The delightfully random thought process of Shaka Hislop

image courtesy of sportsmaxtv <— You will need to watch this first.
I’m about to eviscerate Shaka Hislop, figuratively speaking of course. I have nothing against the man, quite liked him as a player but he’s one of the single worst analysts around. It’s not just him, Nicol and Burley are right up there as well but Shaka is the one that had me wanting to put my head through the telly of late.
“Best Attacking Trios”, that’s what we are given as the criteria. Nothing else.

It’s fair to assume that we are talking only about in the Premier League, not all competitions. Other than that, at this point it seems clear that Shaka can do what he wants when he wants with the trios on offer and boy does he as he plays jump rope with logic.

Let us begin:

10 – Bournemouth. Shaka starts by telling us that Bournemouth scored more goals (56) than Wolves (47), Everton (54) and West Ham (52). Fair enough, factually correct but don’t get too used to facts from good old Shak Daddy. I’ll even be kind enough to overlook that neither he nor anyone at ESPN bothered to provide the number of goals and assists that any of these players scored or referred to them in any way.

Wilson – 14 goals/ 9 assists
Fraser – 7 goals/ 14 assists
King – 12 goals/ 3 assists
Total 33 goals/ 26 assists – 59 direct inclusions out of 56 goals.

Now I’m not great at maths but this isn’t just a case of me not being able to count. They are so directly involved in each others goals that they between them have more assists and goals than Bournemouth scored. Seems improbable but it’s true.
These players don’t get the praise they deserve, few teams “attacking trios” give you more. What does Shaka say? “I don’t think Bournemouth score as many this time around.” Is a reason given for this claim? Of course not.

9 – Everton. “Richarlison a little bit inconsistent”. Fair comment. He could be a worldy this lad but that’s another topic. “Moise Kean is a player I like a lot.” Okay, fair enough, he even goes on to say that Kean has yet to kick a ball in the prem and he says that he’s going for potential over what we know. I don’t agree with him doing that as I prefer what is over what may be but I can live with it.

Kean – 6 goals/ 0 assists
Richarlison – 13 goals/ 1 assist
Sigurdson – 13 goals/ 6 assists

Total 32 goals/ 7 assists – 39 direct inclusions out of 54 goals but really we can only go off the two players that were actually here which is 26 and 7 which means those two players were directly involved in 33 of Everton’s 54 goals.

8 – Wolves. His first knock on Wolves is “they’re more defensive and the others are more willing to concede.” Given Wolves conceded 46 goals and Everton conceded 46 goals, I’m not sure where Shaka is basing this opinion.

Bournemouth are certainly more willing concede as show by the 70 goals they conceded last season. He then goes on to say absolutely nothing about Jiminez – the surprise package and one of the best strikers in the league last season – nor Diego Jota, who was sublime at times and again is one of the most underrated attacking players in the league.
I can understand not talking about Cutrone who regressed last season and whom he probably doesn’t know all that much about. Personally I’d have gone with Joao Moutinho given his pedigree, his quality and given he provided 1 goal and 8 assists or Ruben Neves with 4 goals and 5 assists but, Shaka didn’t so let’s see what the numbers say.

Cutrone – 3 goals/ 2 assists
Raul Jiminez – 13 goals/ 7 assists
Diego Jota – 9 goals/ 5 assists
Total – 25 goals/ 14 assists in 47 goals but again there’s no point in involving Cutrone and the facts tell us that Jiminez and Jota were responsible for 22 goals and 12 assists, so directly involved in 34 of Wolves’ 47 goals.
Which is – given they were both first season players in a team playing in its first season back in top-flight football – absolutely phenomenal. I would again like to point out how insanely underrated these two players are. Not bad for a “defensive attack” I would dare to venture.

7 – Leicester City. “In terms of their scoring, they don’t drop off at all.” I agree, but you’re telling us nothing, again. Again, no issue with this but given the logic behind it, why are they so far ahead of Bournemouth?

You’re not talking about potential here other than what might be added with Perez who again I see as a massively underrated forward.
Why not talk about Perez coming off the back of his best season ever? Why are Leicester not considered a “defensive attack” with Perez and Vardy being well known to defend from the front?
I’m a huge fan of the potential of this front 3.
Let’s see the stats:

Maddison – 7 goals/ 7 assists
Vardy – 18 goals/ 4 assists
Perez – 12 goals/ 2 assists
37 goals/ 13 assists – the potential here is frightening. It’s not a huge reach for Perez to not only reach those numbers again but improve on them in a more attacking side with better service. That said what we are actually dealing with is 25 goals and 11 assists so 36 direct involvements in 51 goals. Still not too shabby.

6. Chelsea. And here, we, go … Stop it, just stop it. How on Earth are Chelsea ahead of anyone in terms of what the front 3 are capable of and provide? Even potentially, just stop it. Let’s hear what he has to say though: “Giroud is not a goalscoring centre forward” – The man ranked 49 on the all time Premier League goalscorers chart is “not a goal scoring centre forward.”

Fair enough, if you are saying that at this moment in his career he isn’t a goalscoring centre forward as he is well past it, then fine. So I’ll give you that even though it wasn’t exactly the most accurate of comments. So with that said, what exactly does this now non goalscoring forward bring to the table? “He’s not going to get you 20 goals, as is the normal standard for a centre forward.”

Four players got over 20 goals last season, 20 is not “a normal standard at this level”. Then we hear “If he gets you 10 you take that.” You are really selling Giroud to me here Shaka. What about Hudson Odoi, I mean you must really like him and be bullish if you’re putting him up there with a 10 goal a season striker.

Oh for the record, Giroud managed 2 goals last season in 27 appearances, although 20 were as a sub. So come on, sell me Hudson Odoi because you’ll need to. “There are question marks around him and his fitness” … erm … okay … “this is the assumption when he does come back, he doesn’t miss a beat”… yeah because he carried Chelsea with his 4 starts last season and his 39 minutes per appearance in 10 games.

Pulisic next and apparently his qualifications are “he’s been simply outstanding in pre season”. Yeah? So has Rhian Brewster, he’s not even top 8 in our most important attacking players. Pulisic, a man who couldn’t beat out Jacob Bruun-Larsen at Dortmund. No offence to JBL but if Pulisic was as good as Shaka thinks he is, he’d have had JBL sat watching him on the bench. No offence to Pulisic either, we have no idea what he might be in the future.
“There’s a lot to caveat to Chelsea being this high”. That might well be the understatement of the season, and we haven’t even kicked off the Premier League yet.

CHO – 0 goals/ 1 assist (let’s hope he doesn’t miss a beat when he gets back)
Pulisic – 4 goals/ 4 assists
Giroud – 2 goals/ 4 assists
6 goals/ 9 assists of the 63 Chelsea plundered last season.

Wow, I mean just wow. They pay this man for his opinions. I wonder who is paying him at Chelsea. A manager who is new to the Prem, according to Shaka at least, is going to take 2 bench players and an over the hill Giroud – who probably won’t start for Chelsea as the presenter rightly pointed out – and make them the 6th best attacking trio in Premier League? Yeah good luck with that one. Seriously, one more time! WOW!

5 – Manchester United. First of all, there is no way you can do a top United attacking trio without Pogba and yet, guess what Shaka does. Lingard, Rashford, Martial. No seriously, he’s off again.

Pogba is lazy and has a bad attitude but he had 13 goals and 9 assists and is still one of the most talented players in world football. Shaka thinks that Lingard is better in his trio. If someone could check his dressing room for illegal substances, that would be great.
Even Lukaku had to be ahead of Lingard with his 12 goals. Yes he had a poor season and needs to get back to his “fighting weight” but I’m not stupid enough to write him off.

Martial – 10 goals/ 2 assists
Rashford – 10 goals/ 6 assists
Lingard – 4 goals/ 2 assists
24 goals/ 10 assists – 34 direct inclusions of 65 goals. This would have shot up with Pogba, but alas.

Four goals and two assists and far less talent got in ahead of 13 goals, 9 assists and one of the most talented players on the face of the Earth. Brilliant Shaka, I wasn’t expecting comedy from ESPN. The best part was the one thing he said about Lingard was “You saw an inconsistency from him [Rashford] that you’d more associate with Jesse Lingard”. Outstanding. If this was a court case, you’d not only have them find Lingard guilty but they’d probably want to bring back capital punishment.

4 – Tottenham Hotspur – Kane, Son and Alli. “Kane best finisher in the league, no question”. Well sorry Shaka, but there is a definite question when it comes to that.
We live in a world where everything is recorded and the best stat we have for “best finisher” is “expected goals”. Kane ranked seventh on that stat in 18/19 with Pierre Emerick Aubameyang at number 1, not to mention the Gabon international scoring more goals and sharing the golden boot. Salah, Aguero, Vardy and Mane rounded out the top 5 and Kane was quite the way back as well.

In fact even by your own scale, he missed out on the “normal standard for a centre forward at this level” of 20 goals but as we’ve seen, you’re not big on facts or consistency.

Kane – 17 goals/4 assists
Son – 12 goals/ 6 assists
Alli – 5 goals/ 3 assists
34 goals/ 13 assists – 47 direct inclusions out of 67 goals.

Could have gone with Eriksen but understandable why he didn’t. Cast your minds back to Bournemouth, 33 goals and 26 assists is better, right? Not flashy enough though, got to go with them FIFA stats, boiiiiiii.

3 – Arsenal. “I think Pepe is a perfect compliment to Aubameyang and Lacazette”. I agree, why though? No issues with this other than number three has about 10 seconds devoted to it. This is the most exciting new attack in the Premier League, any chance of some insight on what we have to look forward to? No? Alright then.

Tale of the tape:

Aubameyang – 22 goals/ 5 assists
Lacazette – 13 goals/ 8 assists
Nicolas Pepe – 22 goals/ 11 assists

57 goals/ 24 assists – Again though, pointless going on anything other than Aubameyang and Lacazette who managed 35 goals and 13 assists out of Arsenal’s 73 goals.
22 goals would certainly suggest that Pepe is the “decent finisher” Shaka claims him to be.

2 – Liverpool. It was always going to be one of either they or City at one and two and so it proved. What did he have to say though to back up his choice though, let’s see.

“My concern for Liverpool is that all 3 have played in international tournaments this summer, how do they cope?” Fair comment. It’s a long season and it can certainly take its toll.
“You saw Salah start last season a little bit slowly, after the World Cup”, well yes we did but that’s because he was injured, not once but twice between the end of the 17/18 season and the start of the 18/19 season. None of Salah, Mane or Firmino were injured on international duty this time around. So I don’t see the relevance to that comment.

Absolutely nothing is said about Liverpool, the fact they had two golden boot winners in their side – a feat that has never been accomplished before last season to my knowledge – is apparently irrelevant in the “the best attacking trio” debate.

Firmino 12 goals/ 6 assists
Mane 22 goals/ 1 assist
Salah 22 goals/ 8 assists
56 goals and 15 assists or 71 direct inclusions in 89 goals.

1. – Manchester City. “The Caveat to City being this high up is that De Bruyne rediscovers his form and doesn’t have the injuries he had last season.” I’d have no issue with this other than he’s more worried about Liverpool’s front three possibly getting injured based on very little but is willing to give De Bruyne the benefit of the doubt after having played only 19 games last season and started only 11.

As if that’s not enough, De Bruyne himself has complained that he doesn’t feel ready for the new season because of City’s pre season.
No mention of Aguero’s injury history either or indeed him at all, and no mention of Sterling and his impressive season last year.

So with the target to beat 56 goals and 15 assists how did the 3 he chose match up?

Aguero – 21 goals/ 8 assists
Sterling – 17 goals/ 9 assists
De Bruyne – 2 goals/ 2 assists

40 goals and 19 assists or in other words 59 direct inclusions in 95 goals.

Of course Liverpool win out but that’s because De Bruyne wasn’t fit, clearly. More realistic targets for him would be 8 goals and 16 assists as he had the season before his injury. I feel it’s only fair to talk about Sane whose 10 goals and 10 assists are far more fitting when making a direct comparison about the best attacking trios of each team last season, or even Bernardo Silva who may only have managed 7 goals and 7 assists but I would argue was City’s best player by some distance last year.

And that’s it. That’s what we got in 8 minutes. Nonsense, contradictions and whatever random thoughts came into Shaka’s head.
I understand there were time constraints, fair enough. Why though? It’s a much more interesting topic than half the crap they talk about like who might go where and why. ESPN if you need a consultant, give me a shout.

So other than Shaka Hislop likes to put Football Manager type scenarios into live broadcasts that show no football analysis whatsoever, what have we learned? We’ve learned that players like Aguero and De Bruyne who have woeful injury records should not have that taken into consideration but players like Mane, Salah and Firmino who don’t should have it used as a reason why they are not as good.

Most importantly though, we’ve learned that the most underrated front three in the Premier League – out of this lot anyway – is Bournemouth’s and if we are just talking statistically and taking into account the importance of their goals and assists; Josh King, Ryan Fraser and Callum Wilson are simply untouchable, not as Shaka says TENTH.
Tune in next time for MY researched and actually worth looking at top attacking trios of the Premier League.

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