Idiots Troll Darwin Núñez, Whose Numbers Are Elite (Free Read)
Rant Alert. Núñez Labelled a Flop By People With No Brains
Darwin Núñez is proving that a worm-like brainfart has burrowed its way into the heads of so many in the media, and the trollish fans at other clubs, that they can't see the fucking woods for the trees.
Getting annoyed by tabloid ratings is a mug's game, but I've fallen for it. A Daily Mail piece written this week by half-man half-amoeba is such a turd that I won't even link to it; they want the hits, obviously.
They label Núñez a flop, and yet have higher ratings for Raheem Sterling, Richarlison and Antony, despite the vastly inferior differences in their outputs compared to Núñez.
At the end of this piece is a data comparison, using goals, assists and more funky stats, expected goals and assists (some kind of strange witchcraft, I hear).
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Apparently 10 non-penalty goals and four assists (and lots more chances created for others, and the woodwork hit several times with great efforts) before even half the league season has been played is justification for a MISS at “£64m (with add-ons)”, but a “£50m (with add-ons)” striker with zero league goals is merely a "JURY'S OUT", and an £85m wide attacker who literally creates nothing is also a "JURY'S OUT"?
In all competitions, Núñez has played the equivalent of just over 15 games for the Reds in terms of minutes played; and also made 15 starts. He has ten goals and four assists.
He blows away all the attacking players the Mail does not also rate as flops within the same piece.
Oh, but a pizza chain trolled Darwin, so hey, he must be shit, right? Ha fucking ha.
Meanwhile, Jürgen Klopp merely pointed out how it took Robert Lewandowski a poor first season (nine goals in 43 games) before he got going with the goals the next year; Núñez's first season at Liverpool has already seen him outscore Lewandowski's first season at Dortmund, with both at roughly the same age.
The narrative is strong on this one, just as with the “shit Andy Carroll” nonsense you hear each week, when Núñez needs just one goal to match Carroll’s entire output in a red shirt, with the Uruguayan (new to the league and costing less than Carroll in 2022 money) having shown a far better all-round game (as someone who runs the channels and crosses for others).
Having a ponytail (Lucas Leiva, Andriy Voronin and aforementioned Carroll) seems to invite mockery, much like having a pineapple haircut. It's bordering on psychological harassment of Núñez, for being pretty bloody brilliant and – as if great strikers never do it – missing a few sitters.
Seriously, give me a hard-working, hard-running striker who misses some chances but scores goals over one who gets no chances and scores no goals; and while we're at it, ideally get people who actually understand football stats (and maybe football in general) to use football stats, just as you need a licence to drive a car.
Here’s their assessment:
"Benfica to Liverpool – £64m (plus £21m add-ons)
He's got Jurgen Klopp questioning his 'shooting technique' and Dominos Pizza trolling him on social media, this isn't how Darwin Nunez would have envisaged his first six months as a player in England.
Heading into Monday's defeat at Brentford, the Uruguayan ranked first for shots per 90 minutes (6) among players in Europe's top 10 leagues with 500 or more minutes played this season.
The issue is that he found himself down at 99th for goals per 90 minutes (0.57) - with a number of great chances going awry."
(BTW, I once had a Domino’s pizza, which tasted like shit, and I was unwell afterwards. I’ve never used them again.)
The use of football stats in the Mail piece was criminally dumb. But I guess clickbait doesn't need to make sense. Still, I'll throw in some advanced stats later in the piece, to show far greater context than cherrypicking one bad stat to prove a player is a flop. To have 0.57 goals per 90 is actually excellent, and for non-penalty goals, Núñez ranks much higher (not that he will take the penalties anyway, but after almost half the season, Liverpool haven’t been given a league penalty).
Plus, there's the weird thing of rolling in World Cup performances to the reviews for the other players, as if that counts!
Meanwhile, Antony “Ajax to Manchester United – £85.5m”, gets the following writeup, yet is also a “JURY'S OUT” – despite being more expensive than Núñez and far less productive.
"But his performances are frustrating to say the least ... needs to begin translating itself to consistent goals and assists.
His display at Wolves had talkSPORT pundit Stuart Pearce furious - and he wasn't alone.
'Antony has got no intention of tracking back, Wolves can get a lot of joy down that side,' Pearce said, later adding: 'He irritates the life out of me'.
Needs to take the next step.
VERDICT: JURY'S OUT"
For a wide attacker/winger who stays upfield, Antony has zero assists. Not only that, he ranks in the bottom percentile for expected assists. On expected assists – creating good chances that may or may not be converted by team-mates – Núñez
In the league, Antony has created a total of 0.4 in expected assists so far; Núñez almost eight times that amount, at 3.0. Antony has done okay for goals. And that’s it – okay for goals, albeit none in the league since his first three games. For £85.5m.
BTW, the mediocre Lisandro Martinez – bullied in several games, but strong if the ball is only on the deck (his aerial duel success rate remains well below average for a centre-back, as you’d expect for someone of his limited size) – is rated a HIT in the piece because the fans love him. (United’s successful signings, to me, have been Casemiro and Christian Eriksen, and Erik ten Hag has solved the Ronaldo mojo-drain.)
So, has the halfwit who wrote the Mail piece seen how much the Liverpool fans love Núñez? Has he heard the chants?
If that's part of the criteria, then how can Núñez be a miss?
Martinez being a sub in a World Cup winning team is also listed as a reason he’s so great. Hmm.
Now look at Richarlison’s write-up, despite zero goals in the league:
Everton to Tottenham – £50m (plus £10m add-ons)
Truth be told, entering the new year without a single Premier League goal is not a great look, even with his minutes capped behind Harry Kane.
... Richarlison isn't hitting the heights many fans may well have hoped.
VERDICT: JURY'S OUT
And for Sterling, various excuses on his behalf and this weird nugget:
His goal at Forest saw him reach 113 goals in 334 matches, matching the tally of former Premier League star Ian Wright. So, kudos for that.
Er, right – but all but four of those goals were for Liverpool and Manchester City, and this is about the players moving clubs; or do we get to include Núñez’s amazing exploits last season, too?
So, Sterling, Richarlison and Antony are rated as neutral, with only Núñez a flop.
Anyway, let’s get crazy and compare some numbers, to see if the Daily Mail were right.
The data is for all competitions unless otherwise stated (Antony’s minutes are in the far weaker Europa League, not the Champions League), and is from Opta data via FBRef.com.
Now, these aren’t all the numbers, but Núñez has other areas where he beats the players compared with below (with the three chosen based on the Mail’s selections); on aerial duels won, he’s miles ahead of even Richarlison. Who leads the four on dribble success rate? Núñez, by some distance: 35.7%, with the rest all below 30%. Who’s the best at stopping opponents dribbling with successful tackles? Núñez, at 75%.
But he’s ahead on goals, on assists, and therefore, even more ahead on goals + assists.
When based on goal contributions and minutes, he is miles ahead. His underlying numbers (the ‘expected’ stuff) also puts him in a league of his own, and a change in luck would help improve his figures, even if he still misses some sitters. (Having a great goal vs Brentford chalked off for being an inch offside is also unlucky – it’s not like he was a yard off, and gaining a clear advantage. It’s still offside, but so marginal it’s hard to hold against him.)
While Núñez is a centre-forward, he has also played on the left wing this season when Roberto Firmino has been in the team. Then again, the other three in the Mail (s)hit-piece are all attackers, clearly – playing as part of front threes, with wide strikers often now outscoring centre-forwards. Unlike two of the others, he’s brand new to the league; yet is cut not slack for that.
To have 14 goal contributions in 15 starts (in under 16 full games of playing time) – with no penalties – would be labelled elite about anyone other than the media and troll’s whipping boy, Darwin Núñez.
No, he’s not Erling Haaland, but that would be like saying Mo Salah hasn’t been very good at Liverpool because he’s not Lionel Messi.
Just look at the numbers, and even then, the numbers don’t give you The Full Darwin.
He’s a force of nature, running the channels, terrifying defenders, forcing mistakes; giving 90 minutes of everything he has.
He makes things happen, and when Liverpool sort out the midfield issues (which will in turn help the defence and the attack), and he continues to adjust to the league, he should get better still; especially having only turned 23 in the summer.
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