Statistically the average human being has one breast and one testicle so it`s always wise to consider what statistics don`t tell you. But they do provide an opportunity for contemplation. Have players performed their roles differently from our perceptions? Can we confirm entrenched opinions or are we compelled to review them?
Whatever, it can be entertaining to look at some comparisons. One of the difficulties in most comparisons is that players don`t all have the same playing time, injuries, suspensions, selection reduce the opportunities individuals have to impress. One perspective then is to look at the playing time for each player and compare what they did in the time they were on the pitch.
The judgements below are from an amalgam of stats so while probably not statistically significant some differences could possibly be found when compiled differently. These figures are only from time played in Premier League games. Champions League and domestic cup competitions have been excluded as collating the data would take too long. Along with the keepers also excluded are those outfield players who only made one appearance or limited sub appearances. So who did or appeared to do what last season?
Most likely to be on the pitch: Denilson played 3179 minutes with 36 starts and 1 sub appearance
Least likely to be on the pitch: Vela played 428 minutes with 2 starts and 12 substitutions
Most likely to score: Arshavin took an average 168 minutes playing time for each goal scored. His quadruple at Liverpool with just 12 starts would have skewed his numbers a little. Closest to him is Adebayor who took on average 190 minutes to find the net.
Least likely to score: Sagna played 2968 minutes without scoring. Neither Djourou nor Gibbs scored either but they had less playing time.
Most likely to be cautioned: Fabregas picked up a yellow card every 275 minutes while Eboue was more likely to pick up a red.
Least likely to be cautioned: Walcott has most playing time this season without picking up a booking of any kind while Silvestre also escaped the officials eye but with less playing time.
Most likely to create a goal: While RvP is the league`s leading assist maker this season it`s Arshavin who has created most assists in the shortest time with an assist every 144 minutes compared to Robin`s 202 minutes. Fabregas was sandwiched between the two at 193 minutes per assist.
Least likely to create a goal: Gallas has spent most time on the pitch without an assist to his credit though neither Djourou nor Gibbs had managed to provide unto others.
Most likely to create an attempt: Fabregas heads this list with Arshavin not too far behind. Cesc took 31 minutes to fashion a goal attempt while Andrey needed just 5 minutes more at 36 minutes.
Least likely to create an attempt: Gallas on average would go almost 6 whole games needing 524 minutes to set up a team mate. Who says he doesn`t get on with anyone?
Most likely to have a go: No surprises perhaps that RvP leads this category. A shot every 25 minutes puts him ahead of Arshavin on 31 minutes with Bendtner just behind him on 32.
Least likely to have a go: Djourou is our most shot shy performer with just one shot in the 1215 minutes he was on the pitch last season. Hleb would be proud of him.
Most likely to hit the target: A big up for Bendtner as the Dane reverses the ‘have a go` order getting a shot on target every 57 minutes with Arshavin`s 59 minutes again separating RvP ( who might have claimed something better but for the woodwork) at 62 minutes. Adebayor lagged someway behind needing 76 minutes to get his eye in.
Least likely to hit the target: Again Big Johann only managed one goal attempt and he didn`t get that one on target.
Most likely to pass: No great surprises that Cesc moved the ball around quicker than anyone else needing 1.18 minutes to send the ball on its way with Denilson`s 1.26 not too far behind.
Least likely to pass: Walcott claims this title making a pass every 3.3 minutes with RvP needing 3.15
Most likely to find their man: A need for less ambitious passing as a holding player has probably enabled Denilson at 1.44 minutes to shade Cesc at 1.51 minutes.
Least likely to find their man: Walcott again at 4.11 minutes ahead of RvP 4.02 minutes.
Most likely to put his foot in: Clichy leads this line with a tackle every 23.1 minutes while his understudy Gibbs emulates him impressively at 23.4 minutes. Denilsons 24.6 is also notable.
Least likely to put his foot in: Making his red card this season all the more surprising is the fact that the Togonator takes 211 minutes to wind himself up to make a challenge. That`s some way ahead of the next in line Bendtner at 119 minutes whereas RvP will put himself about at a relatively impressive 58 minutes.
Most likely to come away with the ball: Clichy again will make a successful tackle every 30.5 minutes with Denilson pretty close at 30.9.
Least likely to come away with the ball: Ade again is in a class of his own taking 317 minutes to make a successful tackle.
Most likely to get stuck in: Song is the man to dish it out with a foul every 47 minutes.
Least likely to get stuck in: Theo is this season`s shrinking violet having to plead innocence only every 214 minutes.
Most likely to take a battering: He hasn`t played that often but Vela has had to take some rough stuff having been fouled every 36 minutes.
Least likely to take a battering: Nobody messes with Kolo. He can go 194 minutes before anywhere dares foul him. His best friend Gallas is only slightly less intimidating at 191 minutes.
Most likely to read the game: Denilson can intercept a pass better than almost anyone else making 155 interceptions in the season, one every 21 minutes,while Clichy runs him close with 123 at 22 minutes played.
Least likely to read the game: Adebayor again takes the crown needing 271 minutes to pick off an opposition pass.
These statistics only give a very superficial picture of an individual player`s contribution to the game. There are so many things that can`t be measured. But they provide ammunition for debate and argument and without football for a few weeks what else have we got?
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