Behind the numbers: Leaders in key, overlooked stats

Posted by Martin Laurence,

Jan Kruger/Getty ImagesWigan goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi had his share of howlers this season, ranking at the top of one unwanted category.

The climax to the Premier League season, if entertaining, was somewhat predictable. Arsenal kept their end of the bargain, although not in an entirely convincing manner, while Spurs were again left frustrated despite another late wonder strike from Gareth Bale.

The fact goals would more likely be found outside of the matches involving the two North London rivals was also inevitable, though no one would have guessed the events that would unfold in Sir Alex Ferguson's final game in charge of United at the Hawthorns.

The first 5-5 draw in Premier League history was undoubtedly the game of the day, with West Brom twice falling three goals behind.

Although there were very few decisive moments in the grand scheme of things on the final day, takes the chance to look at a number of crucial individual statistics that are often overlooked over the course of a season. We look at a number of stats leaders in categories that can be the difference between winning and losing titles, as well as battles against relegation.

Errors Leading to Goals

Unsurprisingly the top eight are all goalkeepers, with nowhere to hide if a number one has a nightmare moment. One man who had more than his fair share this season was Wigan's Ali Al-Habsi, with seven unforgivable gaffes ultimately leaving the Latics with too much to do. Just behind him is England's first-choice keeper Joe Hart, with five errors leading to goals also having a bearing on Manchester City's fate. Reading's Adam Federici and Swansea's Michel Vorm also had five errors, while Vorm's teammate Ashley Williams, along with Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen and Newcastle full-back Davide Santon, committed the most of all outfielders (3).

Clearances Off the Line

Sunderland's Jack Colback made three to frustrate Spurs at the weekend, a figure only bettered by a trio of players over the course of the entire season. They say denying what seems a certain goal is as important as scoring one, so Fulham, Swansea and Reading owe particular thanks to Sascha Riether, Leon Britton and Adrian Mariappa respectively, who all prevented goal-bound efforts at the last moment four times.

Last-Man Tackles

The fact the top two players in this category play for the same team may well say more about their side's defending ahead of them than it does the individual heroics themselves. But Arsenal's Per Mertesacker and Vermaelen led the way with seven apiece. The Gunners' third centre-back, Laurent Koscielny, is close behind on five, along with two players from Southampton (Maya Yoshida, Nathaniel Clyne). There are four Saints in the top eight.

Big Chances Created

Moving onto the more creative side of the game, it's not really a surprise to see the league's top key passer, Everton's Leighton Baines, rank first here. His exceptional delivery set up 22 clear-cut opportunities, be it a one-on-one, free headers or chance from close in on goal. That's a full six more than any other player. The left-back is trailed by Luis Suarez, Samir Nasri and Norwich's Robert Snodgrass, with 16 enough to edge out Santi Cazorla (15), Juan Mata (14) and David Silva (13).

Big Chances Missed

Although he may have finished as the league's top scorer, and three clear of Liverpool's Suarez, it's apparent that Manchester United's Robin van Persie could have ended the season with many more than 26 goals. The Dutchman missed 24 big chances, four more than any other player, with Arsenal's Olivier Giroud the next guiltiest on 19. Sergio Aguero, Papiss Cisse and Nikica Jelavic all had inferior campaigns compared to last season -- the trio completed the top five, all squandering 18 opportunities.

Hit Woodwork

United's aforementioned front man was also inches from adding to his tally on numerous occasions, ranking joint first for the times striking the woodwork. The thickness of a post or bar denied the former Arsenal forward on seven occasions, with West Brom's Romelu Lukaku equaling that figure in what was a fantastic season on loan in the Midlands.

It’s simple to attribute success or failure to goals scored and conceded alone, but the above players had crucial roles to play in the campaign, be it for better or worse for their clubs.

All statistics courtesy of, where you can find yet more stats, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings.

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