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Will Work For Food #3 – Looking At Our Offense – Goals
With 15 games under our belt this season, I figure it is time for me to take a closer look at the squad. Today I’ll be discussing some of the things that I look at to analyze my squad’s offense. But before we get into that, let’s take a quick look at where the team stands in the Russian second tier.
SKA-Khabarovsk is currently 6th in the table, exceeding pre-season predictions thus far. We’ve managed 26 points over 15 matches with a total record of 7-5-3. To take a brief look at some team stats, we’re tied for 8th in goals scored (20), 6th in goals allowed (15), 11th in pass completion (71%), and 13th in possession (49.67%).
But what I really want to look at is our players. So how do I go about judging a player’s offensive contribution? Do I just look at goals, assists, and game ratings? Or maybe I look at completion percentages, shots on target ratios, and so on. Well, the answer is that it is a mix of everything. Here’s a look at the spreadsheet I keep for offence:
I know, it’s a lot of mumbo-jumbo and arbitrary numbers just thrown in your face, so for this first part, let’s just focus on one section.
In baseball, chicks dig in the long ball. In football, it’s all about those rare and elusive goals, so let’s go ahead and start there. So the biggest idea here is Marginal Points (M. Points). Basically, marginal points is the idea that not all goals are created equal. It tries to account for garbage time – that period of a game when the result is all but set in stone and the defense may or may not even be trying. To put it simply, the 5th goal scored by a team isn’t worth the same as the 3rd.
What marginal points says is this –
- The 1st goal a team scores increases the team’s projected point value by .85
- The 2nd goal by .99
- The 3rd by .55*
- The 4th by .23
And the differences between the 5th goal and on are minor, so everything beyond that is .1
The bottom line is that the 2nd goal scored by a team is the most important in terms of securing points, and the 1st and 2nd are more important than all the rest.
This idea comes into play when you are comparing the production of players. Say that you are looking at two strikers, but only have enough money to sign one.
- Striker A’s goal breakdown looks like: 5-5-2-2-1
- Striker B’s goal breakdown looks like: 10-2-1-1-1
All other things being equal, which striker would you choose? Same age, same ability and potential, same cost, same production. Does it matter? Well, looking at marginal points, we see that Striker A contributed 10.86 points to his club, while Striker B contributed 11.36. So while their production may have been identical, we see that Striker B scored more important goals for his team.
The last thing worth noting on this screen is the expected goals. Now, it should be mentioned that this is not the expected goals measure you would typically find in football analysis. I can’t be bothered to go into that sort of detail. Rather, this is a simple projection based on the idea that 1 in 8 shots results in a goal.
This is particularly useful for evaluating midfielders and determining whether or not adjustments need to be made to their roles and/or player instructions. For example, if we look at someone like Alvarez Suarez , we see that he has taken 22 shots this season. Based on that number, we should expect him to have scored 2 goals, but what we actually see is that he hasn’t scored any. He’s under performing in terms of his goal scoring ability, so maybe I need to tell him to shoot less and have him focus on assuming a more supportive role in our attack.
These systems are far from perfect, and I am by no means a statistical analysis expert, but I do hope that this info helps you guys out in evaluating your team’s production. We’ll take another look at this spreadsheet in the future and discuss some of the other sections.
*There’s a calculation error in my screenshot – I was using .5 instead of .55.