How football has changed. Half-time football team-talks used to be based around eating oranges, now they’re used to analyse real-time data and react to opposing strategies.
Whether it be ways to improve an individual player, adjust a team’s style of play or simply just to see which players best for your fantasy team this week, football games are based around stats.
So, I’ve decided to look back at last season and rummage through all the incredible amounts of data to come up with the top five most incredible stats from the 2012/13 campaign.
1. Leighton Baines has created more goal-scoring opportunities this season than both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo combined
Leighton Baines has to be classed as one football’s most underrated left-backs. After a stellar season in which Baines collected five goals and five assists for Everton, he once again proved his worth to the Toffees at both ends of the pitch.
He’s been an influential player for Everton this year but no one expected him to be Everton’s main creative force going forward. Whether it’s from free-kicks, crosses, corners or drifting inside, Baines is a lethal provider and that reflected in his stats – creating 111 goal-scoring opportunities this season.
2. Liverpool created the most goalscoring opportunities in Europe last season (545)
The 2012/13 season was one of frustration and disappointment for the Red half of Merseyside. Despite Luis Suarez’s excellent 23-goal haul Liverpool failed to make the most of their opportunities.
They created more chances than rivals Manchester United and European champions Bayern Munich, yet they only managed to finish seventh last season.
Liverpool could go out and dominate most sides in the Premier League, yet failed to finish them off. It’s understandable to see why with such a lack of firepower in the final third and with star-studded striker Suarez missing part of the season, leaving it to Daniel Sturridge to pick up the pieces.
3. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi outscores the whole of Europe with his left foot alone
His left boot must be priceless and he’s still only 26. It seems that Lionel Messi’s tally of records and achievements never end.
After sifting through all the stats, we’ve noticed the Argentinian scored 40 goals with his left foot during the 2012/13 La Liga campaign - more than any other player did with their whole body. It’s fair to say there may be some truth in Pique’s comments when he said: “Ronaldo is the best among humans but Messi is from another planet”.
4. Xavi completes a pass every 50 seconds. Stoke contest an aerial duel every 113 seconds
Football is a game of tactics and different styles of play, but there couldn’t be more of contrast in footballing philosophies than Stoke City’s and Spanish giants Barcelona’s. In no way is this better illustrated by this stat and the fact that Xavi, the tempo-setter and dictator at the heart of the Catalans' success, completes two passes per aerial duel than Stoke attempt.
5. Miroslav Klose had the highest conversion rate of any striker with more than 15 goals this season
Miroslav Klose, the German powerhouse put away 39.5% of his chances, more than Robin van Persie, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Mario Mandzukic and
The Bayern Munich outcast hit form with Lazio this season, tucking away 40% of his goalscoring opportunities. If efficiency could take a footballing shape, it would choose Miroslav Klose.
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