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EPL’s Best Attacking Quartets (Poll)

Eleven games into the season and heading into yet another international break, we have decided to take a look at the productivity of the top players from each of the top clubs so far in the Premier League. With a third of the season almost over, its a good time to see how the teams have fared.

The method we employed was simple, we looked at the top four players from each of the big seven teams and charted their goals, assists, and overall contributions. The results were interesting. We were looking for whether the teams were over reliant on a few select players or if they were able to get contributions from multiple sources across the pitch. “Overall contributions” are basically the sum of goals and assists, while the main stat that reflects the dependence on the top performers is “Total % of Contribution”. Own goals were not included. We ranked the attacks according to their efficiency as teams as well as the total number of goals and assists contributed in our summary. Let’s go through each team.

Despite the stats, that “gut feeling” can sometimes rule one’s judgement, so we have included a poll at the end of this article for which team will have the most lethal attack over the course of the season. We want YOUR votes!

Liverpool Goals Assists Overall Contribution % Contribution of Goals % Contribution of Assists Total % of Contribution
Overall 20 14 34
Sturridge 8 2 10 40% 14% 29%
Suarez 8 1 9 40% 7% 26%
Gerrard 2 4 6 10% 29% 18%
Enrique 0 2 2 0% 14% 6%
Total Contribution From Top Four Players 18 9 27 90% 64% 79%

We can see that Liverpool have been carried by their main strikers so far, with Sturridge and Suarez accounting for 80% of total team goals. The assists seem to be slightly more evenly spread, but from a goals and assists perspective, 73% of the team’s productivity so far has come from Sturridge, Suarez, and Gerrard. The one-nil wins at the beginning of the season have faded away and more high scoring matches have come about as a result of Suarez’s inclusion in the lineup. Can Liverpool’s top men keep this up for the whole season or will the talk of a title push fade away eventually? Suarez’s stats look pretty good considering he missed five of the opening fixtures due to suspension. Gerrard is battling amicably against age and the mentality surrounding Rodger’s tenure is rigid and tough. Last season, Liverpool had far too many draws and this season they have started to convert those draws into wins. Let’s see how long they can keep this up for.

Arsenal Goals Assists Overall Contribution % Contribution of Goals % Contribution of Assists Total % of Contribution
Overall 22 18 40
Ramsey 6 4 10 27% 22% 25%
Giroud 5 4 9 23% 22% 23%
Wilshere 2 1 3 9% 6% 8%
Ozil 2 4 6 9% 22% 15%
Total Contribution From Top Four Players 15 13 28 68% 72% 70%

Arsenal’s contribution of goals and assists has been more evenly spread throughout the team, but 70% of their effort comes through their main four players. Some of whom have been surprise packages so far – Ramsey in particular, with a quarter of Arsenal’s overall contributions to himself. With injuries, who will step up? The squad has just come off a tough patch of fixtures without injuries to their main attackers, which is promising, however it is still too early to decide if they have the resources to push for 38 games. It is interesting to see that Ozil, despite all the hype surrounding his effect on The Gunners’ chances, has only accounted for 15% of their effectiveness, with Ramsey and Giroud contributing more. There are many questions that Arsenal will have to answer this season, in particular, Ramsey’s form in the long run, along with Giroud’s ability to hold the front line week in and week out. So far so good.

Manchester City Goals Assists Overall Contribution % Contribution of Goals % Contribution of Assists Total % of Contribution
Overall 25 19 44
Aguero 8 4 12 32% 21% 27%
Y. Toure 5 1 6 20% 5% 14%
Negredo 4 2 6 16% 11% 14%
Silva 3 3 6 12% 16% 14%
Total Contribution From Top Four Players 20 10 30 80% 53% 68%

Manchester City have been impressive with their goal scoring stats, but their away form has been letting them down. They are a perfect 5 wins from 5 at home, which is where they score most of their goals, but have only picked up four points from six games on their travels this season. Most of their goals come from their front men, with Yaya Toure being in exceptional form for a midfielder. The assists have been evenly spread throughout the team and the reliance of the top four form players has been high but not as high as some of their other title rivals. The front men are scoring the goals and the team as a unit are churning in the assists. Will City be able to stabilize their form and break away from their main rivals? We all know they have one of the deepest squads and will be a force to reckon with in all competitions. Joe Hart’s form, though in question at the moment, will come through eventually and is vital to their chances.

Chelsea Goals Assists Overall Contribution % Contribution of Goals % Contribution of Assists Total % of Contribution
Overall 17 10 27
Hazard 4 1 5 24% 10% 19%
Oscar 4 0 4 24% 0% 15%
Eto’o 2 1 3 12% 10% 11%
Lampard 1 2 3 6% 20% 11%
Total Contribution From Top Four Players 11 4 15 65% 40% 56%

Chelsea have had assists from all across the pitch, with most of their starting 11 getting at least one assist so far. Their strikers are relatively quiet, but it is their midfield that has been their main driving force. Seems reasonable, after Mourinho packed the squad with midfielders after his reappointment. The ageing legs of Lampard have been aided by the more exuberant Oscar and Hazard. The question of Juan Mata’s contribution still remains, but he will no doubt be influential over the season as long as Chelsea remain contenders. Their reliance on top contributors is the least among the clubs who are expected to challenge for the title, which is a positive sign, and shows that there are other players who pose a threat to the opposition goal. One worrying sign would be their low number of goals scored so far, being the least among the top four main title challengers. With such a team effort so far, will Chelsea kick into form before the onset of the busy Christmas schedule? Or will their lack of an outstanding striker hamper their chances of success?

Manchester United Goals Assists Overall Contribution % Contribution of Goals % Contribution of Assists Total % of Contribution
Overall 18 10 28
Van Persie 7 2 9 39% 20% 32%
Rooney 5 4 9 28% 40% 32%
Januzaj 2 1 3 11% 10% 11%
Valencia 1 1 2 6% 10% 7%
Total Contribution From Top Four Players 15 8 23 83% 80% 82%

Manchester United have similar overall stats when compared to Chelsea, scoring just one more goal and having an equal amount of assists so far. It is clear to see that Robin Van Persie and Wayne Rooney are leading from the front, each with a third of the team’s overall contribution. With Van Persie’s recent persisting toe injuries, it will be interesting to see how the team fares if there is a period where one of their main strikers has to sit out. They have some excellent players waiting restlessly on the bench for appearances, but could their lack of playing time cause unrest or affect the balance of the team? Their reliance on their top men is the most among the teams expected to challenge for the title, and this is probable cause for concern. Despite their recent run of nine games unbeaten in all competitions, there are still questions that United will have to answer, and the festive period leading into the new year will show what Moyes’ men are made off. With an injury to Carrick, will their form be further afflicted?

Tottenham Goals Assists Overall Contribution % Contribution of Goals % Contribution of Assists Total % of Contribution
Overall 9 6 15
Soldado 4 2 6 44% 33% 40%
Sigurdsson 3 0 3 33% 0% 20%
Paulinho 1 2 3 11% 33% 20%
Townsend 1 0 1 11% 0% 7%
Total Contribution From Top Four Players 9 4 13 100% 67% 87%

Tottenham have done well to keep themselves in the top half of the table despite only scoring nine goals in their eleven league games so far. Spurs have been struggling in front of goal, even with the acquisitions of Erik Lamela and Christian Erikson to bolster their front line. Their dependence on their form men is alarming, and is the highest among all the clubs of the big seven. The squad is deep and has all the talent at their disposal to challenge on all fronts, yet their profligacy in front of goal shows that they are not ready to make a serious bid for the title. Perhaps they are having similar issues to Chelsea, with a packed midfield and a lack of quality and/or in form strikers at their disposal? Perhaps the new acquisitions are still adapting to their new surroundings? Many questions remain. Tottenham will aim to be in the top four by the end of this season but with their current form, they might be happy with another Europa League finish.

Everton Goals Assists Overall Contribution % Contribution of Goals % Contribution of Assists Total % of Contribution
Overall 14 10 24
Lukaku 5 1 6 36% 10% 25%
Baines 2 0 2 14% 0% 8%
Mirallas 0 4 4 0% 40% 17%
Barry 1 1 2 7% 10% 8%
Total Contribution From Top Four Players 8 6 14 57% 60% 58%

Everton have been looking good under the stewardship of Martinez and his acquisition of Lukaku has made a world of difference to their front line. The Belgian contingency at Everton have been indispensable with their form, with Lukaku and Mirallas accounting for 42% of the total team contributions. Their next three fixtures in the league are against Liverpool, Stoke City, and Manchester United, and this will be a defining run of games for the rest of the season. They have the belief to challenge for a Europa League place finish but lack the experience and the form of the bigger teams to make a breakthrough and be taken seriously. With Lukaku in their side, it is hard to know how they will fare by the time the new year comes around. Will Everton be able to challenge the established order?

Summary:

Based on our results, we’ve ranked the attacks based on their reliance upon top performers and overall goals and assists contributions for the whole team. The more a team spreads its goal scoring and goal creating responsibilities the better. The total score for both these ranks added together gives us the final ranking of the best attacking threats. This only shows how the teams have been performing up to date:

Final Rank Team Dependence on Top Four Players Rank Total Number of Goals & Assists Rank Total Score
1  Manchester City 68% 3 44 1 4
2  Chelsea 56% 1 27 5 6
3  Arsenal 70% 4 40 2 6
4 Everton 58% 2 24 6 8
5  Liverpool 79% 5 34 3 8
6 Manchester United 82% 6 28 4 10
7  Tottenham 87% 7 15 7 14

The top flight is packed with teams that are capable of doing damage, and with these stats in mind, it is time for you to vote for which team you think will be the most lethal attack by the end of the season!

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4 replies »

  1. Being a Liverpool fan I had to make a comment about them. With a healthy Coutinho and Glen Johnson the team will be much more balanced assists wise. But this team is built to supply the strikers so they are always going to be heavily dependent on Suarez and Sturridge. When they’re on fire its not a bad thing but it’ll be tough for them both to shoulder the load all season.
    Arsenal’s mid is built of guys who create, not goal scorers. I don’t think they can keep up their scoring rate. Tottenham is in transition so it’ll be a bit before they can be lethal. They have the talent, just need the time. Man U have great forwards, but their mid can’t hold onto the ball and create enough. The strikers need a supply and the mid can’t do it consistently enough yet. Chelsea are too overly reliant on their mid and they need the strkers to step up and score goals. They can get contributions from everywhere and are extremely talented but lack the goal scorer currently. My vote goes for City. With Aguero in the form he is they are extremely deadly. Negredo looks great as well. Silva, Toure and possibly Nasri give them a very good midfield as well and I think they have the best attackers. They rely on their strikers to score, but that’s the game for you, but their mid can also contribute.

  2. Great comment!

    I agree with what you are saying. But you must also keep in mind that arsenal have been missing Podolski and Walcott almost all season. Two players who will contribute greatly. I feel Arsenal and Chelsea are in the same boat in the sense that they need a better finisher up top to really propel their attack. Eto is starting to adapt and might be that guy for them. Giroud is also doing well. Non the less, both these teams need a backup/replacement if they will keep it up all season in all competitions. City as you say are probably the bet equipped right now. Yaya, Silva and Nasri are great behind Negredo and Aguero. Liverpool’s midfield i feel need to contribute more goals. They may provide some assists but they need more goals from there.

    In the end i agree that city are probably most equipped for a marathon while i feel Liverpool are most equipped for a sprint right now.

    • I personally don’t think Walcott or Podolski is going to have a huge impact on the team when they come back. Currently Arsenal are playing a bunch of center midfielders, which is why they’ve been able to pass, create and dominate the midfield so well. They like to play central which could create space down the wings, but if you add wingers you lose some of the central passers from the center which I think would hurt them. I feel like their current system doesn’t really work very well for the players on the wing. On the other hand it could be fine and they could cut in and get the passes from the mid, but I feel like adding the wings is gonna sacrifice too much of the midfield.

      • I politley disagree.

        In some games we have been able to dominate because of out extra ball playing midfielder as you said. In other games we have been aimlessly passing the ball around without penetration due to our lack of runners.

        It was clear against man utd for example that when gnabry came on we were a different looking side with much more cutting edge. Walcot and gnabry have provided that this season so far. Also, sagna has been heavily involved in attack this season to cover for our lack of runners.

        In the end i feel that ozil and cazorla will benefit greatly from having someone to give through balls to and have a runner as an outlet. We have become too predictable of late and a walcott or podolski give us that different cutting edge.

        Last season walcott was our top scorer and with the best midfeild in the league behind him this season he can be that influential again.

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