Stats: Would Liverpool star improve Manchester City defence?

Martin Skrtel

Manchester City were this weekend linked with a move for Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel – but how does he compare to the current City centre backs?

The Slovakian has been impressive for Brendan Rodgers' side this season, and his dominating displays at centre back haven't gone unnoticed, with fellow title challengers Manchester City now looking to bring the physically imposing defender to the Etihad Stadium.

Skrtel is seen as an upgrade on the likes of Martin Demichelis, Matija Nastasic and Joleon Lescott, but do the stats this season suggest that the 29-year-old would be a better partner for captain Vincent Kompany at the heart of the City defence?

Challenges

NameTeamPosTotal Tackle / appsWon Tackle / appsChallenge LostAppsMins
Martín Demichelis Man City DF 1.73 1.27 19 15 1,350
Matija Nastasic Man City DF 1.62 1.23 5 13 1,027
Joleon Lescott Man City DF 1.50 1.25 6 8 675
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 1.20 0.92 9 25 2,232

A key part of defensive play is how well defenders tackle, but some make the mistake of believing tackling is the be all and end all of defending. In this category, it's much-maligned Argentine defender Demichelis who leads the way with the most tackles per game and most tackles won per game - two stats where Skrtel ranks dead last. Demichelis has lost a stunning 19 challenges this season, over twice as many as his next competitor here, as Skrtel has lost 9. It seems this particular section hasn't been too kind to the Liverpool star.

Clearances

NameTeamPosTotal Clearance / appsHead Clearance / appsAerial Won / appsAppsMins
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 11.48 6.48 3.36 25 2,232
Martín Demichelis Man City DF 6.67 3.20 2.07 15 1,350
Matija Nastasic Man City DF 6.62 3.46 2.00 13 1,027
Joleon Lescott Man City DF 4.50 2.25 1.38 8 675

Clearing the ball away from goal is vital component of good defensive play, and Skrtel is way out in front in total clearances, headed clearances as well as successful aerial battles per game. Skrtel's reputation as a limited but solid stopping defender is backed up here, and partnering him with Kompany could form a dominating aerial combination at the heart of the City defence.

Interceptions

NameTeamPosInterceptionInterception Won / appsAppsMins
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 45 1.80 25 2,232
Martín Demichelis Man City DF 33 2.20 15 1,350
Joleon Lescott Man City DF 14 1.75 8 675
Matija Nastasic Man City DF 14 1.08 13 1,027

Interceptions stop the attack dead, and Skrtel impresses in this category too. He is way out in front in terms of total interceptions this season, but ranks just behind Demichelis when worked out per-game. He is markedly better than Nastasic in this category, and City need solid defenders in order to keep things tight whilst their attacking players go forward - which Skrtel has proven he is.

Attacking prowess

NameTeamPosAtt Hd TotalAtt Hd GoalGoalsAppsMins
Martín Demichelis Man City DF 5 0 0 15 1,350
Joleon Lescott Man City DF 5 0 0 8 675
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 5 2 4 25 2,232
Matija Nastasic Man City DF 4 1 1 13 1,027

Defenders being dangerous in attack is an underrated aspect of their play, and once again Skrtel has dominated his competition here. He's tied at the top for five headed attempts on goal, of which two have hit the back of the net - which is the best total of the four. He has also scored another two goals, making him clearly the most dangerous defender in comparison to the existing City centre backs.

image: © etyek

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