8 Most Amazing Premier League Stats from 2012/13 so Far
In recent years, statistics have very quickly become a prominent part of most football fans' vocabulary.
While some of the more sophisticated numbers provide the chance of in-depth player and performance analysis—as clubs will delve into—there are also endless basic categories that anyone can use to freely compare players in.
As stats become more fashionable, certain areas perhaps get referred to, or overhyped a little too often, but on the whole, this extra access allows a great level of further insight into the game.
Leighton Baines' Creative Input
When it comes to creativity, Leighton Baines stands alone as not only the most productive player in the Premier League but across all of Europe's major divisions.
In total, the Everton man has provided his side with 93 chances in the Premier League this season. That's seven more than David Silva, who's second in England, and three more than Mathieu Valbuena, the next best in Europe.
Of course, what makes Baines' accomplishments all the more remarkable is the fact he plays in defence, while every other player near him in the creative stakes is more far advanced.
Baines has led they way in this department all season, also fashioning out more clear-cut chances than any other player, with 17, four ahead of his nearest Premier League rival.
To highlight just how unique his input is, the next best defender on the Premier League list is Tottenham's Kyle Walker, who's carved out 47 opportunities, slightly over half as many as the Everton man.
Many will appreciate Baines has been a creative marvel for much of his career, but this season's production has been especially striking, as these stats reveal.
Morgan Schneiderlin's Tackle Count
Moving onto some of the darker arts in and around the challenge area; in tackling terms, Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin has been in a league of his own this season.
The Southampton man has already recorded a staggering 121 tackles at a more-than-respectable success rate of 76 percent.
That's 22 more than any other player in the Premier League and four more than any player made during the whole of last season.
With his input, it's no surprise his side are the Premier League's most frequent tacklers, averaging 22.1 per-game, with the Frenchman averaging almost a quarter of them himself.
Quite simply, Schneiderlin's been a tackling machine and is a dominant leader in this department of the game.
Ashley William's Blocking
As is becoming clear, the best way to reveal the more remarkable statistical achievements is by highlighting the categories where a player leads by a considerable margin.
In terms of blocking shots at goal, nobody comes close to showing the timing, bravery and sheer determination of Swansea's Ashley Williams.
So far, the Welsh international's hurled his body in the way of a mammoth 43 shots this season, 11 more than anyone else, with every player behind him in the top 10 separated by just six efforts.
That's quite an extraordinary return.
Considering how many of those extra shots that could have resulted in goals, it's certainly a trait Michel Vorm will admire.
Christain Benteke's Aerial Prowess
One of the brighter points of a drab season for Aston Villa supporters has been the final third contribution of Christian Benteke.
The Belgian international's been a powerhouse up front, scoring 13 Premier League goals, and, at times, proving almost unplayable in the air.
In terms of overall challenges, nobody matches up to Benteke's input.
He's contested 613 challenges in total, a colossal 84 more than anyone else in the Premier League, including 57 more aerial duels than any other player. In the air alone, he's currently competed for 395 challenges, with Steven Fletcher second on that list with 338.
Of those 395 aerial duels, the Belgian's won 230, which is somewhat predictably the leading number in the Premier League as well.
Reading's Consistent Inferiority
As well as judging feats of particular individuals, statistics can also be used to reveal the effectiveness of teams in certain scenarios.
Sieving through several categories on WhoScored?, it's amazing to see just how often Reading finish a list as the lowest ranked team in the Premier League.
This season, the Royals average the fewest shots per game (9.6), the lowest possession (39.8 percent) and the lowest passing accuracy in the league (69.2 percent).
On top of this, they also concede the most shots per game (17.7), complete the fewest short passes (255) and make the fewest tackles per game (15.7).
Seeing how much the Royals struggle to compete in so many different aspects of the game, it's perhaps unsurprising to see them as favourites for relegation. It seems they have much to develop before calling themselves a side of Premier League-calibre.
Manchester United's Domination at Set-Pieces
Runaway league leaders, Manchester United, have been dominant in several aspects of the game this season, but none more so than set-pieces.
Sir Alex Ferguson's side have managed an impressive 19 goals from dead-ball situations; that's six more than any other side.
Taking this analysis slightly further, United are also considerably more prolific than any other side here. Reeling off exactly 100 shots from set-pieces this season, their conversion rate is therefore 19 percent—again the leading return ahead of Norwich's 15 percent conversion rate.
United aren't too bad at the other end as well, conceding just eight goals from 95 shots at set-pieces all season, with a conversion rate against them of 8.5 percent. That's something only six teams can better.
This success at both ends and the differentiation between both conversion rates clearly distinguishes the Red Devils as this season's premier set-piece specialists.
Arsenal's Passing Supremacy
In terms of passing, Arsenal average more short passes per game (511) than any other side in the Premier League. That's 21 more than second-place Manchester City and more than double as many as hapless Reading (255).
Mikel Arteta has been the main contributor so far, having made the second-most passes in the Premier League (2,115). He also boasts the best accuracy of 92 percent and is the only player to average above 90 in the league's top 15.
Arteta also averages the most passes per game (84.6) in the top flight, with Santiago Cazorla (65.8), Bacary Sagna (60.7) and Jack Wilshere (59.9) also cropping up in the top seven.
Whether their passing is incisive enough, or an effective enough method in another story, but no side have kept the ball or been as persistent with their passing game as Arsenal have this season.
Liverpool's Ability to Shoot
Despite currently sitting seventh in the table, no side has managed as many shots at goal this season as Liverpool's 568, 23 more than any other team.
Brendan Rodgers' side currently average an impressive 18.9 attempts at goal per-game, ahead of Tottenham (18.2) and Manchester City (17.6) in third, making them the most effective unit at creating opportunities to shoot.
Had more players had their shooting boots on—other than Luis Suarez, the Premier League's current top scorer—perhaps, Liverpool would have enjoyed a more proficient season.
Individually, Suarez has had the most shots at goal of any player this season, with 118, ahead of Gareth Bale's 103.
His conversion rate of 19 percent is decent enough, but other players such as Raheem Sterling (two goals from 23 shots), Glen Johnson (one goal from 35 shots) and Jonjo Shelvey (one goal from 24 shots) have let their side down.
With a tighter defence and a slightly higher conversion rate from some, Liverpool would be enjoying a far more consistent season.