Ahead of yesterday’s big clash at the Madejski Stadium between Reading and Leeds, a war of words seems to have broken out among opposing factions.
Reading’s leading goal scorer Yann Kermorgant has been quoted as saying that Chris Wood has scored ‘nearly all’ of Leeds’ goals and that they have ‘no Plan B’ when he gets injured. Strong words indeed. Kermorgant appears to be taking ‘the battle of the strikers’ rather personally ahead of the game, but do his stats truly match up to those of Wood?
Football is a visual game, low scoring and not about statistics. That said, you still have to find the net more times than the opposition to win and so stats can’t be described as a complete waste of time in the sport. All strikers are different but ultimately, they need to make a difference in the final third of the field. Here’s how these two match-up (Prior to yesterday’s game and Kermorgant’s winner for Reading):
Although defensive stats have some bearing – strikers like this often defend set-pieces – the battle for these guys will be won and lost at the other end.
Does this tell us who is actually best? They are both at clubs with similar points and so one can’t claim to be in a less capable side than the other. Both teams are attacking outfits, Reading perhaps even more so than Leeds, and so Kermorgant arguably should get more touches up front. Let’s dissect the figures somewhat. Having played a similar amount of games, Wood starts more and plays more minutes which means either his form according to his manager or his fitness, is better.
Wood accrues slightly more shots per game and produces a very similar number of key passes during a typical 90 minutes. Their pass accuracy is both rather lower than I’d like to see but is similar, as are their successful take-on stats. Wood’s big disadvantage seems to be that he gives the ball away more often, 2.2 times per game which is four times more often than Kermorgant.
That’s a disappointment for Wood, however the glaring stat there are the goals and assists. 3 assists for Kermorgant and 2 for Wood is by the by and could change within a game. 24 goals for Wood compared to 10 for Kermorgant (plus one), however, is a huge difference and is this which sets him apart. Kermorgant’s claim of no Plan B is moot for two reasons; a) you don’t need a Plan B when your player is fit and turns up every week and b) Leeds haven’t lost a single game in the league this season when Wood has been missing.
Stats courtesy of Whoscored.com