Lamplight returns post-Liverpool to determine whether performances at ‘face value’ are reflected within the game’s statistics, or whether the stats tell a different story.

Words: Mark Jirobe & Regan Foy | @VillaMarkPGH, @findfoy


Lamplight is all about determining whether a ‘face value’ performance, for example, what you see with your eyes during the game – had helped provide you with the correct opinion on whether a player has actually performed well or not.

Aston Villa saw late heartbreak yet again, this time against reigning Champions of Europe, Liverpool.

Tom Heaton (7), despite conceding twice, made a number of important saves in the game that kept Aston Villa in it until the 87th minute. The ‘keeper stopped five of seven shots. His xCG (Expected Conceded Goals) is slightly skewed at 2.69 – likely due to the offside goal of Roberto Firmino.

Frederic Guilbert (6) was forced into a more defensive position than usual according to his heat map against Liverpool. Defensively, Guilbert managed four interceptions and three clearances but struggled in more offensive areas of the game – managing to accurately get the ball forward only four out of seven times. Subbed for Elmohamady, 69′.

England international Tyrone Mings (7) was forced into having a strong defensive game by the relentless Liverpool attack – and this showed via his statistics from the game. 13 interceptions, eight clearances and two blocks, as well as 10 ball recoveries showcased just how much work Tyrone had to put in. The pressure from Liverpool caused issues in the defender’s passing accuracy, as the ball-playing centre-back managed a 69% passing accuracy.

His defensive partner, Bjorn Engels (7) matched Tyrone in regards to his defensive performance. 10 interceptions, three blocks and seven clearances were paired with 10 ball recoveries. The Belgian managed a better passing accuracy, with 82%, and won more duels than Tyrone – especially in the air.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Matt Targett (6.5), was the better of the two fullbacks offensively, managing to get 10 forward passes out of 13 to another Aston Villa player. Defensively the left-back was stronger too – with 11 interceptions, one block and six clearances, as well as 10 recoveries of the ball. Targett struggled in duels, however, winning only 38% of his attempts.

Douglas Luiz (6) was largely ineffective against Liverpool. Whilst he registered an 82% passing accuracy, the midfielder only won two of 10 duels – showcasing his struggle with the brutish nature of the game. He did manage four interceptions and two clearances, though. Subbed for Hourihane, 73′.

Marvelous Nakamba (7) was certainly the busier of Aston Villa’s central players. Whilst he struggled with passing, managing a 61% accuracy against Klopp’s Gegenpress, the Zimbabwean managed to win 11 duels out of 20 attempts, whilst also making 12 interceptions, one block and three clearances.

John McGinn (7) also made himself busy, with the Scot involved in 28 duels – despite winning only 12. He also made three successful dribbles out of four attempts but was key defensively too with seven interceptions and four clearances. The midfielder also picked up an assist for Trézéguet’s goal.

(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Winger Anwar El Ghazi (7) contributed more defensively than he has ever done before in an Aston Villa shirt. The Dutch wide-man made seven clearances and five interceptions, as well as two all-important slide tackles to break up Liverpool’s counter-attacks (even if one was deemed a foul). Offensively, Anwar made himself busy by putting in two accurate crosses out of four attempts and attempting five dribbles – two of which paid off.

Wesley (5) may have won the hearts of some fans with his energetic press in the latter stages of the game – but struggled against Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren. The striker won two of 14 aerial duels, and only 8 of a possible 38 ground duels. On a positive note, the Brazilian forward made more passes than he has in the last four games – even if only 53% of them were accurate. No shots on goal. Subbed for Kodjia, 86′.

Trézéguet (7.5, Man of the Match) was the brightest spark during a barrage of hailstones from Liverpool. The Egyptian winger scored Aston Villa’s goal, but contributed defensively too – making nine interceptions and three clearances. He was involved in 29 duels, but won only nine. He also made two progressive runs forward and attempted seven dribbles to try and pass the Liverpool defence.

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