HomeZ OLD CATEGORIESEPLThe declining productivity of David Silva | Opta Stats

The declining productivity of David Silva | Opta Stats


In general Silva’s passing numbers do not show too much variation, indicating – as also evidenced with the number of touches he has had – that there hasn’t been a drop off in terms of his overall involvement:

Throughout the three categories – total, opposition half and final third – Silva’s numbers do show a slight increase in final third completion, but contrastingly a small drop in opposition half completion. The difficulty with ‘raw’ passing numbers though is that they are rarely placed in context and it is difficult to know precisely where Silva’s passes were completed, what pressure he was under and what the outcome was.

This is why it is dangerous to place too much emphasis upon completions and percentages at face value without looking much deeper but one very telling area though is the sizeable drop in the number of forward passes completed by Silva, shown in the below graphic, where we can see the decrease in forward passes from 49% to 30%, with backwards and sideways passes increasing by 6% and 14% respectively.

Again, there is a danger of reading too much into the numbers without the context of where Silva’s passes were made but there is no doubt that a 19% reduction in the number of forward passes made appears to be a significant one.


We can see there has been a big drop off in terms of shots (76-64) but the important number here is the shots on target. Silva’s adjusted numbers in this category show a decline from 27 (Aug-Jan) to 17 (Feb-Mar): 54% to 44% whereas the number of shots off target and blocked have not shown a significant change:

The reduction in this category has also resulted in the minutes per shot (comprising shots on and off target, but not blocked) rising from 46 to 61, with his minutes per shot on target showing a further increase from 85 to 138.

With the ball

As shown with his passing numbers, the number of touches Silva has had has not shown too much change. However, Silva’s ‘errors’ have increased across the board as the season has progressed:

Whilst his number of touches overall has reduced slightly (2.8%) Silva has already had half (14) of the total unsuccessful touches (30) in February-March than he had in August-January, resulting in a rise (59-39) in his adjusted figures.

The number of dribbles Silva has attempted is also down (50-38%) – again this is without context of where and when these were attempted – but do indicate a disinclination (or lack of confidence?) to attack with the ball. Added to these areas, since the end of January Silva has on average also been dispossessed more (55-43) and has been more prone to losing possession on more occasions (445-403).


In no way is any great blame or criticism being apportioned to Silva for City’s ultimate shortcomings this season but the numbers clearly show that in certain key areas (ones that City built their early season success upon) Silva’s drop off has been stark and impacted upon City’s offensive play.

The question to establish is to what effect can one individual’s play impact upon the team ? There will be others within the City squad who have experienced similar struggles as all players – and especially those relatively new to the Premier League – undoubtedly ‘hit the wall’ at some point during a long and arduous campaign (as seen in this recent post on EPL Index).

The great difficulty for Mancini has been in not being able to manage this: partly be design but also partly by choice, but as a result this has seen David Silva return his least effective contribution when his side could least afford it.

All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.comSubscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.

Managing Editor of SBNation's Manchester City blog 'Bitter and Blue' and author of 'Man City 365'.
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