To try and discover how creative a player is I am not going to solely list assists, for these are dependent on two things: the quality of the pass, and the ability of the pass recipient to convert that pass into a goal. And that is, at times, dependent on defender position and goalkeeper skill.
What I want to show you is 'shot assists'. This stat tells us which players set up quality shooting chances for his team-mates. I cross checked the odd game with video footage and a 'shot assist' seems to be counted as a pass or a cross (or header) which sets up an opportunity to take a shot in, or very close to, the 18 yard box.
What a 'shot assist' is not is a 5 yard square ball on the half line for Kolo Toure to then blast the ball into oblivion from 59 yards.
Basic Shot Assists
|Shot Assists||Minutes Per||Per 90|
Tevez, despite his reputation for sometimes cutting out his fellow strikers, leads the way in totals, minutes per and per 90. Aguero and Dzeko are very close per 90 and minutes per.
Shot Assists Home/Away
|Shot Assists||Minutes Per||Per 90||Shot Assists||Minutes Per||Per 90|
Strange chart this, Aguero and Tevez have very similar shot assist totals for both home and away games.
Dzeko more than doubles his home total when away from home. Dzeko's home and away minutes split looks like this: 702/689. So Dzeko's shots assist improvement cannot solely be down to more minutes played, in fact he has played slightly less.
So why the upswing in shot assists? Could it be a tactical thing? Do City play a slightly more direct, counter attacking approach away from home which better suits Dzeko's style of play?
Anyhow, there is a wealth of information in the chart above. We see that Tevez is by far the best 'creator' at home, his totals and per 90 both point this out.
Away from home Dzeko picks up his creative game and has numbers per minute that are just short of Tevez's par. Aguero is the least creative striker away from home.
All strikers improve their Shots Assist per 90 and minutes per when away from home. Quirky.
Creative Impact On The Team
This isn't perfect but I am going to list each players moving average so far this season. Naturally, this graph includes time spent on the bench or injured where a player was unable to have an impact in terms of shot assists. It is essentially a way of showing not only the impact a player has had but what progress has been made as the season wore on.
Remember, injuries and bench time are all factored in here. This shows us each players shot assist contribution per game as a moving average.
Tevez is the best, if the streakiest. Aguero had seen his per game number increase steadily, now it is falling again due to injury. Dzeko has seen his number steadily climb throughout the season.
Another way to look at the above data:
Culmulative Shot Assists
The reason i included this chart is that it shows how streaky certain players (Tevez) can be and how relatively consistent others can be (Aguero and Dzeko).
Tevez, despite a bit of a reputation, is the most creative of Man City's strikers by a distance. Aguero is 2nd and both Aguero and Tevez are pretty consistent both home and away.
Dzeko has struggled in terms of creation at home, despite his minutes split being fairly even. But away from home, Dzeko is superb, creating shot assists on a par with the excellent Tevez.
On the question of do certain strikers pass to each other? It may be a post for another time, but considering strikers take a heavy portion of the total shots, it must be fair to say that each of the strikers are setting each other up, although the combinations between players may have a touch of variance.
Next: Shot assists for Toure, Silva, Nasri and Milner