Lord Kangana wrote:
If, for example, your centre half spent his entire game giving the ball to the goalie to give it the big heave-ho (for he himself was incapable of a decent forward pass), then he would probably be considered the "best" passer in the league by stats alone, whilst the keeper would be castigated for losing possession 50% of the time. Then the discussion would be "well I don't know why they're so shite, as he's clearly an excellent passer". Which would be bollox. And it would be. You know it really, in your heart of hearts, deep inside.
Well, yes - if your ridiculously contrived situation ever happened in the real world, then the simple statistics of pass completion may not provide a full picture. However, I'm not sure it has. And further statistics - number of forwards passes, number of passes to the goalkeeper, number of players within a certain distance - would also help give a clearer picture - indeed, they would, anyway. I don't know if these statistics are kept by Opta, or whoever, though.
My point, such as it was, was really just reacting to the over-the-top and silly remark that Muamba was the worst player in the Premier League at passing, dribbling and shooting. Since he didn't spend all his time passing back to the goalkeeper, and made a reasonable number of different sorts of passes, I think we can, more or less, take the 70-odd percent pass completion as being fairly accurate.
My other point was reacting to the "all stats are bollocks" remark. Which is also silly. They are useful - more so than picking out an isolated error, and trying to say that it backs up the claim that Muamba is the worst passer in the league. It doesn't - it's an isolated error. Even Taddy Nowak's passes went astray sometimes...