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Yaya Toure was a worse defensive midfielder than de Jong against Aston Villa because he wasn’t playing as one. October 17, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in English soccer.
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To hear whoever is behind FourFourTwo’s Stats Zone analysis column tell it, the following chart shows that Yaya Toure struggled against Aston Villa because Nigel de Jong was playing:

“The 4-1 win indicates that City thrived, and De Jong made the most completed passes for the home side (86), but Toure didn’t. Substituted after 65 minutes, the Ivorian had only completed 22 passes, easily his lowest of the season so far,” the columnist writes.

But Nigel de Jong was playing as a defensive midfielder. His job is to stay in place and receive the ball, then send it along. Yaya Toure was playing as a number 10. His job is to find space to move into and play telling passes. De Jong played zero passes in the final third, while Toure did. Does that mean he played worse? No. It’s irrelevant, because that’s not what’s expected of players in his position. Toure spent a lot of time getting behind the defense and, for heaven’s sake, he got an assist.

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