I came across the rather alarming statistic earlier today that the recently derided Mikel Arteta had only registered 1 assist in this Premier League season. This appears to support many fans' criticisms and scathing viewpoints regarding the poor season he is having, though I do wonder how much blame can be laid at his feet.
Arteta has completed this term 1197 passes successfully, registering in first place for the whole squad (and a good 200 more than Marouane Fellaini, the blue-eyed boy in many punters eyes).
Regarding chances created (and not converted), he is second only to Leighton Baines, and once more above Fellaini, only this time more than double ? 37 and 16 respectively.
Fellaini has won only 10 more tackles than Arteta (at 47 to 37) and perhaps even more interesting is the fact that the big Belgian has lost more tackles than the Spaniard (19 to 17).
Add to that the fact that Mikel has two more goals than Marouane, you can maybe see the point I'm trying to make...
It's not that I believe Arteta is having a great season and Fellaini a poor one; it's that I'm merely questioning the severity of criticism and ostensibly vitriolic nature of many fans on this site and beyond.
And the constant assertion that Arteta is our highest paid player and therefore should be grabbing every game by the scruff of the neck is absurd ? Wayne Rooney is on over double Arteta's wage yet he is still a saint amongst the United fans.
I think it's clear Arteta is having a poor season, but maybe it's time to blame his fellow midfielders for the impotence of our attack.
Daniel Johnson, Posted 23/02/2011 at 16:32:02
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1 Posted 23/02/2011 at 17:07:38
Add in the fact that the unless Saha is fit (which is always a mystery), Arteta doesn't have a decent striker to distribute the ball too. This goes for all the midfielders as well, I believe that much of their struggles can be attributed to the lack of a proper striker.
2 Posted 23/02/2011 at 17:21:56
3 Posted 23/02/2011 at 17:14:01
I don't understand your comment about ostensible vitriol. The vitriolic comments on this site seem honest enough to me. Even though I don't agree with most people.
Fellaini's presence is his best attribute.
4 Posted 23/02/2011 at 17:38:51
He may have completed passes, but it doesn't help anything in the grand scheme of things.
I can recall at least two poor passes on Saturday: one attrocious crossfield pass to Baines, who was running forward, had to check his run and sprint 20 yards back the way came to allow Arteta's "pass" to be "completed"; and another later on to Distin, not quite a sprint this time, but definitely a lunge.
Does this also mean that Bily and Beckford have done more running than other plays during their many fruitless touchline warmups?
Like you said Statistics DON'T tell the whole story...
5 Posted 23/02/2011 at 17:57:18
6 Posted 23/02/2011 at 17:53:54
I'd like to know if breaking up the oppositions play is classed as tackling as Felli just seems to know where the ball is going. He doesn't need to jump into tackles. A great thing he's brought to his game as it means less yellow cards.
7 Posted 23/02/2011 at 18:02:30
Fellaini constantly wins the ball back for the team, this isn't registered in 'tackles' statistics, which are truly meaningless. Fellaini picks up loose balls, constantly chests down aerial balls and builds a spell of possession out of them and in general is far more useful and effective a midfielder than Arteta this season.
Your headline says statistics don't tell the whole story then your entire article is based on statistics. Nice one.
8 Posted 23/02/2011 at 18:08:39
9 Posted 23/02/2011 at 18:16:40
10 Posted 23/02/2011 at 18:20:18
11 Posted 23/02/2011 at 18:24:15
12 Posted 23/02/2011 at 18:33:22
Fellaini is taking on a Big Dunc status - flashes of brilliance but mainly average. Doesn't quite fulfill his potential but seems committed and isn't scared to punch or elbow someone.
13 Posted 23/02/2011 at 18:27:47
Arteta has taken a lot of criticism on this and other sites this season, and most of it has been very harsh. He's admitted himself that he hasn't been playing as well as he knows he can, but I don't think getting on his back is likely to help - as some fans seem to be. A lot of people are constantly bringing up the 75k a week as well, as if he's responsible to try harder/play better because he's our top earner. But that logic implies that the lesser paid players are okay to slack off. All players should be putting in 100%, and I don't question Arteta's effort or passion. I do think his corners and free-kicks have been terrible for a while now, but surely it's up to Moyes to dictate who takes set pieces.
As for Fellaini, I think he has been getting a lot of plaudits this season because his good attributes are more conspicuous than Arteta's. Arteta spends most of the game passing across the midfield, looking for the chances to get Baines/Coleman in space on the wing, and generally keeping us ticking over. Whereas Fellaini tends to intercept opposition passes and long balls, or do an outrageous piece of chest control or little trick (e.g. Bellamy) which gets a reaction from the crowd.
My point is not that Arteta has played better than Fellaini, just that Fellaini is basically more noticeable. And I can't be arsed to look up the stats but I'm sure Fellaini will have given away the ball a lot more than Arteta this season.
Also, those stats would mean more if they were percentages as Arteta may have made more passes than Fellaini simply because he's played more minutes. I don't know.
14 Posted 23/02/2011 at 19:26:18
15 Posted 23/02/2011 at 19:27:46
16 Posted 23/02/2011 at 19:25:07
The only reason I bothered to make a point of the Arteta/Fellaini comparison is because there have a been a few games this season where, in my eyes, there has been a large disparity between performance and fans' perception.
Against Bolton Wanderers, Arteta had a very decent game, involving himself in most things good about Everton (granted there were not many such things) and putting in a good shift. Conversely, Fellaini had something of a shocker, consistently giving the ball away and looking lethargic and off the pace.
However, many people both on this site and Bluekipper (a reliable site no doubt) praised Felli and ripped Arteta, a point which I personally found outrageous. It seems SOME fans clutch onto a player (like Big Dunc) and deify them to the extent where they are infallible. I do think Fellaini has come on a lot and does much good work for Everton, but why must we be blinkered and imbalanced because of this?
17 Posted 23/02/2011 at 19:39:34
Fellaini, on the other hand, has gradually got better and most of the time looks like he is putting a shift in.
18 Posted 23/02/2011 at 19:56:09
Do you honestly think he's earning it?
19 Posted 23/02/2011 at 17:58:56
20 Posted 23/02/2011 at 20:12:44
21 Posted 23/02/2011 at 20:35:21
I think Fellaini is worthy of the praise he has recieved this season, but some of the criticism of Arteta has been over the top, constantly bringing up his wages is complete nonsense, does getiing a pay raise turn you into a robot incapable of a drop in form?
Only last season he was fantastic for us, and will be again, maybe in Fellaini's absence after the summer.
22 Posted 23/02/2011 at 20:52:22
Come on, we're just passing our views on how these players appear to be performing in our eyes. One thing you seem to neglect in your analysis, Daniel, is the difference in experience:
Arteta has been with us for 6 years and will be 29 in March
Fellaini has been here 2½ years and is 5½ years younger.
Add to this the inherent Evertonian knowledge of what Arteta is capable of, versus what he is currently producing, and I see nothing to be concerned about in terms of your claims.
What we all need to accept is that people are putting forward their opinions ? these are not definitive facts that can be proved or disproved with dubious statistics. As individuals, we all have differing views of such things: that does not make some of those views "vitriolic" or "outrageous" ? just different from yours.
23 Posted 23/02/2011 at 21:03:43
Arteta has disappointed me this season because the levels that he can attain are so magnificent, so I agree that, if you build a reputation, it's your duty to maintain it. However, there have been several occasions on this site were people have demanded that Arteta be shipped out and that he should fuck off because he earns £75K a week.
The more worrying thing is the way he is treated by the fans at Goodison currently ? a misplaced pass results in groans of derision and screams of "Fuck Off" ? something which is definitely not harmless and part of the debating process.
24 Posted 23/02/2011 at 21:27:58
Not very quick, not very agile, no long passing range, no evidence of any long shooting capability. He's a half-decent tackler and is tidy in possession, he may grow into more but he's not the colossus that some fans have built him up to be, or hope he will be. Perhaps in the future, although, in my opinion, I think he lacks the basic attributes to get right to the top.
Arteta is our best midfielder, experienced, creative and a goal threat, he's having a bad season, but we have no one better (probably not the argument to put forward my pro "Leon Osman in centre-mid" views). He's probably not earned his wage but who apart from Baines has this season? And even he's getting paid to defend which is something we've not done well as a whole.
25 Posted 23/02/2011 at 21:42:16
Fellaini "half decent"? He deserves more credit than that!
"Not very quick, not very agile, no long passing range, no evidence of any long shooting capability."
I downloaded and watched the second half of the Blackpool game again last night, I suggest you should too: Fellaini disproves everything you say in that 2nd half.
26 Posted 23/02/2011 at 21:48:00
27 Posted 23/02/2011 at 22:02:27
Aside from a good cup result, we're utter shit. Instead of dreaming of European trips, we're listening to our captain talk about a relegation dogfight. Apart from Baines, no player has consistently performed.
The only problem with selling players is the money would not be spent on new players, so we're stuck with these over-earning under-achievers.
28 Posted 23/02/2011 at 22:01:23
However, too many Everton players have been giving the ball away too easily, even in the Chelsea game, and this has been the real reason we have struggled to win this season, even against so-called lesser teams. This could be a result of poor training or mental conditioning which of course is the responsibility of the coaching staff.
Having said that, some of these players have enough experience to know when and how to shield the ball and make simple passes. Surely Man Utd and Arsenal shouldn't have the monopoly on this technique?
29 Posted 23/02/2011 at 22:08:59
Stats be damned, I prefer to judge on what I see by my glassywarbles and what I have seen this season is Fellaini being a far more forward moving player than Arteta. Wins more and the one aspect I find fascinating to watch about his game is that he will nearly always bring the ball down and look for a pass, not many flick-ons by the mop-haired dope (in a nice way)!
30 Posted 23/02/2011 at 22:13:53
31 Posted 23/02/2011 at 22:24:04
He is starting to look better and move forward a bit but he looked awful when he was ahead of Fellaini against Bolton.
32 Posted 23/02/2011 at 22:22:21
Quality player though so hopefully he can hit form til the end of the season. Fellaini has on the whole been awesome this season and bossed midfield battles against the very best. Add to that he's been playing in a terrible Everton team this year.
33 Posted 23/02/2011 at 22:27:45
34 Posted 23/02/2011 at 23:23:06
35 Posted 23/02/2011 at 23:59:39
36 Posted 24/02/2011 at 06:15:47
37 Posted 24/02/2011 at 11:16:15
I also thought he was half decent against Bolton slightly further forward. I think I even witnessed him breaking out into a sprint at one point!
38 Posted 24/02/2011 at 11:49:09
One of the benefits of watching on TV, is with the use of replays and different angles, you can see the play from a wider perspective. Often a player's contribution when he's not on the ball is vital ? either getting in position to support or defend etc.
When I was in UK and used to go to the games, I used to watch it again on TV whenever possible, and often the difference was marked.
Players obviously do hit periods of good and bad form, and some are consistently inconsistent. But for me it's all about how you view the game as a competition ? one man's player with a "languid style" is another one's "lazy bastard"...
39 Posted 24/02/2011 at 12:37:55
Look at the way Aquiliani failed to make any kind of an impact for Liverpool. If you look through the central midfielders across the country you'd be hard pushed to find an elegant controller of the game. Stylian Petrov is as close as Villa ever got under O'Neill, and he strikes me as anything but a midfield general.
Even the top two teams over the last few years, Chelsea and United struggle to field such players. Essien, Lampard, Darren Fletcher, Anderson ? all athletic high energy players but, besides Paul Scholes, does either side really boast such a player.
My point is essentially that I think it's something of a miracle that we have Arteta at all, and that without him we'd be similarly creatively redundant through the centre. Most teams in England use wide men to break teams down, so to expect everything to go through the little Spaniard is quite unfair. It's interesting that people often accuse Moyes of being negative and tactically turgid; I think he's actually trying to emulate our European cousins in that he wants every midfielder to be able to receive the ball and pick a pass.
40 Posted 24/02/2011 at 13:17:47
41 Posted 24/02/2011 at 14:01:03
The one thing which hasn't improved though ? and not a stat in the world can change ? is his shocking take on set pieces, both corners and free kicks; thank god Baines took that one against Chelski.
42 Posted 24/02/2011 at 15:47:43
43 Posted 24/02/2011 at 16:40:18
44 Posted 24/02/2011 at 21:40:26
45 Posted 24/02/2011 at 23:51:27
46 Posted 25/02/2011 at 11:32:37
47 Posted 25/02/2011 at 19:18:47
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