This season, Christian Eriksen became part of a formidable title challenge with Spurs, making himself a key player alongside Deli Alli and Wanyama in the Tottenham midfield. Coutinho’s Liverpool didn’t manage to maintain such a strong challenge but the two players, alongside, Hazard, Ozil and a few more, remain the most potent attacking midfielders in the Premier League. The question remains: who’s better. Coutinho V Eriksen.
1. Coutinho V Eriksen: Goalscoring
Both players are relied upon to score goals by their clubs. But who is performing better?
Philippe Coutinho has played 138 games and scored 34 goals. That’s 0.25 per match. 30 with his right foot. 3 goals have been from free kicks. Christian Eriksen has played a similar amount, 134 games, and scored 31 goals. 0.23 goals per game. 6 goals have been from free kicks.
Eriksen has taken 378 shots, 135 of which have been on target. It’s a shooting accuracy of 36%.
Coutinho has taken 450 shots, with 140 on target. It’s a shooting accuracy of 31%
Coutinho’s missed 15 clear cut chances, while Eriksen’s missed 14.
It’s incredibly tight, but while Coutinho has 4 more goals, Eriksen’s percentages are a little higher.
It might be argued Coutinho is used in a more advanced position than Eriksen, but as Liverpool evolved last season we saw him drop further and further back to influence play from deeper positions. Likewise, as Harry Kane became the goal scoring phenomenon we know and Deli Alli began to move into more offensive positions, Christian Eriksen’s goal scoring opportunities arguably lessened.
The two seem very well matched as far as goals are concerned. Both play in very fluid, attack minded teams and are expected to contribute a steady flow of goals over the season. Both are linked with big money moves over the summer. So what about general team play… maybe the two will be separated there?
2. Coutinho V Eriksen: General Team Play
Aside entirely from just pure attack, Coutinho and Eriksen compare very closely on general team play. Both are very disciplined, hard working players. Both are used by coaches, Pochettino and Klopp, of a very high standard, who demand dogged work, responsible play and sterling support of team mates. Coutinho has to work very closely with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in a fluid attack. Eriksen needs to supoort the league’s top scorer Harry Kane, in attack. so who’s better at general team play?
Coutinho has made 29 assists, 6,006 passes, making 43.5 passes per match. Eriksen has completed 38 assists, made 6,904 passes and made on average 51.5 passes per match, putting him past the Brazilian.
Coutinho’s created 45 clear cut chances, put in 381 crosses with a cross accuracy of 25%. Eriksen, by contrast, has also created 45 clear cut chances, but has managed a staggering 810 crosses with a 21% accuracy. This may be down to having more of a target man in Harry Kane than Coutinho is blessed with at Liverpool.
Eriksen has managed 62 through balls and 301 accurate long balls. Coutinho, for his part, has put through a very impressive 133 through balls, with 261 long balls going in too.
The two players are neck and neck really. Eriksen’s comfort with playing from wide positions seem to be missing in Coutinho and likewise the Liverpool man’s gift with the through ball is more honed than his Danish counterpart.
In any side fighting for a Premier League title, hard work is the byword. Fergie famously through a boot at Beckham for not tracking back. So how do the two players compare for work rate inside their own half?
3. Coutinho V Eriksen: Defensive Play
Nowadays in the game, when a team is looking to make a difference at the top of the table, they need all their players pulling in the same direction. Full-backs need to become part of the attack, ball-winners like Kante need to understand how to join in creative play and attackers need to track back and support in numbers, ready to break forward again with the next phase of play. So how do the players compare now?
Christian Erikesn has amassed 9 yellow cards and 59 fouls. he’s been caught offside twice. Coutinho’s only received 8 yellow cards but he’s been sent off once and has committed 77 fouls. He’s also been caught offside a much greater 26 times.
Philippe Coutinho’s made 225 tackles with a tackle success rate of 77%. He’s blocked 159 shots and made 80 interceptions. Coutinho’s managed 44 clearances, 9 with his head, and an impressive 654 recoveries. Eriksen’s completed 167 tackles but with a higher success rate of 80%. He’s blocked 124 shots and made 100 interceptions. Eriksen’s completed 77 clearances, 28 with his head. The Dane has also made 691 recoveries.
Philippe Coutinho’s won 447 duels and been successful in 133 50/50 balls. he’s won 69 aerial battles and never once made an error leading to goal. Eriksen really steps up here. He’s won 721 duels and succeeded in 305 50/50 balls. He’s only won 30 aerial battles but he also has never made an error that led to a goal. And he’s never ever sick at sea.
So, the stats are in. Two amazing players. Two great seasons. But which one is better?