THEY can be viewed in a countless number of ways, skewed and even manipulated.
But they can also offer undeniable truths, facts not even the most creative can spin.
Stewart Downing, the Liverpool winger, is right when he says modern football has become obsessed with statistics but there is one figure from last season even he has been unable to ignore.
After 48 shots in the Premier League, the £20m man failed to score a single goal. Nineteen were on target and 29 were wide of the mark, including his personal tussle with the woodwork which he hit a handful of times.
Downing admits to being embarrassed and for those who have fired criticism at the 27-year-old all season, it was a free shot.
The former Middlesbrough man was of course in good company last season, Liverpool had the most shots off target than any other team in the top flight, hit the goal frame 33 times and missed five penalties, more than anyone else.
“That I didn’t score a goal all season is embarrassing. It’s a fact that I didn’t get enough goals,” Downing said.
But then again, should we be at all surprised? Have we watched Downing at Liverpool with a false idea of his ability to score goals?
Is he not really in the team to create?
Downing’s one season with Aston Villa yielded eight goals but his two previous campaigns with Middlesbrough only saw him score a total of five goals.
Netting in cup games against Oldham Athletic and Stoke City for Liverpool are conveniently ignored as well.
“Stats have taken over the game: he doesn’t score this, he hasn’t set up that... You can read into it as you like,” argued Downing.
“If you look at what I did at Aston Villa, those chances got put away. Last season I was on a par with that, but at Liverpool they didn’t [get put away]. It seemed to take us four or five chances to score a goal.”
Downing appears to be a player whose form is sensitive to confidence but there were conviction in his words which has to be seen as encouraging.
The arrival of Brendan Rodgers, as it would with any new manager, has cast doubts over the long-term futures of those players who had the ability to underwhelm under the previous regime.
Downing acknowledged “My form’s been up and down – some good, some indifferent.”