Stats prove Idrissa Gana has been class

The 26-year-old Aston Villa midfielder has been superb this past season, according to Opta stats.

As the curtain falls on a hugely disappointing Premier League season for Aston Villa, statistics have suggested there may have been a hero hiding among the Villans this whole time.

Step forward midfielder Idrissa Gana, the £9 million signing who former Villa manager Tim Sherwood described as a "monster" (The Birmingham Mail) after bringing him from Lille last summer. Nine months on and statistics show that Sherwood was right after all....

For a start, no midfielder in England's top flight managed to win possession back for their side more than the 26-year-old Senegal international, who managed 344 ball recoveries - 18 more than N'Golo Kante, 94 more than Victor Wanyama and 121 more than Mousa Dembele.

He proved quite economic with the ball once winning it back, too, clocking a very respectable 85% passing accuracy throughout his 3,075 minutes on the pitch this past season, losing possession on 36 occasions - nine more Kante and 22 less than Aaron Ramsey, with 58.

With 295, he also won more duels than any other midfielder in the Premier League with the exception of PFA Player of the Year Riyad Mahrez, who finished with seven more than him.

The Lille man, a one-time team-mate of Eden Hazard, Dimitri Payet and Yohan Cabaye, also may be an adept reader of the game if his 141 interceptions are anything to go by in a stat which was only bettered by Kante, with 156.

The Leicester machine also beat Gana in regards to tackling, the Frenchman winning 125 compared to the Villa man's 108, yet they're the only two who execeded the century mark with regards to tackles won.

Given that Aston Villa were so poor all season long - winning just 17 points, their lowest ever total - they would have spent long periods of their 38 games without the ball, meaning a defensive midfielder was always going to find himself in the thick of things.

Even still, Gana's numbers stan up well - very well, in fact - when compared to so many of his equivalents at other clubs. Labelling him a "monster" might well be the only thing Sherwood was right about during his ill-fated stint with the West Midlands club.

PositionTeamBall RecoveryDispossessedDuel WonInterceptionWon TackleTotal PassAccurate PassMins PlayedAppearances
Idrissa GueyeMFAston Villa344362951411081,8691,5993,07535
Daniel DrinkwaterMFLeicester3423919155741,9841,5403,03835
N'Golo KantéMFLeicester326272771561251,4491,1833,02037
Yann M'VilaMFSunderland2872520086691,6791,3673,18837
Glenn WhelanMFStoke2861913973512,0701,8013,17337
Darren FletcherMFWest Brom2695614551371,4801,1573,37438
Cesc FàbregasMFChelsea2533019023752,8292,3752,89637
Victor WanyamaMFSouthampton2502520968711,3521,1142,50030
Aaron RamseyMFArsenal2486819057592,1531,8542,62331
Etienne CapoueMFWatford2424523582671,5441,2232,82233
Andrew SurmanMFBournemouth24026134110342,2851,9513,42038
Gareth BarryMFEverton2393119353682,0601,6872,83533
Mark NobleMFWest Ham2364020283741,9241,6603,20437
Nemanja MaticMFChelsea2283617667631,6071,4162,42133
Georginio WijnaldumMFNewcastle2286816427321,2521,0623,16838
Cheikhou KouyatéMFWest Ham2273024877731,2349813,00934
Moussa SissokoMFNewcastle2256222235461,3851,0513,22137
Mousa DembéléMFTottenham2236324956841,3781,2402,27329
Riyad MahrezMFLeicester2198830238391,0347613,05237
Emre CanMFLiverpool2044019162691,7941,4582,49230
Yohan CabayeMFC. Palace19337164120801,2691,0492,70333
FernandinhoMFMan City1893221056731,8721,6362,73233
Fabian DelphMFMan City651765221348341475317

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