The Xavi from the Valley
Conventional wisdom holds that Xavi is the best passer of a football in Europe, and probably the world.
But it's wrong. And the stats prove it. Nor do any of the the midfield magician's Barcelona stable-mates hold the crown, despite gaining an impressive eight nominations between them in Fifa's player of the year competition.
In fact, among Europe's top five leagues the player you can back to pick out a team-mate most often is Swansea City’s Leon Britton.
The 29-year-old midfielder tops a pile that features some of the best-known footballers from the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1.
Britton’s central midfield partner Joe Allen also features in the top 10, which illustrates the style of football Brendon Rogers has instilled in his side.
Players with 1000+ passes only
As for the team as a whole, Swansea lie sixth in the table; above Italian giants AC Milan and Roma and north London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal – who are generally credited with playing the most attractive football in England at the moment.
Less of a surpries is that all-conquering Barcelona lead the way in passing, a full 2.2 percentage points better in their accuracy than closest rivals Bayern Munich.
So should Fabio Capello give Britton a chance? Should Rogers be a genuine candidate for the soon to be vacated England manager’s role?
Let me know @msnuksport_rob
Whatever your thoughts, there's no doubt that Swansea have been refreshing to watch this season and maybe results like that against Arsenal will become less of a surprise from now on.
- You can compare the stats from Swansea players with any of their Premier League rivals on our club pages.
To be fair his success is not just down to him knocking the ball around, but also the fact that the other players at Swansea are excellent off the ball and find space so Leon can pass. Swansea play posession football and Leon is the distribution hub.
Too many people are hung up on big name players, all they are interested in is making a name for themselves. Football is a team game, Swansea are an excellent team with players who understand each other and play for each other.
I assume any criticism aimed at the SWANS is down to them destroying "the best footballing side in England."
Instead its how influential the pass is, i can can have a 100% pass completion rate from 5 yard passes.....but only the best can thread a 30/40 yard ball that can split a deffence wide open
I wonder how Britton would get on in the Barcelona side ?
Reading some of the comments, there's a bit of snobbery against Swansea and Britton, it's a small squad with lower resources but they are handling themselves well for now, and hopefully will continue to do so for a while.
I think it is nice to get these stats up, a lot of fantastic teams such as Swansea are hidden behind the shadows of the so called big teams such as Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man Utd...but, the stats to speak for themselves.
I believe Capello will definitely be looking into the smaller, up coming clubs when putting together the England XI and should dazzle opponents rather than stick to the biggest names of football who probably cannot do as much as players such as Britton and Nathan Dyer.
Well done Swansea, exposing such talent.
In any league if your not in the top four - six teams you willalways struggle to keep your best players. Its that simple so i dont see how thats an insult to Swansea.
Three points are important to remember..
1. How the team have delveloped with very little funding behind the club
2. If they lose their big players then they will get alot of cash for them. It scares me a little to how much more they could develop with millions behind them.
3.This is Swanseas first 6months in top flight football. (give them a break - its actually nice not seeing the same 8 teams in the news for once)
If more clubs had faith in players and took time to develop them then the world of foodball would be less of a carousel.
Hat goes off to Swansea
As a Spurs fan even I know that of his 89.8 per cent, 87 percent of Scott Parkers passes are meaningless ping pong type over a couple of yards. That said so are many of the Barcelona passes. This does mean they keep possession, but to compare skill maybe the stats should reflect 'good' passes or those exceptional ones that split a defence and lead to a goal being scored?
If that were the case, Giggs, Modric and probably a host of others would be in the list. As for instilling a style, well football really is a simple game, if you have the ball the other side won't score.
Now surely something stats don’t take into account is the difficulty of the pass & the vision required to see the pass. To a statistician a 3 yard pass to your centre midfield partner is the same as a thierty yard through ball over the oppositions defence. It’s the amount of “wonder” passes that Xavi plays that makes his achievement so incredible.
The first set of stats are a complete farse as they tell you nothing about anything.
Hell if you want to beleive those stats, Terry is the best passer at Chelsea (ROFL) Its a shame to think people actually spend money and get paid to come out with these moronic stats.
What is interesting however is to see where Swansea are as a team. I say fair play to them for having such a great passing success rate, that I think goes some way to explaining their position in the league. Whilst as others stated having a good pass % doesnt mean goals, it does mean the opposition cant get hold of the ball so your unlikely to conede as many.
Anyways good luck to Swansea, they are a great addition to the prem and their style of football is admirable. Hats off to the lot of them.
Credit to everyone at the Swansea City set-up for overachieving in this opeing half of the season and keeeping realistic hopes of survival alive with only half of the season gone, they do play a superb passing game which is a joy to watch for any neutral and the undesputed talent of the midfield duo of Britton and Allen who are the sole reason (also credit to GK Vorm) why they are where they are in the league and i expect them to maintain this level and even a decent FA cup run in this the 2012 championship year. Should capello take the risk? Take the theo walcott saga from world cup previous, no form and no experience didn't get a game, if the likes of nathan dyer or say leon britton get a chance for 15-20mins they would create and stretch defences, they should get every chance as previous campaigns prove not all the stars make a side with poor results in knock-out stages. But hands off rodgers he's ours!
Manchester City's title destiny may be out of their hands, but manager Manuel Pellegrini has warned plenty can yet happen in the race.
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