Dele’s Belly Full of Goals

I posted something like this on twitter after the last round of games:


Which led to a good (not noob) question:

I reckon the best way to answer such a question is by using probability distributions (I promise it won’t twist your melon, man). You’re basically lumping together all the player’s shots over time and seeing how many goals they’d likely score from them.

Let’s take a look at the most prolific Premier League striker in this way:

aguero-distribution-7th-janSergio Aguero is in a small band of freak players in the top leagues who smash the concept of expected goals (xG) as if they were sent up from hell by ESPN’s Craig Burley. Over the last two and a half seasons he’s scored 11 more (xG 50, goals 61) than you’d expect the average Premier League shooter to from the set of shots he’s had.

Romelu Lukaku is a striker I guess most would put down as a player getting by on being a ‘top’ goalscorer when his all round game’s not that good. Does Rom smash up xG? Nope. Here’s him over the last two and a half years:

lukaku-distribution-7th-janKeeping up with xG (especially at this volume of shots) over time is only something that those with a genuine eye for goal do. When you consider Lukaku’s goalscoring is average over time you realise that being average over time is HARD.

Ok, so what about Dele Alli, then? Take a butcher’s since he joined Spurs:

dele-alli-distribution-7th-janDele’s freaking out like an Aguero so far in his short career. Will he cool off before the end of the season? Almost certainly, but then again he might not.

As you can see from Dele’s distribution above, there’s a small chance he could have even scored 26 in his Prem career so far.

When something tells you something is ‘nailed on’ in football, then switch the radio or TV off, put your paper or phone down, or simply walk away. They’re talking shite.

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Posted in Sports

Fraser Forster’s Failings

Southampton are having an absolute nightmare with shots on target (SoT) in the box at both ends of the field. They’re the worst team in the Premier League at saving those they face and the worst team in the Premier League at scoring the ones they have themselves.

Today, I’m concentrating on the defensive side. This is how those central SoTs in the box look for keeper Fraser Forster:

forster-premier-league-shot-map-2016-17It looks poor, non? If I throw all those SoTs through my xG simulator, it tells me that there’s only around a 5% chance that it looks this bad. The model suggests conceding 8-11 goals would be an average performance from the set of SoTs Forster has faced:

forster-simRight, before you look at the footage I want you to spend a minute or two watching this youtube reel of Manuel Neuer. Pay particular attention to his, erm, footage. Neuer doesn’t do the big bunny hop just before the shot thing a lot of keepers do which leads to mistimed dives. Lots of tiny movements and continuous adjustments means Neuer’s rarely still in the build up to the shot:

Now take a look at the SoTs Forster has faced from those central positions this season. I’d like to have done a voiceover for this vid but I’ve not had time. So…pay attention to how early Forster sets himself, how dynamic his foot movements are, how proactive he is, how good his anticipation is and how late his dives are:

Now watch that Neuer video again.

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