Holden, Jones Solid Statistically but their Clubs Fall Short

Although American EPL midfielders Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers) and Jermaine Jones (Blackburn Rovers) both put out solid performances for their respective clubs Saturday, neither was able to say they helped garner 3 points for their side. Bolton fell 2-1 to Tottenham (on a stoppage time heart breaker) and Blackburn were overtaken 4-3 by Wigan Athletic. Individual numbers tell an interestingly similar story for both gringos’ performances. In fact, with a statistical breakdown alone, they are hardly distinguishable:

Shots1 (off target)1 (off target)

It isn’t until you examine the passing distribution – per the following chalkboards – that it becomes clear that each was playing a different archetypal midfield role.

by Guardian Chalkboards

Jones, as a holder/destroyer, seemed to stake out a pretty disciplined rectangular area across the middle of the pitch. His 6 successful tackles and 4 conceded free kicks (including a yellow card) clearly reflect an effort to break up play, and his 73% passing completion percentage shows he was successfully redistributing. The first time he plays Manchester City we’ll see what dirty tricks he picks up from Nigel De Jong–who plays Jones’ same role successfully, if brutally, in the EPL.

Holden, on the other hand, was literally all over the pitch, obviously serving as a passer and perhaps occasional creator. His stats, including a rather low passing rate of 63%, don’t reflect Holden’s best effort of the season, but his numbers for tackles, interceptions, clearances and blocks show he was highly involved and contributing.

FFG is anxious for Michael Bradley to get his first minutes at Aston Villa. When he does, it will be interesting to see what midfield archetype he fulfills within that squad and how his numbers will compare to the convincingly EPL-worthy Jones and Holden.

Starting next week, expect to see a regular comparison of Jones, Holden, Bradley, and even Jonathan Spector. With four gringos operating at center midfield in the English Premier League, there will be plenty of info to parse.

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. Blake Owen says:

    I can’t wait for the week all four take the pitch. It’ll be a great moment for US Soccer.

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