Finding the best centre-forwards from the Allsvenskan – data analysis
In this data analysis piece, we will be identifying centre-forwards (strikers) to be scouted that are currently playing in the Allsvenskan. Strikers in the modern game have evolved a lot. No longer do we see them as target men, being very tall in the air and bulldozing defenders. The roles of the false ‘9’ and wide forwards have started to change how teams in Premier League, La Liga, etc deploy their strikers and use them. We also see very short players playing in these positions that have had great success like Sergio Aguero and Lorenzo Insigne.
In our analysis, we will be looking into the major attributes that are key for a striker to have. We will be looking at players who have registered at least 800 minutes of football in the league so far this season. We will shortlist the top options according to the statistics and data analysis. Let’s get into the analysis.
The first thing we’re looking at is goal contributions (goals and assists combined). In the graph below, we have the expected goal contributions per 90 on the x-axis and goal contributions per 90 on the y-axis. The colour of the dots represents the xG per game. It is an important metric when it comes to rating or comparing forwards with each other as they are pretty much judged based on their ability to contribute goals to their team.
Alexander Jeremejeff – The 29-year-old forward from Hacken. The Swedish centre-forward has recorded league-high figures of 0.76 xG per 90 and 1.04 goals per 90 and has also averaged 3.03 shots per 90 in the league this season. He has been the best forward in terms of goal output per game in the league and has scored 21 goals in the league.
Marcus Antonsson – The 31-year-old forward from Varnamo has averaged 0.57 xG per game and 0.67 actual goals from 2.86 shots per game which shows that he has a sustainable level of performance. In total, he scored 15 goals for his team.
Isaac Kiese Thelin – The 30-year-old forward from Malmo has averaged 0.47 xG per game and 0.68 actual goals from 2.33 shots per game which shows that he has sustained a level but it would be difficult to prolong it over a long time (more than 2-3 seasons). In total, he scored 9 goals for his team.
Marcus Berg – The 30-year-old forward from Goteborg has averaged 0.5 xG per game and 0.54 actual goals from 3.03 shots per game which shows that he has a sustainable level of performance. In total, he scored 11 goals for his team.
Abdelrahman Saidi – The 30-year-old forward from Goteborg has averaged 0.4 xG per game and 0.49 actual goals from a league-high 3.32 shots per game which shows that he has a sustainable level of performance. In total, he scored 8 goals for his team.
Activity in the box
In this section of the analysis, we’ll assess how active the players in the box are. We have shots per 90 on the x-axis and touches in the box per 90 on the y-axis. The colour shows the xG per shot showing the quality of the shots that the player prefers to take. Strikers specializing in finishing and poaching goals like the former Paris Saint-Germain star Mauro Icardi are expected to have a higher percentage of shots.
Marcus Berg – The 30-year-old forward has recorded 3.03 shots per game and a league-high 6.17 touches in the box per game. He also has a very good xG per shot value of 0.165 which is well above the average value for a CF.
Alexander Jeremejeff – The Hacken forward has averaged 3.03 shots per game and 4.68 touches in the box per game. He also has a brilliant xG per shot value of 0.25 which is a great value shown consistently by elite-level strikers.
Sveinn Guðjohnsen – The 24-year-old Icelandic forward from Elfsborg has averaged 2.92 shots per game and 4.76 touches in the box per game. He also has a decent xG per shot value of 0.14 which is on average with other CFs.
Abdelrahman Saidi – The Goteborg forward has recorded a league-high 3.32 shots per game and 4.31 touches in the box per game. He also has an xG per shot value of 0.12 which is slightly below average when compared with the other CFs.
Victor Edvardsen – The 26-year-old centre-forward from Djurgårdens has recorded 2.7 shots per game and 6.1 touches in the box per game. He also has an xG per shot value of 0.17 which is well above the average value for a CF.
An interesting character in a forward is his ability to be an effective target man and receive direct passes. To assess this, we have aerial duels per 90 on the y-axis and the success rate in those duels on the x-axis. To complement this information, the colour shows the number of long passes received by each player.
Pontus Engblom – The 30-year-old forward from Sundsvall has recorded 11.17 aerial duels per game, the most in the league among forwards with an accuracy of 42%. He has also received 3.07 long passes per game on average.
Sveinn Guðjohnsen – The Elfsborg forward has averaged 10.49 aerial duels per game, with an accuracy of 40.21%. He has also received 2.27 long passes per game on average.
Robin Simović – The 31-year-old forward from Varberg has recorded 8.47 aerial duels per game with an accuracy of a league-high 46.67%. He has also received 1.98 long passes per game on average.
Isaac Kiese Thelin – The 30-year-old forward from Malmo has averaged 7.97 aerial duels per game with an accuracy of a league-high 46.23%. He has also received 1.88 long passes per game on average.
Silas Nwankwo – The 18-year-old forward from Mjällby has recorded 9.51 aerial duels per game with an accuracy of a league-high 39.2%. He has also received 1.9 long passes per game on average.
Moving more into second-line players, the ability to produce goals is a key one. In this section of the data analysis, we look at expected assists (xA) per 90 on the y-axis and key passes per 90 on the x-axis. The colour of the dots shows the number of secondary assists per 90 which helps us understand how the players help in also facilitating creation.
Victor Edvardsen – The Djurgårdens centre-forward has recorded 0.97 key passes per game along with a league-high xA of 0.22 per game. He also averaged 1.4 shot-assists per 90 which is, again, the highest among the forwards in the league.
Saku Ylätupa – The 23-year-old forward from Sundsvall has averaged 0.73 key passes per game along with an xA of 0.18 per game. He also averaged 1.12 shot-assists per 90.
Simon Skrabb – The 27-year-old forward from Kalmar has recorded 0.69 key passes per game along with an xA of 0.18 per game. He also averaged 1.68 shot-assists per 90.
Gustaf Norlin – The 25-year-old forward from Göteborg has recorded 0.93 key passes per game along with an xA of 0.15 per game. He also averaged 1.29 shot-assists per 90.
Alexander Jeremejeff – The Hacken forward has averaged 0.55 key passes per game along with an xA of 0.16 per game, showing his ability to create chances for his teammates on a few occasions. He also averaged 0.9 shot-assists per 90.
Finally, we have a look at the players’ abilities to get past rivals and create things by themselves. On the x-axis, we have completed dribbles per 90 and on the y-axis, progressive runs per 90 (a continuous ball control by one player attempting to draw the team significantly closer to the opponent’s goal). The colour shows offensive duels won per 90.
Silas Nwankwo – The teenager has averaged 2.43 successful dribbles per 90 and a league-high 2.28 progressive runs per 90. He has also contested 13.54 offensive duels per 90 in the league this season.
Abdelrahman Saidi – The 30-year-old forward has recorded league-high 2.46 successful dribbles per game and 2.22 progressive runs per game. He also averages 12.44 offensive duels won per game.
Saku Ylätupa – The 23-year-old forward has averaged 1.98 successful dribbles per game and 1.98 progressive runs per game. He also averages 7.73 offensive duels won per game.
Dijan Vukojević – The 26-year-old forward from Degerfors has averaged 2.07 successful dribbles per game and 1.64 progressive runs per game. He also averages 10.81 offensive duels won per game.
Shortlisting the best options
We have seen some very fine youngsters being discussed statistically in the previous sections. Based on that, we will shortlist the top three options among them:
The Djurgårdens forward has been very good with his presence in the box as we can see in the above image where he has taken shots right in front of the 6-yard box where the chances of scoring a goal from there are very high and he has averaged a nice amount of touches inside the box and has also been excellent in terms of assisting his teammates with his creativity in the final third and vision. If he can probably improve his ability to score more goals and beat his man in more duels, he would be a very complete forward.
Another young forward who is very good in creating chances for his teammates and helping in providing his teammates with shot assists. He is also great in terms of beating his teammates on the dribble. He can probably improve in front of the goal and gets into great scoring positions as we can see from the above image that he takes from regions that are difficult to convert. If he can convert his chances and maintain a very sustainable level of performance in terms of output in front of the goal, he would be amongst the best forwards in the Scandinavian regions.
The teenager is a very promising talent coming from the Allsvenskan. He is tall and also has a good physical presence which means that he can beat his marker using his pace as well. He is good in the air due to his height and has helped his team in receiving passes when they decide to go long to escape pressure. Although his in-possession game is not yet refined, he is still very promising in front of the goal where he has converted 7 goals for his side in his debut campaign due to hs ability to take shots in good positions inside the box as seen in the above image.
The Allsvenskan possess some very good forwards having great ability to play for top clubs in Europe. We also shortlisted some hot prospects who might be followed by many clubs across the top five European leagues. It will be very interesting to see the progress of these young players and how well they shape their future.