I thought I’d have a look at who’s done what so far this season and see if there were any great revelations.
As usual I’m just looking at how many points each player has contributed to, and comparing that to the average.
So far we have used a smallish pool of players. Only 19 players have started games and several have only got a few starts.
In goal Tim Krul has started all bar one game where Rob Elliot stood in. No real surprises there then. Quickly moving on to central defence, both Fabricio Coloccini and Mike Williamson have started 14 games, with Mapou Yanga-M’biwa starting 10, Steven Taylor four and Paul Dummett just one. When Coloccini has started we have gained 23 points with 16 goals conceded, whereas with Williamson it has also been 23 points but with only 14 goal conceded. M’biwa helped us to 14 points from his 10 games with 12 goals conceded. Neither Steven Taylor (three points from four games with nine goals conceded) nor Dummett have really contributed enough to be analysed. Even looking at combinations shows that whichever combination of the three central defender starting has little difference. Each gaining about 1.5 points per game and conceding one goal per game.
Our Fullbacks have been equally consistent. Mathieu Debuchy with 29 points from 19 starts and Davide Santon with 36 points from 21 starts. Neither M’biwa nor Haidara have been as effective or had a large amount of playing time in these positions.
In midfield Yohan Cabaye has been our stand out performer with 31 points accrued from 16 starts and one substitute appearance including six goals. Next up Moussa Sissoko who has started every game and has amassed 36 points from 22 appearances with one goal. Vurnon Anita just edges Cheik Tiote with 19 points from 13 starts against 26 points from 19 starts with neither having had a goal allowed. Other than that Hatem Ben Aarfa has started 10 and gained 11 points. He has also scored three goals – one when coming on a sub which seems to be his main role now. Sylvain Marveaux has started two and Jonas Gutierrez, now with Norwich, just the one.
Up front we have tried two strikers, normally Yoan Gouffran and Loic Remy or three with Shola Ameobi. Strangely, even though he has not found the net, when Shola has started we have gained 14 points from eight games, whilst without him we’ve racked up 22 points from 14 games – ratio of 1.75 points per game with him and 1.57 points per game without. This tends to suggest that we are better playing 4-3-3. If so a goal scoring target man would maybe improve things. Unsurprisingly Remy with 32 points from 19 games and 11 goals is our best striker with Yoan Gouffran (29 points from 19 starts and one sub appearance with six goals scored) is also not to be sneezed at. Papiss Cisse, who is way off form, has only started seven games scoring only twice, one a penalty and the other as a substitute. His points per game is also below par.
So where does that leave us? Well first off it tells us that pretty much all of our core players are all contributing. In theory our best XI would be Krul; Debuchy, Colo, Willo, Santon; Cabaye; Sissoko, Anita; Remy, Shola, Gouffran, playing in a 4-3-3 formation.
How Cheik Tiote fails to get in defeats me, but Anita edges him out. Never mind. M’biwa and Ben Arfa deserve a mention as well.
Outside of those 14 players others have been peripheral to our cause this year and either need replacing or bringing on. Colo is still our best central defender and Cabaye our standout player. Yet both are potentially moving on in the summer. Colo would need replacing although Yanga-M’biwa and Williamson make a decent pairing. Cabaye whilst not irreplaceable is vital to our team. We need cover for right-back, a replacement for Shola and a far stronger bench would not go amiss.
Lets sort it now so that we can get players adapted for next season.