Pearce v Bostwick – A Stacey West Duel

One feature we might be dropping in a bit this season is the stats duel; we did one with Sam Surridge and Tyler Walker the other day and it seemed to go down a treat.

With that in mind, I wanted to try something else. Yesterday so-called news broke that we might be interested in Krystian Pearce, the Barbados international who plays at the back for Mansfield. He’s a right-sided centre back, so I wondered how he stacked up against his opposite number for City, the behemoth that is Michael Bostwick.

Harry Hill used to say; ‘there’s only one way to find out… fight!’, but he was wrong. Now, there is another way to find out; Wyscout.

Without further ado on this Saturday evening, here is another instalment of the newest feature on the Stacey West, a duel between Krystian Pearce and Michael Bostwick.

The clearances numbers on this graphic are the wrong way around; I don’t have time to go back and change them thanks to clicking ‘no’ when saving the photoshop file. There is a lesson there….

The first thing to make you aware of is the reasoning behind the stats I’ve picked. Wyscout is laden with numbers and in order to break the two players down, I wanted to show their attributes across a range of defensive duties. Obviously, tackling and heading are two that are crucial. I didn’t want to offer the number of aerial duels contested because they might have lost most of them, hence the only showing the success rates of both.

Interceptions and clearances are always successful if they’re recorded, so those figures are based on an average per game. I also think to a degree, distribution from the back is important. However, I don’t feel sideways or backwards passes should be counted when looking at the effectiveness of the player, hence forward passes per game and the success rate.

Remember, Pearce was picked as one of the centre backs in the PFA League Two Team of the Year, bu Bozzy missed out to Jason Shackell. They were still amongst the best defenders in the division and on the criteria I’ve picked, very little separates them.

Firstly, the down and dirty stuff; tackling. Neither player are a welcomed sight if you’re a forward bearing down on goal and both like a challenge. I was surprised to see Pearce come out on top, he won 72.5% of his duels, whilst Bozzy won 65.7%. Those numbers are strong for both players, but Pearce just edges it.

When it comes to aerial duels, the roles are reversed. Bozzy comes out on top having won 65.9% of his headed duels, with Pearce behind on 58.8%. There isn’t much between them though which serves to underline the question why we’d be in the market for Pearce with Bozzy matching him on the key numbers.

In terms of interceptions and clearances, our man edges it again. Bozzy made 3.41 clearances per game, with Pearce just behind on 3.29 (my graphic was hastily saved and has the numbers the wrong way around), and our Player of the Year made 5.79 interceptions per game against Pearce’s 5.37. There is little difference in the figures but it’s nice to see the right-sided defender who didn’t make the Team of the Year leading 3-1 with two criteria to go. Mansfield fans; before you get angry I’m aware this is subjective.

Passing stats are easy manipulated so for a defender those forward passes have got to be the benchmark, as well as their success rate. It’s no good making 20 per game if your success rate in 5%, similarly if you make one per game and it’s accurate, 100% would look to be a good score.

Pearce makes 11.5 forward passes per game on average, or at least he did last season. Of that passes, 63.1% were accurate. That’s a decent stat, for a midfielder anything over 75% is good, but that will count passing in all directions. How does Bozzy stack up against the Mansfield man? More passes, slightly less accurate. He made 15.37 per game last season, 59% of which were accurate.

Between them, Krystian Pearce and Michael Bostwick were perhaps the best right-sided defenders in League Two. Both are experienced, both are effective at what they do and neither looks to be head and shoulders above the other. What this article does is pose a question to Football Insider; why would we be looking to replace Bozzy? It also begs the question to those on social media mooting a swap between the two; why again? Why would we look to hand over our Player of the Year and cash for a player who is comparable to him, albeit a year younger?

Both are good players and I firmly expect both to be in place for the same sides come the start of next season.

1 Comment

  1. He looked composed, read the play well and has great experience and would enhance our defensive strength.
    Maybe Bozzy back in midfield where he play most at Peterborough?

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