Statistics have been released of the number of passes for each match in the opening round of Premier League games.
Like many sets of statistics you can make all kinds of mischief out of them.
However, Newcastle made 396 passes against Southampton, around a third more than last’s season’s 304 average.
United were the sixth highest of the 20 PL teams this weekend and it does tend to support the theory that Steve McClaren is trying to play it from the back, rather than the route one that often was the case under Alan Pardew.
However, as you can see from the list below, four of the top seven in terms of passing in their first matches, didn’t win, and in fact three of them lost.
Plus, in many cases it is a defender who was the player with the most passes for each team.
In Newcastle’s case it was Massadio Haidara, arguably United’s weakest player against Southampton.
Even Sunderland, possibly the worst team this past weekend, managed to get the joint tenth highest number of passes in their 4-2 defeat by Leicester.
However, our own eyes told us Newcastle were trying to play it out from the back against the Saints and hopefully it will be a trend that continues. Hitting it long equals losing the ball more often, a cardinal sin in modern football.
Sky Sports statistics on number of passes made this past weekend:
Manchester City: 692 (1st)
Top passer v West Brom: David Silva (90)
Team average last season: 492
Arsenal: 481 (2nd)
Top passer v West Ham: Santi Cazorla (71)
Team average last season: 452
Bournemouth: 464 (3rd)
Top passer v Aston Villa: Andrew Surman (88)
Team average last season: 403
Everton: 451 (4th)
Top passer v Watford: John Stones (61)
Team average last season: 408
Manchester United: 401 (5th)
Top passer v Spurs: Daley Blind (48)
Team average last season: 477
Newcastle United: 396 (6th)
Top passer v Southampton: Massadio Haidara (48)
Team average last season: 304
Tottenham: 391 (7th)
Top passer v Man Utd: Toby Alderweireld (58)
Team average last season: 413
Sunderland: 347 (=10th)
Top passer v Leicester: Younes Kaboul (51)
Team average last season: 290