Rumours continue to persist that Liverpool are planning to snap up Stewart Downing from Aston Villa, whilst their Lancashire rivals Manchester United are planning to raid Villa Park for Ashley Young.
Both are England internationals, and are of similar age (Downing turns 27 next month, whilst Young will be 26), so a comparison seems reasonable. Not to see who might get the better deal of the two clubs, as that’s impossible to say. But are Liverpool going after the right ‘Villain’?
I have taken a look at their statistics from last season in the Premier League to see who performed better. The results are actually very similar.
Liverpool sorted out their striking options with the purchase of Andy Carroll and Luis Suárez in January, so their main requirement is players to create chances (as I also covered here). How did the two Villa players get on?
Pretty similar results. Young registered more assists, though as he takes the majority of their set pieces, that’s understandable. I would guess he might take some of the corners if he was at Anfield, but he wouldn’t automatically become first choice at free-kicks with players like Gerrard and Suárez around. It’s interesting to note that Downing created fractionally more chances per game, as I’d have expected Young’s set piece involvement to give him the edge here.
How about their passing generally?
Whilst acknowledging that he played four more games than his colleague, it’s interesting to see that Downing completed more passes than Young even attempted. Regardless of that, he has the edge on completion percentage.
Top sides need goals from midfield too, so how did they do?
Finally a quick look at how they fared on the defensive side of the game:
Not that this means he is necessarily the better player, or more suitable for Liverpool. Most people would probably opt for Young as the more exciting of the two players, and Downing may never be a truly world-class player.
But the figures suggest he can do a similar, if not better, job than Young, and he’d likely be a little bit cheaper too. May not be the uninspired signing that you might think after all.
Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here.