London free-sheet City AM tried to make a mug out of Crystal Palace boss Alan Pardew, claiming in a headline that the Wimbledon native is looking to adopt a ‘tiki-taka’ style approach similar to Barcelona this season.
Pardew had said no such thing, with the line below the only quote City AM carried from the 55-year-old:
“I want the side to retain the ball, to play a brand of football we couldn’t really do last season due to injuries and the squad’s strength…We want more consistent displays and that will come with a stronger, deeper squad.”
That didn’t stop tomorrow’s fish and chips wrapping from summoning the Blaugrana ghost, and it won’t stop us pointing out why Palace are no Barcelona, even with £25m of new talent:
Claudio Bravo > Steve Mandanda
The key stat here is distribution success, with Barcelona famed at building from the back and getting the ball to feet at all times.
New Eagles signing Mandanda punted the ball an average 36 metres during his last year at Marseille, eight further than Barca’s Bravo, but the latter’s 86% distribution success rate towers over the 22-cap France international’s 68% by the same metric.
Javier Mascherano > James Tomkins
Arriving for £12m from West Ham earlier this summer, 27-year-old Tomkins looks just about on the money considering the cash-rich Premier League’s loosening of the purse strings, but he can’t hold a candle to Camp Nou colossus Mascherano.
The nominal midfielder started 28 La Liga games in the heart of Los Blaugrana’s defence last season, racking up an awesome pass-accuracy rate of over 90%, compared to Tomkins’ 75% average in his last campaign in east London.
Perhaps Pardew should consider moving James McArthur back 15 yards, with the midfielder’s 85% pass-completion rate last term about as good as it gets at Selhurst Park.
Andres Iniesta > Yohan Cabaye
Cabaye’s 83% pass-completion rate is not bad considering the Frenchman powers Palace’s midfield engine room, with 20-metre balls pinged on average, but that’s not a patch on the Spanish star cruelly deprived of a Ballon d’Or so far in his illustrious career.
Iniesta finds his man almost 91% of the time, with 90 passes per match made at an average of 17 metres each.
Lionel Messi > Andros Townsend
Need we go on?
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.