Friday, June 7, 2013

Player Performance Analysis 2012-13: Iago Aspas

With Iago Aspas reportedly undergoing a medical at Melwood, I have tried to analyze his statistics (courtesy Squawka) from this season's La Liga as to what I think Liverpool will be getting for the reported £7.7 million that they are paying Celta Vigo.

Chances Created

Coutinho created 69 chances (7 assists and 62 key passes) in 34 appearances i.e. 2.03 chances/appearance which is quite astounding considering his team barely escaped relegation on the final day of the season. If we consider the minutes played by him (2801 minutes), then he has created 40.6 minutes he is on the pitch. He created 49.3% of his chances in the final third of the pitch, with 23.2% of them coming from wide areas. He seems to be equally adept at playing and creating chances at the middle of the pitch with 39.1% of his chances being created just outside the box. Aspas is obviously a gifted passer and scorer, but doing what he does while on the move is what makes him so dangerous.

Goals Scored

Aspas scored 12 goals in the La Liga last season and almost all of his goals have come from inside the box with a couple of them from just the edge of the box. The more interesting thing about the goals though is that he has scored only one goal with his head while all of his other 11 goals have been scored with his left foot. This suggests that he has very little aerial presence and lacks the ability to ghost in undetected to score headers, and also is very left footed and seldom uses his right foot to shoot.

Shot Accuracy


Aspas attempted a total of 86 shots last season of which 49 were on target, i.e. a shot accuracy of 57%. As can be observed from the figure above, he has got a very erratic spread indicating that he is not always in the best position to shoot. He attempted a shot every 22.2 minutes on the field; with approximately 4 shots per game and a 57% shot accuracy, Aspas can be expected to hit the target twice every game, but a paltry conversion rate of 14% suggests that he is likely to score a goal every 4 shots on target.

Pass Accuracy

Suarez attempted a total of 1108 passes of which 861 were successful, meaning an average pass accuracy of 77.7%. If we break down the passes we see that 81.4% of Aspas’ passes are general passes. The most important statistic here is that 60.7% of his passes go backward yet his 77.7% passing completion is mediocre (6.5% lower than the Liverpool average of 84.2%). Aspas really isn't a big enough risk taker when it comes to passing in the final third. Also to be noted is that Aspas misplaced 39% and 35% of his passes in two La Liga losses versus Atletico Madrid, games where he noticeably struggled when being pressured.

Duels Won

This shows Aspas’ lack of combative nature as he more likely goes down under a challenge, as evidenced by the 80 fouls he has earned over the course of the season. He will have to improve his ability to win duels if he wants to adapt to Liverpool’s style of pressing from the front.

Defensive Actions

Suarez has contributed defensively 17 times this season with 10 interceptions, 5 clearances and 2 blocks, which equates to a defensive contribution every 122.4 minutes on the pitch. Aspas’ discipline is also questionable, and collected 4 yellow cards and a red card last season. Aspas' four-game ban for head-butting Carlos Marchena brought to light his chequered history with discipline. In past seasons, he had received red cards against Granada, Real Betis and Real Sociedad—he accumulated a second yellow card four minutes after his first versus La Real.

The Verdict

Suárez scored 49 goals for Ajax the season prior to joining Liverpool. He came to the Reds as a world-class player, whereas Aspas doesn't have a body of work to suggest he can be a viable replacement for Suárez. Though, Aspas has been Celta's answer to Suárez, essentially carrying the Spanish club over the line.

Saying that Aspas is not on Suárez's level should not be considered a major hit against him; using Aspas out wide, but letting him have complete control of his range and positional roaming would make Liverpool extremely dangerous. A reported £7.7 million for a high IQ footballer with world-class technique in Aspas is taking advantage of a financially weak La Liga market—Liverpool may have just signed a poor man's Suárez.