It’s been reported that Liverpool are very close to signing or having a fee agreed for Joe Allen so we thought an analysis comparing Joe to rival midfielders would be of interest. Joe Allen is a player that Brendon Rodgers knows very well after their time at Swansea however the reported agreement of not going back for Swansea players makes most sceptical about this move.
Lots of statistics are displayed in full without care for how much time players have spent on the pitch for their respective teams. It’s a personal preference but we like to use the “minutes per” metric so the players stats are divided by the minutes they’ve played to then be able to compare against their rivals. Below we have created three tables; Table 1 compares Joe Allen to a few deep-lying midfielders that were selected by followers of our Twitter account @AnfieldIndex. Table 2 compares Joe Allen to players that can play both as deep-lying midfielders and further forward (again selected by the followers of our @AnfieldIndex Twitter account). Finally Table 3 compares Joe Allen to Liverpool’s central midfielders from the 2011/12 season.
We’ve decided to highlight the Best and Worst of the stats in the tables below to show a little more analysis and make it possible for readers to compare quickly.
“I like to control games. I like to be responsible for our own destiny. If you are better than your opponent with the ball you have a 79 per cent chance of winning the game…for me it is quite logical. It doesn’t matter how big or small you are, if you don’t have the ball you can’t score.” (Rodgers 2012)
We’ve listed the quote from Brendan Rodgers above to explain a decision in not rating the Pass Direction statistics below. We found that the pass direction statistics were a little difficult to rate as best and worst. These are mainly open to perception as some are of the opinion that passing sideways helps a team to keep the ball and build. As the quote states the philosophy for Swansea last season was to keep the ball and build so can you really mark players down for playing a particular style?
This could also apply to a few other statistics but we found they were easier to rate but the pass direction ones can be a little controversial. We’ve listed them anyway and highlighted the text in highest-lowest for those that wish to view them.
Joe Allen Compared to Deep-Lying midfielders
Table 1 shows Joe Allen in a positive light against the deep lying midfielders. Joe’s ground duel, tackling and passing stats are impressive here and he’s topped in these categories. The real star here is Mikel Arteta – he’s contributed a lot in an attacking sense to Arsenal from deep-lying midfield position. If you look closer at the stats Joe Allen comes 2nd or 3rd in a lot of the other statistics displayed which is a credit to the player – it was a bit of a surprise that he was 2nd in the creativity statistic here creating every 63 minutes which was better than Carrick, Song (awesome season in terms of assists) and Mulumbu. Joe Allen is certainly worthy of being compared to these players.
Whilst Mulumbu may come off worst here in terms of being bottom in certain statistics it’s worth noting that he finishes 2nd and 3rd a lot in most of the other statistics. He’s also worthy of being placed in this comparison. Michael Carrick also sees a lot of red here however the table indicates that whilst tackling may not be his better skill – his passing is top notch as he’s close to passing the ball every minute (averaging over 80 passes per game).
Joe Allen Compared to all rounded midfielders
Table 2 again shows Joe Allen in a positive light defensively – he comes 2nd here to Ramires and Cabaye in terms of winning ground duels and tackles (topping the mins per tackle stat) however he’s lagging behind in the shooting aspect and doesn’t score often enough neither does he attempt shots enough. Whilst Table 2 indicates where Joe Allen falls behind in terms of the attacking aspect these stats can be a little unfair as Joe drifted further back once Gylfi Sigurrdson was bought by Brendan Rodgers last season. It’s still a good little comparison to have against some of the better players in central midfield.
Ramires and Scholes impress the most in Table 2, Ramires topping defensive stats as well as attacking stats showing his versatility as a box-to-box midfielder. Paul Scholes also shows why his impact drove Manchester United very close to their 20th league title. Paul Scholes was a revelation in his 1169 minutes last season and that is a very difficult thing to say for a Liverpool die-hard!
Joe Allen Compared to Liverpool’s Midfield
So how does Joe compared to Liverpool’s midfielders? Again defensively he’s 2nd to Lucas on a lot of the ground duel/tackle stats and he wipes the floor with the midfield in terms of passing (thanks in-turn to Brendan Rodgers’ philosophy). In an attacking sense he’s better than everyone apart from Steven Gerrard. Yes he shoots less often than all of them apart from spearing however he scores a goal more often than the others (not really hard to do though!), his shot accuracy is higher and shot/chance conversion is more than double of Liverpool’s midfield apart from the Liverpool and England captain.
Joe Allen good enough for a Top Club?
We’d like to think Joe Allen is good enough to play in a top side. He’s certainly combative enough, he seems to be better than what Liverpool have for players that sit next to Gerrard and we believe he could cover well for Lucas Leiva too. At 21 years of age he has a lot of his better days ahead of him and if he’s rivalling some of the players above in terms of statistics now then what will he achieve in his peak? He can find a pass, he is more creative than most of the Liverpool players so we feel he can add a lot to the side.
We’ll leave you with a question that you can answer on the comments below; Is he worth £15m?
All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com – Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.