Over the last decade, statistics have become more prevalent than ever before in Premier League football.
Whereas we once relied purely on a combination of goals, clean sheets and what we assumed from the naked eye, we can now assess performance based on black-and-white, unbiased quantitative data.
Of course, statistics must always be placed in the right context to be understood properly, but they do usually point us in the right direction.
So while it’s a little early in the season, the international break has given us an ideal opportunity to highlight those who are leading the statistical charts in the Premier League.
- 1st - Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Heung-min Son (6)
- 2nd - Jamie Vardy, Mohamed Salah (5)
Two usual suspects here in Mohamed Salah and Jamie Vardy, who were among the top five goalscorers last season, but Heung-min Son and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have shot up the rankings after netting 11 and 13 last season respectively. Whether they’ve got the staying power to be battling out for the Golden Boot come May-time remains to be seen.
Goals Scored - New Signings
- 1st - Callum Wilson (4)
- 2nd - James Rodriguez, Ollie Watkins (3)
- 4th - Callum Robinson (2)
Perhaps the most interesting trend here is absence of any signings from the Premier League’s top clubs. Chelsea spent big money on Timo Werner and Kai Havertz but they’re nowhere to be seen, while two players feature here who were plying their trade in the Championship last season in Ollie Watkins and Callum Robinson.
- 1st - Dominic Calvert-Lewin (4.41)
- 2nd - Jamie Vardy (3.88)
- 3rd - Harry Kane (3.83)
If anything, the expected goals numbers simply show how many of the aforementioned top scorers have overperformed in front of goal this season. Even chart topper Calvert-Lewin boasts a 1.6 goal surplus, while Vardy’s currently 1.18 goals ahead of his expected run rate too.
Times Hit Woodwork
- 1st - Leandro Trossard (4)
- 2nd - Pablo Fornals, Rodrigo, Heung-min Son (2)
These boys will be laying awake at night with replays of their near misses flickering across their inner eyelids. Leandro Trossard somehow managed to hit the woodwork three times in a single game against Manchester United, while Son could be sitting on an incredible eight goals with a little more fortune this season.
- 1st - Dominic Calvert-Lewin (4)
- 2nd - Mohamed Salah, Ollie Watkins, James Rodriguez (3)
For how impressive James Rodriguez has been this season, it’s certainly interesting that he’s only found the net at Goodison Park so far, while Ollie Watkins’ three strikes all came in the same game - Aston Villa’s shock 7-2 win over Liverpool at Villa Park.
- 1st - Heung-min Son (6)
- 2nd - Jamie Vardy (5)
- 3rd - Neal Maupay, Harry Kane (3)
A very intriguing theme here, and something that’s probably only possible during the unique circumstances of a global pandemic. There’s no doubt the absence of crowds has diminished the powers of home advantage in the Premier League and that’s shown in the fact all of Vardy and Son’s goals this term have come away from home.
- 1st - Dominic Calvert-Lewin (3)
Full credit to Calvert-Lewin. Aerially imposing strikers are becoming a thing of the past, but the England international stands (excuse the pun) head and shoulders above the rest this term as the only Premier League player to net more than one header. He’s clearly been listening to Big Dunc in training.
- 1st - Jamie Vardy (4)
- 2nd - Jorginho (3)
- 3rd - Mohamed Salah, Neal Maupay, Bruno Fernandes, Callum Wilson (2)
The frequency in which penalties are being awarded has become a constant narrative in the early stages of the season, particularly centring around the new interpretation of handball in the penalty area. Jamie Vardy and Jorginho have taken full advantage but with referees set to show much greater leniency going forward, this avenue of goals might soon dry up.
- 1st - David McGoldrick (100%)
- 2nd - Aleksandar Mitrovic, Callum Wilson (66.7%)
- 4th - Danny Ings, Wilfried Zaha (60%)
This statistic judges how many of a team’s overall goals a single player has been responsible for, which tells us as much about the team as it does the quality of the goalscorer. David McGoldrick, for example, has quite simply netted Sheffield United’s only goal of the season, although certainly in the cases of Danny Ings, Wilfried Zaha and Aleksandar Mitrovic, the goal ratios highlight how they’re very much talismanic entities for their respective teams.
- 1st - Harry Kane to Heung-min Son (5 goals)
- 2nd - John McGinn to Jack Grealish, Jack Grealish to Ollie Watkins, Pablo Fornals to Jarrod Bowen, Daniel Podence to Raul Jimenez (2 goals)
Kane and Son have been nothing short of electric at the start of this season, with their partnership verging on the realms of telepathic. For context, the most potent combination in the Premier League last term was Adama Traore to Raul Jimenez, resulting in seven goals. We’re only four weeks in and the Spurs duo are already just two strikes short of that. Villa boast two combinations as well, while the Traore supply line at Wolves appears to have been replaced by Daniel Podence’s creativity instead.
Passing and chance creation
- 1st - Harry Kane (6)
- 2nd - Jack Grealish, John McGinn (3)
Kane’s netting prowess alone makes him one of the deadliest forwards in the world but this season, his ability to create goals has really come to the fore as well. As previously mentioned, five of those assists have found strike partner Son, and if Kane is to maintain this aspect of his game throughout the campaign he could end up in the running for both the Golden Boot and the Playmaker of the Season award.
Assists - New Signings
- 1st - James Rodriguez, Timothy Castagne, Willian, Matheus Pereira (2)
Rodriguez’s impact is felt here with the Everton signing supplying almost as many goals as he’s scored himself, while Leicester full-back Timothy Castagne has taken no time in adjusting to the Premier League having already bagged two assists. The same can be said of Matheus Pereira, although Willan’s return is a little deceptive as he grabbed both setups in his Arsenal debut against Fulham.
- 1st - Harry Kane (2.86)
- 2nd - James Rodriguez (2.02)
- 3rd - Jack Grealish (1.64)
Few surprises here considering Kane and Jack Grealish top the assists charts, while Rodriguez has the joint-most of any new signing. Just like expected goals though, it’s the discrepancy that’s most impressive with Kane producing 3.14 more assists than expected and Grealish being 1.46 above the run rate.
- 1st - Kevin De Bruyne, Mohamed Salah (14)
- 2nd - Heung-min Son (13)
It’s little surprise to see Kevin De Bruyne topping the creation charts this season having lead the way with 136 last year, while Salah finished in the top ten as well. Son, though, has shown marked improvement - he’s already 32% into his total from last term with just four games gone.
Chances Made From Corners
- 1st - Heung-min Son (6)
- 2nd - James Rodriguez (4)
- 3rd - Bruno Fernandes, Pedro Neto, Trent Alexander-Arnold (3)
This statistic goes some way to explaining the sudden rise in Son’s creativity, with the South Korean now on corner duty and six of his balls connecting so far. Liverpool fans, meanwhile, might be expecting a little more from Trent Alexander-Arnold considering his quality from dead ball situations.
Chances Made From Free Kicks
- 1st - Aaron Cresswell (4)
- 2nd - James Ward-Prowse, Lucas Digne (3)
A surprise name here in Aaron Cresswell, who appears to be enjoying something of an Indian summer as a left centre-back in West Ham’s back three. James Ward-Prowse and Lucas Digne, meanwhile, as set piece specialists will see their returns thus far as par for the course.
- 1st - Bukayo Saka (2)
We’ll be paying more and more attention to this statistic in the coming years - essentially, who made the pass that lead to the pass that created the goal. It may sound a little random but does give an insight into which players are most crucial in the build-up and so far this season, Arsenal youngster Bukayo Saka is the only player to register more than one.
- 1st - Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (347)
- 2nd - Virgil van Dijk (340)
- 3rd - Michael Keane (323)
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is showing why Spurs were so keen to acquire his services this summer, offering the real control in the engine room through his reliability on the ball and ability to set the tempo from deep pockets. Michael Kane and Virgil van Dijk, meanwhile, are playing their part in helping build from the back.
Accurate Final Third Passes
- 1st - Mohamed Salah (83)
- 2nd - Andrew Robertson (82)
- 3rd - Jack Grealish (73)
It’s all well and good shifting the ball around the back four, but precision in the final third is paramount if you want to score goals. Salah has proved himself the Premier League’s most reliable in that respect this season, while Grealish deserves a mention too having used the ball so well in the most crucial parts of the pitch.
Inaccurate Passes (Excluding Goalkeepers)
- 1st - Luke Ayling (61)
- 2nd - Oriol Romeu (59)
- 3rd - Stuart Dallas, Trent Alexander-Arnold (53)
What can we learn from the above? Well, apart from that Oriol Romeu’s passing has been far too sloppy for a deep-lying midfielder, it seems full-backs are the players making the riskier passes these days. Crosses that don’t connect probably plays a big part here, as well as trying to dink the ball down the touchline to their corresponding winger.
Shots On Target
- 1st - Harry Kane (10)
- 2nd - Dominic Calvert-Lewin (9)
- 3rd - Michail Antonio (8)
Work the ‘keeper is rule number one when playing up front and these three players have certainly been doing that. Kane always tends to rank high in this respect but the shots on target chart shows how deadly Calvert-Lewin has been as well, with six of his nine attempts ending up in the back of the net.
Shots Off Target
- 1st - Aleksandar Mitrovic (8)
- 2nd - Harry Kane, Tomas Soucek, Leandro Trossard (7)
With a little more finesse a few of these players could be enjoying very different seasons. Trossard’s high return likely corresponds to the aforementioned four strikes off the woodwork, although Fulham will be desperately hoping that Mitrovic’s finishing can improve quickly - or else the pointless west Londoners will be facing a long, long season.
Big Chances Missed
- 1st - Che Adams (4)
- 2nd - Ollie Watkins (3)
It could be very different seasons for these two strikers as well. Che Adams is yet to get off the mark in the Premier League but could theoretically be amongst the top scorers, while Ollie Watkins could’ve added an extra three goals on top of his hat-trick against Liverpool - putting him level with Vardy and Son.
- 1st - Jordan Ayew (21)
- 2nd - Raheem Sterling (15)
- 3rd - Grady Diangana (14)
The downside to being a tricky winger is that you often end up losing the ball, especially if you’re funnelled down a blind alley. That’s probably happened a little too much to Jordan Ayew this season who is yet to rekindle last term’s goalscoring form, although Sterling and Diangana will argue the frequency in which they’re tackled is an inevitable byproduct of their natural games.
- 1st - Jamie Vardy (7)
- 2nd - Aaron Connolly, Callum Wilson, Michail Antonio (5)
You can’t win the raffle without buying a ticket, and sometimes you just have to take a chance that the pass will come just as you’re ghosting in behind the opposition. Then again, all of these strikers boast such fantastic natural speed that their managers will be asking why they couldn’t hold back half a yard.
- 1st - Michail Antonio (15)
- 2nd - Grady Diangana, Richarlison, Wilfried Zaha (13)
Michail Antonio is nothing if not a constant nuisance as a lone striker, using his pace, power and unorthodox style to make life difficult for defenders, and this statistic shows it’s working a treat this season - he’s won the most fouls of any Premier League player, much to the benefit of the aforementioned Cresswell.
- 1st - Jamie Vardy (3)
- 2nd - Tariq Lamptey, Timo Werner (2)
We all know about the problems Vardy’s pace causes defenders but the real stories here centre around the duo in second place. Tariq Lamptey has looked a gem at right wing-back for Brighton and this statistic shows the chaos he’s created going forward, while Werner may be struggling to find his shooting boots at Chelsea but is helping the team in a different way.
- 1st - Adama Traore (22)
- 2nd - Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (18)
- 3rd - Richarlison (16)
No prizes for guessing Traore would be at the top of this statistical chart once again, having finished last season with an incredible 184 dribbles to his name. This term he is facing some competition from Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa, however, who has completed at least two in each of his outings for Fulham and notched up a whopping eight against Leeds.
- 1st - Federico Fernandez (7)
- 2nd - Angelo Ogbonna, Liam Cooper, Robin Koch (6)
Everybody likes a defender who puts his body on the line and nobody has done that more this season than Newcastle’s Federico Fernandez. But perhaps the most notable inclusions are Leeds’ two centre-halves - while this suggests the Yorkshire outfit are letting the opposition into dangerous areas too frequently, it also highlights the full commitment Marcelo Bielsa demands from his team.
- 1st - Steven Alzate (14)
- 2nd - Tomas Soucek (13)
- 3rd - Isaac Hayden, Paul Pogba, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (11)
There’s an art to committing fouls. Do it subtly and in the right places, and it can be a very effective means of defending. Of course, that’s not always the case but at the most basic level, fouls committed are at least an indication of how frequently a player’s fighting for the ball. Tomas Soucek has added that combative presence to West Ham’s engine room but it’s the busy Steven Alzate who leads the way for Brighton this season.
- 1st - Robin Koch (2)
Robin Koch looks like a promising young defender but it’s taken some time for him to adapt to the elevated speed of the Premier League - so far this season, he’s the only player to concede more than one penalty, which is saying quite a lot considering the number that have been given.
Times Dribbled Past
- 1st - Arthur Masuaku, Mateusz Klich, Pablo Fornals (11)
Look away now David Moyes, because two of your Hammers have been dribbled past a worrying eleven times this season. Despite a recent uplift in results - two wins with two clean sheets - the West Ham gaffer will be keen to iron this trend out of his side’s game before the Premier League restarts this weekend.
- 1st - Luke Ayling, Tyrick Mitchell (19)
- 3rd - Kalvin Phillips (17)
It’s no surprise to see Leeds players ranking highly here, for the same reasons mentioned in regard to blocked shots. Bielsa implores his side to hunt relentlessly for the ball and Luke Ayling and Kalvin Phillips have been Leeds’ most effective in that respect this season. Tyrick Mitchell deserves a mention too, quietly impressing at left-back for Crystal Palace in the absence of Patrick van Aanholt.
- 1st - Kyle Bartley (27)
- 2nd - Federico Fernandez (23)
- 3rd - Eric Dier, Tyrone Mings (21)
Even in this age of building from the back and using goalkeepers as de facto playmakers, there’s nothing wrong with giving the ball an old-fashioned hoof when circumstances require. So far this season, nobody has done that more times than West Brom’s Kyle Bartley, although joint-third placings for Eric Dier and Tyrone Mings is certainly worth taking note of as the battle for spots continues at the heart of England’s backline.
- 1st - N’Golo Kante (13)
- 2nd - Fabinho, James McArthur, Yerry Mina, Youri Tielemans (10)
N’Golo Kante remains one of the world’s best at what he does - chiefly, breaking up play with relentless energy in midfield - and his lofty return for interceptions this season pays testament to that. Fabinho’s performed a similar job for Liverpool as well, recording ten from just three Premier League starts.
Errors Leading To Goals
- 1st - Kepa (2)
Nobody likes to end on a sour note but unfortunately that’s the way Kepa’s Chelsea career is going. No player - including all outfielders - has made more errors directly leading to goals this season and following the late arrival of Edouard Mendy, the Spaniard now looks a long way off returning to No.1 status at Stamford Bridge.
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