Apologies for not writing for a while, but the only things that get read in July are transfer blogs sadly and it is hard to get inspiration and ideas amidst the noise. Having said that the inspiration for this blog today is partly transfer related so who am I to talk.
It is a light hearted piece but like with so many of mine, the catalyst being interesting trivia/stats. We can get lost in statistics I know and they are not the be all and end all but the do make for a good story or theory. Today’s story is born out of some research into creative players in the Premier League era and the currency on which we often judge them – Goal Assists.
I must come clean and admit that the starting point for the research/idea was Cesc Fabregas and my strong belief in the rumours that he will be re-joining Arsenal in the very near future. (The odds are very low now but you can still Bet on Soccer to check out transfer bets.) Because as we all know from our own sweet experience, Cesc Fabregas back in your midfield virtually guarantees 15 to 20 assist and 10 to 15 goals. We all know what he did in an Arsenal shirt but in his last 2 seasons in a Barca shirt in 95 games he has 28 goals and 22 assists. This of course, whilst being in and out of the side, not the main fulcrum of the midfield, and often being used as a striker or second striker.
This is a player that at only 22 in 2009/10 in one season has 28 goals or assists, when only playing 27 Premier League games for Arsenal. I don’t care how good Cazorla is or Wilshere may become, Fabregas is better than both in my books, but just imagine all 3 in the same team this coming season. Mouthwatering!
Any way here’s to the quirky research and stats that inspired today’s blog:
There are 380 matches in a Premier League season and the league has been in existence since 1992, although for the first 3 years there were 22 sides competing. You can take my word for it but I think there have been 8226 matches since the league’s inception.
In those 8000 plus encounters, on only 38 occasions has an individual player created more than 3 goals in a single game. To be exact one player has assisted on 4 or more occasions in a match in 0.0046195% of fixtures since August 1992. There have been, to the end of last season 2992 players to have played at least once in the Premier in 21 seasons and only 34 have assisted 4 or more times in a match. That is 0.127% of players. Can we agree it is rare and a bit special?
To have assisted 5 times is particularly rare and only 3 players can claim that honour and sadly none are Gunners – Gianfranco Zola for Chelsea, Adam Johnson for Man City and Alan Smith for Leeds United. That leaves 35 players who have created 4 goals for their team mates in a single game.
So here is a list of those players in the 0.127%
The observant amongst you may have noticed that I said that 4 or more assists has been done on 38 occasions and there are only 34 players in the list?
That is because from this illustrious list including some of the greatest creative players we have seen, along with a few surprises and some startling omissions, there are 4 greats who have done it twice.
So who are the elite within the elite group?
Didier Drogba, Ryan Giggs, Dennis Bergkamp and Cesc Fabregas are the only players to have provided 4 assists twice in the Premier League!
For those intrigued from a Gunner perspective:
|Dennis Bergkamp||Leicester City||20th Feb 1999|
|Everton||11th May 2005|
|Cesc Fabregas||Blackburn||4th Oct 2009|
|Bolton||11th Sept 2010|
This was the game by the way in which Dennis turned the clock back and destroyed Everton at the end of the 2004/5 season in a game we won 7-Nil. One of the greatest ever nights at Highbury for me when the whole stadium sang in unison, delivering a clear message to Wenger about Bergkamp:
“One more year, one more year, one more year, one more year, one more year……” Wenger got the message.
Great players like Bergkamp and Fabregas give you great individual moments, displays an memories. We cannot bring the Dutchman back but a return for Fabregas is achievable right now.
I hope you are enjoying this unusual departure from transfer gossip but let’s bring it back to that and complete the trivia festival for the day. I am sure you will have all noticed that another 2 names in the elite shortlist of the top multi assisters were Santi Cazorla (Wigan last season) and our very own vice captain Mikel Arteta, whilst at Everton. You know where I am going with this by now I am sure.
If we do, as I strongly hope we might secure the return of Cesc Fabregas to the Emirates this summer we are presented with a guaranteed pub quiz question or a piece of trivia with which to astound your mates for years to come. ‘Which side has 3 midfielders in the fist team, all from the same country and all of whom have created 4 assists in a match in the Premier League?’
On a more serious note adding in Ramsey, Wilshere and perhaps a new Holding midfielder like Fellaini we will, I would argue the most exciting midfield squad in the league ready for 2013/14. Hard not to get excited by the potential combinations Wenger would have at his disposal.
I have tried to write something a tad different and I hope the stats give you some useful trivia to take to the pub or match but there is a serious message in the final analysis. Not many players had as many key contributions, by assists or goals than Santi in a first season, a subject I wrote on recently. Just imagine if Arsenal could secure the return of Fabregas, himself one of the greatest goals creators in Premier League history to play alongside him. There are only 11 players who have created more goals in the EPL than Cesc and only 4 are still playing next season – Giggs, Lampard, Gerrard and Wayne Rooney……
Okay so that makes me think again – Just imagine Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla, Fabregas and Rooney??
That’s for another day. I hope you enjoyed the departure from transfer gossip even if only thinly disguised?
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