Coral Premier League Stats XI – We let the stats decide the Premier League’s best eleven
Which players make a Premier League XI based solely on statistics?
Putting together a combined Premier League XI can often results in the usual suspects appearing. So instead – we decided to let the stats pick the team for us, using different criteria for every position.
In this case though – the numbers aren’t too far away from the popular opinion – the most-hyped players have the stats to back up the superlatives sent their way.
The only other rule is that players must have played in more than half of their team’s games to qualify, which rules out the likes of Hakim Ziyech and Thiago Alcantara whose performances so far suggest they could be well on their way to a coveted spot in this side.
Goalkeeper: Rui Patricio (Wolves) – Goals conceded per 90 mins
The Portuguese stopper has the joint-lowest goals conceded per 90 minutes at 1.1, alongside Kasper Schmeichel and Hugo Lloris. But when you add a penalty save and the joint-most clean-sheets (4) to the mix – he clearly comes out on top. It’s 27/10 that Wolves win to nil and Patricio keeps another clean sheet against Southampton on Monday.
Newcastle’s Karl Darlow is worthy of a mention too with 4.9 saves made per 90 minutes – more than any other keeper, unfortunately for the Magpies that still adds up to 13 goals conceded in eight appearances.
Right-Back: Trent-Alexander Arnold (Liverpool) – Big chances created
While Alexander-Arnold might not be posting the same figures for assists as last season, he’s still a creative force in this Liverpool team, with three big chances created, along with the highest number of crosses from any right-back – at 7.5 per game.
He’s also a fan of a cross-field switch of play and has completed the second most long-balls of any full-back at 9.2 per 90 minutes, with only Leeds’ Luke Ayling trying more, with 10.4.
Left-Back: Ben Chilwell (Chelsea) – Goals + assists
The modern day full-back is now judged on their attacking contribution as much as their defensive play and Chilwell has the most direct goal contributions out of any full-back in the league, with two goals and two assists to his name.
West Ham’s Arthur Masuaku is another potent attacking tool on the left, having created three big chances, while averaging 2.7 dribbles per 90 minutes.
Centre-Back: Thiago Silva: (Chelsea) – Passes per 90 mins
With passing from the back being so important these days, it’s crucial to have centre-backs who can receive and pass the ball under pressure without making mistakes. In Thiago Silva, the numbers suggest Chelsea have the best in the business.
He averages 101 passes per 90 minutes, which is more than any other player in any position, bar Thiago Alcantara – who has only played 134 minutes and doesn’t qualify for this team.
Centre-Back: Jannik Vestergaard (Southampton) – Clearances per 90 mins
As a counterpart to Thiago Silva’s classy way of playing the game, it can be argued that actually, a defender should be focused on getting the ball as far away from their goal as possible.
Step forward Jannik Vestergaard, who averages 5.7 clearances per 90 minutes. It’s only a shame he can’t sprint to other end of the pitch to get on the end of them – the 6ft 5” Dane also has two goals in seven appearances so far.
Defensive Midfielder: N’golo Kante (Chelsea) – Interceptions per 90 mins
Simply the most effective all-rounder in this role. Allan has more tackles to his name, Rodri more recoveries, but in the midfield role, no-one makes more interceptions than the Chelsea man with 2.5 per 90 minutes. And his other stats aren’t too shabby either, with 7.4 recoveries and 79.7 touches per game, showing he’s perfectly capable on the ball.
Declan Rice’s stats bode well for the future too – they’re within touching distance of Kante’s impeccable record.
Centre-Midfield: Pierre Emile Hojbjerg (Tottenham) – Touches per 90 mins
In the middle of the park, almost more than anything else, you need someone who is always willing to show for the ball. Someone making the effort to find space and receive a pass from the back, or to hold a position behind the attacking players to recycle the play and rebuild a faltering attack.
This was considered one of the strengths of Tottenham’s Harry Winks, so it’s perhaps no surprise that he finds himself on the bench after the arrival of Hojbjerg. The Dane boasts 93.9 touches, along with 81.6 passes per 90 mins – both the highest of any central midfielder in the league to have played five games or more.
Centre-Midfield: Bruno Fernandes (Man Utd) – Final third passes per 90 mins
While Hojbjerg excels in the middle of the pitch, you need someone to control the play and to create further up – and that’s where Fernandes comes in. He has the most passes in the final third by some distance with 30.3 per 90 mins, with Leeds’ Mateusz Klich a distant second at 24.8.
The Portuguese also has also created three big chances for his teammates, while scoring five goals and assisting three. Contrary to popular belief – only two of those goals came from the penalty spot. We go 7/2 that he opens the scoring against West Bromwich Albion.
Wide Forward: Son Heung-Min (Tottenham) – Non-penalty goals per 90 mins
To score eight goals in eight appearances is impressive – just ask Jamie Vardy. To score eight goals in eight appearances without being your club’s penalty taker is even more so. But don’t ask Jamie Vardy about that – five of his eight strikes this season have come from spot kicks.
Son’s 1.12 non-penalty goals per 90 have been aided and abetted by the deeper role of Harry Kane, but his finishing and composure this season have been almost unrivalled, with 67% shot accuracy and a 44% chance conversion rate – compare that to Salah’s 24% conversion rate and you can see why the Egyptian has missed out here. Son is 13/5 to net at any point against Manchester City this weekend.
Wide Forward: Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) – Assists per 90 mins
This is where it gets tricky. Technically Son and Grealish are playing in the same position as left-sided attacking wingers. But even though Salah is firing over on the right – much like with England, Grealish demands inclusion.
0.71 assists per 90 and six big chances created put him second out of any player in the League, while 2.9 dribbles per game is not to be sniffed at. He’s also the most-fouled player in the league at 4.1 per game. Several of those stats are bettered by only one man…
Striker: Harry Kane (Tottenham) – Assists per 90 minutes, big chances created, shots per 90 mins, goals + assists
Frankly, the stats speak for themselves here:
A league-high of 1.01 assists per 90 minutes.
A league-high of 7 big chances created.
A league-high of 4.8 shots per 90 minutes.
A league-high of 15 goals and assists combined.
Kane is having the season of his life so far, as the most creative player in the league, with a not-too-shabby seven goals to his name. He’s 5/1 to score first against Man City on Saturday.
For the purpose of this article – all stats were taken from https://www.footballcritic.com/
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.