Data analysis: Hayley Raso’s impact at Manchester City

Hayley Raso
WIMBLEDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Hayley Raso of Manchester City closes down Ann-Katrin Berger of Chelsea during the FA Women's Continental Tyres League cup final match between Chelsea women and Manchester City women at The Cherry Red Records Stadium on March 05, 2022 in Wimbledon, England. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Amidst a flurry of summer signings, Hayley Raso made the move from Everton to Manchester City. Joining Gareth Taylor’s side after the Toffees failed bid for Champions League qualification, Raso joined a side edging ever nearer to the top of the WSL. With the 27-year-old renowned for her pace and attacking ability, the signing seemed a natural move for a Manchester City side missing their star winger Chloe Kelly through injury.

So just how influential has the Australian international been in her first season in Manchester?

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In this piece, we will examine Hayley Raso’s impact since joining Manchester City. The City No.13 may primarily act as a winger however every player will possess different qualities, even those who occupy the same position on the pitch. Making 11 appearances across City’s league campaign this season, Hayley Raso has proven how beneficial an asset she can be for any side. 

With 3 goals and 3 assists in the league, has the No.13 reached her potential during the 2021/22 campaign?

Hayley Raso’s percentile radar which calculates her percentile vs that of her peers in WSL 2021/2022

It is important to note that statistics can be impacted by factors such as the total minutes played. In this case, Hayley Raso has completed 643 minutes of game time across 13 WSL appearances in the 2021/22 season. It is also important to keep in mind that data can not always provide a complete picture of a season.

Goal scoring and creative play

Scatterplot of wingers in the WSL; it shows us how well a player performs in the data metrics of expected goals and expected assists.

Goals and expected goals

With 3 league goals across the league campaign so far, Raso ranks quite highly against other wingers in the league this season. There are of course wingers in the league who will score more frequently for their teams than Raso however it is important to consider these teams style of play. The No.13 is typically used by the Blues as a traditional winger, bringing the ball up the field to provide for Manchester City’s forwards. This style of play will naturally lead to Raso scoring less frequently whilst still being a vital part of City’s goal-scoring.

Whilst Raso may not be a main goal-scoring outlet for Taylor’s side, her expected goals in the league demonstrate that the No.13 is a player who is immensely capable of creating goal-scoring opportunities. Raso’s xG puts her in the 88th percentile of WSL wingers this season. Only 12% of wingers in the league are expected to score more frequently than Raso.

Assists and expected assists

Providing assists are perhaps the most vital aspect of a winger’s play. Raso’s prowess in assisting her teammates is one of the Australian international’s most prominent strengths. Ranking in the 94th percentile in the WSL this season, the No.13 is amongst the most accomplished wingers in terms of creating goal-scoring actions. Raso’s style of play has an undeniable impact on the type of assists the No.13 provides. With Manchester City employing a typically high possession game plan, the winger will often enjoy long spells of time on the ball with the majority of her assists coming from runs into the box as opposed to crosses from the wing. 

Possession within games

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Raso’s overall possession in-game is perhaps the weakest element of the Australian’s play. The 27-year-old ranks in the 41st percentile when it comes to dribbles completed in-game. Whilst this is significantly below her other rankings, it is important to question why this may be the case. Manchester City have a tendency to play in a quick and direct manner. Passes into and around the box are far more common for the team than an individual player carrying the ball over a long distance. When looking at data from a number of Manchester City forwards it is evident that this is not an area that is a major focus within the team.

This same factor is also present in Raso’s progressive runs. Manchester City favours a quick turnaround of the ball. So, it is difficult to establish how successful the winger is in this element of her game. Whilst Raso may rank in the 76th percentile in this area, it is important to note this in the context of a team with a style of play similar to City. In a team with a high turnover of the ball Raso’s progressive run data puts her in and around other top-level wingers in the league.

On the other hand, this style of play benefits players in other ways. Hayley Raso’s touches inside the box are amongst the highest in the WSL for wingers. Manchester City’s style of play revolves around pushing players up the pitch and into their attacking area throughout the game. This means it is inevitable that their players will enjoy a wealth of possession in these areas. Ultimately these high levels of possession will lead to chances being created for the Sky Blues.

A successful season?

When considering whether Hayley Raso has had a successful first season with Manchester City, it is important to take the club’s season into account. Taylor’s side were hit with a major injury crisis at the beginning of the season. This left the team languishing in ninth place. When considering these factors Raso’s first season at the club has certainly shown what the winger is capable of. Have we seen the best of the 27-year-old? That remains to be seen as she enters into the second year of her contract with the Blues.

All stats are correct as of Tuesday 17th May 2022.

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