Manchester City vs. Southampton: Homegrown and Big-Money Comparisons

Jack WatsonFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2014

Manchester City's David Silva celebrates scoring a goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester City at the Emirates stadium in London, Saturday, March 29, 2014. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth

Manchester City meet Southampton at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday with both clubs' aims completely different. While both sides are looking up the table rather than down, City are aiming for the Premier League title while the Saints are hoping to claim a European spot.

Both clubs have different fortunes and, despite being run well, are both run at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Manchester City can outbid any club in world football due to the mountains of wealth they possess. It's the main factor as to why they find themselves challenging for the title and regularly qualifying for the Champions League.

Before the introduction of money at the club, they squandered between leagues and struggled under managers like Stuart Pearce. However, their fortunes are on the up and they're now growing into a superpower of European football. 

Southampton, on the other hand, do not have anywhere near as much money but have persisted with the use of Academy players and young, English talent—boy, has it paid off.

Talents such as Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw, James Ward-Prowse and Calum Chambers have all come from their Academy while English players like Rickie Lambert and Jay Rodriguez have a strong impact at the club.

Using stats from Squawka, let's find out how both clubs' youth prospects and big-money buys have fared this season.

Homegrown: Luke Shaw vs. Micah Richards

Luke Shaw is the hottest property in England right now with Southampton set to sell him for around £25 million, per Greg Stobart of The left-back has hit the ground running since gaining promotion to the Premier League and has not stopped.

He is up and down Southampton's left-wing all day long and has ousted Ashley Cole from his England starting spot. Shaw could even start for England at the World Cup in the summer after making his debut in the recent 1-0 friendly win over Denmark at Wembley.

His performances in his 29 league appearances this season has seen Chelsea, Man City and Man United, per David Wright of the Express, show an interest in the full-back. Liverpool are thought to be keen on Shaw, too, as well as some European clubs, per Paul Collins of the Daily Mail. It will be tough for the Saints to keep hold of him in the summer.

Micah Richards, on the other hand, is struggling at City and needs a way out—potentially Liverpool, per Jamie Sanderson of Metro, or Newcastle United, as noted by Steve Morgan of the Daily Star.

He was once a very exciting prospect whom many thought would remain an England regular for years but constant injuries and the money that City have used to buy defenders have forced him down the pecking order at the club.

Just this season, he's played two league games and a further seven last season. At 25, his early 20s were almost wasted, which is why he needs a new club and fast.

It would be very unfair to compare this season's Shaw to this season's Richards, so I will use last season's stats on Richards over an average of 90 minutes for the pair.

In terms of successful passing, Shaw slightly edges out Richards with 31.63 per 90 minutes compared to Richards' 30.54.

Shaw vs Richards defensively
Shaw vs Richards

Shaw edges Richards slightly in tackles won, too, averaging 1.76 to 1.46. However, Richards loses out in fewer tackles than Shaw does. The right-back, who is also adept at playing through the middle, loses 0.44 per 90 minutes while Shaw loses 1.24. Those figures show that while they are both close in the number of tackles they win, Richards wins a higher percentages of his tackles due to a lower number of losses.

Richards does commit more fouls, though, averaging 1.17 per game, with Shaw committing just 0.66.

The key to being a good full-back in the modern era is how well they attack. A lot of teams put a huge emphasis on attacking full-backs that play almost like wingers—some like forwards.

Shaw is constantly attacking and creates an average of 0.91 chances per 90 minutes, while Richards is slightly below with 0.44. The Man City defender is more successful when it comes to dribbling past opposition players, though, achieving a 62.5 percent success rate when it comes to take-ons. Shaw is successful with 53.25 percent of his but averages more successful take-ons, with 1.50 per 90.

Shaw vs Richards in attack
Shaw vs Richards in

Both player's statistics are quite close with Shaw edging the majority of them. If circumstances were clearer at Man City and his injury problems were not as severe, he may have played a lot more games for City. 

A potential move to Liverpool in the summer could reignite his stalling career, though.

Big-Money Signings

David Silva was one of the first big-money signings under the new regime at Manchester City. He cost the club £24 million and has been a star of the resurgence to the Premier League title, the FA Cup, the Capital One Cup and regular Champions League campaigns.

Silva is a star and one of the best playmakers in world football. He has created 71 chances in the league this season and is one of the most potent attacking threats around. 

He is a regular for City and now for Spain as his creative artistry is cherished in his homeland, as well as the Premier League.

Southampton's rarely make big-money deals as they can rarely afford to splash the cash.

Gaston Ramirez cost the club £12m as they beat off competition from Liverpool to sign the Uruguayan playmaker. His start in England was quite good but, this season, he has struggled to make any sort of impact. 

He has appeared just four fewer times than Silva but played a total of 457 minutes, 1,304 fewer than Silva. 

To compare over 90-minute averages, though, Silva dominates Ramirez. Silva creates an average of 3.63 chances every 90 minutes while Ramirez supplies 2.36. Ramirez's figure is not bad but it is dwarfed by Silva. 

Silva vs Ramirez Comparison Matrix
Silva vs Ramirez Comparison

City's creative spark is more successful with take-ons, completing 64.71 percent of his while Ramirez completed just over half at 53 percent. 

However, Ramirez completes more take-ons per 90 minutes: 2.95 to 1.12.

Southampton rely on their core of young, English talent and it works well for them. When a club of their size makes an expensive purchase, there is a lot of pressure on the player to succeed straight away as it is more of a costly mistake than if Man City were to do the same.

Ramirez was a decent signing, but his lack of playing time suggests his signing may have been a costly error. The Saints certainly don't struggle without him.

And for City, their home-grown status does need improving but one can understand why Richards has struggled so much to get into the first-team. His injuries have proven costly to his development and he needs a way out soon.


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