In a season of defensive calamities and general inability to play
football you'd be forgiven for expecting our best player (who still plays for
the club) this season to be someone further up the field. Statistically
however, the two vying for the prestigious CV note 'I was the least worst
player in the worst Sunderland team of all time" are both defenders.
Let's be honest there are few positives when it comes to performances
on the pitch. That said we look a little less hapless at the back when John
O'Shea is in it. Only a little less, let's not get carried away and suggest the
defence suddenly solidifies like a good piece of soldering when he's on the
team sheet. The Irishman does compare favourably against all of his defensive
colleagues, and Squawka (responsible
for all stats in this piece) reckon he's our best player.
When it comes to defensive actions, no-one in red and white holds a
candle to the defensive stalwart that is JOS. With a 64% tackle success -
better than anyone else by a full 10% - and 61% aerial success - the best
again; it's obvious that he is still our best defender. Unsurprisingly he has
also performed by far the most clearances - 180, averaging around nine per
game, so unstoppable even Denzel Washington would have to concede defeat.
Challenging the Irishman for such a sought after accolade is Bryan
Oviedo. The left wing back has often been the only mildly effective offensive
outlet in the side, marauding up and down the wing like 3-legged terrier.
Despite his defensive duties, which in fairness he attempts (kinda), only Aiden
McGeady has made more key passes than him. Oviedo also has two assists to his
name - unprecedented. His take on success rate of 66% is decent too.
So who has been the best?
I appreciate this is immaterial with Sunderland now odds on to go down
- perhaps spending your free bets earned at 888sport backing that
is not worthwhile as a result - however you're still here so are as bored as me, so a winner
must be decided. While browsing 888sport site, you will have an option to bet
on multiple sports with the best odds, also you can think about placing a bet
on Sunderland’s next match, which gives you a great opportunity to increase
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Oviedo loves a foul, and a booking - notching seven already with only
you-know-who earning more. In his defence, he has earned far more free kicks
than he has given away, but sloppiness in the tackle has left us vulnerable on
a few occasions given we collapse in a heap like screaming three year olds at
the prospect of defending a set piece. 1-0 to O'Shea.
The attacking influence of Oviedo is worth a point in itself, given
nobody else can provide such a tepid impact. A cheap point to concede, something
O'Shea knows all about. 1-1.
Sunderland's biggest problem, apart from being terrible and having
goalkeepers responsible for around 150 goals conceded so far this season,
is their effectiveness in possession. Sloppy balls, lack of movement etc etc.
Squawka have a probably very intrinsic and clearly reliable to the point of
gospel scoring facility. One of these scoring points is regarding a player’s
positive impact in possession. There were only two Sunderland players with a
positive score - Ethan Robson and Darron Gibson - the highest achieving a
nose-bleeding six. Compare that with the Championship’s best player, Fulham's
Tom Cairney, who has a score of 250, it's clear how naff we are in possession.
Anyways tldr; Oviedo has a pretty dismal score of -147 in possession,
whilst JOS is bearable on -15. 2-1 and therefore victory for O'Shea.
Our least worst player so far, the same player we've spent seven
seasons trying to replace - John O'Shea.
How very Sunderland.