Revisiting the first table, what possibly separates Fellaini from the truly élite in the game, are his passing statistics. Although 79% is a decent, above average return, football – especially when it comes to key continental encounters – focuses around the possession battle, which of course has two sides. Fellaini is clearly an expert when it comes to gaining the ball for his team, but the best managers would expect that – once obtained – he would seldom lose it. It is telling how Barry’s numbers dominate here, considering he roams around the midfield of the current league leaders.
Less efficient than Fellaini without the ball, Barry and Parker are clearly more relevant to their teams with it. They pass much more, and with a far higher success rate. Both they, and Song too, are also dispossessed far less, traits Fellaini must address if he seeks to further his reputation and round his game. On a slightly irrelevant note, for Tiote to be dispossessed 56 times in 16 games, almost 3.5 times per match, is possibly the most striking discovery of them all here!
Fellaini’s passing game, whilst unspectacular, is still above average. In fact, the only real negative to tarnish these impressive findings is his foul count. True his five yellow cards are less than his peers, but the 60 times he has fouled, and therefore permitted the opposition to freely launch an attack, is unforgivable. His impetuous nature is certainly a channel that needs to be further diluted as he matures. If he wants to permanently shed the tag of being a yellow card waiting to happen, or a foul machine (both surely unfair, considering these results show him to be a master in the art of tackling) he will want to address this.
When it comes to winning the ball, there are few better in midfield than Marouane Fellaini. He simply bosses the tackle area, continually regains possession and is rarely beaten by an opponent. Hopefully these numbers will impress football supporters not just associated with Everton, who may only catch the clips on Match of the Day that rarely showcase Fellaini at his commanding best.
Getting the ball he clearly excels, but if the Belgian does want to truly prove himself as a leading defensive midfielder, he will need to marginally raise his game when in possession. The transposition does not have to be major, but a 5%-7% increase in passing would make his case more appealing. Additionally, more of an urge to be a factor going forward, receiving and taking care of the ball, and then spreading play, would surely leave his game being seen as almost irresistible. Having only just turned 24, still with plenty of time to hone his game further, it might not be long before a few more start echoing those views expressed by David Moyes.
All of the stats on the table above have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com - Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.
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