It’s no longer news that for long the Premier League has failed to chart a certain man right where he belongs, amongst the best in his playing position.
Leicester’s Wilfried Ndidi is the player in this context. His bullish approach, intense physicality and impressive energy levels have seen him steadily make a name for himself over the years.
However, it would seem he is not given enough credit than he’s actually worth.
For all of his efforts, the likes of Jorginho and Fernandinho have constantly been hailed as the best defensive midfielders in the league.
It’s easy to get carried away by sentiments because the aforementioned players play for “bigger” clubs than the Nigerian.
The numbers don’t lie though and the statistics have been there in plain sight but still largely ignored by many.
This statistical analysis gives a closer comparison between Wilfried Ndidi and Chelsea’s Jorginho.
Is the 22-year-old Nigerian actually underrated and perhaps the best in what he does? We’ll get a better insight into that context.
Ndidi is by far the clear winner in this regard.
His 3.8 tackles 2.2 interceptions and 2.1 clearances puts him comfortably above Jorginho’s 2.1 tackles 1.7 interceptions and 0.9 clearances per game.
Statistically speaking, the Nigerian is a way better defensive shield in front of defenders.
On the bigger picture, no one in the whole of the Premier League has better numbers than the 22-year-old and that sort of makes a statement – bearing in mind he plays for Leicester City.
Wilfred Ndidi made more tackles (143) than any other player in the 2018-19 Premier League season.
A rock in midfield. 👊 pic.twitter.com/okchiNJHId
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 13, 2019
The Leicester city man also averages a tally of 0.6 blocks per game, which is double that of Jorginho at 0.2 per game.
While it’s easy to get flustered by numbers, it’s important to note that Jorginho played 134 fewer minutes, and also plays in a team that averages more possession (60.1%) than Leicester (47.7%) does, so it would stand to reason Ndidi would be more involved defensively.
Judging by the above-mentioned context of different playing styles between Leicester City and Chelsea, one would naturally expect Jorginho to top this aspect.
Surprisingly, the 22-year-old Nigerian closely matches Jorginho yet again.
The Chelsea man narrowly edges Ndidi for key passes per game (0.8 to 0.6).
In all other aspects, the Leicester man is the winner once again.
His 1.4 shots and 0.9 dribbles per game is easily double Jorginho’s 0.5 shots and 0.4 dribbles per game.
Although both players could only show 2 goals and no assists to their name, but given the nature of their positions, it clearly doesn’t mean much to define either of them.
It then makes you question the rationale behind “Jorginho” being a more attacking-minded player.
At 6′ 2″ it should come at no shock that Wilfried Ndidi tops Jorginho once again.
His average of 3.4 aerial duels won per game is more than three times better that of Jorginho at 0.4 duels per game.
Clearly showing the Nigerian is an asset for defending set-pieces and perhaps a threat offensively in the same regard as well.
Ndidi also won the most aerial duels of any player in the EPL last season(130).
Yet another aspect which he clearly bosses every other person in the league.
This is where Jorginho’s abilities become clearly evident. And it is perhaps based on this reason that Jorginho is considered class among a crop of many.
The 27-year-old’s 0.8 key passes, 84.3 passes and an accuracy of 89.3% per game puts him miles ahead of Ndidi with 0.6 key passes, 52.2 total passes and a relatively poor 79.9% pass accuracy.
The Chelsea man’s free-flowing passes quickly saw him earn the nickname “the pass master”.
All but explains how influential Jorginho can be in a system that revolves around retaining possession.
When you compare the Italian’s numbers to that of his teammates, it would seem he is equally just as influential for his team as Ndidi is for Leicester City.
Jorginho for Chelsea in the 2018-19 Premier League season:
• Most passes (3,119)
• Most recoveries (274)
• Most interceptions (63)
• Second-most tackles (76)
Maurizio Sarri's favourite. 👨🎓 pic.twitter.com/ZT1eiJyZxQ
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 23, 2019
Both players are excellent at what they do but Ndidi doesn’t get half the mention Jorginho does despite easily boasting better numbers in some key areas.
The debate being it is generally easy for a player to impose himself in a lesser club than at a “top” club with exceptional talent all over the pitch.
Wilfried Ndidi has been a constant over the years and the only thing left in his promising career is a move to a bigger club where he can get the proper recognition and applause he deserves.