Swansea City: Why Does Michu Keep Scoring in the Premier League?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentSeptember 6, 2012

Swansea City: Why Does Michu Keep Scoring in the Premier League?

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    Swansea City have signed the bargain of the summer in Michu, who came from Rayo Vallecano for just £2 million.

    Michu has already scored four goals from eight shots in three games for the Swans, whilst providing a solitary assist.

    So, why does he keep scoring in the Premier League? This article will explore what makes Michu such a goal threat.

Is Michu a Midfielder or a Forward?

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    The misinformation regarding Michu's position is a classic example of the blind following the blind.

    Calling Michu a midfielder is the equivalent of saying Marouane Fellaini has been playing as a defensive midfielder this season. By saying that, you're telling everyone that you haven't been watching Everton this season.

    Even saying that Michu played as an attacking midfielder for Rayo Vallecano is a stretch because he clearly started as a deep-lying forward behind either Raul Tamudo or Diego Costa.

    In March, I briefly discussed Michu changing positions:

    It was a masterstroke from José Ramón Sandoval to not only sign Michu but move him into a deep-lying forward position.

    Throughout his career, he had played as a centre-midfielder, but this season, he’s been basically playing as a forward.

    With Danny Graham leading the line, opposing centre-backs have to keep him in check. Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer drag opposing players out of position. This generally leaves Michu in space three-fourths up the field.

    Notice the phrase "three-fourths up the field," because he isn't forward enough to be picked up by a centre-back, nor is he deep enough to be marked by an opposing midfielder.

    Here's a screenshot of the moment just before Michu scores against Queens Park Rangers and Sunderland.

    On both occasions, Michu sauntered his way into space and converted his chance. The keyword being "sauntered," which is why he often evades attention when he poaches his goals.

    Here's an example last season when he didn't score, but once again, he was unmarked

Excellent Football Instincts

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    The reason why a limited forward like Klaas-Jan Huntelaar managed to score 48 goals last season was down to his excellent footballing instincts—Michu's feel for the game is one of the main factors for his success.

    When Raul Tamudo took a snap-shot, Michu naturally continued his run which allowed him enough separation from Raphaël Varane and Sergio Ramos to get to the loose ball first.

    In a 3-0 win over West Ham United, Michu pressured James Collins into giving the Spaniard an inadvertent assist.

    Michu is the fox-in-the-box that Arsène Wenger wanted Francis Jeffers to become.

     

Solid Physical Attributes

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    Michu led La Liga in aerial duals won because he times his jump, thus maximising his 6'1" frame.

    Prior to heading in a goal against Sunderland, Michu came close to scoring a header.

    He's also strong enough to hold the ball up and lay it off to a teammate.

    These physical attributes coupled with his poaching ability and high football IQ are the reasons why Michu has made a smooth transition into Premier League football.

Efficiency in Front of Goal

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    Let's statistically compare Michu's goal scoring achievements last season to Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney and Sergio Agüero.

     

    11-12 League
    Goals Shots Per Goal Shots Per Game
    Van Persie 30 5.8 4.6
    Rooney 27 5.8 4.6
    Agüero 23 5.7 3.8
    Michu 15 5.9 2.4

     

    Keep in mind, Michu played with midfielders like José María Movilla and Javi Fuego, who tackled, tackled and tackled.

    For Michu to somehow score 15 league goals on a limited team speaks volumes of how efficient he was in front of goals—especially when he only averaged 2.4 shots per game.

Intangibles

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    Michu is the 6'1" version of Tim Cahill because both players share high intangibles and elite poaching ability.

    Like Cahill, Michu went from a nobody to a somebody because of hard work and dedication.

    The only difference is Michu has better physical attributes, which is why the Spaniard is so important to Michael Laudrup's team.

    When you factor in Swansea City's possession-based game, Danny Graham leading the line, the likes of Wayne Routledge, Nathan Dyer and Pablo—20 goals is a realistic target for Michu.

     

    Please read 5 Alternatives to Bendtner in the January Transfer Window

     

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    Statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com