An American Midfielder in England

June 23, 2010 - Tshwane/Pretoria, Guateng, South Africa - 23 JUN 2010: Michael Bradley (USA). The United States National Team defeated the Algeria National Team 1-0 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Tshwane/Pretoria, South Africa in a 2010 FIFA World Cup Group C match.

Over the weekend we told you to pay more attention to Maurice Edu in the Scottish Premier League. And here we are starting a new series that focuses on American center midfielders in England. We just can’t help it – there’s too many stats to browse.

‘An American Midfielder in England’ will catalog the weekly exploits of Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Stuart Holden, and Jonathan Spector. Even though Clint Dempsey often lines up at left midfield for Fulham, he’s more attack-minded than the quartet we listed. And he never plays in the middle.

Statistics

JonesHoldenSpectorBradley
Passes19/3137/49 (1 assist)2/23/9
Interceptions5400
Shots1000
Tackles3/53/301/1
Clearances2/33/500
Blocks1001

The Rundown

Jermaine Jones (Blackburn 0 – Newcastle 0) – In contrast to last week, Jones started the match with an attack-minded focus. He twice popped up in the penalty area in the early going. As the game progressed, and it looked more and more like it would finish in a draw, Jones retreated into his own half. His increasingly defensive role was affirmed by his five interceptions, each occurring in his own half.

Stuart Holden (Bolton 2 – Everton 0) – Holden gets the gold star this week. He was instrumental in Bolton’s 2-0 triumph over Everton, guiding the attack even as he sparked the defense. For a full analysis, go here.

Michael Bradley (Aston Villa 1 – Blackpool 1) – Bradley the Younger couldn’t have made his debut in an uglier match. After Villa midfielder Jean Makoun picked up a red card, Bradley entered the fray (73rd) as Villa desperately sought to play out the draw. The on-loan Bradley had little time on the ball and mostly sat back and waited for Blackpool to attack Villa’s goal.

Jonathan Spector (West Ham 3 – West Brom 3) – Spector saw the least action of any gringo midfielders, entering in the 78th. Unlike Bradley’s Villa, West Ham was behind when Spector came on. Playing on the right side of midfield, he didn’t have a lot of possession, but he was on the pitch when West Ham scored the equalizer.

Stat of the Week: Michael Bradley – 1 Block

It wasn’t a pretty performance, but he probably endeared himself to manager Gerrard Houllier with his 86th-minute block, an effort that ended Blackpool’s final threatening sequence. Since Makoun is facing a multiple match ban, Bradley will have more opportunities to show his mettle in the near future.

Gringos, did you get a chance to watch any of these midfielders over the weekend? What’d you think of their play?

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