After my last piece on how Stoke should give Kenwyne Jones and Cameron Jerome a chance together I thought I would look to see if that suggestion is backed up statistically. I chose 10 different statistical areas that I believe to be important to not only what a striker should be doing but also those things that the manager would deem to be essential in his system. All of the areas chosen can be measured as a percentage of time on the pitch, or similar given the differences in minutes played.
|Ground 50/50's Won||27%||39%||41%||33%|
|Aerial 50/50's Won||65%||55%||48%||50%|
|Mins Per Loss Of Possession||49||39||39||32|
|Mins Per Possession Won||41||39||19||30|
|Overall Pass Completion||58%||53%||65%||64%|
|Defensive Zone Pass Completion||73%||80%||80%||83%|
|Attacking Zone Pass Completion||55%||49%||60%||59%|
|Final 3rd Pass Completion||48%||43%||59%||60%|
|Mins Per Clear Cut Chance Created||764||392||1138||119|
|Mins Per Goal||305||261||455||119|
Ground 50/50's - The manager would expect his strikers to not only challenge for the ball aerially but also on the deck as they are often tasked with stopping attacks starting from the opposition's defensive third. The best striker for this statistic is Jon Walters.
Aerial 50/50's - It goes without saying that the ability to successfully challenge for a ball aerially is paramount to Pulis' playing style for his front men and whilst this statistic is slightly weighted for the target roles, I feel it is still applicable. The best striker for this statistic is Peter Crouch
Mins Per Loss Of Possession - This isn't necessarily something the manager would be too concerned with as he is often happy to concede possession. However, it is a measure of a more rounded striker and anything that means we keep the ball longer shouldn't be sniffed at. The best striker for this statistic is Crouch.
Mins Per Possession Won - This is a stat perhaps reserved more exclusively for a midfielder but again is something the manager would be looking for his strikers to do. The best striker for this statistic is Walters.
Overall Pass Completion - Whilst the manager is more concerned with ground covered during a game, a good measure of link up play is the pass completion stat and overall, the best striker for this statistic is Walters.
Defensive Zone Pass Completion - Not normally a stat associated to this position on the pitch but in Pulis' system, the striker's ability to complete his passes in our defensive third is important in starting up a counter attack. The best striker for this statistic is Jerome.
Attacking Zone Pass Completion - An extension of the previous stat, these passes are made as we build our attacks up and work the ball wide/through the middle. The best striker for this statistic is Walters.
Final Third Pass Completion - This to me is the most important of all the passing areas as it is where chances are made and sorts out the wheat from the chaff in respect of decision making under pressure. The best striker for this statistic is Jerome.
Mins Per Clear Cut Chance Created - Now we're getting into the business end of the statistics, this one shows best the impact of the strikers in creating clear chances on the opposition goal. The best striker for this statistic is Jerome.
Mins per goal - This is the statistic that ultimately wins you games, how many goals you score and how long it takes you to do so. The best striker for this statistic is Jerome.
Whilst statistics don't tell the whole story or take into account attributes such as work rate, positions taken up, pressure on opposition players etc. They do give a good insight into where each of the strikers does best.
For the bread and butter of scoring goals you would look to Clear Cut Chances Created and Mins Per Goal, in which case the partnership of Jones and Jerome is statistically the strongest. However, if you look at the all the areas together seeking a partnership that can do the defensive side demanded as well as the attacking side then statistically the best pairing available to Pulis would be Walters and Jerome.
Whether the manager will plump for either of these partnerships remains to be seen but it certainly gives us food for thought as we think about what team will take to the field at Craven Cottage on the 23rd.
The overall order of strikers based on these statistics is:
All statistics provided by @EPLIndex
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