The HurlyBurly is done, the transfer window is come and the German is gone. Well, in case you live on the moon and are an alien to what happened in the January transfer window, here’s what happened: Mourinho has got a certain Colombian into the squad and has offloaded a World Cup winner as an obligation or the vice-versa if you believe his version of the story. Further, an Egyptian International has swapped teams for more playing time.
Andre Schurrle was one of the first signings of the second coming of the Special One at the Stamford Bridge, bought from Bayer Leverkusen for a reported 18 million pounds. His first season was all about finding his feet in the Premier League, and being a cold blooded finisher. He did it well, and testimony to that came with his hat-trick against Fulham. Since his heroics in Brazil and the hangover that followed, Schurrle could no longer make his way into Jose Mourinho’s first team. A number of factors affected his performances in the matches that he got as a substitute, more often than not, fitness, form, injury and sickness contributed to his fall from favor in Mourinho’s plans.
A player of his caliber, who swung the ball in extra-time towards Gotze for the Nationalmannschaft to lift the World Cup deserves to be in the first team, whether its at Stamford Bridge or back in Germany for a team that are trying to capitalize on the fall from grace of the Dortmund team suffering from Bayern’s dirty transfer politics and West German Arrogance.
The Colombian is an intriguing buy from Jose Mourinho, unlike Mohammad Salah of the last window, who Mourinho brought in as a replacement for fan favourite Mata. Though Salah is perhaps now gone for the good of the Blues, Cuadrado seems to be a player in a different mould to both the German and the Egyptian. He may not have exactly lit up the World Cup quite like his compatriot James Rodriguez, yet he supported the team in a versatile way, but his true abilities are revealed when one concentrates on his performances in the Italian top flight. Guess what! That’s exactly what we are gonna do.
StatsTalk: Schurrle or Cuadrado?
The World Cup this summer in Brazil was truly the stage were dreams were seen, realized and broken. For Germany, it was the perfect fairy-tale. For Colombians, it was a good campaign, where in the absence of Radamel Falcao, they found a new hero in James Rodriguez, who outshined a certain Argentine and earned a dream move to the Santiago Bernabeu. Juan Cuadrado was no spectator though to his teammates’ miracles. He was very much a part of it all. He assisted a good number of goals and provided a good level of versatility to the squad which becomes clear when we take a closer look at his stats and numbers. Note that all stats are courtesy squawka.com as on the date of publication.
2014 FIFA World Cup Performance Comparison:
|Stats for:||Schurrle||Cuadrado||Cuadrado in Seria A|
|Avg. Pass Length||14m||16m||15.82|
|Shots outside Area||1.07||1.41||1.81|
|Successful Take Ons||0.36||1.88||2.74|
|Take Ons success %||11.11%||50%||55.70%|
|Duels success %||30.77%||48.53%||58.66%|
During the 2012-13 Season, Juan Guillermo Cuadrado started 34 games in the Seria A and finished the season with 5 goals and 6 assists. But many a time, numbers do lie. He made 1.5 Key passes per game and made 3.3 dribbles per game. Furthermore, he attempted 2.5 tackles per game. That was 2012-13 in Italy. In case you are interested in his tragic yet inspiring childhood, read about it here.
Coming back to the previous season, we go from WhoScored numbers to Squawka stat comparison matrix. Andre Schurrle has already inspired his new team to a 3-0 victory against Hoffenheim. Everyone already knows that the German World Cup winner was quality through and through, what they should understand is that his stay at Chelsea was not benefiting Chelsea nor Schurrle himself. A player of his caliber deserves to start every week. He must start every week if he wants to defend the World Cup title in Russia not just as a substitute but as a first team member. That can’t be achieved from the Bench at the Bridge. Besides, in this beautiful era of FFP where Chelsea make profit in transfer windows, anything above 20 million pounds was good money for the out of sorts German. All in all, it was a good transfer at a good time. Especially when we consider his not so Salah-esque replacement. Here’s why:
When talking about out and out attacking performance, in Mourinho’s own words, Schurrle was a cold blooded finisher. Even in this season, he got that all vital goal at the Etihad. Schurrle simply put, is a better attacking-goal scoring prospect. With an attack score of 53, he completely outshines Cuadrado’s attacking prowess; be it for Colombia or Fiorentina.
Defensively, it’s a tie. Schurrle is not the best forward player who would drop back continuously to defend. Some would argue that given Cuadrado’s ability to play as a wing back, he should be the winner in this comparison but to that the answer is that Cuadrado has to play in a Mourinho team and with the kind of positioning ability he has, he can’t excel at that position. Besides, Ivanovic is undoubtedly the best Wing Back in England at the moment. Period. As an experiment in some bizzare situation though, when Mourinho wants to mock another of FA’s decision, you may see Cuadrado at right back.
Again, its a tie when it comes to their passing numbers. While Schurrle managed 42 passes per game in the World Cup, the Colombian managed a scant 29.50 passes in each game he played in Brazil. However, in a more comfortable 4-3-3 for Fiorentina, he managed to squeeze a very healthy 42.66 passes to his teammates. That’s the reason it’s a tie.
The one thing that Willian is criticized at times for is his ability to kill attacking moves with atrocious passing choices. That may not have been the case with Schurrle, but his intelligence on the pitch is still somewhat basic. On the other hand, Cuadrado is a more intelligent player and can find some killer through passes to make. In the league, he has more forward passes every 90 minutes than Schurrle manages.
This one is close and perhaps there is no difference between the two wingers who are both very good. Yet, the numbers say that Cuadrado is slightly better than Schurrle in terms of the pass completion percent. Schurrle completed 83% of his attempted passes in Brazil, while Cuadrado had an advantage of 1%. In the league, that advantage is of 4%. Decide for yourself.
THIS, is where you see a proper, supporting Winger. Eden Hazard is the kind of player that likes to cut inside, something like an inside forward. He has the ability and deserves the freedom to do so, as demonstrated at Villa Park this Saturday. On the other hand, Willian sometimes shows the same tendency of attempting shots at goal. His shots have power and can beat any goal keeper when executed properly, yet execution and decision is the place where Willian makes mistakes. When you have someone as effective as Hazard on one wing, you need have a proper Winger on the other side, perhaps so that not all attention of the tackling defenders is focused on one man.
Cuadrado makes 2 key passes in every 90 minutes of league game played. He made 1 key pass every 90 minutes he played in the world cup. In comparison, Schurrle made 0.71 key passes for every 90 minutes he spent on the pitch in Brazil. Low crosses are one of his stronghold from inside the box and thus he may well be a better team player who does not go for glory every time he gets a sight of the goal.
Cuadrado at the World Cup was as good a winger as a team could wish for. He had assisted at least one goals in every 90 minutes worth of football he was afforded, in comparison to Schurrle’s 0.36. Mr. Super Sub, Game Over!
Talking about good wingers, Cuadrado once again trumps the World Cup winning Schurrle in that he creates more goal scoring opportunities for his teammates, be it at the biggest stage of them all or in the top flight of league football. Schurrle created at least one goal in every 90 minutes that he got to play for Germany in Brazil, Cuadrado created almost two in the same time for Colombia. He seems to do even better in this aspect when playing in the league. The English and Italian top flights are very similar because of their defenders’ physical approach to the game, which makes me confident in concluding that Cuadrado might not have as much problem in settling into form as expected of a newcomer. Perhaps someone from Italy can enlighten us further on that aspect.
Average Pass Length:
Though not a critical factor and very much dependent on the way the entire team operates, pass length can still be a good way of assessing a player’s passing abilities. In that light, Schurrle is again outshone by the Colombian as the latter’s passes covered 2 more meters of the pitch on an average in the world cup. That certain has some impact from the way Colombia and Germany go about their passing but still the number is good enough to not be ignored. It just goes on to affirm the fact that Cuadrado is as good a passer as Schurrle and can find his man at the Center.
Oh you goals, you make teams sweat, you make men cry, you make the fans applaud and to get thee they try. Goals are what separate winners from losers and some teams have goalscorers while some have Torres (of the Liverpool times of course)!
Schurrle is one deadly predator in the box. Enough Said! There is no comparison between the German and the Colombian at all. Schurrle can score hattricks on his day and has more than an eye for the goal. He even snatched one off the feet of Oscar against Swansea and for the common good. However, it does not mean that the Colombian is completely alien to the idea of putting one behind the goalkeeper. Given the right opportunity, time and place, Cuadrado can get his name on the scoresheet. Just not as frequently as Schurrle. It’s not even one of the bold qualifications in his CV, so don’t expect fireworks from the lad.
Again, Schurrle is the winger you want in the box, or outside it if you want and crave goals. He has a shot accuracy of 82%, very close to Strikerosphere. If you are arrogant enough to stand for Cuadrado in this vote, well then he has a very respectable shot accuracy of 50%. Given that he shoots on half as many occasions as Schurrle, his probability of scoring a goal decreases by a factor of 1/4. Go Figure!
Remember how Eden Hazard fried Pablo Zabaleta all night long on Chelsea’s visit of the Etihad? That’s because the Belgian is incredibly fleet-footed and can dribble like the best of the game. He can take on any defender on any day of the week and can beat him every single time, day after day. That’s how mercurial our little Belgian is. Now, what if Man City decided to ‘Rest’ their left back Clichy the next time Chelsea visited them? That is a very real possibility. Because those who have seen Cuadrado play know that he’s one of the best players to take on his man and leave him in shambles.
In numbers, Schurrle has 0.36 successful take-ons over each 90 minutes played. In comparison, Cuadrado had 1.88 of those. To take it a level beyond, he has almost 3 take-ons for every 90 minutes in the league this season.
Take Ons Success Percentage:
When you have that kind of take-on number in every game, you success rate has also got to be high. Same applies to Juan Cuadrado, who has 50% success rate when it comes to take-ons beats Schurrle by a healthy margin whose corresponding stat remains a meagre 11%.
Duels Success Percentage:
Duels, when Aerial, is an area where Schurrle wins comprehensively against the Colombian winger. However when all kinds of tugs-of-ball are considered, Cuadrado comes out on top. Cuadrado wins 58.66% of all the duels that he is involved in, and in the World Cup he won almost 30% more duels than Schurrle.
I am myself a fan of the German Winger, and can still relive the moment his toe put a ball behind Joe Hart at the Etihad and Chelsea took the lead before another one of my favourites decided it was payback time. I still admire this man, and much like I have a soft corner for El Nino, I will have it for Schurrle. He was good while he was here, and here’s hoping he gets better once he’s gone. I want to see him help Wolfsburg or whatever team he plays for qualify for the Champions League (2 minutes of silence for Dortmund! My favourite German Team.) and have a good Champions League campaign next time around. What I don’t want is him coming back to the Bridge and scoring against Chelsea.
Cuadrado has all the skills and expectation as such are high. Hopefully he can carry on well as he has done so many times during difficult times in his life.
Do not forget to raise your voice as to how do you think their careers would shape up?
Stats: courtesy squawka.com
P.S.: All stats are per 90 metrics. Adjusted to reflect performance numbers over each 90 minutes the player has played.
Mandatory Credits: William Shakespeare and the Three Witches!