Head-To-Head Stats: Henry (Wolves) vs Lucas (Liverpool FC)

Earlier today Paddytheflea compared the statistics between two central defenders ahead of the clash on Saturday at Anfield.  (HERE) and now it’s time to move to midfield. Tomorrow – on matchday – I will present two strikers.

I do these simple analytics as I firmly believe they can say something more objective and deeper about the strengths and weaknesses of the players and of their teams than the pundits subjective opinions.

Let’s go to the presentation of the two midfielders of Wolves and Liverpool.

Karl Henry, 26, is the Wolves captain and a very appreciated and consistent player. He was actually born in Wolverhampton but Wolves signed him from Stoke three seasons ago. He worked himself through the Stoke Academy to their first team and did his debut there already in 2001. The next year he became a regular player. And he has played for the England U18, U20 and U21 teams. But he fell out of favor in Stoke and came to Wolves in 2006 for only £175.000.  Since then he has been a very valuable member of the team and Mick McCarthy has practically built the team around him. Fresh statistics has revealed that he runs further than Gerrard and Rooney in a match. He is one of our most experienced players. He has played 17 matches so far this season for Wolves.

Lucas Leiva, 22, called only Lucas, comes from Brazil and played there for Grêmio. He was voted the best player in the country and received their Golden Ball reward in 2006 as the youngest player ever. He officially became a Liverpool player in July 2007 for £6 millions after many big teams in Italy and Spain had been interested. He was eased into the team carefully, the Benitez way, and played his first league match in November. Last season everybody thought that Lucas would be a regular in the team, but he had a hard time trying to get a regular place in the starting eleven. He did some bad displays and the fans actually booed him off the pitch against Fulham. And when he was sent off in the cup against Everton and gave away a late penalty against Wigan the fans took their hands off him completely. But Benitez have defended him and think he is a player with great skills.

This season he has started in all 18 of the Liverpool matches and has shown good form from the beginning. He has often the defensive midfielder role, as Karl Henry often has it at Wolves, but can go forward as well.

Let’s have a look at the statistics then and compare these defensive midfielders.

Season 2009-10
Henry Lucas
Fouls won and / conceded / % won
25 /22 /53%
25 /33 /43%
Tackles won and / lost / % won
29/5 /85%
Accurate passes % / Attacks created
79% / 11
86% /18
Goals / Assists / Shots on goal
0 /0 / 1
0 / 1 /5

I will now analyse and interpret these statistics and see if there are something interesting to conclude about the players and their respective teams.

Fouls: Henry still wins more fouls than he conceives. But in the last matches he has gone from 65% won to 53% and conceived ten, but only gained three fouls. It looks as he has become a tougher playing midfielder. But Lucas conceives even more fouls than Henry, but he wins exactly the same amount.

Tackles: But in tackles Henry excels as ever. One percent better than before the Chelsea game. Lucas is more average in this area, and it is maybe understandable that the Anfield crowd does not take him to their hearts.

Passes and Attacks: Passing skills are important for midfielders and Henry is one of the best passers in Wolves. With 79% accurate passes he has gone down two percentages from the last time I measured this, but it’s still very good. Lucas excels here with 86% passes going to a team mate.

Henry has started eleven attacks. He has managed only to launch one attack in the last five games he has played, saying us that he probably has a more defensive role today than in the beginning of the season. That can have something to do with the fact that Nenad Milijas is playing beside him in a more forward going role today. Milijas has created 17 attacks in his 12 appearances. Lucas has created 18 attacks despite being played mainly as a defensive midfielder. The one playing beside him, Mascherano, now injured, has created 16 attacks. The thought comes to mind reading the stats, that Liverpool perhaps does not have midfielders that take responsibility for the defence in this seasons team.

Goals, Assists and Shots on goal: Defensive midfielder should not go forward that much, and Henry does not. No goals or assists and one shot at goal in five tries. It’s exactly the same figures as five games ago. Lucas is more forward going but has made no goals this season and only one assist. But he has managed to shoot five times at goal out of 16 tries.

Conclusions: Lucas does not meet the demands for a defensive midfielder of a top four team when it comes to tackles and conceiving fouls in my opinion. He is, though, very good at passing the ball. When it comes to his actions going forward he creates attacks but does not seem to be especially gifted when it comes to assisting or scoring goals.

I think Henry is the better of the two when it comes to defending. And I think it’s the right thing to do that Wolves now are playing Herny in a more defensive role with Milijas in the team. I have a growing suspicion that Liverpool are playing with a team that don’t have the players to defend and that the back four will be more exposed to attacks than previous seasons because of this.

Of the two I would choose Henry without ever looking back. Especially as it seems that I can get nearly 30 Henrys’s for one Lucas!

(The stats comes from Telegraph and are further developed by me. If you don’t agree with my analysis and interpretation of the statistics, make your own. Watch out for the Head-To-Head between two strikers tomorrow. Which will Paddy choose?)



~ by paddytheflea on December 25, 2009.

6 Responses to “Head-To-Head Stats: Henry (Wolves) vs Lucas (Liverpool FC)”

  1. your lack of knowledge of liverpool players is apparent….

    lucas isn’t a defensive midfielder – that’s mascherano’s job. lucas is intended to link mascherano and the defense with gerrard and the attack, so passing is more the measure of his expected contribution than anything else. as for tackles, where did you get your stats from? because the BPL official OPTA stats has lucas in the top five in the league for tackles won (and passes, incidentally)….so your comparison of those two points is deceptive, because when i look at it, it seems as though henry is more of a passenger in games than any sort of tackling supremo – he’s successfully tackled half as many times as lucas, whilst playing in a team that has far fewer lengths of possession (and thus should have more opportunity to tackle).

    frankly, comparing the two was a mistake, as they don’t seem to be analogous players, but i get the impression you picked lucas and not mascherano in an attempt to cover henry in a bit more glory.

    too bad the stats suggest otherwise….

    • I picked Lucas because Mascherano is injured and therefore not so interesting to look at at the moment, ikhiloju. But I can tell you that Macherano has no better stats than Lucas. Your team lacks a defensive midfielder and Wolves will probably show that tomorrow. My stats are taken from the Telegraph. I don’t know where they get it from.

  2. As an LFC fan, I actually think our defensive frailties are to be found more across the back four than in midfield. The problem in midfield is the lack of a creative playmaker in the mould of Alonso, who can dictate the pace of the game and link midfield with attack. Hopefully Aquilani or Lucas can play that role going forward, otherwise Benitez will need to look again into the market for an appropriate player.

  3. […] In reality there are four players playing as forwards and as I have said in an earlier article (HERE), the stats shows that the midfielders supposed to play in a holding role goes forward as […]

  4. LUCAS IS NOT A DEFENSIVE MID YOU FUCKING KNOB. he is still however better than your captain in every area, including his own position, says it all really. one of our worst or lesser players is miles better than your captain. COME ON YOU REDS! Lucas YNWA.

  5. […] have already compared two central defenders (HERE) and two midfielders (HERE) and it is time to take on two […]

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