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Helping Hands 2014/2015 10/05/2015

Posted by Matt Rowson in Thoughts about things.

Good grief, the last season hasn’t even finished yet.  I went to IKEA yesterday.  In May.  My daughters and I ambled arm in arm through the warehouse bit wistfully humming favourite tunes…. “Troo-oy Deeney, Watford’s number nine….”, “Since I was young….”, “Bounce in a minute”, and so forth as Tsega rolled her eyes in our wake.  The expectation was that the emotionally demanding last few weeks, months would leave us grateful for a bit of a rest, a bit of down time.  That sentiment appears to have lasted less than a week…

So here we are again, for what appears to be the eighth annual analysis of where our goals came from, giving me an excuse to relive them all through video clips and match reports.  And yes, this article has become increasingly straightforward to compile over time, leaving me wondering whether a more detailed breakdown might be appropriate (right foot/left foot/header/other? Inside/outside area?  Set pieces?  etc etc.  Maybe next year).

One factor which might make the article easier still to compile is the proliferation of alternative sources of this information from which to plagiarise; however unlike scoring of goals and despite what some conceited sources might have you believe there is no undisputed definition of what an assist IS, which justifies defining my own rules and thus being able to summarise and interpret consistently.  And watch them all again.  So…  my definition of an assist is relatively broad and generous.  The last pass, obviously, but also the shot that was parried for a follow-up, being taken down for a penalty, both the flick-on to a cross AND the cross itself, and so on.

Consequently it’s not surprising to see Troy topping the list, a good proportion of his assists taking the same form as his last, barrelling into the Sheffield Wednesday area, sucking attention towards himself, battering a shot off Kirkland and allowing Vydra to nod home.  More surprising perhaps the margin of his supremacy over last year’s table topper Ikechi Anya who comes in second despite, once again, a few voices questioning his contribution.  Also significant perhaps that all 13 of those asssists came after Christmas, the first coming at Cardiff City at the end of December.

Noteworthy also is the very low number of individuals who have played a significant proportion of games, which tells you much about the way the team has been managed in a campaign relatively light on serious injuries.  Only Heurelho Gomes managed more than 40 starts of our 49 League and Cup games; everyone else missed at least 10 with only another half dozen missing less than 20.  Allied to that, and the fact that we’ve had such a tremendous season, is the fact that when your eye runs down that list there are really very few names you’d have reservations about, certainly relatively few about whom you’re thinking “well he’s got to go”, despite the number of players employed.

Perhaps most surprising in a campaign in which he’s managed nine goals and a much more sustained contribution than last season is that Almen Abdi only manages three assists; he managed more than that last season in one third of the number of games.

Adlene Guedioura’s contribution is demonstrated by four assists, all of them magnificent…  a vicious cross with his left foot at Wigan, an impossible pass for Ighalo at Derby, an arcing far post missile to Deeney against Middlesbrough and a thumping drive at the City Ground, gobbled up by Almen Abdi.  Fingers crossed all over Hertfordshire that his signing can be made permanent over the summer.

Finally it’s worth noting the contribution of Gianni Munari, unfortunate victim of Ben Watson’s arrival and impressive impact in January, who had managed more assists than anyone – six – by the end of the year but only started half a dozen games thereafter.  Such was his physical prowess that it was easy to overlook the flicks on and awareness that contributed to our fluency earlier in the season.

Be back soon with the End of Term report.  Enjoy the summer…

Assists Apps Gls Assists vs
Deeney 13 38+5 21 CAR (A), HUD (A), BLP (H), BLP (H), BLP (H), BLP (H), LEE (A), LEE (A), WLV (A), REA (H), REA (H), BRI (A), SHW (H)
Anya 7 28+8 0 MBO (A), WIG (H), WIG (H), REA (A), MIL (A), MIL (A), BIR (H)
Forestieri 6 12+14 5 LEE (H), SHW (A), BOL (A), REA (H), REA (H), WIG (A)
Munari 6 23+8 3 LEE (H), LEE (H) , NOF (H), FUL (A), FUL (A), CAR (A)
Ighalo 6 25+3 20 ROT (A), DON (H – LC), CHA (H), BOL (A), DER (A), BRI (A)
Vydra 6 32+13 16 SHW (A), MIL (H), FUL (A), FUL (A), BRE (A), LEE (A)
Angella 5 33+3 2 BOL (H), BOL (H), CHA (H), BLB (H), WLV (A)
Tözsér 5 35+11 5 BOL (H), HUD (H), HUD (H), CHA (H), BLP (H)
Guedioura 4 13+4 3 WIG (A), DER (A), MBO (H), NOF (A)
Paredes 4 33+7 0 SHW (A), CAR (A), CHA (A), BRE (A)
Abdi 3 28+5 9 HUD (H), BOL (A), NOF (A)
Dyer 2 6+10 3 BLP (A), DER (H)
Layún 2 14+3 0 BLP (H), ROT (H)
Watson 2 19+1 0 BOL (A), MBO (H)
Cathcart 2 29+1 3 BLB (A), NOF (A)
Fabbrini 1 3+1 1 STV (A – LC)
Andrews 1 6+5 1 MIL (H)
Pudil 1 21+5 0 CAR (A)
Ekstrand 1 23+2 1 ROT (H)
Hoban 1 23+7 0 ROT (A)
Byers 0 0+1 0
Mensah 0 0+1 0
Murray 0 3+6 0
Connolly 0 4+2 1
Bond 0 5+1 0
McGugan 0 6+1 0
Doyley 0 7+1 0
Motta 0 7+2 0
Tamas 0 8+1 0
Bassong 0 11 0
Gomes 0 44 0

Check out the 2013-142012-132011-12, 2010-112009-102008-09 and 2007-08 equivalents by clicking on the links.



1. Sequel - 10/05/2015

One looks at Forestieri’s stats and wonders why he only made 12 starts.

Matt Rowson - 10/05/2015

🙂 one look at the league table suggests that we didn’t make too many bad decisions, even if Nando was a bit hard done by

2. Goldenboy60 - 11/05/2015

I felt at the Sheff Wed game that Munari needed to play instead of Layun. Not in any way knocking Layun who has had to adjust to the British life, language and a totally different style of football from that of Mexico. I think he has done ok.

But the figures of Munari back my view up I believe. Also he carries a greater physical presence, always needed against Sheff Wed, and he has the ability to be the 3rd man runner getting in behind defenders with his deft passing and movement.

I also agree with Sequel about Forestieri. And I felt the same, and that is was he who should have come on against Sheff Wed in place instead of Ighalo. His ability to beat people around their pen area I believe would have caused them major issues, and helped our cause towards the end.

Matt Rowson - 11/05/2015

I thought Layún played pretty well against Wednesday for the most part – but agree that Munari’s presence might have been more useful.

graham walker - 12/05/2015

Agree with GB60. Whilst ‘da boss’ has otherwise got it fright 10 times out of 10, I thought the game was crying out for Forestieri in the second half. I guess the ‘talent v brain’ dilemma with Nando meant the manager didn’t quite trust him enough to do the right things.

3. Goldenboy60 - 11/05/2015

Also the Anya stats prove the Anya ‘moaners’ totally wrong. A committed player who gives his all and with no little skill and pace.

John M - 11/05/2015

Yes, I like Anya, and I feel some supporters underrate him. However, I feel he should be scoring more goals—he has had a number of opportunities without result. He’ll need to take his chances next season

4. James - 11/05/2015

Thanks for the stats Matt. Interesting as always.
Thinking about it though, I wonder how much of the true story ‘assist’ counts really tell. Only a relatively small number of chances are actually finished, so there’s a huge random factor applied to this and given the relatively small final totals, I doubt it evens up over a single season.

It would be really interesting to see counts of chances created, regardless of whether they were finished or not, but I suspect that would not be possible in retrospect. You’d have to keep a tally as the season progressed, and attend every single game.

I wonder if the management team collect that kind of data?

Matt Rowson - 11/05/2015

What you’re talking about is the large margin of error around relatively small counts. This is relevant if you’re asking questions like “who is likely to create more goals in general” (of which this is only a snapshot) and certainly random chance will play a part. Not as much as one might think though, I would guess… inherent in conversion rate of chances is of course the quality of the assist/pass in the first place?

5. Simon - 12/05/2015

Of course, you can throw into that mix whether the “chance” created is the right sort of chance. You could, for example, have a wide player who puts in killer cross after killer cross but a center forward who struggles to finish headed chances. Is that wide player as valuable to the team as the wide man on the other side who gets to the bye-line and cuts the ball back along the deck, where the center forward has a far higher conversion rate. That may all factor into what you consider to be the “quality” of the assist but it ultimately comes down to a subjective assessment.

6. SteveG - 14/05/2015

While I hesitate to post anything of a ‘glass half full’ nature after such a great season, this does actually confirm my gut feeling that we’ve had less end product from Paredes than might have been hoped – certainly the stats don’t compare favourably with either Anya or Guedioura. On the other hand, he has ended up above Abdi in the assists table, which did surprise me. But I suppose there is the small matter of his 9 goals.

7. hornetboy84 - 17/05/2015

one look at Forestieri stats and we can also think that if we get him 100% fit and consistent then he can be an extra added dimension we only saw a little of this year.

Mind you , Dyers per game ratio are equally strong and he is high up the table… maybe we should…….

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