Leighton Baines vs. Patrice Evra – A Statistical Comparison

by Sam Peoples

Rumours are picking up pace that Manchester United are looking to bring in 27-year-old Leighton Baines from Everton as another left back. With Evra not being the reliable player he always was, combined with Fabio leaving to QPR on loan and the future of Ezekiel Fryers being up in the air, United could do with buying a left back so that Patrice has to play for his place.

Patrice has become far too comfortable in his guaranteed starting spot at United and bringing in competition for the place will do no harm to the squad and it would force Patrice to cut the complacency out of his game – but is Leighton Baines the right man? Let’s have a look at the breakdown of Patrice Evra’s and Leighton Baines’ last Premier League campaign. All stats provided by FantasyFootballScout and Opta.

Leighton Baines (L) and Patrice Evra (R) – Involvement

The stand out statistic from this is the fact that Leighton Baines was involved in 16.2% of Everton’s goals last season, in comparison to Patrice Evra’s 4.6%. Sure, the fact that Baines took all of their corners (completing 17/68) contributed to this but it shows how much more involved Baines is in the attacking threat that Everton carry, something that has dwindled with Evra in recent seasons.

Baines received 37% of his passes in the final third of the opponents half whereas Patrice Evra received only 28%, reflective of how Baines often found himself further up the pitch joining in with the attacking threat of his team far more than Evra did.

Leighton Baines (L) and Patrice Evra (R) – Distribution

Patrice may have had far more passes over the season but when it comes to final third involvement, the players are extremely similar. The striking difference comes in their crossing with Baines attempting 156 and completing 52 more crosses than Evra. This, for me, is the greatest attraction of Baines.

Antonio Valencia‘s crosses were one of our most fruitful assets last season. Ashley Young attempted to do this but he became too predictable cutting inside to whip a ball in. If Baines joined in on the left flank, we would possess a real threat from the left hand side that I don’t think Evra carries any more.

Evra does not get forward with as much tenacity as he used to and we have become slightly two dimensional on the wings because of it – but does Baines’ attacking threat affect his defensive performance?

Leighton Baines (L) and Patrice Evra (R) – Defending

Patrice Evra trumps Leighton Baines’ in almost every defensive statistic. He made 39 more tackles, 101 more clearances and recovered the ball 35 more times than Baines as well as having 40 more successful aerial duels. Defensively, Patrice is stronger in statistics but there were multiple occasions where he was caught out of position and he has been one of our weak points this season.

Will he decline further next season? After another torrid international tournament from France, he isn’t exactly starting on the best foot and with Vidic returning he will more than likely lose the armband, so the context is ominous.


For me, Leighton Baines would represent a good buy for around £10million. Being 27, he represents a short term solution to our left back situation and because of his age, he doesn’t really have a resale value. The attacking aspect he could bring to United would be great for us going forward but I think there is a danger of us being left exposed when he gets caught out.

It is hard to find a defender who can balance marauding runs with defensive discipline, Jordi Alba being the prime example of when it can work but whether or not Baines will be the man for United remains to be seen.

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Sam Peoples 07/04/2012 - 15:38

Moutinho for £11m? In our dreams. He is worth more than that. Cole and Evra to both be released? What a load of tosh.

As for Dem(ba), his release clause is £7million so he won’t go for a penny less. Top marks to Newcastle if they can hold onto him.

Sven 07/04/2012 - 16:55

Exactly! it is a load of tosh… as is your valuation and summary on Baines!
“..Leighton Baines would represent a good buy for around £10million. Being 27, he represents a short term solution to our left back situation and because of his age, he doesn’t really have a resale value”…

Whilst certainly not in the same league he is is still not going to be sold for anything like the £10million frequenlty suggested.. and being the most consistant LB in Premier league over the past two seasons will certainly have a significant price tag to boot over the next few years. However your stats for Baines vs Ashley Cole over the last two seasons may be of further interest I suspect.

Sam Peoples 07/04/2012 - 17:01

If Jordi Alba can move to Barcelona for €14 million, then I think £10 million for Baines is a true, representative valuation. I agree, Baines has been one of the most consistent LB’s in the PL. Cole and Evra have wobbled far too often but I wouldn’t value Baines over £13 million.

Sven 07/04/2012 - 10:24

“Man Utd will buy Joao Moutinho for £11million due to him being in his prime and a zero risk target… Ferguson only wants a short term solution to his midfield (~2yrs) with the likes of Tom Cleverley and Phil Jones coming through the ranks.. plus Moutinho (valued in £20mill+ bracket) represents little resale value.

This is further supported with Ashley Cole & Patrice Evra both expected to be released at the end of the season for negligible fees due to a lack of interest in their ability…”

Do you & ferguson both actually believe this..? Mind you I suppose I believe Everton will be signing Demba Ba for £5-7million… a fair price I think you’ll agree!!

egbuyugo 07/04/2012 - 08:23

You can twist statistics to suit your aim.Man Utd should spend on a central midfielder & make Fryers Evra’s deputy

Gary 07/04/2012 - 02:13

you my friend are a douchebag and unless you pay around 17million Baines wont be going nowhere

Jeff Winters 07/03/2012 - 17:04

Everton play worse football (long balls) and also Baines has far less talent around him that Baines. For example a pass needs to be recieved to be completed.
Utd WILL buy Baines, supporters think he’d be a short term addtion due to Utds past purchases of younger players but Sir Alex has to halt City and that is now! so he;ll be buying zero risk and will avoid “potentials” while he tries to claw back on top.

Everton on the other hand disapoint me. “Seliing Club” oh how the mighty have fallen since the 90’s! What suprises me is that the fans will happily accept this plodding along. Apparently their board is searching 24/7 for the last 10 years. They will continue to be small time and will accept it like the sheep they are.

Efc 07/04/2012 - 16:37

Selling club I hear this all the time ? Yes we sold lescott & Rooney o er the last 10 year who else have we sold over that tine ,apart from that there’s no 1 else we let arteta go but he was past his best . Top players will chose the spanish giants over utd all day coz there massive clubs who play great football

Sam Peoples 07/04/2012 - 16:51

Arteta was past his prime? He had a great season at Arsenal, I would hardly call him past his best.

As for players choosing Spain, United just don’t have the financial muscle they used to in comparison and it is hurting our buying power.

Theodore of Dreams 07/03/2012 - 16:27

And take into account that Everton is a worse team than United, so the statistics can be slightly misleading.

Theodore of Dreams 07/03/2012 - 16:25

I think the issue of defence will be less relevant if we play 4:2:3:1 more often next year, allowing the two deep lying mid’s to cover the fullback’s runs. Also Ando, for all the flack he takes in the press (and here occasionally), is a left footer and an energetic option to cover that side from midfield. I think this transfer is dependent on price and the Fryers situation. If Sir Alex decides it is the right move, then in all likelihood it will be.

paulbienkowski 07/03/2012 - 16:07

Baines is no way worth more than £10m. I don’t see United spending cash on a short-term solution like this. Fabio is now on loan at QPR and if he comes back to Old Trafford after having a blinder of a season, and is ready to oust Evra from a starting place in the team, the money spent on Baines would have been wasted as he will surely be 2 or 3 in the pecking order. Baines is a great player, but I really don’t see why we would buy him if Fabio has a future at United.

Efc 07/04/2012 - 15:20

If fabio was good enough he wouldn’t be goin on loan to qpr

paulbienkowski 07/04/2012 - 16:23

Fabio has talent but what he doesn’t have is confidence, which is why he has been loaned to QPR. In a few years time he will be one of the best LB’s playing in this country!!

Efc 07/03/2012 - 15:40

Y do people keep saying at 27 years old he’s a short term solution he’s in his prime . And if the likes off Stuart downing cost 20 million and carnt score a goal or assist in a full season , I would want at least the same amount , dnt think moyes will sell for less than 17-20 million would not be worth the hassle of looking for a left bk cox there army many in world football as good as baines

Sam Peoples 07/03/2012 - 15:44

It is short term for the fact he is only 4 years younger than Evra. United do not typically ever buy a player who is in their peak – we buy when players are young and let them grow at the club.

He would not be worth £17-20m for that reason.

Efc 07/04/2012 - 15:18

A players demands a bigger transfer wen there in there prime so stop talking shite . 15 -20 mill is the price u will be playing if u want his signature expensive I no but that’s the way it is for English players . At least u will be getting a decent player unlike Liverpool . 35 carroll 20 Henderson 20 downing

Sam Peoples 07/03/2012 - 15:17

Far stranger things have happened Doughas…

doughas 07/03/2012 - 14:56

do you really believe baines will be willing to sit on the bench while united try to get more out of evra, get real

Abubakar 07/03/2012 - 14:03

Shiji kagawa shit no 7


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