Vertonghen v Shawcross: One outshines the other in five key areas

Taking a closer look at the Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City centre-backs.

Jan Vertonghen v Ryan Shawcross: Head to Head: Comparing the Spurs and Stoke centre-backs: 20150506


This weekend, Stoke City and Tottenham Hotspur clash at the Britannia Stadium with Mark Hughes’ side looking to make it a league double over the North London club.

Back in November, the Potters won 2-1 at White Hart Lane courtesy of goals from Bojan Krkic and Jonathan Walters.

Nacer Chadli replied for the hosts but it was too little too late, and it will be interesting to see how both sides approach this clash.

Two players likely to be integral to proceedings are Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross and Tottenham centre-back Jan Vertonghen. So how do their league performances compare this season?

  Passing AccuracyOutfield blocks per gameEffective Clearances per gameEffective Headed clearances per gameDuels won per gameAerials won per gameTackles won per gameInterceptions won per gameMins Played
Jan Vertonghen 85% 0.72 6.79 3.97 5.34 2.72 1.41 2.1 2,540
Ryan Shawcross 76% 0.97 7 4.55 5.45 3.31 1 1.59 2,562

The Tottenham man has the considerably better passing accuracy – 85 per cent to Shawcross’s 76 per cent – while the Belgian international also averages more tackles and more interceptions per appearance.

But those stats aside, it is the Stoke player who comes out on top, averaging more outfield blocks, effective clearances (both with his head and his feet), duels and aerial contests.

You would expect nothing less from a side led by Hughes, who was battle-hardened in his days on the pitch, but Tottenham’s defence has come in for criticism at times this season and they may do well to take inspiration from Stoke.

A win for Tottenham will keep their European hopes alive, but whatever happens the defences could well prove to be the deciding factor.

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