Head to Head Stats: Doyle, Ebanks-Blake Or Fletcher

Safe to say a lot of Wolves supporters are – like me and thousands of other fleas living in Mick McCarthy’s hair – very worried now that it’s confirmed that Kevin Doyle will be out for 4 to 8 weeks.

Our closest options to replace Kevin Doyle are Steven Fletcher and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake. But do they measure up to the skills and abilities of Doyle and which one of them should Mick chose in a 4-5-1 type of formation?

My own favorite for the role is Sylvan, but I turned to the stats to get a more objective answer to my questions. I know that the available stats aren’t enough to fully answer the questions proposed, but perhaps we can arrive a bit closer to a solution?!

These are the stats I’ve found and developed:

Stats Doyle SEB Fletcher
Goals / freq
5 / 434 min.
6 / 184 min.
5 / 154 min.
Assists / freq
4 / 543 min.
3 / 369 min.
0 / –
Fouls won
71 / 68%
21 / 34%
12 / 36%
Tackles won
16 / 64%
15 / 65%
7 / 64%
Total shots/freq
33 /66 min.
26 / 43 min.
21 / 37 min.
Shots on goal
15 / 45%
14 / 54%
9 / 43%
created attacks freq
90 min.
101 min.
97 min.
Correct passes
73% 68% 65%
Minutes played
2170 minutes
1106 minutes
772 minutes

Let me take you through these stats and interpret them the way I see them. It’s easy to fall in the trap and pay too much attention to the figures without confronting them with the actual circumstances in which they were produced.

Doyle has played almost double the time of Ebanks-Blake (SEB) and three times that of Fletcher. But yet he has not produced more goals than them. Only one in 434 minutes on the pitch. Why? Is he really our best front-man?

You have to bear in mind that Doyle practically makes a midfielders job when he is the lone man upfront. Especially against the better teams. A lot of defending is part of his job description.

SEB and Fletcher are often coming on to form a 4-4-2-formation in which they have more back-up going forward. They also often comes on in a moment in the game when Wolves are pushing forward to get something from the game, so it’s not a surprise that they have scored more goals when counting per minute.

The difference is – on the other hand – very big and maybe both Fletcher and SEB really are better strikers – as in scorers of goals – than Doyle. Some people believe this and they can make their own interpretation of the stats that supports them.

The greatest difference between Doyle and the other two is his ability to win fouls. 71 of them and 68% won, that will be many free-kicks for Wolves in dangerous areas for our opponents and a way for Wolves to keep the ball and keep it high up the pitch.

Fletcher and SEB give away many more fouls than they manage to win. That could mean counter attacks by our opponents.

We can conclude that there are certain areas where Fletcher and SEB does not measure up to the skills of Doyle, but in the striking department they are at least Doylers equals. Could the stats say anything about who is the best of Fletch and SEB?

That’s a hard one and I have to say no. Their stats are very similar, only small differences, to small to give any of them an advantage over the other, in my opinion.

So I am – together with my 1.000 cousins in the hairdo of Mick McCarthy and many other supporters – left with my own subjective views on who our manager should play.

I believe he should play the one that has the best form for the day. Or maybe play them both in a 4-4-2? With Milijas and O’Hara on the inner midfield we may now have enough strength in the team to play that way without being over-ran. But your opinion is as good as mine on this, really.




~ by paddytheflea on March 28, 2011.

5 Responses to “Head to Head Stats: Doyle, Ebanks-Blake Or Fletcher”

  1. Let them play one match each in a 4-5-1. Sometimes we changes to a
    4-4-2 in the second half. They both have a fair chance to impress the manager and the fans throughout the season now. The stats confirmed what we all suspected: they’re even with different specialities.

    • That’s a good suggestion. I suspect that Sylvan is better at holding the ball up, though. But not as good as Doyler.

      Let’s not forget that Kightly will be back now – probably on fire. A Kightly in form will make the team stronger in midfield and we can play 4-4-2. Like this:

      Foley – Stearman – Berra – Elokobi
      Kightly – O’Hara – Milijas – Jarvis
      — Fletcher – Ebanks-Blake —

      That should do the trick. 😆

  2. plz plz plz mm do not play 4-4-2!!!!! as iv stated many many many a time, we STILL do not have the personel to play 4-4-2, the two central midfielders need legs to get up and down and still dont believe o’hara and milijas on there own can do that!!! also we keep the ball a million times better playing 4-5-1 and as u have stated before, the 4-5-1 system, mainly ends up being 4-3-3 anyway with jarvo and hammill bombing on!! we also create more chances with 4-5-1, mad i know, but its true. perswonally i would play fletcher up front on his own, he did play that roll for burnley a few times last season and scored goals, and whenever he been on the pitch this season in premier league has looked like he is capable of scoring goals. just my view 🙂 wolves ay we

  3. I’ve often felt watching us play this season that when we attack teams we are as good as anyone but our problems begin when we try to sit back and defend a lead. Take the Man City away or Bolton home games for example – we were two or three goals down and threw everything at them and almost rescued a point in both games. So maybe this injury will force us into a more offensive mindset and with Jarvis, Hamill, Kightly and Hunt supplying the ammo it could be exciting stuff. That’s what I hope at least!

  4. Doyle is a striker who doesn’t score goals. Doesn’t matter how much effort he puts into the game – if no goals come then that is as useful as a chocolate fire guard. SEB every time.

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