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The Crazy Stats Which Prove Just How Fecking Mental This Premier League Season Truly Was

The Crazy Stats Which Prove Just How Fecking Mental This Premier League Season Truly Was
By Gavan Casey

Before Sunday's game kicked off, Newcastle to beat Tottenham 5-1 was 5000/1 with some bookmakers. Have they learned nothing from this positively insane Premier League season?

We've seen the greatest story sport has ever told, as Leicester became the first new Premier League champions in 38 years. We've seen established Premier League teams suffer the indignity of relegation. We've seen Chelsea perform the worst title defence in history. We've seen West Ham finish with a positive goal difference (14) for what bizarrely is the first time in almost 30 years, and Southampton have their best ever Premier League season despite a mid-year slump.

But it's the following statistics which prove just how insane this Premier League season truly was:

Manchester City won just one of their 14 matches against the other teams in the top eight [Telegraph]

Manuel Pellegrini's men still spent just three days outside the Top 4 after winning their first five games on the spin, which shows just how much of a free-for-all the league transpired to be both above and beneath them. Similarly, Arsenal won just one of their 10 matches against the teams between fifth and ninth, stifling any chance they had to win their first Premier League since 2004.

Arsenal have finished above Tottenham for the 21st consecutive season

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On the whole, this is not a surprising fact whatsoever. But within the context of this season? Remember three weeks ago, when only Tottenham and Leicester could mathematically win the Premier League? It seems people couldn't quite grasp that this did not mean Mauricio Pocchetino's side were guaranteed to finish above the Gunners.

And sure enough, after their perceptively differing campaigns, the dithering, spineless Arsenal finished atop their hungry, well-organised, formidable rivals once more.

Indeed, Tottenham have now finished above every Premier League team ever apart from their North London rivals, which makes such a trivial statistic that bit more galling for North London football fans of a lilly-white persuasion.

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Jamie Vardy won seven penalties on his own

Four more than any other player, and more than every other team's total bar Manchester City, who won eight.

In all, Leicester won 13 penalties, a tally only ever matched by one team in any Premier League season – Crystal Palace in 2004/05 (from which the Jamie Vardy prototype, Andy Johnson, made a living).

Leicester City finished 10 points ahead of their nearest rivals, Arsenal

To put that into perspective, it's the same gap as now perennial champions Bayern enjoyed over Dortmund in the Bundesliga, and one more than the equally superior Juventus' lead over Napoli in Serie A. In essence, on paper at least, Leicester not only won the Premier League, but dominated it.

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Petr Cech conceded 10 goals from outside the box this season

And they invariably went in at his near post. Not a great return for the Czech international who was, of course, considered to be "worth an extra 10 to 15 points to Arsenal" by various pundits who love saying those kinds of things, but nonetheless made some stunning saves throughout the season.

At 33, Cech should still have a few miles left in the tank, but perhaps not if he's struggling to get down to balls hit from range. Perhaps though, a simple positional adjustment a la Edwin van der Sar in the mid-00s would suffice.

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Tom Cleverley has provided as many assists as Mesut Ozil in 2016

The German playmaker set up 16 goals in his first 18 appearances of the season, but has managed just three assists in his subsequent 17 games.

Aston Villa lost every single Premier League game that Jack Grealish played in

All 16 of his appearances ended in defeat, with Villa losing just half of the games he missed out on (11 from 22). Just as well he chose England after all, eh? Not bitter. Not bitter.

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Leicester finished 31 points ahead of Chelsea, the biggest points margin between champions old and new in Premier League history

Chelsea's unprecedented implosion under José Mourinho certainly added to the drama of an incredibly entertaining season. Leicester's league win completed a 77-point swing over Chelsea with relation to both clubs' corresponding positions last season.

In the very bowels of a Yorkshire bar, Nigel Pearson stares longingly out the window at the stars, his finger poised over the number '1' on his phone where he keeps Jamie Vardy on speed dial.

Arsenal are the first team since 1981 to finish above Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, Spurs and Chelsea and still not win the title [FletcherLad]

Ipswich Town finished behind Ron Saunders' Aston Villa after a two-horse race in '81, with Liverpool lifting the European Cup from fifth position in the league.

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Manchester United failed to finish in the top five, causing Dave Sexton to lose his job and be replaced by Ron Atkinson, who had just reached the European Cup quarter-finals with West Brom.

Aston Villa led for 243 minutes this season, less than any other team in Premier League history [Opta]

Away from home, Villa won their very first fixture against Bournemouth before remaining winless for the rest of the season. In all, they won just three and lost all but 11 of their 38 games, finishing on 17 points. Their longest unbeaten streak was three, and The Villains went on to lose 12 of their last 13 games when they needed to pull a Wigan. Adios.

Christian Benteke has scored more goals from the substitutes bench than any other player this season (r/soccer)

What the fuck?

Yes, the oft-maligned Christian Benteke, conspicuously devastated by his former club's struggles all season, netted seven of his nine Premier League goals as a replacement - including one memorable if ultimately fruitless strike at Old Trafford.

Both Andy Carroll and Benteke's teammate Divock Origi scored the second-highest number of substitute goals with four apiece, but Brendan Rodgers' £32m signing is the new king of the bench - following in the footsteps of Ole Gunaar Solksjaer and Javier Hernandez.

Every team Nathan Dyer has ever scored a header against has gone on to be relegated that same season [Swans Stats]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWtiI8Mm2dI

There are three such victims to Dyer's heading prolificacy, and all deserve to be relegated on that basis alone. The man is about five-foot-naught. In fact, you don't even need to exaggerate for dramatic effect: he's literally five-foot-four.

Cardiff fell foul of Dyer's bonce in a 3-0 defeat to arch nemeses Swansea at the Liberty Stadium two years ago, before duly falling out of the Premier League. Two years previous, the pint-sized winger headed a goal in a 4-4 draw with Wolves (Wolves had led 4-1 at one point), before the West Midlands outfit dropped to the Championship.

Surely as far back as September, when Dyer once more nodded home - this time past a flapping Brad Guzan - Aston Villa must have known their goose was cooked as far as the Premier League was concerned. Of course, maybe they actually did know. It would certainly explain a lot.

For more Premier League stats from a bizarre season, this Telegraph article by Alistair Tweedale includes some of these and many more.

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