Norwich drop out of the Premier League, with Stoke and West Ham struggling as well.
The difference between Manchester United’s positions between the pass success table and this table is quite interesting, showing that it’s not about how much of the ball you have, but what you do with it. Definitely a case against some people’s perceptions of “Tiki-Taka”, it is not about keeping the ball all of the time, you just need to make sure the passes you do make, go where they should.
Shot Accuracy %
Once again, how on earth have Wigan been relegated when they’ve had a good pass accuracy, good possession, and now we can see they’re getting shots away! Tottenham are doing well, occupying 2nd; whilst Chelsea, City, Everton, and Liverpool are the notable fallers.
It would be great to say that getting shots on goal would result in your team doing better, but it clearly doesn’t, just ask Wigan…
Total Chances Created
A lot of movement in this table, notably United dropping from out of the European places into 7th. Wigan have moved up yet again, 8 places to mid-table, moving above Swansea who were 9th place and are now at 11th.
Out of all of the tables, this is the one I thought would be the most conclusive, I was expecting to be able to say that the more chances you create, the higher you’ll finish; due to having more chances to score. It’s not the case unfortunately, create as many chances as you like, but if you haven’t got a striker like RvP to finish them off, then you’ll end up like Liverpool, or Wigan…
The most obvious conclusion to be drawn would be that the more accurate your passes are, regardless of total possession, the higher you’ll finish. Oh, and don’t get too hung up about creating chances or getting shots on target, they need to be finding the net (pretty obvious). Just another quick observation, have a look how low Stoke finished, are they an example of “anti-football”?
Few pointers from me: Liverpool need to start finishing their chances (get a Torres-like striker back); Wigan need to buy a defence (all well and good going forward, but if you can’t defend, you’re going down!); I feel it’s only a matter of time before Swansea break into the European places (as long as they have consistency, and keep Michu); and Stoke’s football may not please the statisticians amongst us, but their style works!
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