…. it must be true, the stats prove it!
With only three days to go until the transfer window closes, many supporters want to see players leaving as well as arriving. For many, Mustafi is top of the list to be shown the door.
With this in mind and to add some balance, I decided to take a look at his stats and compare them with other defenders.. I chose his teammate Sokratis; the world’s most expensive defender (Harry Maguire) and the best defender in the EPL – all of whom you might expect to shine in comparison.
The figures are supplied by The Premier League.
We all know the old adage about lies and statistics and this is by no means a definitive comparison. You would need to factor in the success rate of the team and other criteria to be objective – specifically the players around them, how good they are in their positions and how the whole team operates when in defensive mode.
Stats such as ‘clean sheets’ (or more accurately the lack of them) cannot be blamed on just one player. I’ve included them in the analysis because they are often quoted.
The fact that van Dijk is clearly the best defender gives some credence to the figures. He only fails to come top in areas where he is less busy … this is because Liverpool are a very good balanced side that defend as a team.
Here are the results of that research, colour coded for easy recognition.
Be prepared to be shocked, it indicates that Mustafi is a hard working and effective defender.
What is impressive is that he outperforms them all in tackles made, tackles won and interceptions. It shows him to be a better defender than Maguire and Sokratis. Can this be true?
How do you produce a stat that represents lapses in concentration?
What can we conclude from all this? For some that will be whatever our ingrained bias makes us comfortable with. For others it could be the memory of yet another game changing incident.
The fact that his pass completion percentage is the lowest comes as no surprise, but coming top in the number of tackles won is unexpected.
What you can see from these stats is that Mustafi works his socks off. He probably tries too hard and make mistakes as a result … far too many mistakes for a lot of gooners.
Would he make fewer mistakes if we got off his back? Maybe.
Would he make fewer mistakes if his teammates were doing their job properly? It’s possible.
Arsenal own StatDNA, a specialist sports analytical company. The Arsenal coaches and manager will know just how effective (statistically) Mustafi is at his job on the pitch. Their analysis will be far more sophisticated … but … if the picture they receive is similar to the above, will they ignore the booing and keep what these stats indicate is one of our best defenders … or will they succumb to fan pressure?
I think I already know the result this poll is likely to deliver … but have your say on the Mustafi question by voting …