Jordi Gomez signed for Sunderland on July 1st, making him the 2 of the 4 signings by the club so far. The 29 year old attacking midfielder made the move from Wigan on a free transfer, after refusing a new contract with the Latics. He had an impressive 2013-14 season at the DW stadium, scoring 7 goals and assisting 5. In the process he was also voted Wigan’s Player of the Year by the fans.
After being at the bottom of the table at Christmas last season, Sunderland managed to stay afloat in the Premier League by the skin of their teeth. They lacked the creative ingredients all season and Gus Poyet will be hoping to solve this problem with the acquisition of Gomez. While it remains to be seen if Gomez will start every week, he is a solid addition to the squad. At the moment, the only other established attacking midfielder in the squad is Sebastian Larsson. So, how does Jordi stand up when compared to the Swede?
Gomez has been known to pull the strings for his team when he is on the pitch. However, he did come under criticism from fans for being loose with his passing a few seasons back. As the creative force of a team, you are often going to play the ball into areas which could create opportunities. It is only natural that this could result in loss of possession. To his credit, Gomez has clocked over 80% in terms of passing accuracy. He has been better when it comes to making key passes and has also created more chances per 90 minutes over the last two seasons than Larsson. It is a sad reflection on the strikers of Wigan from the 2012-13 season that despite Gomez creating close to double the chances created by Larsson per 90 minutes, he had a fewer assists than the Swede.
Jordi Gomez has always been keen to have a go at the goal. He likes to cut in and shoot from distance. Of his seven goals for Wigan last season, 1 was from the penalty spot, 1 more from inside the box, while the rest were from outside the box. He has recorded a better goal per 90 minutes ratio than his Swedish peer over the last two seasons. For a team that scored just 41 goals last season, every goal that Gomez can chip in with will be crucial.
Both players made the majority of their appearances in central midfield for their respective teams last season. Being deployed there adds to their duties, as they also have to contribute to the defense. And this is how they fared.
Although he isn’t as successful as Larsson at completing take-ons, Gomez has recorded decent percentages over the last two seasons. He won close to 70% of his duels on the ground and that more than makes up for his lack of aerial ability. On the other hand, Larsson has been pretty average when it comes to duels either on the ground or in the air. However, the Spaniard did create pressure on himself as well as the team by getting into the referee’s book frequently.
The statistics reveal that not only is Gomez a better creative option, he is also combative in nature, winning duels on the ground. He can play in the central midfield as well as the No.10 role and would provide Gus Poyet with options.
While the good season was in the Championship, we can expect Gomez to adapt to the rigours of the top flight as he has considerable experience. Another point to note is that Gomez had a better season than his peer in the 2012-13 Premier League season. He has shown consistency in his creativity across the divisions and will be hoping to create a greater impact at his new club.
Having brought in an experienced player in Gomez for nothing, Puyot has already done a shrewd piece of business. With less than a month left in the transfer window, we can expect some more additions to the Sunderland squad. The manager will be hoping to create a balanced attacking unit at the Stadium of Light and the Spanish midfielder will surely be an integral part of his tactics.
Stats Via Squawka