A bit of a return to the written newsletter this week - It’s been a while since I’ve got typing for you all and I wanted to see if my fingers still worked….
Anyway, now we’re at the November international break, we’re a tad under a third of the way through the European season - which is crazy to think about.
One good thing about that is that we can now use some stats as a more predictive measure for the rest of the season.
We use stats like expected goals (xA) and expected assists (xA) because they’re a bit more predictive than using straight goals and assists. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not perfect, but it’s about as close as we can get without getting too far into the weeds… and even then it’ll be like 200% more work for like an extra 2-3% accuracy. Which is totally worth it if you’re managing a Premier League side and a mistake is worth millions - not so much for us.
In this article, we’ll look at the players who are leading the expected goals and assists per 90 in the top European leagues over the first 29% or of the season.
Here were the limits I put on my search:
Had to play in the top five European leagues (I’m using France as the 5th best league as they’re most often called that, and they’re always pre-loaded as a top-five team in data sets and I’m redoing all that so we can see how some guy from Pacos Ferreira is doing.
Had to play a decent amount of minutes - this eliminated subs who might get a few goals in limited minutes and it’ll skew everything. It’ll also eliminate players who’ve been injured for a large chunk of the season.
Players 22 and under
Stats are sourced from Wyscout - depending on where you get your data from, xG and xA numbers will differ. So doing this same test on another tool might get different results.
Leading xG and xA By Young Players This Season
Here’s the quick summary. Keep in mind that the yellow boxes are either high expected assists and low expected goals (top left), or high expected goals and low expected assists (bottom right).
Keep in mind we’re comparing players in different positions here. So, you might have a midfielder that’s doing really well with expected goals for a player in his position, but in the grand scheme of things, it puts him at about average.
These players are in the green zone and are high in both.
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Kylian Mbappe: Surprise! Mbappe is really good.
Amine Gouiri: Gouiri has been a bit of a darling in all of my data dives over the past eighteen months or so. He’s a bit of a jet. Granted, the French league is usually a great place for young attackers. I’m very excited to see his next move. I’ve seen Man City linked, but they’re linked to every striker, and Gouiri has been linked to every big club - so a grain of salt.
Dominik Szoboszlai: He’s certainly looked the goods since making the move to the top of the RB food chain. To be getting over 0.5 expected assists a game is crazy, and to combine that with nearly 0.4 expected goals a game is even more insane. That’s nearly 0.9 expected goals + assists (xGA) per 90 minutes.
Or, in other words, nearly a 0.1 xGA for every ten minutes on the field.
Some others that stand out include:
Victor Osimhen: A runaway leader in expected goals per 90. Getting close to 0.7 xG per game is immense - however, his numbers are lower using other tools to measure, so maybe it’s a little less. Regardless, still very impressive.
Mohamed-Ali Cho: The Frenchman is only 17 and putting up good numbers. One to watch for sure. He’s also the second-youngest player to sign a professional contract in France behind Camavinga… Kickass name too.
Phil Foden: Foden is about as close to the fabled ‘green zone’ as you’re going to get. Perhaps playing wider than usual out left could be to blame? I have seen him ‘do a job’ high and wide in a few games where he hasn’t really been able to get into scoring positions - so a few games of that in an 11-match sample will drop per90 numbers.
Bryan Mbeumo: While he wasn’t the most hyped Brentford attacker heading into the season, Mbeumo has put up some very solid numbers in the PL.
Florian Wirtz: Another youngster having a big impact this season. He’s one that I’m really interested to see going forward. Still so young - he has the potential to be anything.
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