Liverpool FC: Statistical Analysis of Stewart Downing's Failures

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentMay 19, 2012

Liverpool FC: Statistical Analysis of Stewart Downing's Failures

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    Liverpool's Stewart Downing has been an abysmal failure at Anfield during his first season. 

    Don't blame the philosophy of moneyball on Liverpool signing Downing for £20 million.

    Moneyball relies on economical spending and whilst Downing's stats for Aston Villa were decent, he wasn't worth £20 million. 

    This article will statistically analyse Downing's season.

5. Comparing Stewart Downing to David Silva, Juan Mata and Antonio Valencia

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    Manchester City signed David Silva from Valencia for £24 million. 

    Los Che netted another £23.5 million when they sold Juan Mata to Chelsea

    Manchester United spent £16 million on Antonio Valencia to pry him away from Wigan Athletic

     League Only Downing  Silva 
    Goals 0 6 6 4
    Shots Per Goal N/A* 14.5 10.8 6.5
    Assists 0 15 13 13
    Shots Created 55 104 102 65
    Shots Created Per Game 1.5 2.9 3 2.4
    Cross Percentage 22.6% 27.5% 25.8% 25.3%
    Pass Percentage 85.4% 87.1% 87% 85.6%

    * Downing shot 72 times

    Downing's high pass percentage combined with his low shots created per game average indicates the £20 million valued midfielder was too conservative in possession. 

4. Stewart Downing's Inability to Dribble

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    Victor Moses and Moussa Dembélé are not the most productive midfielders going around.

    What has bailed them out is their ability to drag opposing players out of position with their dribbling. 

    Stewart Downing does not have this skill to fall back on. 

     League Only Downing  Moses 
    Completed Dribbles 22 95 79
    Dribbles Per Game 0.6 2.5 2.2
    Goals 0 6 2
    Shots Per Goal N/A* 17.2 29.5
    Assists 0 1 2
    Shots Created 55 41 51
    Shots Created Per Game 1.5 1.1 1.4

    * Downing shot 72 times

3. Stewart Downing Is a Defensive Liability

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    Liverpool averaged 55 percent of possession every game.

    Sunderland and Blackburn Rovers averaged 44.1 and 41.3 percent of possession respectively. 

    Stewart Downing played on a team that controlled possession. 

    Yet Sebastian Larsson and Morten Gamst Pedersen were still more productive than Downing.

    Larsson and Pedersen were able to consistently win back possession, which allowed them not only to counter-attack but gave them more opportunities to score a goal or provide an incisive pass. 

    Downing's inability to win the ball meant he didn't give himself the same luxury. 

     League Only Downing  Larsson 
    Tackles 23 80 66
    Tackles Per Game 0.6 2.5 2
    Interceptions 24 47 94
    Interceptions Per Game 0.7 1.5 2.8
    Goals 0 7 3
    Shots Per Goal N/A* 5 13
    Assists 0 2 4
    Shots Created 55 54 66
    Shots Created Per Game 1.5 1.7 2

    * Downing shot 72 times

2. Are Liverpool Cursed?

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    Stewart Downing is running at an apprehensive Kieran Richardson. The Liverpool midfielder cuts inside, weaves his way past Jack Colback and unleashes a shot that crashes onto the crossbar. 

    This was Downing's first Premier League game for Liverpool, in a game they should've won and in a game that foreshadowed how unlucky he and Liverpool would be for the rest of the season. 

    After Luis Suárez's penalty miss,  Liverpool would fail to convert another four Premier League penalties. 

    Downing was one of the culprits, as he hit the post from 12 yards out in a 4-1 win over Chelsea. 

    According to BBC Sport, Liverpool are the first team in Premier League history to miss five of six penalties. 

    LFC_Stats stated Liverpool hit the woodwork 29 times in the Premier League.

    This included the crossbar stopping Shaun Wright-Phillips from scoring an own goal when Liverpool beat Queens Park Rangers 1-0.   

    So how many times did Downing hit the woodwork? Four times; three behind Luis Suárez, who would've ended up with 18 Premier League goals if luck went his way. 

    Even if Downing scored those four goals, his shots per goal average would be 18, which is still inefficient. 

1. Final Comment

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    Liverpool invested £35 million and £20 million in Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing respectively. 

    Should Liverpool replace Carroll and Downing? Of course. 

    Twente's Luuk de Jong will not only win headers but he'll score and provide goals. 

    de Jong's teammate Ola John is an upgrade from Downing. 

    However this isn't Football Manager. 

    Carroll won 152 aerial duels but only scored one header in the Premier League. 

    Downing is a good crosser and Carroll is a beast in the air, so why hasn't it worked? It's up to the new manager to figure this out. 

    Changing the 4-4-2 to a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 would be a good start. 

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