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The Premier League Long-Ball Table Is Not Full Of Surprises

By Tom Dean


Image: BBC

Stoke City have the tallest squad in the top flight (and one of the tallest in Europe), very much by the design of apparent rugby fan Tony Pulis. One fifth of their attempted passes are hit longer than 35 yards.

The four sides who attempt the least long balls occupy four of the five bottom places in this particular table (Tottenham play more long balls than the other top sides, mostly because they have Peter Crouch). In a league  where long-ball football is rewarded, Arsenal would be relegated every time. And if the Gunners do win the league, as I think they will, then Wenger’s football ethos will gets its rich reward.

Conclusion: Long-ball football is the most effective way of becoming a mid-table, survival-focused club. Playing a more attractive game is a double-edged sword – if you have lots of money and can afford very good players, the shorter game often works like a charm. But for sides such as Wigan, Fulham and West Ham, not relying on dangerous – and danger-clearing – long balls can really backfire.

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By Ollie Irish on February 27th, 2011 in Featured. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

9 Responses to “The Premier League Long-Ball Table Is Not Full Of Surprises”

  1. Montesquieu says:

    No surprise here.

  2. yep, looks like arsenal really were destined to beat the brum…..

  3. Rich says:

    arsenal for the league?? not with wenger

  4. DJ says:

    Surprised to see Blackpool high up there though.

  5. alfie says:

    Think this should take away assists (like a good old ball over the top) and maybe clearances to make it fairer

  6. freakz says:

    Fuck off! Why do you have to have a dig at Birmingham? Don’t remember them winning the cup by a route one goal…

  7. V says:

    Mr Tom, with that image I was reading it as long-throws rather than long-balls!

  8. Statto says:

    Lies, damn lies and statistics.

    How about this…..80 of 100 Stoke passes will be less than 35yrds whereas 90 of 100 Man Utd passes will be less than 35yrds

    Doesn’t seem significant now does it.

    This sort of article is tired, tedious and uninspired. Back it up with some tactical discussion or something of substance please.

  9. Buzz Gorry says:

    Yeah, just lazy stereotypes here. I bet he found it ont the internet. Grow up Chris

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