MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 13: Carlos Tevez (L), Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero during a training session at Carrington Training Ground on September 13, 2011 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
City's strikers; Just where do we start?
From the superstar (Aguero), to the crazy one (Balotelli), to the unwanted (Adebayor) and maligned (Santa Cruz). Then all the way through to the golf caddie (Tevez), the youth player (Guidetti) and the Bosnian Bronco (Edin).
City carry way too many strikers and who knows what the weekly wage bill looks like. Only four strikers will play at a maximum and that's how it was in 2011/12.
This post will be a comprehensive look at Aguero, Balotelli, Dzeko and Tevez. It's a long post and it will be left here as a reference point. Grab a drink and enjoy the read....
OK, so after a small debate sprang up on the Top 15 strikers in the EPL article I decided to post the full, complete and comprehensive numbers on our four strikers who played in the EPL in 2011/12.
Note: If anyone has exact dates of suspensions and injuries please post them in the comments and I can add them to this piece.
Raw EPL Starts And Goals
These are the raw numbers. Green is good, Red is not good.
Aguero has the highest number of starts. Dzeko has been a sub the most and Balotelli had the most goals for his number of games.
Minutes Per Start And Sub
|Mins per start||Mins per sub|
This is how many minutes each players gained from their individual start or sub appearance.
Dzeko, oddly has the most minutes when he started and the least when he was a sub. When he did start he got a fairer shake than most players. Balotelli gained the most minutes when coming on as a sub (bigger sample that Aguero).
Minutes per shot and shot on target
|Minutes per shot on target||Minutes per shot|
Dzeko took the least minutes on the pitch to get a shot off at goal and Balotelli slightly edged him in terms of shots on target. All Man City strikers numbers are excellent. I would expect Aguero to lower the number of minutes required to get a shot or a shot on target in the 2012/13 EPL.
Minutes per assist
|Minutes per assist|
As I have stated before assists are an unstable statistic at the moment, there is no data for when an assist was made or for what goal it created. Tevez has too small a sample size for it to be used. Balotelli had one assist all season but boy was it vital.
Scoring % and Shooting efficiency
|Scoring %||Shooting Efficiency|
We have talked of scoring % before (shots on target/goals) and Aguero comes out on top here. Top 15 striker scoring % was a shade over 39% in the EPL.
All our strikers are in or around each other in terms of shooting efficiency (shots/shots on target)
Crucial Goal Chart
|Crucial Goals||% of goals|
We saw the crucial goals chart in Top 15 strikers part 2.
Aguero is incredible by this metric, Balotelli's % of goals is very high, he scored at important moments of the game. Dzeko is shy of the 2 other regular strikers. Dzeko scored less crucial goals (+1/ 0/ -1) than his fellow strikers. 57.1% is not a great number, but his number is skewed by Man Utd and Spurs away games
Contribution To Goals Scored When On The Field Of Play
This metric is in response to a comment on a previous post. This is purely the minutes a player was on the pitch and what happened when that player was on the pitch, how many goals that player scored and how many the team scored. The above is the home chart.
Aguero was on the field for 40 home goals and was in on 16 of them. Dzeko was only on the field of play for 20 Man City goals.
Here we see the away totals and Dzeko by virtue of those two brilliant away games comes out on top here. Aguero was on the field of play for the most goals but had the least share of those goals, a slightly disappointing return for such a quality striker. he need to score more away from home.
Balotelli didn't feature enough away from home, or Man City didn't score enough when he was on the pitch away from home.
Overall Balotelli was in on the highest share of goals scored when he was on the field. But the total number of goals was quite low, only 31 goals were scored by Man City when Balotelli was on the field of play. Dzeko was on the field for 46 and Aguero 73 out of the 93 scored.
Striker Combinations (home)
|Aguero + Dzeko||6|
|Aguero + Tevez||3|
|Aguero + Balotelli||5|
|Dzeko + Balotelli||1|
|Dzeko + Tevez||0|
|Tevez + Balotelli||0|
These are the most common striker combinations in the 2011/12 EPL.
It was either Dzeko and Aguero or Balotelli and Aguero as the most common pairing. Man City started with only one up front in just four games at home.
Striker Combinations (away)
|Aguero + Dzeko||6|
|Aguero + Tevez||4|
|Aguero + Balotelli||4|
|Dzeko + Balotelli||1|
|Dzeko + Tevez||0|
|Tevez + Balotelli||0|
The away pairings are shared out a little more frequently. Dzeko and Balotelli were paired together only once, a lack of trust or hust better options available?
Sole striker was used only 4 times away from home. Now how did those pairings fare in terms of results?
Starting Striker Combinations And Results
|Aguero + Dzeko||10||1||1|
|Aguero + Tevez||7|
|Aguero + Balotelli||7||2|
|Dzeko + Balotelli||2|
|Dzeko + Tevez|
|Tevez + Balotelli|
Aguero and Dzeko were the most potent combination in terms of results. Strikers stay on the field for over 70 minutes usually. Man City had most games won by that point (save the 2 home games, Chelsea and QPR) or were unable to come back from a losing position, especially away from home.
dzeko lost 3 times when starting as a pair, as did Aguero. Balotelli was on the losing side four times when starting as a pair. Quality of opposition issues
Now be prepared for this monster chart. This is where all the above data emanated from. It's a full 38 game chart of who started who was a sub, if they scored as a starter or as a sub and how many minutes each player as a starter or sub.
The game result is featured in the centre. Green is a win, yellow is a draw, red is a loss. Italics is a home game, bold is an away game.
The ? mark column--was a player a sub or injured or suspended or dropped or on holiday. This was difficult to find out but I have given it my best shot.
i=injured. us=unused sub. sus=suspended. mia=missing in action.
38 Game Road Map
It may take some time for this chart to sink in, but once it has we can map a players form in terms of goals, when they were subbed, how many games they went without featuring or scoring. Was Dzeko out of favour for long spells, yes he was.
A full game is listed as 94.5 mins as this was Man City's average mins per game in the EPL.
This looks daunting but it really throws some vital information up.
Consistency of selection. He was only a sub twice and injured for 4 games. He played every other game and played nearly every minute of the last 7 games in the crucial stretch as we reeled in Man Utd.
Longest goal scoring drought was 3 games. Tevez and Aguero started all of the last 6 away games and we won them all.
The good- 6 goals in last 6 games. Consistently picked
The Bad- only & of his 23 goals came away from home. We need more away from home.
Balo was on the bench for the first 6 games of the season when Man City had a full striking compliment (before Tevez wandered off) and Balotelli only came on as a sub twice. Had some vital contributions in important games (Sunderland at home and United away)
Longest scoring drought was 3 games.
The Good-Had a low minutes per goal ratio, scored lots at crucial game states.
The Bad-Unavailable for long stretches of the season, including the title winning last 6 games. Unavailable for 13 games of the season.
Went for two spells of 7 games when he didn't score and as the season went on he was trusted less and less. If we divide the season into four 9 game blocks the results are thus.
Block 1-- 5 starts, 2 sub, 2 unused. Scored 8 goals
Block 2-- 3 starts, 4 subs, 1 unused, 1 unfit/suspended. Scored 2 goals
Block 3-- 6 starts, 3 subs, 0 unused Scored 3 goals
Block 4-- 2 starts, 3 subs, 4 unused. Scored 1 goal
Dzeko had a good run in block 3 when Tevez was still awol and Balotelli was unavailable but Edin didn't make the most of his chance which coincided with Man City scoring 2 goals in 4 away games.
The Good--Had two superstar performances in now famous away wins. Goals per minutes is pretty darn good.
The Bad-- Scored only 6 goals in the last three quarters of the season. 9 starts and 10 subs
Came back to help win the title for Man City, as I predicted he would on March 13th.
He owed Man City , the manager and his team mates after his shameful antics on that Munich night so long ago. It seems a distant memory now, one that scarcely can be believed. That night doesn't matter now, not for me anyway. He is a top 8 striker in this league and Man City should keep him ahead of both Dzeko and Balotelli, and signing RVP. I haven't always been a fan but he is entering his prime now and if the maturity and happiness holds we have a gem of a player.
We cant talk too much about the numbers regarding Tevez other than it gave Balotelli a chance which he couldn't grasp due to poor discipline, and Dzeko who couldn't score enough.
When Tevez did come back it seemed he was slow to get to fitness but when he was declared fit and ready to start he had an immediate impact. A goal in the 4-0 win over West Brom just felt like the prelude to some form of massive attack. He seemed different, the manager said he was training well, the players were quoting well about the player too.
The stage was then set for the Norwich away game. Man City trailed Man United by 5 points with 5 games remaining. Man City had won only 2 of their last 10 away games, None of their last 4 and only scored 1 solitary goal in that last 4 game spell. Gone was the blistering Dzeko-led away form of the early season.
18 minutes into this crucial away game Carlos Tevez picks up the ball in the right channel, drifts inside a little and boom! With a short back-lift and minimal warning of his intent to shoot, Tevez sends a fucking missile toward the top right hand corner. It is too quick for the Norwich 'keeper and it spears through his grasping hands.
For me that was the moment (along with Balotelli's idiocy away at Arsenal and thus enforced exile, which had a positive effect) that changed Man City's season. We had looked fragile on the road, bereft of confidence and unable to score. Tevez's rocket was followed up by Aguero's goal. It became 1-2 after Surman's pulled one back but Man City were a cruel and punishing visitor in the last half of that fixture scoring 4 goals in the last 17 minutes.
Why am I telling this story? This was the game that restored Man City's ability to win on the road but more than that it restored confidence. We were brutally good in that second half where we could of scored 10. City were back, there was a swagger and it was all down to Tevez's return in my opinion. he was like a new signing. That missile shot gave the club the confidence to be dominant over Wolves, Man United, then Newcastle.
We had one last major crisis of Cityitis but it was purged and forced from the body from who else but Man City strikers. Firstly Dzeko doing what no other City striker probably would of done and score a headed goal in the packed six yard box with a prodigious leap. Then in that 94th minute the ball was controlled and rolled along by the mercurial and restored Balotelli as he was falling, which took tremendous skill. The ball rolled on to a running Aguero, he sidestepped a desperate QPR lunge and steadied himself.
Time stopped, this is why he practiced for hours as a child, he dreamed about scoring a title winning or cup winning goal. The hours spent working on ball striking technique. His right foot about to swing down on the ball and hit it with force and pace. No textbook across the goal shot was in Aguero's head.
His foot connected with the ball, it sped toward goal, the shot looked true and it had pace. The net bulged and it took a second to realize that he had just near-posted the keeper. The ball had gone in, it was a goal. Delirium, time stopped, thoughtlessness. Only instinct and a heart-bursting joy. Players ran around in frenzy, fans hugged anything. Some cried, some cursed City for putting them through it. We all celebrated.
No one cursed any of the strikers on that day. Aguero scored the goal, Balotelli set it up. Dzeko gave us the chance to get a winner with his equalizer. Tevez made it all possible with his timely return in the last 6 games.
All four strikers contributed to the title win. All four strikers are very different types of players. All should have a future at City and I for one hope we keep all four strikers. It may be the best striking force in all of Club Football.
Thanks for reading, I'll leave you with this. May I never grow tired of these 30 seconds.