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Finding the best wingers from Primeira Liga – data analysis statistics

Finding the best wingers from the Primeira Liga – data analysis

In this data analysis piece, we will be looking out for the best wingers currently playing in the Portuguese Primeira Liga using statistics. The wingers’ evolution in football has been well documented where they were once only key to creating chances but not scoring goals. The modern-day wingers have changed the trend by getting more involved than their strikers in front of the goal.

In our analysis, we will be considering both the attacking as well as defensive attributes.  We will be looking at players who registered at least 800 minutes of football in the 2021-22 league season.

We will shortlist the best options according to the statistics and data analysis.  In this piece, we look into the players who are amongst the best-performing wingers in the league going into the 2022-23 season. Let’s dive deep into the analysis.

Scoring

Wingers over the past 20 years have had their roles re-defined. Where once they were used for playing crosses into the box for strikers, the last 20 years have seen wingers being in more inverted positions and become more of a goal threat to the team than their strikers. The likes of Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United and Real Madrid, Lionel Messi for Barcelona or even Mohamed Salah for Liverpool are some of the best goal-scoring wingers of the current generation.

Finding the best wingers from Primeira Liga – data analysis statistics

Pablo Sarabia – The 30-year-old from Sporting CP. He recorded 0.61 xG per game last season and also scored 0.54 goals from it, both of which are the league’s highest for a winger.  He also averaged 2.86 shots per 90 for his club which shows that he is a high-volume shooter.

Iuri Medeiros – The 27-year-old from Sporting Braga. He recorded 0.35 xG per game last season and also scored 0.41 goals from it, both of which are the league’s highest for a winger.  He also averaged 2.95 shots per 90 for his club which shows that he is a high-volume shooter.

Marcus Edwards – The 23-year-old right-winger from Sporting CP. He recorded 0.31 xG per game last season and scored 0.45 goals on average. He also averaged 2.18 shots per 90 for his club which is a good number for a winger.

Pedro Goncalves – The 23-year-old right-winger from Sporting CP. He recorded 0.43 xG per game last season and scored 0.3 goals on average. He also averaged 3.53 shots per 90 for his club which is the highest amongst the wingers in the league and it explains one of the reasons why his xG is higher whereas his goal output is less where he takes a lot of low xG shots.

Rafa Silva – The 29-year-old right-winger from Benfica. He recorded 0.27 xG per game last season and scored 0.33 goals on average. He also averaged 1.92 shots per 90 for his club which is a good number for a winger.

Chance creation

The best wingers are also among the top playmakers and they need to make passes into the opposition penalty area and also be able to create good chances for their teammates to score.

Finding the best wingers from Primeira Liga – data analysis statistics

Marcus Edwards – The Sporting CP winger averaged 1.27 key passes per game, the highest among the wingers in the leagues, and averaged an xA of 0.29 per game. Though he was unlucky where he was able to receive only 0.18 assists per game out of that.

Rafa Silva – The 29-year-old right-winger recorded 1 key pass per game, the highest among the wingers in the leagues, and averaged an xA of 0.25 per game. But he registered 0.54 assists per game out of that which was the most by a winger in the league.

Otavio – The 27-year-old winger from Porto. He recorded 1 key pass per game and averaged an xA of 0.24 per game. But he registered 0.28 assists per game, where he just overperformed his expected numbers.

Iuri Medeiros – The 27-year-old right-winger recorded 0.77 key passes per game, the highest among the league’s wingers, and averaged an xA of 0.25 per game. But he registered 0.35 assists per game showing good overperformance from his expected numbers thanks to his teammates’ finishing.

Pedro Goncalves – The Sporting CP winger recorded 0.75 key passes per game and averaged an xA of 0.26 per game. But he registered 0.37 assists per game, where he just overperformed his expected numbers.

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 y-axis and touches in the box per 90 on the x-axis. The colour shows the xG per shot, which allows us to differentiate those players who attempt speculative shots (red) from those who shoot from dangerous positions (green).

Finding the best wingers from Primeira Liga – data analysis statistics

Pedro Goncalves – The Sporting CP man recorded 3.53 shots per game while averaging 3.86 touches in the box per game. His shots also had an average xG of 0.12 which is a decent number for a winger and shows that he does get into good positions to take shots at times.

Pablo Sarabia – The Sporting CP man recorded 2.86 shots per game while averaging 4 touches in the box per game. His shots also had an average xG of 0.19 which is a very good indicator of his ability to get into good positions while taking shots.

Marcus Edwards – The Sporting CP winger averaged 2.18 shots per game while averaging 4.09 touches in the box per game. His shots also had an average xG of 0.14 which is a decent measure for a winger.

Rafa Silva – The 29-year-old right-winger averaged 1.92 shots per game while averaging 4.18 touches in the box per game. His shots also had an average xG of 0.14 which is a decent measure for a winger.

Ricardo Quaresma – The 38-year-old veteran who plays as a winger for Vitoria. He averaged 3.2 shots per game while averaging 2.94 touches in the box per game. His shots also had an average xG of 0.07 which shows his inclination to take a lot of shots from very low xG zones or mostly outside the box.

Dribbling

In this data analysis section, we will look at the players’ ability 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). Dribbling is an important attribute to a winger and his ability to get past an opponent can open defences in a much easier fashion.

Finding the best wingers from Primeira Liga – data analysis statistics

Rafik Guitane – The 23-year-old winger from Maritimo on loan from Reims. He recorded 4.35 successful dribbles per game along with 3.68 progressive runs per game in the league. He also made 16.11 successful offensive duels per game in the league. He is amongst the best players in the league in terms of dribbling and taking on players 1v1.

Everton – The 26-year-old winger from Benfica. He recorded 4.11 successful dribbles per game along with 3.11 progressive runs per game in the league. He also made 14.8 successful offensive duels per game in the league.

Rafa Silva – The 29-year-old right-winger averaged 3.84 successful dribbles per game along with 3.35 progressive runs per game in the league. He also made 16 successful offensive duels per game in the league.

Marcus Edwards – The Sporting CP winger averaged 3.9 successful dribbles per game along with 3.73 progressive runs per game in the league which is the highest amongst the wingers in the league. He also made 13.13 successful offensive duels per game in the league.

Bruno Rodrigues – The 25-year-old winger from Famalicao. He averaged 3.36 successful dribbles per game along with 3.65 progressive runs per game in the league which is the highest amongst the wingers in the league. He also made 14.66 successful offensive duels per game in the league.

Andre Bukia – The 27-year-old winger from Arouca. He averaged 4.51 successful dribbles per game, the highest in the league by a winger last season, along with 2.46 progressive runs per game in the league which is the highest amongst the wingers in the league. He also made 15.33 successful offensive duels per game in the league.

Defensive contributions 

Despite the modern game developing to accommodate a lot of forward players being given the freedom and the fundamentals to do well in possession, the same modern philosophy of the game expects them to track back and defend for the team as a collective process.

Finding the best wingers from Primeira Liga – data analysis statistics

Pedro Malheiro – The 21-year-old winger from Boavista. He recorded 9.33 defensive duels per game and 7.5 PAdj interceptions per game in the league last season. He also made 12.19 successful defensive actions per game in the league last season.

Allano – The 27-year-old winger from Santa Clara. He recorded 6.62 defensive duels per game and 6.79 PAdj interceptions per game in the league last season. He also made 8.83 successful defensive actions per game in the league last season.

Henrique – The 28-year-old winger from Santa Clara. He recorded 7.1 defensive duels per game and 6.9 PAdj interceptions per game in the league last season. He also made 8.06 successful defensive actions per game in the league last season.

Otavio – The Porto winger had averaged 9.35 defensive duels per game, the highest in the league among wingers, and 5.41 PAdj interceptions per game in the league last season. He also made 8.6 successful defensive actions per game in the league last season.

Players to watch out for

Based on the data and the statistics we have shortlisted a few options to look out for in the forthcoming season where we expect these wingers to make bigger strides.

Pedro Goncalves

The Sporting CP winger is pretty much very all-round in his abilities as a winger as he is very good in terms of scoring goals but can definitely improve his finishing, getting into the box and taking shots (where he takes a lot of low xG shots as well that can be minimized) and also creating chances for his teammates as well. He is not someone who is a very high volume dribbler and someone who looks to beat his man 1v1 but excels a lot in terms of off-the-ball movement where he arrives and receives it in the right positions. Despite not averaging a very high volume of defensive actions which are due to his team’s style of play, he still is an excellent defender and contributes when necessary.

Marcus Edwards

Another youngster from Sporting CP who excels in every category including dribbling as well. His main strength is his ability to create chances for his team where he is amongst the most high-volume creators in terms of key passes for his side. He is also pretty good in front of the goal and overperforms the xG at a very sustainable level for his side. He is also very good at dribbling and beats his man with very good accuracy with his skills and pace on the ball.

Bruno Rodrigues

The Famalicao winger is amongst the most talented wingers outside the big teams in the Portugal league. He was one of his team’s most consistent players too where he was pretty key for them in terms of creating chances, scoring goals and also getting into the box more often. But his main strength was his ability to carry the ball and beat his man through a dribble where he excelled a lot in this particular form. Defensively, his contribution was decent but it could have been better where at times he was given a bit of free-pass by his side which can also be due to his lack of defensive awareness.

Conclusion

The Primeira Liga possesses some fine wingers with most of them being young and with high potential. In this article, we have covered both the attacking as well as the defensive traits to discuss and list a few of the best-performing players.  We could see that the players we saw and discussed could follow the same path and succeed at the top level and might soon enter the top-5 leagues in Europe.