Why is Sergio Aguero such a homeboy?

by Spurs Fanatic

Sergio Aguero has had a sensational first season in English football. The Argentinean striker, brought in for £38million pounds last summer, has struck the net sixteen times so far this Premier League campaign, but twelve of those strikes have been at home.

So, why does Sergio Aguero prefer the green, green grass of home to playing on the road?

The form of Sergio Aguero at home and away

In terms of out-and-out production, Aguero has been like two different players at home and on the road this season. 75% of his goals have come at the Etihad and also 80% of his assists.

If we break down his goal and assist numbers, we get an indication as to why Sergio Aguero has been less prolific on the road.

Home

Away

Differential

Mins on pitch

908

919

+11

Goals

12

4

-8

Mins per goal

76 mins

230 mins

-154 mins

Shots per game

4.4

2.7

-1.7

Assists

4

1

-3

Key passes per game

2.0

1.5

-0.5

Passing Accuracy

88%

83%

-5%

Avg mins on pitch per game

70 mins

71 mins

+1 min

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The Argentinean ace has been taking 40% more shots at home than he has been away, something we’ll look in to further in a second.

His assists are also down, with just a solitary helper away from the Etihad. This is not surprising seeing as Aguero is making less key passes and his passing accuracy is lower when not on home soil.

So, having looked at some top line numbers, let’s delve a little deeper as to the reasons why his goals are down away from home.

Man City are shooting from further out on the road

Players that get shots closer to the target score more goals and Man City are no exception. Of their 69 goals scored in the Premier League, 53 (77%) have come from inside the box.

With Manchester City being the top scorers in the division, you would therefore expect them to get a very high percentage of their shots away from inside the area, and they do. However, whilst this reigns true for them at home, it is markedly different on the road.

Man City at home

If we take a look at three Manchester City home matches, we can see that the team gets away 76% of their shots against Spurs inside the box, 63% against Fulham and 75% against Blackburn.

In the Spurs and Blackburn matches, Man City also managed to get a high percentage of shots from inside the six-yard box and scored three goals in each game.

Man-City-shot-zones-home-1

In terms of shooting from outside the area, City took 25% of their shots from long-range against Spurs and also Blackburn. The exception was Fulham, who were able to push them up to 38% of their efforts from distance. Fulham were able to keep Man City out of the six-yard box though, which is the reason for this figure being higher from outside.

Man City away

Compare that form at home against on the road, where opponents seem to be able to force them to shoot from outside more often. In fact they are increasing City’s outside shooting to almost 50% of their total match shots.

Man-City-shot-zones-away

Away to Aston Villa, Man City are forced to take 44% of their shots from outside the area. Everton manage to push them to take 43% of their shots from beyond the box, whilst also keeping them out of the six-yard area. Whereas Sunderland not only keep Man City’s six-yard box shots down to 4%, but also force 48% of their shots from distance.

If we take a look at the Sunderland and Everton games in more detail, we can see the volume and location of Man City’s shooting.

Man-City-shot-locations-awa

As for Aguero, if we take a look at his personal shooting charts at home and on the road, we can see a similar trend.

At home to Blackburn, he had four shots, all of which were inside the box and he scored a goal. Against Fulham, he was also able to get his four shot home average, hitting the target with two of them and scoring a goal.

sergio-aguero-home-shooting

Whilst having no trouble getting shots from inside the box and scoring at home, Sergio Aguero, like Man City, have struggled when on the road.

At Everton, we saw how the Toffees forced Manchester City as a team to shoot from outside, and Sergio Aguero was no exception. The Argentinean had two shots at goal, which conforms to his average away from the Etihad, neither of which were on target.

At Sunderland, Sergio Aguero got three shots away, two of which were from outside the area and only one was on target.

sergio-aguero-away-shooting

Aston Villa were the exception in that Aguero managed an extremely good six shots at the goal, but only two were on target. Although four of the six were inside the box, his shots were kept to the perimeter of the area. The reason for Aguero’s success at Villa Park will become apparent in a moment.

sergio-aguero-shots-vs-avfc

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Aguero favours the left side

Whether home or away Sergio Aguero operates in the centre channels, but favours getting his touches of the ball in the inside left channel.

If we look at the home games with Blackburn, Spurs and Fulham, we can see that he operates in both the right and left central channels outside the box, but moves to the left hand channel once inside the area.

sergio-aguero-touches-home

The same happens when away from home, where he plays both inside channels against Sunderland and Aston Villa. He again then prefers to get his touches of the ball to the left hand side of the area once inside.

sergio-aguero-touches-away

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Man City attack from the right when away from home

Sergio Aguero favours getting his touches in the left side of the penalty area once inside the box. This is fine at home, as the majority of Man City’s attacks come down the left-hand side. However, when they are away from the Etihad, they prefer to attack teams down the right flank.

He does move out to the right, which we can see in the charts of his touches above. However,  it seems to be against his natural instinct, which is to move left, that Man City play to when at home.

If we look at some examples, we can see that against Spurs at home, the majority of Man City’s attacking play comes down the left hand side (41%). The same is also true against Fulham, where this time 43% of City’s attacks come down the left flank.

MCFC-attack-side-home

However, when Man City go on the road, they switch their focus marginally to the right side. Against Sunderland, the Blues attack the Black Cats with 36% of their forays down the right flank, and away to Everton, and even bigger 43% of the attack is to that side.

MCFC-attack-side-away

The problem for Aguero, whose natural instinct seems to be to work the left-hand channels more than the right, means that he is getting less involved in the play away from home, therefore getting less touches and chances to shoot.

If we take a look at an average position map from the match against Sunderland, we can see how Man City are attacking the right side with Adam Johnson (11) and Michael Richards (2). Sergio Aguero (16) has an average position favouring the left side, away from the focus of play.

MCFC-avg-pos-vs-Sunderland

Where we saw earlier that Aguero had some success away from home at Aston Villa, he managed to get six shots at the goal during the game. If we look at City’s attacking zones from that game, we can see that they focussed heavily on getting the ball out wide, but utilised the left side more.

MCFC-attack-side-vs-AVFC
Manchester City mounted 36% of their attacks from the right and 41% from the left. With Sergio Aguero favouring this left side, it’s no surprise that he got six shots away during that game and was heavily involved. However, as we saw from his shot chart in this game earlier, all were from distance rather than closer in to the box, which is where a higher percentage of shots will be converted in to goals.
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Aguero, as well as the Man City team, need to get closer to the target away from home, as 53 of their 69 Premier League goals have come from within the 18-yard area this season.
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Sergio Aguero has had a fantastic first season in English football, but definitely enjoys the green, green grass of home to being on the road. How do you feel he has fared?

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