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It was always expected that the potential survival chances of promoted sides Huddersfield Town and Brighton and Hove Albion could rest on the success or otherwise of their summer recruitment drives.
In both cases, they have shown so far that they have chosen well in the transfer market and in the case of Mathias Jorgensen; otherwise known as Zanka, Huddersfield’s summer capture from FC Copenhagen has been an excellent addition.
Down the coast at Brighton though, despite most of the attention being on Lewis Dunk, it’s a summer signing from 2016 who has surprised a few. The signing is none other than Shane Duffy, who has been excellent for them so far. So which one has been better? It’s hard to compare players at two different clubs of course, but here are some stats to show us how they compare defensively:
|Aerial duels won*||1.7||5.0|
|Pass completion rate||75.7%||81.6%|
* Per game
Before we go into these stats, we must bear in mind how fair they are. Both sides have 15 points in the league, they are within 2 goals of each other in terms of how many they’ve conceded and as you can see above, both players have managed a very similar amount of game time.
Hence the stats would give us a clear idea of who is better, and it looks like Duffy to me. Both players commit one foul per game, both manage 1.5 interceptions and Zanka is ahead based on the number of interceptions he has made.
However, the rest belongs to Duffy. The Irishman wins nearly 3 times as many aerial battles as Jorgensen, clears the ball away twice per game and even blocks the ball twice as often as the Dane. To top it all off, he has a higher pass completion rate, meaning he gives the ball away to the opposition less often.
His performances so far have complemented Lewis Dunk perfectly and are a major reason why Brighton are not wallowing in the league’s bottom three, something many expected when the season kicked off in August.
Duffy can now enjoy the challenge of a World Cup play off while playing with the Republic of Ireland, playing on a stage he thoroughly deserves to be on.