After just 12 matches, the 2016 season is already offering its fair share of statistical surprises. Here we drill down into the winners and losers so far:
Most wasteful top scorer:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Manchester United) – 59 shots and just six goals
Back in October, the Metro ran a headline declaring Zlatan Ibrahimovic to be the Premier League “most wasteful top scorer”. Indeed, during a run of six matches without a goal, he actually had 42 shots on goal. The fact that he was unable to convert during this time led some to believe he may have lost his edge. Others attributed the problem to bad luck.
During the Red Devils’ home match against Burnley, the striker let fly 12 times but was unable to hit the net. He did much better in the last match against Swansea, during which he scored two goals from the same number of shots. With a total of 59 shots in the 2016-17 season to date, Ibrahimovic is still well ahead of any other player in terms of attempts on goal.
With six goals to date, Ibrahimovic is in joint fifth place in the list of top goal scorers, along with Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe, Liverpool’s Sadio Mané, and Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez. As if to add insult to injury, he will also be absent from Manchester United’s clash against the gunners this Saturday, a game online tipsters SBAT have Arsenal down to win and take the 3 points.
In 990 minutes played, he averages one goal every 165 minutes. Yet by contrast, top scorer Diego Costa (nine goals) averages one goal every 107 minutes for Chelsea. Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero (eight goals) lay in second place with an even better average of one goal every 93 minutes, having played over 200 minutes less than Costa due to injury.
Most effective goalkeeper:
Tom Heaton (Burnley) – 62 saves
Back in March this year, Burnley manager Sean Dyche declared Tom Heaton to be ‘the best goalkeeper in the Championship’. After Burnley’s return to the Premier League this season, Heaton is currently proving to be one of the best in the Premier League. As a result, he received his first-ever England call up.
As the goalkeeper of a small, newly-promoted club, most pundits and fans expected Heaton to be very busy this season. Yet few ever imagined that he would keep so many shots out of his goal. At the time of writing, Heaton has made 62 saves. This is 21 more than second-placed Jordan Pickford of Sunderland.
Heaton’s performance against former club Manchester United on October 29 is testament to his brilliance. Despite being on the receiving end of 12 shots from Ibrahimovic, he still managed to keep a clean sheet. This was not due to the Swedish striker’s lack of effectiveness either. In fact, Heaton claims that the sheer power of one of those shots nearly broke his arm as he stretched out to save it.
Centre back with least number of fouls:
Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) – three fouls
At the end of October, the press widely reported a remarkable statistic: Arsenal centre back, Laurent Koscielny had only committed two fouls in the first 11 Premier League games of the 2016-17 season.
This is remarkable considering that he came up against a number of top strikers in 990 minutes of play. Interestingly, the Frenchman committed both of the two fouls in question against Chelsea’s Diego Costa, during the Gunners’ 3-0 win over their West London rivals. After Arsenal’s last match against Tottenham on November 1, this tally of fouls rose to three, following his trip on Spurs’ Moussa Dembele, which also led to a penalty.