Lies, damned lies and statistics!
Those of you who have read my previous articles may know, I'm a stickler for a stat, so how's this one for you?
A mainly injured Moussa Dembele has played more minutes this season than Swansea lynchpin Leon Britton. And Stoke star Peter Crouch. And Charlie Adam. What about this? Jan Vertonghen has played more outfield minutes since June than anyone in the league, bar Steven Gerrard. Or this? Sandro is the only player in the PL to have finished the end of last season, gone straight to World Cup qualifiers in Brazil, followed it up with EVERY minute at the Olympics, and then gone straight into the new season. The point I am making is - WE'RE KNACKERED AND NEED REINFORCEMENTS.
After getting annoyed with giving away goals towards the end of games, I looked at stats based on how many minutes players have been on the pitch. I took it back to June, so games involving Olympics, World Cup Qualifiers, and Euro 2012 are included, as well as European club games and domestic league and cup games from this season. Friendlies are not. The results were interesting and I think may highlight why we fail to see out matches - pure tiredness. Vertonghen has played more than any Spurs player since June 2012, starting 29 games and sub in two more, totaling 2713 minutes on the pitch. Only Steven Gerrard, with four minutes more, beats him, followed by Branislav Ivanovic with 2710, Luis Suarez with 2704, and Joe Allen on 2689.
To put this in perspective, look at the Everton team we played on Sunday. Leighton Baines tops the Toffees outfield minutes chart with 1994 - a full 12 HOURS less football than Jan. Fellaini has played 1771 minutes, Jelavic 1667 and Pienaar 1570. Don't forget these three are full internationals playing Euros and World Cups. If we look at City and United, they're the masters of rotation with their deep squads. Van Persie tops United's chart with 2277 minutes, but then Cleverley and Carrick are next with 1955 and 1910 each. Rooney has totaled just 1708 minutes of football, while Valencia for instance is just on 1153, nearly half the amount of someone like Kyle Walker, on 2211 minutes! Tevez (1520), and Aguero (1651) are surprisingly low given their international ties, while a key player like Yaya Toure (2083) is well below the players at the top of the list.
Santi Cazorla heads Arsenals list at 2378, while Vermaelen is at 2340, but after that no one tops the 1900 mark, not even Arteta who has played every PL minute. Petr Cech has played the most of anyone, 3060 minutes, and Chelsea teammates Torres (2557) and Hazard (2500) have put in a shift, which may explain why the pair of them look as knackered as we do. Torres has also had input in 35 games, more than anyone else. If we look at our next opponents Swansea and Stoke, they are certain to be fresher than us. Ashley Williams has played 2229 minutes, but other key players such as Michu have played just 1522, 12.5 hours less than Sandro. Routledge (1188) and Dyer (1142) have played less put together than Vertonghen.
Stoke's four best players have had very little pitch time. Shawcross (1456), Huth (1530), Adam (1258) and Crouch (1175) should fancy themselves as it gets towards the end of the game. Stats can lie, but I think it shows how badly we need BAE and Parker back, in order to give Vertonghen and Sandro a rest. It also shows investment is key in January, not in young back-up players, but in competent internationals who can provide clever alternatives to what we currently have. Kyle Walker (2211), Gareth Bale (2174), and Clint Dempsey (2072) were the other Spurs players who could probably do with a break, while Aaron Lennon (1927) and Jermaine Defoe (1835) may be feeling it.
TOP 10 outfield minutes since June... Gerrard (Liverpool) - 2717 Vertonghen (Spurs) - 2713 Ivanovic (Chelsea) - 2710 Suarez (Liverpool) - 2704 Allen (Liverpool) - 2689 Sandro (Spurs) - 2631 Torres (Chelsea) - 2557 Hazard (Chelsea) - 2500 Cazorla (Arsenal) - 2378 Agger (Liverpool) - 2366
Written by Sebthespur