Mertesacker v Crouch – Arsenal meet Stoke in the Sports Day Challenge

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Does anybody remember the name Sogelau Tuvalu? He represented American Samoa at the 2011 World Athletics Championships in Daegu and still had over half of the 100m to run when the rest of the field were finished. The good news is that he set a new personal best in the process.

When looking at the Premier League, much is made of the speed of the likes of Theo Walcott and Raheem Sterling, but at the other end of the spectrum, Per Mertesacker and Peter Crouch must be contenders for the slowest.

This pair compare favourably in numerous areas aside from their lack of speed and that got us thinking – If Mertesacker faced Crouch in a best-of-three-event sports day, who would take the gold medal?

Here is the answer.

Speed

Judging by the numbers on FIFA 15, who use the EA Sports Player Performance Index to influence their statistics, suggests that Crouch would come on top if the pair lined up for a sprint against each other.

Yet the pair are still remarkably slow given how tall they are. Crouch stands at 2.01m and Mertesacker at 1.98m. To put this into context, Usain Bolt is 1.95m and clearly has no problem getting his legs moving.

Mertesacker’s acceleration is a measly 29 and is more a German Opel rather than a BMW, Mercedes or Porsche. His sprint speed of 38 lowers his swiftness even more into the territory of an Opel Corsa.

Crouch would not only pull off the starting line faster with his moderate acceleration of 52, but would also quicken to 54 to be a fairly comfortable winner in a 100m sprint.

Mertesacker 0-1 Crouch

Heading

For the two tallest outfield players in the Premier League, both should be incredibly dominant in the air. However the following graphic shows that this is not entirely the case.

Per-v-Peter

Mertesacker wins a lesser percentage of headers than the shorter trio of John Terry, Martin Skrtel and James Collins, while of the consistently appearing strikers, Crouch is only second to Leonardo Ulloa in terms of total headers won and second to Andy Carroll in terms of percentages.

However, this round goes the way of Mertesacker.

Mertesacker 1-1 Crouch

Dancing

As we are looking at two footballers, it is only fair that the tie-breaker goes off topic and with both taking a liking to busting the odd move, a dance off is required to find a winner. Make your own judgement from the below videos.

Mertesacker stands out from Lukas Podolski and Bacary Sagna in more ways than one and a street dance career surely beckons in the future based on some of the footwork shown towards the end of the routine.

As for Crouch here are two videos, showing some of his versatility.

This is a tight call, but Mertesacker shows more in terms of timing and nifty footwork and he just shades this sports day challenge.

Final score – Mertesacker 2-1 Crouch

The same score in Arsenal’s favour against Stoke can be backed at 15/2.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.