Most possession – Arsenal (56.9%)
The man who introduced English football to patient possession sees his side top the percentage table for the first time since 2012/13 – a feat achieved partly because of Mohamed Elneny’s emergence. The Egyptian plays fewer risky or forward passes than the likes of Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere, both of whom missed large chunks of the season through injury. Arsenal have averaged more than 60% possession in six of the nine league games in which Elneny has started.
Best tacklers – Liverpool (22.9 per game)
It hasn't taken long for Jurgen Klopp’s furious football to take hold at Anfield, and indeed Liverpool’s players’ tacking statistics have become an accurate predictor of the German's favourites: struggling Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke average 0.2 and 0.3 tackles pg respectively, while Roberto Firmino (2.0) and Adam Lallana (1.9) are seeing more game time than under Brendan Rodgers.
Most interceptions – Leicester (21.6 pg)
With the most coherent, consistent and ruthlessly effective tactical system in the Premier League, Leicester were always likely to top the charts for interceptions. Aside from their collective hunger and work-rate increasing their anticipation skills, one reason for their high count is the narrow and compressed nature of their 4-4-2 shape; cutting off passes is considerably easier when gaps between defensive lines are smaller and, conceding territory, the opponent is forced to try to break through a throng of bodies. Having N’Golo Kante (4.2 interceptions pg) in the team doesn't hurt either.
Most chances created – Tottenham (13.2 pg)
Arguably the most impressive aspect of Mauricio Pochettino’s phenomenal tactical coaching is the positional fluidity and energy his sides manage in the final third. Unlike the stagnating frontlines in Manchester and west London, when Spurs are in possession their young quartet of Harry Kane, Delle Ali, Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela are constantly moving off the ball, twisting and darting into pockets of space that leave the opposition chasing shadows. Their high chance creation is also helped by Danny Rose. His piercing runs stretch the defence wide, creating gaps for Kane & Co. to exploit.
Most long balls – Watford (77.1 pg)
Watford’s high-energy football focuses predominantly on launching the ball towards Troy Deeney and Odion Ighalo as quickly as possible. Only 40.6% of these passes reach their target, but Quique Sanchez Flores’s narrow, hard-pressing 4-4-2 formation ensures that Watford frequently win second balls. Their outgoing manager deserves credit for combining a well-organised defence with quick counter-attacking football.
Most fouled – Chelsea (12.6 pg)
Chelsea’s direct attacking in the final third (12.3 take-ons pg, second-most in division) is always likely to draw fouls, although some would argue that a culture of diving and playacting at Chelsea has contributed to their high foul count. Eden Hazard and Diego Costa are experts at drawing them, although equally significant could be the fact that opponents – aware that Chelsea have been unusually vulnerable this season and prone to a tantrum – have deliberately sought to wind them up with a more aggressive approach.
Biggest foulers – Man United (12.5 pg)
Manchester United’s shambolic season, characterised most notably by a dysfunctional tactical approach in central midfield, is typified by their high foul count. Marouane Fellaini and Morgan Schneiderlin both average 1.8 per game, reflecting their inability to successfully cover ground; Louis van Gaal utilises a very wide and static formation, which simply leaves his midfielders with too much to do.
Who has scored the most goals? Who has the worse discipline? Find out who tops more stat-guzzling charts!
Most goals – Man City (71)
Manchester City have netted the most times this season, although their overall tally is comparatively low by Premier League standards; this will be the first season since 2010/11 in which no team has scored more than 80 goals. City’s preferred front four cost the club £162 million, but have only lived up to their valuations in brief glimpses. Kevin De Bruyne’s creativity, incisive passing and speed on the counter help City look more cohesive, and if he remains fit for the entirety of 2016/17 they should easily pass the 80-goal barrier.
Most defensive errors – Liverpool (31, 10 leading to goals)
Klopp’s biggest task this summer is to work out how to prevent his team from making so many needless errors in defence. The best solution might just be to sign a new goalkeeper; Simon Mignolet has made four mistakes leading to goals this season, and has failed with eight attempted 'claims' – more any other Premier League goalkeeper.
Most shots conceded – Sunderland (15.1 pg)
Sunderland’s defensive record may have improved significantly since Sam Allardyce’s appointment and the arrival of Lamine Kone (they conceded 2 goals per game without Kone, and 1.1 with him this season), but they have continued to allow plenty of shots on goal. During their run of one defeat from the final 11 games, the Black Cats still conceded 14.7 shots per game; Vito Mannone was perhaps an unsung hero in the end.
Least possession – West Brom (42.2%)
In typical Tony Pulis fashion, West Brom are more comfortable without the ball than with it; Pulis teams have ranked among the bottom two for possession in six of the last seven years. His ultra-deep, stand-off tactical approach forces the opponents to pass the ball aimlessly in front of goal, unable to break through the brick wall of bodies that congregate on the edge of the area. West Brom have recorded 11 clean sheets in the league this season.
Worst discipline – Aston Villa (75 yellows, 3 reds)
Unsurprisingly, the least-effective team in the division has also picked up the most yellow and red cards; chaos in defence and tactical disarray has led to Villa’s players frantically lunging into tackles and cynically shutting down counter-attacks. Idrissa Gueye (10 yellow cards) and Leandro Bacuna (eight yellows) are the worst offenders, although this is clearly a club-wide problem; 20 separate Villa players have been in the referee’s book this season.
Best in the air – Southampton (19.3 aerials won pg)
Leicester contest the most aerial duels (43.7 per match) but Ronald Koeman’s Southampton – who are more direct than people think – are the most effective. They have the joint-longest average pass length (21m), thanks largely to their quick counter-attacks based on long diagonal balls for Graziano Pelle to control (3.7 aerials won per match). However, Virgil van Dijk’s exceptional heading ability – he wins more headers (4.8 pg) than any other Premier League defender – also plays a big part in their success.
Most take-ons – Arsenal (13 pg)
Arsenal completed the most take-ons for the second season in a row, thanks largely to the individual work of Alexis Sanchez (3.4 pg), Hector Bellerin (1.8) and Mesut Ozil (1.3). Arsenal’s constant high pressing means that they often win the ball deep in opposition territory with few defenders in front of them, which increases the opportunity to dribble past opponents. 64% of their total attempts (20.4 pg) were completed.
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