Now that the Premier League has come to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on the season’s most telling figures. Sergio Aguero scored the most goals, Cesc Fabregas registered the most assists and, most pertinently, Chelsea picked up the most points.
For this piece, however, we’re not interested in these well-documented numbers, with WhoScored.com instead providing some alternative, more intriguing statistics. These have been chosen at random, as you will soon tell, with the intention of encouraging that high-pitched ‘huh’ that statisticians so crave.
Eden Hazard was named PFA Player of the Year and indeed earned WhoScored.com’s highest Premier League rating (7.97) in 2014/15, with his ability to beat an opponent with such ease a huge contributing factor. The Belgian, having started every league game for the Blues, completed 66 more dribbles (181) than any other player, only failing to do so in two appearances over the course of the season. It wasn’t City or Arsenal that kept the winger quiet, but Aston Villa – at Stamford Bridge – and Sunderland on Wearside.
Whilst Aguero was the league’s top scorer and Harry Kane also proved that he’s pretty handy, but only Chelsea’s Diego Costa could better the efficiency of Papiss Cisse in front of goal. The Newcastle-man – not long ago the butt of many jokes when it came to his profligacy – had the second best conversion rate of all players to register double figures last season (24.4%).
Moving on to players that struggled in front of goal, it was a season to forget for Radamel Falcao. The Colombian registered just four league goals in his debut season in the Premier League – the same total as Chris Smalling – but perhaps more shockingly he recorded just a single shot on target since his last strike at the end of January. As if that needed to be put into perspective, that’s half the figure of Paddy McNair over the same period and also half that of Arsenal youngster Chuba Akpom (2), who played just 21 league minutes since the start of February.
Wayne Rooney had a hit-and-miss campaign: He’s been a hit at Old Trafford and a miss anywhere else in the Premier League. Of his 12 goals this season, 11 came in just 15 league appearances at home, for a WhoScored.com rating of 7.73, while his solitary strike on the road came at the Emirates in November, despite starting all but one of United’s away days.
One player that has had a far more memorable season is Jack Grealish, who remains embroiled in an international tug of war. The teenager’s composure in possession is such that he is now the Irish-cum-English equivalent of Xavi. Perhaps that’s a stretch, but the two players shared the same pass accuracy in 2014/15, with Grealish’s figure of 92.7% the best of all Premier League players with 10 or more appearances.
Throw-ins certainly rank among the least interesting stats, so we’ll have to win you around with this one but let’s give it a go. It’s common for any full-back to get through plenty in a season but one man that will need to rest those shoulders far more than any other is Burnley’s Kieran Trippier. The right-back took a whopping 565 throw-ins last over the course of the season, which was 133 more than any other player. To give that some context, the gap between Joel Ward in second place and Erik Pieters in 15th was also 133.
While many were hoping that Lee Cattermole would become the first ever player to pick up 15 yellow cards in a Premier League season, some deserve great credit for an exemplary disciplinary record. None more so than Palace’s Joe Ledley, who made at least 11 more tackles than any other player not to be booked over the course of the campaign (64).
We’ll stick with Crystal Palace, who boast one of the the hardest grounds to travel to in the league, right? Well, wrong actually. The stadium they have donned the Coliseum was breached on 10 occasions this season – the most home defeats of any side in the Premier League. They saved themselves from the worst home record overall with a win over Swansea on the final day.
Another misconception is that Sunderland are a shambles at the back. Their season will be remembered for spectacular collapses at the hands of Villa and Southampton, but their defensive record on the road was impressive away from that dark day at St. Mary’s. Indeed, if you took away that one humiliating defeat the Black Cats conceded fewer goals away from home than any other team (18).
We end with poor old (not really) QPR, who finished the campaign three points adrift at the foot of the table. QPR were pretty relentless – perhaps desperate – when it came to firing off shots at goal. Indeed, only City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea – in that order – had more attempts than the Hoops’ 535, which goes to prove that no amount of Charlie Austin could save them from the drop.
It’s been a funny old season.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com, where you can find more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings. You can follow all the scores, statistics, live player and team ratings with their new free-to-download app