An integral part of Manchester City's unforgivingly rambunctious and goal-hungry attack, Yaya Toure, 30, is already enjoying his most prolific season to date despite there still being plenty of football left to play in both Premier League and Champions League competition.
Considering the club are still campaigning on four fronts, one would think City would have no problem holding on to their best players and biggest stars, however, Toure has conceded that Paris Saint Germain are a 'scary' outfit due to their who's who roster: 'PSG are a big club, they are scary and I have great respect for them,' the Champions League winner with Barcelona is quoted by RMC Sport to have said.
'It's a big team… like the Manchester City of France,' he added. 'They have the financial power which enables them to buy great players. And they prove that they are in the league above. To be honest… PSG scares me.'
Toure also refused to rule out a future switch from England, to Ligue 1: 'Everything can be possible. In life, you never know. It's going well at City but one never knows. When you have great teams like this, where there are already great players, it attracts.'
Like the PSG grouping of Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the City spine has it all - defensive strength, physical majesty and attacking gust - and the core includes Vincent Kompany, Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo.
Toure, though, is the only one of the aforementioned five who completes tasks at both ends of the pitch - he has turned in to the ultimate all-round midfielder but, while he has recently played himself into a headlining attraction, he remains not as statistically impressive as others who fulfill similar roles in England's other elite clubs.
|Player||Team||Goals (G)||Assists (A)||Mins/G+A||Apps||Mins|
Toure is clearly the most productive when it comes to scoring, yet both Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal and Steven Gerrard of Liverpool are more balanced between busting nets and assisting their team-mates. The statistic that matters most, here, though, is the frequency of their contributions - and this is where Ramsey really separates himself from the trio as he either scores or sets up a goal once every 106 minutes; a return that would be befitting of a top level striker.
|Player||Team||Mins/ Tackle||Mins/ Clearance||Mins/ Acc Pass||Mins/ Chance||Mins/ Touche||Apps|
While Toure in season's past may have been more focused on defensive play, he is certainly more attack-minded this year - and that is to the detriment to his break-up play, with Gerrard and Ramsey both committing to a more determined approach in destroying the attempted chances any opposition player has in mind. Again, Ramsey comes out on top here.
When it comes to clearing, only Gerrard has a stat that is worth writing home about, while Toure completes a pass with a mildly greater frequency (once every 1.3 minutes) than Ramsey (1.4 mins) and Gerrard (1.5 mins).
Intriguingly, Toure is the more accurate passer of the football as well (90% accurate) compared to Gerrard (86%) and Ramsey (85%), however, both Ramsey and Toure's average passing range is 17 metres, while the Liverpool skipper's is far greater - at 22 metres, meaning the Englishman is more adventurous with his distribution.
When it comes to directly influencing a game, one of the key fields to highlight would be touches and touch regularity - and there is nobody listed who has more of the ball than Ramsey, who enjoys 89.78 touches of the football per game on average.
The Welshman is due to return from a hip injury at the end of the month and, should he recapture his early season form, then he will no doubt steal the headlines away from Toure and claim them for himself.
image: © marc_tacoma