(All stats League play only unless otherwise noted)
24 – Goals scored by Vardy this season
6 – Assists created by Jamie Vardy
4 – Penalties Jamie Vardy won
2 – Penalties Arsenal Football Club won
4 – Goals Vardy scored on the counter (most in the Premier League and tied with Chicharito, Neymar, and Aubameyang in top five Leagues)
3 – Goals Arsenal Football Club, aka. THE ARSENAL, better known as the entire team of 25 men, scored on the counter
10 – Goals Borussia Dortmund scored on the counter
5 – Goals Leicester City scored on the counter
Let’s not count braces and hat tricks… how many games did Vardy perform well in?
19 – Games Vardy scored in this season (includes penalties, all competitions)
25 – Games Vardy either scored or assisted in this season (includes penalties, all competitions)
38 – Games Vardy played this season (all competitions)
2 – Games per goal scored
18 – Games Giroud scored in this season (includes penalties, all competitions)
23 – Games Giroud either scored or assisted in this season (includes penalties, all competitions)
52 – Games Giroud played this season (all competitions)
2.9 – Games per goal scored
Vardy also a big track bully
A lot of strikers get their meat and drink feasting on little clubs but Vardy actually had an impressive record against the top ten teams in the Premier League.
As Arsenal fans you’ll recall that he scored 3 goals against Arsenal (including a rather dubious penalty). But you probably don’t know that he also scored 2 on Southampton, 1 on Chelsea, 2 on Liverpool, 1 on West Ham, 1 on Man U, and 1 on Stoke (who finished above Chelsea, FYI).
(League play only, based on Paul Riley’s Shots on Target model, which excludes penalties and direct free kicks)
Just a quick note on Expected Goals: this is basically a measurement of shot quality generated by the team and the player. If we look at where the player took the shots, what type of shot (header, etc), and what the preceding pass was (through ball, corner, etc) and look at the average scoring rate from those shot situations we can aggregate all of those shots into an “expected goals” metric. Higher expected goals means that the player was getting better shots. Higher ratio of goals to expected goals means that the player was finishing exceptionally well. The devil in the details about finishing is that it varies from season to season. In other words, one season a player might finish 20% of his chances (which is what Vardy did last year) and the next he might finish just 15%. That unpredictability in finishing from season to season is what makes football both beautiful (it won the League for Leicester) and heartbreaking (Arsenal’s atrocious finishing this season lost them the League).
15.63 – Expected Goals for Giroud
15 – Actual goals for Giroud
0.96 – Ratio of goals/xG for Giroud
13.94 – Expected goals for Vardy
19 – Actual goals for Vardy
1.36 – Ratio of goals/xG for Vardy
Arsenal’s biggest problem this season was finishing. Despite fielding the best shot creator in the Top Five Leagues, in Mesut Özil, they suffered Wenger’s worst finishing season’s in his career and only scored 10% of the total shots created.
Nothing else changed in terms of shots creation, Wenger still sets the team up to be patient and wait for shots in the 18 yard box. But Wenger’s men couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.
Vardy was the best in the Premier League* in terms of finishing inside the 18 yard box, scoring 20% (17) of his 85 non-penalty shots in the box. Kane was second with 19%. This is a high level for the League. Players in Spain, like Griezmann (28%) and Suarez (27%), or France, like Zlatan (23%), put up better numbers but among top strikers in England Vardy was the best.
|Finishing in 6 yard box||25%|
|Finishing in 18 yard box||20%|
|Finishing from outside||5%|
|Finishing from penalty||83%|
|Finishing from counters||50%|
|Finishing from open play||16%|
People will now set their stalls out either for or against Vardy: he’s not a great dribbler (just 1.1 per game), he doesn’t win a lot of headers (2.6/8.1 per game), he doesn’t create a lot of shots for teammates (1.3 per game), he’s 29 years old, he is a player that relies on speed and space, he committed a racism, and he isn’t historically a great finisher (11% in the 18 yard box last season) but there is no doubt that he brings certain much needed talents to Arsenal.
My suspicion is that Wenger sees him as the player he always wanted Walcott to become: a huge threat on counters and a deadly finisher in the box. Whether he can continue that progress from last season to the next is the big question.
Sources: Whoscored.com, transfermarkt.com, my personal database
*Among the top strikers, there were players who scored 1 of 1 shots in the 18 but we are concerned with players who put up 80+ shots in the 18, not the one-offs.