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Player Focus: Europe's Top Goal Contributors

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Player Focus: Europe's Top Goal Contributors

 

Like Arsenal last season, teams are often chastised for being overly reliant on a single player, with critics arguing that without that player they would struggle and potentially even fail. Without Robin van Persie this term, Arsenal are undoubtedly worse off and they paid for any dependence on the Dutchman when he left in the summer for Manchester United.

 

With van Persie's new teammates sharing out the goalscoring - so much so that a Premier League-high of 16 of United's squad have scored this season - there is less onus on him to perform, and it is more difficult to identify the players on whom a great deal of the burden lies this season. Upon further research, though, there are players that stand out in terms of the percentage of their team's goals that they have either scored or set up this season.

 

At the top of the pile is Swedish powerhouse Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who, at Paris Saint Germain has become even more integral to his team than he was at Milan last season. The centre forward was directly involved in 45.9% of Milan's Serie A goals last season, only to go yet further in France, contributing to an unbelievable 61.1% of PSG's goals in the league; a stat even more impressive when considering that the Swede has missed 3 games already this season. In those 3 matches PSG stumbled to a goalless draw at Ajaccio, a 1-1 stalemate at Montpellier and a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Rennes - one of only 2 home defeats this season, along with the game in which Ibra was sent off.

 

With 18 goals he is by far the leading scorer in the division, while his 4 assists rank him behind just 12 players in Ligue 1, only 3 of whom have made the majority of their appearances this season up front. Add to that 2 goals and 5 assists out of PSG's 14 in the Champions League group stages and it is plain to see exactly how key he is to the Parisians, having either scored or assisted 22 of their 36 goals so far. Ibrahimovic is a complete striker, able to play as the most advanced player in a team or deeper as a traditional number 10, traits that are exhibited by his consistently creative and clinical attack play.

 

Following close behind the PSG striker in terms of importance to his club is Aston Villa's Christian Benteke. Looking at his goalscoring record alone, a lot is left to be desired, with only 6 goals netted in 19 Premier League appearances this season. However, given that Villa as a whole have only scored 17 league goals and Benteke has picked up 4 assists as well, the Belgian's record is actually rather impressive.

 

Player Focus: Europe's Top Goal Contributors

 

Benteke has been charged with replacing Darren Bent at Villa Park as the lone striker and has had a fair job on his hands with Paul Lambert's youthful team underperforming on far too many occasions this season. Benteke's strength is a virtue that he uses to his advantage time and again, and his hold up play has been extremely effective. It wouldn't be at all unfair to say Benteke may be disappointed with his assist tally this season though, having won more aerial duels (152) than any other player in the Premier League, and with only Arsenal's playmaker Santi Cazorla having made more 'layoffs' than Benteke (117) [a layoff entails controlling the ball and passing it into the path of an onrushing teammate]; a stat which clearly portrays Benteke's attributes with his back to goal. His direct involvement in 58.8% of his side's goals is the second highest in Europe's top 5 leagues.

 

Linked with a move to Valencia as well as Swansea and Arsenal in this month's transfer window, Celta Vigo's Iago Aspas has impressed across the continent this season. He has scored (8) or assisted (3) 57.9% of his side's goals this season, and provides much of the reason that the newly promoted side find themselves up in 15th position, albeit only one point above the relegation zone.

 

With 68 shots and 44 key passes and no other Celta player having had more than 24 shots or made more than 32 key passes, Aspas is quite clearly the figurehead of his side's attacking play. He is generally expected to show loyalty to the club he has been at for 18 years and stay for the time being, but Celta will do well to hold on to him for much longer than that, though there is no doubt they will be keen to do so.

 

It is only thanks to Barcelona's extraordinary 64 goals this season that Lionel Messi's 36 goals and assists (56.3% or Barca's total) ranks lower than 5 players in Europe's top 5 leagues, with the other two players rounding off the top 5 for contribution to goals Vedad Ibisevic (57.1%) and Aritz Aduriz (56.5%).

 

With 10 goals and 2 assists in 15 Bundesliga appearances, Ibisevic is the main man at Stuttgart, and his contribution alone have, incredibly, earned his side 13 of their 25 points, without which they would be languishing in the relegation playoff zone. Of course, without Ibisevic's contribution, someone would replace him in the team, but that statistic merely serves to strengthen his importance to the club.

 

Aduriz meanwhile, has had the tough task of replacing Fernando Llorente up front at Atheltic Bilbao, and he has done so with aplomb, bagging 11 goals and setting up two more to hold a position as the joint top-scoring Spaniard in La Liga. He plays to his strengths, with more headed attempts on goal (22) than any other player as well as the joint most headed goals (4). For a striker that has been in Spanish first tier football for a number of years now without being spectacular, to all of a sudden become top dog at Bilbao in spite of the pressure of having to replace Llorente, Aduriz has done exceptionally well this term.

Comments (8)

 
  • what if Heskey would have been in Europe?

  • @spuds talking about offensive contribution here, not defensive..

  • @LuisSuarezFC But the exact purpose of this article is to show who has made the biggest contributions in terms of goals and assists to their teams... What you are suggesting is something different altogether. You could also look at which defenders block the great proportion of shots faced - that is also a contribution...

  • It's their contribution to that team though. Of course Messi, Ibra, Suarez, El Shaarawy have played huge roles for their teams but that have influential players around them too. The writer is trying to focus on players who are really carrying their respective sides so it isn't exclusive to 'big teams'

  • This is just an incredibly bad analysis of some pretty basic data. Contribution % is only a single variable which only becomes relevant once other variables are also factored in. This becomes even more obvious when realising that goals/assists aren't even that good of an indicator to a player's actual contribution to the team. A much better statistic, or at least one that should also be taken into account, while not being able to take into account actual quality of play, is chances created. I think the sheer number of goals/assists by some of the players heavily outweighs the higher percentage of contribution that other players have, but maybe that's just me. Top of my list would be something like Messi, ibra, suraz and el shaarawy

  • Ibra Team!

  • Nobody near Messi's stats. He is at his own level there. This analysis also reveal that United is not depend on RVP too much. He's not even in top 20, based on these stats.

  • Beast!

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Marco Faraoni Joel Obi Benedikt Howedes Clemens Fritz Chris Lowe Daniel van Buyten Albania Yann M’Vila Baptiste Reynet Raul Meireles Angelo Palombo Eric Tie Bi Faouzi Ghoulam Chris Mavinga Anderson Aaron Hughes Chris Baird Raul Aly Cissokho Alessandro Del Piero Samir Handanovic France National Football Team Marc Tierney Bundelsiga Raul Bobadilla Michael Dawson Loric Remy Jean Pascal Mignot Mainz 05 Schalke 04 Marcel Risse Steven Reid Danny Gabbidon Michal Kadlec Paulo Machado Ben Watson Spain National Football Team German National Football Team Bundeslgia Ricardo Carvalho Ivan Ramis Diego Colotto Sergio Fernandez Sere A Cesare Bovo Miguel Britos Bostjan Cesar Jose Angel Gabriel Heinze Chris Samba Charles N'Zogbia Yohan Demont Rod Fanni Rudy Mater Georgios Tzavellas Javier Pinola Dennis Aogo Daniel Schwaab Attacking Full-Backs Defensive Wingers 2010/11 Attacking Wingers Nicolas Douchez Jeremy Menez Under-21 Team of Season 2010-11 Maxi Rodriguez Scott Dann Crossing Wingers Under-21 Team of Season All-Round Midfielders Benoit Pedretti Rising Stars Kyle Walker Gaetano D'Agostino Centre Backs Paulo Da Silva Ivan Hernandez Eric Abidal Weligton Borja Ekiza Alassane Toure Stephane Grichting Jordan Loties Kader Mangane Adama Coulibaly Martin Stranzl Pedro Geromel Neven Subotic Christian Zapata James Tomkins Roger Johnson Stephan Lichsteiner Reto Ziegler David Vaughan Seb Larsson Asamoah Gyan Benoit Pedretti Anthony Mounier Mehmet Ekici Simao Duda Alvaro Cejudo Xabi Prieto Alexsandar Kolarov Guiseppe Mascara Simone Bentivoglio Fernando Marques Gian Piero Gasperin Thomas Hitzlsperger Rafael Van der Vaart Theofanis Gekas Gerard Asamoah Youssef Al Arabi Lisandro Loric Remy Victor Hugo Montano Edison Cavani Sergio Pellissier David Di Michele Steward Downing Spain Under 21 Felipe Caicedo Pierre Webo Youssef El-Arabi Brown Ideye Mobido Maiga Chu-Young Robin Van Persie Kevin Gamerio England U21 Udinese. Alexis Sanchez Pedro Sami Allagui Frédéric Kanouté Renato Augusto Jonathan Pitropia Eljero Elia Ivo Llicevic Fernando Muslera Diego Perez Alvaro González Abel Hernandez David VIlla Marcel Schmelzer Danijel Pranjic Holger Badstuber Sven Bender Johan Djourou Darren Fletcher Carlos Kameni Thiago Silve Antonia Di Natale Cristiano Zapata Domenico Criscito Luis Jimenez Josep Ilicic Samuel Eto’o Alexis Thébaux Ludovic Sané Mamouda Sakho Boukary Dramé Daniel Alves Nikolay Mihaylov Charles Puyol Ji-Sung Park Edwin van der Sar Dani Alves John O’Shea Park Ji-Jung Gabi Fernandez Jonathan de Guzman Michael Owen Gary Taylor-Fletcher Ian Evatt DJ Campbell Charles N’Zogbia Wolverhampton Robinho Rudi Garcia Avram Grant Conor Sammon Wayne Bridge Rob Green Victor Obinna Mike Hanke Borussia Munchengladbach VfL Bochum Tomasz Kuszczak Martin Olsson Brett Emerton Steven N’Zonzi Muset Ozil Gianpaolo Pazzini Leonardo Seydou Keita Miguel Pallardo Ibrahim Afellay Valdo Pallardo Damien Perquis Luka Modrid David SIlva Roberto Mancini Benoit Assou-Ekotto Vedran Corluka Carlo Ancelotti Saloman Kalou Clarence Seedorf Matteo Brighi Fabio Simplicio Rodrigo Taddei Mark Van Bommel Gennaro Gattuso Kevin Prince-Boateng Nicolas Burdisso Elkin Soto Pep Gaurdiola Lassana Diarra Lucas Barrios Antonio da Silva Robert Mak Heurelho Gomes Andre Marriner Pinto Alavro Arbeloa Alexander Hleb

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