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20.05.2009 11:18

The best attack against the meanest defence

Marc Guillén

The Champions League final in Rome will feature the competition’s top scorer (Barça) against the competition’s meanest defence (Manchester United). Their statistics in this season’s campaign clearly show the virtues of the two teams.

Barça have scored more goals than any other team in the CL this season – and by a big margin. Barça have hit the net 30 times, an average of 2.5 goals a match compared with Man U’s total of 18, an average of 1.5 per match. The difference is to be found in the players’ sharpness in front of the opposing goal as both teams have enjoyed 14 shots on goal per match.

The best defence

ARSENAL-MANCHESTER_06.jpgAlex Ferguson’s team just keeps getting stronger and stronger in defence and in terms of tactical discipline. Manchester United have conceded the fewest goals (6) – 0.5 per match – while Barça have conceded 13, 1.3 per match.

Messi the goal machine

QM3D4725.jpgLionel Messi is the competition’s top scorer with 8, while of the players who will be present in Rome, Henry leads the way with 5. Then come 3 players from the recently crowned Premier League champions, Berbatov, Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo with 4 goals. Samuel Eto'o and Bojan Krkic have 3 apiece.

Possession for Barça

The statistics also show that Barça have more possession of the ball (62%) while Manchester United trail behind with 54%.

Xavi and Messi, kings of the assist

fcb-basilea_x11x.jpgThere is general agreement that Barça are playing the best football in Europe at the moment and statistics relating to goal assists seem to prove this. Xavi Hernández leads the way with 6 goal assists followed by Messi with 5. For Manchester United, Giggs and Rooney have 3.

Fair play in Rome

ARSENAL-MANCHESTER_10.jpgOne area where the two teams definitely coincide is in clean play. In the ranking of fewest fouls committed, Barça are second while Manchester United are fourth. Cristiano Ronaldo has been the victim of the most fouls (36) - together with Ribery - followed by Iniesta (31). Strangely enough, Messi comes way down the list with 23.
The best attack against the meanest defence
Messi beats Ronaldo on efficiency
Most pundits have singled out Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi as the best players in the world but the statistics seem to indicate that the Argentine international is much more effective in front of goal. Messi scores a goal every 3 shots while Ronald needs no fewer than 13 shots to score one goal.

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