The best Premier League stats from a remarkable season

By Alistair Tweedale

Jesus Navas has now gone two seasons and 76 shots without a Premier League goal. Photo / AP
Jesus Navas has now gone two seasons and 76 shots without a Premier League goal. Photo / AP

And so, the 2015/16 Premier League season has (apart from one rearranged match) come to a close. It was a season celebrated for its unpredictability and capacity for shock, in which Chelsea defended their crown with the conviction of a Fernando Torres penalty and Leicester became the most surprising title-winners sport has ever seen.

In among all these unexpected turns and Spurs being more 'Spursy' than ever, there are some truly remarkable statistics. Here, we review a season to remember in numbers.

Easy win

Only four Premier League champions have won the title by a greater margin of points than Leicester did this season, finishing ten points clear of second-placed Arsenal. Those who have done better are Manchester United in 1999/2000 (18 points clear), Chelsea 2004/05 (12), Arsenal 2003/04 and Manchester United 2012/13 (11).

No catching Vardy

Much has been made of the direct manner of Leicester City's kick-and-chase football on their march to winning the league. Jamie Vardy was absolutely vital, not only scoring 24 goals but also winning seven penalties, which is four more than any other player and also more than every other team bar Manchester City, who won eight.

Leicester won 13 penalties overall, a tally only ever matched by one team in any Premier League season - Crystal Palace in 2004/05.

Surprise results

Leicester were only beaten three times all season, but two of those defeats came against Arsenal, who contrived to throw away their title chances against a group of mid-table teams. They won only one of their 10 matches against the teams between fifth and ninth.

Arsene Wenger's team were also one of only three sides to lose both ties with Chelsea this season, along with relegated Norwich and Aston Villa; their inconsistency has been the root of their failure to mount a title challenge. At the other end of the table, Newcastle were the only team that failed to beat Aston Villa even once.

Back to back

Manuel Pellegrini's final season in England ended rather disappointingly given that Manchester City were widely expected to walk the title when, after five wins from their first five games they were clear at the top of the table. Since, however, they managed back-to-back wins on only two occasions, while all season they won just one of their 14 matches against the other teams in the top eight.

The top four

City were most sure of Champions League qualification, spending just three days of the whole season outside the top four. Leicester have led the way ever since January 13th.

Not so handy

The Arsenal goalkeeper, Petr Cech, who was signed to earn 10-15 points on his own, has had a rather mixed campaign. Some of the saves he has produced have been astonishing, but he has also conceded more goals from outside the box than anyone else, with 10 shots from distance beating him.

Big mistakes

There has been improvement at Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp but they do remain as error-prone as ever; particularly in goal where Simon Mignolet made four blunders leading to opposition goals. Each came in a draw against a team who battled the drop - West Brom, Sunderland, Newcastle and Norwich - that might well have been wins but for the Belgian.

Carl Jenkinson had a calamitous time, conceding more penalties than any other player, with three, despite actually playing only a third of the campaign before injury curtailed his season.

No longer the Assist Kings

Arsenal's season has tailed off with the form of star man Mesut Ozil. 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. In 2016, Tom Cleverley has as many assists as Ozil.

Meanwhile, Cesc Fabregas followed up his 18 assists in 2014/15 with just seven this term, 43 per cent of which came in a 66-minute period against Bournemouth at the end of April.

Pyschological problems

While it isn't entirely clear what prevents Arsenal from putting in a genuine title challenge, Tottenham's failings are quite obviously psychological. As well as winning the most points from losing positions this season, with 19, Spurs also dropped 20 points from winning positions. They set a new Premier League record when they lost their heads against Chelsea with nine players going into the referee's book.

The most extraordinary thing about Tottenham's season - which is widely accepted as their best in a very, very long time - is that they gained 70 points, which is two fewer than their previous Premier League best of 72, set in 2012/13 when they finished fifth.

Unlucky charm

This season the stage was set for Jack Grealish to take the Premier League by storm having dedicated his international future to England ahead of Ireland with the Euros in mind, but to say it has been a damp squib would be to seriously underplay it.

He scored just one goal - back in September - and was on the losing side in every single one of the 16 games he played in. Villa lost 11 of the 22 he sat out.

Chelsea's decline

Ninth place and 50 points makes Chelsea's title defence the worst the Premier League has ever seen - and by a distance. The previous worst had been the 61 points Blackburn managed in finishing seventh in 1996.

The extent of the decline shown by some of their players has been unbelievable. After winning last season's player of the season award and scoring the title-winning goal, Eden Hazard waited 365 days until his next goal - against Spurs earlier this month.

In that 45-minute performance he made nearly 10 per cent of his tackles and interceptions for the whole season. Clearly, effort and motivation were lacking the rest of the campaign.

Clinical finishers

Leonardo Ulloa - a centre-forward who made 29 appearances as Leicester won the title - mustered only 10 shots on target all season but scored six goals. Kelechi Iheanacho was similarly effective, scoring eight times from 13 shots on target.

Meanwhile, Michail Antonio scored a Premier League-high six header from just eight attempts on target and Sergio Aguero scored five from six.

And the not so clinical

It was more of the same from Jesus Navas, who has now gone two seasons and 76 shots without a Premier League goal. Etienne Capoue had the most shots without scoring in 2015/16, with 35.

Key man

Manchester City have spent tonnes of money on centre-backs, yet they still could not cope without Vincent Kompany. They conceded seven goals in 13 games with the Belgian starting and 34 in the 25 he has missed.

Magic spray is not so magical

Despite measure taken to reduce encroachment on free-kicks in the form of magic white spray behind which defensive walls stand, goal tallies from dead balls are down on any of the last eight seasons; 25 were scored this season, compared to 39 the season before last. Quite how those things go together is anyone's guess.

Perhaps it distracts the players; or perhaps encroachment was never really a problem in the first place...

- Daily Telegraph UK

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