There’s no doubt that Landon Donovan has made a huge impact for Everton in his 5 games since starting his loan. His 2 assists have been pivotal in Everton’s recent results. But how does he compare to some of the EPL’s best playmakers? Do his numbers stand up to the likes of Manchester City’s David Silva, Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey, Tottenham’s Luka Modric and Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs? EPL Index has the stats to make this comparison.
I’ve divided the table below in to two categories of statistics. The top third represents statistics that are important, but not comparable. In other words, you cannot compare Donovan’s numbers to the other player’s numbers because Donovan has played significantly less. His 450 minutes are much less than the 1790 of Silva, 1833 of Ramsey, 1866 of Modric, and 753 of Giggs.
The bottom stats are comparable because they are either percentages, or in terms of minutes. For example, pass percentage and minutes per shot are comparable because they do not favor players who have played more minutes.
Donovan’s rate of creating a chance every 35 minutes is on pace with the other 4 players compared. Silva’s rate of creating a chance every 27 minutes is best, followed by Giggs’ rate of 28. Modric and Ramsey round out these rankings with 36 and 39 minutes per chance created, respectively. What this means is that Donovan is creating around 3 scoring chances per game. Those 3 scoring chances can be the difference between getting a result and losing, or securing a win or settling with a draw.
Minutes per Loss of Possession
Donovan loses possession of the ball every 41 minutes. While this is a higher rate than the other 4 comparable players, it is still in the realm of the other players. Modric is tops of this stat, losing possession only once every 81 minutes, an unbelievable rate.
In terms of crossing accuracy, Donovan has the second best rate, completing 31% of his crosses. Only Modric has a better rate, at 32%. At the bottom of the list is Silva, completing 24% of his crosses.
While Donovan compares in chances created, holding the ball, and crossing accuracy, he struggles in his shooting and and overall finishing. He has 0 goals so far, somewhat of a concern for Everton fans. His passing and chance creation has been comparable to some of the best playmakers in the Premier League, but his goal scoring has lacked.
One could argue that scoring goals is not everything, and that not scoring a goal in 5 games could be just bad luck or a rough streak. However, his lack of shooting is another concern. Donovan has only taken 1 shot on target in his 5 games. This is a rate of one shot every 150 minutes. The comparable players are shooting at much higher rates, most taking shots three times as often.
I have also created another graphic representing passing rates and the percentage of passes in each direction. The height of each bar represents each players overall passing rate. In other words, a taller bar indicates that player has completed a higher percentage of their passes. Each player’s bar is then divided in to 4 smaller bars, indicating the percentage of passes forwards, backwards, left and right. The graph is below.
The slight concern that the graphic highlights is that a small percentage of Donovan’s passes go forward, and a large percentage go backwards. While this is not exactly a big concern (maybe this is just a function of Everton’s playing style) it is something to point out. 30% of Donovan’s passes go backwards. The next closest player to this is Silva, who makes 20% of his passes backwards. On the other hand, only 37% of Donovan’s passes go forwards. The next closest rate to this is Silva again, who makes 43% of his passes forwards.
In Donovan’s first 5 games on loan this season, he does fail to match up with some of the Premier League’s best in some categories. His shooting and goal scoring opportunities have been lacking, and a small percentage of his passes have gone forwards when compared to other Premier League play-makers.
Despite these two concerns, Donovan’s play-making ability has been stellar so far. His chances created rate, crossing ability, pass completion rate, and assist rate are all comparable to that of Silva, Ramsey, Modric, and Giggs. Considering the known caliber of these players, just being able to compare their stats to Donovan’s is impressive. Donovan is able to hold his own with these play-makers, and has been a huge addition to Everton’s offensive production in the 5 games he has played so far. Every Everton fan should be pleased with what he has produced so far.