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The Sun accidentally praises Mikel Arteta

The newspaper's attempt to make a point about United's Michael Carrick served a second purpose - highlighting the Arsenal man's passing and possession.

"yes, another pass completed. I've done it"
"yes, another pass completed. I've done it"
Jamie McDonald

On Twitter this morning, a photo taken of a graphic from the Sun was going around. It appears that the originator was @smoliver96, so the credit goes to him.

This graphic does actually serve the stated purpose: proving that Michael Carrick "is United's midfield orchestrator," as long as you subscribe to the idea that being near the top in those categories means what they say it means. Feel free to debate that if you so wish.

But it shows something else, as well. If we accept the premise that being in the top three in these categories says something substantive about a midfield player, then it follows that Mikel Arteta is the most influential midfielder in the Premier League, at least when his team has the ball.

Arteta is listed there as first in passes, passes/90, successful passes, successful passes/90, and touches. He's second in touches/90, and not behind Carrick - he's behind his teammate Aaron Ramsey (who is himself second to Arteta in passes/90 and successful passes/90). Carrick is second in two measures and third in the other four - and in all four, he's third behind two Arsenal midfielders.

Like I said above, you can take issue with the claim that these statistics say what the Sun claims they do (though unusually for me, I'm inclined to agree with the Sun here). But either way, it's at least a bit amusing that a graphic intended to bolster a point about a Manchester United player had the unintended consequence of complimenting the Arsenal midfield.