With vast sums of money being spent on wide midfielders in the past few seasons we look at how all of the wide midfielders fared last season.
We have done this by breaking their statistics from last season intro three sections – how creative each player was, how well each player performed defensively and how impressive their overall play was.
We have included all the raw statistics from last season but to make this a fair comparison we have divided each statistic by the amount of minutes each player played and compared these figures. We have decided to do this as all players played a different amount of minutes last season and it would not be fair just to compare for example which player made the most crosses, as this favours the players that have played the most minutes.
The first area that we will compare is how creative the wide midfielders were last season. This section includes how often each player created a chance for their team, how often each player created a clear-cut chance for their team and how many minutes it took each player to make an assist.
Premier League Wide Midfielder Creativity
It is not surprising that David Silva and Juan Mata impress the most in terms of creativity, as these two brilliant articles also found out (Top Creators and their Positions, David Silva Vs Juan Mata).
David Silva created more chances than any other player in this comparison, as he created 104 chances for his team. This was 2 more than Juan Mata, 20 more than Gareth Bale, 28 more than Samir Nasri and 36 more than Nani.
Although, Mata created a chance for Chelsea every 25 minutes, which was 2 minutes more often than Silva. It took Nasri 29 minutes to create a chance last season, while it took Nani 31 minutes and Valencia 33 minutes. This is compared to Sinclair who took 101 minutes to create a chance and Gutierrez who took 110 minutes to create a chance.
Gareth Bale created 15 clear-cut chances last season, which was one more than David Silva, 2 more than Martin Petrov, 3 more than Aaron Lennon and 4 more than Stewart Downing and Theo Walcott. However, Andrew Surman and Jamie Mackie both failed to create a single clear-cut chance last season.
Aaron Lennon created a clear-cut chance more often than any other player in this comparison, as he created a clear-cut chance every 132 minutes. In comparison, Marc Albrighton created a clear-cut chance every 186 minutes, Gervinho (187 minutes), Martin Petrov (198 minutes) and David Silva who created a clear-cut chance every 201 minutes for Manchester City last season.
Silva came out on top in terms of amount of assists last season, as he set up 15 goals. This was 2 more than Valencia and Mata, 5 more than Nani and Bale, 6 more than Nasri and 7 more than Walcott. Andrew Surman and Stewart Downing were the only two players in this comparison not to get an assist last season.
Valencia got an assist every 163 minutes last season, while it took Silva 188 minutes, Mata 195 minutes, Drenthe 207 minutes and Pienaar 209 minutes to get an assist last season.
The next area that we will look at is the defensive contribution that the wide midfielders made last season. In this section we look at tackling, ground and aerial 50-50s as well as interceptions and winning back possession of the ball in each third of the pitch.
Premier League Wide Midfielder Defensive Contribution
After looking at the most creative wide midfielders from season we now look at the other side of their games – how well they did defensively for their respective teams.
Jonas Gutierrez made 85 tackles last season, more than any other player in this comparison. Larsson made 80 tackles, Valencia made 66, Dyer made 62 and Jerome Thomas made 60. But as each player played a different amount of minutes last season how many minutes it took each player to make a tackle is probably a fairer comparison.
Antonio Valencia made a tackle every 32 minutes last season; this was 1 minute more often than Jerome Thomas, 2 minutes more often than Sunderland pair Seb Larsson and James McClean, 3 minutes more often than Elliott Bennett and 4 minutes more often than Marc Albrighton who all impressed in this statistic. In comparison Matt Jarvis made a tackle every 101 minutes and Martin Petrov, who took a staggering 234 minutes to make a tackle last season.
It is great making tackles for your team but it is even more important making the tackle successfully. Jerome Thomas came out on top in this statistic, as he made a successful tackle every 40 minutes. James McClean wasn’t far of that figure as he made a successful tackle every 43 minutes, Royston Drenthe (45 minutes), Antonio Valencia (47 minutes) and Jonas Gutierrez who made a successful tackle every 48 minutes. On the other hand, it took Martin Petrov 429 minutes to make a successful tackle.
Eagles made an interception every 39 minutes last season, this was 6 minutes more often than Gutierrez, 8 minutes more often than Albrighton, 13 minutes more often than Pienaar and 15 minutes more often than Brunt.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was involved in a ground 50-50 every 5 minutes last season, this is compared to Drenthe, McClean and Dyer who were involved in a ground 50-50 every 6 minutes and Eagles, Hoilett, Kightly, Moses, N’Zogbia, Taraabt, Thomas, Routledge, Pienaar, Ben Arfa, Gutierrez, Nani and Valencia who were all involved in a ground 50-50 every 7 minutes.
Although, Pennant won a ground 50-50 every 10 minutes, while Oxlade-Chamberlain won one every 11 minutes and Drenthe and Dyer won a ground 50-50 every 12 minutes. This is again compared to Martin Petrov, who won a ground 50-50 every 55 minutes last season.
James McClean was involved in an aerial 50-50 every 24 minutes last season. This was 4 minutes more often than Clint Dempsey, 15 minutes more often than Gareth Bale, 17 minutes more often than Nani and 18 minutes more often than Valencia. However, Dempsey won an aerial 50-50 every 66 minutes last season, more often than any other player in this comparison. He was closely followed by Brunt who won one every 70 minutes and McClean who won an aerial 50-50 every 84 minutes. However, Mata and Bellamy both failed to win an aerial 50-50 last season.
We then looked at how often each player won back possession of the ball in the defensive, midfield and attacking third of the pitch. Obviously players that play in an attacking 4-4-3 formation are more likely to win back possession of the ball in the attacking third of the pitch, while players that play in a 4-4-2 formation are more likely to win back possession of the ball in the midfield third of the pitch merely based on the position that they play, but it is an interesting statistic to look at all the same.
Eagles won back possession of the ball every 25 minutes in the defensive third of the pitch last season, while Albrighton won possession back every 28 minutes and Routledge won back possession of the ball every 30 minutes in the defensive third of the pitch. Taraabt won back possession of the ball every 21 minutes in the midfield third of the pitch, while Eagles won back possession every 25 minutes and Oxlade-Chamberlain and Pienaar won back possession every 26 minutes in the midfield third.
N’Zogbia won back possession of the ball every 123 minutes for Aston Villa last season, which was 2 minutes more often than Pienaar, 10 minutes more often than Routledge, 12 minutes more often than Eagles and 18 minutes more often than Valencia.
Finally, we look at the wide midfielders overall play last season, This includes their passing statistics, their crossing statistics, their chance conversion and shooting accuracy percentages as well as their goalscoring abilities.
Premier League Wide Midfielder Overall Play
Samir Nasri made a pass every 1.2 minutes last season, which was more frequent than any other player in this comparison. David Silva made a pass every 1.3 minutes, Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia made a pass every 1.5 minutes and Nani made a pass every 1.6 minutes. Taarabt, Pienaar, Bellamy, Downing and Young all made a pass every 1.7 minutes, while it took Hoilett and Moses 3.2 minutes to make a pass last season.
Nasri also made more successful passes per minute than anyone else in this comparison, as he found a teammate with one of his passes every 1.4 minutes. In comparison Silva made a successful pass every 1.5 minutes, Mata (1.8), Valencia (1.9) and Pienaar who made a successful pass every 2 minutes last season.
The next part of the game we looked at was how many crosses per minute each player made. This statistic may vary from team to team though, as some teams prefer to cross the ball in while other teams for example Arsenal and Manchester City tend to pass the ball instead of crossing it.
Pennant crossed the ball every 7 minutes last season, which was 1 minute more often than Petrov, 2 minutes more often than Albrighton and 3 minutes more often than Jarvis, Larsson, Etherington, Nani and Young. Pennant also made an accurate cross every 25 minutes, which was 9 minutes more often than Petrov, 14 minutes more often than Jarvis and 15 minutes more often than Larsson, Etherington and Albrighton.
Clint Dempsey scored more goals than anyone else in this comparison as he notched up 17 goals last season. This was 6 more than Daniel Sturridge, 8 more than Gareth Bale and 9 more than Nani, Walcott, Sinclair and Jarvis.
Dempsey also had the best goals to minutes played ratio last season, as he scored a goal every 195 minutes. This was 5 minutes more often than Maxi Rodriquez, 9 minutes more often than Sturridge, 10 minutes more often than Bellamy and 51 minutes more often than Pilkington.
The last two statistics that we looked at were each players shooting accuracy and chance conversion percentages. Etherington had the best shooting accuracy out of all the wingers, as he got 65% of his shots on target, while Young (62%), Walcott (59%), Pilkington (58%) and Larsson (57%) all impressed in the statistic.
Matt Jarvis has the best chance conversion percentage, as he converted 30% of his chances. This was 3% better than Jamie Mackie, 4% better than Anthony Pilkington, 5% better than Aaron Lennon and 6% better than both Antonio Valencia and Maxi Rodriquez.
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