So Villa took their time but finally got their man after agreeing a £9.5m fee with Wigan for wing wizard Charles N’Zogbia.
Much has been said of the Frenchman’s undoubted talents when it comes to dribbling, with many suggesting he tries a lot but with little success. I am here to tell you loyal Villans that isn’t true.
It is fair to say that a figure regarding total dribbles attempted is somewhat misleading, despite N’Zogbia’s astronomical scores indicating that he poses a significant threat.
However, not only does the new Villa man attempt double the amount of runs at opponents than any other Premier League figure with 282 (Nani attempted 139), his high number of attempts also see him just pip Luis Suarez at the top of the league for successful dribbles per game with 3.24 to the Uruguayan’s 3.23.
Now this doesn’t mean he is the most successful when it comes to dribbling, but does mean that he still completes more than any other player. Therefore, Villa fans should get used to seeing the winger burst past defenders on plenty of occasions but should also be prepared for him to lose out on a lot of occasions as well.
The real test and most relevant statistic is arguably the dribble success rate when it comes to the real masters of trickery and although he doesn’t lead the way, N’Zogbia doesn’t disappoint. A success rate of 39% does not sound spectacular but is still highly effective.
In terms of the league’s best when ranked in order of successful dribbles per game, the France international’s 39% is the lowest of the top 5 but it should be considered that these players are the best in the league at what they do. Unsurprisingly Nani fares extremely well having completed an excellent 58% of his 139 dribbles last term, however Luka Modric leads the way with an extraordinary figure of 63%.
With many raving over the performances of Luis Suarez at the end of last season it is somewhat encouraging to see that he is successful with 46%, just 7% more than N’Zogbia, showing even the world’s best can be easily dispossessed.
In terms of his replacement at Villa, N’Zogbia was almost identical in terms of success, with Downing completing 43% of his meagre 58 dribbles, a full 224 less than Villa’s newest recruit. On the other flank there is room for improvement for Albrighton who beat his man on 30% of 87 attempts.
Another promising stat sees N’Zogbia score with every 6.04 shots he attempts having netted 9 times last season. Whilst this is the same tally as Nani his goals came with almost half the amount of efforts with Nani taking 11.37 shots to score, whilst Suarez and Modric are even worse with 11.7 and 12.8 shots per goal respectively.
The assumption that the Frenchman cannot cross is also not true. He attempted 2.53 crosses per game for Wigan last term, with only Hugo Rodallega to aim at for the most part. He found his target with 19% of said attempts which again sounds unspectacular but is just 2% worse than Downing’s total and 1% less than Albrighton’s from last term.
All in all expect him to lose the ball but one should take into consideration that he did beat an opponent more times per game than any other player last season and Villa are lucky to have him! UTV!
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