Antonio Valencia had a timid start to the 2011/12 season. It looked as though he lacked confidence, wasn’t trying to take on players and wasn’t creating any chances either. Vikesh Chevli, one of our Manchester United writers and also known on Twitter as @RedMancunia, wrote an interesting article about Valencia on this very site with regards to this lack of confidence which can be found here: Is Antonio Valencia lacking confidence?
The article mentioned above was dated on 1st December 2011 and coincidentally Valencia found his form in December, and how? First, let’s look at the stats behind Antonio Valencia’s poor start to the season in terms of creativity:
Looking back in time RedMancunia’s article may have been a little harsh. Antonio Valencia only played 231 minutes meaning in those five games he’d averaged only 46.2 minutes per game. It’s hardly enough time to prove whether you’re going to be in form or not. Let’s do a little stats checkpoint here.
Checkpoint 1: Antonio Valencia created a chance every 115.5 minutes in the first five games.
Make a note of that, well ok don’t I’ll remind you at the end!
The games following these five proved to bring the real Antonio Valencia to the fore. If you look at the image below, from EPLIndex.com Stat Centre’s Quick Stats Season section, it is clear to see that when given a full run of games, i.e. in December – Antonio Valencia was unstoppable.
The stats aren’t lying, Antonio Valencia took off in December and he created sixteen chances in six games and managed to create seven goals. The record of creating an assist in five consecutive games was also pretty impressive. The hat trick of assists against Wolverhampton Wanderers seemed to kick-start his season and how. Valencia also started five consecutive games out of the six displayed above and was bought on early in Aston Villa game which seems to have kick started his season. He played 528 minutes in this spell, more on this stat later.
Valencia also more than quadrupled his attempted dribbles in these six games when compared to his previous five so again the confidence seemed to be back when Valencia was played regularly. It’s rather obvious that the more time on the pitch you get the more comfortable you’ll feel and Valencia seems to be one of those players that needs to have a run of games and he’s proven this with the stats above.
Checkpoint 2: Antonio Valencia created a chance every 33 minutes in December 2011 where he started five games consecutively.
Ok so how has Valencia performed in 2012? Let’s take a look on the next page shall we?
The creativity of Antonio Valencia didn’t stop in 2011, although the United side experienced a blip at Newcastle they moved on pretty quickly and haven’t lost in the league since. Valencia started the first six league games of 2012 before missing out on the next three only to return against Wolves last weekend and how, creating seven chances, of which two were assists and scoring a goal.
The assists certainly aren’t as impressive as December however you cannot put that down to the player. We’ve said on many occasions that an assist is a two-way relationship – part one is for the provider to create the chance and the second is for the provided to finish the chance. It’s not the providers fault if the strikers cannot finish – a problem that has haunted United rivals; Liverpool all season and Manchester City of later.
So Valencia is doing his part – he’s created the chances which takes us to our final checkpoint:
Checkpoint 3: Antonio Valencia has created a chance every 27.4 minutes in 2012.
So to summarise:
Antonio Valencia Creativity Summary:
August to November: created a chance every 115.5 minutes
December: created a chance every 33 minutes
January-March: created a chance every 27.4 minutes
Overall 2011/12: creating a chance every 34 minutes
An improvement in each batch of matches and proving that if quality players are played in a run of games they can really produce some fantastic performances and statistics. Antonio Valencia is just one assist away from becoming the joint top goal creator in the league. I would bet that he’d finish at the top of this list come the end of the season.
N.B. The sole purpose of this article was to show Antonio Valencia’s improvement throughout the season. We will have more of a year on year and rivals comparison in the next week so please stay tuned to the site for that!
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All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.com – Subscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.