Head-To-Head Stats: Milijas (Wolves) vs Ireland (Manchester City)

After comparing  the statistics between two central defenders ahead of the match between Wolves and Manchester City (HERE)   it’s time to move to midfield. Later on I will present two strikers.

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

Let’s first present the two midfielders in question.

Nenad Milijas, 26, was born in Yugoslavia and started his footballing career in FK Zemun, Belgrade (Serbia), in the Youth team in 1995. In the year 2000 he reached the senior level and the next season he became a regular starter in the first team. In 2005-6 he attracted attention from the countries largest club Red Star Belgrade, after scoring eight goals in half a season, and he signed up for them in January of 2006. At first he didn’t get much playing time, but when the club changed manager he played more games and was a regular starter in league matches as well as European cups.

Last season was his best and he scored 22 goals from his midfield position. He was voted most valuable player in Serbia of the season and also was voted into the All Star Team and made his debut in the Serbian National Team. At the end of the season Wolves signed him, reportedly for about £2,5 million. Milijas had some difficulty in getting a spot in the starting eleven, but now he seem to have acclimatized to the Premier League. Nenad Milijas has played 13 matches so far for Wolves this season.

Stephen Ireland, 23, was born in Cork, Ireland. There he started his career in Cobh Ramblers. He brought attention from several English clubs, but due to a disease called Osgood-Schlatter,  caused by stress to the patellar tendon, he didn’t get signed by any clubs until he was fifteen, when Manchester City signed him up for their Academy. In 2005 he broke in to their first team and won the Man Of The Match Award in his first appearance in the Premier League against Everton. In 2006 he played his first match for the Republic of Ireland after playing many matches for their Youth teams. In the 2007-8 season he became a regular starter and scored four goals for City. Last season he played even better and scored 13 goals. Stephen Ireland has played 16 matches so far for Manchester City this season.

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

Season 2009-10
Milijas Ireland
Fouls won and / conceded / % won
8 /13 /38%
10 /6 /63%
Tackles won and / lost / % won
8/8 /50%
Accurate passes % / Attacks created
58% / 18
76% /17
Goals / Assists / Shots on goal
2 /3 / 6
2 / 1 /4

O.K. Let’s analyse this and see what we can find out about the players and their respective teams.

Fouls: Milijas is very skilled at taking free kicks, but he is giving some away to the opposing team as well. He gave away two in an hour in the last match. Not good. But he wins some as well, but he should look at Ireland and win some more.

Tackles: Wolves players are usually good tacklers. But not Milijas. He is clearly not used to the harder British way of play. Ireland is a hard lad and outshines Milijas in this. They are in this sense two very different players with two different ways to play the game.

Passes and Attacks: Stephen Ireland shows that you can be a good passer despite being good at tackling and in-yar-face footballing. But Milijas has a very bad record at accurate passes. But the two last games he had an exact passing statistics of 67% and 73% so maybe he is coming around in this area.

When it comes to creating attacks Milijas is actually better than Ireland. (Remember that he has only 13 matches for Wolves when Ireland has 16 for City). Milijas is second best in Wolves at creating attacks and Wolves really needs a player on midfield that can do this job. Jarvis can not create everything alone and when Kightly and Keogh are injured this is our only really creative players in my opinion.

Goals, Assists and Shots on goal: Both players has scored two goals. That is actually a little bit below what could be expected if we look at these players careers. But for Milijas – learning the trade in British football – it is accepted.

And maybe it is as a provider we should expect the big contribution from him. With three assists he outshines Ireland. And he has more shots on goal too – all with fewer matches played. And there are tendencies that say that he is improving from match to match now.

Conclusions: Stephen Ireland is a battle hardened Brit style footballer. He excels in tackles and leaves fewer free kicks to the opposing team than Milijas. that is a plus. He is also a better passer, but Milijas looks to better himself in this area.

But when it comes to creating attacks and making goals and scoring, Nenad Milijas is the better of the two according to these stats. And he looks to be improving as he gets used to playing in the Premier League.

(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 from Wolves and Manchester City.)



~ by paddytheflea on December 28, 2009.

One Response to “Head-To-Head Stats: Milijas (Wolves) vs Ireland (Manchester City)”

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

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