There’s been a lot of great double acts over time; Abbott and Costello, Hall and Oates, Fred and Ginger, Pinky and the Brain.
There’s a been a fair few trios that have worked well; Curly, Larry and Moe, Stock, Aitken and Waterman, Tinker to Evers to Chance.
We’re blessed in Serie A to be seeing the flourishing of a good few of them. It has been noted that Alessio Cerci and Ciro Immobile are utterly integral to Torino’s season thus far – the former netting eleven goals and the latter thirteen – making twenty-four of the thirty-nine they have between them. Impressive stuff, no?
Yes and no. Carlos Tevez and Arturo Vidal can boast the same split for Juventus (24 again) which is just as impressive, though their contribution is a smaller part of a larger whole. If we balance out the leading groups of two amongst Serie A, you can see just how impressive Alessio and Ciro are.
I’ve included three ‘pairings’ for Juventus, as their front three are particularly prolific, and interchange well between one another – as well as the percentages for those contributions as part of the team’s goals for the season; for the record, as at time of writing (21/2/14) Juventus have 59, Napoli have 49, Hellas Verona 40 and Torino 39.
I’d like to thank the ForzaItalianFootball podcast for bringing these numbers to my attention and giving me that inkling that I should have a look at them for a few more teams than just Toro.
If we take assists into those figures there are caveats to consider, however. Alessio Cerci, wideboy that he is, is more than likely to have whopped a few crosses into Ciro Immobile; likewise Romulo and Luca Toni. So how often have they assisted one another? Have another graph, and wonder at the Romulo and Toni partnership as they garner five – (four assists from Romulo, one from Toni).
Obviously, those assists have to be removed from the goals tally – otherwise the stats would be inflated; we’re extracting two players from within a team, they have to be kept as part of the team they represent. That’s what I’ve done in the contribution percentage graph. That figure is the likelihood of either one, or the other, (or both) either scoring or assisting a goal for their team – in other words, it shows how well the partnership has performed within their team.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Cerci and Immobile combination is the most effective. Good to see but, equally, worrying in case either is injured – both are clearly critical for Torino, indeed, only eight of the Granata’s goals have involved neither of the two (20% – eight from forty).
So there you go. Not only are Cerci and Immobile good for scoring goals, they’re good for providing them, too; however, on Sunday, they come up against a team that are so good at scoring goals, they have three combinations garnering of around 50% of their goals.
They also (unrelatedly, but interestingly) may well come up against a Claudio Marchisio who has played 5 games against Torino, and won all 5, scoring 3 goals and earning 2 assists. He likes the Derby Della Mole.
For the record, Juve’s figures look odd (150%) because each goal can have two attributions, a scorer and an assist provider.