Secondary assists highlight how undervalued Nathan Oduwa has been for Rangers

Nathan Oduwa
Nathan Oduwa

written by – Rangers Report

In a recent interview with Arsenal Magazine, Arsene Wenger was discussing his use of analytics while evaluating players in his squad.  One of the statistics he mentioned employing was secondary assists – i.e. the pass before the primary assist.  “You can’t count only (primary) assists (while) a player like Santi Cazorla gets you out of tight situations and sometimes gives the ball before the assist, which can be even more difficult than the assist itself.”

Wenger went on to explain the importance of being able to make that pass into a dangerous area that often leads to the primary assist.

For example, in the clip below of James Tavernier’s goal against Morton from earlier this season, the primary assist went to Gedion Zelalem who deftly gets the ball into the box for Tavernier to finish.  However, it was Barrie McKay’s running with the ball & then slicing the pass to the top of the box that helped trigger the ultimate result.

It is fitting to begin with McKay while examining secondary assists because he leads the team with five.  Couple that with his six primary assists & that’s eleven goals that McKay has set up this season in league play.  That means McKay has had an assist on 22% of Rangers goals this season.

That comes as no real surprise.  But one player who seen his statistical output nearly double when factoring in secondary assists is Nathan Oduwa.  Oduwa has one goal & three (primary) assists this season in 698 minutes.  That works out to Oduwa averaging 0.52 points per 90 minutes.  But if you apply the secondary assists to the point totals, like they do in hockey, you can see the impact Oduwa has had when on the pitch.

Below you see the assist totals for the season & then how many ‘hockey points’ they have (goals +primary assists+secondary assists).  Then you have their point totals broken down to a per 90 minutes ratio.  There you will see that when you factor in secondary assist, Oduwa is now averaging 1.08 points per 90 minutes, which is second to only Martyn Waghorn.

Player Primary Assists Secondary Assists Hockey Points Points/90* Hockey Pts/90*
Martyn Waghorn 6 3 26 0.91 1.08
Nathan Oduwa 3 4 8 0.52 1.03
Kenny Miller 1 4 8 0.47 0.93
Barrie McKay 6 5 14 0.58 0.91
James Tavernier 6 2 14 0.68 0.79
Jason Holt 2 2 12 0.66 0.79
Lee Wallace 3 2 10 0.46 0.58
Dean Shiels 1 0 3 0.54 0.54
Nicky Law 1 1 3 0.34 0.51
Nicky Clark 0 0 2 0.51 0.51
Gedion Zelalem 1 1 2 0.12 0.23
Andy Halliday 0 2 4 0.06 0.17

Only non-penalty goals are factored into the points per 90 rates.

In the below clip, Oduwa’s hard work doesn’t actually show up on the scoresheet because Waghorn actually gets the final touch prior to the goal…but as you can see there was no goal without the work of Oduwa.

Kenny Miller  is another player whose statistical impact nearly doubles when you factor in those secondary assists.  While he went on a bit of a cold streak this season with finding the back of the net, he still was helping set up plays that led to goals.

Impact of Secondary Assists on Points per 90

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