Statistical Analysis: Has David Silva been less effective for Man City this season?

silva

Manchester City are now 15 points off the pace in the Premier League. It looks almost impossible for them to reclaim their Premier League crown, which leads to questions over how they have gone from Champions, to being so far off Manchester United. There have been question marks over the clubs transfer policy in the summer, as well as over the form of their top players. Some pundits have claimed that a drop in form for David Silva and Yaya Toure has cost City, but is this the case?

Statistical analysis:

Mins per goal Mins per chance created Mins per clear cut chance created Assists Pass acc Mins per loss of possession
David Silva 11/12 470 104 201 15 87% 56
Silva 12/13 690 86 159 7 85% 74
Mata 204 72 185.7 10 85% 51
Cazorla 227 73 278 6 88% 70

A look at the statistics here suggests that David Silva has, contrary to believe, actually improved this season. Many people have accused his standards of dropping which is likely as a result of a decline in goals and in assists. The 15 assists he got last season was incredible and being on 7 now makes it unlikely he’ll reach that level next term. Obviously he is also scoring goals less frequently also. However, despite recording less assists he is creating significantly more chances for his team mates and significantly more clear cut chances. This implies that actually he is doing his job well but the forwards are not doing their job by finishing chances. Last season City had a chance conversion of 18% which has dropped this season to 13% which tends to corroborate this view.

Tactical issues?

One other factor is that the formation utilized by City has been less effective this season which has impacted on Silva’s influence. The 4-2-3-1 has not worked particularly well, especially when Silva and Nasri are in the same side. This tends to congest the middle of the pitch as Nasri gets into similar areas as Silva, which reduces his influence. If we look at the average positions of the players from the 0-0 draw with QPR earlier it compounds this view:

cityavpositions

Nasri (8) is in a central position with Silva lodged underneath Tevez and Aguero just in front. The width is provided by the sub Scott Sinclair (11) as well as the two full-backs (22 and 5). The problem is that the two creators are looking to do similar things but Silva is a lot more effective. It probably suits Silva more to have a more direct player on the other flank to him. Eden Hazard would have been excellent as he is a dribbler and thus opens up more space for players creating more centrally.

Conclusion

Despite the perception that Silva has let his form drop he is arguably playing even better. The statistics here show he is creating more chances but his City team-mates, particularly the strikers have become less productive in front of goal this season. As such, Silva has been doing his job. The perception that his form has dropped probably revolves around a decline in goals and assists, which are the most basic and obvious barometers of an attacking players form. Then lack of an effective direct option to compliment Silva on then other flank in the 4-2-3-1 does not help Silva either, as Nasri tends to get into similar positions to him. Man City are now a massive 33/1 with Ladbrokes to retain their title this season as a result of their slide, but this cannot be blamed on David Silva, who is still playing to a high level.

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All stats from EPLIndex