Revealed: Premier League's fittest player and teams so far this season
As a player myself who relies mainly on running around a lot in lieu of any real discernible talent, it feels fitting to be writing a piece highlighting the Premier League players who have covered the greatest distance this season.
I must admit that before I saw which players were top of these haring around the pitch charts, I was hoping that what they would actually show is that the best players are the once who work the hardest.
I was hoping that the likes of Sergio Aguero, Diego Costa and Alexis Sanchez would all feature – demonstrating that working really hard isn’t just the preserve of players trying to compensate for their technical failings.
Instead I was given a load of stats that were George Boyded up to the max.Anyway, here we go, who are the fittest players and teams in the Premier League?
We start off with the most basic of all metrics – the award for most ground covered. The winner here is the man who also topped the chart when we ran the numbers back in December: the great Steven N'Zonzi of Stoke City.
And there is Boyd just below him, and perhaps slightly surprisingly Christian Eriksen in at ninth (though not surprising if you read our piece on him last week).
But before you N’Zonzi fans get too smug, what happens when we turn the metric into distance covered per game?
I'll tell you what happens. The Stoke man plummets to 10th spot (though he’s really at 9th as Darnell Furlong has only played 98 minutes this season), and in comes Boyd, storming to the top.
Props also here to the Chelsea pair of Nemanja Matic and Cesc Fabregas, who both put in impressive shifts week in, week out.
Spot also the two other Burnley players in the top ten – that’ll be a bit of a recurring theme in these charts.
Now we move on to the best individual performances of the season (in terms of running around loads).
Boyd is on fire here, claiming half of the top 10 headless chicken most distance covered performances, with James Milner claiming joint top spot.
It’s interesting as well to see the Mauricio Pochettino effect at Tottenham, with Eriksen and Harry Kane both featuring in the list (in the same game incidentally), while Garry Monk has also got a couple of considerable shifts from his Swansea City players.
As well as covering vast distances, Boyd also features prominently in the category for most sprints this season – once again alongside a Burnley team-mate.
Raheem Sterling, perhaps unsurprisingly also features in this category, as does West Ham’s Stewart Downing (though it’s not clear what exactly constitutes a sprint).
Now we move on to the team stats, where, you’ve guessed it, Burnley dominate again.
First up it’s the total distance covered category:
Chapeau Burnley, you’re top of the distance covered league. Manchester City are runners up, contradicting the common perception this season that they essentially turned up after the summer and quickly realised they couldn’t really be bothered to try that hard.
Everton have also been put in the complacent category this campaign, but they too seem to be at least giving it their best.
In terms of the team number of sprints category, once again it’s those industrious Clarets who claim the top prize.
City are just behind them, and Everton also feature. The likes of Arsenal and Chelsea are nowhere to be seen in either team category.
So, there you have it. What have we learnt? Well, Burnley’s players run around an awful lot but they are third bottom in the league, while City's players also work hard and they are second.
And I certainly know who my new footballing idol is...
Data courtesy of the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, Official Player Rating Index of the Premier League. All statistics correct as of March 2 2015