In the recent weeks, it seems very likely Carlos Tevez has played his last match in a City uniform and will likely not return for another season. It’s no question that Tevez is a top scorer. With 20 goals last season, he finished tied for the lead with Dimitar Berbatov. So what exactly will City be losing if Tevez does indeed leave? If we look only at goal totals on the season, we get a very limited assessment of Tevez’s worth. A better way to analyze Tevez’s value during the 2010/2011 season is in the context of another top goal scorer. Conveniently, Berbatov scored the same amount of goals last season. Are these strikers equivalent in their goal scoring ability, as their goal totals suggests? Obviously not. A more in depth look at some relevant statistics reveals a lot more about the two strikers.
Note: I’m not trying to prove one is better than the other here. I just think it provides a better insight in to Tevez’s play by comparing him with another top forward.
The chart reaffirms a lot of what we already assume about these two players:
Carlos Tevez: Tevez’s greatest asset as a forward is that he works hard. We can see that with a number of the statistics above. First, he beats out Berbatov in both chances created and minutes per chance created. Much of the reason Tevez scored so many goals last season is that he was constantly working to get in to a good position to get a chance on net. He also created 47 chances, and averaged a chance every 53.9 minutes, while Berbatov only created 32 chances, 1 every 69.1 minutes. Tevez also held an advantage in goal attempts in the box. Again, we would suspect this from a hard-working forward. Tevez had 75 goal attempts in the box, versus 67 for Berbatov.
Dimitar Berbatov: While Berbatov may not rely on hard work as much as Tevez does, he does seem to have a better goal scoring ability based on the statistics. The first thing we should notice is that Berbatov played about 300 minutes less than Tevez, while still scoring the same amount of goals. This led him to average a goal per 110.5 minutes versus Tevez’s scoring every 126.6 minutes. Another telling statistic of goal scoring ability is the clear cut chance percentage. Berbatov finished more than half of his clear cut chances at 52%, while Tevez only finished 44%. Berbatov was also a more accurate shooter with 43% of his shots hitting the target versus 38% for Tevez.
The final two statistics, WPA and AGW, are likely unknown to most readers. They stand for Win Probability Added, and Average Goal Weight. Here is a short summary of what they measure: WPA tells us how much the player’s goals added to the team’s chance of winning the game. A high WPA means the player likely scored a lot and usually at important times, not just a bunch of useless goals in blowouts. AGW is just the player’s WPA divided by the number of goals they scored. In other words, how important are the player’s goals to the team on average? If you’re interested in a more in depth explanation and how I calculate them, check out my blog post on the two.
Anyways, Tevez has higher WPA and AGW totals. What this means is that Tevez 20 goals were more valuable to City’s success than Berbatov’s 20 goals were to United. WPA and AGW are not perfect statistics to measure goals. However, they do tell us a little more than simply the number of goals they scored.
It’s no surprise that City will be losing a pivotal part of their offense if Tevez does depart. However, it may be the right time for City to say goodbye. Tevez is coming off an excellent season, and thus his stock is expensive at this point. He will turn 28 in February (not exactly old, but not young either) and from his comments it is evident he does not feel at home in Manchester. Between his current high price and his interest in leaving, it seems that now could be the best time to make a change. When it seems your stocks might be peaking, sometimes the best idea is to sell them.