Philippe Coutinho and Santiago Cazorla. The Playmakers. Both of these players fit perfectly for the “Number 10” role for their clubs. One of the more aesthetically pleasing positions in a team, it gives the player a license to roam in between the midfielder and the strikers. With this freedom, it gives the playmaker the opportunity to create chances via pinpoint passes or through balls. These players are normally quite small in reference to their height, giving them a low centre of gravity to trick and weave past opponents, and provide the main supply for the forwards to strive on. A few goals from time to time is also a requirement at the top level and these two fit the bill to a tee. Let’s have a look at how their statistics compare for this season so far.
Firstly looking at the passing stats, the most important aspect would be the pass completion rate for both players. Now, even though these two are technically classed as midfield players, their passing accuracy rates will be less than that of midfielders playing in other positions, especially centre-defensive midfielders. This is down to the complexity of the passes. Playing within the final third of the field, the passes themselves have to be much more accurate than anywhere else in the field.
Coutinho has made a total of 1021 passes with 775 of them being accurate, giving him a completion rate of nearly 78%. Cazorla on the other hand, has made 1276 passes with 1061 of them being accurate, which is more than Coutinho’s total passes. This gives him a pass completion of 83.15%.
The passing zones stats break down the passes into different sections of the pitch. In Coutinho and Cazorla’s case, the attacking and Final 3rd zones are the most important aspects of their game. Coutinho has attempted 784 attacking zone passes with a completion rate of 72%, whereas Cazorla has a completion rate of 81% from 1027 passes.
There is similar trend with the Final 3rd zone passes with Coutinho’s 69% accuracy from 481 passes behind Cazorla’s 82% from 631 passes. From the passing stats above, we can clearly see that Cazorla is the more frequent passer, as well as being more precise.
Creativity is what these two players thrive on. Supplying the ammunition so to speak. Both players have similar successful dribbling rates with 52% and 48% respectively, although Coutinho has attempted 20 more dribbles than Cazorla.
In terms of through balls, Cazorla has attempted 10 with an accuracy rate of 70%. Coutinho on the other hand has attempted a mammoth 44 through balls, the most in the league, with an accuracy of 27%.
Total chances created is an important indicator in showing how well these players have been performing. Coutinho has created 37 chances so far, which averages at one every 43 minutes of playing times. Cazorla has a slightly better average, creating 39 chances so far at a rate of one every 42 minutes.
Clear cut chances show the quality of supply from the playmaker, giving their team-mates a one-on-one chance on goal. Coutinho is far ahead on this aspect with ten created compared to Cazorla’s four. This gives Coutinho an average of one clear cut chance created every 160 mins with Cazorla created one every 407 mins.
At the end of the season, Coutinho and Cazorla as well as a whole host of other players who play in the same position will be judged mostly on their assists, as this is their main duty for the team. So far, Coutinho has managed four assists, two from set plays and two from open play. This is just ahead of Cazorla who has three assists to his name, all from open play.
Playmakers normally look to get into double figures in terms of goal scoring. Contributing with goals as well as supplying them is crucial at the top level, with emphasis on the midfielders to chip in to help the strikers.
Coutinho has three goals to his name so far from 53 shots. This gives him an average of one goal every 535 mins and a chance conversion rate of 6%, which is way below the Brazilians standards. Cazorla’s stats are slightly improved but again something that the Spaniard will hope to improve on. With four goals so far from 31 shots, its gives him an average of a goal every 407 mins with a chance conversion rate of 86%.
Clear cut chances show how clinical these players are in one-on-one positions and as they won’t have many of these opportunities, it helps indicate which players are most deadly in the pressure moments.
Coutinho has had six clear chances fall his way, scoring two and missing four, giving him a conversion rate of 33%. Cazorla however has a 100% conversion rate, although he has only had one clear cut chance so far this season.
Heading into the last quarter of the season, Liverpool and Arsenal have everything to play for. The men from Anfield have their eyes on a Champions League place, but with the form they’re in, it looks like they’ll also have a say in the title race. Arsenal on the other hand are right in the mix for the title, still involved in the FA Cup and resume their Champions League quest this week. Coutinho and Cazorla are crucial for both sides and have proved they have the quality to make the difference where it counts and hopefully can help their sides to a successful end to the season.