xG and finishing under ETH

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Idxomer

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We're never gonna create enough high-quality chances with the type of strikers we have. Our playmakers don't help either with their lack of ball-carrying abilities.
 

MDFC Manager

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I would consider changing setup to give Eriksen more freedom, as he looks like the most creative player in the squad but now is being asked to do quite a lot defensively. I'm questioning this Bruno-centric setup in a games like West Ham.
But to be fair, we played awful high number of games recently and it showed, so maybe I'm reading too much into it and it's just fatigue.
I have the same observation, I think we need to free up Eriksen and let him play his regular, more advanced role. Hopefully we have a FDJ alternative (or 2) lined up to get in the next couple of windows.
 

justsomebloke

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PL, following the West Ham game:

Playernpxg/90xa/90TOTAL
Martial
0,42​
0,33​
0,75​
Rashford
0,35​
0,1​
0,45​
Ronaldo
0,33​
0,08​
0,41​
Antony
0,31​
0,09​
0,4​
Elanga
0,13​
0,25​
0,38​
Fernandes
0,16​
0,21​
0,37​
Eriksen
0,15​
0,16​
0,31​
Sancho
0,2​
0,11​
0,31​
Fred
0,18​
0,11​
0,29​
Casemiro
0,08​
0,15​
0,23​
Shaw
0,03​
0,1​
0,13​
Dalot
0,05​
0,08​
0,13​
McTominay
0,06​
0,07​
0,13​

To put some perspective on that; if you disregard Martial (too small sample), the npxg level of our strikers is in the area of 0,35/90, at best. Disregarding players with fewer than 3 90s, the best in the PL is of course Haaland, who's got a 0.82 npxg. There's a further 14 players in the PL with an npxg higher than 0.35/90. The much-maligned Nunez f.e. has twice anyone on United (0.75 npxg). Bamford, Wilson, Awoniyi, Jesus, Kane, Rodrigo, Salah, Firmino, Mitrovic, Foden, Richarlison, Almiron, Toney and Willian all have npxg exceeding United's strikers. That's 8 teams with at least one player above our strikers npxg, which would seem to indicate we're a pretty average side when it comes to generating scoring opportunities.
 
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Skills

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PL, following the West Ham game:

Playernpxg/90xa/90TOTAL
Martial
0,42​
0,33​
0,75​
Rashford
0,35​
0,1​
0,45​
Ronaldo
0,33​
0,08​
0,41​
Antony
0,31​
0,09​
0,4​
Elanga
0,13​
0,25​
0,38​
Fernandes
0,16​
0,21​
0,37​
Eriksen
0,15​
0,16​
0,31​
Sancho
0,2​
0,11​
0,31​
Fred
0,18​
0,11​
0,29​
Casemiro
0,08​
0,15​
0,23​
Shaw
0,03​
0,1​
0,13​
Dalot
0,05​
0,08​
0,13​
McTominay
0,06​
0,07​
0,13​

To put some perspective on that; if you disregard Martial (too small sample), the npxg level of our strikers is in the area of 0,35/90, at best. Disregarding players with fewer than 3 90s, the best in the PL is of course Haaland, who's got a 0.82 npxg. There's a further 14 players in the PL with an npxg higher than 0.35/90. The much-maligned Nunez f.e. has twice anyone on United (0.75 npxg). Bamford, Wilson, Awoniyi, Jesus, Kane, Rodrigo, Salah, Firmino, Mitrovic, Foden, Richarlison, Almiron, Toney and Willian all have npxg exceeding United's strikers. That's 8 teams with at least one player above our strikers npxg, which would seem to indicate we're a pretty average side when it comes to generating scoring opportunities.
This is a good observation. I'd say we're looking good now in the first 2/3 of the pitch.

How do we translate that into potency in the final 3rd? Usually the simplest answer for that is to just have better players there to do that. My concerns around the Antony signing still remain - he needs to increase his output to be a long term starter for a club like ours in a front 3 position, or we'll always look impotent. It's the same with Sancho on the other side.
 

Borys

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This is a good observation. I'd say we're looking good now in the first 2/3 of the pitch.

How do we translate that into potency in the final 3rd? Usually the simplest answer for that is to just have better players there to do that. My concerns around the Antony signing still remain - he needs to increase his output to be a long term starter for a club like ours in a front 3 position, or we'll always look impotent. It's the same with Sancho on the other side.
We have too many passers and not enough runners. Eriksen, Bruno, Sancho, Antony need some outlets. Wide forwards should be more brave IMO. Also, Antony is usually operating very wide so we need a player making inside underlapping runs. Ronaldo IMO should not be dropping deep.

"Small play" and "patterns" will improve with time, no doubt about that. We have a lot of skilled players to do it. I am not sure if 4231 is the optimal setup, it works good in transition but against a defence which is already in good shape/low block it isn't balanced, and we get outrun easily after possession lost.
 

justsomebloke

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This is a good observation. I'd say we're looking good now in the first 2/3 of the pitch.

How do we translate that into potency in the final 3rd? Usually the simplest answer for that is to just have better players there to do that. My concerns around the Antony signing still remain - he needs to increase his output to be a long term starter for a club like ours in a front 3 position, or we'll always look impotent. It's the same with Sancho on the other side.
I'm not sure we can really fault Antony for output so far, at least in the goalscoring department, with 3 goals in 5.5 90s. He's been looking steadily more integrated, let's hope that trend continues. Of the two, I think Sancho is the one who needs to have more of a catalytic impact on our overall offensive game - he's got the broad tools and creativity to be that kind of player, but so far he hasn't been.

And then there's Martial. Small sample yes, but there's no denying how much better we've been in the limited time he's spent on the pitch. If only he could stay healthy, maybe that's our solution, right there. With the Rashford/Shaw dynamic rekindled (that, apart from Bruno, was our main weapon in 20/21), it's mouth-watering to think what may happen if the same happens to the Rashford/Martial dynamic (our main weapon, apart from Bruno, in post-January 19/20) - and with someone like Antony thrown in on the right, and if Bruno could then start re-approaching his old output. Maybe it's not more complicated than that.
 

eire-red

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Our GD is still only 1 so far, and Rashford is our top scorer now in the league with 4. I think it's clear what ETH has been doing, which is setting the foundations from the back so that we only have one or two areas to improve going into next summer's transfer window (CF and CM).

ETH has systematically gone about improving the glaring weaknesses in the team from last season that carried through to those first couple of games. It's much easier to solve intensity, workrate, number of sprints, ball recoveries in opponents half, chances conceded, defensive organisation. I think those things can be drilled intensly on the training pitch, and a change in mentality can be huge as well (to a certain extent of course. I think we also had quality defenders who just needed some structure).

But we'll have to be more patient with the attacking side of things. It's a little more esoteric I think. Like of course ETH can coach us to set up in ways that help us to create more chances, but you can't coach the killer instinct Haaland has, or coach the vision of KDB, or the ability of Salah to beat players and deliver a moment of quality. It's more down to top personnel.

However, I see the makings of a really good squad coming into shape even without thinking of further additions. But for arguments sake, let's say in summer 2023 we signed FDJ and Osimhen. I think two signings of that profile would transform a lot of our current struggles and I'd see us as real title contenders.
 

Sylar

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Get Eth a striker and we will be fire (and the money would be worth it as it Probably guarantees top4)
 

Tony247

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True but it's not like United's creating many quality chances either
Good strikers create spaces, make intelligent runs and thus contribute in creating scoring opportunities.

Without teeth you can chew only this much.
 

Mockney

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Those Garnacho, and specially Martial chances really build up that xG.

We need to improve there, score early and the game is way easier.
Antony missing from 2 yards because he decided to try and head his own feet probably helped too.

It was actually a relatively comfortable performance we almost managed to completely feck up with our own horrible finishing.
 

Pogue Mahone

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Antony missing from 2 yards because he decided to try and head his own feet probably helped too.

It was actually a relatively comfortable performance we almost managed to completely feck up with our own horrible finishing.
Not sure that Antony miss counts as he was offside. Thanks to an even more pathetic attempt at a header from Martial.
 

Fully Fledged

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Antony missing from 2 yards because he decided to try and head his own feet probably helped too.

It was actually a relatively comfortable performance we almost managed to completely feck up with our own horrible finishing.
He was offside for that but Tony M should have put the ball in the net before that.
 

sullydnl

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Going into today we had scored 23 goals from 21.3 xG. So it remains the case that our aggregate finishing had been fine.

The issue is reflected in the xG itself, where we were 9th in the league going into today.

Hopefully we'll create more as we get to actually use our first-choice attack which we've rarely been able to this season.
 

Shai-Hulud

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Going into today we had scored 23 goals from 21.3 xG. So it remains the case that our aggregate finishing had been fine.

The issue is reflected in the xG itself, where we were 9th in the league going into today.

Hopefully we'll create more as we get to actually use our first-choice attack which we've rarely been able to this season.
But is it not the case that the best strikers and best teams tend to outperform their xG?
 

NZT-One

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Going into today we had scored 23 goals from 21.3 xG. So it remains the case that our aggregate finishing had been fine.

The issue is reflected in the xG itself, where we were 9th in the league going into today.

Hopefully we'll create more as we get to actually use our first-choice attack which we've rarely been able to this season.
I agree. A tough away game against Wolves certainly isn't a match where I expect some fireworks but chance creation is still an issue. So weird looking at us being really slick in our builtup play but as soon as we enter the last third, it all goes away. Great results, a good defense - we have been there not too long ago. I hope, this is the next topic ETH engages in. Lack of personnel definitely an issue but not the single main reason, when looking at other teams in the league.
 

SAFMUTD

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Antony missing from 2 yards because he decided to try and head his own feet probably helped too.

It was actually a relatively comfortable performance we almost managed to completely feck up with our own horrible finishing.
That Antony finish was awful but it was offside, as my understanding that miss doesn't contributes to xG.
 

Dan_F

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It’s a better problem to have than what we’ve suffered from in previous seasons. The chance creation is much better than earlier in the season, and pleasingly, even if we don’t take the chances, we’re much more solid at the back - regardless of who is playing there.
 

Samid

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Not sure that Antony miss counts as he was offside. Thanks to an even more pathetic attempt at a header from Martial.
That Antony finish was awful but it was offside, as my understanding that miss doesn't contributes to xG.
Even if he had been onside the xG of that attack would be determined by the likelihood of the attack not resulting in a goal, rather than adding up the xG separately.

 

MadDogg

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But is it not the case that the best strikers and best teams tend to outperform their xG?
Players and teams tend to go through periods where they outperform their xG, but over time it averages out. I believe Messi is pretty much the only player around who consistently outperforms his xG. Even the likes of Ronaldo, Lewandowski, Kane, etc, don't. It's their ability to create so many chances for themselves through their movement and positioning that allows them to rack up their huge goal scoring feats.
 

NLunited

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We need to create and finish more chances. Our development is stalling :(. But, we are winning :D.

I’m not confident now we will keep improving.
 

sullydnl

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But is it not the case that the best strikers and best teams tend to outperform their xG?
To a limited extent.

For example in recent years City have outperformed their xG by roughly +3, +15, +10, +11 and so on over the course of a season. But then within that same time period we've had +13, +4, +4 and +13 seasons. As have other teams.

The key difference being that City actually had the best xG in the league in each of those seasons.

In other words finishing ability is less important than chance-getting ability, for teams and for players, because the latter is the more repeatable skill. That's why a lot of the best goalscorers finish relatively close to par with their xG over multiple seasons.
 

Shai-Hulud

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To a limited extent.

For example in recent years City have outperformed their xG by roughly +3, +15, +10, +11 and so on over the course of a season. But then within that same time period we've had +13, +4, +4 and +13 seasons. As have other teams.

The key difference being that City actually had the best xG in the league in each of those seasons.

In other words finishing ability is less important than chance-getting ability, for teams and for players, because the latter is the more repeatable skill. That's why a lot of the best goalscorers finish relatively close to par with their xG over multiple seasons.
I see. :)
 

Physiocrat

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To a limited extent.

For example in recent years City have outperformed their xG by roughly +3, +15, +10, +11 and so on over the course of a season. But then within that same time period we've had +13, +4, +4 and +13 seasons. As have other teams.

The key difference being that City actually had the best xG in the league in each of those seasons.

In other words finishing ability is less important than chance-getting ability, for teams and for players, because the latter is the more repeatable skill. That's why a lot of the best goalscorers finish relatively close to par with their xG over multiple seasons.
Doesn't the movement of the striker make a big difference to xG in that for them to have a chance that registers on xG they have to be in the right place to have the shot? Is there a separate chance creation metric that you can use alongside expected goals?
 

Pogue Mahone

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Going into today we had scored 23 goals from 21.3 xG. So it remains the case that our aggregate finishing had been fine.

The issue is reflected in the xG itself, where we were 9th in the league going into today.

Hopefully we'll create more as we get to actually use our first-choice attack which we've rarely been able to this season.
So far so good in this regard. I would be amazed if getting rid of Ronaldo doesn’t see an immediate and persistent improvement in our xG. Trying to create for multiple players who are all constantly moving is so much easier than when everything is funnelled towards just one, constantly offside, goalhanger. Not to mention the increased chances we’ll get from an effective press meaning we win the ball back much higher up the pitch. All of which we’re seeing now. Finally.
 

sullydnl

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So far so good in this regard. I would be amazed if getting rid of Ronaldo doesn’t see an immediate and persistent improvement in our xG. Trying to create for multiple players who are all constantly moving is so much easier than when everything is funnelled towards just one, constantly offside, goalhanger. Not to mention the increased chances we’ll get from an effective press meaning we win the ball back much higher up the pitch. All of which we’re seeing now. Finally.
Yep.

Plus Antony has only featured in 8/18 league games so far, with the disruption of an injury and a World Cup in-between. Even if he hasn't ripped up trees so far, the team is better and more balanced with him in it so you'd expect that too help. And we might still sign some sort of other attacking option in January as well.

Definitely reasons to hope for improvement, which is pretty good considering we're already in the top four places as is.
 
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