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Finding the best finishers in the Premier League

In the game of football, the main objective is to score goals and win the games for your team. For that, brilliant footwork and accuracy of shots is a must. The leading goalscorer of the team is generally the striker, but there are some teams, like Liverpool, where the wingers are the goalscorers of the team. The Premier League has seen some of the best pure finishers like Alan Shearer, Wayne Rooney, Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie and so many more. The younger generation of strikers seems to be taking over now as well, with United academy product Mason Greenwood being a sublime finisher with both of his feet. 

This visualisation below will look at the best finishers in every Premier League team by comparing their goals per-90 and xG per-90. We will take the players with the highest xGs and highest differences between xG and goals scored.

Goals vs xG

We can see above that the players below the line of best fit are better finishers than the players above the line. For example, Harry Kane has an expected goals number of 12.06 but has scored 18 goals in the league. Another example of a player below the line is Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang. He was expected to score 14.26 goals but scored a whopping 22 goals instead.

The players above the line are either poor finishers, meaning that their xG outnumbers the actual goals scored or the expected goals and actual goals value is very close. Examples of the latter include Mohammed Salah, who has an expected goals value of 17.85 and has scored 19 goals, with a difference of 1.15, which is much lower than those like Aubameyang, Kane and Ings. Some players like Chris Wood of Burnley have not been prolific in their scoring. Wood has an expected goals number of 15.3 but has scored only 14 goals. While 14 goals is a respectable goal tally for a player in a defence-oriented team like Burnley, he still has the potential to do much more.

Thus, the best finishers according to overperforming expected goals should be in the top-right section and below the graph. This includes Jamie Vardy, Danny Ings and Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang.

The next visualisation below will look at the Shots on Target or SOT% and compare it to their Goal conversion rate (%) for this season.

Goal Conversion % vs Shots on Target %

The quadrant on the bottom right means that a player has a lot of shots on target but is a poor finisher. If a player is on the bottom left, they have lesser shots on target and are poor finishers. Players on the top right have the low shots on target %, meaning that less of their shots go onto goal. However, they also have a higher success rate of goal conversion. So, they are the most clinical finishers. Finally, players in the top-right quadrant are balanced in getting shots onto goal and clinicity. 

Wesley of Aston Villa has the best percentage of shots on target on goal at 56.25%, while Jamie Vardy of Leicester City has the highest goal conversion percentage at 29.1%. 

Thus, Danny Ings, Sergio Aguero and Jamie Vardy are the more lethal finishers.

To conclude, Danny Ings and Jamie Vardy are the best at goalscoring in the Premier League and correlates with their rankings in the Golden Boot, with Ings at a close second and Vardy winning the Golden Boot itself.