FT Pause Moment: Should "dummies" be considered as assists? Inspired by Suarez
Well, the UEFA Champions League matchday 2 is behind us now, but some moments stay with us forever. One such performance would obviously be vintage Messi showing up big time for Barcelona but schooling Tottenham Hotspur on the fundamentals of GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) behaviour. The 31-year-old created all of the four Barca goals and scored two as the La Liga champions registered a 4-2 victory at Wembley. Croatia’s Ivan Rakitic and Philippe Coutinho were also on the score sheet, banging some seriously ridiculous goals. One player not on the scoresheet or having a cute statistic for example, an assist, but equally crucial to the overall performance was Luis Suarez.
Two dummies, two goals
Assists and goals have become some of the most important stats in the modern game. GOATs have been crowned based on such and the value of players continue to be influenced greatly by statistics more than anything else in the digital age, leaving many assuming the role of being unsung heroes. An assist in particular is simply awarded to the person who makes the final pass before a goal is scored. They are considered to have “assisted” the goal, laying it up on the plate for the scorer.
Now, what about those who do the same without touching the ball? On two occasions, Jordi Alba squared the ball into the box that found Messi after Suarez had skipped past the ball, in other words dummying, to draw out the defenders and give Messi the space to find his favorite spot in the net without pressure. In fact, on the first instance, Coutinho and Suarez had to both dummy the ball, confusing the Spurs defenders and aid Messi to deliver his masterpiece. Credit to Alba for delivering the assists by delivering the ball into the box, but what of Suarez’s awareness to know where Messi would be in a glance and drive all the defenders out of the “heat area” without touching the ball but with just simple cheeky movements. What brilliance!
The Uruguayan will not be in the record books for such, now and in the future and maybe even get criticized for not scoring as many goals as a striker. Alba laid up the ball for Messi, but Suarez increased the odds for Messi scoring exponentially. Looks like an assist to me, maybe even more.