Thursday, 31 December 2015

Europe's Hottest Prospects Going Into the New Year

With the final whistle of 2015's last match having been blown and the opening of the winter mercato being imminent, an excellent moment has come to re-assess the goal-scoring performances of Europe’s top scorers. In previous posts, I developed a multi-measure analysis, considering top scorers’ performance according to four meaningful dimensions, in addition to the simple number of goals scored: efficacy, efficiency, relative efficacy and importance of goals scored. No less than four different top scorers top one of these five rankings, underlining the value of the multi-measure approach. 

In the below analysis, as before, I will be taking into account appearances and goals scored in the five main domestic leagues in Europe as well as in the UEFA Champions and Europa leagues. To be considered a top scorer at this stage of the season, I require a player to have scored ten goals or more, a condition satisfied by 25 players, coming from 20 teams FC Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, PSG and… Leicester City have two each.

The top 10 of simple top scorers as of 01/01/2016 is being headed by Cristiano Ronaldo:

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

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

Observation 1: Only one of this happy bunch (of 25) has a contract due to expire mid 2016 and can thus be snatched up without a transfer fee: Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

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

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

Observation 2: After making the proposed adjustment for penalties (i.e. valued at 0.5x), Lewandowski retains his top spot in the efficacy ranking, let it be shared with Cristiano – with Lewa having needed less time on the field to score his 22.

Observation 3: Bayern are the only team with two players in the penalty-adjusted top ten. Lewandowski-Müller thus remains the most efficacious duo in Europe.

·      “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 4: While Lewandowski is still Europe’s most efficacious top scorer, he no longer is the most efficient one. Furthermore, Lewa-Müller is no longer the most efficient duo. Benzema-Cristiano is the only couple in European football that, combined, scored more than two(!) (penalty-adjusted) goals on average per 90 minutes on the field.

Observation 5: In addition to the most efficient Benzema and Lewandowski, Aubameyang and Higuaín are the only other top scorers to have scored more than one (penalty-adjusted) goal on average per 90 mins on the pitch – indeed quite a feat, halfway down the season. Both Luis Suárez and Cristiano being not far off either.

·      “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: Agirretxe and Ighalo continue to spearhead their respective team’s attack: both top scorers’ respective goals accounted for no less than 67% and 64% of Real Sociedad’s and Watford’s (penalty-adjusted) total, respectively. Indeed, it would be hard to overestimate the reliance of both teams on their top scorer’s goals.

Observation 7: Lukaku’s emergence, with a 44%-share of Everton’s (penalty-adjusted) goal tally, is well-worth pointing out.
Observation 8: Betis’ Castro and Rayo Vallecano’s Guerra both (temporarily) dropped out of the rel. efficacy ranking. Although each accounted for well over 50% of his respective team’s goal total, neither managed to put in double-digit goals and is thus, at this point, considered a top scorer.

·      “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: The prophecy at the end of the previous post has become reality: Jamie Vardy has become the most important top scorer on European fields. What is more, no tandem in Europe has gained more points for their team than the duo Vardy-Mahrez did for Leicester. All the more remarkable considering that Leicester does not play in the Europa - let alone Champions - League and thus both stars-on-the-rise had relatively fewer games to win points for their team. And that they play their games in the Premiership, Europe’s most competitive domestic league. And that Leicester is a club of relatively modest means – as evidenced by both top scorers original acquisition prices (£1m for Vardy; £350k for Mahrez)...

Source: theguardian.com

Observation 10: Did you notice the only player to feature in the top ranking according to all five dimensions? Hint 1: It’s one of the many considered not good enough by Louis van Gaal for his struggling Man. United squad. Hint 2: Little pea J

That’s right, it’s Chicharito. Quite an achievement considering the Mexican sniper arrived in a new – and quite a different – country and league only in September!

Source: telesurtv.net