Giving Context To Those Attacking Stats...

They might have crossed the ball too many times but Man United's accuracy was above average, say WhoScored, who try to give you some idea what to expect...

Last Updated: 13/02/14 at 09:36 Post Comment

Manchester United: Attempted 81 crosses against Fulham

Manchester United: Attempted 81 crosses against Fulham

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Football is often a frustrating fixation. Everyone has their pet hates in the game, the things that rile them the most, and some unite the fans more than others.

In this piece WhoScored.com look to add context to certain assumed 'failings' of players, from an attacking sense in particular, shedding light on some statistical averages that may make you rethink what is successful and what is not.

We start with crossing. It seems only right in the wake of a Manchester United display against Fulham that heralded 81 deliveries into the box from the hosts. With 18 of those having found a teammate, you could be forgiven for thinking that they were wasteful, but that wasn't entirely the case. One-dimensional, perhaps, but as a percentage that wasn't too bad.

The inability to beat the first man is the most glaring irritant where crossing is concerned, but where stats exist there must be context. People that aren't readily exposed to the numbers of the game may hear of a winger completing two out of ten cross attempts and come to the conclusion that that was an awful return. In truth, however, a 20% accuracy is around about average.

In fact, of all starting wingers or full-backs this season the average cross accuracy when excluding corners in the Premier League sits at 19.9%. In terms of a combined team effort, United's cross accuracy in the 2-2 draw with Fulham was 21.9% when not taking corners into account.

Again, it's easy to take the numbers on face value but there is more to it. Not all accurate crosses are good crosses and equally not all inaccurate crosses bad. Indeed, a winger, particularly when delivering a ball into the box first time, will often aim for an area rather than a man. How often do we see those balls that glide agonisingly out of the reach of those in the box, for example?

The next time your winger fails to find a target with seven balls into the box but picks out a teammate with three, remember, in general, that's a pretty impressive accuracy.

Next up, the aimless dribbler. Every team has that one player that embarks on dribbles when and where they really shouldn't. Even some of the very best wingers actually have unimpressive success rates when it comes to dribbling though, attempting to beat an opponent all too often when a pass would suffice.

Again, when a player is dispossessed as often as they actually round an opponent it can lead to misconceptions. Of all starting Premier League midfielders this season the average dribble success rate is just 55.6%, which generally drops as far as wingers are concerned as they often have less space to run into.

Many would consider a player such as Eden Hazard to be among the very best dribblers in Europe and while his success rate of 62.8% may not immediately come across as as noteworthy, it's a considerable improvement on the average. In effect, if a player is tackled when attempting a dribble more often than they successfully complete one then there is due reason to feel frustrated.

We end on the wasteful striker. The moans and groans that ring out from stadiums when chances are squandered are often the loudest, with many struggling to conceive how a top-flight player can miss the target with such regularity.

Shot accuracy is another statistic that may seem shockingly low to those that aren't given the context of an average figure. From all starting forwards in the Premier League this season there have been a combined total of 652 shots on target from 1689 attempts in total. That leaves the league's average shot accuracy from forwards in the starting XI at a rather modest 38.6%.

Often strikers will be lambasted by the fans for not testing the keeper more often than not but any that are reaching a shot accuracy of around 50% are actually performing well above the average. Of course, the quality of chance is a major contributing factor but if your centre-forward is hitting the target as often as he's missing it, chances are he's not doing too badly. After all, the league's leading scorer Luis Suarez has a shot accuracy just shy of one in two on target.

Follow Martin Laurence on Twitter

Visit WhoScored.com for more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

More of the games that matter

Upgrade in minutes or watch with a NOW TV Day Pass.

Related News

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

S

hould have stayed because we carried him for 6.5 years. And then he has a breakthrough season, and was gone soon after. MU fans, you would be as disgusted had C Ronaldo left in 2007 and not 2009.

godof86
Is Van Persie Slipping Sadly Into The Night?

G

ood grief. Someone guessed that the form English player at the moment might be in his national side with some other players? And that's espionage? Now if they discovered that Emile Heskey was going to be in the starting line up.... at right back.... THAT would be espionage. Give it a rest Roy.

RogerRedHat
Hodgson hits out at Kane leak

H

e may get away with if Liverpool can swap the video with one of Skrtel dancing or something, but if they review the one shown on TV he's screwed.

hump3.
Skrtel denies violent conduct

Footer 365

Luis Suarez rules out joining any English club but Liverpool

Luis Suarez refused to rule out a return to Liverpool and insists he will never play for another Premier League club.

Scotland 6-1 Gibraltar: Steven Fletcher scores hat-trick in European Qualifier

Gibraltar scored their first competitive goal, but Steven Fletcher's hat-trick helped Scotland win 6-1 at Hampden Park.

Manchester United's Radamel Falcao plays down talk of Juventus move

Radamel Falcao has played down talk of a summer move to Juventus and says he is fully focused on Manchester United.

Mail Box

FA Refusing To Learn From Germany

We have a postcard from Germany in the Mailbox highlighting how Greg Dyke's quick-fix approach is all wrong. Also, the clamour for Kane, and size matters, apparently...

Where's The Love For Walcott?

Theo Walcott is wanted by neither Arsenal or Liverpool fans in the afternoon Mailbox. Also, some good points on the FA skewed priorities, and glorious geekery...

© 2015 Sky Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media company