Salutations Sports fans, this is the first article being published by TWM and I hope you enjoy it, you can find more of my work on my Patreon which is https://www.patreon.com/CBMPrimate666, currently there is no paid articles but plenty of free content to read. You can also follow me on Twitter to see other random data I produce on occasion @CBMPrimate666.
In my previous Patreon article, I analysed the regular right-backs of the Premier League to find the players who combined defence and attack the best.
This time I am focusing on attack and in particular creation of goals, chances and dangerous situations from wide areas. Which tricky wingers are having fullbacks wake up with cold sweats terrified of the prospect of facing them? Which creative linchpins are pulling around central midfielders like marionettes? Are there any young prospects to look out for?
Creating chances is the current “in thing” when it comes to discussing performances of teams attacking threats(Besides xG of course) How many chances do they create and how many from open-play? How do they generate these chances? Do they run past their man and then pull back to the waiting striker or onrushing central midfielder? or do they split the defence with a pass so good Tony Pulis thinks it’s illegal?
To start things off I’m going to look at one of the most beloved things to most football fans, running with the ball, taking players on and generally making your opposite number look like a fool.
The data I am using is up to and including the 17th game week of the season and is only for players with 500+ minutes & 5 or more game starts. This will lower the data set to make it more workable.
When I say dribbling who comes to mind in the current Premier League? Raheem Sterling? Adama Traore? Jack Grealish? These are all players known for being strong at running with the ball and creating a threat. Who else can we discover?
As the above players are mainly wide midfielders this is where I will start, by wide players I am mainly including wingers but there will be a couple of wingbacks thrown in for teams who don’t use wingers on the flanks.
There is a lot going on in the above graphic, so let’s try to break this down a bit. The horizontal axis is for Players dribbled past per90, the vertical axis is a player dribble completion %, The size of the dots relate to players Expected Assists & finally, the colour of the dot represents Key Passes per90.
There is an obvious leader here looking lonely in the top right, and that is Adama Traore of Wolves. With an astonishing 6.7 players dribbled past(PDP) per 90 combined with a success rate of 78.5% he is clearly a nightmare for anyone standing in his way, with his combination of speed and strength and guile he can make a meal out of any fullback, however, Adama isn’t all explosive pace, for players who can keep up with him he can also use skills which shows superb close ball control. Adama has produced a good amount of chances too with 0.2 xA(Expected Assists) & 2.1 KP(Key Passes) per90, he has perhaps been unlucky his chances haven’t been converted more often with only 1 goal & 0 Assists thus far.
The closest wide man to Adama is Newcastle’s French star Allan Saint-Maximin. Allan typically uses a combination of agility, speed & skill’s to get by his man, mixing in many flicks and tricks to get by players and leave them wondering why they started playing Football. With 4.7 PDP p90 and 63% success rate, he is second for PDP but his success rate is a good chunk lower than Adama’s. Allan has pretty average stats however for creation with 0.19 xA & a miserly 1.1 KP p90 and this has only led to 1 goal & 1 assist thus far. I would qualify the above that he is playing in what I view as a very negative Newcastle side who have the 2nd worst xA in the league & 5th worst for Shot Creating actions.