Have you been watching the Premier League closely this season?
Even the most eagle-eyed fans may be surprised by these stats from the current campaign…
1 It’s so easy to get the ball off Dele Alli
The Spurs midfielder is renowned for his close control and his ability to link up with Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane.
Not according to the numbers.
Only Jordan Ayew (24) has been tackled more times than Alli (21).
2 Only the very best teams get red cards
Defending champions Chelsea (3) and title favourites Man City (2) are the only two teams to have had more than one player sent off.
Antonio Conte has seen three of his most experienced and important players dismissed — Cesc Fabregas, Gary Cahill and David Luiz are all the wrong side of 30 these days and should know better.
3 Sergio Aguero and Romelu Lukaku are just as wasteful as Joselu
Newcastle’s new recruit has gained a reputation as the wrong man to have in the right place.
But the stats say hotshots Aguero and Lukaku have both missed the same number of clearcut chances (5) this season.
Only Christian Benteke (6) has missed more… which is probably why Palace are yet to award a Goal of the Month.
4 Toby Alderweireld is a liability
Spurs’ slick-haired centre-back is a rock, right? Impenetrable, ultra-reliable, error-free since 2003?
The Belgian has the second-most bookings to his name so far (3) alongside serial fouler Oriol Romeu, long-time hothead Wayne Rooney, and a few others.
Jason Puncheon and Pablo Zabaleta lead the way with four cautions each.
5 Cesar Azpilicueta is a better playmaker than Kevin De Bruyne
KDB’s form has been nothing short of sensational up until now but his tally of three assists in the league is eclipsed by Azpilicueta’s four.
Chelsea’s dependable Spaniard has exhibited superb distribution from the back and his ball over the top for Alvaro Morata’s first against Stoke wouldn’t look out of place in a David Beckham YouTube compilation.
Good old Dave.
6 Harry Kane can’t hit a barn door
The two-time Golden Boot winner has let off 44 shots — 13 more than Lukaku in second place.
He has six goals to show for his efforts but he has also had more unsuccessful shots than anyone else.
Alexandre Lacazette and Gabriel Jesus may both be two goals behind Kane but they’ve been more efficient, taking just 16 and 17 shots respectively.
Although… you could say that’s a lesson for all forwards. Just shoot more often.
7 Harry Kane could be walking the Golden Boot already…
Spurs’ No10 has hit the woodwork five times — way more than any other player this season.
Jesus (1) is the only other player out of his main Golden Boot rivals to be frustrated by the frame so far.
8 Chris Wood has a lot in common with Pippo Inzaghi
Not so much in the goalscoring stakes more in the fact he’s been living offisde.
The Burnley target man has been flagged 12 times in just five games, comfortably ahead of Morata, Kane and Steve Mounie and Jay Rodriguez (all 7).
Sir Alex once claimed that Inzaghi was born offside and it seems Wood plans on retiring there.
9 Richarlison gets stuck in more than most defenders and defensive midfielders
Watford’s 20-year-old Brazilian has been one of the league’s brightest attacking talents but he doesn’t switch off when the Hornets lose possession.
Richarlison is the only attack-minded player to have completed 20 successful tackles.
That puts him 9th overall, above the likes of Nacho Monreal, Nemanja Matic and Tiemoue Bakayoko.
10 Granit Xhaka? More like Granit Xavi!
The Swiss international was heavily criticised during August but his partnership with Aaron Ramsey has clicked in recent weeks.
No player has completed more passes than Xhaka this season (592) as the Gunners’ midfielder leads Fernandinho, Jan Vertonghen, David Silva and the rest.
11 Marouane Fellaini is as much of a goal threat as Sadio Mane
Liverpool fans have been using Fellaini as a punchline for years but this season the burly Belgian has become a key component in Jose Mourinho’s Man United machine.
He’s bagged three goals as well — the same as Reds star Mane who is considered one of the league’s biggest threats.
Not bad for a Sideshow Bob lookalike, eh?