How are Middlesbrough Performing this Season?

After 12 games newly promoted Middlesbrough sit in 15th place with 11 points. They are one point from the relegation zone and have scored just 10 goals while conceding 13. While not supporting a single Premier League team I do have a soft spot for Middlesbrough, and this made me want to have a look at how they are performing.

Shots

Below on the left you can see a shot map for Middlesbrough this season, taken from Paul Riley’s great tableau page. They’ve actually scored only nine goals themselves, benefitting from one own goal, and as you can see, eight of these nine goals have been scored in the danger zone. They’ve managed to produce 9.2 shots per game (18th in PL), 2.5 per game are on target (19th in PL), and conceding 14.5 shots per game (5th most in PL) giving them a TSR of 0.39. Not a great start. A shot map of shots they’ve conceded is shown on the right – there’s a lot of DZ shots there which is a worry for them.

 Using Paul Riley‘s OT xG data, Middlesbrough have produced 9.15 xG (19th in PL) while conceding 10.34 xG (4th best in PL), resulting in them being 10th in the Premier League on xG Difference on Riley’s model. On the scatter plot below Middlesbrough are shown as the red data point.

pl-xg-efficiency-after-12

Middlesbrough are neither lucky nor unlucky in terms of expected goals so far this year. They’ve outperformed their attacking xG at 1.1 efficiency and very slightly outperformed on their xG conceded with 1.04 efficiency. So, they can’t blame their poor scoring on luck but really just a lack of chance creation. James Yorke picked up on this a while ago about all the promoted teams as you can see in this tweet.

Screen Shot 2016-11-26 at 13.28.18.png

Alvaro Negredo

The loanee from Valencia seemed like a great move for Middlesbrough this summer but hasn’t given the goal output the club and its fans may have hoped for. Negredo was a prolific scorer at Sevilla and Almería but hasn’t shone since, scoring just once in twelve games despite being where you would expect Middlesbrough would get most of their goals from.

negredo-12-games-1046

Is he underperforming, or is he suffering from not getting the support he needs from the team? His radar is extremely disappointing and well below what you would expect. He has only done well in not being dispossessed often but this is from rarely dribbling. Despite average xA/90 numbers his passing accuracy is still terrible. xG data is taken from here.

negredo-shot-chart-after-12

Overall, Negredo has done no-where near what you’d want and expect from him. From his shot chart you can see some really good chances and 11 DZ shots out of 21. He was been a bit unlucky in his chance conversion with 2.62 xG created with just the one goal. But, his problem is volume – he hasn’t shot enough, as is shown on his radar. Maybe he is being too patient, looking for passes if he’s not in a great position, or perhaps he’s struggling to get the ball enough. Does he need a partner up front? You’d need to watch game footage to try and answer this, but that’s for another time.

Conclusion

The theme for Middlesbrough is lack of shot volume. The 18th least in the league doesn’t predict much success for them and this is shown by a bad TSR of 0.39. However, they are a decent defensive team and have conceded only the 8th most expected goals. They need to hope for some luck and Negredo to step up because at the moment he is doing very little.


Feedback appreciated. This is Chance Analytics’s first article using @sbourgenforcer‘s xG model and I’m hoping to get more good data to use.

Follow me on Twitter – @SL_TeamTalk
and @ChanceAnalytics too

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