Westwood Week: STATS - Figures on the up after stellar season
Having made the switch from Crewe as newly-appointed manager Paul Lambert looked to build his young squad, midfielder Ashley Westwood played a key role in his debut season in England's top-flight.
Westwood's improvement over the course of the season was there for all to see and something that he has been quick to recognise since a big step-up from League One football.
The young midfielder puts his progress down to the style of play that Paul Lambert encourages, highlighting that he is well suited to the one and two touch, possession football now played at the club.
Indeed, as the 23-year old's confidence has grown he has looked to get on the ball more, keeping play ticking over from deep positions as well as developing the combative side of his game.
In 18 league appearances since the start of January, Westwood's averages for touches (62.3) and passes (49.5) per game were both on the rise significantly from his figures prior to the New Year (47 and 37.1 respectively).
The middle man proved to be Lambert's midfield metronome, averaging more passes per game (44.5) than any team-mate over the course of the season, with his manager full of praise for the way he kept the ball throughout the campaign, with an average pass accuracy of 84.8%.
Meanwhile, in a more defensive sense, he saw an already impressive average of 2.33 interceptions per game increase slightly to 2.39 in 2013.
Indeed, only 25 players in the entire division made more interceptions than the former Crewe player (71), with his tally enough to rank second at Villa behind fellow summer signing Matt Lowton.
When it came to tackling, however, his average of 1.25 per game before January 1 saw an even greater improvement, up to 2.06 thereafter as Westwood grew accustomed to the enhanced physicality in the top-flight.
His progress didn't end there though, with the Nantwich-born midfielder upping his creative exploits to finish the season with Villa's highest individual assist tally (6).
That side of his game was again something that developed with time in the Premier League and after the turn of the year, only six Premier League players picked up more assists than Westwood (4).
It's no real surprise, given his average for key passes per game more than doubled from 0.67 to 1.39 in that time.
In turn, the fan favourite's WhoScored.com rating took an equally impressive upturn, with Westwood awarded an average of 6.63 over his 12 appearances in 2012 compared to 7.06 in the 18 league games he played beyond that point.
Indeed, of all Englishmen to appear in at least 10 league matches since the turn of the year only 20 picked up a better rating from the statistical powerhouse than the Villa man.
It's clear that if Westwood continues to progress at anywhere near the current rate that he has since making the leap up to England's top-flight that he can become a real star at Villa Park.
Find yet more statistics on Aston Villa and the rest of the Premier League, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings at WhoScored.com. Follow @WhoScored and their editor-in-chief @martinlaurence7 on Twitter.
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