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kurtsimonw

Stats

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Yes, I know stats mean nothing and whatever, but I always find them interesting to look at and they could throw up some surprising numbers. It can also be a decent indication on how you're playing, the way you're playing, etc.

I've had a look at the stats for last night and Makoun was the one that stood out for me and the passing of the team for that matter.

Makoun

Passes attempted: 94

Complete: 85

Incomplete: 9

Those numbers are nothing short of incredible. To lose the ball less than once every 10 attempts is something you'd expect from Xavi! It's not as if they were all backwards passes in his own half, he made his fair share of forward passes in the United half.

Petrov/NRC

Passes attempted: 49

Complete: 46

Incomplete: 3

Clearly not on the ball as much as Makoun, but they were very good with it. NRC often gets slated for poor use of the ball, Petrov gets criticised for playing it backwards too much. But they both did very well in keeping the ball. You can't play a hollywood pass every time and you need that bit of posession at times.

Anderson/Fletcher/Carrick

Passes attempted: 98

Complete: 81

Incomplete: 17

United's CMs for the whole game only got on the ball as much as Makoun and were more wasteful with it by a decent amount. Our CMs made 50% more passes than Uniteds with a much better completion %. How often have we been able to do that in the past?

Aston Villa

Passes attempted: 565

Complete: 452

Incomplete: 112

Manchester United

Passes attempted: 446

Complete: 339

Incomplete: 104

Over 100 passes more, yet only 8 more incompletions. When you consider that in the home game against them - despite getting a point - we only made 216 complete passes whilst making 159 incomplete passes. Quite a terrible number really! Whilst United made 420+ complete passes and just over 130 incomplete passes.

As I said at the start, some don't like this type of thing. But for me it shows that we're improving as a footballing team and that Ged's trying to sort out our short-comings. 2 issues I've had in recent years is that our ball retention is awful - which is why I have no problem with Stan playing the ball back as much as he does - and the lack of a consistant goalscorer. Judging by Makoun's numbers against one of the best teams in football and Bent's record in recent years and, more importantly, since he got here it looks like Houllier's definitely got us going in the right direction.

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Aston Villa

Passes attempted: 565

Complete: 452

Incomplete: 112

Manchester United

Passes attempted: 446

Complete: 339

Incomplete: 104

3-1

When you consider that in the home game against them - despite getting a point - we only made 216 complete passes whilst making 159 incomplete passes. Quite a terrible number really! Whilst United made 420+ complete passes and just over 130 incomplete passes.

When you consider that in the home game against them - despite getting a point

2-2

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True. When you've got the ball they can't score (o.g.s excepted). When you've got the ball, you need to create chances. When they've got the ball, you need to get it back and to stop them making chances.

So the stats above alone don't paint a full picture.

In the litany of things that annoy supporters, giving the ball away is one of the top ones. Others include dicking about with it and then losing it, not shooting when you have a clear chance, and not marking their payers or tracking their runs (shirking).

Dunno what I'm saying really, other than looking at the stats and the game, there's a definite change from MO'N's time, in the style of play, some areas better, some less so.

We've let in 43 goals, which is way too many.

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He's right you know, there are only two stats which actually count; how many goals you scored and how many goals you conceded.

That said, its clear to see that this team is becoming Houllier's team, and he intends to play meat and tidy football instead of the blood and thunder with a heavy reliance on pace we got under MON.

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Obviously the result is all that matters and I full expected some special to point out the scores, but the result wasn't the point if my post. I was amazed at how quickly Houllier has got us playing an almost completely different style of football in a short amount of time.

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We didn't move the ball quick enough in the final third. It was pleasing to see us so comfortable on the ball, but we were never likely to get in behind them as we slowed the tempo down.

The two times we did we scored and Evra tripped Bent for what shoould have been a penalty.

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Having somebody as mobile as Bradley in alongside Jeany Mak will help. Good old Stan just doesn't have the legs to dictate the tempo anymore.

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