Allsvenskan 2018 Summer update 2

Last time, I took a look at how the teams in Allsvenskan have performed this first part of the 2018 season leading up to the World Cup break. As I promised then, I will now look closer at individual player performances. Before we begin though, it is important to underline that Stratagem’s data is a bit different than other sources, so please read the beginning of this post to be able to better understand the stuff I’m about to show.

Note: In some of the scatter plots below I’ve excluded what I deem to be outliers due to the small sample size.

Goalscoring

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Scoring 4 goals against Sirius in the last match before the break, Djurgården’s Tino Kadewere tops the league in non-penalty goals at 8, overperforming his second place xG of 5.5. He has also gotten into most chances so far, showing some great form.

Another strong performance comes from Hammarby’s Pa Dibba, the speedy forward being one of the main reasons behind their attacking success. He leads the league in xG at almost 6 to go with his 7 non-penalty goals, but what really makes him stand out is his time-weighted performance, dominating with over 1 goal and 0.92 xG per 90 minutes played.

Nikola Đurđić has been the other focal point in Hammarby’s attack and the Serbian has been just what Hammarby needed. Besides goals, he has also brought grit and a mentality which has maybe been missing in Hammarby.

Romain Gall has impressed with 5 goals for Sundsvall, and will likely be on the radar of the bigger clubs for the upcoming transfer window. Interestingly, IFK Göteborg’s Giorgi Kharaishvili leads the league in Chances per 90 minutes.

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Plotting goals and xG we see just how good Dibba has been so far, and also that compared to last season, a lot of players are running really hot and overperforming their xG numbers. There’s a sample size problem here of course, as we’ve only seen 10-12 matches per team but it will be interesting to see if it continues the same way after the summer break.

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Looking at Player Attacking Styles we see how Dibba has been combining a lot of chances with a high average quality. Moberg-Karlsson, Paulinho and Kharaishvili have similiar chances per 90, but of considerably lower quality and hence have scored less goals. Inversely, Alhassan Kamara, Dino Islamovic, Carlos Strandberg and Đurđić have ended up in chances of roughly equal quality as Dibba, but less often, again having scored less goals. From the previous plot we see that Kamara and Strandberg also have efficiency problems compared to their xG but if they can keep their high average chance quality they should get the goalscoring running again soon, as they’re both usually very strong in front of goal.

Chance Creation

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The creators behind the chances then? Well, Örebro’s Nahir Besara is as usual up there when it comes to assists, as is Ken Sema of Östersund. Hammarby’s Jiloan Hamad has had a strong season so far as well, being one of the main driving forces behind Hammarby’s attack. Tino Kadewere shows his versatility by producing 5 assists to add to his goals, though it is worth mentioning that two of these are rebounded shots. Another attacker showing some creativity is Đurđić who’ve created over 3 xA so far.

Adjusted for minutes played we see that old boy Tobias Hysén is still important to IFK Göteborg’s chance creation, and that Östersund’s Hosam Aiesh has created most xA per 90 at about 0.5. The small sample size sees Brommapojkarna’s Marko Nikolic make the list with his 2 assists from 340 minutes played.

Häcken’s Daleho Irandust is one of the most frequent creators, leading the league in Chances Created per 90, ahead of Arnor Traustason and Alexander Jakobsen of Malmö and Norrköping, respectively.

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Plotting actual and expected assists, we again see a lot of overperformance which is of course linked to what we saw with the goals earlier. Malmö’s Markus Rosenberg has been one of the most notorious under-performers against xG in my models for years, but here he interestingly shows up underperforming xA instead. This of course has a lot to do with the sample size, but also indicating that he has switched role in Malmö’s attack a bit, and that his teammates haven’t been that clinical when he’s set them up with chances.

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Looking at how the players create chances, we see how some like Irandust, Jakobsen and Traustason focus on volume, while Đurđić, Kalmar’s Måns Söderqvist and Nahir Bahoui of AIK create chances less often, but of a higher quality. As with goals, the strongest producers like Besara, Hamad, Kadewere and Sema manage to combine both aspects when setting up their teammates. AIK’s Rasmus Lindkvist and IFK Göteborg’s Emil Salomonsson are the only defenders showing up here, both operating as wing backs in front of a 3-back line.

Attacking Production

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Tino Kadewere dominates when it comes to raw numbers, leading the league in G+A, xG+A and Chance Production, but drops a bit when taking playing time into consideration as Djurgården’s lack of options up front has seen him play a lot of minutes.

Dibba and Đurđić again show up as strong producers, and Sundsvall’s Linus Hallenius also deserves a mention being third in G+A per 90 and fifth in xG+A per 90. Norrköping’s young icelander Arnór Sigurdsson has also impressed with over 0.6 xG+A per 90, as has AIK’s Anton Salétros, whose fine performance and 0.84 G+A per 90 earned him a move to Rostov in the Russian league.

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Naturally we see a lot of overperformance when combining goals and assists as well, and we should expect to see some of these players’ output to normalize over the season. Who that will be is of course a lot down to chance itself.

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Plotting xG and xA we can get a glimpse of the production style of players. Dibba is of course the typical striker with a lot of xG but little xA created, while Aiesh seem to be the direct opposite. A strong group of players lead by Đurđić combine both execution and creation.

The small sample size is of course a problem and could be one of the reasons we see no real one-sided ‘role players’ besides Aiesh and Dibba yet. Sema, Traustason, Irandust and others should all belong to the more creative group but have for various reasons failed to create enough xA for it to show yet. On the other side of the scale, we know that Kamara, Strandberg and Kalle Holmberg are all strong strikers heavily focused on being at the business end of chances just like Dibba, but they’ve struggled a bit so far. It will be interesting to see how things develop over the season.

Player Profiles

T. Kadewere_chanceT. Kadewere_creation

I mentioned Tino Kadewere back in 2016, at the very end of this post. Since then, he’s missed much of 2017 to injuries and when fit struggled to get back to form. One of the reason for this is him having to adopt to a new role as the sole striker up front as goalscorer after goalscorer have left Djurgården. His display has been sometimes puzzling this season as he at least early on mixed insane misses and poor touches with equally jaw-dropping dribbles and smart play. As time has progressed though he’s looked better and better, being instrumental in Djurgården’s Swedish Cup win with 4 goals in 7 matches, to add to his 8 in Allsvenskan. Previously used as more of a creative support attacker he has now evolved into a centre forward with impressive hold up play and a presence in the box, which is evident from his very good chance locations. Add his creative side and it’s no wonder he’s rumoured to be on the radar of clubs abroad.

P. Dibba_chance.png

Pa Dibba has impressed as well, and though usually applauded for his speed and counter-attacking skills adding a dimension to Hammarby’s attack, he has some very useful skills poaching in front of goals on crosses and set pieces as well, as can be seen from the 3 high-quality chances close to goal.

N. Đurđić_chanceN. Đurđić_creation

Nikola Đurđić’s return to Allsvenskan (10 goals in 11 matches for Helsingborg in 2012 and 5 in 12 for Malmö in 2015) is another reason for Hammarby’s success so far. Overperforming his xG a bit, he has still gotten into some very good chances and brings a lot of overall quality as well, creating high quality chances for his teammates. As mentioned he has also brought in a kind of grit and mentality that I think has been missing in Hammarby for quite some time.

R. Gall_chance

Sundsvall’s Romain Gall has been one of the most in-form players so far and could be on his way to a bigger club soon. As can be seen from the above plot though, his 5 goals is a bit flattering compared to his xG, but if he can get the right coaching and learn to be a bit more selective when it comes to chance locations, I think he could grow into a very strong winger.

N. Besara_chanceN. Besara_creation

Just like last season, Nahir Besara has been the driving force behind Örebro’s attack. Possibly limited a bit by Axel Kjäll’s more cautious approach, he has still had an impressive spring. Combining some good quality chances inside the box with efficient long-range shoot and strong passing foot, it’s tempting to think about what he could do at a bigger club.

D. Irandust_creation

Daleho Irandust is Allsvenskan’s most frequent creator, third in raw quantity and leading the league in chances created per 90, but what good does that do when his teammates simply refuse to score? Not super high average chance quality though but given time and his undeniable talent, assist will come.

J. Hamad_chanceJ. Hamad_creation

Jiloan Hamad is the main creator in Hammarby’s midfield, being the driving force behind much of their attack. He can score as well and his strong season so far saw him involved in the discussions for Sweden’s World Cup squad, though he was eventually left out.

K. Sema_creation

Another strong creator who was in contention for the Swedish squad is Ken Sema. Though not yet as impressive as last season, he has been creating chances for Östersund  this spring and his strong performance in the Europa League could very well earn him a move abroad soon as quite a few players could be leaving the club after Graham Potter’s departure.

C. Strandberg_chance

Arguably one of the best strikers in the league, Carlos Strandberg has, just like all of Malmö, struggled so far. Still getting into great chances and scoring goals, he is lacking a bit in volume though and will need to get up to speed and improve a lot if Malmö are to climb the table after the summer break. He has a great left foot and should shoot more, in my opinion.

R. Lindkvist_creation

Left wing-back Rasmus Lindkvist has been a big part of AIK’s attack with his 4 assists and 12 chances created so far. Interestingly, he doesn’t use his wide position to whip in crosses, instead using his good pace and passing foot to combine his way into the box where he sets up his teammates in front of goal, which seems to work out quite well for him.

If you want to see any more Player Chance/Creation Maps, just let me know on Twitter.

This article was written with the aid of StrataData, which is property of Stratagem Technologies. StrataData powers the StrataBet Sports Trading Platform, in addition to StrataBet Premium Recommendations.

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Allsvenskan 2018 Summer update 2

Allsvenskan 2018 Summer update

Allsvenskan is on a break waiting for the World Cup, and so am I – so why not write a quick recap of the action so far? Well I hadn’t planned on it, but with this first part of the season being far more interesting than what we’ve seen in a long time, I simply couldn’t resist.

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The number of matches played are a bit unevenly distributed so far, with Malmö, AIK and Djurgården all having played one extra match each to give room for the European qualifiers later this summer, while Sirius‘ season opener against Sundsvall was postponed due to poor pitch conditions.

The main (and I mean MAIN) narratives so far have been Malmö’s fall from grace and Hammarby‘s surprisingly flying start to the season. A mini narrative this season is also Östersund with their poor start, criminal investigations into chairman Kindberg‘s business and manager of the year for the last two seasons, Graham Potter, leaving to take over Swansea in the Championship.

Title defenders Malmö very disappointingly sit in 10th and are nowhere near their usual standard which has seen them claim the top spot 4 times in the last 5 seasons. Magnus Pehrsson was under a lot of pressure early on and after failing to bounce back after the 3-0 defeat to Djurgården in the Swedish Cup final, he was soon fired.

Hammarby on the other hand got off to a great start, winning 8 and drawing once before finishing with their first defeat of the season (against rivals AIK) and another draw. For a team that finished 9th last season, looked quite poor, sacked their manager and promoted his assistant in a move that looked like a huge gamble, this is surprising even for Allsvenskan. Fair play to Hammarby and Stefan Billborn though, they have undeniably been the best team so far, playing a very entertaining attacking football.

That said, let’s get on with some scatterplots:

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Looking at chances we can see that Hammarby spend a lot of time attacking, while at the same time limiting their opponents. Häcken does a good job as well, and Malmö actually don’t look too bad quantity-wise. AIK is a curious case with Rikard Norling as usual having his side focus more on game control than chance dominance, limiting their attack even more than last season. A bottom quartet of Dalkurd, Trelleborg, Sirius and Brommapojkarna can be easily distinguished here, with especially promoted BP looking really poor when it comes to raw chance numbers, facing a whopping 17 chances per match.

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Hammarby have been effective in front of goal, which when combined with their many chances of course is a big part of their impressive run so far. Malmö and Häcken on the other hand have seen their good numbers spoiled by some ineffective finishing, while AIK’s effectiveness has compensated for their low quantity and allows them to aim for the top. Brommapojkarna’s performance is dismal here as well, and we can also note that IFK Göteborg worryingly combine low chance quantity with ineffective scoring.

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Looking at defensive effectiveness we see how Hammarby are actually quite poor, proving the point that their success is mostly down to their impressive attack. Malmö and Östersund look surprisingly bad as well, on par with bottom teams Sirius and Dalkurd. Had they defended better they would have gone into the summer break with far more confidence of a top 3 finish, and I don’t even want to think about how Hammarby would look if they get their defense in shape.

AIK is of course the master defenders, handling the few chances faced very effectively, as is Norling’s trademark. As we’ve seen though, they’ve done so by giving up some attacking ambition, relying more on effectiveness in front of goal. There could be a fine line between success and utter failure with this approach but I suspect AIK to be in the race for the title up until November.

Bottom placed Sirius look really poor defensively and as usual they are plagued by injuries as well. They’ve also had to start with their goalkeeping coach a few matches as their only fit goalkeeper was suspended after a cocaine-related offense, which certainly didn’t make things easier. Brommapojkarna’s defensive effectiveness look OK but they still face way too many chances to avoid being involved in the relegation battle.

Lastly, Örebro have dramatically improved their defense under new manager Axel Kjäll, going from around 7.5 chances faced per goal conceded last season, to almost 12 so far. They still face a lot of chances but defend these well, looking very much to have a deliberate strategy to defend the box and let the opposition bomb away from poorer chance locations.

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Looking at the Expected goals scatter we see just how different Hammarby and AIK’s approaches are. Interestingly, this fits very well with the traditional values of the clubs with AIK focusing a lot on a solid defense looking for a controlled 1-0 win while Hammarby attack head on carefree, not minding conceding a goal or two as they can always score more if needed.

Besides the top 2 teams, there seems to be some clustering going on xG-wise. A group of 5 clubs including Malmö and Djurgården look to be in contention for a top 3 spot with average or better defenses and strong attacking, while a roughly average quartet are lead by Örebro. Lastly, we see how the bottom quartet is actually a quintet with Sundsvall also showing poor underlying performances in both ends of the pitch.

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The clustering shows up when looking at Expected Goals Difference as well, also showing that Häcken is actually on par with AIK and that Östersund is slightly worse than the other top 3 contenders. Sirius are just bad.

How about a prediction then – will the main narratives continue or will Malmö regain their form and will Hammarby drop back to their former mediocrity? Who will be relegated? Well, even if I wanted to make a prediction, we’ve seen just a bit more than one third of the season so far and there’s still a lot to come, including a very interesting transfer window which could see most clubs look very different come mid August. The only thing I can say is that the remainder of the season could very well get even more interesting than what we’ve seen so far.

That’s it for now, but I will hopefully be back soon with an update on individual player performances.

This article was written with the aid of StrataData, which is property of Stratagem Technologies. StrataData powers the StrataBet Sports Trading Platform, in addition to StrataBet Premium Recommendations.

Allsvenskan 2018 Summer update