Suffering as I am with football withdrawal, I have started reading stats.
That alone won’t be enough to get me through the long football-free weeks ahead, but it is a start. In stats, stories can be found. Not boring stories about numbers and percentages, but stories about missing people.
Because of the top ten Premier League goal-scorers from the 2011-2012 season, only two returned to that list 12 months later.
Only Robin van Persie – defending his Golden Boot – and Demba Ba – who dropped from seventh to eighth – make this year’s list of top marksmen.
The rest have vanished. Or to explain things a little less dramatically, they haven’t been very good. The eight changes to the list could be easily explained had last year’s players all moved on. But that is only the case with Yakubu, who scored 17 goals in Blackburn’s ultimately doomed campaign. The rest remain in the top flight.
Last year both Sergio Aguero and Eden Dzeko made the top ten with 37 goals between them. This season – in one example of why Manchester City failed to defend their league title – those same two players scored 11 less; which may not appear much, but can be the difference between trophies and regret.
Last year Clint Dempsey scored 17 league goals for Fulham. For Tottenham, he managed just seven.
While Grant Holt’s outstanding return of 15 goals for Norwich was practically halved this year to just 8.
At the end of last season, Newcastle United had two of the top 10 goal-scorers – which goes a long way to explaining their fifth-place finish.
But the two most glaring differences are those of Wayne Rooney and Emmanuel Adebayor.
Rooney finished last season as the second-highest goal-scorer with 27 strikes. This campaign that figure has dropped to 12.
While Spurs would have hoped for Adebayor to match or better his 17 goals from last season; but instead he managed just five.
It is one thing having a goal-scorer, but quite another having a consistent one. It will be interesting to see how many of this year’s top 10 return to that summit next season.
For your viewing pleasure, here are the top 10 Premier League goal-scorers from the last two years:
1. Robin van Persie 26
2. Luis Suarez 23
3. Gareth Bale 21
4. Christian Benteke 19
5. Michu 18
6. Romelu Lukaku 17
7. Frank Lampard 15
8. Demba Ba 15
9. Rickie Lambert 15
10. Dimitar Berbatov 15
1. Robin van Persie 30
2. Wayne Rooney 27
3. Sergio Aguero 23
4. Emmanuel Adebayor 17
5. Yakubu 17
6. Clint Dempsey 17
7. Demba Ba 16
8. Grant Holt 15
9. Eden Dzeko 14
10. Papiss Cisse 13
image: © nasmac