Top 10 Strikers In The PL: Scoring % and Shooting Efficiency

goals per 90 minutes - Benjamin Pugsley

Think of this article as the sister piece to this which looked at each players shots, SoT and goals per 90 minutes. Right now we are going to look at the same players in a slightly different way.

Same players, different stats. I am going to take the same 10 players, the best the PL has to offer right now, and look at how efficient they are in terms of getting their shots on target and how many of those shots on target actually end up as goals.

Firstly a reminder of where these players are at in terms of golas scored per 90 minutes in 2012/13.

Goals Per 90

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League average goals per 90 is 0.66. We can easily spot who is above or below that elite average.

Suarez and RvP are, in a way, out on their own. Lampard is a low minutes scoring midfielder with penalties on his 2012/13 resume and Lukaku is a low minutes player who is fairly often used as an impact sub, which can slightly skew some of his per 90 numbers, Of the full timers Suarez and RvP ae ahead of the rest.

Shooting Efficiency %

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The 'elite' top 10 average is 41%.

Shooting efficiency (SoT/Total Shots), I would guess, is a mixture of physical skill in terms of a players ability to place a shot on target and footballing intelligence which determines how clever or disciplined a player is about his shot selection. Or, you could disagree entirely and say it's just about how close to goal a player shoots. I prefer the skill and intelligence options.

Let's start with the good, and do remember some of these numbers may be skewed by penalty data.

Lukaku is a little way out on his own with an excellent number. 47% of the Chelsea owned players total shots end up on target and he is beating out some high quality competition to top this list.

Lambert, with another excellent number, is beating out the magisterial van Persie. Bale drops in just behind the Dutchman with a 44.4% shooting efficiency %, this is the same Bale who shoots a fair amount from distance. The Tottenham player, by eye, has a great shot and he should see his Shooting Efficiency % rise if he shows better shot selection in the future.

Rooney is bang on 'elite' average. Benteke fades below and then we get to Suarez who is a full 6 percentage points below the 'elite' average.

Why is Suarez so far below? Poor shot selection. He has plenty of talent, although he is not a great finisher, and should be registering a higher efficiency %, I think his willingness to shoot on site instead of being more disciplined with either his shots selection or his pass selection is dragging his efficiency number way down. Maybe his continuing maturity as a forward corrects this bit by bit.

Michu brings up the rear for the top 10. This is the great, incredible Michu who is a genuine Premier League striking star, except he is not any of the aforementioned. Michu has a 34.5% shooting efficiency, and that low number is not helped by the fact that he is an average shot generating striker in the Premier League with a shade over 3 shots per 90 minutes (Suarez has 5.6 per 90).

If Michu is a forward who generates relatively few shots per 90 and has a low shooting efficiency % how has he scored so many goals in the Premier league this year?

Scoring %

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This is how Michu has managed his high goal total despite an average shots performance; Michu's scoring% is crazy high, even by the top 10's standard.

I am struggling to accept that Michu will continue to score at 51.7%. His scoring % is a classic example of a 'bubble', and it will burst and slowly regress toward, and maybe beyond, that 40% top 10 average. Oh, Lampard too is a regression case.

But what of scoring % (goals/SoT)?

Obviously part of the ability to turn SoT's into goals is skill driven, but also luck (goalkeeper skill, positioning, deflections) is a factor. Messi's career number hovers around 50% and is likely driven by his quick backlift, great placement, penalties and quality of chances that Barca create.

Swansea aren't Barca and Michu isn't Messi. Yes, part of Michu's scoring % is skill driven, but I'd wager a good amount (as I did with P. Cisse last year) that Michu's scoring % will regress, the goals will go with it and Michu will no longer be talked of as a 'star'. He just doesn't have the career pedigree or talent to be a ~50% shooter. Goalkeepers will increasingly save his shots, pundits will talk of a player who has lost his confidence and edge, but in reality it will be his natural regression from a scoring % that was too for his talent level.

Moving on, van Persie is a very good shooter, and young Benteke has a high scoring % too. Suarez, despite his woes in shooting efficiency is converting a good and healthy number of his shots on target into goals. Rooney, Lambert and Lukaku are pretty close in scoring % terms.

What of Bale and Ba, two players with numbers that are out of keeping with the rest of the top 10? Both players have seem to have been snake bitten in terms of scoring %.

Remember, scoring % is the amount of shots on target that are turning into goals, so it seems that Ba and Bale are either poor shooters (shooting efficiency tells us the opposite, but this is only a part of it) or the goalkeepers they have faced are better than the rest of the league have faced? We know that to be nonsense and the same things that lead me to think that Michu is a regression case also lead me to think that Bale and Ba will likely 'bounce back' and see their respective scoring %'s rise.

Very broadly speaking, Michu and Lampard are the lucky ones and Ba and Bale the unlucky ones.

Overall Lukaku comes out of this best: High shooting efficiency, a healthy, but non regression case scoring % and also the league's best goals per 90 number. There is an awful lot to like about the 19 year old, with only the odd penalty and substitute minutes present to skew his numbers. I think if Chelsea are patient and loan him out and away from the striking graveyard of Stamford Bridge, they could be rewarded.

Lukaku, if loaned again, would get full starting minutes which will help his progress and allow us to get a deeper understanding of just how good he is. For a full season of starter minutes, and not too many of those skewing substitute minutes, would allow us to compare him against all the top draw strikers in the league without having to asterix his numbers due to the boosts that super subs get in coming off the bench against tired opposition.

He looks to be a good prospect and not too many teenagers score double figures in the Premier League. Rooney and Ronaldo Jermain Defoe were the last two players.

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