As you know, I love a stat, and I know there are plenty out there like me.
I also know some consider one stat, and one stat only to be important. If that is you, then perhaps best to click on another article instead (unless that stat is dribbles per game, then you’re in for a treat).
I’ve been crunching the numbers on Wyscout this morning, putting together the stats for the Imps’ season so far. Over the next few pages, I’m going to tell you our best passer, header, dribbler and shooter, as well as break those numbers down a little too. If this is the sort of thing which has you angrily tapping on Twitter, move along. If you are a Football Manager fan (and therefore almost certainly a stat fan), you might like this.
Appearances and Minutes
In terms of longevity, one man has appeared more than anyone else – TJ Eyoma. He’s been ever-present bar the final minutes of our game against Bristol Rovers in which he came off for Remi Howarth. That’s 14 outings, 1318 minutes and an average of 94 minutes per game, give or take a few seconds. For a youngster in his first senior spell, I think that is an incredible stat and proof that me going on (and on, and on) about him on Matchday Live is 100% justified.
Outside of that, Jorge Grant has also appeared in every game, 1284 minutes of football. Lewis Montsma and Alex Palmer both missed the same game, the 3-1 win against Mansfield, but have not been taken off or come on as a sub, which is 1258 minutes. Joining the 1000 minutes plus club are Harry Anderson (1056) and James Jones (1146). Conor McGrandles is agonisingly on 999, and that makes up the most consistent appearance makers. The next group are Tom Hopper (871 from 12 outings), Tayo Edun (801 from 9 outings) and Liam Bridcutt (723 from 9 outings).
A duel is a challenge for the ball on Wyscout, which could loosely be determined as tackling but also incorporates when you are challenged whilst on the ball. I guess it is subjective, as all stats are because a challenge for a 50/50 would likely be tougher to win than a 70/30, which the stats do not show. However, the duel stats on Wyscout are interesting. There are two key areas I’ve looked at, duels per game and success. I have removed one-game players from this though, as Jamie Soule was involved in 28 duels in the Mansfield game.
It is our attacking players involved in the most duels, which isn’t entirely surprising, Brennan Johnson is involved in a duel 25 times per game on average, whilst Tom Hopper comes in at 20.75 and Harry Anderson 20.69. After that Liam Bridcutt and TJ Eyoma are on 18.11 and 17.93 respectively, whilst Lewis Montsma is almost level with TJ on 17.92. Those three are perhaps the players with the better tackling stats, as their duels will be more likely be attempts to win the ball, not retain it.
In terms of winning duels, the names change dramatically. Adam Jackson has the best percentage, with 68.1% of his duels being won. Lewis Montsma is next up with 67.8%, whilst Liam Bridcutt is third. For Bridcutt and Montsma, those figures are impressive as they have high numbers per game, as well as the best percentages.
Here is an aspect of our game I feel we’re yet to be tested on; aerial ability. When we come up against Wimbledon, Gillingham and Northampton, we’re going to be on the end of balls into the box, for sure. Most of the teams we have played haven’t been that direct, perhaps Fleetwood were and Crewe in the later stages. How do our players hold up?
Unsurprisingly, Tom Hopper has the most amount of aerial duels per game, with 6.58, and his win ratio is 51.9%. In my eyes, anything over 50% is decent, given how an aerial duel is usually 50/50. Lewis Montsma is next up with 4.85, and Joe Walsh after that on 4.25. TJ Eyoma makes up the players involved in more than four aerial duels per game, on 4.14, with Jackson and Roughan next. Not really a shock at all.
In terms of success, a few players stand out, but the ones I want to focus on appear on both lists – numbers and success. Lewis Montsma (again) is up there, the only player who makes more than four per game and has a high success rate, 65.1%. Liam Bridcutt wins a higher number of his, 75%, but makes fewer per game (2.67). Tayo Edun surprised me, he only gets into 1.22 per game but wins 63.6%. Adam Jackson made 3.71 per game and wins 61.5%. I think that is interesting, I do wonder if once the clean sheet run is broken, we might see Jackson back in the side.
Again, we have two aspects of passing – how many a player makes per game and how successful they are. We have five players who make 40 or more passes per game: Tayo Edun (47.78, 0.54 passes per minute he is on the pitch), Jorge Grant (42.86, 0.47 passes per minute), Liam Bridcutt (42.67, 0.53 passes per minute), TJ Eyoma (41.43, 0.44 per minute) and Joe Walsh (40.25, 0.42 per minute). I guess that playing out from the back accounts for the higher number amongst defenders, whilst both Grant and Bridcutt are conduits for our play and it is little surprise to see them at the heart of the stats.
Pass accuracy is obviously huge, and whilst I haven’t drilled down into forward passes and the like (which I will at another time), there is some interest here. We do have one player with 100% pass accuracy: Hayden Cann. He might have only played six minutes, but in that time he played one successful pass! The top five outside of that are Joe Walsh (88.8%), Adam Jackson (87.3%), Conor McGrandles (83.4%), Remy Howarth (83.3%) and Liam Bridcutt (82.8%). The big name in there as far as I can see is McGrandles. The centre backs you expect to be there as they often play from side to side, whilst Howarth has had fewer minutes (just 265) to get a good feel for the numbers. Liam Bridcutt is expected to be up there, but Mcgrandles in an unsung hero in my eyes. In almost 1000 minutes he has played 403 passes with such good accuracy.
What the stats do not show, of course, is the direction of the pass, and whether it is key or not, but that’s for another article.