We had a bit of debate on the channels yesterday thanks to our rating of Ben Davies being just 5.
We rated him as thus:
This attracted a lot of disagreement so we wanted to revisit it, and check out his stats via trusty whoscored.
Who did they back up?
Passing level was excellent, best out of the outfield starters, at 95%, and he tried 3 long balls, and all three hit their mark. On a distribution level it’s hard to fault him, except the safe factor. See, looking at the data, he was the only defender who stayed in his own half for 70% of the match. Most of the passes were safe passes to either Barisic or Goldson, which is fine, it’s tidy, but it’s also hard to rate it as impressive for a defender who isn’t getting overly involved with the forward play.
As you can see, the heatmap has him mainly in his own half, while Goldson got forward a tonne.
And that’s clearly what he was told to do, we guess.
But what of actual defending?
Well, looking at Goldson, he nailed 3 tackles, 2 interceptions, and 2 clearances. Barisic, 3 tackles and 1 interception. But Davies? Just one single interception.
The one time Davies was noticeable was when he made a big error of judgement at the cross and nearly cost the side a goal – Barisic also did not hold himself in glory here either.
But this is, we guess, the point.
Davies did not stand out because how could he – most of the play was in the Saints half, and he wasn’t joining much of it.
Because the result was great, fans are happy and are mostly praising of pretty much everything that happened. Which is fine.
And yes, we got slaughtered as well for being critical of Yilmaz on his starting debut, despite him visibly struggling.
We stand by our rating of Davies – he was not great at all, and had the result been different, not a fan anywhere of the blue persuasion would have objected.
We rate on the individual performance, and the individual contribution, not the result. And looking at the stats sites, most have him as one of the lowest performers. Whoscored gave him 6.5. sofascore gave him 6.9. Maybe 5 was a little harsh, but we stand by the overall summary.
That said, we don’t hold this performance against him, and think he will bloom to be a fine performer and defender.
He was one our manager wanted, and paid £4M for. He’s clearly got it.