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Opta insight: Which stats look good but are actually meaningless?

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Despite online protests to the contrary, there is no such thing as a pointless statistic. How can there be when it is quite literally pointing something out[/img]

Here are just a few...
Loads of passes - but what's the point?
[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/2B21/production/_105814011_jorginho_getty2.jpg" data-sizes="auto" alt="Jorginho">
Jorginho played under Maurizio Sarri at Napoli and followed him to Stamford Bridge during the summerFresh from his Carabao Cup final penalty shootout slip at Wembley against a Manchester City he could have joined last summer, Jorginho has endured a suitably hesitant first season in English football, racking up some extraordinary passing totals for Chelsea but failing to offer much else. Now, judging a deep-lying midfielder by the number of assists he has provided is as unscientific as it is unfair, but as a man with three of the top eight totals for successful passes ever recorded in a single Premier League match, Jorginho has come to symbolise the failure of Sarri-ball to take root in the Premier League. As it stands, Jorginho has taken Leon Britton's record for the most passes made by a midfielder without laying on a single (Opta-defined) assist in a particular season. For years, this was the preserve of the Scottish Jorginho - Barry Ferguson - who broke 2,100 passes without an assist for two seasons in a row. Jorginho may yet become a creative heartbeat but, for the time being, spending £50m on the naturalised Italian Barry Ferguson seems less than great value.
bbc.com
Shooting: is it actually bad[/img]

[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/C761/production/_105814015_ronaldo_getty.jpg" data-sizes="auto" alt="Cristiano Ronaldo">
Cristiano Ronaldo went on to score 84 Premier League goals for Manchester UnitedThierry Henry's afternoon of woe against Manchester City in 2006 is worth noting too. Before that game Arsenal had never lost to City in the Premier League (W15 D3) but with their star striker wasting chance after chance, Stuart Pearce's team conquered their glamorous opponents. City have since matched Arsenal's total of three Premier League titles and Sergio Aguero is rapidly closing in on Henry as the top-scoring foreign player in the competition's history. That day City had Bernardo Corradi and Paul Dickov up front; every journey up a mountain starts with the smallest of steps.
bbc.com
A goal's a goal - except when it counts for nothing
The consolation goal could be considered a dying concept in the social media age. A YouTube compilation won't filter classic goals by game state and, in fairness, why should it[/img]

bbc.com
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Sometimes you can't even trust the ultimate stat - the scoreline
Most of the time, yes, but let's delve into expected goals, a metric that certainly attracts its share of criticism from meaningfulness purists. By rating chance quality for both teams, it's possible to see the luckiest wins in the Premier League in the past six seasons and the usual classics of the genre are here. There's the extraordinary grace of David de Gea in first place as he double-handedly stopped Arsenal in December 2017.
[img]data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="https://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/{width}{hidpi}/cpsprodpb/8D2D/production/_105814163_degea_getty.jpg" data-sizes="auto" alt="David de Gea">
David De Gea has established himself as one of the world's best goalkeepers since joining Manchester United in 2011There's West Ham sneaking a win at the Etihad Stadium in 2015, with then-City manager Manuel Pellegrini saying "[We] created a lot of chances. We needed to be better with our finishing", demonstrating the sort of straight talking that persuaded West Ham to make him their own manager in 2018. And there's West Ham suffering their own false defeat at the end of the 2015-16 season when they dominated Mark Hughes' Stoke at the Britannia Stadium but lost 2-1. It ensured Stoke would finish in the top half of the top flight for three successive seasons for the first time since 1937 but it was also the third campaign in a row in which they had come ninth: 9-9-9 and two years later the emergency arrived as they were relegated. Taking all this into account, could it be that league position is the only data point we can truly trust[/img]

bbc.com
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