As we approach the end of the season, we have a much better idea of which team has been the best in each area of the pitch. In this article, we will look at attack, defence and passing to see who has been the most efficient team and see how this compares to others in the Premier League.
Let’s be honest, Liverpool and Manchester City have been by far and away the best attacking teams this season. You only have to look at their respective goal tallies of 73 and 69 to see why this is fact. However, who is the better of the two and how do they compare to other teams in the league when you look at the statistics in more detail? Looking at their efforts in front of goal, the Reds have the edge. Liverpool have scored their 73 goals from 380 shots at goal, 191 of which were on target. This is compared to City who have managed (only!) 362 shots at goal with 164 of them on target. This means that Liverpool have had a shooting accuracy of 50% this season, while City have only been accurate with 45% of their shots. Liverpool also have a marginally superior clear-cut chance conversion rate of 44% compared to City’s 43%. However, they both share a 19% chance conversion rate.Looking at their creativity more specifically, City are the slightly more efficient team despite playing two less games than the Reds at this point in the season. They have created a total of 375 chances compared to Liverpool’s 360, included in these, however, are Liverpool’s 46 assists compared to City’s 44. Liverpool have also created more clear-cut chances than City with 66 compared to 59, but City have a better crossing accuracy at 26% and have actually created more assists from open play than the Reds.
Both teams have benefited from strong attacking partnerships this season. City have Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo, and Liverpool have their very own “SAS”. Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are both leading the scoring charts with 24 goals and 18 goals respectively. Aguero has 15 goals despite missing several games through injury. They’re all scoring a goal per game on average but Aguero has the best average time with a goal every 79 minutes, compared to Sturridge every 87 minutes and Suarez every 86 minutes.
Having an extremely good attack is the reason for the two sides’ constant presence at the top of the league table this season, and it will be interesting to see how the two compare after the final game.
In a similar situation to attack, it is easy to see why Chelsea have the best defence in the league this season when you realise they have only conceded 22 goals so far. However, Manchester City and Everton aren’t far behind, conceding just 27 goals each. Looking at the defensive statistics in more detail, we can see who performs the best in different areas. When it comes to ground 50-50s, Everton have been the best at winning these challenges at 54%, closely followed by Chelsea (52%) and City (50%). The places are reversed when looking at aerial 50-50 challenge success however, where Everton have been the least successful with 46%. Chelsea have been the most successful in this area, winning 56% of 1013 aerial challenges. The London side are also the strongest side of the three when it comes to tackles, completing 78.07% of their 561 tackles this season. The other two teams aren’t far behind though; City have been successful with 76.81% of their 526 tackles and Everton have completed 75.79% of their 537 tackles.
Given Jose Mourinho’s skill for turning his teams into strong defensive units, it is no surprise that Chelsea have the upper hand in these statistics. The fact they have also made just eight defensive errors all season is very impressive, especially when you compare it to Everton’s 15 defensive errors and City’s 20.
There are three teams in the running for best passing team this season: Arsenal, Manchester City and Swansea City. All three sides have a passing accuracy of 86% in the Premier League this season, but who comes out on top when you look at the statistics in more detail?
It is the Welsh side who have attempted the most passes this season with 16,505, completing 14,228 of them. City have attempted the fewest of the three with 14,275, completing 12,327 of them. City have been the best at moving the ball forward, however, with 34.17% of their passes going further up the pitch. This in turn reflects the fact that Manuel Pellegrini’s team have scored more than any other team aside from Liverpool.
However, it is interesting to note that Arsenal have attempted the most passes in attacking positions and have the exact same pass accuracy of 79% as their Manchester counterparts in this respect (77% in the final third). The Gunners have attempted 10,477 in the attacking zone of the pitch, compared to City’s 9,400. In the final third, Arsenal have attempted the most passes again with 5,415 and have completed 4,185 of them. Swansea have attempted the fewest with just 3,988 and have been accurate with 74% of them.
It is no surprise then, (given Arsenal’s apparent prowess in their passing ability) that six of their players appear in the top 20 most accurate passers in the league.
As you can see, Manchester City appear in all of these statistics and that of course is why they’re right in the title race. They are not the best in each area, but the fact they’re near the top of each, is why we could see Vincent Kompany lifting the Premier League trophy in May.