I saw an interesting tweet from WhoScored in relation to Joe Allen of Swansea City, who is a transfer target of Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool:
Joe Allen: Only Yohan Cabaye (117) and Moussa Dembele (112) made more tackles in the Premier League this season than Allen (110)
That’s certainly impressive, not least for a young player from the previous season’s play-off winners. But the above numbers got me wondering about how Lucas Leiva compares, in his role as the defensive lynchpin of the Reds midfield.
In just twelve Premier League appearances last season (before his campaign was curtailed by an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained at Stamford Bridge), Lucas attempted 68 tackles.
Remarkably, over the rest of the whole season, Jose Enrique was the only Liverpool player to attempt more than that, and even he only managed just one more. So how does the Brazilian compare to Cabaye on a pro-rata basis?
If Lucas had played the same number of minutes as Cabaye, and maintained his tackle rate for the whole time, then he would have attempted 184 tackles; 67 more than the Premier League’s ‘top tackler’.
Whilst acknowledging that Lucas’ tally is from a smaller sample and so he may not have sustained it over the whole season, he did make 5.7 tackles per game compared to Cabaye’s 3.4. The Brazilian would surely have come out on top if he’d remained injury free.
After all, Lucas only attempted less than 3.4 tackles in one of his twelve appearances. Incredibly, Liverpool’s 2010/11 Player Of The Year made twelve tackles in one match, when the Reds defeated Arsenal 2-0 at the Emirates Stadium last August.
Similarly for number of tackles won, as I noted in my review of Liverpool’s stats from 2011/12, Lucas won the most tackles on a pro-rata basis too:
Moussa Dembele of Fulham won eighty-six tackles last season, the most by any player in the Premier League. However, based on his own tackle win rate for this campaign, if Lucas had played as many minutes as Dembele, then he’d have won an incredible 146 tackles. In other words, 170% of the Premier League’s top tackler’s tally.
Advantage Lucas. It is a well-worn cliché, but when the midfield maestro returns from injury it really will seem like a new signing for Liverpool. After last season, when the Reds were so visibly porous in the centre of the pitch, these figures show that Lucas’ return can’t come soon enough.
Statistics are for Premier League games only, and were sourced from EPLIndex and WhoScored. Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here. You can follow me on Twitter here.