In Premier League, top clubs having top players in each position is a commonplace. Especially when the talk comes to the scoring opportunities’ creation, there is no question about the quality of the league’s playmakers. Mesut Özil, Eden Hazard and David Silva are only few of the best playmakers in the world that play in England. Another top-class playmaker, with incomprehensible depreciation of his talent, is Christian Eriksen of Tottenham.
The FX-Ray Project will proceed to a deep analysis, focusing on the individual statistical profile of the player. Therefore, the best seasons of his career, so far, and what should the football fans expect from him to perform in the upcoming season can be clarified.
DATA COLLECTION, ANALYSIS AND METHODOLOGY
For the purpose of the research, individual data from certain categories will be collected since the first season of Eriksen in Tottenham Hotspur, back in 2014. All competitions, in which the player participated, are taken into account, except from those with his national team. The stats will be analyzed in two different parts, based on the offensive and defensive contribution of the player.
Moreover, positive and negative weights will be introduced to the data, by producing a certain score for each one of the statistical categories for both offense and defense. The total score will be representative of Eriksen’s performance for every single season.
In this way, his approximate level of performance for next season can be estimated, by using the Forecasting Model. In the end, his scoring and passing contribution will also undergo analysis.
RESULTS & DISCUSSION
The Danish comprises a scoring opportunity machine. His quality with the ball on his feet is one of a kind. At his overall offensive game style, the only feature which can be thought as negative is his reluctance to dribble in a regular basis. As long as he acquires more responsible roles in Tottenham, over the years, it is normal to lose the ball or having unsuccessful touches more often. Nonetheless, his recent preference to finish the scoring opportunities he creates, when the conditions permit it, is a noticeable individual stat. That explains his upward trend in shots per match since last season.
Eriksen has a great playmaking instinct. He takes advantage of time and space for creating clear chances for him and his teammates. There are seasons in which the teammates executed brilliantly, and others in which they were less productive. The goals per season demonstrate the balance in his offensive performance, as the individual quality in the execution is revealed.
By taking into account all the offensive stats that illustrate the overall offensive performance of Eriksen, the insertion of positive weights in goals, assists, shots, key passes and successful dribbles will proceed. On the other hand, negative weights will be inserted in unsuccessful dribbles, unsuccessful touches and dispossession. Then, the score of the offensive performance of Eriksen per season will be eventuated.
The scores resulted depict which the most productive season of the Danish was, offensively. According to the table, Eriksen performed incredibly at his first season in Spurs, something that he also repeated last season. However, in 2017, he had his greatest offensive performance so far. It was then, when Tottenham finished in the second place, seven points away from its first league title since 1961.
Defense is undeniably not one of his favorite parts of the game. In fact, his defensive stats have significant ups and downs during these five years. His spiritless defensive behavior is appreciable as he lacks in aerial duels, he commits few tackles and let the opponent midfielders to surpass him easily. Even the zero cards for two consecutive seasons can be considered as sign of laxity.
For reaching to the defensive scores for each season, it is necessary to follow the same procedure as in the offensive stats, as well. This time, positive weights will be introduced in interceptions, tackles and aerial duels won and negative ones in aerial duels lost, dribbles suffered and cards (yellow – red).
The scores, resulted from the weights’ insertion, reveal the best season of Eriksen, defensively. According to the table, during seasons 2016 and 2018, Eriksen tried to be a little more useful for Tottenham in defensive situations. Notwithstanding, his contribution was not as considerable as it should be.
I. OVERALL SCORES
By summing the above scores, which are produced for both offensive and defensive performance, the score of the overall performance of the player per season emerges.
Concerning the final table, during season 2016-17, Eriksen reached the peak of his individual performance, followed by seasons 2017-18 and 2013-14. Over the last two years, the level of stability of the player remains in high standards, proving he belongs among the top playmakers in the world.
II. USE OF FORECASTING MODEL
Forecasting is the process of making predictions of the future based on past and present data. The data used must be up to date so as for the forecast to be as accurate as possible. By using the Forecasting Model, the range between the Lower and the Upper Bound of Christian Eriksen’s score for season 2018-19 can be predicted. The confidence level will be 95%.
Through the forecasting technique, using linear approach, the average score of Eriksen for 2019 is 13.76, with a Lower Bound of 9.07 and an Upper Bound of 18.45. That means that he is expected to perform better than the previous season, or at least in similar standards. In the best-case scenario, for the current season he is expected to surpass the level of performance of 2016-17, the best in his career individually.
III. SCORING AND PASSING CONTRIBUTION
As a talented playmaker, Eriksen has a decisive contribution in Tottenham’s offensive game style, with numerous goals, assists and passes. Although Harry Kane has an irreplaceable impact on the field, Eriksen’s impact is significant for Spurs, too.
In five seasons under the Tottenham’s kit, the scoring contribution of the Danish is 131 goals (58 goals, 73 assists). At the same time, Spurs have scored 488 goals, which means that the actual contribution of Eriksen almost reaches 27%.
For ending, the individual passing performance of the player is illustrated. His passing percentage never dropped lower than 81%, while the average passes per match have gradually increased. From 2014, he has been increasingly involved in the passing game of his team due to his crucial role on the field. The fact that, he dribbles less and passes more, enhances the belief about his distinctive passing skills.
Eriksen has distinguishable offensive game style that makes him precious in the contemporary football. Providing quick-play decisions and qualitative touches, combined with his astonishing football perception, he creates the best possible conditions for scoring opportunities. Tottenham has already taken advantage of his services, by having established itself among the top European and British football clubs.
However, given that all players have to attack and defend concurrently in modern football, he needs to improve essentially his defensive behavior. By achieving that, the possibilities for more direct impact in the game of his club can be immense. Only then, he can definitely be included among the top players in the world.
• FX-Ray Project attempted to analyze the overall performance of Christian Eriksesn, over the past five seasons, with aim of predicting the approximate level of performance of the player for 2019.
• Several weights were set for each one of the categories that were included in the research.
• Certain scores about his individual performance (offensive and defensive) were extracted.
• By using the Forecasting Model, it has been predicted that the Danish will perform in the usual standards of the last two seasons.
• Finally, his scoring and passing contribution were presented and explained, reaching to interesting conclusions about the player’s offensive quality.
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Transfermarkt.com. (2018). Tottenham Hotspur – Squad Statistics. [online] Available at: https://bit.ly/2ELgZE0 [Accessed 10 Oct. 2018].
Stamopoulos, A. (2018). FX-Ray Project: Radja Nainggolan – Statathlon: Revolutionize the Sport. [online] Statathlon: Revolutionize the Sport. Available at: https://bit.ly/2xZopN6 [Accessed 12 Oct. 2018].