Premier League strikers are usually judged on their goals scored per games ratio. However, thanks to Opta Stats, we’re now able to take the analysis further by analysing whether these goals were scored by easy chances put on a plate for them by their team’s creative forces. This article will focus on clear-cut chances – not from a point of view of creation but from a striker’s ability to finish or convert a clear-cut opportunity.
Firstly, what is a clear-cut chance? A clear-cut chance is one that is pretty much a free attempt on goal with just the striker and the goalkeeper. For example a one on one situation, a penalty, a free header and so on. Opta’s definition:
A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range.
Using the clear-cut chance scored and missed stats from our Opta Stats Centre (Subscribe for access!) we can analyse which strikers are scoring a higher proportion of these clear-cut chances and which strikers a totally dependent on an easy chance to score goals. For the analysis we’re going to use strikers that have had ten or more clear-cut opportunities on goal. The first table below shows all of the players who have had ten or more clear-cut opportunities in descending order.
Robin van Persie leads the way with 40 clear-cut chances and all of the top six have scored a good amount of goals this season apart from Luis Suarez. Adebayor, Rooney, Aguero and Yakubu make up the top six in terms of opportunities that have fell to them.
Frank Lampard is the best in the Premier League when it comes to converting clear-cut opportunities, converting nine out of eleven or 82% of opportunities that come his way. Striker from relegated Wolves, Steven Fletcher, is converting 70% of clear-cut chances that are presented to him – a truly impressive figure (surely he’s in the shop window this summer?).
In-form striker Papiss Cisse is third on the list converting 62% whilst Wayne Rooney, Demba Ba, Yakubu, Dzeko and Hernandez are all at 50% or above when converting these chances and all higher than the 39% average.
Top strikers Robin van Persie and Sergio Aguero have converted 45% and 48% respectively – one shudders to think how many these two could have had if they had put away more of their easy chances.
The first name that comes to mind is Luis Suarez – instantly we can see that Luis Suarez has had the sixth highest clear-cut opportunities (26) but has only scored with 28% of them, a poor return that has severely cost Liverpool in a season where they have lacked a lot of goals. This isn’t the lowest figure in the league as Dirk Kuyt and Nicklas Bendtner both share that title with only an 18% conversion, once again a Liverpool player is involved demonstrating further that their issues certainly lie here.
Other notable players that don’t finish the clear-cut chances very well are Andy Carroll (surprise, surprise again from Liverpool) on 21%, Gervinho on 23%, Defoe & Bale on 25% and then Peter Crouch and Grant Holt are on 29%. These are all way below the league average of 39% (all players who have had any clear-cut opportunities on goal).
Next Page: Which strikers rely on Clear-Cut opportunities? Do they score any goals apart from those put on a plate for them?