Stats for Defenders

As mentioned in the prior post, non-orthodox statistics in soccer (Things other than goals, assists, etc.) are notoriously difficult to cite in a meaningful fashion.  Below is an attempt by EPL Opta Stats to quantify Arsenal’s Brazilian left back Andre Santos, who many have reservations about because of his inclination to press forward and seemingly neglect his defensive responsibilities.  It’s an impressive comparison chart, but does it really capture all a defender does?  If a defender closes his man down and a pass isn’t even attempted, how is that recorded?  I wonder if a lower number of 50-50’s and aerial challenged signals a superior player that opponents don’t want to confront.

Santos Table2 How Bad A Defender Is Andre Santos? A Stats Analysis

As we can see, Santos is just marginally behind his own team-mate in % of Ground Duels won but ahead of the other three left-backs. The Brazilian is well ahead of everyone in the Aerial Win %. The Brazilian’s minutes per Ground 50-50′s stat is way better than the others, his per minute Aerial 50-50s is behind Gibbs but comparable to two of the other three. And he makes interceptions with more regularity than any of the other four.


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