Stats say Buckley and Coates should be in Sunderland team!

Sebastian Coates
Sebastian Coates
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SEBASTIAN Coates and Will Buckley should be in Sunderland’s starting XI.

Well, that’s what the statistics say, at least.

Every week, especially under Gus Poyet’s reign, Sunderland fans had the unenviable task of predicting the starting XI the management thought was best in order to apply their game plan.

The team was chosen maybe from training ground performances leading up to the match, or who would be best suited to execute the tactics that the manager and his entourage thought appropriate.

Many opinionated and statistically applied articles voiced the concern about how Sunderland, for many years, have not always had a way to change their style midway through a game.

One aspect of the squad that is rarely looked upon however is how influential and successful each player is in obtaining maximum points per match.

Without delving into an overload of facts and statistics there is a simple way to see who has proven most efficient in their matches.

Based on stats provided by The Stat Cat, using a simple win percentage ratio from league games in which players have featured from kick off, Sunderland’s ‘best’ XI out of the 2014-15 squad can be calculated.

Below is statistically the most effective starting XI set out in a conventional 4-4-2 formation.

GK: Mannone, RB: Vergini, CB: Coates, CB: O’Shea, LB: van Aanholt, CM: Cattermole, CM: Larsson, RM: Buckley, LM: Johnson ST: Fletcher, ST: Wickham.

Yes, that’s right. Coates should be in at centre-half with a 33 per cent win ratio, while Buckley has started eight games – winning two – for a 25 per cent win ratio.

It’s a better statistic than fellow widemen Adam Johnson and Emanuele Giaccherini.

Elsewhere, Jermain Defoe has won just once in his Sunderland career from seven starts. The statistics show better percentages for Steven Fletcher and Connor Wickham.

And in goal, last season’s player of the season Vito Mannone may have been dropped in favour of Costel Pantilimon, but his win ratio of 27 per cent dwarfs the Romanian’s measly 16 per cent success rate.

Admittedly this is hard to interpret as some players have played many more games for the club than others.

However, do some names in the ‘best’ XI deserve more credit and maybe more of an opportunity on the field?

Dick Advocaat could possibly be a statistician therefore maybe the fans will see more of the names on this list than in previous selections.

A full list of the main squad’s league wins, draws and losses from kick off are posted below, along with the win percentage for each player.


Alvarez 0 3 1 0%

Bridcutt 2 6 9 12%

Brown 15 24 25 23%

Buckley 2 2 4 25%

Cattermole 29 44 41 25%

Coates 1 0 2 33%

Defoe 1 3 3 14%

Fletcher 14 17 25 25%

Giaccherini 1 6 11 6%

Graham 2 7 5 14%

Gomez 4 6 6 25%

Johnson 20 24 40 24%

Jones 1 2 3 17%

Larsson 30 44 46 25%

Mannone 10 12 15 27%

O’Shea 32 40 52 26%

Pantilimon 3 9 7 16%

Reveillere 2 8 3 15%

Rodwell 0 7 5 0%

van Aanholt 3 6 7 19%

Vergini 8 14 14 22%

Wickham 10 13 17 25%