FC Barcelona Win Champions League: 3 Stats That Killed Manchester United

Andres Ehrli@@ehrliCorrespondent IIIMay 28, 2011

FC Barcelona Win Champions League: 3 Stats That Killed Manchester United

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28:  Xavi (L) runs to join teammates ad Barcelona pose for photographs as they celebrate victory in the UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2011 in London, England.
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Pedro, Messi and Villa scored for FC Barcelona to help the Catalans win their fourth UEFA Champions League. 

    Rooney scored one for Manchester United in their only real chance on goal. 

    Truth is: Barça dominated the match.

    And while this can be seen form plain sight, there is statistical evidence to prove Barcelona's overwhelming dominion over Sir Alex Ferguson's men. 

Valdés Had No Saves

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28:  Victor Valdes of FC Barcelona (L) punches the ball clear from Javier Hernandez of Manchester United during the UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2011 in Londo
    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Victor Valdés had a quiet night.

    Except for Rooney's goal, there were no more shots (and therefore, no saves) between the goalposts all night long. Barcelona had 12. 

    There were actually only four attempts by United all night long: Chicharito's blocked shot, Rooney's score and two shots from Rooney and Nani in the closing minutes. Barça had 19 attempts on goal. 

    And even though Valdés did make two plays on United's long balls, Barcelona's keeper had most of the day off.

    That can't be said of Edwin van der Sar. 

Barça Had 667 Passes Completed, Manchester United Had 301

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    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 28:  Ryan Giggs of Manchester United (L) in action against Xavi of FC Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United FC at Wembley Stadium on May 28, 2011 in London, England.  (Photo by La
    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Xavi alone completed 124 passes of 136 attempted. 

    Andrés Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets all surpassed the 70 pass mark with 98, 83 and 74 passes completed.

    Who was United's best passer?

    Central defender Rio Ferdinand with 40 passes completed out of 51 attempted.

    Giggs, Rooney and Carrick didn't complete 100 passes (combined).  

    You just know you were overrun when one of your defenders is your best passer. 

Xavi Had Time to Play the Ball

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    BARCELONA, SPAIN - JANUARY 02:  Xavi Hernandez of Barcelona passes the ball during the La Liga match between Barcelona and Levante UD at Camp Nou on January 2, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. Barcelona won 2-1.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
    David Ramos/Getty Images

    Xavi is the best passer in the world. And Manchester United didn't seem to care one bit.

    Here are Xavi's personal stats for the day:

    1 assist

    3 attempts on goal (one on target, two off)

    124 passes made out of 136 (91 percent accuracy)

    11.95 Km run. 

    Those stats are impressive, but there's a not so obvious one that trumps them all and sets a fine example on how (and why) United were overrun. 

    Look at Pedro's goal (the first one of the night). Andrés Iniesta plays it to Xavi. Xavi receives and has the ball for one...two...three...four...five...SIX seconds without anybody coming in to close to him down (never mind tackling him), picking Pedro out absolutely alone for an easy score in the first half. 

    You just can't let the world's best playmaker do that. 

    Letting Xavi think and giving him space and time to work was the defining stat in this game. 

    Sometimes seconds are the most valuable stat in football.