Stats: How did Dirk Kuyt cope to a natural left-back in that role?

Dirk Kuyt Netherlands

He was in the unusual left wing-back role usually occupied by Daley Blind. So here's a small stats comparison between the two.

Dirk Kuyt was operating in a rather unusual role for Netherlands yesterday in their 2-0 in over Chile in Group B. The win ensured the Dutch will face Mexico in the second round of the tournament.

Kuyt was given his first appearance of the tournament. Despite building a reputation for a hard working forward who could also play on the wing, manager Louis van Gaal deployed him in the left wing-back role, which was occupied by Blind in the last game. 

The former Liverpool man will no doubt point to the fact the side kept a clean sheet with him in the role rather than Blind, but how do the statistics reflect his performance in comparison to Blind in that role, and could he fill in that position again in the future?

Here's a look: 

Kuyt v Chile:

  TeamPosDuel WonWon TackleError Lead To ShotBlocked CrossInterception WonAppsMins
Dirk Kuyt Netherlands FW 3 2 0 0 4 1 89

Blind average from games v Spain & Australia:

  TeamPosDuel Won / appsWon Tackle / appsError Lead To Shot / appsBlocked Cross / appsInterception Won / appsAppsMins
Daley Blind Netherlands DF 5.50 3.00 0 0 1.50 2 180

It would seem on the face of things that Kuyt has acquitted himself well compared to the first choice selection in the Holland side - who is a rumoured target of Manchester United and Liverpool. He won two tackles, one less than the average Blind had won in the games against Spain and Australia but he was a little way behind on duels won. However, Kuyt's reading of the game allowed him to excel when it came to interceptions, as he made more than twice Blind's average against Chile.

Kuyt v Chile: 

  TeamPosDuel LostChallenge LostEffective ClearanceTotal CrossTotal Att AssistAppsMins
Dirk Kuyt Netherlands FW 4 1 4 1 2 1 89

Blind average from games v Spain and Australia:

  TeamPosDuel Lost / appsChallenge Lost / appsEffective Clearance / appsTotal Cross / appsTotal Att Assist / appsAppsMins
Daley Blind Netherlands DF 2.50 0.50 1.50 2.50 3.00 2 180

It was probably expected that Kuyt was lose more duels than Blind given that he is out of his natural position, so the likelihood that Chile would target that flank increased. Kuyt only lost one challenge in all of the game against the South Americans, and was a lot more effective when it came to clearing the ball than Blind. The fact that Blind is a naturally more left-sided player than Kuyt meant he could contribute more going forward, whereas the former Liverpool man will have wanted to cut inside more on to his favoured right foot.

Overall, Kuyt didn't show himself up badly, but it was clear it wasn't his most comfortable position. That said, it would be interesting to see how he would do on the right side of defence as it is likely he will be more comfortable in that role.

One doubts that Kuyt will make a drastic change in his position at this stage of his career based on these statistics though, even if some would argue he has proven himself as worthy cover for a more defensive role.

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