Scott Sinclair | Can he step up to the EPL?

Scott Sinclair | Can he step up to the EPL?

Scott Sinclair has been touted by many since he moved from Bristol Rovers to Chelsea at the age of 16 in July of 2005. He has made his football league debut for Bristol in December of 2004, in the season before Chelsea signed him. No first team experience with just 2 league appearances for Bristol but Chelsea and many others saw the potential. However he only made a handful of appearances at Chelsea between 2005 and 2010, but he was sent out on loan to 6 clubs within that 5 year spell at Chelsea, moving to Plymouth Argyle, Queens Park Rangers, Charlton Athletic, Crystal Palace, Birmingham City all in the Championship with just one spell at a Premier League club with Wigan Athletic in the 2009-10 season.

In August 2010 Sinclair left Chelsea for Swansea City in the Championship, boss Brendan Rodgers securing his services at the club on a 3 year contract. Finally Sinclair would get a good run in the side, playing an integral role in Swansea City’s promotion to the Premier League, for the first time in their history and to the top league in England for the first time since 1983. Sinclair bagged a hatrick in the play-off final against Reading in which they won 4-2, take his season’s total in the league to 22 goals.

The question on every-one’s lips was whether Sinclair could take his impressive performances and most importantly his goal to the big time and the English Premier League?

The table above shows Sinclair’s record in the football league since 2004 with Bristol Rovers and the time he spent out on loan from Chelsea and the times he returned to Chelsea in between. The table shows his shots and his shots on target, showing his shooting accuracy and his shot to goal conversion rate throughout his career.

Scott Sinclair has played in the Premier League for Chelsea across a 5-year spell and the only other time was at Wigan in the 2009-10 season. Sinclair managed just 5 appearances for Chelsea, with no goals or assists and just the one shot in the league, which was not on target. Hardly anything too much to look into due to the fact of the lack of match time he got at the club.

At Wigan Athletic however, Sinclair did get game time. He played 18 times for Wigan in the league, but only 1 start with 17 substitute appearances, scoring one goal with a 33% shooting accuracy with an 11% conversion, which on the whole was not brilliant but majority of his time at Wigan was cameo appearances coming off the bench towards the end of a game. With regard to his shooting accuracy and conversion, this was not too bad with one out of 3 shots hitting the target and the conversion rate equalling to one goal every 11 shots, which as a striker you will look at getting as many shots in as you can.

Ultimately not a lot can be drawn from his little experience in the Premier League, so looking back up at his career record he has only managed more than 10 appearances within one season just four times, one being touched on above with his time at Wigan.

The first season he managed this was with 15 appearances at Plymouth Argyle in 2006-7 where he managed 2 goals with a 55% shooting accuracy and a conversion rate of 10%, which on the whole was not a bad conversion rate or shooting accuracy, but he failed to score many goals, but again did not really get the minutes.

Sinclair played 14 times in Birmingham’s 2nd place finish in the 2008-9 Championship season. Again Sinclair did not get the minutes and failed to score, with a 38% shooting accuracy.

Sinclair did get the minutes at Swansea City in the 2010-11 Play-Off winning campaign. He got the minutes at the club and he also got the goals in what was a brilliant season for the club and for Sinclair personally. He managed 22 goals in 42 appearances, with a shooting accuracy of 48% and a conversion rate of 23%, which is a brilliant conversion rate especially when compared to the best conversion rate for any player in the Premier League to have scored more than 20 goals at 25%.

Sinclair showed that with the minutes he could score goals, with almost half of his shots hitting the target and just under a quarter of them finding the net. A brilliant record in the Championship no question, but many people talk about the gulf in quality between the Premier League and the Championship.

I have looked at the last 2 Championship seasons and at a player who scored a lot of goals in the Championship and then how they performed the season after in the Premier League. The first player I have looked at is Sylvan Ebanks-Blake of Wolverhampton Wanderers. In the 2008-9 Championship Season Ebanks-Blake finished top scorer in the league with an impressive 25 goals in 41 games working out at a goal in just over every one and a half games with a 60% shooting accuracy and a conversion rate of 36% in addition he made 5 assists. So he had a brilliant season in the Championship, a better record than Sinclair’s all round. However, could he make the step up after such an impressive season?

In the Premier League 2009-10 season Ebanks-Blake scored 2 goals in 23 games, going from a goal every one and a half games to a goal every 11 and a half games. He did play less games, but only managed a shooting accuracy of 37% a drop of 23%, with a conversion rate of just 5% at a drop of 31% and managed no assists. So that season Ebanks-Blake certainly did not make the step up, despite such a great season the year before in the Championship.

I have looked at another player across 2 seasons, Andy Carroll of Newcastle United. Carroll managed 17 goals in 39 games in the 2009-10 Championship Season, at a rate of one goal in just over every 2 games with a shooting accuracy of 35% and a conversion rate of 20%, in addition to 8 assists. A very good record from Carroll, leading Newcastle to promotion as their top scorer and with a brilliant 8 assists. Not a record as good as Ebanks-Blake or even Sinclair, but a very good one still. The next season in the 2010-11 Premier League Carroll notched 13 goals in 26 games at a rate of one goal every 2 games, which was better than his Championship rate. He had a 36% shooting accuracy, which again was better than in the season before, with a 14% conversion rate which was not as good as the season before but around average for a Premier League striker. Not only do the stats show he did step up he became the 2nd most expensive player playing for a British club when he signed for Liverpool and has one England goal in 2 appearances.

The above shows that regardless of a player’s Championship record they do not always ‘step up’ as Ebanks-Blake failed to do so despite an excellent record, whereas Carroll held a great record in the Championship and did manage to step up, Improving in certain areas. I feel that because of his age Sinclair can only get better, with minutes he has shown he can score goals and score important goals. I believe he can step up and score goals in the Premier League, maybe not 22 league goals as he did last season, but I feel around double figures is an achievable goal.