Sunday analysis: What Stats Zone taught us today

Sunday's findings: Manchester United's wing woes, service-starved Soldado and Swansea's irresistible Iberians...

Once again this weekend, Stats Zone - our multiple-award-winning app, fired by data from Opta - was firing on all cylinders in its new online version to help produce a number of eye-opening findings in the Premier League. Here's a selection from each of today's matches... then it's over to you to find some more.

Liverpool 1-0 Manchester United

Eagle-eyed readers of FFT.com will have noted our recent appraisal of Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra. "A cross-first strategy is unlikely to reap rewards at United," wrote Michael Cox - and how right he was.

On Sunday, David Moyes' men were frustrated time and time again from wide areas through a combination of poor deliveries and the colossal displays of Liverpool's Martins, Agger and Skrtl. Ashley Young's afternoon proved particularly distressing after just 1 of his 9 deliveries found a visiting shirt - but this was a bigger problem across the board.

Liverpool barely bothered to attack United's penalty area in such a way but Moyes, having used Leighton Baines so effectively last season, was happy to see his side launch 32 largely unsuccessful crosses into the hosts' penalty area. It's with little wonder the Scot is trying so hard to re-capture Baines and large haired parter-in-crime, Marouane Fellaini.

Agger and Skrtl led the way with a game-high 11 clearances apiece, with Robin van Persie winning none of his 6 aerial duels in a depressing afternoon for the free-scoring Dutchman. Frustrated, isolated and ultimately ineffectual, Van Persie received just 27 passes all game - often deep or wide - and failed to register a shot on target.

But just try telling him he can't win every week. 

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Arsenal 1-0 Tottenham

And so Arsene Wenger is vindicated once again after his Gunners side beat their bitter north London rivals for the third season running at the Emirates Stadium.

Well, the Frenchman will certainly think so. After batting away relentless questioning about his casual approach to this summer's transfer market while opposite number Andre Villas-Boas has signed players like they're going out of fashion, Arsenal's long-serving stalwart will forgive himself a sly smile this evening.

He knows there is still plenty of work to do, though, and this game didn't go all their own way. Indeed, Spurs outpassed their victorious opponents 433 to 297 - unheard of for Arsenal on home soil - but only fractionally more in the final third. Simply, the Gunners used the ball far better in the right areas. 

Like Manchester United, Spurs were wasteful from wide areas after making just 4 successful crosses from 26 attempted. Dribble king Andros Townsend completed a game-high 6 of 9 take-ons - normal for the in-form 22-year-old - but created only 1 chance for his team-mates and attempted only 3 crosses. On the other flank, new boy Nacer Chadli failed to carve out any opportunities.

In contrast, the excellent Santi Cazorla (3) and England man Theo Walcott (2) were far more resourceful, the latter laying on Olivier Giroud's winner after 23 minutes.

This was also a tale of two strikers, as FFT.com's James Maw noted: "THIS is the difference," he wept on Twitter. While Giroud received a whopping 43 passes (many of them long - his hold-up play was superb), Spurs' new signing from Valencia was essentially invisible as the service he craved never came. The poaching Spaniard will rely heavily on his team-mates this season, and requires better support than this. 

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West Brom 0-2 Swansea

It's hard to believe West Bromwich Albion were third in the Premier League just over nine months ago. 

That was after winning eight of their first 13 matches last season - but how times change. After performing poorly in the second half of the last campaign, and with little summer investment, Steve Clarke's side look set for an uphill struggle this season.

On Sunday they were wasteful in front of goal but, despite being outpassed 390 to 570, actually made more passes in the attacking third against Swansea at The Hawthorns. That they failed to trouble Michel Vorm with more than one effort on target was of their own doing. 

Swansea, on the other hand, showed more of the form that earned them such high praise under Michael Laudrup last season. Having welcomed Jose Canas, Jordi Amat and Alejandro Pozuelo to the ranks over the summer, the Swans' Spanish contingent now out-swells that of Malaga in La Liga.

Unsurprisingly it was the Spaniards who earned all three points in the West Midlands. Canas was flawless on the ball, clocking a game-high 84 passes (and 94% completion rate to boot) and 11 ball recoveries. Settling isn't an issue, it seems - just ask Michu, whose 15 league goals ensured a debut season to remember for the Rayo Vallecano import. 

At West Brom, however, Michu caught the eye with his creativity, providing a game-high 23 attacking-third passes and impressive 7 chances created for his team-mates. Pablo Hernandez added the Swans' second seven minutes from time to sign off a cracking afternoon for the irresistible Iberians.

Analyse it in depth with Stats Zone


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