Throughout the world, analytics in football are becoming more commonplace. In their coverage of the EPL, Sky Sports and the BBC are now using expected goals in their programming for pre-match and post match. MLS in the United States publishes expected goal figures on its official website. While Eliteserien has not gone to those levels of acceptance of football analytics, here at KroneBall, we have published xG, xA, and other various advanced football stats throughout the season.
As we head towards the final third of the season in Norway’s top flight, we see what most expected, Rosenborg at the top of the table. However, it has not been as straightforward as we all expected for the Trondheim club and they only sit with a six point cushion. For much of the year, despite having significantly less resources, Sarpsborg has been within touching distance of Rosenborg and seemingly could give Rosenborg a scare up until the last weeks of the season. While falling twelve points behind RBK as of writing, Stabæk have also been a bit of a surprise. After finishing last season in the relegation playoff position, the Bærum club is currently sixth in the table and has the relative safety of a ten point gap between themselves and the relegation playoff spot.
Both Sarpsborg and Stabæk have seemingly overachieved (though R.O.N.N.Y. predicted a silver medal performance from Sarpsborg, but projected Stabæk would finish dead last, swings and roundabouts and all that) so far this season. These clubs are not only higher in the table than many predicted, but their underlying stats suggest they deserve to be in those positions, with Sarpsborg having the best xG difference in the league and Stabæk with the sixth best xG difference. If we look further into the numbers, we see that both club also has a star striker to thank for their prime positions in the table.
Patrick Mortensen and Ohi Omoijuanfo performance this far can be linked to the success of their respective clubs this season. Mortensen is tied for third in the league with 9 goals scored so far, while Omoijuanfo leads Eliteserien in goals scored with 14. The pair have a 0.56 and 0.76 Goals and Assists per 90 minutes respectively. They are, perhaps unsurprisingly, among the top of the list when it comes to attempts per game in the league as well, with Mortensen averaging 2.6 per 90 minutes, while Ohi averages 3.3.
In addition to these more traditional metrics, Patrick Mortensen and Ohi Omoijuanfo are also among the leaders in advanced stats as well. The two have the highest expected goals in Eliteserien, with Mortensen with 9.75 xG total and 0.50 xG per 90 while Ohi has a 10.24 xG total, 0.52 xG per 90 and 0.16 and 0.19 xG per shot. Furthermore, 52.31% of Ohi’s shots come from the danger zone, or the area in between the goal posts in the 18 yard box, while over 82% of Patrick Mortensen’s shots this season have come in that danger zone area, where scoring is more likely. These numbers show us that Mortensen and Ohi’s goal scoring is sustainable and not wild variance with either player overachieving.
There is a wide variety of stats that show just how well Ohi Omoijuanfo and Patrick Mortensen have performed this season, but can we tell how vital they have been to their team’s success? Stats like expected goals are a better way to see a player’s performance than something like goals and assists, which often is dependant on variance. Yet in isolation, a player’s xG total does not tell us how important they are compared to the rest of their team. However, if we can find what percentage of a team’s xG total a player’s non-penalty xG total makes up, we would be able to quantify how important a player is to his team. If we do this for the entire league, we can see which players are most vital in their team’s attack.
When we look at the percentage of team xG each player accounts for, again we see Ohi Omoijuanfo and Partick Mortensen are on top of the list. Ohi has accounted for 33.49% of Stabæk’s 25.73 xG this season, highest in the league. Of Sarpsborg’s 30.32 xG so far, Mortensen is responsible for 32.17% of it, second highest in the league. Not only are these two contributing the most to their team’s attack this season, they are doing it by a sizable margin. The player with the next highest percentage of his team’s xG total is Björn Sigurdarson of Molde, though he is responsible for 25.48% of Molde’s xG total this season, over 6% less than Mortensen and Ohi.
Whether we are looking at traditional stats, advanced stats, or something like the percentage of a team’s xG a player accounts for, we see that Patrick Mortensen and Ohi Omoijuanfo have been vital for their clubs this season. Sarpsborg is a legitimate title threat to Rosenborg, despite being a much smaller club than RBK. They may not be able to get the gold in the end, but the fact that they are even close is a statement of both how well the club is run and how important the Dane Mortensen has been this season. Some so called “experts” thoughts Stabæk could face relegation this year, but the seemed to have built a cushion not only big enough to be safe, but also might see them finish in the top half of the table this year. We most certainly can account for this success with Ohi’s performance. With his name among transfer rumors this past window, Stabæk supporters are surely glad he remained at the club. Both he and Patrick Mortensen have left their mark on the season thus far and seem certain to do the same the last third of the year.
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.