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BLOG: How will Remy's arrival help QPR?

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 Redknapp).

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 the division.

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.

Loic Remy

Key:

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 the goal.

Table1

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:

Table2

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:

Table3

Only Privat and Tim Cahill have also managed to crack the top 10 more than once in that time.

QPR

Therefore, how will Remy fit into the QPR team? 

Table4

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.

Table5

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:

Table6

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.

Table7

Should Remy save the Super Hoops this season, it may well require a change of playing emphasis from their management team.


Posted by Sam Green at 17:13

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