STAT ATTACK: Hanley stands out for Canaries amid early struggles
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Amid a difficult return to Premier League life, the performances of Norwich City skipper Grant Hanley are measuring up favourably in the top-flight statistical stakes after seven matches.
Having re-established himself as a key player for Scotland in the past year, Hanley was the first Canaries player to be named in a Premier League Team of the Week ahead of the current international break.
Grinding out a 0-0 draw at Burnley to end a horrible losing streak saw Alan Shearer name Hanley in the official weekly team after the City skipper got through an eye-catching 15 clearances on a busy afternoon at Turf Moor.
With the 3-5-2 formation that Daniel Farke has switched to recently seemingly suiting the Scot's strengths, Hanley was also included in the WhoScored.com best XI for game week seven, based on statistical ratings.
Their methodology rated Hanley at 8.4 out of 10 for his performance, with Canaries keeper Tim Krul (7.5) and midfielder Mathias Normann (8) also making the WhoScored weekly team.
Those are not the kind of acknowledgements that are going to be celebrated by supporters, clearly, with City sitting bottom with just one point, two goals scored and 16 conceded.
Yet Hanley provides a good example of the team's situation overall, having been pitched straight into the difficult opening fixtures despite not having any pre-season minutes.
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After injuring his thigh during Scotland's final game at the Euros - after being praised for his display during the previous 0-0 draw with England - the former Blackburn and Newcastle centre-back was then one of the players in isolation due to a Covid-19 outbreak during pre-season.
Yet the captain is alongside Max Aarons as the only City player to have played every Premier League minute so far and that duo are among 38 outfield players across the division to have remained ever-present so far.
Ahead of the return to action against Brighton at Carrow Road on Saturday, we've taken a look at some of the key statistics so far.
2021-22 PREMIER LEAGUE STATS
Clearances - Grant Hanley (46)
Ahead of Ben Gibson (29) internally but top of the Premier League tree overall, ahead of Watford centre-back William Troost-Ekong (38) as his nearest competition, with Gibson ranking tenth in the division to emphasise the pressure the City defence has been under.
Premier League rank: 1st
Interceptions - Grant Hanley (17)
Again ahead of Gibson (nine) in the City squad but with one player ahead of him in the division: Burnley left-back Charlie Taylor (18). Hanley is level with Everton centre-back Michael Keane and Spurs left-back Sergio Reguillon so far.
Premier League rank: Joint 2nd
Saves - Tim Krul (20)
City's number one is tied with Burnley's Nick Pope for saves made so far. Leeds' young French keeper Illian Meslier is the top performer with 28.
Premier League rank: Joint 6th
Successful tackles - Pierre Lees-Melou (18)
The Frenchman leads Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons (both 13) in the tackle stakes and 14 players have made more in the top flight, with Crystal Palace left-back Tyrick Mitchell out in front on 24. Tied with three midfielders: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg of Tottenham, Brentford's Valery Janelt and Wilfred Ndidi of Leicester.
Premier League rank: Joint 7th
Successful dribbles - Dimitris Giannoulis (12)
One ahead of Aarons but having played fewer than half of the right-back's minutes, the Greek international is battling for the starting role on the left with Manchester United loanee Brandon Williams. Speedy Wolves star Adama Traore (49) is clear of the nearest competition: Newcastle ace Allan Saint-Maximin (33).
Premier League rank: Joint 10th
Aerial duels won - Grant Hanley (20)
It's Hanley again, with 20 aerial duels won placing him ahead of McLean (14) in the Norwich squad so far. Tied with West Ham midfielder Tomas Soucek across the division, with Brentford striker Ivan Toney (41) out in front.
Premier League rank: Joint 11th
Shots - Teemu Pukki (12)
Emphasising City's lack of goal threat, Pukki is tied with 10 players to have attempted 12 shots so far, including wingers Wilfried Zaha and Jack Grealish. Liverpool star Mo Salah leads the way with 28 leading to his six goals so far. Pukki is the only player to have scored for City, with Kenny McLean (10) ranking second for shots in Farke's squad.
Premier League rank: Joint 15th
Passes - Grant Hanley (316)
Gibson (286) is averaging 57.2 passes per game so is likely to surpass the skipper if he retains his starting role. It's classy Manchester City defender Ruben Dias leading the way across the division with 548 so far.
Premier League rank: Joint 40th