Monday, 17 August 2015

Real Assists League: Sanchez & Toure lose

Yaya Toure: Sorry, but that was a Sergio Aguero solo goal
Robbie Brady, Jeremain Lens, Alexis Sanchez and Yaya Toure have had assists taken off them in the Real Assists League.
Statistics in football can be useful...but they can also be extremely misleading. There is no better example of that than the assists, which are arbitrarily awarded by the Premier League every weekend for the simplest of passes - think Jon Walters claiming one for Charlie Adam's wonder goal at Chelsea last season.
Well, this season we'll be keeping a 'Real Assists League' which will not award assists so easily and will also differentiate between open-play and set-piece assists. Furthermore, if a player beats five opponents but does not make the final pass, there's every chance we'll award him the 'key role in goal' mark, which ensures the real architect is recognised...

Aston Villa 0 Manchester United 1

- Juan Mata holds on to his assist for a sumptuous through-ball to set up Adnan Januzaj's goal.

Southampton 0 Everton 3

- Arouna Kone retains his assist for a perfect cross to Romelu Lukaku to head home.
- Ross Barkley keeps his too for creating Lukaku's second.
- Seamus Coleman also keeps his assist for the pass to set up Barkley for Everton's third.

Sunderland 1 Norwich 3

- Robbie Brady got the official assist after his shot was parried into the path of Russell Martin for Norwich's opener, but we only reward players actually intending to lay on a team-mate for a goal. No assist.
- Wes Hoolahan retains his assist for a clever flick to set up Steven Whittaker.
- Hoolahan keeps his assist for setting up Norwich's third, too, after a one-two with Nathan Redmond.
- Jeremain Lens got the official assist for Sunderland's consolation goal, but his free-kick was headed away by the Norwich defence before Duncan Watmore volleyed in. No assist.

Swansea 2 Newcastle 0

- Jonjo Shelvey keeps his assist for the brilliant through-ball to set up Bafetimbi Gomis.
- As does Jefferson Montero for the cross that Andre Ayew headed home for Swansea's second.

Tottenham 2 Stoke 2

- Christian Eriksen set up Tottenham's opener with the corner which Eric Dier headed in.
- Ben Davies was the architect of the second with the cross from which Nacer Chadli scored.
- Joselu quite rightly got the assist for the clever turn to win the penalty which Marko Arnautovic scored to start Stoke's comeback.
- And Steven Ireland crossed in for Mame Diouf to score their equaliser.

West Ham 1 Leicester 2

- Bizarrely, because Shinji Okazaki needed two attempts to score past Adrian, Jamie Vardy was not credited with an assist for his pinpoint cross. Fortunately for him, he gets a Key Role credit in the Real Assists League.
- Marc Albrighton keeps his assist, meanwhile, for the cutback which allowed Riyad Mahrez to score.
- Dimitri Payet still had plenty to do, but Cheikhou Kouyate keeps his assist for the tee up.

Crystal Palace 1 Arsenal 2

- Mesut Ozil keeps his assist for crossing to Olivier Giroud for Arsenal's first.
- And James McCarthur keeps his for teeing up Joel Ward for Palace's equaliser.
- However, although he got the official assist, Alexis Sanchez is not credited for creating the Gunners' winner as he headed towards goal. Instead, Hector Bellerin is credited with playing the key role in the goal for the cross to set up Sanchez's header - which may well have been going in even before Damien Delaney's intervention.

Manchester City 3 Chelsea 0

- Yaya Toure got the assist for Sergio Aguero's first but, like last week when we took an assist from Joe Gomez for Philippe Coutinho's goal, we're recording this as a fine solo goal.
- David Silva, however, keeps his assist for sending over the corner from which Vincent Kompany scored City's second.
- Silva claimed a second assist for the tackle which led to City's third, but we're taking it off him as it was not an intentional pass to Fernandinho. Instead we credit the Spaniard for playing the key role in the goal.

The Real Assists League

Leicester's Marc Albrighton leads the way in the Real Assists League after two weeks with two open-play assists and one set-piece assist.
Crystal Palace's James McCarthur, Everton's Arouna Kone and Norwich's Wes Hoolahan also each have two assists from open play after two games.
Surprisingly, only four players - Albrighton, Christian Eriksen, Dimitri Payet and Ashley Westwood - have claimed set-piece assists so far this season.
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