Lucas, Gerrard & Mascherano vs Chelsea

Lucas, Gerrard & Mascherano vs Chelsea
October 14, 2009 Paul Tomkins

Just a quick freebie post in response to the number of emails I’ve had today taking me to task for defending Lucas. The following is just one example, from a season ticket holder:

“And with regards to the Chelsea game you can count the amount of times Lucas was actually involved in the game on both hands!”

So I popped over to The Guardian chalkboards, to discover the following on that game at Stamford Bridge:

Lucas made 8 tackles, winning 6. Mascherano also won 6, but lost 5. Gerrard made 7 tackles, and won only 3.

Lucas made 7 interceptions, Mascherano 8.

Lucas made 1 block on the edge of the area, Mascherano and Gerrard made no blocks.

Mascherano was widely regarded as being outstanding defensively in this game. And rightly so. However, the facts suggest that Lucas was at least his equal.

Lucas made 21 passes, 20 finding a red shirt. These passes were a very even balance of square and forward balls, in a very widely spaced area of the pitch. The majority were in the opposition half.

Mascherano made 35 passes, 4 going astray. These were also more square on average than Lucas’, with the exception of some balls out to the left wing.

Gerrard made 37 passes, but gave the ball away 18 times; however, more were in tighter forward areas, obviously. That said, he still gave away possession in his own half.

I make that 37 positive contributions from Lucas, and far fewer mistakes than the more lauded midfielders.

I’m not arguing that Lucas is the next Patrick Vieira, just that his contributions be looked at fairly.