Thursday 18 October 2018

6 alternative statistical awards the Premier League could hand out at the end of the season

The Premier League has announced a new award which will go the league’s assist king, but what else should be rewarded?

A trophy will be awarded this season for the Premier League footballer with the most assists (Peter Byrne/PA/Cadbury/Premier League)
A trophy will be awarded this season for the Premier League footballer with the most assists (Peter Byrne/PA/Cadbury/Premier League)

By Max McLean, Press Association

The Premier League will recognise the efforts of creative footballers this season with a brand new award for the top assist-maker, but why stop there?

Below are six more statistical awards that the league could give out based on this season’s numbers. Which of these would you most like to see rewarded with silverware?

1. Punches

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Bournemouth goalkeeper Artur Boruc goes to punch the ball

Not punches thrown in any sort of scrap, no; this award would go to the punchiest goalkeeper.

The gloved clearance is a constant source of concern to commentators who don’t understand why the keeper doesn’t simply cushion the ball into their mitts, and it’s Watford’s Heurelho Gomes who leads the way with a grand total of 24 so far.

The trophy? A clenched fist, obviously.

2. Clearances

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The ball is cleared off the line at the Liberty Stadium

Tentatively titled the ‘Ave It! trophy, sponsored by Peter Kay, this award would acknowledge the no-nonsense, get-it-out players who don’t mince their footballing words.

And the leader in this department? That would be Brighton’s Shane Duffy, whose 290 clearances, 48 more than the next hoof-heavy player, come at almost nine a game.

Watch out during the presentation, as it’s likely whoever wins will just boot the trophy straight back from whence it came.

3. Offsides

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West Ham United's Marko Arnautovic has a goal disallowed

The offside rule was originally brought in to prevent goal-hanging, but surely these numbers just go to show who’s trying the hardest to break free of the last man and notch a goal?

With that in mind, it’s perhaps no surprise to see Harry Kane leading the way with 37 offside infringements, closely followed by Jamie Vardy, Marko Arnautovic and Glenn Murray, all on 34.

Start bending your runs better, fellas, there are goals to be had.

4. Hit woodwork

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The ball hits the crossbar in a Premier League game

The crossbar challenge has long been a staple of the half-time entertainment at football matches, but striking the frame of the goal in game time is how the true pros do it.

Kane once again leads the way in this department having struck the woodwork six times this season. If those had gone in he’d be leading Mohamed Salah in the race for the golden boot…

Perhaps that’s unsurprising given that Kane has also had by far the most shots of any Premier League player this season, with 169 efforts to Salah’s 128.

5. Blocks

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Ashley Young goes to block the ball in a game against Brighton

For players who really do put their bodies on the line, the blocks trophy (obviously in the shape of a wall) goes to the player who puts their frame in between ball and goal most frequently.

Blocks come in all shapes and sizes, from an outstretched leg to any other flailing body part, and in some circumstances can be celebrated with as much gusto as a goal.

Another award for Brighton as it stands, with Lewis Dunk (52 blocks) leading team mate Duffy (50). The top five comprising Burnley, Bournemouth and Brighton tells its own story.

6. Minutes played

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The fourth official holds up the board to signify added time

And last but certainly not least, for the stalwarts, the ever-presents, those who just refuse to go away, the award for players who have played every minute of the PL season.

Currently six players have played 3,060 out of 3,060 minutes, while six others have notched up 2,970 out of 2,970 having played one game less, with Jordan Pickford, David de Gea and Harry Maguire among those yet to miss a moment.

However, should this award be for outfielders only? Fortunately that’s a decision nobody has to make, for now at least.

Press Association

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