Sunderland striker Connor Wickham is the worst player in the Premier League in this area

Sunderland Inc Wickham

Nobody gets dispossessed more than Conor Wickham for Sunderland in the Premier League.

Sunderland take on Bradford City in the FA Cup on Sunday, hoping not to become yet another giant killing for The Bantams. The Yorkshire club welcome Sunderland to Valley Parade after knocking out Chelsea, at Stamford Bridge, in the last round of the competition.

With that in mind Sunderland are unlikely to go easy on the League One outfit, so expect a full team.

That is likely to mean a start for Connor Wickham. The bullish front man returned from a loan spell at Leeds United last season to save the day for Sunderland but has struggled for goals in this full campaign at the Stadium of Light.

However Wickham, who has recently returned from a calf injury, is a big favourite of Gus Poyet's so is likely to start.

Wickham brings plenty to the Sunderland team. He is big, strong and direct but the statistics also show something else about the player - he is wasteful.

This is a list of the top five players in the Premier League for being dispossessed, of which Wickham tops the pile:

  PositionTeamDispossessedAppearancesMins Played
Connor Wickham FW Sunderland 78 23 1,864
Alexis Sánchez FW Arsenal 70 22 1,829
Eden Hazard MF Chelsea 67 25 2,207
Saido Berahino FW West Brom 62 25 1,905
Graziano Pellè FW Southampton 58 25 2,222

The Sunderland attacker has given the ball away from possession more than anyone else this season, meaning his ability as a hold up man is something of a myth. Of course there is one explanation for this abnormality. Wickham has played a lot of this season out wide. His ability to take on a man is not the best, so that could certainly be a contributing factor. However, losing the ball 78 times is not really an acceptable tally for a player of his ilk.

The only redeeming factor is the fact he is in good company. Alexis Sanchez and Eden Hazard also join him in the top ten.

The difference is they probably see a lot more of the ball than Wickham - in fact, you can see in the below table that they do.

  PositionTeamDispossessedTouchesAppearancesMins Played
Connor Wickham FW Sunderland 78 1,073 23 1,864
Alexis Sánchez FW Arsenal 70 1,531 22 1,829
Eden Hazard MF Chelsea 67 1,938 25 2,207

Maybe Sunderland need to reconsider the way they, or if they should, continue to use Wickham so regularly.

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