Nasri: Toure is the best - But what do the stats say?

Yaya Toure

Samir Nasri rates Manchester City team-mate Yaya Toure as one of the world's top three midfielders.

"He can do everything, he can score goals, he can defend, he can attack. When he gets the ball he is so powerful," Nasri told reporters after the Capital One Cup final.

"You should just admire the way he plays because he's a great player. I might be a little bit biased because he's my friend but, for me, he's in the top three of the best midfielders in the world."

But what do the stats say?

MidfielderAccurate PassesAssistsGoalsTacklesWon ContestAppsMins
Yaya Touré 1,689 4 13 44 31 25 2,182
Gareth Barry 1,343 3 3 61 10 22 1,980
Jonathan De Guzmán 1,313 3 2 32 13 24 1,754
Jordan Henderson 1,299 6 3 67 18 28 2,499
Mikel Arteta 1,277 0 2 71 11 21 1,534
Steven Gerrard 1,253 9 8 71 12 24 2,023
Morgan Schneiderlin 1,249 1 1 96 17 25 2,119
Gary Medel 1,240 0 0 62 13 26 2,193
Mesut Özil 1,231 8 4 19 36 22 1,834
Cheick Tioté 1,184 1 0 79 22 23 1,872
David Silva 1,109 7 4 24 18 17 1,431
Aaron Ramsey 1,064 6 8 66 27 18 1,495
Jack Wilshere 1,030 4 3 32 44 23 1,692
Adam Lallana 887 5 7 49 55 28 2,289
Moussa Sissoko 862 5 3 48 55 28 2,418

As Opta data for the Premier League shows, Frenchman Nasri may have a point. But it depends, of course, on what area you look at.

Offensively, few compare to Ivorian Toure, with the 30-year-old scoring the most goals of any midfielder in top flight and completely dominating the division's passing stats.

Both in terms of assists and dribbling, meanwhile, Toure also impresses, though he is outshone by the likes of Steven Gerrard, Mesut Ozil and David Silva in some of these departments.

It is Toure's defensive profile that might let him down, however, which is interesting considering Nasri's claims that the Ivorian is a top-class defensive midfielder who will also get you goals.

Indeed, it seems Toure's main attributes are those of an attacking midfielder, with a number of rivals making more tackles than him this season.

NameInterceptions WonEffective ClearancesOutfield blocks
Yaya Touré 19 26 3

Toure also lags behind in terms of his interceptions, blocks and effective clearances, with a host of midfielders surpassing him in these areas (Crystal Palace's Mile Jedinak leads the way here).

But considering the Man City man's attacking responsibilities, it is perhaps impressive that Toure can still manage to contribute so steadily in defence - even if he does not top the tables for tackles and interceptions won.

Indeed, going forward, Nasri may just be right to laud Toure's ability. Whether he is in the top three in the world, though, is a debate that could rage on for some time. He's certainly one of the best midfielders in the Premier League...

image: © marc_tacoma

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