With Manchester United being televised a lot recently I noticed how Antonio Valencia has time and time again been making a number of shockingly bad crosses from the right wing when getting himself in great spaces with time to pick out a team mate. The Ecuadorian winger inspired this article, but surprisingly the Manchester United number 7 doesn’t make the list. His 15% accuracy keeps him outside the bottom 10 in the league (minimum 20 cross attempts) in open play. But here are the top least successful crossers in the Premier League through 12 games.
10. Ashley Young (Manchester United) – 13%
Whilst team mate Valencia doesn’t make the list, the England international does. Ashley Young made his return to action on 28 October in a 3-2 victory over Chelsea after missing 6 successive league games. A few below par performances included Young being substituted at half time versus former club Aston Villa recently. Cutting in from the left onto his stronger foot, Ashley Young has completed just 3 of 23 cross attempts in open play during his 6 appearances in the league. Without a single goal or assist so far, Sir Alex Ferguson will be expecting more from his left winger as the season progresses.
9. Russell Martin (Norwich City) – 13%
The Norwich City right back has missed the side’s last 3 Premier League games in which his side have kept a clean sheet in each. In the 9 appearances Martin has made for the Canaries this season, Chris Hughton’s side have kept 2 clean sheets. Pushing on from the full back position, Russell Martin has completed just 3 of 23 cross attempts so far this season. This is significantly down on last season when Martin completed 33% of his cross attempts.
8. Bacary Sagna (Arsenal) – 12%
Bombing on down the right wing from the full back position, Arsenal’s Bacary Sagna hasn’t shown much accuracy in his cross attempts either this season. Whilst out injured earlier in the season, Sagna was replaced by Carl Jenkinson. The youngster tipped to play for England in the future wasn’t much more successful, completing just 14% of his crosses.
7. Jobi McAnuff (Reading) – 11%
One of Reading’s flair players on the attack, Jobi McAnuff enjoys running at the opposition. But once he gets to the wing and in space to attempt a cross, the former Watford player has completed just 11% of his crosses. Of all the players in this list, McAnuff’s 45 cross attempts are the most. With just 5 completions, there is an obvious lack of supply to Pavel Pogrebnyak waiting in the middle.
6. Garath McCleary (Reading) – 11%
Perhaps it is the target man in the middle, because as well as Jobi McAnuff, Royals team mate Garath McCleary also makes the top 10 list of least accurate crosses in the Premier League to date. Signed from Nottingham Forest in the summer and highly praised by a number of pundits already this singer, the winger hasn’t had a great deal of success supplying the ball into the box, completing just 4 of his 35 cross attempts. The squad’s average completion percentage is 22%.
5. Franco Di Santo (Wigan Athletic) – 10%
It’s not usually the job of the striker to supply his team mates with crosses, but Wigan’s Argentinian striker Franco Di Santo has attempted 20 crosses from open play for his team mates already this season. Mind you, only 2 of these have found one of his team mates, so perhaps the former Chelsea youngster may want to consider getting himself in the box and relying on Emmerson Boyce and Jean Beausejour from opposite flanks providing the striker with crosses to attack.
4. Theo Walcott (Arsenal) – 9%
The Arsenal forward has often been criticised for his final ball and decision making in the final third and penalty area when he gets in position to setup his team mates. With Robin van Persie in the team last season, Walcott’s completion percentage was only a little better when he completed 13% throughout the 2011/12 season.
3. Junior Hoilett (Queens Park Rangers) – 8%
One of Mark Hughes’ signings over the summer, the inconsistent Junior Hoilett has been one of many underperforming players for Queens Park Rangers to start the season. The forward scored a consolation goal in a 3-1 home defeat by Southampton at the weekend. That was Junior Hoilett’s second goal of the season. And that’s the same number of crosses he has completed from 24 attempts.
2. Adam Johnson (Sunderland) – 5%
Sunderland have struggled to create chances and score goals this season. Brede Hangeland’s first half red card on Sunday helped Martin O’Neill’s side to a 3-1 victory one that can potentially kick start their season. It was also a rare good performance from the England winger in a Black Cats shirt so far this season. Adam Johnson provided 2 assists which included a stunning pass for Steven Fletcher’s opener. Johnson has found a team mate just twice in 38 cross attempts to start the season.
1. Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur) – 5%
Tottenham’s big summer signing from Ajax over the summer has received a lot of praise for attacking ability. Good job Andre Villas-Boas switched him to left back having looked questionable at centre back during his time in the Dutch Eredivisie. The Belgian international has looked good going forward, but that has fallen apart when it comes to crossing the ball; Vertonghen has completed just 1 of 21 attempts in England’s top flight.