Everton take on Sam Allardyce’s Sunderland side on Sunday in a game which will pit talented defensive midfielders Gareth Barry and Yann M’Vila on opposite sides.
Barry has been a mainstay in Everton’s team under Roberto Martinez, making 75 Premier League appearances since the start of the 2013-14 season, where he was initially on loan.
At 34, the former Aston Villa and Manchester City man is one of the oldest defensive midfielders in the top-flight, yet he remains a key cog in this Everton side and suits their passing style of play.
On Sunday, he will be up against a buoyant Sunderland following their 3-0 win over rivals Newcastle United and a side who look significantly stronger with Yann M’Vila in their ranks.
The French star joined the club on loan from Rubin Kazan over the summer and his impact has been telling.
|Tackles per Game||Interceptions per Game||Effective Clearances per Game||Def Duels Won per Game||Ball Recoveries per Game||Touches per Game||Accurate Passes per Game||Appearances|
As per the table provided by Opta Stats, M’Vila’s contributions to Sunderland can be illustrated by the fact that he actually outshines Barry in as many as five key midfield categories.
From a defensive perspective, he averages more tackles, interceptions, effective clearances, defensive duels won and ball recoveries per Premier league fixture than his upcoming opponent.
The former Rennes man is building up a potent midfield partnership with Lee Cattermole, allowing the former Middlesbrough man licence to push forward and apply more pressure on the ball.
Everton will have to move the ball quickly in order to get the better of the Black Cats, and there aren’t many better holding midfielders than Barry on that front.
He may not contribute as much defensively as M’Vila, but one area in which he does better the Sunderland man is in possession – averaging more touches and accurate passes.