Stat attack - Downing and N’Zogbia show the way
I have stats for you, courtesy of OPTA Joe, a fascinating little chap who I follow on Twitter.
These stats are really intriguing and definitely something to bear in mind when we come to select our teams.
Only 4 players since August 2004 (Lampard, Fabregas, Gerrard and Giggs) have created more Premier League chances than Stewart Downing.
That certainly surprised me and must be a reason Dalglish brought him to Liverpool. Andy Carroll and co will be relishing Downing’s service and the ex-Villa man could well be an assist machine this season.
Roger Johnson made the most headed clearances of anyone last season. Perhaps this contributed towards his 20 bonus points, joint second highest for defenders.
If he can do it again for Wolves this season, he’ll not only be back on the bonus trail, but the flaky Wolves defence may tighten up and be worth a look. They had just 5 clean sheets last season.
Bolton have only 1 point from the last 36 away from home in the Premier League. A disastrous stat which spells good news for QPR, Arsenal and Liverpool, who host Bolton within the first 6 games.
Kieron Dyer, now at QPR, has started just 17% of possible Premier League games in the last 6 seasons. I’d say avoid but you probably already knew that!
Arsenal’s Sagna, Koscielny, Djourou and Squillaci combined were dribbled past 34 times last season, while Gael Clichy was dribbled past 26 times alone. Questionable whether he’ll be much more solid than Kolarov then.
Arsenal conceded the 4th most goals from set pieces last season, but conceded fewer goals than any team from open play.
If Arsenal can sign a commanding centre back (or two) to deal with set peices, they may well be one of the best defensive sides this season.
Over the past two Premier League seasons, Charles N’Zogbia has embarked on 554 dribbles, which is incredibly 296 more dribbles than any other player. No wonder he’s consistently a bonus point magnet!
N’Zogbia has been strongly linked with Aston Villa, and I’m sure Darren Bent would appreciate N’Zogbia opening up opposition defences with his forages forward. Hugo Rodallega certainly benefited at Wigan.
New Arsenal boy Gervinho was involved in 25 goals (15 goals, 10 assists) in France’s Ligue 1 last season. So Arsenal have bagged themselves another creator as well as goalscorer.