Goals, put simply, are the key facet of football.
There is a multitude of complex tactics involved in beating your opponent within the ten phases of football, but ultimately, it all stems down to the simple objective of finding the back of the net more times than the opposition.
With departures from A-League men’s clubs high once again over the offseason, Kick360 takes a look into the goals your team has ‘lost’ in the offseason, and how they’ve looked to replace the key sharpshooters.
Expected goals (xG) is a measure by using past histories to rate the chance of a ball finding the back of the net from certain positions, measured from 0-1 (0%-100%). 0.5 means that 5 times out of 10 when taking that particuarly shot, a goal will be scored – penalties are rated at 0.76 xG.
Standard deviation is a statistical function, used to measure the amount of variation within a set of numbers. Low standard deviation indicates the values are close to the average or standard rate, while a higher standard deviations shows that scores differ from the standard rate.
Goals scored: 39
Standard deviation of goals: 2.56
Adelaide United lost just 20.51% of their goals last campaign, with the main departure coming in the form of the main striker Tomi Juric, who was the joint-second top scorer with seven goals in the last campaign.
However, three of Juric’s seven finishes were penalties, and with the likes of Craig Goodwin and Stefan Mauk remaining in the squad (outright 1st and joint second top goalscorers respectively), Juric isn’t a major loss, particularly considering he only played 16 games in the campaign.
With Kusini Yengi and Mohamed Toure looking to be further integrated into the side, Adelaide’s main problem will be their weakened defence and vulnerability on counter-attacks rather than their goalscoring.
Goals scored: 36
Standard deviation of goals: 2.5
Within Brisbane’s top six goalscorers from last season, of which there are eight due to players tying on goals, five have departed, including their top three goalscorers (Scott McDonald with four left halfway through the season).
Subtracting the total goals scored from the goals scored by all departures, Brisbane is only left with nine goals – meaning their departures scored exactly three-quarters.
In Alex Parsons, Rahmat Akbari, Jay O’Shea, Corey Brown and Matti Steinmann, Brisbane has an abundance of chance creators.
However, they are lacking a goalscorer, perhaps to an even greater degree than last season.
Luke Ivanovic, as energetic and exciting as he is, likely won’t be able to produce a 5-10+ goal season, so the responsibility will fall on the shoulders of new signing Juan Lescano, who produced nine goals in 28 matches Russian second tier last season.
It remains to be seen where Brisbane will find those 27 goals from.
Central Coast Mariners:
Goals scored: 35
Standard deviation of goals: 2.94
Alou Kuol is the main departure for the Mariners from a striking point of view, having scored seven of their 35 goals last campaign.
Making a plethora of appearances off the bench, the majority of his goals were at the latter stages of games, either as a last-ditch goal, or confirming the win for his side.
Daniel De Silva is also a big out, although his goals won’t be as big of a miss as his creativity and dribbling on counter-attacks.
The Mariners have welcomed the likes of Beni Nkololo, Cy Goddard and Nicolai Muller, who could bolster the scoring ranks.
Goals scored: 33
Standard deviation of goals: 3.67
Much of Macarthur’s previous campain was highlighted by their overreliance on Matt Derbyshire to finish chances, which is ever present when considering that the Englishman alone scored 42.42% of the club’s goals.
Their standard deviation of 3.67 is the second highest in the league (behind Melbourne City), as is the range of goals scored, considering Derbyshire had 14, while five players sat on one goal.
That’s without mentioning Markel Susaeta and other departures, who have taken away 78.79% of Macarthur’s goals all together – the highest of any team in the league.
Macarthur have recruited smartly however – new signings Ulises Davila and Tomi Juric both scored seven each last campaign, whilst Craig Noone got six for Melbourne City.
Macarthur’s changing of guard in attack and midfield is certainly one to look out for, while the question must be asked of who will progress the ball forwards to the sharpshooters, with Benat and Denis Genreau – the favoured double pivot of last season – both departing.
Goals scored: 57
Standard deviation: 6.06
Melbourne City’s main goalscoring losses come in the form of Craig Noone and Adrian Luna, but it can be assumed an injury-free Matthew Leckie could compensate for those 9 goals alone.
The signing of Leckie may go towards relieving the pressure on Jamie Maclaren, who scored 44% of City’s goals last season, and is the sole reason why the standard deviation of 6.06 remains so unbalanced.
It’s not an unsustainable strategy, but a slightly risky one, as you’re assuming Maclaren maintains his form and remains injury free, which, in fairness, he has done over the previous two campaigns.
Perhaps the standard deviation will lower this season – on paper, City seem to have strengthened their lineup in terms of goalscoring.
Standard deviation: 1.41
Yes, it’s the tired narrative of ‘last season was one to forget for Melbourne Victory’, but in the context of goalscoring, they’ve likely improved on the simple basis of having a better coach in Tony Popovic.
While the navy blue side lost 64.52% of their goals, most Melbourne fans will be content when seeing the names departing, and glowing when seeing their replacements.
With the likes of Chris Ikonomidis, Francesco Marigiotta and Nick D’Agostino entering the attacking ranks, Marco Rojas, Robbie Kruse and Ben Folami back in the forward line, and improvements in pretty much every position behind them, expect a higher goal tally this campaign.
Stay tuned for part 2, covering the last six clubs of the A-League mens.
Image courtesy of Macarthur FC