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Leeds United – Ben White vs Pontus Jansson stats comparison

Pontus Jansson was a rock for Leeds United when he came over from Serie A. In fact, it can be argued that signing for the Whites saved his international career. Sidelined by both injury and Torino, it was an initial loan deal that first brought the affable Swede to Elland Road.

A series of impressive displays alongside Kyle Bartley was enough to convince the Leeds United hierarchy to lay out the cash to turn a temporary loan into a permanent deal. It was a deal that well-suited the Whites, he provided that defensive stability at the core of what used to be a shivering backline.

So, when it was announced that he was to depart last summer, there was a fair degree of fan outrage on social media. That was ramped up somewhat when it was announced that he was leaving for a relatively low fee and that his replacement was to be Ben White, an untried young centre-back on loan from Brighton and Hove Albion.

White’s displays have been a revelation in this centenary campaign from the Whites, a campaign with its fair share of ups-and-downs. However, shining through has been the consistency of youngster White who has gone from ‘unknown’ to ‘must-have’ and on the radar of several Premier League sides.

With memories of Pontus Jansson fading into the ether, Leeds United fans have been asking whether White has been an upgrade on the Swedish international. Whilst opinion is always hard to judge, and even harder to nail down, here’s a little comparison of the two: White this season vs Jansson last season. ‘Per 90’ statistics have been used to iron out any imbalance caused by this season remaining unfinished at this point.

Pontus Jansson (2018/19) vs Ben White (2019/20) – a comparison
Jansson (red) vs White (blue)

The above, overlaid player radars compare Pontus Jansson’s ‘per 90’ output from the 2018/19 Sky Bet Championship campaign to the ‘per 90’ output from Ben White during the current, 2019/20 campaign. The ‘PAdj’ shows defensive statistics adjusted for average team possession for each player (Jansson 59.7%/White 60.1%). The rationale here is that a side dominating possession more is unlikely to be making as many defensive actions.

Pontus Jansson (2018/19) vs Ben White (2019/20) – how do they measure up

Each player has his own particular strengths, that is clear to see by the overlaid radars. Jansson leads the way in terms of aerial dominance winning a higher percentage of headers (64.2%) than White (49%) and winning more headed challenges (3.4) than White (2.8). Having said that though, White’s game is all about the ball on the ground and at his feet.

White plays more successful long ball (15m+) passes per 90 minutes (2.8) than Jansson did (2.6) but it is Swedish international (54.2%) who leads the way completion-wise over White (43.75%). As a point of comparison, both players tried 55.8 passes per 90 minutes in their respective seasons with Jansson’s mix of long/short pass attempts being 4.8/51 compared to White’s 6.4/49.4.

One area where youngster White dominates his more senior predecessor Jansson is in three key defensive duties: tackles, interceptions and blocks. White has made 2.5 tackles this season (Jansson 1), 3.4 interceptions (Jansson 1.9) and 1.3 blocks (Jansson 1.1). This gives Ben White 11.6 defensive actions (when adding in 4.4 clearances per 90) as opposed to Pontus Jansson’s 10.1 defensive actions (when adding in 6.1 clearances per 90).

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