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The Premier League's best - by the numbers

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Alistair Magowan - BBC Sport | 17:45 UK time, Tuesday, 15 May 2012

You will probably know that Arsenal's Robin van Persie won the Premier League's Golden Boot for his 30 goals this season, and may have found out that Manchester City's David Silva made the most assists over the last 10 months, with 15 of his passes leading to goals.

But who else tops the rankings in this most thrilling of seasons?

We asked Opta to provide us with the top 10 performers across 10 different categories from defence through to attack. While there are some clear anomalies - Blackburn's Mauro Formica being the third most successful tackler, for example - the statistics do offer some interesting insights, with the value of Swansea's players particularly revealing.

So, although you might have decided who the best players of the season are, here we present an alternative view of the season's top goal takers, goal makers and goal stoppers.

Goal takers

Goal takers in the Premier League season

Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov has only made five Premier League starts this season, but he is the division's sharpest shooter, based on minutes per goal.

Of course, a lack of action favours him and others when the impact is measured in this manner. Even Newcastle's Papiss Cisse, who joined Alan Pardew's side in January, may have struggled to keep up his incredible goal scoring form over the whole season.

When it comes to shooting accuracy, or shots on target, Aston Villa's Darren Bent is top of the pile. Injury may prevent him from taking part at the European Championship, but other likely England starters Ashley Young and Frank Lampard have underlined their value this season.

Goal makers

Goal makers in the Premier League

Only one Englishman features in the Premier League's top 10 chance makers, and Fulham's Danny Murphy is unlikely to be selected in Roy Hodgson's Euro 2012 squad.

But Manchester United's Michael Carrick and Gareth Barry both feature in the season's most frequent passers of the ball, while in this category, four of the top 10 are Swansea players.

Only Swansea midfielder Leon Britton pips Paul Scholes as the most accurate passer of the season, while his team-mates Mark Gower and Joe Allen are prominent when it comes to crossing and dribbling success. If you hadn't heard of Norwich midfielder David Fox, you have now.

Goal stoppers

Goal stoppers

The resolute displays from Brendan Rodgers' team are again highlighting in defence. Not only is Williams the most frequent passer in the top flight, he has made the most blocks.

While that category may favour those teams who have to defend more often, Manchester City centre-back Joleon Lescott proves that his tackling success has been a cornerstone for the league's meanest defence.

He and fellow centre-back Vincent Kompany have played their part in making goalkeeper Joe Hart's job that little bit easier.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Kevin Doyle has done well on shooting accuracy! He's on there 4 times

  • Comment number 2.

    With 4 of the top 10 players for shooting accuracy its remarkable wolves scores so few goals ;)

  • Comment number 3.

    Statistics need to be carefully considered and too many judgements shouldn't be made too quickly. However, the stand-out statistic for me, and underlines my concern for this summer's tournament, is the lack of Englishmen creating chances.

    I hope Ashley Young, Steven Gerrard, Theo Walcott or whoever Roy Hodgson chooses to select tomorrow can provide the ammunition for England's forwards... and plenty of it as I don't think those forwards who are likely to go generally find the back of the net that often.

    http://thethoughtsofphil.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 4.

    "If you hadn't heard of Norwich midfielder David Fox, you have now."

    Yes - and for if you haven't heard of David Fox, you are also unlikely to know about Wesley Hoolahan and/or Anthony Pilkington (7th & 8th in the same category) - they both also play for Norwich City.

    As does Bradley Johnson (9th in "Tacle Success %" category).

  • Comment number 5.

    Would like to see the table for most accurate passer instead of it just being mentioned at the bottom of the midfield statistics.

  • Comment number 6.

    As a "scouse welshman", i follow the Swans and Liverpool and their respective stats sum up their seasons. The Swans, having 4 of the top 10 passers, show they are indeed the Welsh Barca! Liverpool, on the other hand, having noone anywhere except for the keeper list, had a desperately disappointing season and next season cant come soon enough for Kenny.

  • Comment number 7.

    A rather poor article - no dribble completion or pass accuracy table, just mentions of certain members. Frank Lampard isn't in the most accurate shooting chart, though he could be one of the four Kevin Doyles..Ashley Williams didn't make the most interceptions either.

    In the style of soul_patch: :shakeshead: behave! Etc etc.

    Btw, darren bent is awful, just scores tap ins and rebounds, this article shows that stats aren't everything

  • Comment number 8.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 9.

    Reading this article has just cost me 3 minutes of my life I'm never going to get back

  • Comment number 10.

    James Weeks

    May 2011, against Arsenal at the Emirates. Was Bent's first goal just a tap in? I don't think so.

    Here's a video, by a fan, not proper highlights but it's a class finish. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HZxrHDX81Ng

  • Comment number 11.

    What saddens, but does not surprise, me is the lack of Liverpool players on these lists. a woeful season by all accounts, i only hope wth all our new players now "bedded in" that they perform next season! time will tell.

  • Comment number 12.

    Here are the Premier League's top players for combined goals & assists for season 2011-12:

    Player - Club - Goals - Assists - Total
    Robin van Persie Arsenal 30 10 40
    Sergio 'Kun' Agüero Manchester City 23 10 33
    Wayne Rooney Manchester United 27 5 32
    Emmanuel Adebayor Tottenham Hotspur 17 12 29
    Clint Dempsey Fulham 17 6 23
    David Silva Manchester City 6 17 23
    Gareth Bale Tottenham Hotspur 10 11 21
    Yakubu Ayegbeni Blackburn Rovers 17 2 19
    Edin Džeko Manchester City 14 5 19
    Juan Mata Chelsea 6 13 19
    Demba Ba Newcastle United 16 2 18
    Luis Nani Manchester United 8 10 18
    Theo Walcott Arsenal 8 10 18
    Luis Valencia Manchester United 4 14 18
    Grant Holt Norwich City 15 2 17
    Rafael van der Vaart Tottenham Hotspur 11 6 17
    Frank Lampard Chelsea 11 5 16
    Luis Suárez Liverpool 11 5 16
    Stéphane Sessegnon Sunderland 7 9 16
    Mario Balotelli Manchester City 13 2 15
    Papiss Demba Cissé Newcastle United 13 2 15
    Danny Graham Swansea City 12 3 15
    Peter Crouch Stoke City 10 5 15
    Ashley Young Manchester United 6 9 15
    Steven Fletcher Wolverhampton Wanderers 12 2 14
    Daniel Sturridge Chelsea 11 3 14
    Peter Odemwingie West Bromwich Albion 10 4 14
    Danny Welbeck Manchester United 9 5 14
    Bobby Zamora Queens Park Rangers 7 7 14
    Yaya Touré Manchester City 6 8 14
    Samir Nasri Manchester City 5 9 14
    Jermain Defoe Tottenham Hotspur 11 2 13
    Steve Morison Norwich City 9 4 13
    Matthew Jarvis Wolverhampton Wanderers 8 5 13
    Scott Sinclair Swansea City 8 5 13
    Jon Walters Stoke City 7 6 13
    Javier Hernández Manchester United 10 2 12
    Ivan Klasnić Bolton Wanderers 8 4 12
    David 'Junior' Hoilett Blackburn Rovers 7 5 12
    Fernando Torres Chelsea 6 6 12
    Gabriel Agbonlahor Aston Villa 5 7 12
    Hatem Ben Arfa Newcastle United 5 7 12
    Kevin Doyle Wolverhampton Wanderers 4 8 12
    Wesley Hoolahan Norwich City 4 8 12
    Alexandre Song Arsenal 1 11 12
    Nicklas Bendtner Sunderland 8 3 11
    Adam Johnson Manchester City 6 5 11
    Victor Moses Wigan Athletic 6 5 11
    Chris Eagles Bolton Wanderers 4 7 11
    Yohan Cabaye Newcastle United 4 7 11
    Matthew Etherington Stoke City 3 8 11
    Darren Bent Aston Villa 9 1 10
    Heiðar Helguson Queens Park Rangers 8 2 10
    Gylfi Sigurðsson Swansea City 7 3 10
    Jamie Mackie Queens Park Rangers 7 3 10
    Craig Bellamy Liverpool 6 4 10
    James Morrison West Bromwich Albion 5 5 10
    Gervinho Arsenal 4 6 10
    Steven Pienaar Everton 4 6 10
    Ryan Giggs Manchester United 2 8 10

    Full table of all 338 players who scored or assisted in 2011-12 available here...

    http://www.myfootballfacts.com/Premier_League_Combined_2011-12.html

  • Comment number 13.

    Although NOTHING to do with this post .... the England 23 man squad announced 1pm tmoz - if it was me, i'd go for :

    GK's : Hart and Ruddy - hart easily number 1 and ruddy only 1 close to him in my opinion (would also be a fresh change)
    LB - A.cole and baines
    RB - richards, g.johnson(i'd take johnson only on the basis k.walker is apparently out injured)
    CB - this is interesting but lescott and cahill are the defos for me probs phil jones aswell coz he'll benefit from the experience and then i'd take one of either terry or jagielka - i dont like terry but jagielka hasn't been at his best this season and terry works best with cahill and a.cole - j.terry will probs go
    Wingers - a.young, lennon, walcott & a.johnson
    cant stand his diving but hes tricky and good at crosses and dead balls so i'd take young, lennon has improved massively this season and think him and bale have been quality for spurs, walcott has defo also improved so should defo be in, the 1 who isn't a defo for me is adam johnson, i probs would take him but such little game time could affect him - theres obvs ppl who want downing or chamberlain, (i personally think downing isn't good enough and the others are better choices, im excited by alex chamberlain but think its too early, we should defo take him to olympics!) also cases for scott sinclair and nathan dyer at swansea but i think this also might be too early to take them, i'd defo give them a chance in world cup 2014 qualifiers and build them up for next tournament coz they've been quality.
    CM - barry, parker lampard gerrard
    for me parker is a defo and should be captain and 1 of 1st names on sheet, barry although not always brilliant has been good this season and i think deserves to get in.. i would actually like to drop lamps and gerrard but the problem is who replaces them, we haven't got loads of options.. lampard has been good this season, think i'd pick him over gerrard - but if we don't pick him, we'd be looking at the types of carrick and although hes been good, i dont know if good enough.. we shouldn't recall scholes - can't believe ppl are actually saying that and i think its too early for cleverly (another who should go to olympics!) so apart from that not many options.. probs stick with the 1st 4
    Up front is also interesting - rooney is a defo, then i think ya take welbeck because of their link-up, carroll for his strength and aerial ability, sturridge for his pace and then 1 of crouch or holt - and i would go for crouch, i'm disappointed coz i love holt but crouchie's record for england is actually quality!
    i do fear hodgson might bottle it to drop some of the ''golden generation'' but we'll see.. low expectations and limted pressure from the media and who knows ??? we might beat germany in the final! ;)

    My final 23 : Hart, Ruddy, A.cole, baines, richards, g.johnson, lescott, cahill, p.jones, j.terry, barry, parker, lampard, gerrard, a.young, lennon, walcott, a.johnson, rooney, carroll, welbeck, sturridge, crouch

  • Comment number 14.

    i am aware this is not related to the origanal blog. but i all the posts on this blog and on others.

    why has an english striker that has scored 31 league goals this season not in the reckoning for the euros???

    forgive if i am wrong but arent the goals the same size at the euros??

  • Comment number 15.

    @ 12

    Something must be wrong with your stats:
    - Lampard, a midfielder, can't have scored more goals than much-celebrated FORWARDs and wingers like Suarez, Young and Bale!
    - especially since he's spent most of AVB era on bench

  • Comment number 16.

    @ 14

    If you think about Rooney, he's going but will miss 2 first games. Realistically, he's certain to play just 1 game.

    If you think about someone from Championship, or League One or your buddy from a pub club, sorry, he's only chance is that defenders and goalies will choke from laughter when seeing his name on team sheet.

  • Comment number 17.

    We need a midfielder or better still a defender to go forward with the ball & score like the Brazilians or the Dutch to change the pattern,young players need to swap & change positions play up front.We have the players,Cahill & Lampard.I am sure Welbeck & Crouch can defend, Roney can?Gerrard has had a bad season but could come on & play up front for a game? What do you think?What have we got to loose?No body gives a chance Spain do it so why not?

  • Comment number 18.

    @15 are you trolling, or do you just know nothing about football?

  • Comment number 19.

    13. Shaun - i agree with your comments almost entirely...

    Terry (unfortunately) and Cahill were immense against barca and are the obvious starters in C D. Lescott gets a hard time but is class and earnt himself a seat, Jones too is a must have, he has good awareness, power, versatility and goal scoring ability.

    The right and left backs and deputy's are no brainers like you say... Although Glen Johnson should thank his stars there are no better options, it wouldn't be that hard.

    For midfield it's a crying shame wilshire's out... Was looking forward to seeing how he performed on an international stage and more to the point, not watching Stevie and Frank meekly amble around the pitch being ineffective.

    Gerrard was once our best player but has looked awful and behind the game of late, he's too good to write off completely and has proven his class spectacularly in the past but given his recent form and age why should Hodgson even take him?

    Lampard at least has some goal scoring form this season and should go but is simply not the force he once was so can't hold the midfield together by himself.

    And for the record: playing them together in a 4.4.2. would be absolute lunacy, why would it work now during twighlight of their careers when it never has before?

    Surely Hodgson has to take a punt on some new(ish) blood as part of a 3 man central midfield feeding Young and Walcott (with Lennon and Oxlaide as back up)

    I hate Carrick but he has looked decent enough and can pass the ball, Milner and Jones can step in to offer different dimensions in a centre mid role too... You could easily play Rooney at the front of a three man midfield as well, he always drops back anyway.

    Oddly 4.4.2 means it's easier to use more of our pacy players but in modern top level football 4.3.3. seems to be th way forward so I'd have something like;

    Gk: joe hart/ruddy

    Lb: cole/Baines
    RB:Richards/Johnson
    Cb: terry/ jones
    Cb: Cahill/ lescott

    dm: Parker/Barry,
    cm: Carrick/Gerrard
    am:lampard/Rooney

    Lw: young/Lennon/
    Rw: Walcott/Sturridge
    Cf: welbeck/Carroll/crouch

    Not paying too much attention to the positions... Many of the attackers can play several, meaning good subs to bring on.

    There you go Roy, send me a cheque...

  • Comment number 20.

    The might Swans bossing the passing stats and it shows too (so many supposedly big teams came to the Liberty and couldn't cope with the Allen/Britton carousel, just ask Arsenal, Man City and Liverpool). When we add a top notch scorer to our ranks (I hear Higuain might be available) next season we will march on to the title, putting the breaks on this Man City juggernaut.

  • Comment number 21.

    Stats aside that was the best season ever.

    Since the "who should go to EURO's" blog is closed here is my 2 cents on the English team...Tomorrow The England Team going to Euro's will be announced by their new coach. Here is whom I think should be selected.

    Keeper and Captain Joe Hart and his buddy Frank Fielding as his back up. In the center of defence I'd pick Lesscott, Cahill and Jones as cover. Left back is Baines and Cole, right back Walker and Richards.

    My preferred system is a 4-2-3-1 or 4-2-1-3 so my holding mid-fielders (2) would be Milner and Carrick with Downing as cover. In the attacking rolls I want the mid-fielders Young, Walcott and Johnson. The Strikers I'd take are Sturidge, Welbeck, Crouch and Rooney.

    It is time for the old to move on, thanks for the memories

  • Comment number 22.

    it might be just me but for those saying take two keepers I sure you have to include 3 keepers in your 23!!!

  • Comment number 23.

    It's an absolute pleasure to see three of the promoted Blackpool side from 2007 in these charts - Joe Hart, David Fox and Wes Hoolahan. Two of them top their categories. Some of my friends and family thought Fox was too lightweight for the higher divisions, but he always looked class.

    Let's hope the clash of footballing philosophies on show at Wembley on Saturday leads to another 'small' team who like to pass the ball around on show in the top division next season, rather than Allardyce's BOOOOOT...

  • Comment number 24.

    @13 excellent post, @19 there isn't much you've added to the discussion and hardly think your contribution warrants a cheque. Static tactics don't win you games and championships and it's a completely useless discussion. These things must be decided in the heat of the moment and the last hours before going into a match by weighing up an enormous amount of factors.

    Back to the original squad posted by 13. Shaun, I would take Holt in a heartbeat and mull over taking Crouch or Carroll and probably take the former if I had to make that choice now.. Holt has been immense ALL season and easilly gamble on taking him given his lack of international exposure. Could you talk about the immensity of Crouch and Carroll this season? Absolutely not!
    Midfield selection is rather tricky in terms of choosing the players that complement each other, but I do like the sound of Parker Gerrard and Rooney in the middle as first choice. Underlining 22. alex_nufc's post - yes three keepers is an absolute must!

  • Comment number 25.

    Yawns!!!!! Why Take Rooney when he will only play ONE GAME before the English are sent for an early holiday? :palmsface:

  • Comment number 26.

    Don't take Rooney. We will play three games, he's banned for two. He's banned for getting an atrocious red card in qualifying. There needs to be repercussions for getting a 2nd red card for your country, especially in the manner he got his. Also, since his debut, England has won more games WITHOUT Rooney than with him. We don't need him, he was rubbish in the last WC.

  • Comment number 27.

    Woy should include Murphy in his squad. He knows him as a player and if he has created that many chances in such an average team then he deserves to at least be part of the England squad.

  • Comment number 28.

    4 Kevin Doyles in the top 10 shooting accuracy statistics!!
    Since Doyle was unable to hit the proverbial barn door all season, perhaps having 4 of him in the team was a major reason for Wolves having such a bad year!!
    As the saying goes, lies, damn lies and statistics.

  • Comment number 29.

    I wrote the below, analysing what I thought would be an exciting, balanced and harmonious squad for the Euros this summer. Sadly Walker appears to be out, while I cannot believe that Roy's going for John Terry. Ben Foster appears to have not revoked his retirement either...

    Anyhow, let me know what you think of the below:

    http://trivialpursuits.org/2012/05/15/trivial-pursuits-england-squad-for-euro-2012/

    Thanks!

  • Comment number 30.

    Where is Starfish Stevie ?

    As we are consistently told by the BBC how he is the only choice for England captain and the best player the world has ever seen, why is he not top in ANY (although because of his undoubted quality he should be top of all of them) of these lists ?

    Or maybe, just maybe he has been complete tosh this season and it should be debatable as to if he is even going to go this summer, let alone be captain!

  • Comment number 31.

    Oh and how about some variety BBC, I just noticed that EVERY SINGLE static image to do with Euro 2012 on the BBC football page, has Starfish Stevie in it!

  • Comment number 32.

    Kightly should be in the England Squad on the right along with Jarvis who is one of the few left footed crossers of the ball.

  • Comment number 33.

    Apologies for the Kevin Doyle error. A design issue, as was the decision not to include pass completion and dribbling completion statistics.

    All sorted now. Remarkable how many Swansea players feature in the goal makers section.

  • Comment number 34.

    #32 peter

    I don't know who is lined up for the left but I like the looks of Jarvis and if he wasn't in a team as woeful as Wolves were he would probably impress a lot more. Likewise, I think Sinclair has had a good couple of years.

    I would take either of those over Downing that's for sure!

    p.s. and what about Adam Johnson?

  • Comment number 35.

    83% of statistics are made up.

    Adam Johnson, absolutely.

  • Comment number 36.

    As long as Gerrard and Lampard don't line up again in central midfield i will be happy.

    Failed now for over a decade, which is an impressively long time to fail together for.

    Richards has to be over Johnson, in fact Smalling and Jones are better right backs than Johnson.

    Adam Johnson shouldnt be near the plane due to lack of first team football as well. I would take Carroll as he showed glimpses of being class where as most of our other strikers haven't in all honesty.

    Everyone loves Holt at the moment but would he look out of place in league 1?

  • Comment number 37.

    #36 wirral18

    Richards has to be over Johnson, in fact Smalling and Jones are better right backs than Johnson.

    Adam Johnson shouldnt be near the plane due to lack of first team football as well.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Who would you pick for the left side of midfield then?

    I would add that Richards may have played more football but he actually fell out of favour as Man City gained momentum in their run in.

  • Comment number 38.

    Adam Johnson and Micah Richards IMO should both be starting for england if playing regularly at club level....but as Mankini seems to be the only person not to rate Johnson and along with Capello the only 2 people not to rate Richards

  • Comment number 39.

    @37

    Yeah not sure why he fell out of favour with Mancini although Zabaletta actually played really well in the run in.

    I would play Young in all honesty, even as a United fan i'm not totally convinved by him but he does score goals and he is direct. I'm not entirely sure what Downing does and Johnson hasnt had a run out in 2 seasons now. He needs to go to Liverpool in the summer.

    I'd have Young, Wellbeck and Sturridge for the first game as a front 3 (If we play 4-3-3). I like Sturridge although he has also fallen out of favour it seems.

  • Comment number 40.

    @39 Agreed on that front 3....easily interchangeable pace and skill....with 2 holding midfielders you wouldn't have to worry about them defensively either

  • Comment number 41.

    #39 wirral18

    Yes, I suppose Young though I was never quite sure of his role at Villa and aside from a few good goals and a few good penalty wins, has he been THAT good at Man U? (I rather thought that Valencia and maybe Nani had provided the spark even though Young's energy and, as you say, directness, does catch the eye.)

    Sturridge's problem is not picking a pass, either through a lack of looking up or going too far the other way and trying to pick a pass when his skill could take him further towards a goal himself. He's quite explosive though and I would go for him over Walcott, if that is a/the choice.

  • Comment number 42.

    The reason i like pace on the wings and up front is that even if we go out it should at least be exciting to watch rather than the normal dross England serves up.

    Get the ball get it out and wide and run at the full backs. May or may not work but it's better than just being out played, out run, out fought and out thought in central midfield and then having the same conversation about 'not playing Lamps and Gerrard together).

  • Comment number 43.

    #40 Ronaldosrightboot

    Lampard could well be that second holding player. He has at times played deeper in the last couple of years for club and country, his average position being around the halfway line rather than nearer the 18 yard line. Then it's a question of who to support the front three.

  • Comment number 44.

    @43

    Although i keep saying don't play Gerrard and Lampard together ever again you could have a situation of Parker and Lampard holding with Gerrard behind Wellbeck and Young and Sturridge/Walcott on wings.

    If Lampard isn't positionally getting it right then you can easily put in Barry or Carrick in there place. Both pleayers get slaughtered but i think both have done their job vaguely well this year. I have been one to lament Carrick's inability to get around the park but he does cover our back 4 pretty well and has been fairly consistent since Christmas.

  • Comment number 45.

    #44 wirral18

    I find that Barry doesn't use the ball particularly well. Carrick does but seems to have problems with the physical side. Just my opinions of course.

    Any chance of merging the two?

  • Comment number 46.

    @45

    Ha yeah completely agree. When teams attach us (United) through the centre Carrick is just over run. His problem lies in he isn't quick, has little turn of pace and is weak in the tackle. Alongside Parker though it could work. Playing Barry again would just bring back those haunting memories of Germany in 2010, one of the all time terrible performances.

    The centre backs is also an interesting decision. Does Cahill really deserve a spot? PLayed well against Barca but not been consistent this year. When's Terry's trial? Surely we can't have this hanging over him goign into the Euros?

    Will not believe that Lescott is any good, he looks great alongside Kompany. When Savic played Lescott looked all over the shop. I quite simply don't rate him. Jagielka hasn't played enough either.

    Not sure who i would pair in all honesty.

    Jones is not as good as Smalling but possibly room for both on the plane (probably neither starting though)

  • Comment number 47.

    @ 44 in a 4-3-3 i actually think carrick/barry are perfect contenders they are both good at protecting the back 4 and picking a pass....one of those 2 with Parker would be my choice personally.

    Were Adam Johnson playing regularly i would have him out wide with Young behind the striker.

    However Roy likes a 4-4-2 or 4-5-1 doesnt he

  • Comment number 48.

    @46 I actually think Phil Jones is a cracking holding midfielder...could be his best position in future for me?

  • Comment number 49.

    #46 wirral18

    Through bias or pragmatism, I can see it being Terry and Cahill. Ignore Terry's trial - a complete red herring which wouldn't be an issue if people actually stopped talking about it!

    Terry will bark the orders and put his head on or his body in front of everything. Cahill has had a mixed season partly through playing in a rubbish Bolton side, partly cause his heard was being turned. When playing for Chelsea (Napoli away aside - though the big error that night was Luiz's) he has looked very assured and the Champions League games in particular will have done wonders for his confidence in his abilities.

    What I would like though is something of a settled defence, whoever that may be. A key problem in South Africa was that we played four games and got through two keepers and three different central defensive partnerships. No wonder we were at six's and seven's!

  • Comment number 50.

    I recall posting somewhere else re England's squad but will keep it short and sweet (as much as I can do anyway). The key to success is to have continuity at the back as Kompany & Lescott showed in the run-in.

    My squad:
    GK: Hart, Ruddy, AN Other (who cares?)
    RB: Richards, Jones
    CB: Terry, Cahill, Lescott, Jagielka
    LB: Cole, Baines

    CM: Carrick, Barry, Milner, Gerrard, Lampard
    RW: Walcott, Sturridge
    LW: Young, Joe Cole (had a good season at Lille)

    ST: Welbeck, Rooney, Crouch

    On the proviso we go with a 4-2-3-1, my team v France would be:

    Hart
    Richards
    Terry
    Cahill
    Cole

    Carrick
    Barry

    Walcott
    Lampard / Gerrard
    Young

    Welbeck

  • Comment number 51.

    Phil Jones could be a brilliant holding midfielder or centre back. The issue is he isnt getting a run at either position and is at risk at not becomign great at either. The good thing is he is only just 20 years old, so for everyone slagging him off need to realise he is still a kid.

    Back 5 of Hart, Richards, Terry, Cahill and Cole is not that bad a back 4.

    Possibly bring in someone for Cahill but i don't think there's anyone glaringly better than him.

    Stability is essential so Hodgson should stick with the same back 5 for the majority of minutes in the friendlies before we go out.

  • Comment number 52.

    I suppose you could post all the top 10's you can find, but the only stat the matters is that Manchester City are in the top 1.

  • Comment number 53.

    #50 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    All sounds very reasonable, then you go and sit on the fence with 'Lampard / Gerrard'! Go on, stick your neck out......

  • Comment number 54.

    i just registered to laugh at the kevin doyle foursome lol but when page was refreshed it was changed wassup wit dat ?

  • Comment number 55.

    I think at international level it is important for players from club level with a partnership to play together. No suprise Spains dominant side has mostly Real and Barca players who play week in week out.

    Hart Richards

    Cole Cahill Terry

    Young Rooney Welbeck

    Sturridge and Cole Down the left

  • Comment number 56.

    Hart

    Richards
    Cahill
    Terry
    Cole

    Barry
    Lampard
    Walcott
    Young

    Crouch
    Welbeck

  • Comment number 57.

    "All sounds very reasonable, then you go and sit on the fence with 'Lampard / Gerrard'! Go on, stick your neck out......"


    Lampard, far more positional discipline, and has been in far better form over the past 18months.

  • Comment number 58.

    I saw a great article on how Hodgson will get slated regardless of which decisions he makes.

    The best one being

    Hodgson takes Joe Cole - Slated as Cole has failed to deliver at Lille
    Hodgson leaves out Joe Cole - Slated as Cole has been on fire at Lille

    We will believe what we read as no-one will be bothered enough to check!

    So true!

  • Comment number 59.

    #51 wirral18

    Stability is essential so Hodgson should stick with the same back 5 for the majority of minutes in the friendlies before we go out.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Precisely!

    As for Jones, I don't think people are having a go at him per se, I think it's his reputation that people are having a go at. Early in the season there were those that were championing him as this, that or the other after just a few games. It was so premature and yet anyone who spoke against it at that time were largely written of as ABU's!

  • Comment number 60.

    #55 Ronaldosrightboot

    I believe it is a consequence of the tv money arrangements in that only the top two can afford the wages of the top players so they all end up there. Spain has in effect sacrificed a competitive league to be European and World Champions. By design or default, I don't know but I think that is the situation.

  • Comment number 61.

    53.At 11:33 16th May 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #50 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    All sounds very reasonable, then you go and sit on the fence with 'Lampard / Gerrard'! Go on, stick your neck out......

    --------------

    Well it's a tough one. Gerrard has the more drive and ability to make something out of nothing but Lampard is way more consistent in an England shirt...

    I'd say Gerrard because of the two holding players behind him. The freedom he'll get (probably as captain) may lead him to show signs of his best?

    This is all moot anyway as we know Hodgson will go for the old 4-4-2 with Carroll as the target man.

    I really hope Joe Cole goes, he's been the best player in an England shirt for the last decade, Michael Owen aside.

  • Comment number 62.

    59.At 11:39 16th May 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #51 wirral18

    Stability is essential so Hodgson should stick with the same back 5 for the majority of minutes in the friendlies before we go out.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Precisely!

    As for Jones, I don't think people are having a go at him per se, I think it's his reputation that people are having a go at. Early in the season there were those that were championing him as this, that or the other after just a few games. It was so premature and yet anyone who spoke against it at that time were largely written of as ABU's!

    -------------

    To be fair McNulty and his band of red tops were the ones doing most of the championing. I, for one, have always said Smalling is the better defender. It's a shame he's injured actually...him and Cahill is definately one for the future.

    Phil Jones needs to work out what his best position is. G Nev preferred position was once CB but moved to RB cos he had a better chance of getting in the Utd team and hasn't looked back since. Maybe Jones needs to do the same?

  • Comment number 63.

    #61 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    Unfortunately, it was the indulgence granted to Gerrard (as a result of him being captain) that led to him being all over the show at keys times in South Africa, in my opinion. It's his form I would question right now though. Is he even fit, if so, why didn't he play against Chelsea last week?

    I really don't know how Cole has done for Lille but, his career path since 2006 has been a little been on the downslope I think.

  • Comment number 64.

    My Team.

    GK - Hard, Ruddy, Whomever (My Gran)

    DR - Richards, Johnson. DC - Terry, Lescott, Cahill, Jagielka. DL - Cole, Bridge

    Midfield - Parker, Barry, Lampard, Gerrard, Carrick, Walcott, Young, Cole.

    Forwards - Sturridge, Crouch, Rooney, Carroll

    I really dont like the idea of Terry going, as (and I realise this is speculation) I really do think he is a disruptive figure in the England dressing room, but we need to have some experience at the back with the lack of other 'quality' central defenders. It also makes some sense to have a back two that work together at club level, so I would start with a back 5 of.

    Hart
    Richards Terry Cahill Cole

    Its about as close to a stable back 5 as you can get.

    so that back 5, in a 4 2 3 1 so next

    Parker - Carrick.

    Parker gets the nod over Barry because I fancy him to a be a tad faster, but either one could do the job.

    Drilling this 7 to work well together is key.

    Next the three.

    Walcott, Lampard, Cole

    Lampard has been (as MrBlueBurns points out) been playing deeper for Chelsea recently so I would give him somewhat of a free roam to be able to adapt to a 4 -3 -3 with Parker / Carrick by dropping back when needed. Leaving Cole and Walcott to partner whomever up front.

    The final one, could be any of the 3 (or 4 depending on where you fancy Rooney to play, I like the idea of him being in the attacking three) depending on whom yyou are playing, if we are playing France I would fancy looking at Carroll or Crouch because we are not going to have loads of the ball (they played us of the park in a friendly reasonably recently). Carroll has been included because its something different if needed and he has looked reasonably decent for Liverpool in the past few weeks.


    I wouldn't take Rooney, but as we know he is nailed on I have added him. I just dont see why you would want to disrupt a winning team by shoving him in for the third game, and frankly bar 2004 has he ever performed for England in a major event (ie. not qualifiers) I also feel that Young is vastly over-rated but he is another whom I just couldnt justify leaving out. Joe Cole is in because he has been having a decent season in France from waht I have read (albeit not a lot, coverage of anything out side of the bestest league in the world in the mainstream press is shoddy). already covered why I would take Terry, Gerrard comes into the same kind of category, I dont think his form should see him starting, but he does offer something of the bench if needed.


    If we manage to get out of the groups it will be a good achievement, but I am sure by the 7th of June the red tops will have most of the population believing we are going to walk it.

  • Comment number 65.

    #62 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    Interesting point about Jones's position. I wonder how that would work at Man U (or indeed any club for that matter) in that a player says 'can I play here boss?'.

  • Comment number 66.

    @60 True but they have some wonderfull players outside the top2 who wouldn't get picked ahead of players of the same quality that play week in week out elsewhere....

    Silva Mata Llorente Soldado Martinez etc etc

  • Comment number 67.

    #66 Ronaldosrightboot

    Yes, and the finances in Spain are such that if you're good and can't get in the top two (for whatever reason) and you want to compete for trophies and/or maximise your income, you eventually go elsewhere e.g. Silva and Mata. I imagine it will happen to the others as well.

  • Comment number 68.

    65.At 12:00 16th May 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #62 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    Interesting point about Jones's position. I wonder how that would work at Man U (or indeed any club for that matter) in that a player says 'can I play here boss?'.

    ---------------

    Well I'm sure everyone has their preferred position. Even in my weekly 5 a side games, 5 years ago I used to consider myself a holding creative player a la Cambiasso (he's probably never been so insulted at that comparison!), but needs must and me being the team player that I am more often than not drop back into defence and let the better (more greedy) players strut their stuff at the top!

    It's not just G Nev though, SAF went on record (before we bought Rio) as saying Wes Brown was the most natural central defender on United's books. However, when fit, he always seemed to be a back up to Neville at RB (Stam and Johnsen had quite the partnership to be fair) and made that position his own in the 2007-08 season.

    It's no secret that our RB slot is up for grabs. I'm not entirely convinced by the twins and I don't think Fergie is either, so maybe the coach's should be in Jones's ear saying 'go on son, make that RB slot yours, you'll be there for the next 15 years with United and England'.

    Players can, in the most part, adapt. Zidane used to be a left back for crying out loud!

  • Comment number 69.

    #68 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    Your selflessless and modesty at 5 a side is admirable. ;-)

    And Zidane at left beck? I never knew that.

    Anyway, you'd imagine that someone at Carrington would be evaluating every player and thinking about next season. A bit like an appraisal that many of us have at work anyway I guess.

  • Comment number 70.

    67.At 12:17 16th May 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #66 Ronaldosrightboot

    Yes, and the finances in Spain are such that if you're good and can't get in the top two (for whatever reason) and you want to compete for trophies and/or maximise your income, you eventually go elsewhere e.g. Silva and Mata. I imagine it will happen to the others as well.

    ---------------

    Wasn't Mata at Real's academy before going to Valencia? I may be wrong there, but just goes to show, their academies end up producing our teams' best players (see Fabregas at Arsenal)! I think Silva, Mata, Aguero and RVP are the best players in the EPL at the moment (attacking wise anyway).

  • Comment number 71.

    No surprise there are 4 Swansea players in the stats

    We have dominated possesion in almost every game we have played (both home and away)

    my view on the england team (even though im welsh)

    GK:Hart,Ruddy
    LB:Baines,Cole
    CB:Cahill,Ferdinand
    CB:Lescott,Terry
    RB:Richards,G Johnson
    LM:Young,A Johnson
    CM:Parker,Lampard
    CM:Gerrard,Barry
    RM:Jarvis,Lennon
    CF:Sturridge,Wellbeck

  • Comment number 72.

    69.At 12:28 16th May 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #68 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    Your selflessless and modesty at 5 a side is admirable. ;-)

    And Zidane at left beck? I never knew that.

    Anyway, you'd imagine that someone at Carrington would be evaluating every player and thinking about next season. A bit like an appraisal that many of us have at work anyway I guess.

    --------------------

    Haha, what can I say, I'm the model amateur!

    Yeah, in his Bordeaux days, he used to be left back, then left mid, then Juve turned him into the "in the hole" God he is famous for (sounds like an analogy more apt for Ron Jeremy but I'll let it stand!).

    I'm sure they do, but it happens mostly in the youth team, according to G.Nev's autobiography anyway.

    To be fair, these days versatility gets you everywhere. If John O' Shea was English (and injury free) he'd probably have 100 caps by now!

  • Comment number 73.

    #70 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    Hmm, yes and no.

    Having looked it up, Mata did start at Real Madrid. However, how many players progress from development to first 11 at Madrid given their penchant for buying?

    The point remains, he wanted to achieve more and not being at the top two meant he had to look elsewhere. Fortunately, that elsewhere is Chelsea. :-D

    Fabregas famously started life at Barcelona. A good foundation no doubt but then there is the question of how much of him now is from there and how much of him is from Arsenal.

  • Comment number 74.

    73.At 12:39 16th May 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #70 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    Hmm, yes and no.

    Having looked it up, Mata did start at Real Madrid. However, how many players progress from development to first 11 at Madrid given their penchant for buying?

    The point remains, he wanted to achieve more and not being at the top two meant he had to look elsewhere. Fortunately, that elsewhere is Chelsea. :-D

    Fabregas famously started life at Barcelona. A good foundation no doubt but then there is the question of how much of him now is from there and how much of him is from Arsenal.

    ------------------------

    Yeah, fair play re Fabregas. Wenger's done a lot for him and he should be commended for that. I guess we'll never know if he would have been the same player going through La Masia, Barca have always had riches in midfield, would he have broken through?

    I think that's the issue with modern football. The winning-at-all-costs mentality means it is impossible to blood your kids and give them a fair run out. Even then, when you've got someone awesome on your hands, they're going to be poached by a big club only to sit on the bench for a few years. It's a shame really.

  • Comment number 75.

    @ 14

    who/what are you talking about?!?!?!

  • Comment number 76.

    @75


    He is talking about Gary Hooper (I presume)

  • Comment number 77.

    #74 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    Indeed, on that last point. Take Kakuta as an example. When he did get an appearance or two at Chelsea (following the talk of a ban and injury) he lit the place up. Was brilliant apparently at a younger age tournament for France in the summer of 2010. Ancelotti barely gave him a chance and now he has been on loan at Fulham, Bolton and Dijon.

    Will he get back to Chelsea and be given a chance? I would like to think so but it's looking doubtful. Is it that he has missed his window, never to recover? Hope Mceachran doesn't go the same way.

    If it weren't for the winning at all costs mentality at Chelsea, our first 11 could be something like this?

    Cech
    Hutchinson - Bruma - Mancienne - Bertrand
    Mikel, Mceachran, Ramires
    Sinclair, Sturridge, Kakuta

  • Comment number 78.

    As the old Aberdeen manager Ebbe Skovdahl once said
    "Statistics are like mini-skirts, they look good, but they hide the most important bits"

  • Comment number 79.

    77.At 12:55 16th May 2012, MrBlueBurns wrote:
    #74 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    Indeed, on that last point. Take Kakuta as an example. When he did get an appearance or two at Chelsea (following the talk of a ban and injury) he lit the place up. Was brilliant apparently at a younger age tournament for France in the summer of 2010. Ancelotti barely gave him a chance and now he has been on loan at Fulham, Bolton and Dijon.

    Will he get back to Chelsea and be given a chance? I would like to think so but it's looking doubtful. Is it that he has missed his window, never to recover? Hope Mceachran doesn't go the same way.

    If it weren't for the winning at all costs mentality at Chelsea, our first 11 could be something like this?

    Cech
    Hutchinson - Bruma - Mancienne - Bertrand
    Mikel, Mceachran, Ramires
    Sinclair, Sturridge, Kakuta

    ------------------

    I'll be honest, that line up doesn't fill me with fear but then this line up didn't worry Hansen too much:

    Schmeichel
    Neville
    Irwin
    Bruce
    Pallister

    Beckham
    Scholes
    Butt
    Giggs

    Cole
    Cantona

    And we know what happened there ;-)

    On Chelsea though, Mancienne probably wouldn't have made it. I won't make a call on Bruma just yet and is Sturridge capable of being a lone striker? Kakuta never look anything amazing at Bolton and never really played at Fulham. Shame really, considering all the hassle you went though!

    I hope McEachran is given a chance, he looks a good player!

  • Comment number 80.

    out of United bias ofcoz I am disappointed in the exclusion of Rio, and Carrick from the team. Especially Carrick wanted to see an English team which is less predictable, but by now I guess everyone will know the starting eleven.
    "Same old Story"

  • Comment number 81.

    Downing, DOWNING.

    What exactly has he done to deserve an England Call up ?


    http://i2.lulzimg.com/39957c90c5.jpg

  • Comment number 82.

    Gary Hooper should be in with a shout...

  • Comment number 83.

    Can United please sell Berbatov to a side that will actually play him, rather than letting his talents go to waste on the subs bench? Swansea will take him - we could use someone to finish off all these chances we create!

  • Comment number 84.

    Sorry, my mistake. Going by the tables, it seems Swansea players pass the ball an awful lot, and do it with great accuracy, but don't actually create many chances. We'll still take Berba though.

  • Comment number 85.

    I am definately a united suppoter but since Smalling and Walker are injured I would take Micah Richards for right back and not take Jones. He is good but I still feel that its not his position. Poor start for Roy, I just hope he proves me wrong.

  • Comment number 86.

    Can't believe England have picked Downing over Joe Cole. or Young. Your most gifted player technically since his days at west ham...no worries better for us, also many thanks for picking Carroll and the usual suspects in midfield!

  • Comment number 87.

    Just seen the England squad........

    Well it looks as if 1 up is the way Hodgson intends to play. Many wingers in the squad and with only 4 forwards (and of course Rooney is banned for the first two) it is unlikely that 4-4-2 is in his thoughts. Defoe's inclusion makes sense from an impact sub (if a goal is needed late in the game) point of view.
    With that in mind I would make Welbeck an almost certain starter... Can't see Carrol getting the nod ahead of him unless the plans are to overhaul the teams style of play when Rooney is back. So (probably) looking like a front 3 of Young, Welbeck and one other from Walcott or Chamberlain to complete the set.

    I know the Gerrard/Lampard debate has been flogged to death and it is clear that they don't work as a pair in a 4-4-2 system (too similar) but in a 3, with Barry or Parker as a 'sitter' i can't see any reason why they can't be successful. Both would have the opportunity to get forward to support the forwards knowing full well that they have adequate cover behind. Can anyone remember a game England used them together in a 3?

    So with all that in mind. I would favor a starting team of:

    Hart
    Jones, Terry, Lescott (or Cahill), Cole
    Lampard, Parker, Gerrard
    Young, Welbeck, Walcott

    As a side note, I really hope Hodgson does the sensible thing on the captaincy argument. Pick the team FIRST then select a captain. Why not even do what the Italians do, give the armband to the player with the most amount of caps. There should be plenty of leaders on the pitch in any good side regardless.

    Good luck England

  • Comment number 88.

    @86

    I can't beleive Woy hasn't bought a farmer's mule to start in place of downing.

    Carroll may be the worst player ever to be selected for a major tournament. I'd rather have Emile Heskey

  • Comment number 89.

    "Steven Gerrard will captain England at Euro 2012. England manager Roy Hodgson: "I know him as a player and a person and how committed he is to the England cause. He will help me build the team unity and environment we need to thrive in a tournament."
    "


    It gets worse :/

  • Comment number 90.

    England Squad in One word

    Embarrassing

  • Comment number 91.

    Now the England squad has been announced, here is my Olympics squad (18 players, only 3 of which can be born before 1/1/89):

    GK: McGregor (over-age), Butland
    Def: Walker (if fit), Taylor, Ferdinand (over-age, captain), Hanley, Tomkins, Gibbs
    Mid: Bale, Ramsey, Allen, Henderson, Rodwell, Cleverley
    Att: Holt (over-age), Sturridge, Rhodes, Wickham

    Kelly for Walker if Walker not fit.

    No Beckham - we have a very strong midfield already

    Weak areas of the team are in goal, at centre back and up front so this is where the over-aged players are deployed.

    Tomkins given the nod as can play centre back or right back and diversity crucial in an 18 man squad.

    Ferdinand to captain (East-end lad)

  • Comment number 92.

    91: Man U have said they will only release Giggs as an overage players so no go for Ferdinand or Cleverley.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    So new manager, same s**t then. Unbelievable. Not even going to bother with the Euros after that shambles of a squad.

    In what world has Downing done more than Sturridge / Johnson to merit a place?

    No Crouch, Richards or Carrick?!

    Un-fishing-believable!

  • Comment number 95.

    #79 becks-phone-call-went-to-me

    Yeah, Mancienne for example had plenty of chances at Wolves and didn't set the world alight there. What I'm saying those is right time, right place, who knows? An maybe the sum would have been greater than the parts.

    Still....

  • Comment number 96.

    89.

    What on earth does Hodgson mean by that?

    I am astonished that Gerrard is even going. He has played very few games this year and I haven't seen the kind of performances from him that saw Liverpool challenge for the 2009 title for a long time. Absolutely terrific player a few years ago, but Scholes has played more than he has this season, and Oxlaide-Chamberlain might even come close. This selection is mystifying.

  • Comment number 97.

    He will help him build team unity, like he did at Liverpool.

  • Comment number 98.

    Adam Johnson more goals and assists than Downing despite being a bench warmer....Shocking disgracefull....

  • Comment number 99.

    92: Cleverley is not over-age so is ok

    I don't want Giggs (he wouldn't get in my first 11 if he was in the squad) - Man U made the announcement before the Ferdinand situation cropped up and I would hope Rio would be up for it as much as Giggs is, so between me and Rio we would be able to persuade Fergie :)

  • Comment number 100.

    If Kenny Dalglish gets sacked by Liverpool, does that count as an assist for Downing?

 

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