Yaya Toure: With Or Without You

Alex Livesey - Getty Images

Following on from yesterday's Gareth Barry with or without you analysis, we shall today be looking at Man City's results with or without our midfield driving force, Yaya Toure. This analysis should be even more topical than Barry's was with the African Nations Cup yet again looming on the horizon for Toure. Can Man City cope with Toure's absence, did Man City struggle in 2011/12 without the Ivorian? You are about to find out.

Today's piece will feature a little number called WOWY analysis. For a better explanation it may be easier to point you, the reader, in the direction of this post on Gareth Barry from yesterday.

Yaya Toure is now one of the worlds finest midfielders, hell, he may even be the worlds best all-rounder. Now, I know it's a bold statement, but if we just think for a moment and try and name a midfielder who has the same wide and well refined set of skills as Toure. OK, did you think of any other midfielder who can compare? No, me neither.

He's out on his own as the all-rounder and he might not be caught by another player for another 2 or 3 years still.

Yaya Toure is quick, bull strong with fine balance and it is this combination that makes him not only so difficult to dislodge from possession of the ball, but also so very good at winning the ball back from opposition players who had the temerity or sheer luck to take it off of Toure in the first place. Toure can play as a holding midfielder, an attacking midfield threat who is especially adept at breaking the lines of the opposition and causing havoc as demonstrated by the CL game away at Madrid or any of the remaining dozen or so fixtures at the end of the 2011/12 PL season where Man City found themselves in the sh**.

There wasn't always such love Toure; the start of his City career was dogged ever so slightly by weight and fitness issues. It took Yaya time to find his way in the City shirt and there were some who were not convinced he could cut it.

Slowly, Toure improved, slimmed down slightly and is seemingly now at the peak of his powers.

Yaya Toure is a beast, we are lucky to have him, he is exactly what Barcelona are crying out for in some games and there is nary a higher form of praise than that.

So, knowing just how good and influential Toure is; Why didn't Man City miss him last season when he was absent from the team?

Contrary to media and popular opinion, Man City did just fine without Toure in the team. In fact, Man City hardly missed a beat. In the seven full games in which Yaya Toure was absent, Man City won 6 games and lost 1. But, when we factor in the ends of games here and ends games there, the picture becomes less clear.

Yaya Toure 2012/13 PL

result opposition rank minutes goals for goals against goal differential
3-2 n/a 90 3 2 1
2-2 18 90 2 2 0
3-1 17 90 3 1 2
1-1 12 90 1 1 0
1-1 3 90 1 1 0
2-1 6 90 2 1 1
3-0 13 90 3 0 3

Well, there isn't any without Toure analysis to write about as the Ivorian has played every minute of every game this term. He is extremely influential in Man City's team and the Manager trusts him explicitly.

Win % GF GA G Differential Opposition rank
57.1 15 8 7 11.5

Toure In The CL 2011/12/13

result opposition rank minutes Goals For Goals against goal differential
90 2 3 -1
90 1 1 0
90 1 1 0
90 0 2 -2
90 2 1 1
90 3 0 3
90 1 2 -1
81 2 0 2

Again we find ourselves unable to match Toure's with numbers with a without set of numbers. Toure hasn't missed a game and nary 8 minutes or so of all of the games Man City have ever featured in.

Won 3, drawn 2, lost 3. Hardly a stellar record for club, player or manager.

Toure's Numbers Per Game In The CL

Win % points pg GF GA G Differential
37.5 1.37 1.5 1.25 0.25

A very disappointing win % and ppg number, but is it really that shocking to anyone considering the high quality of opposition and the newness of our team- signings only playing together for 2 or so years.

Now, this is the important chart, so get ready.

Yaya Toure 2011/12 Games

result opposition rank minutes Goals For Goals against goal differential
n/a 90 4 0 4

3-2 12 90 3 2 1

5-1 19 90 5 1 4
6 80 3 0 3

2-2 18 90 2 2 0
7 90 2 0 2

4-0 18 90 4 0 4
7 65 3 0 3

6-1 1 90 6 1 5
16 90 3 1 2

3-2 12 90 3 2 1
3 85 3 0 3

1-1 6 90 1 1 0
9 90 5 1 4

1-2 4 90 1 2 -1
4 86 1 0 1
8 90 3 0 3

0-0 10 90 0 0 0

0-1 15 90 0 1 -1
6 90 3 0 0

1-0 19


0-1 11


1-0 12

19 86 3 0 3
19 90 2 0 2

0-1 14 90 0 1 -1
5 90 2 1 1

1-1 12 90 1 1 0
9 90 3 3 0

0-1 4 17 0 0 0

6-1 10

2-0 20 90 2 0 2
1 90 1 0 1

2-0 5 90 2 0 2
17 45 1 0 1

The 2011/12 season is where we can dig, well, at least a little into Toure's absence from the Man City lineup.

Yaya Toure played an awful lot of full 90 minute games for City last term, which is testament once again to the manger's faith in the player to hold influence over his team and hold onto a lead or to try and attempt to gain an equalizer or late winner. Rarely was the occasion when he would be subbed or his legs saved.

But, we have a full 7 games of data where Toure was missing from the team, 2 due to injury and 5 due to the 2012 African Nations Cup. So let's dig in.

Man City With Toure

Win % GF GA G Differential Opposition rank
With 73.3 72 21 52 11.1

Man City Without Toure

Win % GF GA G Differential Opposition rank
Without 75 21 8 13 11.4

Man City's record when Yaya Toure was on the field of play; whether he started and completed the full 90 minutes, or the score and current state of the game when he was subbed off the field is as follows:

Man City W 7 D 0 L 2

Toure missed seven full games with Man City winning 6 and losing 1 of said games. Toure was also withdrawn in 2 other fixtures, the 0-1 loss away at Arsenal and the wonderful 3-2 win in the 38th game.

Per Game

points pg GF GA G Differential
With 2.36 2.40 0.7 1.70

Without 2.25 2.62 1 1.62

Here are the numbers by a per game breakdown.

Man City without Toure were a fine, fine team. 2.25 points per game is just 0.11 ppg worse than with Toure in the team. City scored more and conceded more without Toure, and we must say that the difference between Man City's performances with and without are so small as to be almost be able to claim that Man City did not miss Toure when the midfielder was either injured or away on international duty.

When we look solely at the PL numbers and forget what we know, or think we know, the team boasted Yaya in it's midfield and the team which didn't contain Yaya in it's midfield were almost identical teams. Both still capable of outscoring the opposition by a wide margin.

There is one crucial difference:

Man City without Toure 38 games X 2.25 ppg = 85.5 points

Man City with Toure 38 games X 2.36 points = 89.68 points

This isn't an exact science but a basic projection, this much I am aware of. We have to assume that if Man City had gone 30+ games without the Ivorian instead of with him in the side. then Man City may have got nowhere near the 2.36 ppg that they actually claimed.

But, the ppg numbers are right there on the screen. Only one of those teams would have won the 2011/12 PL title and that is a Man City team which has Yaya Toure in the heart of it's midfield and at the center of almost everything. We have a true world class player in Yaya Toure, a true and genuine world star at the peak of his powers. Man City are a better team for the Ivorian's presence.

For me, Yaya is Man City's best player.

We are lucky to have him.

Thanks for reading.

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