By The Numbers: Carlos Cuellar's Impressive Start At Sunderland

Carlos Cuellar is the subject of this week's "By The Numbers"

We did warn you that this would become a more regular feature, so here we are back with another edition of By The Numbers - the feature where we look at stats and stuff.

You might think it's a little early to be looking at stats, especially after only two Premier League games this season, and we'd be inclined to agree, but the fact is there has been games, things have happened and things can be measured.

Stat's aren't everyone's cup of tea, and they aren't the most telling thing in judging performance, but they can serve as little performance indicators, which is how we're using them. Those interested can continue to read as we look at Carlos Cuellar's impressive start to life at the Stadium Of Light...

Tackling Success

Carlos is one of only four players in the Sunderland squad to have a 100% record when it comes to tackling success so far this season, and one of only two defenders, the other being his defensive partner John O'Shea.

Cuellar also leads all Sunderland defenders in the amount of "Ground Duels Won" - which are what most folks like ourselves would call "50-50's" with 83% of them won. His nearest contender in the back line would be Craig Gardner - not even an orthodox defender - who has 59% won. To put into context how good this is, Seb Larsson is the only Sunderland player with a higher amount on 88% won.

Tackling Breakdown

We mentioned Ground Duels Won already, and not only has Cuellar won the most of all defenders, he's also won them more often than any other Sunderland player - let alone defenders - with a one won every 30 minutes on average.

Cuellar is also leading the team in Minutes Per Challenge. This is a contest for the ball in any circumstances - A tackle, a 50-50 and balls in the air - Cuellar is at the heart of the action for Sunderland with one made just over every 12 minutes so far. The fact he's won one on average every 13 minutes is equally impressive among our defenders, again beaten only by Craig Gardner among those who've played at the back in the two games so far.

Clearances

Cuellar's impressive stats haven't stopped yet, and he's absolutely dominated the rest of the Sunderland team when it comes to Clearances. Not only has the Spaniard made the most in the team, but also the most successful with 10 his 14 attempts proving successful.

Cuellar is also the only player to clear the ball off the line for Sunderland this season, as he did against Swansea City to deny Angel Rangel a certain goal.

Aerial Duels

Cuellar hasn't made the most headed clearances, he comes in with 9 to Craig Gardner's 10, but Cuellar has made the most successful ones with 6 of his 9 proving to be useful.

Our newly acquired defender also leads all Sunderland players in Aerial Duels, winning all four of the one's he contested - a team high in both categories.

Passing

Passing is obviously a key part of a defenders job too. It's obviously important that they do something with it too and retain possession for the side.

Something that came as a surprise to me, and may well to you too, is that Carlos' Passing Accuracy is the highest in the Sunderland squad with a quality 90% accuracy. With 32% of his passes going forward too, he hasn't just passed the buck to O'Shea or a fellow defender to play the ball away for him.

Cuellar's long ball accuracy has also been superb with 80% of them finding their intended target, or four of his five attempted to look at it another way. That's a more accurate hit rate than any of the other defenders in the squad by some distance. For example O'Shea comes in with a measly 57%.

Possession

Cuellar's doing OK when it comes to possession of the ball too. Not great, but as good as anyone else in the team. Among first team regulars he's lost the ball for whatever reason only 9 times. A team low (for first team regulars) tied with Lee Cattermole.

Cuellar has also made 3 interceptions. A number tied with fellow defensive colleagues O'Shea and Gardner.

Conclusions

Overall it's a very, very solid start by Cuellar, and one where we think he'll only get better. With him leading the team in many categories and not exactly languishing behind in all other categories, it's pretty good stuff for for a free signing transfer.

We look forward to seeing more, and we're sure we haven't seen the best of him yet. These figures will make for an interesting look back midway through the season to see if he's still keeping pace to be our number one defender.

Stats from Opta via EPL Index.

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