During the summer transfer window, many of the top teams thought they had to bolster their attacking options somehow. As a result, five of the top eight teams that have pulled away from the rest of the league invested in bringing in a new striker, whether permanently or on loan. A big time goal scorer can make a teams season and not having one can break a season. Chelsea brought in Samuel Eto’o, Tottenham have brought in Roberto Soldado, Manchester City brought in Alvaro Negredo, Newcastle brought in Loic Remy, on loan, and Everton brought in Romelu Lukaku, on loan, to try to boost their season.
The huge importance of a striker to a team in a league as competitive as the Premier League makes it imperative to buy the right striker. It’s just as important not to blow your budget to do some good business while acquiring your top striker. Now that we are just over halfway through the season, it is fair to begin to look at these players and start to determine how they have done and take an early look to see who did the best business. In this article, I will look at how each of these strikers have performed since moving to their new clubs in the summer.
Passing and Possession
PA: Passing Accuracy (In percentage) AHP: Attacking half Passing Percentage FTA: Final Third Passing accuracy (In Percentage)
MPPL: Minutes per possession losses MPPW: Minutes Per Possession Win DP: Times Dispossessed
When playing in the top teams, strikers must do more than just score; they must also add to the build up. While having an eye for goal is important, if a striker can’t add anything to the play then he will not make it to being a top player on a top team. The most accurate overall passer has been on-loan Newcastle striker Loic Remy who has created 79% of his passes. After Remy, the middle three are all very close in terms of passing percentage at around 74%. Lukaku seriously lags behind the rest completing only 64% of his passes. Attacking half passing is similar with Remy leading the pack and Lukaku again significantly lower than the rest completing only 61% of his attacking half passes. In final third passes, Soldado narrowly leads Eto’o completing 71% with Remy falling to third with 68%. Negredo and Lukaku have been significantly less accurate completing only 63% and 60% respectively.
In terms of possession stats, Soldado has been the best at retaining possession, losing it every nine minutes, while Lukaku has been the worst, losing it every six minutes. When it comes to winning the ball back, Remy is by far the best, winning the ball back every 27 minutes. Negredo has won possession back the least winning it every 55 minutes.
Remy has been the most prolific passer of the bunch, this season, with Negredo, Soldado, and Eto’o close behind. Remy has been Newcastle’s main man this season but his passing is a big plus for Newcastle. Roberto Soldado has been much maligned this season but his build up play has been a positive for the Spaniard. Lukaku, while extremely young and talented, needs to work on his passing because it has been poor for Everton. His poor passing will improve with experience but, as he is only at Everton for one year on loan, it does come as a bit of a drawback for the Toffees.
DSR: Dribbling success rate TCC: Total chances created MPCC: Minutes Per Chance Created TCCC: Total Clear Cut Chances Created MPCCC: Minutes Per Clear Cut Chance A: Assists
Goalscorers have to not only create for themselves but also for others to be truly successful at the top level. Soldado and Lukaku are tied with four assists at the top while Eto’o has only grabbed one. Soldado and Negredo have both created a chance every 63 minutes but Negredo would have to take the crown for most creative as he has created a clear cut chance every 189 minutes as opposed to Soldado’s every 251. Lukaku is at the bottom of creativity creating a chance every 90 minutes and a clear cut chance every 1432 minutes. Four of the players are all within six percentage points for dribbling accuracy but then Negredo falls far below the rest completing only 32% of his dribbles.
Lukaku’s chance creation has been poor statistically but his teammates have picked him up by putting away chances when he gives them to them. Negredo has fit right in with Manchester City’s attack creating lots of good chances as well as putting them away. He has shown he has a good eye for pass and the ability to pick it out. He has shown that on multiple occasions this season and has been called one of the best buys this summer. Again the much maligned Roberto Soldado has not been too bad when it comes to creating chances. He has had four assists and has created at a pretty solid rate for a striker, especially one in his first season in England. Eto’o’s stats do take a hit due to limited playing time but even when looking at the per minute stats they are not anything to rant and rave about. Remy’s chance creation has been solid falling in the middle of the pack in most of these categories.
SA: Shooting accuracy MPS: Minutes per shot G: Goals MPG: Minutes per goal CC: Chance Conversion CCC: Clear Cut Chance Converson
While all the other stats are important, goal scoring is what a striker is truly brought in to do and is usually what they are judged on. Remy has scored the most goals with 11. Eto’o and Remy have both been clinical this season and are tied for the best conversion percentage of the group at 24%. When it comes to clear cut chances, Lukaku has been the most clinical converting 56% of those with Remy closely following up at 50%. Eto’o has scored most often popping it in the back of the net every 120 minutes while both he and Negrado shoot most often, shooting every 29 minutes. Roberto Soldado, the man with the biggest price tag of the group, pales in comparison falling to last in all of the goal scoring statistics, despite converting all four of his penalties.
While Soldado has done pretty decent at other aspects of the game, when a team spends 26m pounds on a striker they expect goals and Soldado has not provided. On the other end of the spectrum, while some of Lukaku’s overall play has not been great, Lukaku has been clinical in front of goal for Everton propelling them into the top four race. Remy has been very good for Newcastle in front of goal. A striker that is good in front of goal is a breath of fresh air for Newcastle after having Pappiss Cisse as their top striker for the last six months of last season. Negredo has been a monster for City this season proving his worth with his nine goals, even if both the chance conversion stats have him in fourth.
Of these strikers, Loic Remy has been quite impressive statistically for Newcastle. The fact the Magpies got him on loan meant they had to pay a minimal fee to get him for the season making it look like a very tidy piece of business. Lukaku has also impressed on loan, as he did on loan last season, and could help Everton make the top four in Roberto Martinez’s first season in charge at Everton. He is another impressive piece of business done by the loan masters this season, Everton. Samuel Eto’o was brought in try to get one good year and help Chelsea try to win the title. Previous to his hat trick against Manchester United, Eto’o had not had a particularly impressive stint. On a free transfer it doesn’t look like an awful move but, it is not what Chelsea would have hoped for. Roberto Brought in for the biggest price tag, Soldado has been abysmal in front of goal and has just not been what was Spurs thought they were getting when they bought him.
Of the two loan signing’s Remy has been the more effective of the two. That said, neither can be called a bad signing as Lukaku has also done very well. Of the purchases, Negredo has to be the most impressive scoring and creating goals for City. Negredo has been a key part in their record setting side and will be key for their title push. Soldado has not been good this season and, while he could redeem himself later in his Tottenham career, is at present the biggest flop of the bunch.