Aston Villa win more games with Glenn Whelan starting but Jack Grealish is the difference 7 months ago

Aston Villa win more games with Glenn Whelan starting but Jack Grealish is the difference

In the last week, a lot of Irish people have been enjoying the correlation between Stoke City's journey and Glenn Whelan's moveent.

Having joined them in the January transfer window of 2008 - the stats have been simple.


  • Glenn Whelan joins Stoke.
  • Stoke get promoted to the Premier League.


  • Glenn Whelan leaves Stoke.
  • Stoke get relegated from the Premier League.

For 10 seasons, the Dubliner played the majority of the Trotters' games and, for 10 seasons, they enjoyed relative success.

Glenn Whelan is now with Aston Villa who are 90 minutes from a return to the top flight. But, despite being dropped by Steve Bruce and falling behind in the pecking order to Mile Jedinak, Whelan fans and just fans of holding midfielders in general are lumping praise on one of the most polarising figures of the 21st century.

Stoke's loss is Villa's gain, they say.

Villa win more games with Whelan in the side.

Every team needs a player like that.

You know the one - the underrated sort, the unsung hero, the guy who does a shift, the work nobody else wants to do. He's usually the one who doesn't get enough credit because he's doing the 'unseen work'. A lot of times in the case of Glenn Whelan, he is exclusively doing unseen work.

But over the course of the Championship season, he's started 30 times for Aston Villa and, with him, they've done better.


Played: 30
Won: 16
Drew: 9
Lost: 6

Win percentage: 53.3%


Played: 18
Won: 9
Drew: 4
Lost: 5

Win percentage: 50%

So you can say what you want about Glenn Whelan.

You can say that he doesn't want to offer anything in possession.

You can say he isn't even that effective at the defensive job he's supposed to be doing so effectively.

But anyone can turn around and say that Aston Villa win more games with Glenn Whelan in the team and that's a fact.

Now, of course, there's very little difference in the stats with and without him and, actually, Villa leak more goals with Whelan there doing his shift - his shift of protecting the back four and keeping them tight.

On average this season, Aston Villa have conceded:

  • 0.9 goals per game with Glenn Whelan in the line-up.
  • 0.83 goals per game with Glenn Whelan not in the line-up.

The flip side of that is that they obviously then score more when he is in the team and, whilst his one goal and one assist isn't affecting that, maybe - just maybe - his sitting there staying out of it is allowing the other five to go and play.

Roy Keane once said of Glenn Whelan:

"People will analyse what Glenn doesn't do but sometimes you have to focus on what the player does do well.

"That might be the dirty stuff in a game or they are more team players than other players. Is there stuff that Glenn can improve on and be better at? Of course."

As it is though, he has played his way out of the Villa team - more wins or not.

His stats might show that, on average, they're doing better with him in the starting 11 but a bigger deviating factor for Villa this season has been the return of Jack Grealish who was out until November and didn't really get back into the starting side until around the turn of the year - starting that season-defining run of seven wins on the trot.


Played: 21
Drew: 4
Lost: 5

Win percentage: 57%


Played: 19
Won: 9
Drew: 6
Lost: 4

Win percentage: 47.3%

And, when you actually watch the game, you can see that Jack Grealish is making a difference. For Whelan, we have to trust in the unseen work.