Lamplight returns with Aston Villa’s return to Premier League fixtures; dispelling the myths of good or poor performances at face value by attributing statistics to each player’s game.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @findfoy


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With Aston Villa back performing on the Premier League stage after the international break, Lamplight returns to take a more intimate look at what the statistics tell us about a player’s performance.

What may have resembled a mediocre performance at face value could be radically different statistically. Sometimes there is more than meets the eye.

This week, we’ll be covering all of the players – but we’ll be taking a broader look at captain Jack Grealish – who has come under fire from some corners after the West Ham United game.


Tom Heaton (GK)

UAGL Rating: [7]

Tom Heaton was treated to a relatively easy night at Villa Park – with his hardest save coming from a Neil Taylor back pass.

Statistical Positive: Tom Heaton’s passing was pretty impressive. It’s something that we’ve pulled him up on before – but 75% of his long passes found a man, whilst 100% of his short passes did.

Statistical Negative: Any negatives that we’d give Tom statistics wise would be clutching at straws. Easy game for the ‘keeper.


Frédéric Guilbert

UAGL Rating: [7]

Frédéric Guilbert had an extremely impressive game at right-back.

Statistical Positive: There’s a lot that Guilbert could be praised for, but his defensive stats stack up pretty well. He won all of his aerial duels, made nine interceptions and five clearances.

Statistical Negative: The right-back only managed two crosses into the box, and neither of them were accurate.


Björn Engels

UAGL Rating: [8]

Björn Engels keeps getting better with every game, and looks at ease next to Tyrone Mings.

Statistical Positive: Björn recovered the ball 13 times from the opposition, and one of these was in the West Ham half. He also made four interceptions and a single block.

Statistical Negative: Somewhat out of the ordinary, Engels struggled in the air against the height of Haller – he only won 40% of the aerial duels that he faced.


Tyrone Mings

UAGL Rating: [8]

Tyrone Mings has been impressing Aston Villa fans this season, but he’s also caught the eye of some opposition fans too.

Statistical Positive: Mings was, and has been an ever present at the heart of the defence. He managed seven interceptions, two clearances and a block.

Statistical Negative: Much like Engels, Tyrone struggled aerially, only managed to better his partner by 4% – winning 44% of his aerial duels.


(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Neil Taylor

UAGL Rating: [6]

The same thing keeps being said about Tayls – he’s fine defensively, but he offers nothing to the attacking phase.

Statistical Positive: Neil Taylor’s passing was exemplary against West Ham. He managed a 93% pass success rate, 100% of his long balls found a man, and 100% of his passes into the final third were accurate.

Statistical Negative: With such a reliance on wing play, Taylor was shy in regards to getting balls into the box. He attempted one cross, and that was innacurate.


Marvelous Nakamba

UAGL Rating: [7]

Despite a few misplaced passes, the Zimbabwean international enjoyed an exciting and impressive debut.

Statistical Positive: The deep lying midfielder made a general nuisance of himself, winning 76% of his ground and aerial duels, as well as recovering the ball 11 times.

Statistical Negative: Despite misplacing a number of passes, Marvelous still managed a 88% pass ratio. Really, there’s not much statistically that can be perceived as a negative.


John McGinn

UAGL Rating: [7]

John McGinn was his usual self, making a nuisance of himself up and down the pitch.

Statistical Positive: John won five out of eight attempted duels in the opposition half throughout the game, showing that he was tyrannically closing down defenders midfield to try and win the ball back.

Statistical Negative: McGinn took three shots, all from outside of the box – but it was only a shot from nearly 40 yards out that was on target.


Jack Grealish (C)

UAGL Rating: [7]

Jack picked up some flack on social media for a ‘poor performance’ but the statistics tell a different story.

Statistical Positive: Jack was the best dribbler in the Aston Villa side, with 80% of his dribbles being successful. He also made five progressive runs from deep, with only two of those ending with dispossession.

He looked the most likely to assist in Aston Villa’s eleven, managing two key passes into the West Ham box.

(Wyscout.com)

He also managed a 69% forward pass accuracy, with a lot of these looking to capitalise on a counter-attack. As you can see below, they often looked to get the wide players more involved.

There is something to note, however. In an interview with The Athletic last week, he showcased how much he hated playing as a left winger – yet spends the vast majority of his game time in positions occupied by that player – often overloading opposition fullbacks and creating space centrally as their team-mates come to help. Below is his heat map from the West Ham game.

Statistical Negative: Jack is perhaps contributing too much to the defensive phase – notching up three interceptions on the outside of the Villa box, as well as two blocks.


(Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

Anwar El Ghazi

UAGL Rating: [5]

Anwar had an odd game against West Ham which involved him squaring up to team-mate Tyrone Mings, getting punched in the face by Fabianski and coming close to a goal.

Statistical Positive: Anwar El Ghazi managed a 67% cross accuracy across three crosses, and a 75% accuracy on any passes he made into the box.

Statistical Negative: El Ghazi was too eager to try and beat his man and it continued to not work for him. He attempted 8 dribbles past West Ham defenders, with only 38% being successful, and failed in five of eight offensive duels.


Jota

UAGL Rating: [4]

There’s a reason that Jota has averaged 49.4 minutes per game in the Premier League so far. He’s not impacting games.

Statistical Positive: Jota managed two passes into the final third, and both were succesful.

Statistical Negative: The winger had no impact. He made fourteen passes throughout his 67 minutes on the pitch, and only 79% of these were accurate. Much like El Ghazi, he tried too hard to beat his man rather than find a pass, managing to win 22% of his offensive duels and being successful in only 33% of his dribbles.


Wesley

UAGL Rating: [6]

Wesley is struggling because of the lack of impact from Aston Villa’s wingers.

Statistical Positive: Wesley is making more use of his passes. He made 17 – but 13 found a Villa player, whilst he also managed a sublime long pass across the pitch to switch up play. He also made six touches in West Ham’s box.

Statistical Negative: The 6ft 3 forward is too weak in the challenge, whether he’s looking for a foul or not. He won 30% of his duels, and none of his aerial duels – compared to a 49% and 60% by West Ham’s Haller.

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