Stoke City have spent over £20 million on these two forwards alone in the past few years and you could be forgiven for asking the question, why?
Kenwyne Jones was Stoke’s top goalscorer at the end of his first full season at the club and appeared to pick up from where he left off at the start of the next. However the manager seemed to have other ideas and decided to splash the cash on Peter Crouch.
Both Jones and Crouch are similar types of players; in the respect that they are target men, essential in a Tony Pulis line-up. Both feed off crosses into the box and given the proper service are proven Premier League goalscorers.
Inevitably since the introduction of Crouch, Kenwyne Jones has seen his first team opportunities decimated, almost to the point of extinction. With that in mind I wanted to look at both players Stats from their first season in the Potteries, 2010/11 for Jones and 2011/12 for Crouch:
Pretty self explanatory this one. Jones played just over 100 more minutes than Crouch. Just over one full game. But what does that mean in respect of their “output”.
So, Kenwyne Jones contested possession 15 more times than Crouch. Considering the man from Trinidad and Tobago has often been bemoaned for his reluctance to get “stuck in”, this would suggest that he is more involved physically than his team-mate.
Another interesting statistic to consider. Jones has repeatedly been labelled as “lazy” and accused of going missing for portions of seasons and not just games. Whilst there may be some truth in those claims it is certainly of note that Kenwyne made a tackle significantly more frequently than Crouch.
Crouch towers over the majority of defenders and the same can be said about Jones but the way that each player goes about winning the ball in the air is very different. Crouch takes a static jump, which he can afford to do given his superior height, where as Jones takes a slight run up. Crouch won the battle 5% more often.
Despite giving the ball away on ONE more occasion it is vital to consider the difference in playing time. Crouch is often praised for his ball retention, yet Jones is lambasted for being wasteful in possession, why? A similar argument can be made when you look at pass completion in the attacking zones.
Of course a striker is always judged by their goal tally. Crouch scored 10 Premier League, which was an excellent return. The season before, Jones netted 9 times in the league, also a very respectable return. Crouch was slightly more accurate with his shooting, but Jones was more clinical when presented with a clear cut chance.
Having taken into account all of the data put forward, was the £10+million spend on Peter Crouch justifiable? In my opinion no it was not. That is not to say that Crouch has not played well for Stoke, because he has and his goals have been invaluable up to now.
There is very little to split the two players in terms of statistics, but what does separate them is attitude. Kenwyne Jones’ apparent mood swings have caused his performance levels to fluctuate from time to time, which has left fans frustrated. On the other hand there has also been several games where Crouch has made little to no impact.
The recent change in formation to a 4-5-1 of sorts is not a change that will ever suit Crouch due to his lack of pace and mobility.
Would Jones, work in the current system? I very much doubt we will ever know.