Premier League Round 18

29 Dec

One game before the halfway point in the season, and the scorers table has started to take a more expected look. The big name players are mainly present, with the exception of the wantaway Tevez and the lack of central Chelsea strikers. The big surprises are Demba Ba (although 7 in 12 with West Ham hinted at good things), and players who all finished last season in the Championship – Holt, Helguson and Yakubu. But this site isn’t just about the top scorers, it’s about proving who are the big game players.

After 18 League Games – All Players:

Robin van Persie continues to lead the way with the number of goals and goals against Top 6 opposition. He is joined by Holt, Adebayor and Big Game Balotelli on 4 goals vs the Top 6 opponents. An honourable mention must go to Steven Fletcher of Wolves fame – so far this season he’s scored away at Old Trafford, Anfield and most recently The Emirates Stadium. Liverpool were ranked 8th at the time, so don’t fall into the Top 6 bracket (though most likely will come the final positions). There can’t be many players in the history of the Premier League who have scored away at Man Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal in the same season, especially whilst playing for a team scrapping in the relegation battle. His Average Opposition of 9.43 (11.10 in 2010/11) is a testament to his big game mentality. The other Top 6 team he notched against was Newcastle.

Mad Mario continues to lead the Average Opposition charts, though hasn’t scored a league goal since finding the net away at Chelsea in round 15. Yakubu also holds onto his position at the bottom after a goal against bottom placed Bolton, but as discussed previously, most of his goals are against higher opposition than his own team.

Frank Lampard leads the way from midfield with goals, but as per the below table, he now has some serious competition after recent goals by Bale and Dempsey:

After 18 League Games – Midfielders:

Silva has the best average, although this is slightly exaggerated by his goal against a then high flying Bolton at the start of the season. To have 5 goals before the half way point is a big improvement on his total of 4 league goals last season. Scoring midfielders are essential to any top team, and it’s no surprise to see Spurs and Man City both have two midfielders in the list. Gareth Bale is also on course to better last season’s total of seven after his double at Norwich took him up to six. His average opposition per goal has remained consistent year on year from 12.14 in 2010/11 to 12.00 this year. He’s yet to do it against Top 6 opponents yet, nor has Adam Johnson.

John Terry currently leads the way for Defenders with 4 goals (ave: 12.50), with Vermaelen (ave: 16.00) and Baines (ave: 12.00) just behind.

One player who has enjoyed a turn around in fortunes recently is Dimitar Berbatov who isn’t in the Top Scorer’s list at the moment, but after 4 goals in his last two starts, there are signs that he may have rediscovered last season’s golden touch. From the start of the 2010/11 season, Berba has scored 4 hat tricks:

Berbatov Hat Tricks 2010-12:

3 vs Liverpool (ranked 13th)

5 vs Blackburn (ranked 11th)

3 vs Birmingham (ranked 16th)

3 vs Wigan (ranked 19th)

The opponents by rank aren’t particularly impressive, but scoring a treble for United vs Liverpool will long be remembered.

And to finish this week’s Premier League Round Up, here’s the Average Opponent played for all teams:

Liverpool continue to have reason to bemoan the fixture list as they seem to be playing teams in form, whilst Sunderland should worry about their lowly position, on the basis that they’ve had the easiest run in so far. Though most of those defeats were under Steve Bruce.

I’ll be adding Serie A and La Liga shortly.

Cheers,

Liam

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