We continue our look back at the numbers that shaped Eliteserien last season with an analysis of Expected Goals (xG) per player.
There were 171 players who scored at least one goal and played 675 or more minutes (25% of all games) in the Norwegian top-flight last year. They’ve all been plotted into the graph below in order to visualise any significant over and under-performance when it comes to the players goal tally compared to their total xG value:
The 45-degree line represents the point where actual goals scored exactly matches with expected goals; the further away from the line, the larger the degree of over- or underperformance.
On the graph we’ve highlighted the players with the biggest difference between goals and xG, with some other interesting names added in.
The league’s clear top scorer last season, Christian Gytkjær, who earned a move to 1860 Munich on the basis of his campaign, over-performed by 0.08 goals pe r full 90 minutes played, 1.72 goals over the course of the season. That placed him at number 20 on the list of over-performing players in 2016.
The biggest under-performer was Strømsgodset Tommy Høiland. Based on the attempts he made throughout the season, he could have been expected to score 9.43 goals, with his actually tall only 4 goals. It means he underperformed by an eyebrow raising 0.48 goals per 90 minutes played. If he can replicate the amount and type of chances he had last season, will Høiland go back to ‘the norm’ and score more goals next season or is the simple but harsh answer that he is actually just a very poor finisher? He was at least in a league of his own when it came to under-performing in front of goal last season, his 0.48 difference 0.14 per game more than the young Haugesund striker Shuaibu Ibrahim. Expected to score almost a goal every other game more than he did, keep your eyes peeled on Høiland’s numbers this season, although he might find his playing time limited at Strømsgodset with hard competition from Pontus Engblom and Marco Tagbajumi.
Other notable under-performers were Franck Boli at Aalesund (now Stabæk) and Oliver Occean at Odd; if their expected goal value stays the same this season, they are likely to significantly increase their goal tally from 2016 and be among the leagues’s top scorers.
There was a clear ‘winner’ in terms of over-performance; Steffen Skålevik played only 868 minutes for Brann last season, but he amassed 6 goals from an expected goal value of 3.48, a 0.26 difference per every 90 minutes played. It was a difference of 0.10 xG per 90 minutes more than the second top over-performer, Muhammed Keita, who played for Strømsgodset and Stabæk last season.
Skålevik is unlikely to continue to score at last season’s rate of 0.62 goals per 90 minutes unless he can also increase his xG value in a Brann side who also over-performed significantly as a team when it came to the difference between goals and expected goals last season.
In our next article we’ll take a look at Eliteserien’s creators, mapping the assist and also secondary assists achieved against the expected tallies in both categories.
This article was written with the aid of StrataData, which is property of Stratagem Technologies. StrataData powers the StrataBet Sports Trading Platform, in addition to StrataBet Premium Recommendations.