Loic Remy's well-publicised arrival at QPR has been portrayed in
some outlets as being the boost the Rs need to push them clear of
the Premier League's relegation places.
Loic's goal-scoring prowess, very much in evidence at his
previous clubs Marseille and Nice can be seen as a clear tonic for
QPR's goal scoring ills. They have scored the lowest number of
goals in the Premier League so far this season (16 in 22, excluding
OGs), and even their change of manager hasn't especially helped
this (seven in nine since Redknapp took over, compared to nine in
thirteen with Mark Hughes in charge.)
QPR's goal-scoring problems haven't been due to an aversion to
shooting. In comparison to the rest of the teams in the Premier
League, they rank 12th, 12th &
11th respectively in total shots, non-blocked and on
target (11th, 9th & 11th under
However, using metrics first developed for
this blog post, we can see that the overall quality of these
chances is lacking. Due in no small part to Adel Taraabt's habit of
regularly shooting from distances and angles less than conducive to
scoring goals, they rank dead last in terms of expected goals based
upon their shots (xG = 20.9) and, unsurprisingly, their average
chance quality (7.4%). This has even dropped under Harry Redknapp
to 6.2%, with their 6.9 xG since he took over easily the worst in
By contrast, teams such as Stoke, Reading & West Ham
(20th, 19th & 15th in total
number of shots taken) rank 5th, 4th &
1st in average chance quality.
Not coincidentally* they all rank in the top 5 for proportion of
headed shots (5th, 1st & 3rd),
compared to QPR's 16th (third-fewest headed shots
total), although this has improved somewhat under Redknapp, with
17% of QPR's shots being headers (compared to a league-low 9% prior
to his arrival).
*Effective headers are naturally limited by the distance and
position they can be taken from. The limited power of a header in
comparison to a shot means that they will be taken far more often
from more effective goal-scoring positions.
This neatly leads us to QPR's signing of Loic Remy.
ot = Shots on Target
gl = Goals scored
xg = expected goals
ACQ = Average chance quality
dG = Number of goals scored above or below the
number we would expect from the shot location, type and position in
Remy is clearly deriving his value as a striker (at least in
terms of shooting) from his head. Indeed, in his last three full
seasons, few players in Europe can match his aerial prowess. Remy's
tally of 18 headed goals since the start of the 2009/10 season
trails only Fernando Llorente's 25 in the five major leagues.
Llorente's 25 goals came from 160 headers however, compared to
just 63 for Remy. Factoring in the quality of chances presented to
him, Remy's tally comfortably outstrips the competition:
On a per header basis, only Daniel van Buyten's remarkable eight
goals from 25 headers and Ligue 1's new king of the headed goal,
Sloan Privat, can match Remy's output.
This is not a one-off season fuelling the effect as well. While
his performance this season - in limited time - has been
underwhelming, he has ranked in the top 10 in dG for headers in
each of the past three seasons:
Only Privat and Tim Cahill have also managed to crack the top 10
more than once in that time.
Therefore, how will Remy fit into the QPR team?
More than half of QPR's headers on goal this season have come
from centre-backs and a defensive midfielder, with their main
strikers logging just five headed shots in 20 starts (Cissé 12,
Zamora 8). We can surmise then, that most of these have come from
set-piece situations rather than open play, which means that QPR
may well have to change their style of play significantly in order
to get the best out Monsieur Remy.
Thanks to the work carried out as part of our on-going evaluation of the possession
metric , we can see how effective QPR have been at both
getting into crossing situations, and also how effective they have
been at converting these opportunities into a shot on goal.
By using 'sequences' to evaluate overall possession, we can
extract all the occasions EPL teams have got into crossing
situations as well as the total number of crosses they have
produced as a result (it is worth pointing out that an attacking
move often produces more than one cross per sequence before the
opposition clear the ball, hence the higher numbers in all cases).
We can also see the number of goals we would expect them to score
from these opportunities (direct xG), as well as the number of
goals they have actually scored
From this table it is possible to see that QPR are relatively
poor at converting a crossing chance into a shot - only 53 of their
445 crosses have resulted in a direct effort on goal, the fourth
worst record per cross in the league.
They are slightly better at set plays, as shown below:
Overall Premier League average in bold
Of course, it is possible that QPR's poor record in this area is
as much down to their strikers not being in the correct position as
it is poor crossing ability. However, if we see the below table, it
is clear that with the honourable exceptions of Granero and Taraabt
who have created some shooting chances of quality, QPR overall have
been relatively poor at this area of the game.
Should Remy save the Super Hoops this season, it may well
require a change of playing emphasis from their management