FanPost

Chelsea CM's passing compared to other PL central midfielders

During the last game of pre-season I led discussion about John Obi Mikel and his suitability for Chelsea. I have to say, that Mikel was actually pretty good in last weeks and DM doesn't bother me that much (with one again very promising Oriol Romeu), but I am not convinced about his passing as yet. Also I promise to compile video of some of his main concerning issues, but it just isn't my role. So I decided to break down his and his two team-mates (Ramires, Frank Lampard) passing and compare it to other Premier League central midfielders. Hence this article consist of five interesting aspect, which I found very useful for CM. It's based on squawka.com data.

Updates

1. Small correction in calculation
2. Rounded to decimal number for more accuracy
3. Add Mata, Hazard and Oscar for illustration

I will compare Chelsea central midfielders (John Obi Mikel, Ramires and Frank Lampard) with another 13 Premier League CMs (Steven Gerrard, Yohan Cabaye, Vassiriki Abou Diaby, Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman, Marouane Fellaini, Mousa Dembélé, Joe Allen, Yaya Touré, Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, Cheik Tioté, Sandro). It's based on data from all Premier League matches played till (2nd October), except with Ramires (only Stoke City and Arsenal games are taken into account).

All results are convert to `per 90 minutes` number. It means, if player played 45 minutes and made 20 passes, that we presume, that he would make 40 passes per 90 minutes. Only completed passes are taken into account (except of last point 5).

1. Providing width while moving game ahead

I've always found important if player could move the game into uncover touchline and encourage defender or winger with at least little bit of a forward ball.

Definition: Let's say, that pass fulfills this condition if it moves the game at least 5 meters forward (from passer), receiving player is situated at most 10 meters from touchline (right or left) and horizontal (from touchline to touchline) length of the pass is 20 or more meters.

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Player Name Passes to touchline Total passes Percent of passes to touchline
Paul Scholes 10.5 102.2 10.3
Joe Allen 8.8 77.2 11.4
Yaya Touré 8 91.2 8.8
Mikel Arteta 5.7 92.3 6.1
Yohan Cabaye 5.6 59.1 9.5
Steven Gerrard 5.2 78 6.6
Leon Osman 4.8 50.6 9.4
Michael Carrick 4.7 82.2 5.7
Aaron Ramsey 4.7 78.7 6
Ramires 3 50 6
Mousa Dembélé 3 55.9 5.3
Sandro 2.9 48.1 5.9
Frank Lampard 2.5 63 4
Vassiriki Abou Diaby 2.4 75 3.2
Cheik Tioté 2.3 71.5 3.2
Juan Mata 2.2 71.1 3.1
John Obi Mikel 1.6 61.8 2.6
Oscar 1.6 56.5 2.9
Marouane Fellaini 1.5 49.3 3.1
Eden Hazard 0.7 57.6 1.3

2. Forward passes

Well, there was analysis breaking down where John Obi Mikel aims his passes (forward, backward or sideways). Let's take it more seriously and have a look at proper forward passes, which could possibly influence game. It means to exclude some short forward passes which only move the ball towards more creative attacking player (like Mata, who likes to come deep to collect ball, etc.).

Definition: For simplicity let's say, there are two types of forward passes - from own half and from attacking half. The first is little bit easier, so let's count only passes with vertical (from goal to goal) length of 20 and more meters. For second type, 10 meters is enough to take into account.

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Player Name Forward passes Forward passes from attacking half Forward passes from own half Total passes Percent of forward passes
Steven Gerrard 14.3 9.8 4.5 78 18.4
Joe Allen 12.2 7 5.2 77.2 15.8
Paul Scholes 11.9 8.9 3 102.2 11.7
Mikel Arteta 11.8 9.8 2 92.3 12.8
Michael Carrick 11.5 7.2 4.3 82.2 14
Yaya Touré 11.2 8.8 2.3 91.2 12.2
Cheik Tioté 8.8 4.6 4.2 71.5 12.3
Leon Osman 8.3 7.5 0.8 50.6 16.4
Aaron Ramsey 8.2 6.7 1.6 78.7 10.4
Juan Mata 7.6 5.3 2.2 71.1 10.7
Yohan Cabaye 7.4 5.6 1.7 59.1 12.5
John Obi Mikel 6.4 5.3 1.1 61.8 10.3
Frank Lampard 6.4 5.1 1.3 63 10.1
Vassiriki Abou Diaby 5.9 5.1 0.8 75 7.9
Oscar 5.2 5.2 0 56.5 9.3
Marouane Fellaini 5 4.5 0.5 49.3 10.2
Eden Hazard 5 4.3 0.7 57.6 8.7
Ramires 4.5 3 1.5 50 9
Mousa Dembélé 4.2 3.1 1.1 55.9 7.6
Sandro 3.4 1.9 1.5 48.1 7.1

3. Forward passes into attacking third

These results are subset of type n. 2, but I wanted to highlight them separately, since it's more relative to both double-pivot and deep-laying playmaker roles. Definition is really easy, since this pass has to end in attacking third of the pitch and vertical (from goal to goal) length has to be at least 20 meters.

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Player name Forward passes into attacking 1/3 Total passes Percent of forward passes into attacking 1/3
Steven Gerrard 4.2 78 5.3
Paul Scholes 3.9 102.2 3.8
Cheik Tioté 3.2 71.5 4.5
Yaya Touré 3.2 91.2 3.5
Yohan Cabaye 3.2 59.1 5.5
Michael Carrick 3.2 82.2 3.9
Mikel Arteta 2.8 92.3 3.1
Vassiriki Abou Diaby 2.1 75 2.9
Aaron Ramsey 2 78.7 2.5
Joe Allen 1.8 77.2 2.4
Juan Mata 1.6 71.1 2.2
Frank Lampard 1.6 63 2.5
Ramires 1.5 50 3
Leon Osman 1.4 50.6 2.7
Marouane Fellaini 1.2 49.3 2.4
Sandro 1 48.1 2
Mousa Dembélé 0.9 55.9 1.7
John Obi Mikel 0.7 61.8 1.1
Eden Hazard 0.6 57.6 1
Oscar 0 56.5 0

4. Move ball across the pitch

It's specific discipline, when central midfielder plays ball horizontally (from touchline to touchline) for at least 34 meters (that's half a pitch).

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Player name Cross-field passes Total passes Percent of cross-field passes
Paul Scholes 5.8 102.2 5.7
Yohan Cabaye 3.5 59.1 5.9
Steven Gerrard 3 78 3.8
Yaya Touré 2.5 91.2 2.7
Joe Allen 2.2 77.2 2.8
Mikel Arteta 1.8 92.3 2
Ramires 1.5 50 3
Michael Carrick 1.5 82.2 1.8
Cheik Tioté 1.4 71.5 1.9
Eden Hazard 1.3 57.6 2.3
Aaron Ramsey 1.2 78.7 1.5
Juan Mata 1.1 71.1 1.6
Frank Lampard 1 63 1.5
Oscar 0.8 56.5 1.4
Marouane Fellaini 0.7 49.3 1.4
Leon Osman 0.7 50.6 1.3
Sandro 0.6 48.1 1.2
John Obi Mikel 0.4 61.8 0.6
Mousa Dembélé 0.2 55.9 0.3
Vassiriki Abou Diaby 0 75 0

5. Completion ratio of short passes

All provided completion ratio statistics can't be taken too seriously, since really different kind of passes are included. Let's take a look into something, what should be more relevant to central midfielders, since misplaced short pass inside own half is something different to misplaced long ball or even cross.

Let's compare three completion ratios:

1st short passes (20 meters or shorter), when receiver stands inside defensive third (could be backpass or pass inside own 1/3)

2nd short passes (20 meters or shorter), when receiver stands inside own half

3rd short passes (20 meters or shorter), when receiver stands inside own 2/3 of the pitch

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Player name Completed short passes inside own 1/3 Total short passes on 2/3 Completion ratio
Paul Scholes 7.8 7.8 100
Sandro 5.9 5.9 100
Oscar 4.4 4.4 100
Juan Mata 5.1 5.1 100
Mikel Arteta 10.3 10.5 98.4
Michael Carrick 5.5 5.7 97.1
Joe Allen 9.5 9.8 96.6
Leon Osman 4.4 4.6 96.3
Yohan Cabaye 5.6 5.8 96.3
Mousa Dembélé 4.2 4.4 95.8
Aaron Ramsey 7.8 8.2 95.2
Steven Gerrard 6.5 6.8 95.1
Frank Lampard 5.4 5.7 94.4
Yaya Touré 4.7 5 93.3
Vassiriki Abou Diaby 3.8 4 93.3
John Obi Mikel 8 8.9 90
Cheik Tioté 8.3 9.2 90
Ramires 4 4.5 88.9
Marouane Fellaini 1 1.2 85.7
Eden Hazard 2 2.4 84.6

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Player name Completed short passes on own half Total short passes on own half Completion ratio
Oscar 13.7 13.7 100
Juan Mata 15.6 15.8 98.6
Mikel Arteta 29.8 30.7 97.3
Yaya Touré 21 21.8 96.2
Yohan Cabaye 14.7 15.4 95.8
Michael Carrick 22.2 23.2 95.7
Aaron Ramsey 21.1 22.3 94.7
Paul Scholes 24.4 25.8 94.6
Joe Allen 24.8 26.5 93.7
Ramires 14 15 93.3
Leon Osman 10.9 11.7 92.8
John Obi Mikel 22.2 24.1 91.9
Steven Gerrard 18.5 20.2 91.7
Mousa Dembélé 15.3 16.8 91.2
Cheik Tioté 23.5 25.8 91.1
Sandro 17.1 18.8 90.9
Eden Hazard 7.3 8.2 88.6
Vassiriki Abou Diaby 15 17.5 86.2
Marouane Fellaini 8.1 9.6 84.2
Frank Lampard 14.9 18.4 81

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Player name Completed short passes on 2/3 Total short passes on 2/3 Completion ratio
Mikel Arteta 50.7 52 97.4
Juan Mata 28.1 29 96.9
Paul Scholes 40.4 42.1 96.1
Yaya Touré 37.8 39.5 95.8
Yohan Cabaye 22.7 24 94.6
Michael Carrick 37.3 39.5 94.5
Aaron Ramsey 33.7 36 93.5
Oscar 22.2 23.8 93.2
John Obi Mikel 35.3 38.2 92.6
Joe Allen 34.7 37.5 92.4
Leon Osman 20.9 22.9 91.1
Vassiriki Abou Diaby 36.5 40.3 90.7
Ramires 24 26.5 90.6
Mousa Dembélé 28 31 90.5
Cheik Tioté 31.4 35.1 89.5
Eden Hazard 16.5 18.6 89
Sandro 25.9 29.5 87.7
Steven Gerrard 26.3 30.2 87.3
Frank Lampard 28.3 33.1 85.6
Marouane Fellaini 17.3 20.5 84.4

Conclusion

Well, it's up to everyone to make conclusion. If you happen to have relative aspect, which could be easily broken down, I am happy to extend these article.

This FanPost was contributed by a member of the community and was not subject to any sort of approval process. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions held by the editors of this site.

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