The Barclays Premier League is just 7 games old and it has already witnessed a lot of action, drama and excitement. From the quick adaptation to the league by Angel Di Maria and Costa, to the brilliance of Cesc Fabregas among many others, the league has had its fair share to keep the fans across globe busy. With the league experiencing a hiatus due to the international break, it’s time to look back on performances over the course of the last 2 months. In this segment, we compare the performances of defensive midfielders Etienne Capoue, Morgan Schneiderlin and Mile Jedinak over the games so far. Each of them has been a part of the playing 11 in all the games for their respective clubs this season.
There isn’t a lot to differentiate the passing abilities of Schneiderlin and Capoue. Both of them clocked around 70 passes per 90 minutes at a completion rate that hovers around 90%. However, Jedinak’s passing abilities were restricted through the games as he averaged just about 40 passes per 90 minutes, completing just 68% of his attempted passes. These figures might be a result of being part of a team which is in the bottom half of the table, nevertheless, less than 70% pass completion for a player who sits so deep is still a worrying issue and Jedinak will need to make a big step up in that department. He will also need to reduce his bad touches which stand at 0.4 per 90 minutes. As a captain of a team that could find it tough, these figures aren’t an assuring lot.
Schneiderlin has been the busiest of the lot when it comes to tackles per 90 minutes. He attempted close to 8.5 tackles per 90 minutes, which is far ahead of the number of tackles attempted by Jedinak (7.5) and Capoue (5). However, Jedinak trumped his compatriots when it came to efficiency in tackling, winning more than 50% of his tackles. The often-tackling Saints player was efficient in just 34% of his tackles while Capoue came out on top 47% of the time he entered into a tackle.
With his frequency and efficiency getting into duels, Jedinak is definitely one of the top notch defensive midfielders in the league at the moment. He averages 5 aerial duels per 90 minutes, winning an incredible 71% of them, which is an apt demonstration of the player’s abilities. Though there is a lot of gulf statistically between him and Schneiderlin, it doesn’t take away the fact that Schneiderlin too has been immense for his team averaging more than 3 tackles per 90 minutes at an efficiency of 46%. While Capoue wasn’t as regular getting into duels, he did manage to come out on top in close to 63% of the occasion which speaks of his abilities when pressed into action. It comes as no surprise that Mile Jedinak is the most impressive of the lot getting into duels, winning more than 52% of his duels, followed by Capoue (42%) and Schneiderlin who has surprisingly won just over 30% of his duels.
Jedinak and Capoue run close when it comes to defensive contribution per 90 minutes. Having garnered a good amount of playing time, Jedinak’s reading of the game is brilliant and that is evident in the number of times he has broken down the opposition’s play with crucial interceptions. His other defensive attributes were on display as well as he averaged an incredibly high blocks and made a good number of clearances per 90 minutes. Capoue too has been immense for his side, averaging more than 7 defensive actions per game. Though he might be far off from the two mentioned before him in terms of defensive contribution, Schneiderlin still made more defensive contribution than any other Southampton midfielder. Capoue was the most effective in not letting the opposition run through him as he was dribbled past on just 0.7 occasions per 90 minutes. While Jedinak would be an obvious choice to be the one to be run through most among the three due to the evident lack of pace, it was Schneiderlin who was run past more than 2.5 times per 90 minutes while the Australian was run past once per 90 minutes.
Schneiderlin has been amongst the goals for his club, having scored 3 goals so far, second only to the impressive Pelle. Jedinak too has contributed to his team’s attacking capabilities as he sits atop the scoring chart for his club with 2 goals (1 of them being a penalty) alongside Fraizer Campbell apart from assisting one goal. Busy in the heart of the team, these players will not be required to come up with more than a handful of goals by the end of the season. However, a goal can be the deciding factor for a Champions League spot or a relegation battle and any contribution they make in that segment could carry its worth in gold.
Southampton have started the season on a brilliant note and Schneiderlin has been one of their top players putting up an all-round performance. On the other hand, Crystal Palace are already preparing themselves for a tough season and their captain Jedinak knows the trials of being involved in one. Primarily a destroyer, he will play a crucial role with many teams looking to tear into them at every opportunity presented. Capoue has been part of a new look Tottenham team under Pocchetino and has not disappointed his manager with his impressive performance in the middle of the park. Overall, Jedinak trumps the other two on defensive performance while Schneiderlin far ahead in terms of attacking contribution. He has been brilliant defensively and Capoue’s passing ability coupled with vision would be crucial to the Spurs side achieving their goals this season. The three midfielders have so far been amongst the top performers at their respective clubs and should they continue with their impressive form, the best interests of the club would be served.