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12th Dec 2016

This Premier League Team of the Week shows that stats don’t tell the whole story

Lies, damned lies and statistics

Tom Victor

Manchester City had a wholly dismal afternoon at the King Power Stadium on Saturday.

Defensive frailties left Pep Guardiola’s side 3-0 down to Leicester inside the first 20 minutes, and Serbian international Aleksandar Kolarov came in for plenty of criticism for his part in the visitors’ struggles.

If you hadn’t seen the game, though, you could be fooled for thinking Kolarov actually had a good performance – well, at least if you looked at the stats.

The left-back midfielder winger centre-back footballer was given a rating of 8.63/10 by WhoScored, more than any other defender with the exception of Watford’s José Holebas.

In essence, the numbers demonstrate the limitations of certain statistics in football – it’s easy to measure the value of goals and assists, and Kolarov got one of each on Saturday, and a nominal defender achieving this can sometimes carry significant weighting.

But being caught out of position or easily brushed aside is harder to quantify, so his contribution to City’s two goals (both scored after Leicester had netted four times without reply, we might add) overshadows his role in those scored by their opponents.

And the responses to the Serb’s inclusion showed that people at least had a sense of humour about it all.

Catch up with this week’s episode of Football Friday Live