This series takes a look at the latest signings and statistically analyzes those individuals’ contributions and how they compare to the current squad.
This first transfer of the 21/22 season is bound to reignite the Milan rivalry: the signing of Hakan Çalhanoğlu from AC Milan on a free transfer.
Calhanoglu is a central attacking midfielder, and so, he will be compared to his obvious positional rival, Christian Eriksen.
As CAMs, we will look at their offensive contributions such as goals and assists (obviously), shot-creating actions, passing abilities, dribbling abilities, and briefly defensive contributions. For these stats, FBref.com was resourced.
Before continuing, myself and everyone at SempreInter.com have only the deepest sympathies to Christian Eriksen.
We hope he makes a full recovery and, regardless if he continues to play the wonderful sport we love, wish him all the best. This review is merely an analysis and not in any way a personal attack on either player.
The 27-year-old Turkish man, Calhanoglu, has provided 6 goals and 10 assists for club and country as of this writing compared to Eriksen’s 8 goals (3 of which for Inter).
Calhanoglu takes 2.82 shots per game and creates 5.88 shot-creating actions per game; the latter putting him in the 98th percentile of all attacking Midfielders and wingers.
Eriksen takes 2.34 shots per game and provides 3.51 shot-creating actions, also putting him high: the 95th percentile. Both are clearly exceptional and world class in this regard.
They’re both great passers: Calhanoglu at a 77.1% success rate and Eriksen at 82%. Progressive passes, those over 10 meters upfield or into the penalty box, also show excellence: Calhanoglu’s 5.61 per game to Eriksen’s 4.79.
Eriksen is the better dribbler, at 80% success to Calhanoglu’s 61.3%, but Calhanoglu attempts twice as many: 1.88 per game to Eriksen’s 0.91.
One interesting stat that came to light is “progressive passes received”; those received passes 10 meters or more upfield or into the penalty box.
Eriksen receives 2.79 per game, which is a good number, but Calhanoglu receives 6.88. Calhanoglu clearly makes far more runs to progress the ball than Eriksen does; the clearer attacking threat.
Neither are defensive players, but their defensive actions should still be compared since our midfielders are required to help out and get involved, so we’ll just quickly run through these.
Tackles and interceptions per game: Hakan’s 1.73 to Eriksen’s 1.29. Blocks and successful pressures per game: 2.92 to 2.36. Total defensive actions per game: 2.33 to 1.88.
Lastly, aerials won: 22.8% to 73.7%. Calhanoglu is a bit better here, more involved, but Eriksen wins in the air.
We all know that Calhanoglu and Eriksen are free kick specialists, and they both do adequately well in that regard.
Aside from that, Calhanoglu does appear to be the better attacking threat, with more creations, attempts, and successes; he even does a bit better defensively.
Eriksen is by no means bad, nor should he be replaced, but Calhanoglu is statistically a clear improvement in the role. This year’s defending of the title could very well be attributed to Hakan’s extra efforts.