There’s one stat in particular that outlines our biggest issue heading into 2020/21, emphasising why a positive transfer window is imperative ahead of the new season.
As revealed by StatsBomb, we rank 98th (of 98!) for xG (expected goals) per game for teams across all five of Europe’s top leagues (England, Spain, Italy, Germany and France), averaging LESS than a goal per 90 minutes at just 0.87.
An unsurprising stat given the fact our entire strike force combined for just SIX goals last term, but an incredibly alarming one heading into the new season.
xG refers to the number of goals a team is expected to score, dependant on a number of variables – such as the number of chances a team has during a game and the quality of said chances.
For example, last season we averaged just 38% possession and 17% of all passes were hopeful long balls.
Clearly, we don’t spend enough time with the ball to be able to create quality chances of a team with a higher xG, thus giving Steve Bruce two key areas to work on ahead of 2020/21.
If we’re being brutally honesty, the only reason we were able to score 38 times last year was because of our threat from set pieces – and the stats back that up.
37% of our goals came from corners and free kicks, with defenders scoring 10 of our 38 goals! No wonder our xG is the lowest in Europe and just 0.87 per game.
This statistical evidence proves why creative players such as Ryan Fraser as well as proven Premier League goal-scorers like Callum Wilson must be brought in this summer.
With more attacking players at the club – as well as Bruce’s switch to a 4-2-3-1 after previously playing five at the back – more chances could be created per game, with the likes of Fraser and Wilson likely to add both creativity and goals to our side.
It’s a big IF, but you would imagine that our xG would drastically improve if both arrive and Bruce opts for a more attacking approach as a result.
With just NINE days to go until the new season kicks off and the xG stats speaking volumes, it’s absolutely essential that we not only sign quality attackers but find a way of posing MUCH more of a threat from open play – otherwise we could be in for another long, hard and goal-shy season in 2020/21!