Having The Three (Spanish) Musketeers at Emirates would salivate all Arsenal fans
Apologies for not writing for a while, but the only things that get read in July are transfer blogs sadly and it is hard to get inspiration and ideas amidst the noise. Having said that the inspiration for this blog today is partly transfer-related so who am I to talk.
It is a light-hearted piece but like with so many of mine, the catalyst being interesting trivia/stats. We can get lost in statistics I know and they are not the be-all and end-all but they do make for a good story or theory.
Today’s story is born out of some research into creative players in the Premier League era and the currency on which we often judge them – goal assists.
I must come clean and admit that the starting point for the research/idea was Cesc Fabregas and my strong belief in the rumours that he will be re-joining Arsenal in the very near future. Because, as we all know from our own sweet experience, Cesc Fabregas back in your midfield virtually guarantees 15 to 20 assist and 10 to 15 goals.
We all know what he did in an Arsenal shirt but in his last two seasons in a Barca shirt in 95 games, he has 28 goals and 22 assists. This of course, whilst being in and out of the side, not the main fulcrum of the midfield, and often being used as a striker or second striker.
This is a player that at only 22 in 2009/10 in one season has 28 goals or assists, when only playing 27 Premier League games for Arsenal. I don’t care how good Cazorla is or Wilshere may become, Fabregas is better than both in my books.
But just imagine all three in the same team this coming season. Mouthwatering!
Any way here’s to the quirky research and stats that inspired today’s blog:
There are 380 matches in a Premier League season and the league has been in existence since 1992, though for the first three years, there were 22 sides competing. You can take my word for it but I think there have been 8226 matches since the league’s inception.
In those 8000 plus encounters, on only 38 occasions has an individual player created more than three goals in a single game.
To be exact, one player has assisted on four or more occasions in a match in 0.0046195% of fixtures since August 1992.
There have been, to the end of last season, 2992 players to have played at least once in the Premier League in 21 seasons and only 34 have assisted four or more times in a match. That is 0.127% of players. Can we agree it is rare and a bit special?
To have assisted 5 times is particularly rare and only three players can claim that honour and sadly none are Gunners - Gianfranco Zola for Chelsea, Adam Johnson for Man City and Alan Smith for Leeds United.
That leaves 35 players who have created 4 goals for their team mates in a single game.
So here is a list of those players in the 0.127%
The observant amongst you may have noticed that I said that four or more assists have been done on 38 occasions and there are only 34 players in the list?
That is because from this illustrious list including some of the greatest creative players we have seen, along with a few surprises and some startling omissions, there are four greats who have done it twice.