Comparing the expected goals (xG) and attacking performance of Everton's three main strikers
Statistical Analysis of Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Moise Kean
Early in the season, I posted a statistical look at Calvert-Lewin, and it got turned into an article.
At the time, Dominic had just one goal. His expected goals (xG) rating was 1.35 meaning he should have scored 1 goal. I compared his statistics for the season after 5 Premier League games with past seasons. It showed he had a low number of shots per 90 minutes. But ultimately, the statistics showed the boy could finish. If only he got more chances, he would score. I thought I posted an update on a thread somewhere after he had scored a couple, but I cannot find it.
Look at his stats now:
2.82 shots per 90
0.58 key passes per 90
8.04 expected goals (xG)
0.88 expected assists (xA)
0.51 expected goals per 90 minutes (xG90)
0.06 expected assists per 90 minutes (xA90)
These statistics show that Calvert-Lewin is scoring more than expected (by 0.96 goals) and so the earlier statistics indicating that he was a decent finisher and just needed more chances were correct. What’s changed over the last 16 games is that his shots per 90 minutes has risen dramatically. He is now at 2.82. I posted before about how Harry Kane had this number up at over 4.00 when he was banging them in. Most top strikers get this up over 3.00 per game.
If you look at the last 5 Premier League games then you see the stats of a top finisher:
3.80 shots per 90
2.83 expected goals
0.57 expected goals per 90
The problem is though, Calvert-Lewin has often played as a lone striker. And his statistics show this. He’s flourished with someone else up top with him. But he’s not creating anything for them. His assists is at 0, his expected assists is below 1.00, and his expected assists per 90 minutes is practically 0.00. So, he’s of no help to young Moise Kean. Calvert-Lewin uses the other forward as a decoy, someone to take defenders away, and as someone to create for him.
Look at Moise Kean’s numbers:
3.22 shots per 90
1.07 key passes per 90
2.08 expected goals (xG)
1.41 expected assists (xA)
0.37 expected goals per 90 minutes (xG90)
0.25 expected assists per 90 minutes (xA90)
Moise Kean might have played a part in 17 games in the Premier League, but he’s only played 503 minutes. His shots per 90 minutes is better than Calvert-Lewin’s. His xG per 90 minutes is second only to Calvert-Lewin at the club. The other positives are he is far more creative than Calvert-Lewin. He has an assist, he could have had more, and he creates a chance every game, unlike Calvert-Lewin. Whereas Calvert-Lewin, when struggling, just needed to shot more, Kean is shooting enough. His stats show he is wasteful.
Look back at previous seasons though and there is room for optimism. Last season, for Juve he scored 6 in Serie A. His xG was 3.81, meaning that he scored more goals than he should have, ie, from different angles, or from range. His shots per 90 was slightly higher at 3.42. His xG per 90 was an impressive 0.65. What’s also notable was that his key passes, his assists and his xA and xA90 were all down, some significantly. This shows he was being far more selfish.
We should bring Richarlison into the equation. His stats for the season are as follows (last season in brackets):
22 Appearances (35)
1918 Minutes (2702)
8 goals (13)
3 assists (1)
2.58 shots per 90 (2.73)
1.08 key passes per 90 (0.67)
6.13 expected goals (xG) (11.33)
3.33 expected assists (xA) (1.96)
0.29 expected goals per 90 minutes (xG90) (0.38)
0.16 expected assists per 90 minutes (xA90) (0.07)
I think you can see, without my commentary, that he’s become more creative this season, but without necessarily losing his goal threat.
A telling statistic though is his xG90 is 0.30 since Silva was sacked. So barely changed despite being up top more. His key passes per 90 is slightly more at 1.18. His xA90 0.17. This is not a striker becoming more selfish, he is still playing his natural game and creating chances.
A final word is reserved for Anthony Gordon, the new debutant:
4.19 shots per 90
You can get very distorted figures off such a small sample size as 43 minutes, but that shots per 90 is the highest for any Everton player this season (2nd is Tosun with 3.41, 3rd Kean 3.22, 4th Walcott 2.82, 5th Calvert-Lewin 2.82). The xG90 is 6th (Calvert-Lewin 0.51, Kean 0.37, Tosun 0.34, Richarlison 0.29, Walcott 0.28). The boy never quite opened his legs and showed his pace or danced through a defence, but he got shots off and showed a glimpse of what he is about.
Reader Comments (52)
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1 Posted 20/01/2020 at 19:21:53
2 Posted 20/01/2020 at 19:43:05
3 Posted 20/01/2020 at 20:26:43
4 Posted 20/01/2020 at 20:31:16
Ray, why bother reading something about stats then? Would you read one of the excellent articles on past players and moan about it being historical? If you don't like stats, don't read it.
5 Posted 20/01/2020 at 20:36:30
6 Posted 20/01/2020 at 20:36:46
7 Posted 20/01/2020 at 20:40:06
8 Posted 20/01/2020 at 20:53:11
Also, I wrote the initial analysis of Calvert-Lewin after only 5 games and 1 goal, when he was getting slagged off, and said don't worry, the stats show he will come good and he has. He did what the stats needed him to and started getting more shots off, then the goals increased. His accuracy was fine.
Moise Kean is not a dud. The stats show that. He has good shots, he just needs accuracy. In the past he was accurate. The fall off in accuracy is a young lad low on confidence and snatching at his chances. If he can just get one goal, loads more will come.
9 Posted 20/01/2020 at 21:08:46
I don't think there is enough statistical evidence about Kean to make any meaningful comparison. I agree that he is lacking confidence and that he may well come good – I certainly hope so.
10 Posted 20/01/2020 at 21:52:52
Surely, your eyes will tell you Moise Kean moves well, positions well, and he gets chances. How often, did the experts used to say it's when you stop getting the chances that's the problem? And this was Calvert-Lewin's problem. He was not getting the chances, and when he did he put them away. Now he's made adjustments to his game, he's getting almost 3 shots off every game, and his accuracy means he is scoring.
Kean's getting the chances, but not finishing them. He's not getting any chances in the 6 yard box, they're all either just inside or just outside the box.
In particular, he has had three good chances:
1. Newcastle United away: Link Shot saved on 49 minutes, or 5.39 on that clip. This was considered a 0.47 chance on xG.
2. Sheff United at home: Link 7.18 on that clip or 59 minutes for the match. This was considered 0.33 on xG (33% chance of scoring).
3. Liverpool away: Link 8.28 on the clip or 84 minutes (and 4-2 in the match). This was a 0.29 chance on xG.
What I really like is his movement. He creates space for himself, he has good upper body strength and he can hold off defenders. He has pace, and he can join play together, as he can spot a pass and move forwards to get on the end of it. The thing missing from his game is his finishing, but remember what he can do: Link
11 Posted 20/01/2020 at 21:54:47
It has improved a bit since Ancelotti had Everton play more through the centre, unlike Silva who was obsessed by attacking from the wings. I still see poor positional play by the forwards, particularly on attacking the near post. Defenders are often unchallenged on the near post by Everton forwards.
Good statistical analysis, that actually shows what is happening. Thank you.
12 Posted 20/01/2020 at 22:06:24
I think the thing that aggravates so often is that we don't shoot as often as we can. Instead we look for the extra pass. But we have that "consistently low pass-completion rates in the final third".
So no shot, no completed pass. Frustrated fans.
13 Posted 20/01/2020 at 22:28:59
14 Posted 20/01/2020 at 22:31:34
Some more stats to show this:
Goals: 0.58 per 90
xG: 0.51 per 90
Assists: 0.00 per 90
xA: 0.06 per 90
Key passes: 0.58 per 90
xGChain: 0.61 per 90
xGbuildup: 0.15 per 90
xG Chain shows how many times Calvert-Lewin touches the ball in the buildup to a chance. It sits just below his xG, in other words it's 0.10 per 90 that he's touched it in the build-up for someone else to have a chance.
xG Build up excludes the shots and assists, and therefore shows the players who do everything up to that point. In other words if DCL does not get the shot or the assist, is he involved? This figure is 0.15. He's well down the list Everton. Okay Moise Kean is worse at 0.04, but Cenk Tosun has 0.00 to show just how crap he is.
The xG Build up stat is very interesting for other things though. It tells me that I'm wrong about Gomes. The list for Everton is:
Don't worry about Digne (0.19) and Sidibe (0.17) being low, this is because it is taking away their roles when they actually got a cross in that someone headed or shot and only using the ones that get flicked on, or passed around and then a shot goes in.
15 Posted 21/01/2020 at 01:04:53
Since that post I have come Ancelottis analysis of Everton play:
At this moment we are not playing vertical, we are playing a lot of balls back, instead of playing forward, that is how we can improve, ” Ancelotti said.
“We can play more vertically. We want to build up but when you have the possibility to play forward you must play forward. Quick. If you are slow at the back you have less possibility to find space in the opponents half. Sometimes when you say to a player that we want possession, they think possession is the target. The target is not possession. The target is always to score goals. Our idea is to do that through possession but we want to score goals. If you see some data more possession sometimes means you have less possibility to score. There are a lot of games where the winning team has less possession. ”
This probably explains your inciteful observation, which is highlighted by Steve's Statical analyse. During the Silva regime pass completion wasn't a priority, if you where a player in the final third your objective was to shoot, but many of the players found themselves in unsuitable positions and tried with extra touches to get into better positions rather than passing, resulted in them being easily channelled and pushed out to the wings, this combined with Silvas preference for wing play, caused Players to avail of the easier option of passing back or to the wings. The fruitfulness of this inevitability resulted in loss possession , players receiving the ball too late / well marked, no space available to attack and a lack of threat, enabling defences to push up into Evertons midfield.
Having played a year in Silvas system old habits die hard and some players are still happy to coast passing backwards and sideways. In Ancelottis words not take responsibility. It's also questionable if the midfield was capable of pace and speed and used Silvas tactics to mask this. . Steve's analysis of final third p!ay shows this and the slight improvements that Ancelotti has made, though Ancelottis above analysis shows that he is not satisfied and wants the preferred individual targets of Steve's analysis.
As a matter of fact Ancelotti is probably looking at the same data as Steve and drawing the same conclusions.
16 Posted 21/01/2020 at 06:41:30
As ever stats make more sense over time. At least Kean got involved. Though we can all see with our eyes he needs to develop a touch.
Ferninho made me chuckle. I used to be called the white pele at school... or Pearle (mostly by myself).
As ever we eagerly wait for the kids (Kean, Davies, Holgate, DCL, Richarlison) to come good... and they are improving.
Interesting article Steve.
17 Posted 21/01/2020 at 09:19:16
18 Posted 21/01/2020 at 09:24:41
I personally don't think much of his finishing. He often scuffs his shots and he is often in the way of Richarlison when he is going for headers in the box. However, he is getting himself in the right positions and timing his runs better. His finishing will improve. The feller is getting better each season. I don't think he will ever have the clinical finishing of Kane or Aguero but they are the very best.
Hopefull stats on Kean too, reveal what the eyes see. He has talent, he can create for himself and others. These stats do confirm what I have seen in play.
19 Posted 21/01/2020 at 09:44:11
20 Posted 21/01/2020 at 09:56:19
I've read from a few of the top recruiters who say that players still have to pass the eye test of course but that stats may make up over 50% of the decision when analysing players.
I think less than 1000 minutes is too small a sample to draw serious conclusions but interesting that Kean is getting shots off but failing to score. I had thought he looked quite a natural finisher in his time at Juve (which the stats support) but maybe he's rushing himself or has just been a bit unlucky. He definitely needs that first goal. Hopefully tonight!
21 Posted 21/01/2020 at 09:57:56
22 Posted 21/01/2020 at 10:03:04
23 Posted 21/01/2020 at 10:10:22
Sam, I'm drawing no serious conclusions off Kean at all. I just refuse to write him off and cite reasons to be optimistic. I also used his career stats which are from 52 games, 2182 minutes of football, and 11 league goals.
24 Posted 21/01/2020 at 10:10:58
This is a addition quite from Ancelottis interview.
''If you want to play football at a certain level you have to be brave. You cannot be shy, ” said Ancelotti.
“You have to take responsibility and the players with more quality have to take responsibility. Here in general we have a young squad but players with a strong personality and players who are experienced like Delph and Walcott who can help the young to show more bravery and have more courage.
Ancelotti wants experienced players such as Theo Walcott to change Everton's approach away from timidity. ( Poor Theo is going to have more stress in his life)
“I like the players who are going to take responsibility on the pitch. It is true in the first half against West Ham we were too shy. I told the players at the end of the first half that if you are shy you cannot play football, you have to do something different. Against West Ham it was like this. ”
Your stats underline the players who as in Ancelottis words are not taking 'Responsiblity'.
Bernard is obviously the player who has bought into Ancelotti thinking. He is transformed as a result. Sigurdsson has bought in a bit, but speed and pace are holding back. Iowbi probably will. Davis still needs work. Gomes we will see, but again Barcelonia let him go. Hopefully he has learn't.
25 Posted 21/01/2020 at 10:28:52
However, he has 4 assists, the same number as he got in the league last season. His key passes per 90 are actually up, from 2.15 to 2.52.
His xG is down, but that doesn't really matter for a fullback. His xA (expected assists) is 4.70, when it was 7.71 last season, but the season is incomplete. His xA per 90 is the same, 0.23 last season and 0.22 this season. This shows that he hasn't put in too many great crosses / passes that the forwards have failed to convert.
If you look at xGC (expected goals chain - definition above at 14) then this is slightly down per 90, from 0.29 to 0.27. Remember this includes the assists, is a stats that credits him for the West Ham goal, where he put in the corner that Holgate flicked on (assist) for Calvert-Lewin to score.
The xGBuildup (definition at 14) is actually higher this season. It has risen from 0.17 to 0.19.
Offensively, the statistics show that Digne is still more or less at the same level, output-wise, he is just not scoring any free-kicks (scored two last season and two long rangers from corners). But, of course, we all remember how he struggled with a 16 year old in the Derby Debacle, and other games where he has struggled defensively.
26 Posted 21/01/2020 at 10:42:04
I think our lack of a balanced central midfield has been our biggest issue since we had Barry/McCarthy/Barkley performing well in 2013-14 and Gueye and Gomes working well together at times last year. This season we have been woeful in the middle; poor tackling, lack of pace, not enough energy and poor passing.
27 Posted 21/01/2020 at 10:52:07
I took it to mean Richarlisons days as a winger are pretty much over and he will be playing much more centrally, as he has been doing lately.
It could also mean the end of a regular starting berth for our record signing.
28 Posted 21/01/2020 at 10:56:28
29 Posted 21/01/2020 at 11:02:30
30 Posted 21/01/2020 at 11:02:30
31 Posted 21/01/2020 at 11:07:50
Our great problem, especially if Theo Walcott is providing the final ball, is that what should be presenting the striker with an 80% chance of scoring is often reduced to 2% by the woeful quality of the pass/cross.
Or have I misunderstood the whole thing?
32 Posted 21/01/2020 at 11:14:45
Sadly his progressive passing, runs and tackles and interceptions stats make for less impressive reading. And his xG stats as you note are not great.
He's a good player and his composure and ball retention makes him possibly our best central midfielder currently (a low bar); but he really does not do enough with it (or without it) in my opinion to merit the plaudits some of our fans give him. I think we will need better (or for him to do much better) if we are ever to challenge the top 4 in the next few years.
33 Posted 21/01/2020 at 11:23:09
For example, Dominic's goal was given an xG of 0.42, so a 42% chance of scoring. It was a header, even though it was in the six yard box and he had to react, so it was quite difficult.
The Theo Walcott cross, where he basically blasted it at Dominic's knee was given an xG of 0.13, so a 13% chance of scoring.
If you remember the scuffed shot he scored with against Newcastle, that was an xG of 0.7, so a 70% chance of scoring.
If you remember the diving header by Dominic for the consolation goal in the City game at Goodison, that had an xG of 0.8, an 80% chance of scoring, as DCL was practically on the goal line when he headed it into an empty net.
Hope that clarifies things.
34 Posted 21/01/2020 at 11:50:38
xGC90 (xG Chain per 90) was 0.25 for us, 0.31 last season, but it was 0.65 and 0.55 for Barcelona (ok everyone got a touch of the ball in the buildup to a goal) and then 0.40 and 0.46 for Valencia. It was 0.46 for Benfica.
Why can this be? Three things. He played under Silva for us. We were one of the best at robbing the ball high up the pitch and scored a few goals from this so Gomes wouldn't get a touch in such a move. Silva also encouraged fast breaks, and whilst Gomes would pass long, it was also coming from any of our back 5 and by-passing midfield. Thirdly, if Gueye won the ball he would go forwards and pick out a winger or a forward, rather than backwards to involve Gomes.
Then there's the xBU90 statistics. This is the one that looks at his involvement in moves that don't produce a key pass or a shot, so his involvement in building up the play and getting the team into a dangerous area, only for Richarlison or someone to be tackled in full flight.
For Everton this is 0.19 this season, 0.26 last season. For Barcelona it was 0.53 and 0.46. For Valencia it was 0.42 and 0.23. For Benfica it was 0.30.
Gomes has a career xGC of 0.43, and he is well down on that at Everton. He has an xBU90 of 0.30, so he was just under that last season but almost half of it this season.
Fabian Delph had even better xGC and xBU stats, but remember he was playing for Man City under Guardiola where nearly everyone gets a touch in a move and so they rack these totals up. Yet his stats fall to nearly exactly the same as Gomes.
xGC90: Gomes: 0.25 Delph 0.22 Schneiderlin 0.21 Davies 0.23
xBU90: Gomes: 0.19 Delph 0.21 Schneiderlin 0.19 Davies 0.20
With Schneiderlin and Davies added you can see this. Pre-Silva Davies had xGC90 of 0.40 but his xBU90 is the same as it's always been.
To prove my point on Gueye, his stats are:
Now he's playing for PSG they are up to 1.08 and 0.91!
So, it was definitely a Marco Silva thing, as the team tried to go back to front quickly, or if they were shut down, then they would attack down the flanks. Ancelotti seems to be involving the central midfielders more. So if Gomes makes a full recovery, I expect him to flourish.
35 Posted 21/01/2020 at 11:59:59
DCL tries hard but is still not a leading striker good enough to take Everton to where they want to be.
Moise Kean is struggling to fit in and may do it elsewhere.
Experienced Walcott, Tosun and Niasse just don't cut it.
Richarlison is the one hope but needs a first class partner.
Very little is contributed from midfield and Siggy has been a bust this season.
These are the sad statistics that have kept Everton from being a top team and I doubt that Gomes and Gbamin would have helped the cause if they had been available.
After the early season defeat at Villa I said that this was an average team and nothing has changed.
36 Posted 21/01/2020 at 12:03:04
On the subject of Gylfi, I wonder how bad the groin injury is? Could he be about to go out on loan? I know we are very short in midfield but if we have someone else lined-up to come in, it could be significant. Emre Can.
37 Posted 21/01/2020 at 12:31:59
38 Posted 21/01/2020 at 12:36:47
39 Posted 21/01/2020 at 12:44:44
And I wonder who would be our tin man and scarecrow!
40 Posted 21/01/2020 at 13:19:04
41 Posted 21/01/2020 at 13:23:56
Thank you for your comprehensive analyse of Digne. I am more hopeful of his contribution. During the Derby he had personnel issues at home, which seemed to affect him. It will be interesting to see Gomes stats , when he actually plays for Ancelooti, . Ancelotti will definitely taking notes.
No wonder Schneiderlin has been dropped and Tosun loaned out. I think Man City got caught on the hop , by Tosun. He will get more attention in his next game.
Ancelotti is looking at similar stats and this article gives a good insight into the Everton team.
Good one and a good expression of what everyone is thinking. 😃
42 Posted 21/01/2020 at 14:01:45
Funny at the top I was wondering how this would be applied to midfielders and the chat turned to them.
Some of your figures suggest that Bernard is one of the more creative midfielders in terms of output in the build up.
From my own eyes I would have been tempted to say this was the case because when he gets into the final third he can be destructive.
The other names being ranked where they were didn't surprise me as Davies is a box to box player and was halfway down as he has to get back and defend and then the holding players were beneath him which makes sense. Apart from where Delph was in third?
Could this be an anomaly given he's been in and out and asked to play in a variety of midfield positions or systems?
Anyway, your build up figures suggest that Bernard is one of our key midfielders and that Iwobi could get there in the end.
I would love it if someone smarter than myself could provide stats on the holding midfielder role, past and present. Schneiderlin, Barry, Carsley, Neville...
I've long had a theory that Carsley was worth his weight in gold.
43 Posted 21/01/2020 at 14:06:33
If he were able to recapture some of his Valencia days that would be great but that was 5 years ago now and he's suffered a very nasty injury. The PL is such a physical, dynamic league and I suspect Andre may never be quite as good as he sometimes looks but I hope i'm proved wrong.
Out of interest where do you get your xG, xGC stats etc from?
44 Posted 21/01/2020 at 14:22:17
45 Posted 21/01/2020 at 14:23:31
My eyes tell me that DCL is becoming a hell of a player. Now that he is getting some help up front, he is looking far more dangerous while still being a handful.
I wouldnt read too much into him not having an assist. Very few target men were great at playing through balls, but they have a certain nuisance value that creates space for others. DCL definitely has this. Him jumping with De Gea led to Man U scoring an own goal for instance.
DCL and Richarlison up front can definitely provide goals. Kean may be able to chip in, but he needs to step up to do so. He is capable of adding goals between now and the end of the season. Its probably easier to judge everyone at the end of the season, rather than on the last 5 games etc.
46 Posted 21/01/2020 at 15:14:57
I think you are to be commended for the amount of work you put in to ToffeeWeb discussions and I really enjoy reading your posts but as you know I am not a fan of stats for a number of reasons which I will expand on in a minute but I think there is no substitute for your own eyes and good judgement.
My first point on stats is they can be made to prove any point you want to make.
Secondly and more importantly they vary by game and the quality of opposition.
Thirdly it is a team game and if you have a bunch of injuries and/or are playing with inferior players the stats will obviously show your stats in a poorer light.
Fourthly a manager and his tactics will have a greater influence on individuals stats than the players natural ability.
Now don't get me wrong I believe stats have a place and are useful indicators but as I started by saying watching the game and using your own judgement is IMO is far more important than relying on stats.
For example I am sure Niasse stats will show him in a better light than Kean but I am sure most fans and the manager believe Kean to be much the better player.
47 Posted 21/01/2020 at 16:47:10
I still maintain he isn't a great finisher in front of goal (with his feet, that is), but his confidence is soaring and I won't claim to know where his ceiling is.
Here's to hoping Kean bangs one in today and gets his confidence going as well.
48 Posted 21/01/2020 at 16:49:55
I appreciate the stats and the hard work
My issue is that Kean doesnt even control the ball half the time. Its incredible how poor he is at this aspect of the game
He doesnt seem to hold the ball up. And his dribbling is erratic
His chance against Liverpool (that you referenced) - he should have hit the target Minimum - thats what EPL quality strikers do. Skew it wise is what you or I do
Part of the disappointment with Kean is we needed a proven striker and we got Sandros brother instead
I dont accept the ‘age excuse: Greenwood (Utd), Neto (Wolves) and Martinelli (Arsenal) have all scored goals (multiple goals)
I also dont accept the ‘foreign league excuse: Haller (West Ham) and Wesley (Villa) have scored
Right now, irrespective of the stats, Kean looks crap
I hope Im wrong and youre right but right now it looks like we have a dud
(Please prove me wrong Kean starting tonight son)
49 Posted 21/01/2020 at 16:53:19
50 Posted 21/01/2020 at 17:12:06
Amazing research compilation.
51 Posted 22/01/2020 at 19:57:31
The lack of assists to argue greedy and selfish or simply because there is no one else good enough to take advantage of a pass or cross.
Key passes and creating goal scoring opportunities are let down and not registering because players lack movement and don't make a 10 yard run into space that would create a chance.
It's a team game, there all in it together and collectively with good coaching and instructions should improve.
My eyes tell me that is starting to happen but a long way to go. We're also about 5 players short of being classed as a good to very good team.
52 Posted 05/02/2020 at 22:39:31
It might be coming from a hockey background, but I want my strikers in "soccer" to shoot the damn ball – a lot!
It will never cease to confound me how so many strikers will look to lay a ball off. Drives me absolutely mad. I only care about three things with strikers:
1. Are they putting themselves in position to receive the ball in a dangerous area?
2. Are they shooting the ball showing that killer instinct to score?
3. Are they scoring goals, or do they show the promise of scoring goals if young?
That's it. Moise Kean does all those things for me, so I love the kid. Plus I like any striker with dreadlocks. Win-win.
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