Joe Allen and Leon Britton were the key men for Brendan Rogers ‘Tiki Taka’ football at Swansea and it was no surprise that Joe Allen joined the former Swansea manager when Rogers took over at Anfield.
Both players are known for their impressive passing statistics from last season, but which player has more to their game than just passing? And did Liverpool make the right decision to sign Allen over Britton? These are the two questions that we look at in this article as we compare both players statistics from last season and take a look at how well they have fared so far this season.
We have split their statistics into four sections – Passing, Defending, Creativity and Shooting.
Joe Allen and Leon Britton both came in the top 10 in terms of passes made last season, with teammates Ashley Williams and Angel Rangel also making the top 10. Both players also made the top 10 for accurate passes made and passing accuracy, but which player came out on top?
Both players made a pass every 1.3 minutes last season but Britton had a 2% better passing accuracy than Allen and made an accurate pass every 1.4 minutes compared to Allen who made an accurate pass every 1.5 minutes.
Joe Allen made a through ball 645 minutes more often than Leon Britton last season and made an accurate through ball 2055 minutes more often as Leon Britton only made one accurate through ball all season.
36% of Britton’s passes went forward last season, compared to Allen who only played 29% of his passes forward last season. Joe Allen also made 10% more backward passes than Leon Britton, but 3% less sideways passes.
This season however, their passing statistics are incredibly similar as Britton has made one more pass than Allen and completed 1% more of his passes. Both players have made a pass every 1.4 minutes and an accurate pass every 1.5 minutes, while Britton has made one through ball this season compared to Allen who has made none.
Joe Allen has passed the ball forward 31% of the time this season, which is 10% more than Leon Britton who has made a forward pass with 21% of his passes. Only 10% of Allen’s passes have gone backwards and 59% of them have gone sideways, compared to Britton who has passed the ball backwards 19% of the time and sideways 60% of the time.
Last season Joe Allen made a tackle every 26 minutes, which was 23 minutes more often than Leon Britton who made a tackle every 49 minutes. Allen also won an impressive 75% of his tackles, while Britton won 63% of his tackles.
Joe Allen entered into a ground duel 7 minutes more often than Leon Britton, but Britton won 7% more of his ground duels last season. Joe Allen also entered into an aerial duel 46 minutes more often than Britton and won 4% more of them.
This season Allen has made a tackle every 34 minutes, while his former Swansea teammate has made a tackle every 68 minutes. However, Britton has won 75% of his tackles while Allen has won 63% of his tackles.
Allen has entered into a ground duel 7 minutes more often than Britton and won 12% more of the ground duels that he has entered into. Allen has also entered into an aerial duel 12 minutes more often than Britton but won 30% less of them.
Joe Allen was the most creative of the two players last season as he created a chance every 63 minutes, compared to Leon Britton who created a chance every 302 minutes. Both players created one clear-cut chance for Swansea last season, but Allen played 128 fewer minutes than Britton.
Joe Allen also got 2 assists last season which was an assist every 1446 minutes; however Leon Britton did not get any assists last season.
This season, both players have created one chance for their teams but neither player has got an assist or created any clear-cut chances.
Last season Allen had a shot every 71 minutes while Britton had a shot every 755 minutes. Allen found the target with 48% of his shots, while Britton failed to get a single shot on target last season.
Joe Allen also converted 15% of his chances and scored 4 goals, which was a goal every 723 minutes. This was compared to Leon Britton who did not score last season.
This season both players have had one shot, with both of them being off target and neither player has scored.
These statistics show that Joe Allen is much more of an all-round player than Leon Britton and this is the main reason why Brendan Rogers signed him, but both players had different roles in the team while they were at Swansea.
Leon Britton’s main role was to be the dictator of play, where he would receive the ball, pass it and move into space looking for the ball again straight away. It was his job to be dominant with the ball, keep hold of possession and dictate the rhythm and tempo of Swansea’s play.
Britton did this incredibly well making a pass every 1.3 minutes and completing 93% of his passes. Britton played 50% of his passes sideways, which many people would criticise him for, but his patient passing from his deep position is hugely important as it helps to condense the formation further up the field and doesn’t allow the out of position wing backs to be caught out and give the opposition an advantage.
Joe Allen’s main role was similar to Leon Britton’s in terms of he must also be able to control the game but Allen also needed to run forward and keep up with play as well as getting back into position when Swansea lost the ball.
This is the main reason why Allen was involved in ground and aerial duels more often than Britton and why he made more tackles. Allen was also more creative than Britton last season, but again this was mainly due to their positioning on the pitch, as Allen was more involved with play further up the pitch while Britton help back and played more of a Busquets role.
This did change however with the signing of Gylfi Sigurdsson though as with Sigurdsson playing a role further forward Britton and Allen tended to go forward and get back together instead of one staying back and one keeping up with play.
This season, however we may see that Allen and Britton’s statistics may be a lot closer in all the areas that we have looked but this depends on one thing – how long Lucas will be out for.
With Lucas in the team it allows Allen to play the role he did at Swansea dominating possession but also keeping up with play and getting back when possession is lost, but with Lucas injured Brendan Rogers has been forced to play Allen in the dictator of play role which Britton also occupies at Swansea.
So, in conclusion there is no ‘better’ or ‘worse’ player out of these two brilliant passers of the ball, just Allen’s role in the Swansea team has helped him have all round better statistics than Britton. Britton is brilliant at what he does by making space for himself on the pitch and playing accurate pass after accurate pass, but Allen has more attributes to his game helping him to become more of an all-round player. Liverpool FC definitely got the right man to fit their new system under Brendan Rodgers.
So, with Lucas playing the Britton role when he is fit and Allen playing in front of him I can see only good things for Liverpool under Brendan Rogers, especially as Lucas likes a tackle a lot more than Britton does.
For more on how Liverpool can adapt to Brendan Rogers’ tactical approach and the basis on ‘Tiki-Taka’ football check out TPiMBW’s brilliant articles http://www.eplindex.com/author/tpimbw.
BSc Sports Science Graduate, Head of the News Section on EPLIndex and all round football fanatic! Can also be found on Twitter - @jamesamey316
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