Kelechi Iheanacho scored one and contributed an assist as Manchester City beat Manchester United in Saturday’s derby, and his stats highlight just how effective he is in front of goal.
The likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Claudio Bravo hogged the headlines after the engrossing bout between the two rivals—which City won 2-1—but few were as influential as the Nigerian wonderkid.
Iheanacho’s deft header played in De Bruyne for City’s opener in the 15th minute, before the teenage starlet added a second 21 minutes later, finishing from close range after the Belgian’s initial effort had struck the post.
While the Super Eagle is broadly celebrated for his movement, his speed and his ingenuity with the ball at his feet, the second goal—a relatively easy finish—highlighted his class as a poacher.
It’s a quality that’s also been backed up by an outrageous Opta stat that sums up the Nigeria international’s prowess in front of goal.
Since making his Premier League bow at the beginning of last season, Iheanacho has scored nine goals from just 13 shots on target, a remarkable ratio and an indicator of his consistency.
The numbers are testament not only to the youngster’s finishing, but also to his excellent decision-making and positioning, and while he will likely drop to the bench when Sergio Aguero returns from his ban, Pep Guardiola will be under no illusion as to the quality of frontman that he has at his disposal.
His showing in the derby was Iheanacho’s first start of the season, having previously featured as a substitute against Sunderland and Stoke City, while his pressuring of Donald Love helped the Citizens take the lead against the Black Cats in Guardiola’s first match, and he also contributed an assist for Nolito in the demolition of Stoke.
He is already City’s joint-top assists contributor this season, has averaged 1.3 key passes per match and looks set to play a key role in coming matches following Aguero’s three-match ban for violent conduct.