Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur brought in two of the most gifted and highly rated young playmaker’s in the world this year in Philippe Coutinho and Christian Eriksen but which of the two is the better so far?
21-year-old Brazilian Coutinho arrived at Anfield back in January so he’s had something of a head start on 21-year-old Dane Eriksen who arrived at White Hart Lane this summer.
Both young attacking midfielder have started five games in the Premier League so far, with Coutinho coming on once and Eriksen twice as a substitute. Neither of the pair have opened their goal scoring account in the league yet but their creative play has been remarkably telling of two players who will take this league by storm in their near future.
Eriksen leads Coutinho with his one assist to the Brazilian’s nil and he also completed more key passes per game than his Liverpool counterpart. Eriksen has made 18 key passes so far averaging 2.6 per game to Coutinho’s 9 in total and 1.5 per game on average.
However, the Brazilian Reds youngster has made more passes in total than his Danish equivalent at Spurs. Coutinho has made 283 passes, averaging 47.2 per game to Eriksen’s 224 and 32 per game on average.
But Eriksen has the higher pass completion rate of 80.8% of his passes finding a teammate to Coutinho’s 79.2%. Eriksen is has also been operating twice the level of consistency in his crossing than Coutinho – the Dane has put in 1 accurate pass per game to Coutinho’s 0.5 per game.
However, the Brazilian is the far superior dribbler so far completing 14 successful dribbles or take ons, averaging 2.3 per game to Eriksen’s five in total averaging 0.7 per game.
Coutinho is also more successful with his long passes or long balls, successfully completing 12 out of 15 attempted so far and averaging 2 per game to Eriksen’s 8 completed out of 11 attempted averaging 1.1 per game.
Coutinho has in fact completed more through balls successfully than any other player in the Premier League so far this term with his 5 out of 17 through balls finding a Liverpool player (0.8 per game) to Eriksen’s nil completed out of two attempted.
The Brazil youngster is also the more confident in front of goal – he has taken 23 shots in total this term, averaging 3.8 shots per game to Eriksen’s 9 in total and 1.3 per game on average.
The Dane wins marginally more aerial duels – 0.4 per game to Coutinho’s 0.2 per game – and Eriksen makes more interceptions, so far 5 in total (0.7 per game) than Coutinho was has made 2 in total and 0.3 per game on average.
However, Coutinho is twice as strong as Eriksen when it comes to tackling – the Liverpool man has made 10 successful tackles averaging 1.7 per game to Eriksen’s 5 in total and 0.7 per game. But Eriksen gets dribbled past far less frequently than Coutinho does – the Dane has been dribbled past just twice this season (0.3 times per game) to Coutinho’s 11 times (1.8 times per game).
The Brazilian gets fouled far more frequently, 2.3 times per game on average (14 times in total) to Eriksen’s 4 times in total (0.6 per game) but he also gets disposed far more often – Coutinho has been disposed by a player of the opposition 12 times (2 times per game) to Eriksen’s 7 times (once per game on average).
Overall, the players are very close together but, interestingly they have different strengths and weaknesses as individuals despite playing very similar roles in very similarly matched teams.
Coutinho’s dribbling, long balls, through balls, shooting, tackling, and clearances appear to be better than Eriksen’s but whilst Coutinho makes attempts more passes, Eriksen is more accurate and efficient with his passing as well as his key passes, assists, crosses, retention of possession, as well as making more interceptions, winning very slightly more aerial duels and gets dribbled past and disposed far less frequently.
image: © Dean Jones