Fabian Delph - Aston Villa's midfield marvel who deserves plenty of praise

Trinity Road Stand - Aston Villa

We take a closer look at the Aston Villa midfielder's performances this season.

Following Aston Villa's 2-2 draw with Liverpool at the weekend, I wrote an article praising Ron Vlaar. The Dutch centre-back put in another stellar performance at Anfield and was my pick for man-of-the-match.

However, giving him a run for his money was Fabian Delph - a player once tipped as the next big thing but someone who took longer than imagined to fulfill that much-talked-about potential.

So as much as I felt Vlaar deserved an article, I could not ignore the Villa midfielder and I began to look at his performances this season; not just that match against Liverpool, but every game to date.  And what I discovered is that Delph is having something of a blinder.

For this analysis I have included Leandro Bacuna despite the Dutchman playing a number of games as a defender this season. 

From the table below you can see that Delph has had 20 scoring attempts and attempted 14 assists, and while he is outshone by some of his teammates in those particular areas, he has made more interceptions, more passes and more accurate passes than any of his midfield colleagues.  In short, he is vital to the Villans.

PlayerTotal Scoring AttemptTotal Attempted AssistInterception WonTotal PassAccurate PassTouchesMins
Karim El Ahmadi 25 14 12 477 393 693 1,393
Aleksandar Tonev 21 2 3 135 103 242 550
Fabian Delph 20 14 36 844 691 1,210 1,653
Leandro Bacuna 18 8 32 537 372 1,019 1,437
Ashley Westwood 17 34 23 830 684 1,071 1,687
Marc Albrighton 9 13 2 128 95 234 320
Yacouba Sylla 4 2 8 188 141 260 448
Chris Herd 0 0 3 69 46 107 171

Because a midfielder's role is considerable, I also took into account how effective his clearances were, and how often (and where on the pitch) he won back possession, and again the results are telling. 

Considering the fact that Bacuna has featured a number of times in the back-line, it is no surprise he has more effective clearances than those who feature more regularly in midfield; however, Delph has won more balls in the defensive-third of the pitch and equals Ashley Westwood for possession won in the middle-third.  Delph is also streets ahead when it comes to ball-recovery as a whole.

PlayerEffective ClearancePossession Won Defensive 3rdPossession Won Middle 3rdPossession Won Attacking 3rdBall RecoveryMins
Leandro Bacuna 56 46 27 5 78 1,437
Fabian Delph 24 62 70 6 138 1,653
Karim El Ahmadi 18 18 40 8 66 1,393
Chris Herd 17 5 2 0 7 171
Ashley Westwood 14 40 70 3 113 1,687
Yacouba Sylla 7 10 18 2 30 448
Marc Albrighton 3 7 4 1 12 320
Aleksandar Tonev 3 9 12 8 29 550

Delph is having a mightily impressive campaign to date, and he is central to much of what Villa do.  Still only 24, it seems he could live up to those early expectations after all.

 

image: © Ben Sutherland

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