Published on October 12th, 2016 | by Daniel Cheeseman

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Stats show John Stones’ improvement under Pep Guardiola

John Stones has settled quickly into life at Manchester City under Pep Guardiola, and daily fantasy football game Oulala.com have unearthed stats that reveal the 22-year-old is slowly turning into one of the world’s best defenders.

After an impressive display for England against Slovenia, and before he faces former club Everton this weekend following his £47.5 million move to City in the summer, Oulala games have delved into their extensive database of statistics, to analyse how Stones has fared after his opening seven Premier League appearances this season.

In his final season at Everton, Stones was the 10th best passer of the 172 defenders to appear in the Premier League, racking up a total of 1,341 successful passes. While of all the defenders to have made at least 20 league appearances last season, he was the third most accurate with his passes, finding a teammate 89 per cent of the time. Only Arsenal’s Gabriel and Chelsea’s John Terry performed better (both 90%).

When it came to defending, Stones’ numbers dropped, ranking 5th for blocks (35), 40th for clearances (139), 43rd for tackles won (36), 43rd for aerial duels won (51) and 49th for interceptions (56).

It was clear that Guardiola had brought Stones to City for his ability on the ball, despite the flaws in the defensive part of his game. However, since moving to City, Stones is slowly improving in the areas that had previously caused concern.
john stones infographic

Stones has again been one of the Premier League’s finest passers in defence this season, having completed 338 successful passes at an accuracy of 90 per cent. His figures put Stones as the second best in both areas of the 120 defenders to have appeared in the Premier League this term.

Looking at his defensive stats, Stones has improved in one area that had previously received criticism, clearances. Rather than putting the ball into row Z when under pressure, Stones had a tendancy to try to beat his man at Everton and having made four defensive errors last season, three of which led to goals, it was an area that required attention. This season Stones has already racked up 33 clearances in seven appearances, an average of 4.7 per game, ranking him 25th of any defender, up 15 places from last season.

When it comes to tackling, improvement is still required. Stones ranks 86th for tackles won (3). Many would argue that the Blues have had to do little defending this season, however Stones’ partner at the back, Nicolás Otamendi, has made 17 successful tackles, six times as many as Stones.

Stones’ figures and rankings for blocks (5/23rd), interceptions (13/30th) and aerial duels won (11/40th) are reasonable, however when compared to Otamendi, there’s still room for improvement. Otamendi has won double the amount of aerial duels (22 to 11) and made almost double (25 to 13) the amount of interceptions.

John Stones is clearly a talented centre-half with the ball at his feet and our stats show he is improving. Under the guidance of Pep Guardiola, Manchester City and England could well soon be in possession of the best defender in world football.


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