5 Telling Stats from the English Premier League Weekend
The advancements of football allow us to look at the game from a purely statistical view if we so desire.
This piece will detail five telling stats from the weekend's action, using numbers to back up what we witnessed with our own eyes on the field.
Steven Gerrard Bosses Norwich
The headlines for Liverpool's domination of Norwich City are as follows—Jordan Henderson scores a screamer, Luis Suarez does an odd trick and Daniel Sturridge is the best thing since sliced bread.
Poor old Steven Gerrard barely got a mention, and he was, in truth, the dictator in a superlative performance for the Reds.
He excelled in his deeper role once again, totaling 115 passes with a 93.04 percent accuracy rate—those are Xavi Hernandez statistics right there.
The Englishman is dropping so deep into a regista position that no one can get close and stop him from controlling the game, while the all-action bundle of energy that is Henderson causes a riot from the No. 10 position.
Sunderland Hung on for Dear Life...
Sunderland took a vital three-point haul from the DW Stadium on Saturday, but boy were they made to work for it.
Sitting on top of a 3-1 scoreline, the Black Cats dropped deep and allowed Wigan to play their excellent football. When Angelo Henriquez scored a consolatory second late on, the Sunderland defence hit the panic button.
They chopped the Latics players down as if their lives depended on it, with Shaun Maloney and Jordi Gomez drawing a foul on average every 18 minutes (10 in total between the two).
Alfred N'Diaye was the main culprit, conceding three himself, but Martin O'Neill's side escaped nonetheless.
...Queens Park Rangers Did Too
If Sunderland were hanging on, Queens Park Rangers' fingers were slipping from the edge of the cliff.
Harry Redknapp had difficulty negating West Ham's direct, in-your-face method of play and the statistics suggest the Hammers were desperately unlucky not to take three points from this fixture.
Together, Joe Cole and Matt Jarvis fired in a titanic 43 crosses for target men Marouane Chamakh and Carlton Cole, but it was Cole who slid in to rescue the point.
As disappointing as those statistics look, Julio Cesar had a career game and the R's defence was feeling unbeatable—Clint Hill made an astonishing 19 clearances (one every 4.74 minutes), while Ryan Nelsen chipped in with 12 (one every 9.75 minutes).
Aaron Lennon the Creator
Aaron Lennon was a creative force against Manchester United and thrived due to the fact that Sir Alex Ferguson focused three players on Gareth Bale.
He tied David Silva for chances created this week with a whopping six and had the presence of mind to calmly lay the ball off for Clint Dempsey's injury-time equaliser on Sunday.
Fergie correctly game-planned for the threat of Bale, but forgot he has his own consistent weakness in Patrice Evra. Lennon completed three successful dribbles down the right, while his marker managed just one tackle.
Stop That Man!
Christian Benteke is a handful—that much we know.
Defenders swarm to him, but just how much pressure does he have to deal with every game?
He was involved in the most challenges of any player all weekend, totaling 35 against the West Bromwich Albion defence as Jonas Olsson and Gareth McAuley got stuck in.
He averaged a staggering 2.57 minutes per duel, which outlines two things very clearly—Aston Villa look to him every other minute in the game and the opposition fear what he can do with space.
The latter was proved when Benteke dropped his shoulder, flummoxed Claudio Yacob and fired in a 68 mph screamer to make it 1-0.