Europa League stats dive: high achievers of Matchday 2
Friday, October 1, 2021
Who made the most saves, crosses, clearances, ball recoveries and completed passes this week?
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UEFA.com has a treasure trove of statistics covering many aspects of play to enhance the UEFA Europa League.
We sift through the Matchday 2 data to pick out the stand-out displays, presented by Swissquote.
Most passes completed
91: Igor Zubeldia (Real Sociedad)
87: Aritz Elustondo (Real Sociedad)
84: Carl Starfelt (Celtic)
83: William Saliba (Marseille)
78: Álvaro (Marseille)
Real Sociedad dominated their 1-1 draw at home to Monaco, hauling in 64% possession and making 515 passes – their central defensive duo Zubeldia and Elustondo managed more than a third of that total between them. The numbers were even more impressive from Marseille – 65% and 529 – with Saliba in the top four for the second matchday running, yet the French side could not turn that dominance into three points either as they were held by Galatasaray.
6: Cody Gakpo (PSV Eindhoven)
6: Filip Kostić (Eintracht Frankfurt)
6: Borna Barišić (Rangers)
6: Aaron Cresswell (West Ham)
Two of PSV's four goals at Sturm Graz came from crosses and the only surprise was that Gakpo's delivery did not directly result in either, though the opener did come after his corner was flicked on. Equally eye-raising was the fact none of the other players with six successful crosses managed an assist either, none coming closer than Cresswell, whose centre was headed against the post by Craig Dawson shortly before they opened the scoring against Rapid Wien. A word too for Barišić, who also finished second in this list on Matchday 1.
12: Olivier Boscagli (PSV Eindhoven)
11: Makoto Hasebe (Eintracht Frankfurt)
11: Dinis Almeida (Royal Antwerp)
11: Elseid Hysaj (Lazio)
10: Bryan Heynan (Genk)
10: Juninho (Midtjylland)
PSV's place at the top of this metric may look unexpected given they won 4-1 but that scoreline fails to reflect the fact that Sturm Graz almost matched them for shots and ball recoveries, making Boscagli's regular interventions vital to the result. A mere one team recovery was all that separated Hasebe's Eintracht and Almeida's Antwerp but the former's individual display was the more impressive given he was substituted in the 72nd minute as the German side sought, and eventually prised, the only goal. A nod to Heynan too after he topped these standings on Matchday 1.
10: Kévin Théophile-Catherine (Dinamo Zagreb)
9: Maik Nawrocki (Legia Warszawa)
8: Álex Moreno (Real Betis)
7: Radovan Pankov (Crvena zvezda)
7: Dinis Almeida (Royal Antwerp)
7: Pablo (Lokomotiv Moskva)
Dinamo Zagreb and Legia picked up two of the stand-out triumphs by downing Genk and Leicester respectively and the fact both did it with a clean sheet owed plenty to the determined displays of Théophile-Catherine and Nawrocki. Betis and Álex Moreno also showed grit to see off Ferencváros in a more even contest than the 3-1 scoreline alludes to while Pankov was the only one of the players with seven clearances to be part of a side that did not concede.
7: Mads Hermansen (Brøndby)
7: Joe Hart (Celtic)
6: Lukas Hradecky (Leverkusen)
6: Altay Bayındır (Fenerbahçe)
5: Jörg Siebenhandl (Sturm Graz)
5: Kristijan Kahlina (Ludogorets)
Celtic have found the going tough in the group stage, shipping four goals in both games, but things could have been much worse had Hart not made a season-high 12 saves across those matches. Hermansen is just one behind over the first two games, though his heroics this week could not secure his side a second clean sheet. Hart's opposite number Hradecky did remain unbreached though and is the sole name above who can say that this time around.