[note: just moved this back to the top because of the discussion it’s generated – Rich]
Crazy stat alert: we out-passed Manchester City on Saturday.
No, I’m not grasping at straws. And yes, one can easily nuance that point away (weather stunk so the passes were short and ‘easy’, we were chasing the game, City was more than willing to play 10 men behind the ball), but still, the stat remains: we out-passed City, the team that almost attempted 1000 passes in a game. At the Etihad. Wow!
Just compare the stats of Saturday’s match to City’s victory over Stoke in December. May be comparing apples and zebras, but both matches ended 3-0 with City scoring two goals in the first half.
The passing breakdown is as so:
Stoke: 316/223/93 70%
City: 968/871/96 89%
Fulham: 618/532/86 86%
City: 547/466/80 85%
City attempted about 57% (313) of their passes in the first half, so it’s not like they just parked the bus in the second half and let us run rampant in the middle of the field. We only attempted about 50% (311) in the second half.
[ed. note: sorry, forgot to include the art!]
Also, for what its worth, keep in mind that last season at City we completed about 73% of our passes (while attempting less passes, 472). In 2009-10 it was 72% (412 attempted). Hmm.
What I glean from this is that Jol’s workings are, well, clearly in the works. If we had any degree of an end product (perhaps in the form of a recognized striker?) they’ll actually be working.
So it may be easy to look at the 3-0 result with lamentation and disdain. But there’s much, much more to it than meets the score sheet.
Saturday against Stoke should be interesting.