Jack Hallows has been taking a look at the statistics behind Mohamed Salah’s improvement and career revival at AS Roma.
We have a new record signing, folks! Mohamed Salah has been given another shot at the Premier League and I for one, am ecstatic.
The Egyptian has always had the potential and talent to be a player of absolute quality but I don’t think anyone predicted back during his struggles at Chelsea that he’d hit the heights he has done in his last two seasons at AS Roma.
Improvements on a personal level
To say Salah hit new heights during the 2016/17 season would be a massive understatement.
The 25-year-old had taken a large step in the right direction during 2015/16 campaign and this carried over impressively during his second campaign in the Italian capital.
In his previous 18 months in Italy, Salah had managed a total of 10 assists and 22 goals in 65 games across all competitions. Impressive? Yes. Earth shattering? No.
To see him then step it up a gear and break the double figures barrier for both goals and assists in a single season during 2016/17 was remarkable.
The Egyptian featured on an elite list of only eight players to achieve the feat across Europe’s top five leagues alongside the likes of Neymar, Alexis Sanchez, Luis Suarez and José Callejón of Napoli.
The below infographic shows just how much Salah has made of his chances in the Serie A since joining Roma and his 32 goals and 18 assists since the start of the 2015/16 season is enough to see him outperform all of Liverpool’s first-choice front three from last campaign, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané.
Positively, Salah has also improved his output rate and consistency alongside the basic numbers. The Egyptian went 3 months – 8 games – without a league goal or assist over the winter during the 2015/16 season, failing to provide any direct goal contributions in any of November, December or January.
However, during the 2016/17 campaign, the forward endured no such run. Despite being unable to contribute to a Serie A goal in either of his two games in December, this was the only month in which the Egyptian failed to do so in league football – other than January when he spent the entirety of the month at AFCON where, even then, he managed two goals and two assists during the international tournament.
Importance to Roma
The pacy winger was integral to the Italian side across both 2015/16 and 2016/17 and his 15 goals and 11 assists in the Serie A last term were a huge help towards an impressive second-placed finish.
The Romans managed a staggering 90 goals in their 38 league games, averaging 2.5 goals/90 when the Reds new coup featured.
Interestingly, while Salah was absent at the African Cup of Nations with Egypt, Roma did on paper perform better as a team.
As shown in the infographic below, when Salah was involved in Serie A games, Roma managed to win 71% of their games, drawing 10% and losing the remaining 19%. In his absences, however, they managed to avoid drawing any matches and won 6 out of 7.
However, when you look deeper, you see a trend emerging that is similar to what generally happened with Liverpool when missing Sadio Mané. Even in victory, the Reds struggled to have the same attacking fluency and devastation to their play when the Senegalese was at AFCON in January/injured in the Spring and the same is evident of Roma in Salah’s absences.
Three of the five opponents that Roma faced in Salah’s AFCON absence finished in the bottom half of the table and while they beat all three, they were anything but fluent. All three results were scrappy 1-0 victories and they were followed by a 3-2 loss to Sampdoria.
The Serie A runners-up were clearly far more intent on sitting deeper, solidifying their back line and looking to pinch a singular winner when Salah was not involved.
The standout evidence that Roma were far more fluent and free flowing with the Egyptian winger in their starting XI is found in their goals per game statistics. With Salah involved, the Italian side managed an average of 2.5 goals from 14.4 shots/90 as opposed to just 1.7 from 11.9 when he was absent.
A friendly team-mate comparison
So, enough of how he’s done in relation to the Serie A. How does Salah compare to the Reds current speedy talisman Sadio Mané?
As shown in the above infographic, the two wingers are actually very hard to separate.
Both are 25 years old, 5’9 in height and both operated on the right-hand side of a fluid, interchangeable front three for much of last season.
Both hit double figures for goals scored, netting the same amount at home and the majority with their stronger foot – Mané’s right, Salah’s left. However, while Mané just pipped Salah for winning goals, the Egyptian wasn’t far behind with 4 to the Senegalese’s 5 while Salah got one back by just pipping Mané in away goals, 6 to 4.
Salah though was dominant when it came to setting up his teammates, showcasing his creative streak by more than doubling Mané’s league assist total of 5 last campaign but it was Mané who got his side off to blistering starts on his own more often, scoring the Reds opening goal on 6 occasions.
The end verdict on playing the two as a pair? It’s going to be one frightening and daunting task for every single one of the Premier League’s full-backs this season.
We’d like to take a moment to thank the guys at KickOff for once again providing us with the infographics that made this article possible!