Regularly writing articles for this blog is a very enjoyable hobby, but the main problem is that I then don’t have much time to do anything else.
That includes watching football matches, aside from the Reds of course, and so when Liverpool are linked to a player I often have no idea how good they are.
Take Henrikh Mkhitaryan; I haven’t much of a clue who he is, yet the gossip columns tell me that a £25m bid from Liverpool is in the offing. Yet a look at what few stats are available for him makes me wonder why.
I have been unable to find any in-depth stats for the Ukrainian league, so have to make do with Champions League figures. This is clearly far from ideal, as it only adds up to eight matches, but I thought it would at least give some indication of what his strengths are.
For the record, in the Champions League he twice faced Chelsea, Juventus, Dortmund (which are all obviously tough matches) and FC Nordsjælland. Here are a selection of his stats:
- No accurate through balls, with only two attempted in total.
- Only 0.9 chances created per game on average. Over one hundred players in the Champions League created more than that.
- He was dribbled past by opponents 1.7 times per game in the group stage (which was the joint eighth worst figure by any player).
- Mkhitaryan scored two
goals from twenty-six shots, which is a low conversion rate of 7.7%.
He lost possession by either being dispossessed or committing a turnover 4.1 times per game. Not an abysmal figure, but approximately 40th worst in the Champions League.
- His passing accuracy was decent (86%) as was successful dribbles (1.8 per game; top 20 for Europe’s elite club competition) but aside from that, purely on the numbers I’m not seeing what the fuss is.
As I’ve said, these are from mostly difficult games so I’m certainly not going to be overly critical, and as I’m often reminded, statistics certainly can’t tell you everything about a player (with important variables such as pace and movement being unmeasurable).
In fairness, Mkhitaryan did score twenty-five league goals from midfield in the league this season, which is no mean feat. But then of course a question mark has to remain over how strong the Ukrainian league actually is.
I would have thought that for £25m Liverpool should be getting someone who contributes more significantly at Champions League level than Mkhitaryan appeared to this season.
To be clear, enough people who know far more about football than I do rate him, so I’m sure he must be a good player. But the Reds don’t have £25m to spend too often, and it seems to me like Liverpool supporters are desperate for the club to sign him without knowing exactly why!
I guess my main question is this: as most Reds fans who have seen him will have seen him in the Champions League, what do the eyes suggest that the numbers appear to miss? Answers in the comments section below will be gratefully received!
Related posts you might like:
Iago Aspas: Shots and Creativity – The Reds’ new boy’s stats from La Liga compare well with the Premier League’s elite.