The 20-year-old started alongside Pedro Obiang in the Hammers midfield as they were unfortunate to slip to a 1-0 loss to the reigning Premier League champions, as Manuel Pellegrini faced his former club at the Etihad Stadium for the first time. City striker Sergio Aguero scored the only goal of the game from a contentious penalty after Felipe Anderson brought Bernardo Silva down in the area and referee Stuart Attwell pointed to the spot despite minimal contact.
Members of the Claret & Blue Army will have mixed feelings about the 20-year-old playing so well in the match that saw their team collect a more-than-respectable result, in contrast to Citizens. This is because Rice continues to be heavily linked with a move to Pep Guardiola’s team, possibly as the long-term replacement for fellow midfielder Fernandinho in a £70-million summer move.
Today, in the wake of the display that would have put the Englishman firmly in the shop window for Blue Moon, we’re going to perform a statistical comparison between Rice and the player he’s said to be going to be replacing at the Etihad, Brazil man Fernandinho.
For our comparison, we’re going to use the below graphic provided by our good friends over at whoscored.com and containing their overall Premier League statistics from 2018/2019 so far.
Our first two stats are appearances and minutes played with both making 25 for the season in the league, Rice having not missed a PL starting Xl since mid-September, and playing marginally more minutes than Fernandinho. In terms of goal, not a huge part of the game in their position, they are even with one each.
When it comes to assists, however, Fernandinho is out in front with two more, in contrast to the yellow cards stat, which has seen Rice record three fewer. But it’s a tale of domination in this comparison from the 33-year-old after the figure that tells us neither have been red-carded.
Fernandinho wins the closing five stats with 0.5 more shots per game, 2.2 per cent more pass success percentage, 0.6 more aerial duels won per match, one more Man-of-the-Match award and a better average WhoScored match rating out of ten by 0.47 points.
In conclusion in this comparative analysis, irrelevant is the fact that the City man wins the comparison by a huge margin, he was always going to as one of the greatest midfielders of the Premier League era and one that’s still very much at his best in spite of being veteran age.
What matters is that Rice, 13 years younger, is so close to him in most figures and even bests him in some of our stats. This is a hugely promising sign for the Hammer and one that strongly suggests he could well be the Brazilian’s long-term replacement.
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