Head-To-Head Stats: Milijas (Wolves) vs Gomez (Wigan)

Will continue to compare players (and to re-use some articles).

After comparing the statistics between two central defenders ahead of the match between Wolves and Wigan come Sunday at Molineux (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 in European cups.

Last season was his best and he scored 22 goals from his advanced midfield position. He was voted most valuable player in Serbia of the season and he 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 of Wolves, but recently he seem to have acclimatized to the Premier League. Nenad Milijas has played 13 matches so far for Wolves this season.

Jordi Gomez, 24, was born in Barcelona, Spain. He came through FC Barca’s youth ranks and played for their B-team 2005-7 but then signed for the neighbouring club of Espanyol. But he only played three matches for their senior team before he was signed and shipped off to Swansea.

It was the new boss at Swansea – manager Roberto Martínez – who were looking for players from his native country that were willing to – as he himself once – come and play a good passing game in the English league.

He started with scoring the winning goal in the derby against Cardiff and was of course accepted by the Welsh supporters of Swansea. He scored 14 goals in all competitions last season – despite being injured – and when he got back to Barcelona he was immediately contacted by Martínez – now in Wigan – for a contract to play for them. He signed for an estimated sum of £1.75 million.

His play has described by scouts as he is having  “a lovely ability to receive the ball in space or if he is marked tightly, find space after his first touch.”

Jordi Gomez has played 17 matches so far for Wigan in the Premier League this season.

Gomez and Milijas are both midfielders that likes to go forward and they like to operate in the ‘hole’ between midfield and forwards. Milijas plays a little bit to the left and Gomez often a little bit to the right. Milijas has a sensitive left foot and Gomez a sensitive right foot. They are the same type of players and newcomers in the Premier League this season. Let’s have a look at the statistics then and compare these creative midfielders.

Season 2009-10
Milijas Gomez
Fouls won and / conceded / % won
8 /13 /38%
40 /21 /66%
Tackles won and / lost / % won
8/8 /50%
15/2/88%
Accurate passes % / Attacks created
59% / 18
80% /20
Goals / Assists / Shots on goal
2 /3 / 6
1 / 0 /11

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 many away to the opposing team as well. Gomez wins two out of three of his fouls. By this we now what will happen two times out of three when they meet on the pitch on Saturday.

Tackles: Wolves players are usually good tacklers. But not Milijas. He is clearly not used to the harder British way of play. But there are signs that he is getting there. Gomez is a very skilled tackler. Almost as good as Karl Henry at this.

Passes and Attacks: Milijas has not a good 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. Gomez is much better at this and the Wigan team is much better than Wolves at accurate passing and they are passing the ball much more than Wolves (Yes, there is stats on this as well).

When it comes to creating attacks Milijas is about the same as Jimenez. 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.

The 20 attacks created by Jimenez shows indeed that he has the same role at West Ham as Milijas has at Wolves.

Goals, Assists and Shots on goal: I said earlier that for Milijas – learning the trade in British football – it is accepted with two goals and three assists so far in the season. Gomez has played a couple of matches more and he is clearly not as good as Milijas at this. He can not blame the lack in result on that he adjusts to the British style of play as he has played a year in the Championships. But it’s time for both of them to step up a nodge if they and their clubs are to stay in the Premier League.

For Milijas it is maybe as a provider and maker of goals we should expect the big contribution. But he scored 22 goals last season for Red Star, so he should score a few as well. Gomez has been a big goalscorer in Swansea, but maybe he is more of a playmaker than Milijas, with his accurate passing.

Conclusions: These are two players with a similar way of playing. And it shows in the stats as well. They are creative players who likes to deliver the ball to their team mates from a position between the midfield and the forwards. Milijas is not fully used to the British ways yet and at tackles and conceiving fouls he is not top notch. They play in a more ‘hostile’ climate than they are used to and the tempo is also much higher.

But when it comes to creating attacks and making goals and scoring they are very useful to their teams. Milijas has been better than Gomez at this so far, but both has struggled to get to terms with the Premier League in the beginning of the season and there are signs that at least Milijas is getting better and better.

(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 Wigan coming soon.)

Paddytheflea

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~ by paddytheflea on January 15, 2010.

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