David N’gog – Definite Potential

This article was originally published on 8th June 2011, and updated on 18th June 2011.

If Twitter transfer tittle-tattle is to believed, then David N’gog is off to the Stadium Of Light in part exchange for Jordan Henderson.

The speculation seems to suggest that he is being valued at £7m in this deal. If so, that would represent a marked increase on the £1.5m shelled out by Rafa Benitez in 2008.

Some people would think that he is over-priced at that figure, and I have heard Liverpool fans saying ‘good riddance’ and the like.

As usual, my opinion will be based on the facts. And as usual, they tend to go against perceived wisdom.

I have compared N’gog on two key statistics against the Premier League’s top proven strikers, as well as Andy Carroll and Luis Suárez, to give a point of reference for Liverpool fans.

Firstly, a look at shots to goals ratio. The figures quoted are the players’ total Premier League career, not just a specific season, so obviously some players here will have played a lot more games than others:

Now clearly N’gog is fairly lowdown this table. But look who he is very close to, or even ahead of: Golden Boot winner Dimitar Berbatov and £24m powerhouse Didier Drogba  to name but two.

The other statistic I have looked at is shots on target ratio:

The boy N’gog (who, remember, only turned 22 two months ago) certainly knows where the goal is. He is level with another Golden Boot winner (Carlos Tevez) and only a fraction behind a World Cup winner in Fernando Torres.

If you break N’gog’s stats down on a season-by-season basis, then his figures for 2008-09 (his first year in English football, don’t forget) make for very interesting reading.

His shots to goal ratio was 0.22, which would put him joint top of the above table, and his shots on target ratio was 0.67, which would put him outright first for those rankings.

This clearly demonstrates the benefit of playing in a well-oiled, title chasing team, but that’s for another debate.

Bear in mind that N’gog has only made 21 starts across his three seasons with the Reds, so if he starts nearly every game for Sunderland, then it’s not unreasonable to assume that he may well figure at the top end of the scoring charts next year.

That would make £7m seem like an absolute steal.

Update: 18th June 2011

I thought it would be interesting to add the scores on the above two tables together to give a combined ranking:

I realise this is a far from flawless or complete way of measuring the effectiveness of a striker, but personally, I think it makes for interesting reading. N’gog is ranked 6th, and his figure of 0.73 is the average of the above totals.

Something of major significance has also occurred to me since I originally posted this article: penalties.

Several of the players on the above list are regular penalty takers (Bent, van Persie, Defoe, and Tevez for example). A free shot at goal from 12 yards seems a pretty easy way to bump up your shots on target or shots to goals ratios to me.

I can’t recall N’gog taking a Premier League penalty, though I have currently not been able to obtain statistics regarding the penalty taking record of individual players, so can’t be 100% sure.

But he is certainly not a regular on penalty duty like some of the above list, and yet he is in touching distance of some of the world’s top frontmen on the above measures at least.

Perhaps my initial version of this article went a little overboard in my praise of N’gog. Yet he is a young player, playing from the bench more-often-than not, and has spent most of his time playing for a struggling Liverpool side.

Time will tell if he ever gets to the very top of the game, chances are he probably won’t. But I believe he deserves more respect than he commonly gets for what he has achieved to date, and I stand by that.

Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here.

11 thoughts on “David N’gog – Definite Potential

  1. How many shots did he hit? Puts it all in perspective, you could have a guy who never shots but hit a few shots, got them on target and managed to score a couple. Doesn’t really explain the story if a player is hiding in games and doing nothing

  2. I like this, makes sense. Although N’gog isn’t good enough for LFC and our ambitions, I’m sure he will make a good career from himself away from Anfield.

  3. They may be the stats but they just dont tell the full story, i wish him luck at Sunderland a hope your prophecy comes true for him..

  4. It’s an interesting article though there is a marked difference between shots on target and goals so to assume he will be near the top of the goalscorers chart is a bit of a stretch! That being said I agree that he has great potential and needs games to improve further

  5. I have a feeling we have lost a player with very good potential and work ethics. I cannot say the same for a player we brought in in January

  6. Unfortunately stats don’t reveal the whole truth. Whilst I don’t think Ngog was a terrible player for Liverpool, I’m sure you’ll notice that despite him getting plenty of shots on target, and having decent ‘stats’ he was not Liverpool Football Club material. Strikers are judged, more than anything else, on the goals they score, and for someone with as good a shots-on-target statistic as that, I’d expect more goals from N’gog. I don’t think I ever saw him sprint.

    That said, I think he’ll do well at Sunderland, where they’ll be a bit more patient and he wont be playing under such pressure. I also think he would benefit from having a strike partner, as he often appeared very isolated playing in Rafa and Roy’s 4-2-3-1 system as a lone striker. Perhaps with the right foil he could be a snip at £7m…

  7. This is an absolutely abysmal piece of writing. Suggesting that your opinion is based on facts and therefore a more factual opinion is nonsense. Stats like shots on goal/ shots on target are meaningless without a proper goal scoring record. 100% of his shots on target could have been soft straight at the keeper shots, they could have been bound for the top corner and nearly gone in. It doesn’t tell you the whole story and is therefore not enough to prove that a player is good. It’s quite plain for anyone with a brain that Ngog, despite his 0.1% differences with Drogba, is nothing like Drogba. His work rate isn’t the best, he isn’t blessed with blistering pace and he very rarely scored/threatened. He is not a top class striker. He may do okay at Sunderland, but that’s another story. If you’d watched him play, you’d know.

  8. the flaw with ratios is that the more games you play and the more shots you have tends to sort the good / bad out if i have ten shots the chances are i will hit the target 7 times and score 4 but as this number multiplys the ratio decreases

  9. Thanks for the feedback everyone. I’ve learned a valuable lesson – don’t scribble some thoughts down during your lunchbreak and post it online!

    I probably went a little overboard with my praise of N’gog, but I do get tired of people writing him off when the potential is there. To be as good as Drogba for example? Probably not, but I believe he’s better than a lot of people give him credit for.

    Drogba was playing in Ligue 2 at 22, but playing every week no doubt – would this have been better for N’gog? Sure, it probably would. Certainly helped Drogba to develop out of the spotlight.

    Unfortunately I don’t know how many minutes N’gog has played, but he’s only had 21 league starts, and scored 9 goals. Not spectacular, but not abysmal either. He’s scored against Man Utd and Arsenal amongst others – doesn’t prove he’ll be a world beater of course, but people seem to dismiss him too easily.

    I still believe he could get into double figures next season if he plays every week. Should be interesting to find out anyway.

  10. Pingback: Liverpool FC’s Squad Availability 2010/11 | Bass Tuned To Red

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