Sunday, 6 February 2011

Wayne Bridge,good riddance!

It was a crazy 2010 for Wayne Bridge. A year that saw him lose his wife, lose his place in the Man City side and also lose his place in the England national side. But it's not all bad news...for England fans anyway.

Wayne Bridge started his career at Southampton as a striker, but due to injuries he was forced to play left wing for his first season. He made 15 starts for Southampton but was dropped after a string of poor performances. The following year, again due to injuries, he was asked to play left back. It was in this position that he found his feet and went on to impress over the next two years. These performances earned him a move to Chelsea for a fee believed to be 7 million.

Wayne Bridge never really managed to hold down a starting role in the Chelsea team and spent half his time playing second fiddle to Ashley Cole. He then moved to Man City for 12 million where he also spent most of his time on the bench. Why is it then, that someone who was called ''the best left-back in England and the Premier League," by Roberto Mancini, find himself on the bench?

The answer is simple. I saw an interesting stat recently that in the 09/10 season, Wayne Bridge made 47 crosses and not one of them reached a team-mate. Furthermore, Wayne Bridge played 5372 minutes of football without getting a single assist- that's 60 matches played without a single assist during the 08/09 and 09/10 seasons. If we go on to analyse his whole career statistics we see that in 218 matches, Bridge has made just 9 assists- that's an average of one assist every 24 matches.This isn't what you come to expect from someone who used to play left midfield and who has always been praised for his attacking ability rather than his defencive capability. Compare this with Ashley Cole, who kept Bridge out of the Chelsea team, who has 30 assists in 367 games - an average of one assist every 12 games, then you start to realise why Cole kept Bridge out of the team. Comparing Bridge with Kolarov, who kept Bridge out of the Man City team, you really start to see why Bridge became a bench warmer. Kolarov has 13 goals and 10 assists from 116 games- an average of one assist every 11.6 games and a goal every 8 games.

So, it could just be that Wayne Bridge is unlucky to be up against stiff competition. It could also be argued that if Wayne Bridge got more assists he would hold down a starting place in the Man City side. His time at Chelsea was disrupted by injuries and the John Terry scandal can't have helped Bridges performances at Man City so these could also be contributing factors to Wayne Bridges poor form. However, it could be deeper than that. Wayne Bridges' team mates call him a gym monkey because of the amount of time he spends in the gym. Part of it he said is because, and i quote, ''I need to find any edge I can''. In my opinion, these are not the words of someone who is confident in their own ability as they need to find some other edge, but that's just how I feel.

Fortunately for Bridge, he has been loaned out to West Ham this season where he has started to rekindle some of the form that saw him get a baffling 36 England caps. But following his International retirement from football, he won't add to that.

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