Stoke | Who is the Fairest one of all?

Stoke | Who is the Fairest one of all?

Firstly, can I just say – Aguero has been this good for years. He could be better than Messi in the future. Someone who won’t be, ever, is Ryan Shawcross. Woodgate was a Galactico at one point, perhaps the only player to be good enough to be signed, but inconsistent enough to make a mess of it. Both are now at Stoke City, facing stiff completion to secure a starting berth and both could have a credible shout at an England jersey after a good season.

To get a valid comparison between the two, we have to go back to season 2008/2009, yes – Woodgate has had 2 full seasons on the touchlines. Both players played in more than half of their clubs premier league games, Woodgate with 34 and Shawcross with 29. Interesting fact, Woodgate has only played in 49% of the games he could have played in during his career.

So there’s a quick round up. Shawcross scored 2 more than Woodgate, conceded one less, but kept one less clean sheet Woodgate managed 13 more successful tackles and had a much higher pass completion rate. Not exactly a bore draw, but nothing that makes you stand up and pay attention…

John Terry, still the nation’s sweetheart at this point in time, managed 1 goal from his 35 premier league appearances that season, with an impressive 90% pass completion rate and 56 tackles won. In a Chelsea team that finished 3rd, he only conceded 21 goals, and kept 19 clean sheets. Of course, he was, and is, playing in a better team, better players around him – but would Shawcross have done as well?

In the best named stat competition, Possession Duels, Shawcross won 107 of his 193 duels, while Woodgate won 185 out of 289 (55.4% – 64%). Similar figures in the aerial duels, where Woodgate won 101 out of 155, while Shawcross won 33 out of 61.

So let’s look at a wider range of defenders in the EPL. Ferdinand and Terry are obvious choices, being England’s CB pairing, and Upson and Huth are the competition for Woodgate and Shawcross this season. As is seen for the table, Woodgate had the best stats in Possession Duels and Aerial Duels, with Terry winning the most tackles. Ferdinand had an injury prone season, which explains his stats, while another Stoke new boy, Upson, had an average season at West Ham despite impressing in winning possession. Shawcross had the worst overall stats, perhaps understandably in his 1st season in the EPL, and Huth had a solid season at Middlesbrough, showing us what was to come.

I find that player comparisons using only stats is a difficult thing to do. Sure, these players were relatively – and I’m sure they still are, even in terms of stats, but who would you rather have playing week in week out? Exactly, nobody will agree. But for me, it’s got to be Woodgate. When he plays, he always plays well, which is a rare thing in any player in the EPL; it’s just his fitness which lets him down. I’ve never seen what people see in Shawcross, another average English centre back who adds nothing special to his teams. But hey, that’s just my opinion