Lamplight returns to dispell the narrative that a player had a good or bad game at ‘face value’ by looking at the statistics behind their performance.

Words: @findfoy


Aston Villa thundered up the Premier League table with their second consecutive win last weekend, as a last minute goal from fullback Matt Targett secured all three points for Dean Smith’s men at Villa Park.

At ‘face value’, there are going to be players that have seemingly had a good or a bad game, but Lamplight is here to aid in deciding whether what you think you saw is in fact, correct. A performance can be deceptive, and the statistics behind a player’s display is often the defining characteristic as to whether they were, in fact, good.

Goalkeeper Tom Heaton (8) was called upon on a number of occasions against Brighton – namely his stellar save that saw him rush out of his goal to close down Connolly – but will be disappointed to have been beaten by Adam Webster’s header. His goalkeeping performance required him to make five saves, with two of these requiring the veteran to use ‘reflexes’ to make them. His ball distribution was also good, with all of his passes bar one failing to meet an Aston Villa player.

Frederic Guilbert (7) had a strong defensive display, but could have offered a little more going forward, despite the fact that he would have picked up two assists if Conor Hourihane’s initial equaliser wasn’t taken away by the Video Assistant Referee. Guilbert won 61% of his ground duels and 75% of his aerial duels, as well as managing nine interceptions and three clearances. His passing left something to be desired though – with only 68% of his passes finding a teammate, and only 20% of his crosses (the two which resulted in “goals”). Any of his attempted longballs weren’t accurate too.

Bjorn Engels (7) has been an ever-present at the heart of the Aston Villa defence this season, bar a ten-minute disappearance after picking up a knock. He is everything you would want from a ball-playing defender. 90% of his ground passes found a player in claret and blue, whilst 75% of his long balls found a teammate too. He even managed to successfully swing in a cross in the dying embers of the game. Engels was however, a little weak in his challenges against Brighton, winning 33% of his duels – which showed in the Belgian’s two interceptions for the entire game.

Off the back of his England debut, Tyrone Mings (7) was the stronger of the defensive partnership, winning 67% of his duels and making five interceptions and clearances a piece. He recovered the ball a total of ten times from Brighton, but did lose it three times, which could have had a disastrous impact on the game.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Game winner Matt Targett (7) was, all things considered, having a bit of a mixed bag before he buried the game’s final goal. He’d won 100% of his aerial duels and 60% of his duels on the ground, had registered a 81% passing accuracy and 67% of his crosses had found an Aston Villa player; but also lost the ball a total of eleven times, with six of those coming in his own half.

Marvelous Nakamba (7) was the usual bulldog ahead of the Aston Villa defence, shepherding the play. He managed a stellar 97% pass accuracy and won 58% of his 19 attempted ground duels. The Zimbabwean midfielder also made five interceptions and blocked three shots, all whilst making seven recoveries – five of which were in Brighton’s half. He struggled aerially due to his short stature, which would be unfair to berate him for.

Irish midfielder Conor Hourihane (6) was another mixed-bag player. He would have scored Aston Villa’s opening goal if it wasn’t for the Video Assistant Referee, and managed to make all three of his shots hit the target – one of which was booted directly at Brighton ‘keeper Matt Ryan. He also managed a relatively impressive 60% crossing accuracy, with three of his five attempts connecting. His passing and strength left something to be desired though, with a 79% pass accuracy and a 20% duel success rate. Subbed for Trezeguet, 63′.

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

John McGinn (6) had a quiet game by his standards. Promisingly, he dribbled successfully past a Brighton player 69% of the time, and was involved in a staggering 34 duels, in which he won the ball 19 times. The Scot managed six shots on goal, with only one registered on target, and struggled with his passing, with a 71% accuracy and a 13% cross efficiency.

Hot and cold winger Anwar El Ghazi (5) seemed to struggle in the game, despite recording some interesting statistics. Whilst the forward registered a 95% pass accuracy, he made just 19 passes in the game and all but around three or four were not progressive. Despite often dropping deeper to collect the ball, the one time Dutch international made no successful passes into Brighton’s final third. He also only won three out of ten duels. Subbed for Douglas Luiz, 76′.

Jack Grealish (9) is thriving in his new role since Dean Smith’s tactical tweak. The Aston Villa captain picked up a goal and an assist, whilst also registering an 87% passing accuracy, a 60% dribble success rate and winning 57% of a possible 28 duels. He also picked up three interceptions, namely one in the 54th minute which saw him track back into his own box after being dispossessed and win the ball back. Delving a little deeper into his passing, the midfielder managed seven out of eight accurate balls to the final third and six out of eight accurate passes into the Brighton box, as well as making eight progressive runs in the game. The only negative for Jack’s performance? None of his three crosses found a team-mate.

It was another one of those odd games for Wesley (5), who struggled against the powerful Brighton defence. He made seven passes in the entire game, no successful dribbles and won just a quarter of the 20 duels he was involved in. He did, however, make two interceptions when tracking back. Subbed for Keinan Davis, 79′.

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