In my last piece: Premier League Ultimate Team: Defence we picked the goalkeeper and defenders for our Ultimate Team. We also established that we would pick a team based on a passing style of play and in a formation along the lines of 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. Choosing a passing style of play for our team brings to the fore passing statistics that we can look at, and choosing a fluid style of formation allows us to be flexible when picking our front players.
We will play more a 4-2-3-1 with one defensive midfielder (No. 6 – see graphic below), another central midfielder slightly further forward (No. 7), who will be more attack-minded and a further three (No.’s 8,10,& 11) behind our main striker. For or our defensive midfielder we will concentrate on defensive statistics like tackling and ground duels etc when awarding points. Whilst concentrating on creative statistics for our players further forward.
So, statistically, who has been the best defensive midfielder in the Premiership this year? Well to decide that we will look at battling and passing stats and award points on that basis. I’ve collated data on 633 players and to narrow the field down and to make sure our players have featured heavily this season I will filter out players who have attempted 700 or less passes. This leaves us with 122 players to pick the best defensive midfielder from. Which in turn leaves 10 players who could be classed as defensive midfielders, and we will choose our player from this ten.
So let’s award our first points, first off let’s take a look at the passing accuracy and how often they intercept the ball, of the 10 chosen. We will award 5 points to the top passer, 4 for the second best, 3 for the third and so on.
As you can see from the table, Leon Britton comes out top with an incredible 93.01% passing accuracy. In fact out of 397 players with 100 or more passes attempted this season Britton has the best passing accuracy of them all. It literally is a fantastic rate. Staggering to think out of the 1589 passes he has attempted he has only misplaced 111 of them. So we award Leon Britton 5 points and the rest of the top five, points on a reducing line basis.
Next up from the table is interceptions, and how often per pass do these players intercept the ball. Interceptions are an important quality to have in our defensive midfielder, especially in that zone of the pitch where a lot of through balls and creativity comes from opposition players. As you can see Mulumbu intercepts the ball every 15.69 passes, more often than any player on the table. In fact of the 122 players we are analysing with 700 or more passes attempted this season only 3 players (Warnock, Petrov & Gamst Pederson) intercept the ball more often. So we award Mulumbu 5 points and so on down the list.
Next Page: Tackling & Duels for Defensive Midfielders and The Attacking Midfielder position