Here’s the etymology of today’s post:
- Hey, why didn’t Cazorla get mentioned for PFA player of the year? He’s one of the best players in the League!
- I should write a post comparing him to some of the others, statistically! That will rile up the stats-haters.
- Before you read this article, check out Les Crang’s awesome Rogues Gallery piece on van Stapleton the original Arsenal-to-Man U-traitor.
- Let’s see, Cazorla, Bale, Michu — got to have Michu, everyone loves Michu, Suarez, van Persie, that’s enough. Yeah yeah, Hazard, Mata, blah…
- Ok, what should I compare, goals, shots, shots on goal, assists, key passes….
- Uhhh… Santi’s not looking too good here.
- Holy crap. Van Persie’s a monster and I don’t mean that in the sense of “Robin van Persie, history’s monster” because he is that too. I mean, he’s a stats stuffer. 8 assists to go with 24 goals, on just 128 shots, with 61 key passes. Ouch, maybe I need to look at something else… what about dribbles and turnovers?
- Ok, fuck this shit, Robin is clearly the Player of the Year. What about Suarez and Bale though? Look at all the possession they get!
- Wow… that’s kind of crazy. If I look at the minutes per event, Bale and Suarez are putting up crazy numbers both good and bad. I wonder if my readers would find that interesting?
As you can see, when it comes to shots per goal, Cazorla looks kind of poor, at least among this group. Though it’s important to note that Robin scored 2 of his goals off penalties and Cazorla takes a healthy percent of his shots from distance.
That said, there is a magic ratio of shots/shots on goal of 2:1 which I look for in forwards. Van Stapleton hits that closest, Bale is second, and then the rest.
I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, Luis Suarez is a black hole. Just look at the total number of shots and dribbles the man has taken, 383. He’s only attempted 1203 passes, which means that for every 3 passes he’s dribbling or shooting. That makes him similar to Kobe Bryant in a way: he’s the focal point in the Liverpool attack, to a ridiculous degree.
However, some could use the same data to say that, Suarez is very “direct” and I’d have to agree.
That shows in his minutes/shot-keypass-dribble: he’s attacking the opposition with a dribble, shot, or key pass every 5 minutes! 18 times a game! I don’t know if anyone else is that attack-minded in the League because I haven’t studied the entire League. Gareth Bale has a similar number there, one every 7 minutes, while Cazorla has one every 9 minutes. This is my first time looking at this ratio. It seems like it might be important in measuring how “direct” a forward is. Not sure yet, would have to measure other forwards.
On the flip side of that Suarez is also the most wasteful of the group, averaging a failed dribble, missed shot (off target), or just turning the ball over once every 8 minutes. Again, that’s 11 times a game. Still, if he’s doing something we all consider good for the team (Shooting, Dribbling, and Setting up teammates) 18 times a game and only doing something detrimental 11 times a game, well, he’s a net good of +7.
Cazorla and Bale are a net good of +5 each, Robin is a net good of +3, and Michu is a +1.
The Suarez phenomena — people seem to really rate him as a footballer while I never really have — was a puzzler for me for a while. I just couldn’t see what others saw in him. That’s probably because I was selectively watching every turnover, failed dribble (and there are a LOT of those, 196 has to be the most in the League), or wasted shot and judging him based on that while everyone who rates him were looking at the insane output of activity in terms of setting teammates up, trying to get past a man, and having a go at goal.
In the end, I’m not quite sure what my ratio of good attacking qualities (shots, KP, dribbles) to wasteful (missed shots, turnovers, failed dribbles) really tells me because I need to apply it to a broader sample. But even if that turns out to say nothing, the Suarez numbers present an interesting lesson in selective attention for me. Though I am still partial to Cazorla. I like our little pocket dynamite.
Still, selective attention is a killer. If you’re not careful it will…
Bite you in the ass.