Head to head: Doyle (Wolves) v Anelka (Chelsea)

Paddytheflea – as promised earlier on and as a final  – compare the statistics between two forwards ahead of the clash tomorrow at Stamford Bridge. We have already looked at a comparison between two centre-backs (HERE) and two midfielders (HERE).

These two strikers were both involved on opposite sides in the match between France and the Republic Of Ireland on Wednesday and I think both were among the best for their teams

Analytics can tell us something about the strengths and weaknesses of the players and of their teams. And you will perhaps learn something new.

Kevin Doyle, 26, from Ireland. He came to the club from Reading this summer in a record deal of £6,5 millions and is an Irish international who plays together with Robbie Keane (a former Wolves player) as striker for Ireland.  He was injured in the beginning of the season and has played 10 matches so far for Wolves.



Nicholas Anelka, 30, from France. He came to Chelsea in January 2008 after playing for a long row of teams all around Europe. When counting his transfer costs together he is the second most expensive player in the world. He is said to be a head strong man, and not only in a footballing sense. But he is one of the best strikers on the globe and has scored 24 goals in 62 matches for Chelsea. He has played 11 matches for Chelsea this season.

Let’s move along and present the statistics then and compare the strikers in numbers.

Season 2009-10 Doyle Anelka
Fouls won and / conceded / % won 19 /11 / 63% 8 /5 /62%
Tackles won and / lost / % won 16/5  /76% 6/4 /60%
Accurate passes % / Attacks created 66% / 4 77% / 23
Goals / Assists / Shots on goal 3 / 0 / 9 3 / 3 / 17

I will now analyse the figures and try to find a reasonable interpretation to the statistics.

Fouls: As with Henry and Essien, both players wins more fouls than they conceive. But here the two are equals.

Tackles: Kevin Doyle wins more tackles than Anelka. The interesting stats here are perhaps the few tackles that Anelka gives and take during a match. In fact less than one a game. He is a player that avoids going face to face with the opponents and he does not defend. Doyle – on the other hand – has to defend as his team is under pressure more often. He will also receive long, high balls more often from defense and midfield and a tackling moment will occur because of that. Playing for a team that has to defend themselves he gets good at tackling and in the Championships it’s a more physical game.

Passes and Attacks: As in almost all head-to-head comparisons I have made the Wolves player loses out when it comes to correct passing. Whether it is because Wolves is under constant pressure and the compared (Arsenal and Chelsea so far) can do their ‘jobs’ in a more ‘tempered climate’ I don’t know. But I think this is one of the main reasons these teams are so much better than others. Keeping the ball in the team is very closely connected to the final outcome of the game.

Creating attacks is one of Nicholas Anelkas main jobs. And he is excellent at it as the stats reveals. Only Jarvis can measure up to him in Wolves (26 in 10 matches) and Doyle is far from his mark of 23 with his 4. But this is not Kevin Doyles main job. He should be up there to take advantage of attacks created by others.

Goals, Assists and Shots on goal: This is of course the most important of the categories for strikers. This is their main job. But for Anelka it may very well be a little different (see above). He is more of a second striker – at least when Drogba is on the pitch. Maybe that is reflected in the stats?! But he has a lot of shots on goal per goal in previous seasons as well. No assists for Doyle and three for Anelka. Doyle should perhaps shoot more and if he does not set up his partner Ebanks-Blake for a goal soon they might just not be the wonderful partnership that so many thought before the season.

Conclusions, then. With these stats I have to say that Kevin Doyle does not measure up to Anelkas level of playing at all. It is only at tackles that Doyle excels – which we could see in the matches against France as well. But that is something that Anelka avoids in his play and he does not have to defend as much as Kevin.

When it comes to the important skill of passing, Doyle does simply not look good enough. But of course there is a receiver in the other end too and these stats can’t tell us if they are up to it or not. Anelka has a whole team of world stars around him with skills that exceeds Wolves players plentyfold.

But I don’t mind at all if Kevin Doyle will surprise me positively tomorrow and if Anelka has a bad day on the job. There are so many variables in a game of football that it’s impossible to predict an outcome of a game or the performance of a player from a few statistics. But that was not the purpose of this exercise. I just wanted to dig a little bit deeper into an understanding of the players and the teams strengths and weaknesses.

And, as usual, If you don’t agree with my analysis and interpretation of the statistics, make your own. And I love to get comments on this, so don’t hesitate to write.




~ by paddytheflea on November 20, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: