Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho will consider himself a very unlucky player to have missed out on Brazil’s World Cup squad this summer.
One midfielder who was a surprise inclusion in the squad was Tottenham Hotspur’s Paulinho, who has been in and out of the team over the second half of the campaign under head coach Tim Sherwood.
So is Coutinho unlucky to have been overlooked for Paulinho?
The stats certainly suggest he was.
|Club||Pos||Goal Assist||Goals||Total Tackle||Interception||Accurate Pass||Apps||Mins|
In an attacking sense they are dead level in terms of goals with five each, but Coutinho edges ahead when it comes to creativity and laying on assists for his teammates this season.
That suggests that his decision making in the final third has been a little sharper this season and also suggests that he’s adjusted to the pace and physical nature of the Premier League effectively.
Any player going to the World Cup needs to have more than one string to his bow and in terms of defensive stats, Coutinho is also ahead in a couple of areas.
Coutinho has made more tackles than Paulinho in the Premier League this season, which shows an eagerness to win possession back for his side as quickly as possible.
One area Paulinho is clearly in front is interceptions, which suggests that he reads the game more effectively than his fellow countryman.
However, bear in mind that Paulinho has played in front of the back four at times for Tottenham this season, where any player has to pressure himself to read the play and step in to cut out dangerous passes and ease pressure.
In terms of protecting the ball, the stats also suggest that Coutinho has been more effective this season with a higher number of accurate passes.
So it’s difficult to see where Luiz Felipe Scolari is coming from.
Perhaps he’s just playing it safe and going with a slightly more versatile player than Coutinho and someone who is a little more physically imposing in the middle of a side when he plays.
However, that’s a poor excuse to overlook the numbers which generally suggest Coutinho has been more effective this season.