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.
Join the conversation
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?
But goals win football matches, do they not?
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.
Stats eh. they really do your head in
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
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
Can't help but like Pav though, he looks like he's having the time of his life.