How do Ben Close’s Portsmouth stats this season compare to Millwall’s Ben Thompson’s?
During the second half of the season, one Pompey player has earned rave reviews.
While the Blues slipped from the top of League One – after setting the pace for almost four months – a run of eight games winless resulted in them dropping from the automatic promotion places.
Kenny Jackett’s side have won their past three games to give them a lifeline in the race for the Championship.
The fall from the summit of the table has been disappointing, given Pompey were five points clear on New Year’s Day.
Nevertheless, there has been one massive positive from it – the form of Ben Close.
The academy graduate has firmly established himself in Jackett’s starting line-up after spending the opening half of the campaign primarily confined to the substitutes’ bench.
That was because of the scintillating form of loanee Ben Thompson.
The midfielder consistently dazzled in the engine room, earning rave reviews and collecting umpteen man-of-the-match awards.
When he was recalled by parent club Millwall in January, it was hardly a surprise and he’s been featuring heavily during their fight to avoid relegation from the Championship.
But how does Close’s stats compare with Thompson’s spell at Fratton Park this season?
Using Wyscout – the professional platform for analysis – we’ve crunched the numbers.
To start off with, the Southsea midfielder has proved more of a goal threat for the Blues.
This campaign, Close has scored five times during the promotion push – all coming in his past 10 games.
In contrast, Thompson struck only twice in his 23 league appearances for Jackett’s men.
But in terms of creating goals, it’s the Lions man who’s more potent.
He conjured up an average of 0.15 assists per game, compared to Close’s 0.05.
Judging their styles of play, Thompson is more of an all-action midfielder than his former PO4 team-mate.
The Sidcup-born man relished a tackle and won 45.8 per cent of his duels, with Close coming out on top of 36.5 per cent of his.
Thompson’s aerial duel success rate of 63.4 per cent also ranks higher than Close’s 40.2 per cent.
However, the Pompey academy graduate’s game revolves around keeping possession and making things tick.
And the stats highlight it’s an area he is stronger than Thompson.
Close boasts a passing accuracy of 78.7 per cent, with Thompson leaving the south coast with a total five per cent fewer.
And in terms of successful dribbles, Close (79.3 per cent) also brags a better ratio than the Millwall academy product (66.5 per cent).