The Muzzy Izzet stat that proves De Bruyne is nothing special

Date published: Tuesday 24th November 2020 3:12

Keep your mails coming to…


If De Bruyne is world class, so too was Muzzy Izzet
Long time reader, first time writer

I found the argument put forward in this morning’s Mailbox about De Bruyne being overrated interesting.  So I looked into assists and it turns out that De Bruyne has actually not been exceptional with assists given the average number each season.

A few comparative examples of assists leaders over the years relative to the number of goals scored by the team.

In City’s most dominant season, De Bruyne accounted for 15% of city’s goals with 16 of 106.
Last year, he accounted for 19% of the assists.

In the 04/05 season, Frank Lampard assisted 18 times in a Chelsea team which scored 72 goals.  25%
In the 07/08 season,  Cesc Fabregas assisted 17 times in an Arsenal team which scored 74 goals  22%
In the 10/11 season, Nani assisted 14 times in an United team which scored 78 goals.  17%
In the 15/16 season, Mesut Ozil assisted 19 times in an Arsenal team which scored 65 goals.  29%

The most impressive season of assists in the premier league era?

How about Muzzy Izzet who assisted 14 of Leicester city’s 48 goals in 03/04 and was leading playmaker that season.  This is 29% of the goals scored in comparison to De Bruynes return of 20 in 102 or 16 in 106.  Leicester were relegated that season and this makes Izzets achievement more impressive.

I am not suggesting that De Bruyne is not world class or anything like that, but when City’s dominance is taken into consideration,  it would suggest that De Bruyne benefits from the talented players around him.  In 2017/18, the most dominant season, Sane (15), Sterling (11) and Silva (11) were equally important.

The idea that Aguero is not firing on all cylinders actually does not suggest that it should fully impact De Bruyne as last year just 6 of his assists went to Aguero.

City’s success has been down to the collective brilliance of the team and system implemented by Pep.  The stats suggest that De Bruyne contributions are actually in line with expectations and nothing special.
Mike ( Muzzy Izzet is World Class) 


Five more things we all got wrong
Great article on 10 things we all got wrong this season. As my fantasy football team can confirm, I’ve had many, many things wrong this season (choosing Grealish over Son for captain this weekend being the latest). Here are 5 additional things I got wrong that other mailboxers may be able to relate to:
Aubameyang would continue to carry Arsenal, particularly with the inspired signing of Willian

Diogo Jota would barely be a Plan B improvement on Origi, Shakiri and Minamino
Kai Havertz would hit the ground running to continue his Leverkusen form
Patrick Bamford would not make the step up to premier league
Guardiola would 100% leave City at the end of the season
What have I missed?
Graeme (in my defence I thought Southampton would be great, Fulham would be awful, and that Calum Wilson was a great signing), Glasgow


Mark gets a kicking…
‘Breath Test’ Mark, I started going to football in the 80’s, with the terraces, swearing, drinking, chanting, hatred, etc creating an atmosphere 100 times better than the present Premier League grounds. And I am classified as BAME!

If you want to watch football without the swearing, drinking, no segregation & with women and kids, I suggest you go watch the women’s Super League. I’ve been many times & its quite enjoyable, but zero atmosphere.

Premier League now is too expensive, no atmosphere, all middle class. Football at the top level is no longer working class.

Standing on the Sixfields hill the last few months, the atmosphere has been better than any Premier League ground!!
Jas, Northampton


Well Mark, white men = knuckle-draggers or hooligans. Seems a bit racist that. And also a disgraceful attack on the white working class you moron.

So you want to rid the football grounds of these despicable white men and replace with nice BAME types and nice families. Hmmm. Don’t you realise that football was always the game of the working classes (in particular men) and would have not grown into its popularity without them.

And now you want to take it away from them just because of a few overblown isolated incidents. Get real Mark.


Wow, Mark, MCFC…you don’t hold back do you ?!    Nuance,  subtlety,  application of thought ?  Nope – your letter has none of these – it’s like Roy Keane with the scent of Haaland in his nostrils – meting out your own style of instant justice 😂

As a white man, who loves a drop, yet who has never even thought of abusing another fan, racially or otherwise, I wonder why my future match-going ought be subject to your unique brand of policing ?!

What next ?   BMI testing, a no tattoo-rule, or maybe a maximum time to pee at half time (should the latter need arise after my pre-match sparkling-water imbibing under your watchful scrutiny).

I know your club is owned by folks with less than enlightened views on human existence, but please keep that aspect of your world-view to yourself.

I think a better use of your time might be to ponder why Diego Jota has scored twice as many open play home goals as your team this season !!



Mark, I get that you may dislike white men, alcohol, or people acting in ways you find intolerable, but holy shit you may have just found the second best way to make football shit, after having no fans in the stands at all.

Really, only white people are assholes? Sure bud.
Really, only alcohol is responsible for people being assholes? Sure bud.
Have you never seen parents cursing in front of their kids? Or at their kids? I really don’t think they give a fuck how they look to people like you.

Yes lets make sure Old Trafford is a library, just like the Etihad. I get it, if you can’t have a good time, no one can right?

What about fans in pubs? Can’t drink either for fear someone may say something that hurts your constitution?

I get that your goal is to baby proof the world around you because that’s what goin on and what’s cool on social media, but surely there are worse things in the world than a hostile atmosphere in an away stadium. Oh golly.

By the way, ever watch Turkish basketball? Ever watch Serbian basketball? Ever heard the constant pitter patter of lighters being thrown at the away bench? “No other European sport.” Do you even try to fact check or think about what you write before hitting send?

And no I’m not in support of racism, abuse, heckling or violence, but I am against stupid ideas that come from YOU being offended and assuming EVERYONE is too.
N.V.M. (Freedom brov, it’s called Freedom)


Long time reader and occasional mailboxer. Mark MCFC, mentions that the number one problem in football grounds is white men. If he’s used any other colour, race or gender he would have, rightly, not been published I assume. Who was it said that someone should be judged on their character not the colour of their skin ? Good grief. Thought you were better than that F365. Well, you used to be, but I guess not now.
John (no words) Isle of Man




But he’s not alone…
Wow Mark, bet your fun at parties

It’s just banter!

Go watch synchronised swimming instead you SNOWFLAKE.

I am of course joshing, including the deliberate misspelling of you’re in the first sentence. These are some of the replies I expect Mark MCFC to receive from the ‘real’ football fans reading this. I agree with Mark completely. However, as evidenced by the general uproar in response to an email I sent several years ago implying that there are more important things in this world than football, it seems we are rather alone.

Football is seen as the last bastion of the working man’s tribalism. A place where those parents who pretend their son (cliché names withheld so as not to unduly offend) doesn’t usually use swear words are happy to hear him do so as long as it’s at the bloke in black (referee uniform, though it’s not a stretch to intimate skin).

That it is all seen as ‘banter’ (in my mind anyone other than Frasier Crane that uses that word is automatically an idiot) and ‘part of the game’ is a damning indictment of this most modern of sports in all other senses. In regular circles, banter equals bullying

This sport is for all. I will be encouraging my daughter to play (if she wants to) as much as I will my son(provided he does as well), yet I witness dads week in, week out at football practice ignoring their daughters to prioritise the development of their son’s skills. The misogyny is as rife as ever, which is just one small facet of the abortion that is the general football fanbase in this country.

The most worrying thing about all of this was not Greg Clarke’s comments (though they were atrocious), but that social media was awash with people trying to defend him/them. I genuinely couldn’t believe that in this day and age, anyone would be able to think this was defensible. Then I look around and see how many idiots there are declaring that ‘all lives matter’.

The fact that Talksport still has any active listeners is disturbing, let alone the millions it rakes in to hear that walking heart attack Alan Brazil claim that he refuses to eat wine gums without a pig foreskin in them.

Something has to change, but I genuinely don’t know what it will take to do so.

Rant over, but Mark, well said, and you are not alone.
Dom (not to mention the flat earth movement) Littleford.


Interesting thoughts from Mark MCFC. Without going all PR campaign on everyone it does feel like a bit of an opportunity to make the matchday experience a bit better. A few ideas:Stop the abuse – I’ve never really understood the concept that because you’ve paid £100 to watch a game you now have the right to call everyone a c*nt – the ref, your team, the other team, their fans etc. etc. Support your team, try and say something funny about the other team to put them off, but when it crosses the line into abuse you’re out…

Treat fans like normal humans – it turns out you can show replays in the ground without people going mental, like they do in literally every other elite sporting event in the world. You can sit in your seat and enjoy a beverage (in moderation) without acting like a complete tool. Maybe we can try it when there’s less people in the ground and scale up / stop it if it turns out we can’t act like adults

Actual punishment for d*ckheads – The thing about most Premier League / Championship games generally is that it’s fairly hard to get a ticket. There’s more people who want to come to the ground than can fit, particularly with capped attendances for the foreseeable future. So if people get out of line how about some actual jeopardy in terms of losing season tickets?

Reduce the number of queues – Line up to get in to the ground. Line up to get a pie. Line up to get a beer. Line up to go to the bathroom. Hows about you have a bunch of extra staff to handle all the people that are there (except for the bathroom one – unless you want to get real progressive about it), and pay them a living wage while you’re at it…

Listen to the refs – ok hear me out. Most sports have mic’ed up referees. If we can hear what they are saying it might limit the abuse they themselves cop from players, and give some insight as to why they’ve made certain decisions. Would probably stop certain refs acting like total knobs / divas too…
Simon (How is Willian going to Dubai essential travel?!, London


Fans the problem with handball
Mark’s email today, advocating for an indirect freekick for handball I think gets to the heart of the problem with handball. The problem is the attitude of fans, players and managers. We all currently bemoan the new rules, but really we only have ourselves to blame.

Mark wrote: “How can it be fair that the ball hits a defender’s arm away from his body stopping a shot or cross and nothing comes of it?” This seems to be the general opinion. Ball makes contact with arm = crime. Think back to games before the rule change. Any situation where the ball hit the arm and 50,000 fans shout “HANDBALL!!!! Ref You F’ing C’ thats a penalty!” Players surround the referee, the manager goes apoplectic on the sideline. Well, now those handballs are being given, and of course nobody is happy (except maybe United fans).

The problem is that football fans are completely irrational. A 50/50 challenge takes place and both sets of fans are up in arms, completely outraged about whatever decision the referee has taken. There’s no problem with that, its what adds to the great atmosphere of football but it makes decisions that require nuance very difficult. The ball striking an arm shouldn’t be such a problem for people if its an accident. But football fans are never going to see it that way.

If a cross or even a shot smashes off a players arm, it should not be a foul unless the defender could have done something about it. The punishment of a penalty or even an indirect free kick simply doesn’t fit the crime. You do not deserve a massive advantage.

The handball rule should be simple. Could the defender have done something to prevent the handball? Did the handball block a certain goal? If the answer to either of those questions is yes, its a penalty. If the answer is no, then play on.

That rule would be simple and fair, but it wouldn’t stop the crowds screaming for a penalty when the ball strikes an arm from 2 yards out. It wouldn’t stop the players or managers screaming at the ref. And that is what’s got us into the situation we’re in. As they say, you reap what you sow.
Mike, LFC, London


Raymond Verheijen
The Dutch, self-styled, fitness ‘guru’ mentioned by ‘B CFC’ was Raymond Verheijen who wrote his article in 2016 after also taking a pop at Man City.

Interesting that both teams have gone on to win the Premier League 3 times between them since then.

He also criticized Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea. As well as Barcelona and Feyenoord. In fact, he seems to have spent more time criticizing top clubs as a way to promote himself.

The reality is that Liverpool no longer play the continuous hard pressing game they did when Klopp first joined. They now play a more possession based game. It would be fair to say that their fitness record over the last two seasons in which they had a record points for second place and won the CL and last year won the league was pretty good. Also wondering how fitness comes into play with the Van Dyke and Thiago injuries.

And, let’s face it, Klopp among other PL managers, warned and complained about the short pre-season and tough schedule this year, which impacts the teams in Europe the most.

Verheijen sounds like a coaching Stan Collymore and reminds me of the gorilla in the zoo who threw poo and might eventually hit the mark sometime.
Paul McDevitt


What is Kante’s ‘best position’?
As a Chelsea fan, obviously happy with the Lamps better than a clown admission in top things you guys (and most of us) got wrong. Just a small pet peeve – everyone seems to think it’s as simple as putting Kante in his ‘best position’. So what is that then? It seems Ranieri, Conte and current Lamps are accepted to have gotten it right while Sarri and early Lamps had gotten it wrong. I put it to you that Kante has played in a different formation and mostly different position for every single manager bar Sarri and early Lamps:Ranieri – formation 4-4-2 as a shuttler along with the indomitable (in Chelsea’s development side (actually they lost in the Papa John cup so scratch that)) Danny D
Conte – formation 3-4-3 with the actually indomitable Matic/magical Fabregas
Sarri and early Lamps – different formations but as an ‘8’ tasked with carrying the ball forward and making runs even beyond the striker at times
Current Lamps – 4-3-3 as the sole defensive midfielder a la Makelele (sounds like a lazy comparison but I think pretty accurate)
So to summarise, initially in the double pivot, then a number 8, now the sole defensive mid. You could argue he dropped into the sole defensive mid role while playing in the double pivot but it is still completely different to being flanked by two ‘8’s in the current role – two ‘8’s (Mount/Havertz/Kovacic) who generally don’t have too much defensive nous. And to be honest, if he gets injured I think this whole system falls down. Desperately need the return of the Billy Gilmour that gave Roy Keane heart palpitations – who incidentally partnered up with Danny D in that fateful pizza cup loss
Saaj CFC


United-Liverpool narratives
There were a few Manchester United fans who wrote into the mailbox recently making fun of the complaints that their club were winning too many penalties.
Now as a Liverpool fan, I’m aware that many of my fellow fans haven’t covered themselves in glory on this issue in the past with stuff like the Howard Webb conspiracies, Fergie time etc. I find all that conspiracy-driven stuff distasteful and dumb. That said, it’s a bit amusing seeing complaints and data-driven corrections from the same fanbase who made ‘LiVARpool a thing’ last season. I mean, just close your eyes and imagine what United fans would be saying if Liverpool had won the same number of penalties as United have done from the start of last season (which is what people are commenting on, not just this season) while United itself had won penalties that were closer to the league average. Something tells me the narrative would be a tad different.
Turiyo Damascene. Kigali, Rwanda.


Ved Sen needs FM21
Quite some irony we’ve got to unpick here isn’t there? Can’t be bothered to go into it properly, so let’s TL;DR it shall we?

Please don’t write in with a supreme amount of sarcasm then argue someone else isn’t making footballing points. You undermine your own argument in doing so.

FM21 full version is released today. Off you pop to build your tactical acumen.
Sam, LFC (Ole is still tactically naive and unable to motivate his players, utd are treading water under him in terms of results and performances. Footballing enough for you?) 


Liverpool were meant to run out of steam. David Moyes wasn’t supposed to still be in a job. Oops.

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