Head-To-Head Stats: Craddock (Wolves) vs Upson (West Ham)

Paddy is back with his statistical head-to-head analysis. The very important and hard to predict match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and West Ham on Sunday. I believe this sort of analysis gives a deeper insight about the differences between players and teams. So her we go again.

We start the head-to-heads with two representatives from the defence. The first pairing are:

Jody Craddock, 34 year old central defender, born in Redditch, England, is a Wolves veteran. He has played in Wolves for six years and he is the only player still playing that was a member of the 2003-4 team last time we were in the Premier League.

He started playing in non-league club Christchurch and 1993 he was signed for free by third tier club Cambridge United. He played there for four seasons before he was noticed by Sunderland and they signed him for £300.000 in 1997. A big signing fee for a League Two player at the time. Craddock helped Sunderland to promotion to the Premier League the second season at Sunderland, but he was ‘rewarded’ by being loaned out to Sheffield United in the Championship. But later on he came back and played for Sunderland.

After four years at the club he was sold to Wolves when Sunderland was relegated in 2003 and Wolves was promoted to Premier League. He was as an important player at that time for Wolves as he is this season.

And Craddock has been very solid in the Premier League so far and he has also had some success in going forward. And his partnership with Christophe Berra looks to have settled. Craddock has played 15 matches for Wolves in the Premier League this season so far.

Matthew Upson, 30, born in Eye in Suffolk, England. He was picked up by Luton Town and started there as a trainee in 1994, when he was fifteen. Two years later he signed a professional contract with the club. But he played only one game with Luton before he was sold to Arsenal a year later – in May of 1997.

It would be a long, long time before he got any matches at Arsenal, though. You could say that he spent his youth on a bench at Arsenal. In the 2001-2 season he finally made 22 appearances for Arsenal before he was injured in February and out for the rest of the season. Recovering from the broken leg he spent three months at Reading the next season. But Arsenal had the new pairing of Campbell and Touré so there were still no demand for Upsons services in their first team. In January of 2003 he was off to Birmingham for £1 to £3 million depending on appearances.

Upson played 113 matches in four years for Birmingham. In January 2007 manager Steve Bruce had to bow for owner Karren Brady and accept a bid for Upson of £7,5 million from West Ham. He was instantly injured as he started his first match for them and when he came back he was injured again. He completed his first match for West Ham in August of 2007. Last year he made 37 appearances for West Ham. Probably the first whole season he has played for any team. This season he was named captain after Lucas Neill’s departure. Upson has made 18 appearances for the England National team since 2003.

Matthew Upson has – like Jody Craddock for Wolves – made 15 appearances for West Ham in the Premier League this season so far.

Let’s then put them head-to-head and compare their stats for this season so far.

Season 2009-10
Craddock Upson
Fouls won and / conceded / % won
8 /21/28%
Tackles won and / lost / % won
22/2 /92%
Accurate passes % / Attacks created
63% / 0
82% /4
Goals / Assists / Shots on goal
4 /2 / 4
2 / 0 /3

O.K. Let’s interpret these figures in an ordered way and try to get something out of them.

Fouls: Conceiving fouls could be very costly when you play in a centre-back position. Players are getting more and more skilled at set pieces that could result in goals. Craddock has a high percentage of conceded fouls. And so has Upson. Actually Upson is the first I’ve seen with such a high percentage of conceived fouls – besides Craddock. This seem to be two no nonsense defenders.

Tackles: Craddock continues to win tackles. He has been mr 100% again and gone from 91% to 92%. But I have to alter my perception of Upson as a tough defender. He has a percentage of only just over two out of three tackles won and he is nowhere near Craddock at this.

Passes and Attacks: Craddock is – as everybody knows that has followed my head-to-heads – not one of the best in Wolves at passing the ball. In fact, quite the opposite. I use to say that the centre backs of Wolves comes under hard pressure and sometimes it will be necessary to just get rid of the ball from the area. But the same should go for the West Ham defenders and they are much better passers. Upson has 82% correct passes to be compared with 63% for Craddock. But Craddock had 70% in his last match in the league and Upson had 72% – so maybe Craddock is improving a bit.

Central defenders are usually not the ones that creates attacks. Craddock hasn’t created anyone, but Upson has created four. In Wolves Berra – Craddocks partner in the middle – has created five attacks.

Goals, Assists and Shots on goal: Jody Cradock has scored four goals for Wolves this season and is our second best goalscorer on that. Upson has scored two for West Ham. He usually does not score many in a season. Craddock has also made two assists. Craddock is very clinical with four strikes at goal and four goals. Upson have to hit the goal three times to get his two, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of either. 😆

Conclusions: Craddock gives away a lot of free kicks – some of them in dangerous areas. Not good. But he is a hell of a tackler, but Upson is surprisingly not winning more than two out of three tackles and conceives even more fouls than Craddock.

When it comes to accurate passing Upson – and probably every centre back in the league – is better than Craddock. Upson has created four attacks, but Craddock does not have the role to go forward in Wolves. He is instead an excellent and clinical goalscorer on set pieces and has recently added assists to his skills as well. Upson has scored twice.

Jody Craddock is one of the best central defenders of the Premier League. But he could be a security risk in giving away free kicks and he is not a good passer. But on the other hand he excels in front of the opposing teams goal on set pieces. Upson is an English International, but the only thing in these stats that puts him forward of Jody Craddock is his passing and the fact that he has created four attacks for his team.

According to these stats Craddock can measure up to Upson in most areas and he is much better in the offensive role. The Actim Index places Craddock on 47th place and Upson on 93rd in their 100 Best list of Premier League.

Craddock for England!


P.S. I will continue with head-to-heads comparing two midfielders and two strikers tomorrow and Sunday. D.S.


~ by paddytheflea on January 8, 2010.

2 Responses to “Head-To-Head Stats: Craddock (Wolves) vs Upson (West Ham)”

  1. You didn’t mention anything about headers…

  2. […] two central defenders ahead of the match between West Ham and Wolves come Sunday at Boleyn Ground (HERE) it’s time to move to midfield. Later on I will present two […]

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