Brand new Whites’ defender, Dorian Dervite, is a Frenchmen, plays center back, last played for Charlton Athletic, will be 26 when the season starts, and is reportedly 6’3". Having never seen Dervite play, this is what I could learn about Bolton Wanderers’ newest defender by spending a minute on Wikipedia. Now, being a person who likes to dig into the statistics behind a player’s performance, this quick search was not at all satisfying to me. I also didn’t know how to feel about the signing (other than restrained joy over the fact that this further means that not only is Zat Knight out of contract, but likely has had his
Reebok Macron Stadium passcard revoked).
So, I am turning to the stats from last season to try and figure out what to expect from Dorian this upcoming season. As well as to speculate on next season’s potential center back pairings.
Here is a comparison of key defensive stats that are tracked by whoscored.com.
Note: Zat Knight’s stats were included to underscore his overwhelming mediocrity and will not be discussed further.
Looking at the percentage of headers won, tackles/90, interceptions/90, and dribbled by opponent/90; Dervite and Ream have remarkably similar statistical profiles. This is a good thing from the view that I believe Ream was very good this season for Bolton. However, as only about half of Ream’s start came at center back, this indicates to me that Dervite might not play as a stay at home defender. Likely he was getting out in space and looking to defend the passing lanes or the opponent dribbling the ball. Another similarity, and not a positive one, is that Ream and Dervite won a significantly lower percentage of headers than Bolton’s other trio of center backs. This to me indicates that Dervite and Ream probably would not work well as a center back tandem. Combined, the two just might be too weak in the air to make an effective pairing.
For the sake of thoroughness, where the two players are differing greatly, from a numbers standpoint, are clearances/90, blocked shots/90, fouls/90, and passing percentage. The difference in the rate of clearances, blocks, and fouls between Dervite and Ream I believe comes from Ream spending so much time at left back and defensive midfield. The difference in passing percentage might be somewhat because of Ream’s time at positions other than center back (where there is more space and time to make passes and not just hoof the ball up field), but it’s just as likely that Ream is a better passer.
Both Mills and Wheater were strong in the air this past season, winning more than 70% of their headers. They were both largely similar statistically, with the exception of Wheater posting better tackles/90 and passing percentage numbers. Based on the seeming aerial deficiencies of Dervite and Ream. It seems like the best course would be to pair one of Mills or Wheater (I personally have a slight preference towards Wheater, if he can stay healthy) with one of Ream or Dervite during the preseason. Hopefully one combination will show better chemistry and performance together and that can be Bolton’s center back pairing to start the season.