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How important is Yaya Toure to Manchester City?
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By Mark Phillips

I heard a stat earlier on the excellent Guardian Football Weekly Podcast that it’s been close to a year since Man City had won a game without Yaya Toure in the side and, with Toure away at the African Cup of Nations, I couldn’t resist checking the stats to see if he really does appear to be so important to City’s chances of success. 



Since the 09/10 season Toure has played 144 times for City winning 68% of those games and losing 16%. He has missed 29 matches in that period and without him in the starting line up City won 52% and lost 17%. Overall City won 62% and lost 17% of matches in the period. 


Since the start of last season Toure has started 51 matches with City winning 75% of them while winning just 3 of the 8 games he missed (38%). 


So, it does indeed seem that City are a far better team with Toure than without him and it will be interesting to see how they fare against Arsenal and Chelsea in their next two matches.



While I was losing myself in a Yaya Toure stat hole I took a look at the rest of the Man City squad since the start of last season and found the following:


City have won 76% of the matches Edin Dzeko has started but 65% of those he has not. 


They have won 68% of the matches Sergio Aguero has started but 71% of those he has not. 


James Milner was in the winning team 59% of the time (losing just 9%, however) with City winning 76% of the matches when he didn’t start (losing 16%).


When David Silva has started City have won 71% of their matches and 67% when he has not. 



I also looked at the last 5 and a bit seasons when Toure and Silva (quite clearly Man City’s two best midfielders) started together and found that they won 72% of the 103 matches, losing 17% and won 56% of the 70 matches when they did not both start, losing 17%. 

Some quite surprising stats there, especially Aguero’s numbers while Dzeko starting in place of Aguero is not such a bad thing it seems. 


James Milner’s numbers are also interesting with City’s win % right down and draw % well up when he starts. This is less of a surprise because Milner is more of a disciplined workhorse of a wide midfielder who suppresses City’s opponents more than creates scoring chances. 



If anyone would like me to run some numbers for any other player/team just drop me a line at mark@oddyoddyoddy.com






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