How does Ole Gunnar Solskjaer measure the success of the midfielders under his management at Manchester United?
Alright, Unified The boss isn’t using assists to make this decision, as Paul Pogba explained – again – responsible for creating many of his side’s goals, after United’s 4-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.
“What does an assist consist of? Square pass and Bruno [Fernandes] when he hits the top corner or Paul makes a great pass and Mason [Greenwood] passing” Solskjaer said. “Paul was always one of the best passers, one of the best in European football, he got assists, probably not the best passes he’s made this season. I’m not counting the assists, that’s all social media.”
There is undoubtedly a logic behind Solskjaer’s argument, often fans on ‘social media’ attribute so much value and value to assists in football, but that’s why an advanced statistic has recently been invented to provide a more realistic measure of creativity.
Manchester United had a sensational transfer window with Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and… oh, yes, signings guaranteed. Cristiano Ronaldo.
Now, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be under pressure to deliver silverware with his star-studded façade. At MEN we cover every aspect of the club and with our exclusive United newsletter you won’t miss any headlines. It’s free and no spam.
This advanced statistic is called Assists Expected (xA), and this metric offers a more accurate measure of a player’s chance-making ability because the increasingly popular statistic takes into account the probability that a given pass will be assisted by a goal.
In layman’s terms, xA continues to reward players for getting the ball into the receiver, regardless of whether the chance is converted or not.
With that in mind, it’s interesting to analyze Pogba’s assist total this season. The Frenchman started the new season in electric form, scoring seven assists in just four games and sitting clearly at the top of the Premier League’s assist table.
pogba however, he has only recorded 1.1 xA this season and it is extremely rare and unlikely to get seven assists from such a low sum.
That means Solskjaer is indeed justified in underestimating Pogba’s high assists total, and the data also shows that this is unsustainable in the long run, meaning it’s unrealistic to expect this phenomenal level of creativity to continue in terms of assists.
Despite this, Pogba’s reputation as one of the best midfielders in the world is well deserved, with seven assists for him this season. Premier League The assist record currently shared by Kevin De Bruyne and Thierry Henry will be within reach.
Do you think Pogba will break the record? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Manchester City’s De Bruyne equaled Henry’s record of 20 Premier League assists in a single season in the 2019/20 season, but Pogba could write in the division’s history books and stand out against his peers with 14 more assists in the remaining 34 fixtures.
As Solskjaer points out, there has been an element of luck with Pogba’s record seven assists so far, but he can now seize the opportunity by building on that foundation to be recognized as one of the Premier League’s all-time greatest playmakers.
Pogba’s xA data shows he needs to improve his game to do so, but if he does, there will be a possibility to enjoy it.
xA date infogol.com.