Iago Aspas is one of the most consistent performers in La Liga and has scored 14 or more goals in the last seven seasons. He has single-handedly helped Celta Vigo win matches. Aspas has no intention of breaking his streak and is in brilliant form this season. He has already scored seven goals and had two assists in La Liga. But still, he was not named in the 26-man squad of the Spanish National Team. His form, decisiveness in front of the goal, and footballing brain would have helped Spain immensely in the World Cup. So, we take a look at some stats to understand why Luis Enrique made a mistake by not selecting Iago Aspas in the squad for the World Cup.
Iago Aspas has made 14 appearances this La Liga season, starting 12 and coming off the bench in two matches. He has seven goals and two assists to his name. His consistency is truly breathtaking.
The above visual shows the percentile rank of Iago Aspas compared to other centre-forwards in La Liga. The 35-year-old has excellent passing and attacking stats. He is ranked in the top 92.4 percentile for passes per game and the top 89.23 percentile for dangerous passes per 90. Aspas is also ranked in the top 73.5 percentile for goal contributions per game and the top 58.4 percentile for dribbles per game, which are above average.
One of Aspas’ strongest points is his dribbling. Even at 35, he is quick and makes some excellent dribbles to catch the opposition out on counter-attacks. The above visual shows the penetrating carries made by Iago Aspas in La Liga this season. He has made 43 penetrating carries, with an average of 2.83 dribbles per game, succeeding in 56.4% of those. This figure, however, has declined from 3.39 dribbles last season. We can observe that most of the dribbles are from right to left, as he is a left-footer. Spain lacked penetration, especially in the match against Morocco. Aspas’ dribbles would have helped Spain in that situation by breaking down defensive lines.
The above visual shows the pass map for Iago Aspas from the current season. He is ranked in the top 92.4 percentile for passes per game and makes an average of 31.45 passes per game. Aspas has a passing accuracy of 78.8% and has made passes all over the field. The map shows that he frequently plays long passes that cover a large portion of the field. He has a passing accuracy of 56.5% for long passes. Moreover, Aspas makes around 4.21 passes into the final third with a 79.3% success rate and an average of 2.47 passes into the penalty box per game.
The above visual shows the xG map of Iago Aspas from the current season of La Liga. He has scored seven goals from 14 matches, with six of them coming from open play and one from the penalty spot. He has attempted a total of 23 shots, with 13 of them from inside the box and 14 on target. The 35-year-old veteran averaged 1.82 shots per game with 60% accuracy. His uncanny ability to find goals from nothing would have come in handy for Spain in the World Cup.
One of the most consistent scorers in La Liga, Aspas scored a staggering 18 goals and registered six assists last season. He unleashed a total of 80 shots, with 30 on target. Aspas took 2.31 shots per game on average with 45.9% accuracy and scored 0.46 goals per game.
Did Aspas deserve a place instead of Morata?
Luis Enrique preferred the Atletico Madrid striker over Iago Aspas. Therefore, we compare the radars of both players to understand if Aspas deserves a chance over Morata. Iago Aspas has better stats in passes, entry into the penalty box, and goal contributions per 90, whereas Morata has better stats in duels and takes more shots and dribbles. Even though Morata did well in the World Cup, there is no doubt that Aspas would have given a different look to the Spanish front line.
Iago Aspas has been one of the most consistent players in La Liga for the last seven or more years. He was overshadowed by great players like Lionel Messi, but now, even at 35, he is one of the best in La Liga. His stats and performance in the season certainly tell us that he has still got it and that he deserves a chance in the World Cup.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine