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Tadic is a Playmaking Wizard

An eight nil victory is always going to skew a team's statistics. So lets all enjoy these flawed numbers and dream of Europe.

Steve Bardens

On Sunday sky sports news tweeted this comparison between saints old and new.

Cue a backlash from Liverpool fans talking about the difference in minutes, Lallana's knee injury and justice for the 96. They are not wrong, the police need to be held accountable for their lies and counting stats, when wielded incorrectly, can be quite useless.

Here (taking into account Adam's ineffectual 66 minutes against QPR) are those same figures converted to rate stats.

oldnewrates

Even when comparing per 90 minutes, the numbers don't look great for our former heroes.

Lallana is starting to find some form for Liverpool. He is majestic on the ball, ambidextrous and is close as England has to an Iniesta. All to often his contribution to the game can be restricted to just aesthetics though. His failure to show up on the stats sheet is directly linked to the way his general good play all too often lacks an end product.

Tadic's numbers are a reflection of what we have seen on the pitch. Once in the final third he is a playmaking wizard. Despite lacking Lallana's burst of pace, Dusan is equally adept at jinking his way into a yard of space. Once he is in this space he is clinical. Through balls are inch perfect, never asking the receiver to break stride. Crosses are teasing, a mirror image of Ward-Prowse's mouth watering deliveries. Less than a quarter of the way through the new campaign and he has already surpassed the former captain's assist tally for last season.

On Saturday, Tadic scored his first league goal for the saints. He also notched up four assists. If we take a look at the second goal we see it was his perfectly weighted through ball that set up Davis' cut back for Pelle. And if the dubious goals panel meets to give Graziano a hat trick it was once again a Tadic through ball that sliced open the Sunderland defence allowing Betrand to cross for the big man.

These were secondary assists, a metric that has been recorded for decades in ice hockey. In simplest terms, whoever passes the puck to the assister gets a secondary assist. Goals, assists(primary and secondary) get a point.

So, that makes it a mere 7(SEVEN) "points" for Dusan on saturday. A performance for the ages.

Using these hockey stats, we get the following premier league points totals for the season so far:

hockeystats8

So, whichever way you look at it, Tadic has been masterful.

Pelle, after two uninspiring league games to start his saints career, began scoring in September. His performances and goals earned him Southampton's first player of the month award for over a decade. His secondary assists have come from his excellent hold up play, dragging defenses out of position and unleashing all manner of flicks and passes with seemingly any part of his body.

The biggest surprise here is probably fan favourite Jack Cork. Much has been made of his goals this season but Cork is also making plays in the final third. One example is this delicious 1-2 with Tadic:

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In this instance he doesn't even get the secondary assist. You can only acquire one point per goal, so Pelle gets the secondary assist for his hold up play. This is probably something we can't read too much into after 305 minutes but we'll keep an eye on whether Cork can keep these numbers up when called upon to start.

Finally a quick word about twelve million pound man Shane Long. "He needs a goal" is an often uttered phrase at St Marys. Well, here he has two points. Perhaps not figures worthy of the price tag but he has shown why the club were desperate to sign him. He is a nightmare for defenders. During the Cork goal above he starts on the touchline, next time he is in frame, Van Aanholt is dragged completely out of position by his movement and Jack has acres of space.

However, the opposition may have stumbled across a method of stopping the Irishman.

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Heads up Shane, Stoke are next.