Stats Zone Premier League Awards: Games of the Year

So you've seen the individual Stats Zone Premier League Player of the Year Awards. But which games caught the eye in 2012/13? Here are the season's statistical highs -“ and lows... 

Most passes in a game: 1169
(Arsenal 0-2 Swansea, Sat 1 Dec)

No shock to find that two ball-playing teams knocked it around a bit, especially as Swansea's somewhat surprising win came from two very late goals. The Gunners racked up 608 attempted passes (with 547 -“ 90% -“ completed), while Swansea contributed 495/561 (88%). In other words, the two sides attempted 1169 passes, which even with three minutes' injury time equates to 12.5 passes per minute, or one every 4.8 seconds. And they say British sides can't do tiki-taka.

Fewest passes in a game: 536
(QPR 0-2 Stoke, Sat 20 Apr)

Stats Zone isn't here to judge, but it does allow you to back up your opinion with facts; those who disliked Stoke's style under Tony Pulis -“ and by the end of the season that appeared to include several fans and directors -“ could find plenty of ammo therein. As the vultures circled over Loftus Road, Stoke completed 180 (67%) of their 269 passes -“ in other words, two completed passes per minute -“ while QPR apparently tried to play the same game, completing 193 (72%) of their 267 largely vertical passes. Result: a win for Stoke, if not the purists.

Most shots in a game: 49
(Swansea 0-3 Everton, Sat 22 Sep)

"Everton were better than us," said Michael Laudrup after a home humiliation in which the visitors piled in 31 shots. Swans managed 18 themselves, more than they'd managed in either previous home game under Laudrup, but Everton -“ enjoying what turned out to be an eight-match unbeaten run -“ were irresistible, with 10 blocked shots and 11 off-target efforts sparing a perspiring Michel Vorm. The Toffees only won 4 away games -“ Aston Villa and Wigan managed more -“ but this was a fine day for them in South Wales.

Most unblocked shots in a game: 39
(Newcastle 1-2 Swansea, Sat 17 Nov)

Swansea were also involved in the game with the most unblocked shots. The Magpies can feel a bit miffed that Swans won, having racked up a mighty 26 unblocked shots to their visitors' still-quite-impressive 13 (with another 6 blocked efforts to the Swans' 3). They also got more shots on target, albeit by the slimmer margin of 9 to 7. Hats off, then, to Gerhard Tremmel.

Fewest shots in a game: 13
(Reading 0-0 Swansea, Wed 26 Dec)

Pity the poor child whose first game was a Boxing Day trip to the Madejski. Bottom after seven straight defeats, the home side played Pavel Pogrebnyak alone up top and the two five-man midfields cancelled each other out. Swansea managed 10 of the 13 shots but Reading had what passed for the best chances: sub Adam Le Fondre (of course) had a goal disallowed for handball, and Stats Zone Premier League XI member Chico had to clear off the line. But the scoreline stayed at 'doughnuts', and the kids wished they'd stayed at home.

Fewest unblocked shots: 8
(Aston Villa 0-0 Stoke, Sat 8 Dec)

By season's end, only QPR had scored fewer goals than Stoke: games like this explain why. Villa and the Potters had managed 26 goals in their combined 30 Premier League games, and only Man City had conceded fewer than Stoke. Their solid defence was in evidence again, blocking 7 of Villa's 13 efforts, but their attack had gone missing, managing a tepid 2 shots of any kind. The biggest excitement came in injury time with Ryan Shotton's second yellow. Next!

Highest overall pass completion rate: 92%
(Man United 3-2 Fulham, Sat 25 Aug)

The eventual champions' first home fixture didn't exactly go to plan but summed up their campaign: you score two, we'll score three. United completed 571 of their 614 passes (93%), while visitors Fulham contributed a far from shoddy 366 from 409 (89%). The combined success rate of 91.6% (937 from 1023) was the season's highest.

Lowest overall pass completion rate: 59%
(Stoke 3-3 Southampton, Sat 29 Dec)

More low-passing Stoke stats -“ although in fact, the Potters were better passers than the Saints in late December's 3-3 thriller. Pulis's side completed 216 of 348 passes (62%) to the visitors' 158 of 284 (56%) -“ and the red verticals clearly show that Southampton were guiltier of the unsuccessful long-ball. But the overall completion rate of 59.2% (374 from 632) made this the only Premier League game to dip below 60% all season.

Most fouls: 39
(Sunderland 1-0 Wigan, Sat 29 Sep)

Perhaps not the fixture you'd pick for a kickathon, but an eventually crucial three points -“ the margin by which the Mackems finished above the Latics. Howard Webb got busier as the game went on: Sunderland's 22 fouls were evenly divided between the halves, but Wigan upped their game from 6 first-half fouls to 11 after the break. One of them was Jordi Gomez's 48th-minute foul on Danny Rose, which drew a red card: in total, an increasingly weary Webb also brandished 7 yellows, 5 of them for visitors -“ and all but one after the Gomez red. Can't say he didn't warn you, Wigan.

Fewest fouls: 10
(Chelsea 4-1 Norwich, Sat 6 Oct)

Surely football is the winner when passes outnumber fouls by 100 to 1, as happened at Stamford Bridge. True, Chelsea attempted 731 of the 1,048 passes as they came from a goal down to win 4-1 and stay top of the league, but at least referee Anthony Taylor was refreshingly underemployed. Chris Hughton may not have enjoyed it, but Taylor will have done, and Chelsea welcomed the light relief, the day after the FA published a 63-page judgement over John Terry's abuse of Anton Ferdinand. Aaaaand there goes the good feeling. 


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