Tackles: or the rise and rise of the ginger midfielder

See, this is why you sometimes needs stats.  While we might have used our eyes to tell us that Steve Sidwell’s added some bite to midfield, the numbers confirm this beyond any doubt:   not only is he tackling at about twice the rate of Etuhu (and more often than Murphy, too), he’s winning almost every challenge he goes into.  Wow.

10 thoughts on “Tackles: or the rise and rise of the ginger midfielder

  1. I am surprised at how much Murphy tackles compared to Etuhu, could this be down to our early season troubles? Earlier in the season, whilst Etuhu was getting forward more, Danny looked more restricted as he had to create/pass/cover in the middle and we struggled with poor movement up front. Was he tackling more? Was Etuhu struggling to make an impression when he had to press higher up the pitch?

    I think Sidwell is a different player to Etuhu. Someone mentioned that he reminded them of Sean Davis box-to-box player, whilst Etuhu is more of a anchor man/Def Mid (or is that the Hodgson conditioning?. I still would love to see us play a 4-3-3 formation with a Etuhu (Def mid), Sidwell (box-to box) and Murphy (passer/creator) as a triumverate and Bobby, Clint and Moussa up front – could be exciting!

    2 things would be interesting to see:

    1) Interceptions – who has the most
    2) What were the tackling statistics last season?

    Credit to Sidwell, has come in, done well and looked hungry. If we can tie him down to a reasonable deal this summer then it will be great!

    1. I think without interceptions this analysis is basically meaningless. Depending on how tackles are defined, the tackles stat can actually show players who have to make up lost ground after being out of position defensively.

        1. Now that is interesting. Maybe it is just his presence in there, because to me we seem more solid and organised when he’s in the team, albeit with less attacking threat.

  2. Tackles mean nothing, especially thats not what dickson adds to the team, he add hight and presence along with his heading ability in defending situations, if u look closely at the man city game for example, many times a defensive header by etuhu turned a defensive situation into an attacking position, he adds more than sidwell does, and also can u get a stat of how many times sidwell has lost the ball in stupid situations the number will phenomenal compared to dickson etuhu, Etuhu is number 1 choice and is far better than sidwell, unfortunately sidlwell is too small and weak for his position.

  3. Yes, that’s meaningful and interesting all right. Like so many individual stats, the numbers are actually surprisingly low all round — you’d be guessing more for everyone — so maybe part of the trick is giving the impression of being more tigerish than you factually are.

    The point often made of Bobby Moore, that he could sniff and snuff out danger prior to tackles becoming needful, doesn’t apply so much to a central midfielder. Dickson’s stat is valid ammunition to critics.

    1. there could be an element of this: teams might conceivably “stay away” from Etuhu because of his presence. That wouldn’t surprise me.

      Equally, how much does this matter. It’s ‘turning over’ three more possessions in a game. True, you’d assume these are attacking, but it’s the same difference as three hit and hope goal kicks. I suspect that these things do matter, and that all these tiny edges are what makes differences over the course of a season, but I don’t know that it’s proof of anything necessarily.

  4. As keeper, I used to insist that my defenders closely mark the opposition. Play them tight and you will shut them down or force a mistake. But I had one fullback that always tried to play off his man in the hopes of encouraging a pass to his side, and intercepting the pass. No amount of yelling by me could get him to play tighter. He was all dash and glory. Of course, he caused more problems that he solved. So I never really believed in interception stats. Maybe it is better to look at passing stats to see where the opposition took their attack? What was their tendency? Which of our defenders/midfielders did they try to take advantage of: Etuhu, Murphy, or Sidwell?

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