Stat, Viz, Quiz is the weekly Opta Analyst football newsletter. Our latest edition includes numbers on Kevin De Bruyne, Arsenal’s corners, and teams to have won without the ball.

We’re closing in on the end of the season.

As a single tear rolls down your cheek, don’t fear; we’ll have loads of Euro 2024 content for you during the summer months, as well as all kinds of other articles of quirky yet (hopefully) relevant football data.

Speaking of quirky data, Kevin De Bruyne is surely just showing off now. The Belgian has recorded 15 assists this season, despite playing just 21 games, which means he has more than any other Premier League player in all competitions this season having missed half the campaign. In this week’s SVQ we take a closer look at his remarkable ability to set up goals.

Before De Bruyne created Manchester City’s win in Nottingham, Arsenal picked up a vital victory at rivals Tottenham, and surprise, surprise; corners played a part. Their set-pieces have been the talk of the league all season, but what is their secret? We do a brief investigation into the Premier League’s ‘Inswing Kings’.

Our quiz looks at some more top Premier League trivia, and this week’s Ask Opta question requests some information on successful teams who had very little of the ball.

If you haven’t done so already, you can subscribe below and receive Stat, Viz, Quiz direct to your inbox every Tuesday.

STAT How May I Assist You?

Kevin De Bruyne gave everyone else a five-month head start.

Fair enough, his hamstring was largely to blame for that, but it would be fun to think that this has all been a target he set himself. ‘Can I miss the entire first half of a campaign and still top the assists charts across Europe?’ Well, yes, he might actually do so.

De Bruyne provided two more assists on Sunday as Manchester City overcame a strong challenge from Nottingham Forest, winning 2-0 at the City Ground thanks to goals from Josko Gvardiol and Erling Haaland.

It was the 18th time the Belgian provided 2+ assists in a single Premier League game, now the outright most of any player in the competition.

That takes De Bruyne’s total to 15 assists in all competitions this season; not bad when you consider his substitute appearance against Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup on 7 January was just his second game of the campaign.

De Bruyne missed five months of action after suffering a hamstring injury in the opening game of the season at Burnley. He has managed just 21 appearances in all competitions, and yet, only Bayer Leverkusen duo Florian Wirtz (19) and Álex Grimaldo (16) have more assists for teams in Europe’s top five leagues.

Most assists all comps 23-24 Europe top 5 leagues

It is quite astonishing. No other Premier League player has as many assists in all competitions in the whole season, with Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka having the next most with 14. De Bruyne has overtaken them all in half the time.

He also has his teammates’ ruthlessness in front of goal to thank, to be fair. De Bruyne’s expected assists (xA) total is just 7.43, so thanks to clinical finishing from the likes of Haaland and Phil Foden, he has recorded double the number of assists he would normally have expected to.

It should be pointed out that only (‘only’) eight of De Bruyne’s assists have come in the Premier League, and 11 players have bettered that total so far, with Aston Villa’s Ollie Watkins top with 12.

Overtaking Watkins might be a big ask, but with five games left this season for Man City in the league and FA Cup, you wonder if De Bruyne can catch Grimaldo and Wirtz.

VIZ Arsenal Remain Corner Kings

Arsenal PL corner takers 23-24
Viz by Jonny Whitmore

Another Arsenal game usually means more set-piece productivity on display, and of course, Sunday was no different as they put Tottenham to the sword thanks to two more goals from corners.

Arsenal’s 3-2 victory in the north London derby at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium had plenty of talking points and a dramatic ending, but ultimately it was the visitors’ proficiency from corners that once again made the difference.

Arsenal have now scored more goals from corners (16) than any other team in the Premier League this season and matched the all-time Premier League record set by Oldham in 1992-93 and West Brom in 2016-17.

Set-piece coach Nicolas Jover should probably be the one to lift the Premier League trophy should they manage to pip Man City, with Arsenal’s first and third goals on Sunday both coming from familiar inswinging corner routines.

The first was such a good delivery by Bukayo Saka that Spurs’ Pierre-Emile Højbjerg couldn’t resist nodding it in at the near post. It is the only example this season of an own goal coming from the first contact off a corner in the Premier League. The next one was another perfectly placed corner by Declan Rice that found Kai Havertz to head in from close range as Ben White provided the blocking on Spurs goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario.

It is a familiar sight now; Arsenal players stood at the far post before all racing to the near one as the corner is taken, blocking the goalkeeper and defenders as others line up in space to head the ball in.

As you can see from this week’s viz above, they don’t really mix things up either. An astonishing 198 of Arsenal’s 199 crossed corners in the Premier League have been inswingers, with just one being classed as an outswinger. We assume whoever took that one was disciplined thoroughly by Mikel Arteta.

As you can also see below, they generally attack the front post, with only 6% of corner deliveries ending in the half of the area furthest away from the goal.

Arsenal PL corner end zones 23-24

Can anyone stop them? Seemingly not, but it will be interesting to see if it could be the difference between Arsenal winning the league and not in the last few weeks.

You would have to assume that most teams will be spending their summer scouting for set-piece coaches as a priority.

QUIZ Bowen’s Bagful, Cucurella’s Calamity, and Saka’s Spurs Strikes

It’s time for some questions. How many can you get right? If you say more than five, we’ll know you’re fibbing. Answers at the bottom of the page.

1. Jarrod Bowen’s goal against Liverpool was his 16th in the league for 2023-24, making him the joint-top scorer in a single Premier League campaign for West Ham, equalling whose haul of 16 in 1999-00?

2. Manchester United’s Antony scored just his second Premier League goal at Old Trafford and his first in 26 such matches since netting against which team on his debut in the competition in September 2022?

3. Marc Cucurella’s own goal in favour of Aston Villa after 03:44 was the second earliest Chelsea have conceded an own goal in a Premier League match, after which former Blue put through his own net after 03:08 against Manchester United in October 2012?

4. Bukayo Saka has scored 15 goals for Arsenal in the Premier League this season, his most in a single campaign. With his strike against Spurs, he also became the first English player to score home and away for Arsenal against them in a league campaign since who in 1993-94?

5. Man City’s 2-0 win at Nottingham Forest was Pep Guardiola’s 300th game as a manager in the Premier League. Who are the only four managers to take charge of more games in the competition with one club?

Ask Opta

This week’s question comes to us from Timo Schöning, who asks: “Everton won the [Merseyside] derby despite a very low amount of ball possession (24%). What was the lowest ball possession of a winning team in the top five leagues ever?”

Do you have a stat-based question you’d like Opta to answer in a future edition of SVQ? Email us at or message us on X @OptaAnalyst with #AskOpta and we’ll pick the best one.


Opta has detailed possession data for Europe’s top five leagues since the start of the 2006-07 season.

Yes Timo, Everton showed against Liverpool that possession may be nine-tenths of the law, but it isn’t everything.

It was not the lowest possession on record for a winning team, though. That honour goes to Eintracht Frankfurt, who beat Borussia Dortmund 1-0 in May 2016 despite having just 15.5% of possession.

Frankfurt v Dortmund stats 2016

Several of the other examples of teams having less than 20% of the ball and somehow winning, perhaps unsurprisingly, involve Barcelona. They lost 2-1 to Cádiz in December 2020 (17.8%), 2-1 to Granada in April 2021 (18.3%), and 1-0 to the same opponent in April 2014 (19.1%).

In terms of the Premier League, Nottingham Forest’s 1-0 win over Arsenal last April that officially handed Manchester City the 2022-23 title saw Steve Cooper’s side have just 18.3% of the ball.

One of the strangest results of recent times saw Stuttgart have just 19.6% possession against Bayern Munich in May 2018, but they somehow ran out 4-1 winners at the Allianz Arena.

What Are We up to at Opta Analyst?

Here’s some of the latest data-driven offerings you can find on our website:

😬 Tottenham’s Set-Piece Problems: Why Spurs’ Corners Should Concern Ange Postecoglou

⚽️ Can We Measure Real Madrid’s Logic-Defying Champions League History?

🏆 Who Will Win the Premier League in 2023-24?

💪 From Chelsea Misfit to Arsenal Indispensable: The Renaissance of Kai Havertz

❌ Are Premier League Changes Killing Off the ‘Bore Draw’?

📈 Opta Power Rankings: The Biggest Risers and Fallers Since the Start of the Season

Opta Player Ratings & Games

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If you haven’t done so yet, check out and play Opta’s FREE weekly football challenges, Opta Max and Opta Five.

Both games are powered by the Opta Player Ratings, a measure that takes into account over 100 different metrics to provide an accurate performance score (out of 100) for every player in a single match.

The weekend’s top-performing player was Bruno Fernandes (95.8/100), who created nine chances for Manchester United in their 1-1 draw with Burnley.

In Opta Max and Opta Five you can compare players’ latest players ratings and stats. Then put your player ratings knowledge to the test for a chance to win big prizes each week of the football season.

Head to the website to find out more and start playing Opta Games.

Quiz Answers

1. Paolo Di Canio

2. Arsenal

3. David Luiz

4. Ian Wright

5. Arsène Wenger (828 with Arsenal), Alex Ferguson (810 with Manchester United), David Moyes (427 with Everton), and Jürgen Klopp (331 with Liverpool).

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