December 14, 2010

Why Pavlyuchenko should be first choice in the league (warning, stat alert!)


Follow me on Twitter – @WindyCOYS.

Roman Pavlyuchenko is not a perfect striker – his all-round game is lacking in key areas, and he often doesn’t seem to be putting in as much effort as he could. But on Sunday he once again did what the rest of our strikers have been struggling to do – put the ball in the net (and in impressive fashion).

In the league, Pavlyuchenko continues to do well scoring-wise, despite not getting the same run of games that both Crouch and Defoe have tended to enjoy. It makes me wonder what he could achieve if he were allowed to get into his rhythm.

The stats for our strikers in the league so far this season are quite incredible:


Whilst Peter Crouch has so far scored at a rate 1052 minutes per goal, and Defoe and Keane have yet to score, Pavlyuchenko has a rate of 134 minutes per goal. This despite starting 4 less games than Crouch. Purely for comparison, I have included van der Vaart (who of course hasn’t always played up front). Most would agree that he has a good scoring record, but it is not as good as Pavlyuchenko’s.

Many fans argue that Crouch offers more, because although he doesn’t score, he gets vital assists. Even taking his five league assists into account, he still only averages a goal or assist every 175 minutes (Pavlyuchenko 134 and van der Vaart an impressive 87). Of course this does not take into account other areas in which our strikers weigh in (for example, Crouch offers valuable aerial presence when defending corners).

If this argument wasn’t compelling enough, just look at the goals record in the calendar year for our three main strikers (with thanks to Trashpost from COYS for all of the following stats):

Defoe: 4 goals in 19 starts (and 3 sub appearances).
Crouch: 5 goals in 20 starts (and 15 sub appearances).
Pavlyuchenko: 10 goals in 15 starts (and 12 sub appearances.

And in order to answer the inevitable questions about quality of opposition/percentage of away matches played:

Away league starts in 2010:
Pavlyuchenko: 6 away matches (40% of his 2010 league starts)
Crouch: 10 away matches (50%)
Defoe: 8 away matches (42%)

Matches against the top 3 (Arsenal/Man Utd/Chelsea):
Pavlyuchenko: 5 matches (33% of his 2010 starts)
Crouch: 0 matches (0%)
Defoe: 4 matches (21%)

Our results are far better with Pavlyuchenko in the team (in 2010, we’ve averaged 0.5 points per game more when Pavlyuchenko starts, compared to when Crouch starts).

Obviously Defoe is recovering from injury, and so judging him on this season’s stats may be harsh. However, he has had a disappointing calendar year in general – just 4 league goals is nowhere near a good enough return.

As I said at the top of this article, he is far from ideal, but until we get someone better in, these stats show me that Pavlyuchenko should be one of the first names on the team sheet in league matches.

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  • drwinston001 says:

    I’m far from his biggest fan, and when I say far from, I think he’s pretty ordinary, however with the strikers we’ve currently got at the club I agree.

    However, that’s not glowing praise because we’re basically comparing him to Crouch. That’s who he’s up against and it’s only fair Pav gets more starts having seen Crouch’s goal scoring form. Although once vdV gets back then there’s a decision to be made. If we only play one striker, does Pav still get the start instead of Defoe?

  • Windy says:

    Unless Defoe can get back to his 2009 form, I’d go for Pav and van der Vaart. Defoe as an impact sub, at least until he is properly fit.

  • Anonymous says:

    It would be more interesting to know how many the team is scoring when Pav is on the pitch.

  • Anonymous says:

    Whilst all strikers have flaws, ours are on the verge of exaggeration. You could form the perfect striker from Crouch, Pav and Defoe. As pinch of Defoe’s pace & sharpness, a spoonful of Crouch’s assists and a generous helping of Pav’s finishing. As for Keane, you can take his shouting… Pav has the ability of a worldbeater, but does not have the mental makeup of one. it is as simple as that. I like him, and he will score lots of goals if played – however you will soon get into the Darren Bent territory where you play someone who scores a lot but can you depend on him? Will he enhance the team? Goals aren’t everything.

  • Jill says:

    Pav and Defoe will form a good partnership given a chance – but then where do we play VDV? Interesting problem I think. Haven’t seen one suggestion that makes sense yet as to how VDV and JD fit in the same team – and don’t try telling me they could play together up front without a big man. I just don’t buy it.

  • Windy says:

    Anon @ 10:20 – nice idea, I’ll see if I get time later.

  • Anonymous says:

    keep up the good work mate 😉

  • Nice Windy…as a follow up maybe you would consider comparing the partnerships starting from last season to see which strikers are the best pairing for them team 😉

  • Windy says:

    Minutes per team goals added!

  • Quinno says:

    Anon @ 10:28 – “Goals aren’t everything”

    But goals win football matches, do they not?

  • JimmyG2 says:

    Excellent. I have been posting and blogging the goals/per minute stats for some time.
    Pavluchenko was top last year and leads this year again.(1/340 which statiticians can work out in a 60 game season is 90 goals.
    He is currently our top scorer(7 with Bale).
    He doesn’t do assists but neither does Defoe.

    In the light of this it is no wonder he lacks confidence and wishes he was 5 inches taller.

    He should be our first striker on the team sheet.

  • JimmyG2 says:

    Sorry 1/134.
    Stats eh. they really do your head in

  • Skizt says:

    Cheers Windy. Some thought provoking stuff here. I will be interested to see this at this time next year, when we have the exact same Strikers 😛

  • Windy says:

    Thanks, Skizt, now you’ve thoroughly depressed me!

  • Windy says:

    Incidentally, here are some other players minutes per goals/assists for comparison (I’ve not checked the stats, but they are close-ish to mine for our players):

    Player Team Minutes played Goals Assists Average (Min)
    Theo Walcott Arsenal FC 350 4 1 70.00
    Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United 1050 11 2 80.77
    Marlon Harewood Blackpool FC 508 5 1 84.67
    Rafael Van Der Vaart Tottenham Hotspur 874 6 4 87.40
    Gyan Asamoah Sunderland AFC 612 5 2 87.43
    Wayne Rooney Manchester United 537 1 5 89.50
    Carlos Tevez Manchester City 1269 10 4 90.64
    Didier Drogba Chelsea FC 1312 8 6 93.71
    Salomon Kalou Chelsea FC 752 6 2 94.00
    Andrew Carroll Newcastle United 1445 10 5 96.33
    Nani Manchester United 1263 5 8 97.15
    Somen Tchoyi West Bromwich Albion 326 3 0 108.7
    Steven Fletcher Wolverhampton Wanderers 469 3 1 117.3
    Andrey Arshavin Arsenal FC 1297 3 8 117.9
    Samir Nasri Arsenal FC 1118 8 1 124.2
    Johan Elmander Bolton Wanderers 1395 8 3 126.8
    Peter Odemwingie West Bromwich Albion 1018 6 2 127.3
    Cesc Fabregas Arsenal FC 774 2 4 129.0
    Chris Brunt West Bromwich Albion 1428 2 9 129.8
    Roman Pavlyuchenko Tottenham Hotspur 670 5 0 134.0

  • Windy says:

    And just goals:

    Player Team Minutes played Goals Average (Min)
    Theo Walcott Arsenal FC 350 4 87.50
    Dimitar Berbatov Manchester United 1050 11 95.45
    Marlon Harewood Blackpool FC 508 5 101.6
    Somen Tchoyi West Bromwich Albion 326 3 108.7
    Gyan Asamoah Sunderland AFC 612 5 122.4
    Salomon Kalou Chelsea FC 752 6 125.3
    Carlos Tevez Manchester City 1269 10 126.9
    Roman Pavlyuchenko Tottenham Hotspur 670 5 134.0
    Samir Nasri Arsenal FC 1118 8 139.8
    Andrew Carroll Newcastle United 1445 10 144.5
    Rafael Van Der Vaart Tottenham Hotspur 874 6 145.7
    Javier Hernandez Manchester United 595 4 148.8
    Kevin Nolan Newcastle United 1224 8 153.0
    Steven Fletcher Wolverhampton Wanderers 469 3 156.3
    Didier Drogba Chelsea FC 1312 8 164.0
    Peter Odemwingie West Bromwich Albion 1018 6 169.7
    Sylvan Ebanks-Blake Wolverhampton Wanderers 684 4 171.0
    Park Ji-Sung Manchester United 686 4 171.5
    Johan Elmander Bolton Wanderers 1395 8 174.4
    Tim Cahill Everton FC 1412 8 176.5

  • Good article. If only pav wasn’t such a lazy git, we wouldn’t even need to be discussing this! One example was during the first half against Chelsea, the ball came to him, Defoe sprinted off into the distance waiting for that killer pass, Pav played a ball that Defoe really had no chance of winning, and Cech came rushing out and slide tackled Defoe to disposes him. Now, if Pav had actually been running after that instead of just expecting Defoe to round two defenders and the goalkeeper, he would have been there to collect that ball and smash it into the open net. But no, he was just standing exactly where he was when he played the pass. Berbatov was lazy and he got away with it? Why? because, his first touch didn’t squander numerous opportunities where as Pav’s first touch is woeful, I’ve seen him waste so many chances this season, which is why I reckon he infuriates people. Sure he scores goals and grabs the headlines, but for every goal he scores, there are 2 more that are either lost because of a poor touch, or because he’s too lazy to move for the ball.

  • Anonymous says:

    thank’s windy for the teams goal per minute whilst on the pitch and pav is leading … Even if Pav is a lazy git we score more goals when he is on the pitch. nuff said i think. play him

  • Anonymous says:

    Note that VdV contribute to 10 goals on 17 whilst he is on the pitch … we are very reliant on him when he is on.

  • Anonymous says:

    your stats do present a convincing argument, but i still say pav is a better impact sub. as per usual he was good for a goal against chelsea, but after that his thoughts went elsewhere. once pav does something good you might as well take him off. in which case i’d rather he come on in the 70th, score in the 80th, and then stroll around top of the pitch with his thumb up his arse until the final whistle.

  • Anonymous says:

    Pav should have a look at some old Joe Jordan videos on how to play centre forward or better still Joe could tell him! Lots more talent than Joe but not the applicantion or commitment.

    Can’t help but like Pav though, he looks like he’s having the time of his life.

  • Anonymous says:

    i think someone put down that when pavs on we average 0.5 points a game an thats just simply not good enough, he has 0 assists and his work rate aint nowhere near as good as defoes eg on sunday against chelsea defoe come off we lost the grip of the game and then even had to bring on keane bcoz pav an crouch dnt wanna run an chase balls down, we scored an didnt win so goals dnt win you games the all round team performance does, no point scoring 1 an letting in 2 that aint won u nothing, u gotta work hard and sorry to say it but pav and crouch do not work hard enough for the team

  • Anonymous says:

    Good stats Chris, Pav has moments of quality but does not show it enough, this does make him dangerous though as he looks to shoot a lot. As for Crouch he is only good for pumping it long when we are chasing an equaliser late on and it seems that only Van Der Vaart can read his knock downs. When Crouch plays we tend to play it long too often if there isn’t an easy ball on which is a waste now we for once have quality players who are comfortable on the ball like VDV, Modric, Huddlestone and Bale.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have posted elsewhere about Pav’s Stats, and in particular, that by the end of last season, he has scored 14 goals in 16 cup games, many of whice he was either a sub, or was subbed. I think if you look at these stats, you will see that he scores better than a goal a game in cup ties.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yes and if you count the goals Pav scores in training then he is better than Greaves!!!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    pav must have pissed harry off some what, surely he cant keep starting crouch with almost zero results. sure he has a knock down assist occasionaly but to me is an absolute flop in front of goal, given the qaulity of some of pavs finishes makes me wonder how many more goals we have gone without by harry giving crouch so may minutes

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