A guy tweeted me the after the Hull game with some Opta stats that said I’d created more chances on the opening day than any other player in the Premier League. Obviously it was nice to hear that. We still lost 1-0 though, so in the end it was a bit of a pyrrhic victory. But it did get me thinking. Can the stats shed any light on how we lost a game I think we deserved to win? So I got the guys at Opta to send me some stats for the game, and I’ve pulled out a few interesting ones to discuss below.
Stat 1: Queens Park Rangers conceded a joint-Championship-high 11 goals from corners last season. James Chester’s winner today was also from a corner situation.
We were well aware that we hadn’t performed well enough at set pieces last year, and that it was something we needed to look at for the start of this season. It’s definitely something we’ve worked on during preseason, we’ve switched to three at the back to give us more cover in the centre of defence, and the gaffer’s brought in Rio and Steven Caulker to strengthen the defence too. So I don’t see our ability to defend corners, or defend generally, as a problem for us this season. It was maybe just us adapting to a relatively new formation, and a decent header from James Chester.
Stat 2: Better possession
A team’s ability to dominate possession is usually a good indicator of their intent, their ability and their game management. We had a higher pass completion rate, we won more of our individual duals, we spent a lot more time in their half of the pitch and we enjoyed better possession, especially in the second half. And in the end that gave us a platform to play some good football, to dominate large parts of the game and create some decent chances for our forwards.
Stat 3: More attempts on goal
How many shots a team gets in is another good indicator of how well they’ve played in a game. Against Hull we had 19 to their 11, and I’d argue that we had the better chances too. Our wingbacks gave us a lot of width (we put in 35 crosses), while the players in the middle were able to create a fair few chances for the forwards. However, the biggest stat goes against us: they scored one of their chances, and we scored none.
There are no stats for luck
Pretty much every match report I’ve read says we deserved at least a draw, and points out that we created more chances and looked brighter and more threatening going forward. But at this level it’s all about making the most of the limited number of chances you get in a game. And we missed a few good ones, I could only hit the side netting from 20-odd yards out and Allan McGregor got down well to save Chaz’s penalty. And then, with one of their few decent chances, they grab a goal from a corner. As the gaffer said on the BBC, “Some days you get the breaks and some days you don’t”. Would be interesting to see a stat for bad luck eh?