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10 Premier League stats from this season that you won't believe

Premier League stats
(Image credit: Future)

Manchester City are going to win the league – and if they don't, it'll be Liverpool. Norwich City and Watford are going straight back down but Everton probably won't join them. Arsenal don't actually look like getting top four after all. The Big Six are finishing in the top six.

Most of the things we expected from the Premier League this season have actually happened. Surprises have been few and far between. The closest thing we've had to a Leicester miracle? Crystal Palace have been better than expected, as have Wolves. Manchester United have been worse than we thought, too.

But there are some statistics that prove that perhaps we don't know it all. Not everything is as clockwork as English football may suggest. 

1. Burnley have conceded fewer goals than Manchester United

Maybe this isn't a massive surprise to the Red Devils fans who have watched through their fingers as David De Gea desperately flings himself at pot shots all season long – but the fact that United have let in quite so many goals is remarkable in a way.

Nick Pope, who may yet get relegated, has picked the ball out of his net fewer times than David Gea, who has £200 million worth of defenders ahead of him some days. It's not the stat that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer perhaps envisioned when he signed Raphael Varane to sit next to Harry Maguire in the backline. 

2. John Stones has the best aerial duel stats of any player

Ruben Dias is a leader of men, the old-school defender who will organise Man City's defence and leave the pretty, ball-playing centre-back duties to whoever's next to him. At least that's how the cliche goes.

John Stones – who many deem to be nothing more than a softie in comparison to the more tenacious Diases and Van Dijks of this world – has won more of his aerial duels than any other player in the league this season. That's 84.2% in case you're wondering. 

Second on the list is another of City's defenders, too: and not Dias, either. Nathan Aké is barely 6ft tall but he follows Stones' lead aerially in the division. 

3. Edouard Mendy plays goal kicks shorter than Alisson most of the time

Edouard Mendy

(Image credit: Getty)

Alisson Becker of Liverpool is a progressive goalkeeper. This season, his one-on-one stats have been otherworldly as he's proven himself one of the best "traditional" keepers in the world, too, but he's still regarded as a modern type who's extremely comfortable with his feet. 

Edouard Mendy was never considered such when Chelsea bought him. Kepa Arrizabalaga had a reputation for being good with his feet but when that signing didn't quite pan out, Mendy – a solid shot-stopper – was drafted in to take charge. Despite this, the stats claim that the way we see these two players is, in fact, wrong.

Mendy only launches 34.5% of his goal kicks upfield. Compare that to Alisson's 45.2% and perhaps the way we think these two teams about playing out from the back has been warped a little. 

4. Everton have been six times more likely to pick up a red card than Burnley this season

Frank Lampard, Everton

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ahh, Everton. They may have found themselves in trouble this season but they still have quality technical footballers in their side and aren't as brutish as those relegation-fighting regulars down there… are they?

The Toffees don't have a reputation for being a particularly dirty team but Frank Lampard's side have picked up six red cards this season (admittedly not all in Lamps' tenure). That's 71.3 fouls that you can expect from Everton players before you see one of them get sent off.

Burnley, meanwhile, have got through 443 fouls before seeing red. Maybe they're more used to the rough and tumble of lower down the league, perfecting how to stop play without getting penalised.

5. Fred has managed to get more of his shots on target than any other player

If you were to ask which player has the best aim in the Premier League when it comes to shooting, you might say Mohamed Salah or Son Heung-min given that they have the most goals. You might even say Cristiano Ronaldo, who's scored many in a worse team, or Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Callum Wilson – players who have played far fewer games. 

You'd be wrong with all of those guesses. Much-maligned Man United midfielder Fred has hit the target with 60% of his strikes. He's only scored four goals this season in 27 appearances but that's a career-best in England. Maybe get him up top with Ronaldo next season.

6. Ivan Toney has made the most passes without using his head or feet (for an outfield player)

Ivan Toney

(Image credit: PA)

The statistic that you never knew existed. The most passes not made by the head or feet is a list dominated largely by goalkeepers, given that they are allowed to throw the ball. But one outfielder has snuck onto the charts.

Of the 32 passes that Ivan Toney has made without his head or feet, nine were throw-ins. The other 23, we're simply assuming, were either with his chest, thighs or back. It's an odd statistic – surely you wouldn't have guessed him top of this particular list for outfield players? – but it does say a lot about his excellent hold-up skills. 

7. Ilkay Gundogan is Manchester City's most important player

No, really. It's not Kevin De Bruyne or Ruben Dias, it's not Joao Cancelo and it's not even Ederson. Well, according to one metric.

When Gundo's on the field, Manchester City manage to rack up 2.58 points per game. Of course, you might be able to explain this by saying that other players have played in bigger games – but it's impressive nonetheless.

What's less surprising is that no one in the league has managed more points per games. 

8. Only Roberto Firmino wins possession in the final third more than James Milner

James Milner's Perfect XI

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Roberto Firmino wins the ball 1.9 times in the final third every 90 minutes. That's not that unexpected: not only was this Firmino's niche during his absolute prime, he's now used most often from the bench to demotivate already weary opposition defenders.

That his teammate James Milner follows him in this metric with 1.4 is a little more surprising. Milner seemingly only ever ventures towards the final third to take a penalty, let alone win possession, and at 36, the image we have of this stately all-rounder is no longer one of a dynamic presser belting towards his prey. 

It's important to remember that sometimes winning possession can be through interception. Maybe Milner's simply acquired wisdom and experience to read play around the opposition area.

9. Michael Olise has better Expected Assist (xA) stats than Kevin De Bruyne

Premier League wonderkids

(Image credit: Getty)

Trent Alexander-Arnold has the best xA stats in the league (0.41). That's the predicted metric of how many times a player can be expected to make an assist – and it's not too bonkers to see the creator-in-chief at Liverpool topping that board.

Michael Olise of Crystal Palace is second on the list with 0.28, however. That's just ahead of Kevin De Bruyne, with 0.27. Blimey.

Assists are weird when it comes to assessing individual players since they rely on two players both executing an action in order to register. But xA is more focused towards how good the creator in this particular instance is – and it turns out that Olise is actually in world-class company. 

10. Only one player has scored with 100% of his shots this season

The man, the myth, the Trippier. Kieran's only played five times in the Premier League this season since returning from sunny Madrid – but boy has his left his mark.

The England right-back has had two shots on target in a Newcastle United shirt and both of them have flown into the back of the net. You can't say any fairer than that. Tripps is the only man to have managed that this campaign – even the colossus himself Fred hasn't.

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Mark White has been a staff writer on FourFourTwo since joining in January 2020, writing pieces for both online and the magazine. Over his time on the brand, he has interviewed the likes of Aaron Ramsdale and Jack Wilshere, written pieces ranging on subjects from Bobby Robson's season at Barcelona to Robinho's career, and has been to the FA Cup and League Cup finals, working for FFT