Friday 13 November 2015

Batman & Robin, Europe's Most Efficient Duo. But One.

The mid-November international break marks a point of reflection for many a club manager. Some so far performed better than expected, whereas for others it is quite the opposite. Irrespectively, however, most have set their sights on players, especially forwards, they feel could make all the difference in their team. Wenger, allegedly, is thinking of landing Bayer Leverkusen’s Bellarabi. Mourinho is rumoured to have a keen eye on Bellarabi’s teammate Chicharito as well as on Higuaín and Griezmann. Meanwhile, Benítez is believed to be eager to add Lewandowski to his merengue squad. Some of these names seem more obvious than others. In this post, I will shed light on Europe’s five top leagues’ top scorers’ performance following the multi-measure method developed earlier.

As explained in the previous post, I consider goals scored both in the domestic league and in the UEFA Champions and Europa Leagues. To qualify as a top scorer at this stage of the competition, a player must have scored 7 or more goals. Now let’s have a look at those rankings!

·      “Simple” goals, or the number of goals scored:

Tabel 1. Simple ranking: Europe's top scorers by number of goals scored

Observation 1: Lewandowski, Aubameyang and Müller - all playing in the Bundesliga(!) - aready made up the top three at the end of September, at the time of the previous post. All three of them managed to hold on to their exceptional form.

·      “Efficacy”, or the number of penalty-adjusted goals scored:

Tabel 2. Efficacy ranking: Converted penalties count for half a (field) goal

Observation 2: Counting any converted penalties for half a field goal, Lewandowski distances himself from Aubameyang. The difference between both, on the one hand, and the rest, headed by Müller, on the other, becomes more pronounced.

·      “Efficiency”, or the average number of penalty-adjusted goals scored per 90 minutes on the pitch:

Tabel 3. Efficiency ranking: Avg. number of penalty-adjusted goals scored during 90 minutes

Observation 3: The two most efficacious top scorers also turn out to be the most efficient ones. Lewandowski and Aubameyang, on average, score well over one (penalty-adjusted) goal per game.

Observation 4: Of the four top scorers who managed to put in more than one (penalty-adjusted) goal per game, two play for Borussia Dortmund! Fielding both Aubameyang and Reus for 90 minutes so far implied the team would score at least two goals, on average - quite a luxury. Still, Bayern Munich's combination of Lewandowski and Müller yielded even more (penalty-adjusted) goals on average per 90 minutes.

Source: futturk.com

Observation 5: We see two relatively unknown top scorers pop up, both from lesser La Liga teams. Real Sociedad's Agirretxe and Rayo Vallecano's Guerra have, respectively, been good for slightly more and slightly less than one field goal per 90 minutes played.

·      “Relative efficacy”, or the percentage of penalty-adjusted goals scored relative to the team:

Tabel 4. Relative efficacy ranking: Percentage of team's penalty-adjusted goals scored by top scorer

Observation 6: And here they are again!: Agirretxe and Guerra turn out both not only to have scored around one goal per game on average, but also to have accounted for 2/3rds of all the goals scored by their respective teams.

Observation 7: They are joined at the top of this ranking by Odion Ighalo, already Europe's most relatively efficacious scorer at the end of September. The Nigerian striker continues to make the difference for his team.

Observation 8: As opposed to the top four, who, in part, are heading this ranking because of a failure of their teammates to score goals (e.g. all four teams rank in the right-hand side column in their respective national leagues), Jamie Vardy is managing a huge chunk of his team's goals with the whole team cruising through the league.

·      “Importance”, or the average of the virtual and eventual incremental points won by the player’s team because of a player's goals:

Tabel 5. Importance ranking: Avg. of virtual and eventual incremental points won by team because of top scorer's goals

Observation 9: So far in my analysis, he remained largely unnoticed, but Luis Suárez is the top scorer whose goals resulted in most points for his team. Also well worth pointing out is that his teammate Neymar - who, before any adjustment, scored more goals than the Uruguayan - collected less than half of the points for Barça with his goals so far (5.25).

Observation 10: Eye on Vardy. Without his team playing in Europe, as the only player to make it to this ranking's top five, he has managed to earn his team 11 points with his goals already - all within the Premier League, the most competitive national league. Indeed, the Englishman's goal spell is no stranger to Leicester City's extraordinary league position.