Michael Carrick has without a doubt been one of the most influential Manchester United players this season. He has been one of the best Defensive mid-fielders in the league. Also been deployed as a central defender on 4 occasions and as a central mid-fielder on 9 occasions, he proved that he can play in those positions as and when the team wants him to. Another player in the Premier League, quite under-rated, that is playing a similar role is Mikel Arteta. After the departure of Alex Song, Mikel Arteta was assigned the job of playing as a Defensive mid-fielder for Arsenal and has done fairly well, justifying the decision of Arséne Wenger. With the help of an in-depth Statistical Comparison, let us try to find out how well the two players have fared in terms of Defending, Keeping Possession, Passing, Crossing, Scoring Goals and Providing Assists
Lets take a look at the defensive form of the two players and try to find out who has been better defensively.
From the above table. it is only fair to say that both the players have more or less has equal success defensively. While Arteta has had more tackles, interceptions and won ground and air 50-50s, Carrick has been more successful tackling and halting the opposition teams’ attacks.
POSSESSION AND PASSING / CROSSING:
Let us now see how the two have done in terms of keeping possession of the ball, passing and crossing.
The above table shows that while Michael Carrick has been almost flawless in the Defensive third, Mikel Arteta has done fairly well there and been better in the final third. Critics may say that Arteta has given away the ball quite easily at times in the defensive third and that the contribution of a Defensive mid-fielder in the final third is not an essential attribute, it will only be fair to say that Arteta has made some significant contributions when Arsenal have pressed forward at critical stages throughout the season. There is very little to separate the two players as both have bossed the mid-field for their respective teams in terms of keeping possession, accurate passing and moving the ball forward.
GOALS / ASSISTS:
Finally, we take a look at the contribution of Michael Carrick and Mikel Arteta in terms of goals scored and assists provided.
Here, we can clearly see that while on one hand Michael Carrick has provided more assists, Mikel Arteta has scored 5 more goals, 4 of them coming from the penalty spot. Too close to say who has been better in this regard but I believe that Carrick, courtesy of the chances that he has created is marginally ahead in this comparison.
Overall, I feel that there isn’t much to separate these two highly talented midfielders and I would give them both 7.5/10 on the basis of the comparisons made in terms of Defending, Keeping Possession, Passing, Crossing, Scoring Goals and Providing Assists.
Since his move to Arsenal, Arteta, has gone back to the position of pivot, allowing for the liberation of the other Arsenal midfield players by covering the gaps that appear with intelligent movement and passing. Add to that his pinpoint crossing ability and propensity for the killer pass. Mikel Arteta in my opinion has been a very influential player for the North London club, also leading from the front in the absence of regular captain Thomas Vermaelen. The contribution of Mikel Arteta is not seen to be as important as that of Michael Carrick, mainly because of where the teams are placed in the League Standings. In my opinion, the form and performance of Mikel Arteta will play an important role in whether Arsenal can be more competitive in the league next season and challenge for trophies. If Arsenal can buy a quality defensive mid-fielder in the mould of Alex Song, it may allow Arteta to be more expressive and earn a much-deserved call-up in the Spanish International team.
Please note that comparisons made are strictly made on the basis of Statistics, which does not always represent the actual performances of the players. Some of you may have a different point of view, so feel free to share it with me. Until we meet again, this is me signing off with the hope of seeing another top-class performance from these two players in the remainder of the season.
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