In a series of posts I am going to be looking into Yeovil Town’s Central Midfielders, their individual stats, positioning and how they get on in different combinations.

In this, the first part I will look at High level stats, construction, and positioning. Coming up later in the week will be the second part on attack & defence and a third and final piece on the different combinations that Mark Cooper has used so far this season.

Picture courtesy of Mike Kunz.

Seven players have played in central midfield this season, Matt Worthington, Charlie Cooper, Sonny Blu Lo-Everton, Josh Owers, Morgan Williams, Josh Staunton and Jordan Maguire-Drew. The latter two played in the cup against Didcot, whilst Williams started 3 league games at Defensive Midfield (DM), for the data analysis all 3 players are excluded.

Also included Brett McGavin from Torquay as a reference point. He is one of, if not, the best midfielders in the league who is not at Yeovil. When we look at positioning we will look into Luke Russe from Bath a bit more depth.

There will be a lot of terms you may not be aware of such as “Smart Pass” or “Key Pass”, if so please visit Wyscouts Glossary here


HIGH LEVEL

Here are each players high level stats.

NameFootAgeAppearancesMinutesGoalsAssistsPPMPoints Difference
WorthingtonRight25201971222.190.05
CooperRight26131115021.73-0.41
Lo-EvertonRight2113987131.83-0.30
OwersLeft219628103.000.86
McGavinRight2317139060
RusseRight2422208500

If you were planning to play 2 in the middle, from an quick initial look you would say Worthington and Owers should start as when they play the team picks up more points.  Lets dive deeper into the data to see if it aligns.


CONSTRUCTION (AKA PASSING)

NamePasses per 90Pass Accuracy %Accurate Passes per 90Long Passes per 90Long Pass Accuracy% of Long PasesPasses to Final Third per 90Passes to Final Third AccuracyThrough Passes per 90Key Passes per 90Smart Passes per 90
Worthington39.5483.95%333.2447.89%8%6.8571.33%0.640.370.32
Cooper43.5979.81%356.7045.78%15%9.7760.33%1.610.080.16
Lo-Everton39.2186.51%342.286%5.1166.07%0.730.550.46
Owers23.6573.33%173.4415%5.8856.10%0.860.140.14
McGavin44.0383.53%373.6353.57%8%7.971.31%0.580.060.45
Russe37.2180.05%306.3555.10%17%6.9965.43%0.470.090.22

From this we can see that Cooper makes the most passes on average, however, both Worthington and Lo-Everton are both more accurate with their passes. Whilst Owers plays less passes and his accuracy is below the other 3.

Charlie Cooper sends the ball forward
Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.

Cooper also plays more long passes than the others despite his accuracy being below 50%. Bother Cooper and Owers pass the ball long 15% of the time. Whilst Lo-Everton only plays long passes 6% of the time.

When passing to the final third Owers’ and Cooper’s accuracy goes AWOL. Cooper attempts nearly 10 a game which is 3 more than Worthington who has the second most passes to the final third, however, Worthington’s accuracy is 11% better.

With Key passes and Smart passes, Lo-Everton is a class of his own. Whilst it shows Owers and Cooper are more conservative players not looking for the miracle ball, or could it be they are more defensive as if you compare these two metrics to Russe they are pretty close.


PROGRESSION

Next up is Progression (attempting to draw the team significantly closer to the opponent goal by running with or passing the ball)

NameProgressive Passes per 90Progressive Pass AccuracyProgressive Runs per 90Ball Progression per MinuteBall Progression by run per 90Ball Progression by passes per 90Deep Complitions per 90
Worthington6.8082.551.192.52.178.110.82
Cooper7.3572.530.732.483.1214.870.97
Lo-Everton5.0272.731.912.125.3012.081.64
Owers4.870.291.22.6512.780.57
McGavin6.7368.272.522.7511.920.32
Russe7.3467.650.522.090.997.120.3

Worthington’s accuracy here is a step above the others, his ball progression per minute is also 2.5 meters per minute. At the other end Owers, who doesn’t run or pass the ball as much as the others only progresses with the ball 1.2 meters per minute.


ONE LINE SUMMARY ON EACH PLAYER

Worthington – Best passing midfielder we have.

Cooper – Good passing accuracy but when going forward his accuracy drops.

Lo-Everton – Our most creative player in the middle of the pitch.

Owers – Only left footed player of the 4, doesn’t have the ball as much as the others.


POSITIONING
VS BATH CITY

Yeovil lined up 5-2-3, with Cooper & Worthington in the middle. This formation changed to a 4-4-2 near the end of the first half after Dawes had replaced Whittle.

From this passing position graphic you can see that Yeovil’s midfield were all central right. Leaving Dawes/Whittle alone on the left. I found this surprising especially as Jordan Thomas was attacking the side where the space is on the picture above, 61% of Bath’s attacks came down this side.

Attacks wise with the position of the central midfielders, you would assume most attacks came from the right or centre. However, only 48% came from the right, 50% came from the left (Thanks to Mr Dawes), whilst only 2% came through the middle despite playing incredibly narrow, were we missing Lo-Everton?

Cooper & Worthington only made 36 passes between them the whole game, only 1 pass to each other the whole game, despite them playing so close, or is it because they were playing too close?

7 of Cooper’s 15 passes went to the starting centre backs, 3 to Young and 3 to Dawes. 6 of Worthington’s passes went to Smith, and 8 to the starting centre backs.

There is a reasonable gap between defence and midfield.  You can see below, Hayfield, Bath’s number 8, had a bit of space to work in.

If we look at Bath’s passing position chart, guess which player Russe is?

He is number 19! Bath are a lot more symmetrical on the eye, not that symmetrical means better on the grass. Note number 2 Raynes and 15 Jordan Williams, they made 26 passes to each other. The most in the game, was this because of Yeovil’s lopsided midfield?


VS DARTFORD

Sonny Blu Lo Everton tries his luck. Picture courtesy of Gary Brown.Yeovil lined up 4-4-3, with Cooper, Lo-Everton & Worthington in the middle.


You can see from the image, Cooper (24) is the deeper of the 3, almost level with Wannell (6), unsurprisingly because of their closeness Cooper passed to Wannell 7 times during the game, which was over 20% of his passes.

Worthington (8) filling the left space which was empty against Bath, makes 12 passes to Dawes, thats over quarter of his passes. Less than 20% of his passes were to the centre backs.

Lo-Everton only made 21 passes the whole game, 33% to the centre backs, next highest was 20% of his passes going to Jordan Young.

Cooper and Lo-Everton passed to each other 3 times
Cooper and Worthington passed to each other  8 times
Worthington and Lo-Everton passed to each other 5 times

Was Lo-Everton too far forward and isolated or was it because Cooper was playing too deep and/or playing further to the left?

Attack wise 45% came from the left and 42% through the middle.


POSITIONING CONCLUSION

The data sample is too small to jump to any firm conclusions. However, it does raise a couple of questions, Cooper and Worthington seem to bunch in the examples shown. Are they too similar of a player to play in the same team or could it be that the players may struggle with the changes in tactics each game.  This is especially apparent when you look at Bath’s positioning, they have system and stick to it and have strong cohesion.

Another thing to bear in mind is 3 of the 4 players are right footed which means the balance is out. Left footed centre backs are rare in today’s game. Thanks to Wannell it is not a problem for Yeovil, however is left footed central midfielder an issue?

Maybe in part 2 some of these questions will be answered…


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Richard
6 months ago

Great analysis, I’m impressed. My non-statistical assessment is that Cooper makes too many sideways & backwards passes, & does so slowly, making it easier for the defending team, rather than putting part-timers under more pressure quickly

Goal Lover
6 months ago

Good article, well done. This journalism has in my opinion has been consistently better than anything released through official media channels by Yeovil Town FC.

Congrats on any awards I’ll keep following Gloverscast.