This article was sparked by Wednesday's investigation into Balotelli and Man City's strikers in general. In that piece I was a little taken aback by just how few goals Man City's strikers have recorded this year:
This got me thinking a little. Why are Man City's strikers goal totals down? Is it because their shots on target totals are down? If so, are their other positional areas that are picking up the slack in shots on target? Hell, maybe these shots and goals numbers are normal!
So, all of this races through my head,and takes only 2 minutes to pull the data out from any number of online sources, so i thought I'd dig a little further and see what I could find.
I have broken this down into goals and shots on target. We are then looking at certain positions in the Man City team to evaluate just how much they contribute.
This seems like a fairly normal distribution. Near 60% of the goals from strikers, but the spread of goals thereafter looks too even. I had expected more from midfileders and especially attacking forwards like Silva, Nasri, Milner, and er, Sinclair.
Now we see some slightly different things. Remember that this is over a 38 game schedule and 2012/13 is only 24 games old. We see defenders have scored a higher proportion, with Kompany responsible for 3 last year and 0 this year. Full backs, normal. Goals from midfielders total just 7 last year and 7 so far in 2012/13. The strikers and their share is pretty stable year on year.
The real story is the attacking forwards in 2011/12, Silva, Nasri, Milner and Johnson with 20 goals. It is worth noting that in 2012/13 we have no Johnson and Milner, Silva and Nasri have all missed significant time, thus the amount of goals scored by the attacking forwards and their share of City's goals is way down on last terms numbers. How key has this missing contribution been?
2012/13 Shots on Target
Here are the shots on target numbers which match up extremely well with the goals dirtibution by position.
2011/12 Shots on Target
Again, we see a far better 2011/12 number from those attacking forwards than we do this season. The strikers shares of the shots is pretty stable, the defenders and the full backs numbers vary a touch. The midfielders share of this shots this season is up markedly, as it has had to be to cover the attacking forwards significantly poorer totals.
Some interesting detail here.
Defenders numbers we can almost diregard. Strikers shots on target per game is stable, again. But it is here how we can see the drop off from attacking midfielders and how some of that slack has been picked up by the midfielders. Or, should that be the midfielder!
Any guesses for who has been driving a decent portion of Man City's shot creation from midfield?
Player Shots On Target Per Game
Now, this is a really rough method which basically takes each players shots on target total for the year (38 games in 2011/12, 24 games in 2012/13) and calculates a shots on target per game number. It just wasn't usefull of clear to breakdown each players games played and games missed, after all we are looking at the seasons numbers.
This method naturally ignores injuries and suspension, but instead gives us an idea of the overall contribution per game of each player to the relevant season.
We see some nice positively trending numbers from Barry and Toure, who has 14 shots on target this year compared to his season total of 16 from all of 2011/12. The strikers numbers have quite the spread in variance. Tevez is trending massively north of his exiled season, but Aguero is significantly down, Dzeko about breaks even, and Balotelli's season was a waste.
It's the attacking forwards that I am most curious about. Silva has had a drop off year on year. Nasri, too. Milner's number has slightly regressed and Johnson has left to be replaced by a training cone with a pretty girlfriend.
This drop off in shots performance by the attacking midfielders can naturally be traced to injury to all three of the players, who have now missed a combined 20 games between them this term
Have these injuries hampered Man City's ability to score at an equally high rate as last year? It sure has, and is highlighted by Man City being projected to score Twenty Three goals less than last seasons 93 goal haul. 23 goals is a mammoth total, huge and potential title handicapping.
Now, the poor performance/injuries from Silva, Nasri and Milner not only affect their personal shots and goals totals, but Silva, and to a lesser extent, Nasri, are the genuine creative hubs who carve out the opportunites for the forwards. Man City are just 10 shots off the pace of last years totals, but without the ultra high quality passing and creation at a very close proximity to the oppositions goal are we seeing Man City register a lower quality of shots on target than last term? It's impossible to discover if we are creating a lower quality of chance, and shot quality should even itself out, more or less, over time.
A couple of things are clear for this year's Man City in comparison to last years Man City: The 2012/13 vintage is scoring far less and the attacking midfielders are suffering through a down year in terms of the share of goal scoring and shot creation. Yaya and Barry are picking up the slack, but in my opinion I would rather have Silva and Nasri doing that shooting.
Get the attacking midfielders fit and in form and we may see an upswing in goals scored down the strecth. We need them for their combined ability to create aswell as register shots on target and score goals.