Many teams, fans, players, journalists, gamblers, stat nerds often look to post-game box scores or statistics to formulate a full appreciation or understanding of a specific game.
Stats can paint trends, observations and tendencies that can be missed when simply watching a game in person or on TV.
However, in the case of French Ligue 1 game at the weekend, stats can also be misleading.
Paris Saint German, considered the best team in France currently, took on Ajaccio, a team that finished one spot out of relegation last season. Here’s a look at some of the post-match stats from the game:
But as we know, the only stat that really matters at the end of the day is the one written on the scoreboard. So how many goals did PSG win by?
They didn’t win.
In fact, they needed an 86th minute wonder-goal from new signing, Edinson Cavani, to scrap a 1-1 draw from the game:
“This is football” said Cavani after that game. “We deserved to win. We had so many opportunities”
Cavani’s fellow striker, Zlatan Ibrahimović, had no less than 10 shots. Each one of them on target. Each one of them saved by Ajaccio goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa.
The 39 shot attempts by PSG made Ligue 1 history for the most shot by a team in any game in league history. To compare, no team in the Premier League had more than 20 shot attempts over the weekend.
Games like this must be rare, right?
Wrong. In fact, shots is often overused as a stat with a direct correlation to goals or results.
If you dig into the Premier League games from the weekend, you would see that Fulham defeated Sunderland 1-0 on Saturday, despite attempting just one shot in the game compared to 14 by their opponents.
Moral of the story: “Quality, not quantity, lads!”