Manchester City didn’t sign any strikers in the window and it looks like Pep Guardiola has found a new number 9 for his team.
Ferran Torres has started in the central attacking position for City in all the three Premier League matches this season, even with Jesus in the line-up. The 21-year-old Spaniard was signed from Valencia last season and took some time to adjust to the Premier League – let us look at how he has played so far this season.
Torres played full the 90 minutes in two games and was given 60 odd minutes of game time in one match. In these three matches, he has scored two goals and assisted one goal.
When looking at the above chart, the general rule is that the longer the bar the better the performance – you can see the league average in the middle and the % is the percentile rank the player is in.
Torres is the leading goalscorer for his team with two goals, although his XG rate is quite low at 0.28. The Spaniard has taken seven shots with three of them on target. His stats are better than most of the Premier League players but are comparatively low when it comes to the City standard. One area where he has caused trouble is the touches in the opposition box. Torres has taken 19 touches in the opposition box and ranks highest in this department. His dribbling and attacking actions are quite low when compared with the other players in the league.
Torres’s passing has not been up to the standard that City players have set. He lacks in almost every department – as you can see for all the metrics below the league median. He averages nearly 21 passes per game with an average accuracy of 81.67. In these departments, the bar is more than the median value.
The above viz shows Torres heat map in this season so far. He has played as a false 9 striker and has dropped more towards the middle of the park. His natural position is on the right side but looking at the heat map we see that he is moving towards the left side of play.
Both the goals have been scored from inside the box in the game against Arsenal. Three shots have been attempted from inside the box and four from outside the box.
As a comparison, when we look at Aguero’s viz from last season, there are a lot of comparisons that can be made. Aguero is a natural striker and Torres is/was a wide player. Aguero’s heat map shows that the Argentine preferred to cut in from the left side to open up his body for a shot. Ferran being a natural right-sided player likes to drift in from the right side.
Aguero only attempted one shot from outside the box last season and that was a very long-range effort. In other instances, Aguero preferred to take shots from inside the box. Torres is a bit different, though his heatmap shows more touches on the right side, his attempts are mostly from the left side so far.
Torres’ performance has been decent in the three matches played so far and has shown that he is certainly an option for Pep in this position. With few striking options, City will hope that Torres can maintain his early-season promise.