Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
We’ve reached the first international break of the 2018/19 season and the momentary pause in Premier League action gives us a chance to get our teeth into some meaty statistics and figures.
Below we will take a look at the top ranked Premier League players using a variety of criteria and analytical metrics, to get a sense of who has been putting the best individual performances from a statistical standpoint so far.
|Arthur Masuaku||West Ham||4.3|
|Harry Arter||Cardiff City||4.3|
Everton’s defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye tops the charts for average tackles per game so far this season. Interestingly, Senegalese international Gueye made the 2nd highest number of tackles per game on average (3.5) over the course of the entire 2017/18 Premier League season. Only Leicester’s Wilifred Ndidi (4.2) made more.
Will Hughes’ appearance on the list suggests a change in role for the midfielder this season under Javi Gracia. Hughes averaged just 2.3 tackles per game last season for Watford compared to 4.3 this time around.
|Favian Belbuena||West Ham||3|
It’s strange to see Newcastle’s Brazilian winger Kenedy leading the way for average interceptions per game, though members of the Toon Army might tell you that the Chelsea loanee is just winning back his own poor first touch more often than not.
Two Watford players, Christian Kabasele and Daryl Janmaat make the top 5, helping to illustrate the strides the Hornets have made in their defensive organisation this season.
In 2017/18, former Crystal Palace midfielder Yohan Cabaye was the leading Premier League interception maker alongside his compatriot N’Golo Kante. Both players averaged 2.5 interceptions per game last season.
Read More: Javi Gracia And Watford’s Perfect Start
Cardiff’s Sol Bamba has been a busy man so far this season. The newly promoted Bluebirds have only conceded 5 goals in 4 Premier League matches and Bamba’s average of 8.8 clearances per game have undoubtedly played a significant part in their good early record.
Bamba averaged 6.5 clearances per game in the Championship last season, a campaign total that wasn’t even good enough to make the competition’s top 30. His workload has definitely increased this season.
Huddersfield’s German defender Christopher Schindler has been putting his body on the line to great effect for the Terriers this season. Brighton’s Shane Duffy makes a defensive top 5 list for the second time, as does Burnley’s James Tarkowski.
Republic of Ireland international Duffy was last year’s leading block maker in the Premier League, averaging 1.6 blocks per game in 2017/18. In fact, 4 of the current top 5 block makers (Duffy, Tarkowski, Mee and Cook) finished in the overall top 5 of the same category last season. Talk about picking up where they left off!
|Paul Pogba||Man Utd||2.5|
Brighton’s Glenn Murray has started the season in fine goal scoring form, netting 3 Premier League goals in his first 4 appearances. The veteran striker has clearly been putting himself about too, leading the way for individual fouls in a team that’s ranked the dirtiest in the league so far.
Brighton have committed an average of 14.5 fouls per game this season and it seems Murray has been responsible for almost 30% of those infringements. In 2017/18, Glenn Murray committed the 3rd highest total number of fouls in the Premier League (60), behind Luka Milivojevic (69) and Jordan Ayew (63).
Murray also ranked 6th for average number of fouls committed per game (1.7). Murray was the only centre forward to feature in the Premier League’s top ten most frequent offenders list.
It’s not surprising to see Paul Pogba squeezing his way onto the list – the Manchester United midfielder has cut a frustrated figure this season.
4 – Aleksandar Mitrovic, Sadio Mane
3 – Glenn Murray, Lucas Moura, Pedro, Richarlison, Roberto Pereyra, Romelu Lukaku, Sergio Aguero
Aleksandar Mitrovic looks a player reborn at Fulham and the Serbian international seems to have sorted his head out. His head is so sorted in fact, that 3 of his 4 Premier League goals this season have been scored with it. Glenn Murray has been completely reliant on his right foot so far, with all 3 of his goals scored by his right peg.
Just 5 of the 29 goals listed were scored with left foot shots and Man City’s Sergio Aguero can claim to have hit 2 of those. Richarlison scored his 3 Premier League goals having been on the field for just 213 minutes during his 3 appearances for Everton. That’s 52 minutes less than the next best figure (Pedro 3 in 265 minutes).
4 – Benjamin Mendy, Jose Holebas
2 – Andrew Robertson, Anthony Knockaert, Cenk Tosun, Eden Hazard, James Milner, Lucaino Vietto, Marcos Alonso, Roberto Firmino
James Milner’s 2 assists so far this season put him level with David Beckham in the all-time Premier League assist maker charts. No other current Premier League player has provided more goals for their teammates than Milner in the competition’s history. Man City’s David Silva is the only other current player to make the top 10 all time list (10th with 75 assists).
The role of the fullback in attacking phases is an increasingly important part of the game and the assist stats so far this season seem to back that up. 4 of the top 10 assist providers in 2018/19 to date are left backs (Benjamin Mendy, Jose Holebas, Andrew Robertson and Marcos Alonso).
The most creative defender last season was West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell. The full back racked up 7 assists in total in 2017/18. Ben Davies, Cesar Azpilicueta and Kyle Walker were the next best with 6 each. That quartet have just 1 assist between them so far this season (Cesar Azpilicueta vs Arsenal).
|Sergio Aguero||Man City||5|
2 of last year’s 3 Premier League top scorers, Mohamed Salah and Sergio Aguero, have been registering the most shots on goal on average per game in 2018/19. Last season’s most prolific shot taker, Harry Kane, has yet to fully find his range this time around.
The talismanic Tottenham centre forward averaged 5 shots per game on average last season, but has taken aim just 2.5 times per game on average in 2017/18.
Two Fulham attackers make the current list and the Cottagers rank 7th in the Premier League for overall average shots per game this season (15). They rank 4th for shots on target per game however, hinting at an impressive rate of accuracy for both Mitrovic and Schurrle.
|David Silva||Man City||4.3|
|Alexis Sanchez||Man Utd||2.7|
|Sergio Aguero||Man City||2.5|
Spanish schemer David Silva leads the way for key passes per game in the 2018/19 Premier League to date, his 4.3 average far surpassing his figure for last season which stood at 2.1.
Mohamed Salah has also started this season in a more creative frame of mind, averaging 3.3 key passes per game in 2018/19 compared to just 1.7 in 2017/18.
Mesut Ozil played the most key passes per game on average last season, though so far in 2018/19 the often-criticized attacking midfielder has averaged just 1 key pass per 90 minutes.
Alexis Sanchez appearance on the list will be a welcome one for Manchester United fans. The Chilean has shown signs of a long overdue return to form this season.
|Demarai Gray||Leicester City||2.5|
|Jack Wilshere||West Ham||2.5|
New Wolves signing Adama Traore has been tangling the most tibias so far in 2018/19. The winger was the most effective dribbler in last season’s Championship for Middlesbrough, completing on average 7.1 dribbles per game in England’s second tier. The Barcelona youth product has had little trouble transferring his skill to a higher level this year.
Jack Wilshere is the only non-winger to make the list. The West Ham central midfielder’s ability to carry the ball through the lines from deep positions has always been one of his biggest assets.
Passes per game
|John Stones||Man City||95.1|
|Ayermic Laporte||Man City||95.1|
Maurizio Sarri and Pep Guardiola share very similar philosophies on how football should be played. Both coaches want their teams to dominate possession through rapid fire short passes. It’s understandable then, that Chelsea and Manchester City players monopolise the average passes per game stats.
Last season, the top 3 average pass makers in the Premier League were Manchester City players (Nicolas Otamendi, Fernandinho and David Silva). In fact, 60% of the top 10 average pass makers wore City’s Sky Blue in 2017/18.
In contrast, Chelsea had just 1 player in last year’s top 10 – Cesar Azpilicueta. That shows the incredible impact Sarri has had on Chelsea’s style of play in a relatively short space of time.
Statistics taken from WhoScored.com
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