Comparing the Football League’s top goalscorers

I haven’t done much player analysis this season so I thought I’d take a quick look at how the leading goalscorers compare. The graphic below includes all 29 players to have scored 10 or more goals (excluding penalties) in the Football League this season.

From left to right is the rate at which they’ve scored (goals per 90 minutes) and from bottom to top is the combined quality of the shots they’ve taken per 90 minutes, calculated using my expected goals model. The point of this second axis is to quantify how much of a goal threat each player is posing, which is a combination of both the level of service he’s getting and his ability to get into good shooting positions, regardless of how often he finds the net.

The axes are centred on the averages (medians) for this group of players and divide the graphic into quadrants, which I’ve labelled:

FL goalscorers 2016-02-22

The players in the top right quadrant have stood out the most: they’ve scored regularly and also been on the end of the more dangerous chances. Two players lead the way on raw goalscoring: Sheffield Wednesday’s Gary Hooper and Carlisle’s Jabo Ibehre. Both have netted at a rate of over 0.7 goals per 90 minutes, while the next most prolific players – Hull’s Abel Hernandez and Swindon’s Nicky Ajose – have been scoring a little over 0.6.

Hernandez‘s bubble is the highest on the vertical axis, which means that he’s had the best chances of any of these players: around 0.48 goals’ worth every 90 minutes according to my model. With Hull looking dominant in the Championship this is perhaps not surprising, and it makes Ajose‘s haul for Swindon look all the more impressive given that he’s netted at the same rate despite having worse opportunities to work with.

There should be honourable mentions for Leyton Orient’s Jay Simpson and Coventry’s Adam Armstrong, who have both presented a regular goal threat and made their chances count.

In the top left, the likes of Oxford’s Kemar Roofe and Sheffield United’s Billy Sharp have been regularly presented with excellent chances this season – the goalscoring potential of their shots is similar to those of Hooper and Ibehre – but could perhaps have done more with them.

In the bottom half of the graphic, both Fulham and Gillingham have two of the five players with the lowest quality chances. This ties in with both clubs being among the most clinical finishers in their respective divisions despite creating a relatively modest number of chances, as can be seen here and here.



Note: Conor Washington is listed as a QPR player although he’s yet to score for them – all 10 of his goals came for Peterborough before he moved clubs in January.