Player Focus

Player Focus: Artem Dzyuba, more than just a target man

The lumbering frontman is in sensational form at the moment for club and country. What is the story behind his numbers?

11:00am on Friday 18th October 2019
Paul Macdonald

When you look down the top FC Rated players on our homepage at the moment (remember, our rating is based on a player's last 1800 minutes of football, and is nothing to do with reputation or prior achievements), one name stands out. In among Messi, Ronaldo, Lewandowski and Sancho we have... Artem Dzyuba.

Dzyuba is not the easiest on the eye. He has a lumbering, archetypal big-man-up-top physique that is no longer in style. You rarely see a 6 ft 4 inch forward these days, and even less with a team playing directly to their strengths, but despite now being into his 30's, the Russian is in a rich vein of form for both club and country.

And the stereotype is perhaps a touch unjust. Yes, he averages 5.5 aerials won in all competitions so far this season, and it would be wrong to think he doesn't use his large frame as the central tenet of his attacking play. But his touch and in particular his selflessness for creating chances for team-mates - in the recent match against Cyprus he created four big chances in a single game - represents a more all-round player than his appearance would suggest.


UEQOct 13, 2019W
  • 90'
  • 10

    At international level, Dzyuba has destroyed the opposition. Scotland and Cyprus will never want to see him again as he recorded two perfect 10s in dismantling them 4-0 and 5-0, scoring three and providing three assists in those two matches. At club level, he has become indispensable and when he performs, Zenit perform. There's no arguing with the breakdown of Dzyuba's numbers; in his last 20 appearances he has been borderline unplayable.


    GOALS: 14

    ASSISTS: 11

    TOUCHES IN BOX (P90): 10


    SHOTS (P90): 3.45

    SHOTS ON TARGET %: 36.25%

    SHOTS TO GOALS %: 20.3%

    DECISIVE GOALS: 7 (What does Decisive mean?)

    25 direct goal contributions - just one penalty among them, while creating almost a big chance per game, and scoring with one in five of his shots. He is still lurking in the penalty area, ready to nod the ball home, while also playing a superb back-to-goal game, but it is in his subtlety that we find a different side to Dzyuba.


    Watch the perfectly-weighted slide back into Amzoun's path for this Champions League goal in Lyon, while this is a virtuoso display in the destruction of Rubin Kazan, registering two assists, while provided a further two secondary assists as well as creating three big chances.

    That's the performance of a player as interested as bringing team-mates into play than he is from ram-raiding defenders. It's clear he hasn't always been like this. Perhaps the decision to appoint him Russia captain his invigorated his interest, while maybe, finally, he is working with coaches and team-mates that understand his game. What is clear is that despite first impressions, both Zenit and Russia are playing good stuff this season and Dzyuba is absolutely at the heart of both.

    It's unlikely Dzyuba will keep this up. It's unquestionably the best run of his career, but just enjoy watching this retro throwback all the way through to Euro 2020.

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