Head-To-Head Stats: Doyle (Wolves) vs Kuyt (Liverpool FC)

With Torres out injured I had no other choice than to make a new head-to-head for the striker department.

We have already compared two central defenders (HERE) and a month ago I compared two midfielders (HERE) and they will probably play today, so let’s go for the two strikers, eh.

I use this statistical method because I believe it can reveal something about the strengths and weaknesses of the players and of their teams. And we will perhaps learn something new that we didn’t know before and can dig a little deeper and perhaps be a little more objective than the common pundit. Let’s first go to the presentation of the strikers.

Kevin Doyle, 26, from Wexford, Ireland. He started as a professional for S:t Patrick, but soon moved on to Cork City where he started out as a right winger but soon moved on to play as a striker. He scored 25 goals for Cork in two seasons and Reading became interested in the young striker. He was signed for them when they played in the Championships in 2005 for £78.000. Everybody thought that he would only be a back-up to Kitson, but when he became injured Doyle took his chances and scored some vital goals to help Reading move up to the Premier League.He was also named Reading Player Of The Year.

In the Premier League Doyle became a threat in the air for other teams. He was the best striker in the league when it came to headers that first year. In total he scored 13 goals. The next year he didn’t do that well. He only scored six and Reading was relegated. He stayed in Reading trying to get them to bounce back. He scored 18 goals last season, but Reading lost in the play-offs for the Premier League to Burnley.

Kevin Doyle came to Wolves from Reading last summer in a record deal for the club of £6,5 million. He is an Irish international who plays together with Robbie Keane (a former Wolves player) as striker for the Republic of Ireland. He was injured in the beginning of the current season and has played 17 matches so far for Wolves.

Dirk Kuyt, 29, born in Catwick By The Sea, Holland.  He started playing football organised already when he was fie in a club called Quick Boys and stayed there until he was 18, when he played in there first team. Then the first league team Utrecht knocked on the door to sign the young striker.

They did no mistake. Kuijt immediately established himself as a starter in their first team, but often as a winger then in his primary striker role. In the 2002-3 season he got his striker position back when a new manager arrived, and managed to score 20 goals for his club that season. They also won the Dutch Cup that season with Kuyt as Man Of The Match and goalscorer in the finals.

He then continued to score goals for Feyenoord, who bought him for one million Euros. Twenty goals in his first season, 29 in the second and 25 in the third as the famous clubs captain. Liverpool and Newcastle got interested in signing him and he chose the right team, it’s easy to conclude in hindsight.

His start In Liverpool was as impressive as in Utrecht and Feyenoord. Even the hard to please British press were impressed of his play and work rate. And he also became a fans favorite by his play, but also when he walked to all corner of the pitch after each game to thank the fans. He scored 12 goals in his first season.

But in the second he had a dry spell of thirteen games and he only scored three goals in 32 appearances in this, the 2007-8 season. At the second half of the season Benitez started Kuyt as right winger and he started to score again.

Last season he was back as a great goalscorer again. With 12 goals in the Premier League and a total of 15 he had his best season for Liverpool. Now he is back in his primary position as a striker, as Torres is out injured. (If you want to see Torres compared with Doyle, I did that ahead of the last clash (HERE))

Kuyt is of course also a member of the Dutch national team. He has played 59 matches for them and scored 19 goals.

Dirk Kuyt has played 22 matches for Liverpool so far in the league this season

Let’s now move on to the statistics and compare the strikers results so far this season.

Season 2009-10 Doyle Kuyt
Fouls won and / conceded / % won 35 /22 / 61% 17 /28 /38%
Tackles won and / lost / % won 21/6 /78% 15/15 /50%
Accurate passes % / Attacks created 67% / 14 74% / 28
Goals / Assists / Shots on goal 5/ 1 / 14 7 / 2 / 25

Paddytheflea will now interpret these figures and try to find a reasonable analysis to the differences between the two strikers statistics

Fouls: Doyle is involved in situations when a foul is issued more often than Kuyt. Doyle wins far more fouls in percentages and in numbers. Torres was about the same as Doyle in this area, but Doyle gets himself and the team much more advantages in form of free kicks than Kuyt. And Kuyt gives away much more frees to the opposing teams

Tackles: Kevin Doyle wins a lot of tackles. And he gets into more tackle situations than Torres (remember that he has played five fewer games). Torres managed to win 86 percent of his tackles, but kuyt wins only half of his. Doyle is not far from Torres and much better than Kuyt at this.

Passes and Attacks: Keeping the ball in the team is very closely connected to the final outcome of the game. And the big teams are very good at passing the ball so that it comes to a team mate. But Doyle and Torres does not excel in this area. Kuyt is a little better, but not as good as the best analysed here. Usually players from the big teams are very good at hitting accurate passes. Kuyt is only average and Doyle a little lower but over the average of Wolves as a team.

In creating attacks Doyle measures up to Torres, but not to Kuyt. Doyle has improved a lot in this area in the last 7-8 matches.But that does not seem to increase our goal tally. Why? Kuyt has created 28 attacks so far. I think that has to do with his position as winger until recently. As a winger 28 is not that much. Jarvis of Wolves on the left wing has many more.

Goals, Assists and Shots on goal: This is of course the most important of the categories for strikers. This is their main job. And as we already know from his resumé, Kuyt is a natural goalscorer. With a total of seven – five of them as a winger, I reckon, he is better than Doyle, despite having worked from the wing earlier on. But, as I’ve said before, a strikers goal tally is of course also dependent on other players delivery, apart from their own skills.

As Torres, Kuyt’s number of shots on goal are almost double that of Doyle. As I’ve said before; our strikers should shoot more. They did last season and it resulted in a lot of goals. Kuyt only has two assists. Despite playing on the wing. That shows that he is not a natural winger. Benitez may not be the skillful manager everybody says after all. The two goals against Tottenham latest together with these stats, scares me. Kuyt is probably ‘back home’ and could cause us some trouble.

If we look at the amount of goals to the shots on goal Doyle gets an ‘efficiency percentage’ of 36% and Kuyt gets 28%. Not such a big difference. Torres, though, is much more efficient than Doyle and Kuyt. When we look at the ‘precision percentage’ shots vs shots on goal Doyle has 57%, Torres 58% and Kuyt 60%. Very close to each other.

Conclusions: Kevin Doyle is an Irish International of high class but he is here compared to a Dutch International that is much more revered by the pundits and has had a much better career so far than the Wolves striker.

When it comes to fouls and tackles, though, Doyle is the better of the two. That was the case as well when I compared Doyle with Torres of Liverpool a month ago.

Passing the ball is the skill that uses to place the Wolves players far behind most of the other teams players. But Kuyt is not so much better than Doyle at this. And maybe he is not better at all, because playing as a winger he should have a little better percentage of correct passes than playing as a striker. That is usually the rule.

When it comes to creating attacks Kuyt outshines Doyle with about the double created. But that can also be seen as an effect on the data from the fact that Kuyt have played at the wing bringing the ball up and into the danger area for others to score and assist scoring. Jarvis and other wingers usually create many attacks. And we should not forget that Doyle has created a lot of attacks the last 7-8 matches. He is improving in this area. And Kuyt has played five more matches than Doyle.

When it comes to getting results in form of goals and shots on goal we can conclude that Kuyt fires much more shots, despite playing as a winger a lot.That is something for Doyle and McCarthy to think about and change. Because the goal tally is about the same and the efficiency and the precision between the players as well. If Doyle gets more chances to shoot and gets more shots he will score and he could count to more goals than Kuyt. The stats points to that.

The conclusion must be – based on these statistics alone – that Kevin Doyle is the better player. He is the better tackler and does not give away as many fouls, but walks away with more free kicks than Kuyt to his advantage. He is not far from Kuyt when it comes to accuracy of passes and he is just as good at scoring (17 to 22 matches). Further more – if Doyle would launch more shots he would be a better scorer than Kuyt.

But there is a little but to this. Kuyt has played most of his matches as a wingplayer. He may score more if he is positioned as a striker. And that is what worries me most of all tonight.




~ by paddytheflea on January 26, 2010.

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