Watford’s Troy Deeney vs Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe – A Statistical Comparison

Troy Deeney and Jermain Defoe

The Influential Strikers

Think of strikers who have had a huge impact on their teams in the Premier League this season. The names of Zlatan Ibrahimović, Diego Costa, Harry Kane and Alexis Sanchez etc., would ring in our minds.

However, there are two other players who have been equally influential for their teams. They haven’t had their share of the time in the limelight due to their teams’ plights. Watford captain Troy Deeney and Sunderland’s talisman Jermain Defoe are the two.

Deeney and Defoe – The Poor man’s luxuries

The 28-year old Deeney has been absolutely instrumental in Watford’s success in the Premier League over the past year and a half. The inspirational captain has enjoyed a fruitful season this time as well. The leading goalscorer for the club this season, Deeney is a pivotal part of the Hornets squad and they would be struggling without him.

On the other hand, the 34-year old Defoe is getting better with age. Sunderland have struggled this season under manager David Moyes and they find themselves at the bottom the table. However, the former Tottenham man has been tremendously immense for the Wearside outfit. In a season filled with doom and gloom, Defoe has shone the brightest for Sunderland.

Both players are inspirational figures and the driving forces for their respective teams. But who has been better over the course of the season among the two? Let’s take a look.

It should be noted that both Defoe and Deeney have played all the league games for Sunderland and Watford respectively this season. This gives an insight into their importance for the team and their amazing fitness levels as well.

The Numbers:

Attributes Troy Deeney Jermain Defoe
Goals & Assists 9 goals, 3 assists 14 goals, 2 assists
Chances Created 39 12
Shot Accuracy 59% 58%
Headed Duels 339 Attempted, 147 Won (43% success) 13 Attempted, 2 Won (15% Success)
Take-Ons 18 Attempted, 13 Won (72% success) 25 attempted, 14 Won (56% Success)
Pass Accuracy 59% 79%
Defensive Actions Per 90 minutes 2 0

Deeney Vs Defoe

In his 27 league appearances, Deeney has netted 9 goals in total for the Hornets and has further set up two more for his teammates. On the other hand, Defoe has been more prolific this season in terms of goals scored, having notched up 14 strikes so far in the same number of appearances and adding two assists to his name as well.

However, there is a gulf of difference between the two strikers, when it comes to clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities created, with Deeney being involved in build-up play and having created 31 chances for the Hornets, compared to just 12 by Defoe. This indicates the stark difference between the way the two players operate.

Deeney is used more as a target man at the top, with Watford looking to ping the ball off him and bring the midfield runners into play. Defoe has had to operate all by himself up top and the lack of support has been a reason for Sunderland’s struggles. It is clearly demonstrated by the fact that the Watford captain has attempted a total of 658 passes this season at 59% success rate, while Defoe has played a much lesser 311 passes, but with a better accuracy of 79%.

The difference in the physical stature of the two forwards is clearly highlighted by the fact that Deeney has attempted a whopping 339 headers, winning 147 of those and in comparison, Defoe has found himself involved in only a paltry 13 aerial duels and has come up trumps just twice.

The fact that Defoe has had to operate all by himself has meant he has attempted more shots (66) than Deeney (33), but both the players have enjoyed a similar accuracy in front of goal. The 34-year old has attempted more take-ons (25) than his Watford counterpart (14), but it is Deeney who has better success rate than Defoe.

Deeney is more of an all-round player than Defoe and helps his team out in the defensive half as well. This is indicated by the two defensive actions per 90 minutes that he makes, compared to none by the Sunderland spearhead. The Hornets captain has attempted more tackles (39 attempts, 12 successful) than Defoe (33 attempts, 11 success).

It is clear from the numbers that Defoe has been a more prolific goalscorer, but more often than not, he has had to do it all by himself for Sunderland and the lack of support for the 34-year old has been a prime reason for the Black Cats’ struggle. On the other hand, Deeney might have scored fewer goals, but his overall contribution to the Hornets’ side has been crucial in their run so far.


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