International Centre for
Sports Studies

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Tue. 30 September 2014

Cesc Fàbregas makes the difference

Chelsea’s Cesc Fàbregas is at the top of the CIES Football Observatory table of the best performing attacking midfielders since the start of the season. The Spanish player was 25% more productive than the second best big-5 league offensive midfielder, the biggest gap among the five field positions considered. Data for the 15 best players per position is presented in the 83th issue of the Big-5 Weekly Post.

The best performing players in the other positions are Giorgio Chiellini (centre back), Jordi Alba (full back), Xabi Alonso (central/defensive midfielder) and André-Pierre Gignac (forward). Only footballers who played at least 60% of championship minutes are included in the analysis.

Many footballers who did not yet represent a national A-team are to be found in the top 15 positions of the rankings: Robin Knoche (Wolfsburg), José Fonte (Southampton), Antonio Balzano (Cagliari), Layvin Kurzawa (Monaco), Juan Bernat (Bayern Munich), Roberto Pereyra (Juventus), James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), Manuel Nolito (Celta Vigo) and Wissam Ben Yedder (Toulouse). All these footballers deserve a chance to play for their country of origin.

Players are ranked according to their production and efficiency in six areas of the game (see below). The six key performance skills taken into account are weighted differently per position according to their impact on club results. Consequently, for example, rigour is more important for centre backs than for forwards. For more comparability, the rankings also consider the differences in the intensity and style of play between leagues.

CIES Football Observatory key performance skills

  • Shooting: ability to take advantage of goal opportunities through accurate shooting
  • Chance creation: ability to put teammates in good position to score
  • Take on: ability to create dangerous situations by successfully challenging opponents
  • Distribution: ability to hold the grip on the game through efficient passing
  • Recovery: ability to minimise goal opportunities for opponents through proficient ball recovery
  • Rigour: ability to minimise goal opportunities for opponents by efficiently blocking their actions

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