A goal keeper scoring from 92 yards, a game with 6 different goal scorers for one team and a well-contested game at The Emirates. What a cracker of a weekend it was in the English Premier League. The two Manchester clubs have some positive momentum on their side, while Chelsea suffered a shock at St. James’ Park and Tottenham seem to have lost momentum after a bright start to their season. Arsenal consolidated their position at the top of the table and will go into the game at Old Trafford as favourites.
This week, I bring an in-depth statistical analysis of wingers featuring: Eden Hazard, Adam Lallana and Jesus Navas with regards to Defence, Passing, Creativity and Attack. Also featured is EPL Index’s top creativity stats powered by Opta Stats with Assists provided.
In the defensive analysis, Lallana is the clear-cut winner. Lallana has attempted 121 ground 50-50s and 14 aerial 50-50s, made 10 interceptions and won possession every 12 minutes. However, he has lost possession most frequently among the 3 players (every 4 minutes). Statistically, Hazard is not too far behind Lallana. Playing for 792 minutes, Hazard has attempted 119 ground 50-50s, 11 aerial 50-50s, 5 interceptions, lost possession every 5 minutes and won possession every 18 minutes. Jesus Navas, having played for 384 minutes has attempted 22 ground 50-50s and 5 aerial 50-50s, made 6 interceptions, lost possession every 5 minutes and won possession every 20 minutes.
This may not be a very significant attribute for a winger but it is always good to have players out wide who are capable of fulfilling their defensive duties.
In this particular analysis, Hazard has the best overall statistics. Hazard has attempted 434 passes with an accuracy of 79.26%, 245 Final 3rd passes with an accuracy of 78% and attempted a pass every 1.82 minutes. Lallana has attempted 446 passes with an accuracy of 72.65%, 150 of which were in the Final 3rd (accuracy of 79%) and a pass every 1.78 minutes. Navas has the best passes per minute statistics (a pass every 1.61 minutes), attempted 238 passes with an accuracy of 76.47% and 71 Final 3rd passes with an accuracy of 78%.
Considering that Hazard has very impressive defensive stats, it is surprising to see Hazard make almost 100 more Final 3rd passes than Lallana. It is perhaps an indicator of the superiority of Hazard, something that separates him from the rest. Hazard is as good at defending, as he is while surging ahead.
This particular analysis shows that Lallana and Navas have the upper hand, with Navas leading marginally. Hazard has made 25 successful dribbles, put in 14 crosses with an accuracy of 21%, and created just one clear-cut chance whilst provided a solitary assist. Lallana has dribbled successfully 16 times, attempted 70 crosses with an accuracy of 24%, provided 2 goal assists and created only 1 clear-cut chance. Navas has created 2 clear-cut chances, provided 2 goal assists, put in 36 crosses with an accuracy of 33% and dribbled twice with success.
If it is the quality and quantity of crosses that define a winger, then Navas is leaps and bounds above Hazard and marginally ahead of Lallana (Navas has 36 crosses in less than half the time on pitch as Hazard and Lallana). But a closer look at the style of play at Chelsea, shows that they prefer their Full-backs/Wing-backs to put crosses into the box. Let us now move on to the last part of this analysis and see how the 3 players fare in the comparison of their attacking statistics.
Hazard is the winner in this particular analysis with very impressive overall statistics. Hazard has attempted 13 shots with an accuracy of 62% and has a chance conversion of 23%. Furthermore, Hazard has scored 3 goals, with a goal every 264 minutes. Lallana has scored twice, attempting 10 shots with an accuracy of 50% and a chance conversion of 20 %. Navas has failed to find the back of the net in the limited time that he has in the league so far. What is even more disappointing is the fact that Navas has taken only 3 shots, with an accuracy of only 33%.
Hazard is widely regarded as one of the finest wingers in the EPL and his statistics justify why; an improvement in his creativity will make him one of the best players in the league. He is still a work in progress and is only going to improve. To imagine how good he could be in the future is scary and exciting in equal measure. I sincerely hope that he continues in the same way and goes on to become one of the greatest players in the history of the game.
To be fair to Jesús Navas, we haven’t seen much of him so far. In whatever time he has spent on the pitch, Navas has only shown glimpses of his brilliance. The first season in EPL is not very easy for somebody coming the Lá Liga. A few more games would give him the much required confidence and help justify the faith that was put in him by the manager earlier this summer.
However, the biggest surprise coming out from this analysis is Adam Lallana’s impressive stats. Statistically, he is on par with Hazard in the overall analysis and has better statistics when it comes to Defending and Creativity. He has been in fantastic form this season and if he continues in the same, Southampton could be a serious contender for a place in the top-6.
Lallana’s fine form may attract a lot of attention from the ‘bigger’ clubs but it wouldn’t be a smart move by the Saints to move on one of their finest players. His contract allows his childhood club Bournemouth to receive 25% of his transfer fees, perhaps indicating that Southampton will not look to sell him unless offered a very high amount. But this is English Premier League, teams like Chelsea and Manchester City will not hesitate to splash the cash if they believe that Lallana can add something special to their squad.
In the last part of this analysis, let us take a look at EPL Index’s Top Creativity Stats, powered by Opta Stats.
Adam Lallana is the only player amongst the 3 featured in this analysis to find a place in the Top Creativity Stats. Arsenal have 3 players in the top 5, with Giroud and Ramsey occupying the top 2 spots. David Silva and Kevin Mirallas complete the top 5, with Lallana, Sturridge, Cowie, Lampard and Agbonlahor occupying 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th places respectively.
Please note that the analysis and inferences drawn are based purely on statistics, which may not always correlate with the actual performances of the players. Some of you may have a different point of view or may look at the statistics differently, so feel free to share it with me either here or on twitter (@SilverHawk_24). Until next time, this is me signing off, wishing Happy Diwali to all those who celebrated!!!