It’s sure to be a keenly-contested battle when Manuel Pellegrini’s West Ham United travel to face Claude Puel’s Leicester City this evening at the King Power Stadium in the Premier League, a team battle containing many different individual battles.
One of them will not be a battle of two players who will not meet often in confrontation on the pitch, but a battle of two players determined to outdo each other whilst featuring at opposite ends of the field. It will, of course, be the battle of the wingers and we are going to analyse it, today.
The two wingers who we are going to be focussing all of our attention on today are the two that will be featuring on the left flank for the Hammers and the Foxes, respectively, summer signings Felipe Anderson and James Maddison.
Arriving before the start of the season, both new players have started every Premier League game so far for their clubs, settled in well and been key figures in the early campaign, the pair managing to register goals and assists and adjust quickly to the world’s most competitive league.
While the duo are unlikely to come face-to-face with each other at any stage during the vital match, their battle will still be as fierce as any and involve who can score and assist the most goals, firing their side to a crucial win to stop a rot of two defeats on the spin.
Without analysing the statistics, which we are going to be doing a little later in this comprehensive analysis, based on current form, one would feel that Maddison has the better chance of winning this battle having scored and assisted more this term, but we are going to have to wait until the end to make our big prediction.
Without further ado, let’s get down to the main part of our statistics-driven tactical analysis, the comparison, where we are going to pit Anderson and Maddison up against each other on the basis of average attacking stats from this season so far.
The above two images, containing the stats we are going to compare, are provided by our good friends over at wyscout.com and include individual stats from each of the matches they have played, but we are solely going to be analysing the averages, found in the column at the top.
These are per 90 minutes, with the first statistic we are drawn to being goals per game, on average, an area where Maddison, whose performances have earnt him his first England call-up in October, unsurprisingly trumps Anderson, with 0.36 to his 0.11.
The story is very much the same when it comes to assists per 90 minutes, although things are much tighter with the ex-Norwich City star edging it by 0.01% as they have one each, but Anderson has featured in ten matches in all competitions to his nine.
Not only does Maddison average more shots, showing his ambition, he is much more accurate than Anderson with 3.3% more coming on target, though, neither have covered themselves in glory in this area, along with expected goals. However, of their low ratings, the Fox beats the Hammer with almost double his score.
Unlike the battle between Marko Arnautovic and Jamie Vardy which we analysed two days ago, this is turning into a very one-sided affair between two players nailed-on to start when kick-off at the KP arrives in a matter of hours.
Maddison takes the next stat with 0.09 more shot assists than his Brazilian opposite number Anderson, then, matters start to even out a little bit, the former averages a better shot accuracy, but the latter produces a comfortably more crosses.
There is no change when it comes to dribbles, Anderson attempts double the amount of Maddison per 90 minutes, however, the Englishman completes 72 per cent of them to his 62.2%, the trend continues with offensive duels and the percentage won, as you can see.
But, soon, the one-cap Brazil International and 2016 Olympic gold medallist comes roaring back to reign supreme in three of the final four stats, enjoying more touches in the opposition box, fewer offsides and a staggering amount more progressive runs. This shows that he too, can be a real handful to the opposing defence.
Our final stat is number of fouls drawn and it can be a key one for a winger in giving his team decent set-piece opportunities in dangerous areas, some of which they can take and be a threat from, themselves. Here, Maddison is one of the most fouled players in the league and wipes the floor with Anderson, averaging 3.04 fouls suffered to his 1.65.
Overall, when comparing these two attackers with their most recent average attacking statistics, there is only one clear winner and it’s the Leicester man. Maddison wins 11 points, one point being awarded for winning a single stat, such as having more shots or possessing a higher dribble success rate, to Anderson’s measly five.
In conclusion, our statistical tactical analysis today has found that, much like the initial prediction we made based on current form, we have to predict that Maddison will win this battle on home turf for him as he has been superior to Anderson in most areas this season.
However, in football, anything can happen and just because Puel’s player beats Pellegrini’s on paper, it doesn’t mean he is going to on the pitch in the BT Sport televised late kick-off. Anderson, fresh from an under-par display that led to an early exit against Tottenham Hotspur, has a point to prove and that may well give him an edge on Maddison, we’ll have to wait and see.