Statistics; an occasionally sterile and clinical look at a football match that shouldn't always be perceived as quantifiable by graphs and graphics. Hand on heart, not sure I've ever seen a stat on Brazil 1970. Only two things of relevance in relation to them are:
They played brilliant mesmerising football
They won the World Cup doing the above
Stats that tell you history (Spurs, 1961, eleven straight wins from start of season, 2013/14 best ever start to a Prem season) are undeniable, simply illustrating fact that isn't debatable. However, what of stats that attempt to be the very basis of agenda and opinion when it comes to player and team performance? I'm not so sure the full weight of the latter should be carried on the shoulders of conclusion.
Sure, no doubt they give us clear and concise evidence for productivity and error within a game of football but they always mix well within the context of what was actually witnessed.
An example would be Christian Eriksen's performance against Newcastle. Statistical 'one of the greatest in the history of the Premier League' (tongue in cheek) thanks to a record tally of key passes. The reality? We lost 1-0. We didn't score. Eriksen, you could argue, made the passes he was simply expected to deliver. A single goal, even if it was deflected off someone's backside would have been a far superior stat compared to any given heat map or possession percentage in the autopsy of an aftermath.
I'm not out of hand dismissing stats. That would be far too hipster a move. Spurs already taking hipster to another level by dismissing goals in favour of clean sheets. I like a good stat myself and never have an issue sharing one as a nice to have rather than factual evidence of why X is / isn't working.
You could take this a step further and look at stats that constitute a win, draw or loss. Now these are relevant for very obvious reasons. So if you wish to break them down into fragmented pieces for analysis you'll do so by looking at the performance overall, the style of play and the manner in which the points were won or lost. Did we play well, did we deserve to win? Plus a variety of gut feelings towards key moments and players product with accompanying emotional reaction and heart felt instinctive approving/disapproving nods of the head.
What I mean to say is, you can tell by watching say Andros Townsend, how effectual or ineffectual he is by observing his movement, the areas he attacks out wide and inside, the availability of passing options he chooses / ignores and so on. All the info is processed through your footballing brain filter (everyone of us with our own set of rules) and you arrive at whatever conclusion you spit out.
It's why perception of individuals and games vary so much from one person to the next. We all see the exact same thing yet we all talk about it like we're watching something different.
Watching Spurs can be as confusing and controversial as the Zapruder film.
You can clearly see what happened, you don't know why it happened, you think you know who is responsible, some choosing to point the finger of blame at one person whilst others are screaming conspiracy at many. All the while, we can't agree on the trajectory, how many bullets, how man gunmen (man) and then continue to argue until the sun sets and the moon shines about whether we witnessed any magic or not. In the end, someone always gets the bullet.
31 shots tells you we had 31 attempts on goal. Watching us have those 31 shots on goal (14 on target) will tell you just how fluid the build up play was and if the shots were clear cut chances, woeful finishes or brilliance from the opposing keeper. Was there cohesion? Is there a stat for cohesion? I guess there is (a mixture of pass rate completion and transitional movement and possession). Can you tell if we played well from a %? Not really. But it's there if you wish to then use those % to back up that agenda you hold. Which stat lets us know that most of the shots were fired straight at the keeper and probably would have gone in if they ball was struck cleaner?
I really don't have that much more of a ground breaking defining point to make here. Just blowing off steam in the lull of the International break and tbh. Might as well slot in another analogy.
When you have sex with your partner/one night stand/your best mates bird - you don't think to yourself straight afterwards that you...
Shagged for 18 minutes (30 minutes including foreplay and removal of clothes)
You penetrated at a gentle speed before upping the tempo and slowing it down again, for the tease, before going beyond the point of no return.
Your face expressed itself in twelve different ways at the point of climax.
You kissed her 102 times, touched her in intimate places 47 times, slapped cheeks five times, and attempted illegal entry once.
Performed in four different positions, two of the positions three times repeated.
Finished with precision with no uncomfortable mis-aim to the eyes of hair.
...then forming an opinion based on the functionality of the session whether the performance was good or not.
Do you think this pragmatically straight after the act? Of course you don't.
All you can think is 'that was amazing' or 'I've had better'. It's either great, good, average, bad or worse. You're either dancing on your toes in delight or shaking your head with embarrassment.
You don't need a breakdown to know if it went well or not, but you'll still have no problem sharing the breakdown and every single dirty detail (mostly exaggerations) to make yourself look like the don when you're down the pub with your mates later on.
At this moment in time, talking about Spurs and their performances by leading with stats as the crux of your discussion is a little like telling your mates you've just had sex which lasted under ten minutes and you forgot to take your socks off during the solitary missionary position and then cried at climax.
Best leave all the little details out.