Head-To-Head Stats: Craddock (Wolves) vs Skrtel (Liverpool FC)

It was only a month ago since Wolves met Liverpool  away and now it’s time to take them on at home. And yours truly in yar hair (and in yar air) cyberflea is still around to report all about it.

The Flea is back with his statistical head-to-head analysis. Last against Pool I compared Berra with Agger. It is not less than fair to let Wolves other central defender be one of the heads of this investigation. And remember. I do this to get more information and know more about the individuals and their teams.

As usual we start the head-to-heads with two representatives from the defence. The first two are:

Jody Craddock, 34 year old central defender, was 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 in 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 16 matches for Wolves in the Premier League this season so far.

Martin Skrtel, 25, was born in Handlová, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia). He started playing football at an early age as well as ice hockey. At first he played as a winger and striker, but when he was 16 he changed to play in a central defending position.

He played in FK Mesto Prievidza as a young boy, but was picked up by FK AS Trenčín in 2001 and played 45 professional games with them until 2004 when the big Russian club Zenit St Petersburg knocked on the door.

Already present Czech and Slovak players made it easier for him to blend in and he played over a hundred matches for Zenit before it was time to move on. Several clubs were interested in his services. Valencia, Tottenham, Nottingham and Newcastle were among the teams that wanted to sign the young centre-back ace.But he ended up signing for Liverpool in the January window two years ago. The transfer sum is said to have been £6.5 million.

Benitez compared Skrtel to Carragher and said that he was quick, good in the air and had a good mentality. Last year he started all matches but one for Liverpool in the league and replaced the Dane Agger (se earlier Head-To-Head HERE) from the starting eleven. He has played 37 matches for Slovakia and scored five times. Martin Skrtel has played 14 matches in the league for Liverpool so far this season.

Look at the images. You can almost see that they are two tough blokes. Let’s put them head-to-head and compare their stats for this season so far.

Season 2009-10
Craddock Skrtel
Fouls won and / conceded / % won
Tackles won and / lost / % won
23 /2 /92%
28 /2 /93%
Accurate passes % / Attacks created
62% / 1
83% /2
Goals / Assists / Shots on goal
4 /2 / 5
1 / 0 /3

O.K. Let’s interpret these figures and try to learn something from 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. Skrtel has – like most central defenders – much better figures than Craddock when it comes to this area.

Tackles: Craddock continues to win tackles. He has been mr 100% again and did win one more last and lost none. But Skrtel is even better than Craddock. Very rare. But don’t forget that Craddock haven’t lost a tackle in his last six games.

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. Skrtels result points to a defender working for a tem that has more time to pass the ball to a team mate. But don’t forget that he probably is picked because he is very good at passing the ball around.

The Liverpool manager Benitez way of play is to make the players pass their way through the opposing team and try to hold the ball as much as possible. That shows in the play of Skrtel as in other players in the Liverpool team.

Central defenders are usually not the ones that creates attacks. Craddock created one in the last game out of sheer desperation, I think. Trying to get something out of the match against Wigan moving forward in the end. Skrtel does not create many attacks either. It is Carragher who does that in Liverpool, despite Skrtel is said to be quick.

Goals, Assists and Shots on goal: Jody Cradock has scored four goals for Wolves this season and is still our second best goalscorer on that. Skrtel has only scored once for Liverpool. Craddock has also made two assists. Skrtel has no assists so far. Craddock is very clinical with five strikes at goal and four goals. Skrtel have hit the goal three times without any result. He is said to be good with his head, but has not shown that so far this season.

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. Skrtel does not give away as many free-kicks as Craddock and he is slightly better at tackles as well. Wow!

When it comes to accurate passing Skrtel is much better than Craddock . But most central defenders in the league are better passers than Craddock. No one of them are any good at creating attacks. It is not in their job description. But Craddock is an excellent and clinical goalscorer on set pieces and has added assists to his skills as well. Skrtel has only scored once this season and has made no assists, despite being a fast player and good with his head.

Jody Craddock is one of the best central defenders in 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. Skrtel is a highly regarded Premier League defender. He looks to be better than Craddock at everything measured here but the end products of the offensive play. But to measure how they really are at defending we need data that is not available at the moment, I’m afraid. But we can watch them on Tuesday.



~ by paddytheflea on January 24, 2010.

2 Responses to “Head-To-Head Stats: Craddock (Wolves) vs Skrtel (Liverpool FC)”

  1. paddy – been following your blog for a while and can say you know your stuff! despite being a wolf you dont let this blinker your sttats/facts. i like this feature you do where you compare players. cant wait for tomorrow, few of my mates are going, some ww boys and some pool fans. should be cracking atmosphere. keep up the good work, and lets get bbehind MM !

    • Thanks, punjabiwolves!
      I will publish a head-to-head with strikers later today.
      I’m firmly behind the team and MM on matchday and I hope everybody else are. We will be the 12th player tonight!

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