The Premier League’s stunning statistical Top 5s - with a lethal Liverpool striker & Spurs’ star shot stopper

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The opening act of the new Premier League season is done and dusted, and now we have a clearer idea of where each team fits in our narrative – the contenders, the also-rans and the relegation candidates have revealed themselves, and we know which players are making stars of themselves and which are struggling.

Or do we? We’ve delved into the deepest recesses of the season’s statistics so far to put together some of the most intriguing top fives of the campaign, from the players who are scoring most often to those who are racking up the xG, from the best dribblers to the hardest tacklers. Some of the obvious names are in there, of course, but there are more than a few surprises, and a few of these numbers might just make you re-evaluate who the real stars of the season are…

Getty Images

Top 5 xG

1. Erling Haaland (7.9)

2. Alexander Isak (5.4)

3. Mohamed Salah (5.2)

4. Bryan Mbeumo (4.7)

=5. Nicolas Jackson & Bukayo Saka (4.1)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

xG is basically a measure of how many goal-scoring chances players are giving themselves, and it’s not exactly a great shock to see the Norwegian answer to the T-2000 topping the charts. Haaland has scored eight goals, so he’s pretty much bang on where an average player would be if they had his opportunities – but of course, a hefty part of the art of being a top striker is being in those positions in the first place.

The numbers also tell us that new Chelsea striker Jackson is one of the most wasteful players in the league so far, managing just two goals when he should probably have four (which Saka does, albeit with the help of a pair of penalties) and it they also tell us that Son Heung-Min, who has six goals, is really on fine finishing form right now. Wolves’ Hwang Hee-Chan and Jarrod Bowen both have five to their name too, so kudos to both of them for the lethal runs in front of goal.

Top 5 Goals & Assists per 90

1. Darwin Nuñéz (1.44)

2. Callum Wilson (1.36)

3. Mohamed Salah (1.19)

4. Alexander Isak (1.15)

5. Erling Haaland (1.14)

Basically, if Nuñéz had played even close to every minute of every match, the stats suggest that he’d be right at the top of the charts for both goals and assists – which makes you wonder why Jürgen Klopp insists on benching him so often. Perhaps some strikers are just born impact subs.

It’s also slightly surprising too see Wilson, who has mostly found himself kept off the field by Isak, ahead of his Swedish team-mate. Maybe Eddie Howe is missing a trick there, because the former Bournemouth man is using his minutes more productively than anyone other than Liverpool’s big Uruguayan. Wilson also has the highest xG per 90 minutes in the league too – so there’s a world in which he started every game and scored more than Haaland. Isak is second on that particular list, mind you.

Getty Images

Top 5 Total Shots

1. Marcus Rashford (31)

2. Erling Haaland (30)

3. Eberechi Eze (27)

=4. Yoane Wissa & Ollie Watkins (25)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

If you’re a Fantasy Premier League player frustrated by Rashford’s attacking returns so far this season, look away now – he’s the only person in the Premier League who’s had more attempts on goal than Haaland but has just a single, solitary goal to show for it. His total xG is just 2.8, mind you, so he’s probably being forced to take too many pot shots from difficult positions.

It’s also a bit of a shock to see Eze on this list, especially given that he isn’t even a striker – he’s racked up 2.3xG so far, but also only has one goal to his name. Perhaps shooting at every opportunity isn’t always the best policy.

Top 5 Pass Completion

=1. Thiago Silva & Jan Paul van Hecke (95.8%)

3. Rodri (94.8%)

4. Micky van de Ven (94.6%)

5. Curtis Jones (94.3%)

It should be noted that while Van Hecke is extremely comfortable with the ball at his feet even by modern centre-half standards, it’s a lot easier to get a high completion rate when you’re not playing every game. Still, perhaps Brighton should give him so more time on the pitch given that he misplaces his passes even less often than Rodri.

We’re also very impressed by Liverpool youngster Jones, who finds himself in many more attacking areas of the field than the other players in this top five, normally something which pushes completion rate down a bit given the need to play more high-risk balls. It’s fair to say that his recent run of starts isn’t a fluke.

Top 5 Tackles

1. Marvelous Nakamba (36)

2. João Palhinha (28)

3. Yves Bissouma (26)

=4. Destiny Udogie, Conor Gallagher & Lucas Paquetá (25)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Luton Town might not be having too much joy so far in the first ever Premier League season, but Nakamba isn’t half putting a shift in for them – he’s miles ahead of the competition so far, and has also won more tackles (21) than anyone else in the division. That’s some serious graft in midfield.

You’d generally expect to see this list populated by teams who don’t enjoy much possession, too, so it’s interesting to see two Spurs players making the top five – testament to the hard pressing and high work ethic they’ve demonstrated under Ange Postecoglou.

Getty Images

Top 5 Successful Take-ons

1. Eberechi Eze (27)

2. Marcus Rashford (22)

3. Luca Koleosho (21)

4. Matheus Cunha (19)

5. Pedro Neto (18)

Seeing Eze near the top of the shooting charts might have been surprising, but it’s less of a shock to see that he’s dribbled past more players than anyone else in the division – as you may have noticed, he’s pretty handy with the ball at his feet. Maybe he should pass it more often after beating someone, mind you.

Wolves have been pretty heavy on the ball-carrying under Gary O’Neil, so we expected a couple of their players to show up here, but credit to Burnley’s summer signing Koleosho for getting in there too. He only has one assist to show for all those defenders left trailing in his wake, but at least he’s offering Vincent Kompany’s side some spark going forward. On a side note, we also discovered that Levi Colwill is the only player in the Premier League to successfully complete every single dribble he’s attempted – four from four.

Top 5 Aerial Duels Won

1. Carlton Morris (43)

2. Ethan Pinnock (36)

=3. James Tarkowski, Oliver McBurnie & Amadou Onana (26)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Luton striker Morris must be a massive headache to defend against, launching his sturdy frame at just about every high ball he can – although it does speak volumes about the Hatters’ tactics as well. Get ball, thump it up at Morris’ head, see what happens. Not that bad of a strategy mind you, at least based on this.

Seeing two defensively-minded Everton players in there also implies that it’s the Toffees dealing with an opposing barrage more often that it is the other way around – is Sean Dyche not so much of a long ball merchant after all? Given that quite a few of Tarkowski’s headers are from set pieces, the answer is still yes, but apparently they’re both victims and culprits of some rather old-fashioned football.

Getty Images

Top 5 Fouls Committed

1. Lucas Paquetá (18)

=2. Destiny Udogie, Marvelous Nakamba & João Gomes (17)

=5. Alexis Mac Allister & Conor Gallagher (16)

Inevitably, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the players making the most tackles and the players committing the most offences, although this does still imply that Nakamba is a pretty damned good tackler and that Paquetá might just be very enthusiastic.

Mac Allister has only attempted 22 tackles all season, by the way, and while not every foul comes from a tackle of course, this does rather give a lie to the idea that he’s the best man to be playing the deepest role in Klopp’s midfield three.

Top 5 Fouls Drawn

1. Jordan Ayew (29)

2. James Maddison (23)

=3. Lucas Paquetá & João Pedro (20)

5. Josh Cullen (19)

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A table once dominated by the Aston Villa version of Jack Grealish – if you can’t beat your man, at least get a free-kick, which is apparently a rule that Crystal Palace’s Ayew lives by judging by how many times he’s been hacked down over the course of the season.

It’s somewhat amusing to see Paquetá pop up on both sides of the coin here. At least he’s only dishing out what he takes. You clearly can’t accuse him of not getting involved in a game.

Getty Images

Top 5 Save Percentage

1. Guglielmo Vicario (82.9)

2. Sam Johnstone (81.5)

3, Robert Sánchez (78.6)

4. Bernd Leno (76.7)

5. Alisson (75.7)

Let’s wrap up with a nod to the best goalkeepers of the campaign so far, with Spurs’ new signing coming top with an absolute superb save percentage. You also have to feel a bit for Dean Henderson, who finally gets a move to a club where he might just be able to get the number one jersey he’s spent years pining for, only to get injured immediately and find himself trying to overhaul a ‘keeper on absolutely spectacular form.

New Chelsea stopper Sánchez, meanwhile, seems to be lowering a few of the eyebrows that were raised when he was made the new first-choice at Stamford Bridge, so fair play to him. In case you’re wondering, David Raya makes the top ten, just, while Ederson is nowhere near with a meagre 62.5% so far in the league. Has anyone checked whether that neck tattoo is still smiling?

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.