Allsvenskan 2016 summary pt. 2

A week ago I published the first part of – hopefully – three Allsvenskan 2016 summaries, then focusing on team performance. Now it’s time to have a look at individual players, much like I did back in July. Though there now exists detailed Opta data for Allsvenskan, my work on this site has mostly been based on the older, less detailed data sources focused on shots and thus this summary will only look at attacking players.

I’ve again had a look at Goal Contribution (goals+assists) and Expected Goals, dividing all players into three age groups, and also had a closer look at a few interesting players:

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The Goal Contribution chart is unsurprisingly headed by Häcken’s John Owoeri who clinched the title as the league’s top scorer with his 4 goals against Falkenberg in the last round of the season. Interestingly, Owoeri only came alive in the second half of the season, scoring 15 of his 17 goals after the summer break.

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Assist monster Magnus Wolff Eikrem sits in second, with his 0.71 assists per 90 minutes playing a big part in Malmö retaking the title. Of the other top players, Antonsson, Kjartansson and Nyman left the league during the summer transfer window but still impressed enough during the spring to remain in the top 10.

 

Djurgården’s Michael Olunga sits top among the players aged 20-23. Dubbed ‘The Engineer’ for his ongoing studies, Olunga just like Owoeri needed time to get going, scoring all of his 12 goals during the last 13 games when Mark Dempsey came in to steer Djurgården away from the relegation battle.

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Comparing Owoeri and Olunga, it’s clear from the shot maps why Owoeri was the superior goalscorer this season. He only shoots slightly more than Olunga, but does so from far better locations closer to goal, with his average xG per shot at 0.16 while Olunga at 0.12 rely more on his finishing skill from longer range. If ‘The Engineer’ can work on his shot selection for next season I really think he can challenge for the top scorer title.

 

AIK’s Alexander Isak reign supreme among the youngest players, with his 0.62 G+A90 very impressive for a player who only turned 17 late in the season. He’s quite good at getting into good shot locations as well, with 5 of his 10 goals coming from a sweet spot just in front of goal.

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There’s been plenty of rumours of an upcoming big transfer during the winter window and looking very much like the real deal, Isak could very well break Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s transfer record from 2001. Here’s a nice radar plot from Ted Knutson showing Isak’s skills:

 

Malmö’s Vidar Kjartansson was the king of xG this season, and the club impressingly still managed to secure the title after selling him during the summer transfer window. Kjartansson combined both quantity with quality, taking most of his shots from very good locations with an average xG per shot of 0.2.

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Östersund’s Abdullahi Gero was a bit of a surprise for me, but his shot locations are good with an average xG per shot close to Kjartansson at 0.19. He could very well go on to score more next season if given the chance in Graham Potter’s Östersund side which have done so well xG-wise this season – actually finishing 4th in xG Difference per game!

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As a Djurgården supporter I’m glad to see 20-year old Tino Kadewere’s development this season. Though his 793 minutes played was less than the 900 needed to be included above, he racked up an impressing 0.79 G+A90 which would see him sit 8th overall, just above Olunga, and top the players aged 20-23 if the cut-off would have been 1/4 of the league minutes played instead of 1/3. Focusing more on assists than Olunga, the two could form a dynamic partnership for Djurgården if they get the chance next season.

 

That’s it for now, but if you want to see more shot maps, just give me a shout on twitter. If I’ll find the time, I’ll also write a third summary looking at how my predictions have done over the season and how my model did against the betting markets.

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Allsvenskan 2016 summary pt. 2

Allsvenskan 2016 summary pt. 1

With the season ending more than a week ago, I finally have enough time to sit down and write a summary. I’ll split it in parts, with the first two looking at team and player performance respectively, and hopefully I’ll get around to writing a third part in which I look at how my predictions have done, and the model’s performance on the betting markets.

These kind of updates likely won’t return for next season when I’ll be taking on a new job compiling odds on Swedish football. I’m hoping to continue writing in some form though.

But enough about that, let’s get to it:

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As most expected, Malmö bounced back from last season’s 5th place to reclaim the title from Norrköping. Luckily they did so without the need of the extra win awarded to them after the abandonded game against Göteborg where the home fans threw pyrotechnics against the Malmö players – and Tobias Sana responded with a spear throw.

At the other end of the table, Gefle were finally relegated after several years of clinging to their place in the top flight. Falkenberg’s extremely poor season saw them relegated as well, while Helsingborg will have to face third placed Superettan side Halmstad in a two-leg relegation play-off.

Take a look at Djurgården’s row of results by the way, only one draw!

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Malmö were the best side in terms of shots taken and conceded as well, while bottom duo Gefle and Falkenberg really struggled together with Sundsvall, whose good start to the season saw them able to avoid the relegation battle despite only picking up two wins after the summer break. Örebro was an outlier throughout the season, usually producing some high-shooting games.

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Göteborg were the most efficient attacking side during the season, but their low shot volume saw them unable to compete with the real top sides. AIK and Malmö relied on pure shot volume instead, probably a result of their ability to dominate games. Falkenberg on the other hand really struggled with both volume and effectiveness, usually needing nearly 11 shots to score.

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At the other end of the pitch we see partly why Malmö were the superior side this season, and why AIK finally overtook Norrköping in second place: they both enjoyed some very efficient defending, clearly outperforming their opponents. Falkenberg struggled here as well, conceding a goal about every 5th shot, while Örebro actually did well efficiency-wise despite conceding a lot of shots.

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Champions Malmö were the best side in terms of both xG and xG conceded, while Falkenberg’s poor defence was a big factor in their relegation. Djurgården, Hammarby and Östersund did better defensively than their final positions in the table might suggest, unable to break into the top mostly because of their weaker attacking output.

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Ranking the teams by Expected Goals Difference did well to explain both ends of the table, getting the top 3 and bottom 2 correct. As mentioned, Sundsvall’s ‘lucky’ results at the start of the season saw them avoid the relegation battle, while Östersund, Hammarby and Djurgården formed an underperfoming trio just below the top sides.

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Simulating every game based on the shots taken and their xG values, we can give the teams ‘Expected Points’. This is very close to the xGD rankings above but we can see some differences, like Falkenberg ‘earning’ almost as many Expected Points as Gefle, which they were no way near in reality.

Let’s see how the teams actually did compared to their Expected Points:

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What we see is that typically the winning sides overperform against Expected Points, while the losing sides underperform. This is to be expected as you’ll very rarely (or never) dominate a game enough for your expected points to match the three actual points awarded for a win. The same goes for losing, since you’ll pretty much always ‘earn’ more than zero Expected Points.

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There’s always exceptions to the rule though, and this season Gefle stands out as having picked up pretty much exactly the points expected from them which I would say is rare for a losing side, while Falkenberg look to have been very unlucky to pick up so few points.

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Looking at the Expected Points distributions for the teams, we really see just how ‘unlucky’ Falkenberg have been. As mentioned above, losing sides will very often underperform against Expected Points but Falkenberg really stands out with a 100% chance of picking up at least the 10 points they ended up with, implied by the 10,000 seasons I ran through my simulation.

Djurgården

As I’ve done in a few updates, I’ll end this one looking at Djurgården. As a lifelong supporter I’ve become used to the ups and downs but despite that and the underlying good numbers I was still a bit concerned this season.

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Luckily though, Mark Dempsey, the right man at the right time, stepped in and turned things around much like his former mentor Per-Mathias Høgmo did in 2013. Just like I’ve seen him do in Norway, Dempsey focused on a very direct attack which worked well to improve shot numbers and level out Djurgården’s dropping xGD, while at the same time crucially also getting some real results.

Defence continued to struggle though, and no real tactics but ‘get the ball up to the big boys up front’ was clearly visible – a decent game plan to get them out of the hole they’ve dug themselves into but not something to build on for the future so the club’s decision to not give Dempsey a new contract looks reasonable.

That’s it for now, in a few days I’ll be looking closer at individual player performance.

Allsvenskan 2016 summary pt. 1

Allsvenskan 2016 – The Endgame

Before I continue with another Allsvenskan 2016 update – the last before the season ends – I have some news regarding the blog.

As some of you may know, I’ve been working part time for StrataBet this season, mostly writing game previews for the Norwegian Tippeligaen. As I soon take on a new, full-time job elsewhere I likely won’t have the time to write as much as I want. Also, with my new job focusing on Allsvenskan and Swedish football in general, I may be reluctant to give away too much information to the general public, so the future of this blog is very uncertain.

I’m hoping to continue writing in some form though, and what I do write will likely be closely linked to StrataBet as they’ve given me access to their great dataset.

Allsvenskan 2016 – The Endgame

Ok, so let’s get on with another update. With only 3 rounds left – the next starts tonight – we can see how much of the drama has gone out of the league table since last time. Malmö have retaken the top spot and thanks to Norrköping’s recent poor form the gap down to the title contenders is now 4 points. Sure, both Norrköping and AIK can still theoretically win the title, but I would be very surprised if Malmö let this slip out of their hands, despite the disappointing defeat to Östersund. They do have some disturbing injury problems though…

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Göteborg have a chance to break into the top-3 and gain a European spot for next season, but this looks even more unlikely with 7 points up to AIK. At the other end of the table the bottom-3 have looked locked in for a long time. Helsingborg still have a chance to overtake Sundsvall, but again I’d be very surprised if this happens. In mid-table we see how Elfsborg, Kalmar and Hammarby have climbed a few spots at the expense of Örebro, Häcken and Östersund.

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Counting up shots we see how Djurgården surprisingly is the best defensive side when it comes to denying the opposition chances to shoot. We also see how Gefle continue to be very bad and that Örebro still is the main outlier with A LOT of shots both taken and conceded.

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Looking at effectiveness up front we see few changes since last time. Elfsborg have been slightly more effective with their shooting though, partly explaining their climb in the table. On the other end of the scale, Helsingborg have had a real problem scoring on their chances lately, with ZERO goals since the last update.

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Looking at defensive effectiveness we see why Djurgården’s ability to deny the opposition chances hasn’t seen them climb into the upper half of the table: They still concede a lot of goals on the chances they do allow. Only bottom-of-the-table Falkenberg are worse. With Malmö and Norrköping’s effectiveness declining since last time, AIK now stands out as the far superior defensive side.

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Not much have changed in terms of chance quality either – but what is interesting here is that Djurgården is the best defensive side when it come to xG as well. So if they concede very few chances, and very little xG – why are they conceding all those goals? My guess is – I don’t have time to look it up – that the few chances they do concede are of higher quality. Djurgården have also had a lot of problems with goalkeepers this season. Having used 4 keepers so far, only star signing Andreas Isaksson has looked stable enough but he has picked up an injury and will be out for the remainder of the season.

I don’t know much about evaluating goalkeepers but have been thinking about doing a blog post about it for some time now, hopefully I’ll get to it in the near future.

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Looking at Expected Goals Difference, we see how Djurgården’s lack of defensive effectiveness has robbed them of a nice upper half finish. My model currently ranks them as 5th in the league, close to Hammarby in 4th – far above their current 11th place.

We also see how AIK have overtaken Norrköping in 2nd place, and with the reigning champions in poor form and just 3 points above AIK, this is where most of the drama left in the season lies. At the bottom of the table, Helsingborg are actually ranked far better than Sundsvall above them, but the 7 point gap will likely be too much for Henrik Larsson’s men with only 3 games remaining.

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The model has always liked Malmö and they actually have the chance to secure the title tonight, if Norrköping lose away to Elfsborg while Malmö win away to Falkenberg – a not too unlikely outcome. In the race for 2nd place, AIK now have the upper hand much thanks to Norrköping’s recent poor results. Göteborg seems to have all but locked in the 4th place and the same goes for the bottom 3.

To continue my slight focus on Djurgården in this post, they’re interestingly projected to take about 6 points from their 3 remaining games: Helsingborg away, Häcken at home and Sundsvall away. Given their very disappointing season, and as a cynical Djurgården supporter, I doubt this.

Allsvenskan 2016 – The Endgame

Allsvenskan round 23 update

It’s been over six weeks since my last Allsvenskan update but now I finally have time to get to it. Six rounds have been played since last time and a lot has happened. Let’s take a look at the league table:

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Compared to last time, we can immediately see that reigning champions Norrköping have climbed up above Malmö to claim the top spot, which is very impressing given the players who have left the club, and the mid-season managerial change.

At the other end of the table, Djurgården have (luckily for me) picked up pace under new manager Dempsey and moved up from 14th to 11th, while Helsingborg and Sundsvall have struggled – only picking up 2 points each.

Let’s have a closer look on how the teams have performed:01

Despite giving up the first place in the table to Norrköping, Malmö have distanced themselves from the rest in terms of shot dominance. Not much else has changed, Örebro are still involved in some very open games while Gefle struggle to create chances.

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Örebro and Elfsborg have moved into the ‘constant threat’ quadrant thanks to some effective scoring, while Hammarby have done the opposite. Kalmar have improved their effectiveness, but at the same time seen a drop in shots taken per game.

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Here we see how AIK’s and Norrköping’s improvements come mainly from their defensive work; both sides have been better at keeping shots from going in since the last update. Kalmar’s defensive effectiveness has improved as well.

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Expected goals for and against look much like they did last time but AIK’s defensive improvements have seen them close in on the top 2 sides, as they’ve increased their xGD by nearly 0.20 per game.

How about a prediction then?06

Malmö’s defeat to Djurgården has really opened up the title race, but my model still fancy them. Norrköping have improved though, and we could be in for a very interesting finish to the season. AIK have improved as well, and have seemingly all but locked in a top-3 spot. In the other end of the table Falkenberg have plummeted from around 22 expected points to less than 16, with the model giving them no chance of reaching the relegation play-off spot occupied by Helsingborg.

Djurgården under Mark Dempsey

As mentioned earlier, as a Djurgården supporter I’m very happy with how the form has improved under new manager Dempsey. In the last update I showed the long-term trends leading up to Olsson’s sacking, and now that Dempsey’s been in charge for 7 games we can see how he’s managed to turn things around:

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While shots conceded actually declined during Olsson’s last season, so did shots taken. What we see under Dempsey’s rule is clear: everything have improved! Djurgården now concede less and take more shots but more importantly, both actual goal difference and xG difference has improved, leading to more points and a climb in the league table.

Though a bit of hindsight, through my work with Norwegian football I was optimistic about Dempsey coming in as I knew he would provide the energy needed for a turnaround. Let’s hope Djurgården can continue to pick up points to climb further.

Passing spiders

Another thing I mentioned in the last update was how Opta data is now available for Allsvenskan, and I showed some passing maps heavily inspired by 11tegen11 and David Sumpter. I’ve since then played around with the script to create passing map animations, which received a lot of positive feedback on twitter and have now been dubbed ‘passing spiders’, often a quite fitting name.

I don’t know enough about tactics to determine if these animations holds some analytical value, but they are fun to look at and could possibly be used to provide an interesting narrative of individual games combined with other types of analysis. I got a lot of good advice on improvements on the animation and will implement some of it in the future.

That’s it for now!

Allsvenskan round 23 update

Expected Goals for Damallsvenskan, Sweden’s top women’s league

Watching the Swedish Women’s National Team beat Brazil to advance to the final in the Olympics, I suddenly realised that the shot location data I collect for Allsvenskan is available for the top women’s league Damallsvenskan as well. I then thought about Chad Murphy’s work collecting data MANUALLY for USA’s NWSL and how I should build an Expected Goals model for Damallsvenskan.

Hoping that the data was of the same quality as that for Allsvenskan, and with the code more or less already in place from my other projects, I plotted out the xG difference for each team this season:

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Wow, only 3 teams with positive xGD! Had I found some bug in the code or was the data faulty? Having next to no knowledge about the league I looked it up, and yeah, Damallsvenskan is very skewed towards a few top teams:

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Rosengård and Linköping really dominate the league and have all but locked up the Champions League spots with their 30+ points already, while the four bottom teams all have less than 10 points. As we’ve seen above, Linköping is the really superior side when it comes to Expected Goals.

Let’s dig deeper:

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Here we see part of why Linköping have such a commanding lead in the xGD table. They take far more shots per game than anybody, and over 4 shots more than closest contestants Rosengård. The two top teams look superior when it comes to shots, but what about effectiveness?

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The top teams stands out here too, but this time it’s Rosengård with the superior numbers as they score on nearly every 4th shot! Kristianstad on the other hand are very ineffective with about 13 shots per goal.

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The two top sides don’t stand out defensively, instead it’s Kopparbergs/Göteborg who dominate the defensive effectiveness with over 13 shots faced per goal conceded. At the bottom, Mallbacken are struggling defensively with under 5 shots faced per goal conceded!

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Looking at Expected Goals for and against we really see how especially Linköping dominate the league by keeping a solid defence and producing a crazy ~3 xG per game!

Player stats

Ok, so that’s it about teams – what about individual players? I ran my player script and was happy to see two players I’ve heard of despite not following women’s football: Stina Blackstelius I know from the Swedish national team and Marta I know because she’s Marta.

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There’s a lot of players with a Goal Contribution around 1 per game, and as expected they’re mostly from the top teams. As a Djurgården supporter, I’m happy to see young Johanna Kaneryd placing second of the younger players. So what about Expected Goals?

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Not surprisingly, xG queens Linköping occupy the top three spots when it comes to xG per 90 mins. What is surprising though is that top contender Rosengård only have one player in the top 10, with Marta just missing out by 0.03 xG90.

Prediction

What about a prediction then? As we’ve seen, the model clearly ranks Linköping highest and as they’ve got one game in hand and Rosengård left to face at home, this really shows up in the prediction with the model giving them 72% to take the title.

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Expected Goals for Damallsvenskan, Sweden’s top women’s league

Allsvenskan round 17 update & Opta data!

Ok, it’s time for another Allsvenskan update. With 5 rounds having been played since last time we should be able to see some changes.

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Looking at the table we see how Djurgården, Örebro and Sundsvall all have dropped a few places while Östersund and Häcken are the big winners. As a result of Djurgården’s poor performance, Pelle Olsson has been sacked and replaced by Mark Dempsey.

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As I noted last time, the league seems to have settled when it comes to shots. Indeed, no team has changed quadrant since the last update.

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Looking at attacking effectiveness we see how Gefle have become more clinical in front of goal while Djurgården have become more ineffective, partly explaining their struggles.

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Only Elfsborg have changed defensive quadrant since last time, dropping from ‘competent but busy’ to ‘pushovers’. Hammarby and Sundsvall have also dropped a bit while Malmö have improved their defence.

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Malmö and Norrköping are still at the top of the xG-table, but the big surprise is Östersund’s rise to third place – mostly due to an improvement in their attacking output. Despite their recent struggles, Djurgården still sits in sixth place. Helsingborg have climbed up to 13th, leaving Gefle at the bottom.

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Looking at Expected Points, we can see just how bad Djurgården have performed recently. They are ranked sixth by xPoints but sit at the bottom of the xPoints Performance table, about 9 points below expectation. In my simulations, they reached at least their current total of 18 points about 98% of the time – indicating a massive underperformance.

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My game simulation model still consider Malmö heavy favourites for the title. I certainly agree but 93% is much too high considering they’re only 1 point ahead of Norrköping at the moment.

Djurgården managerial change, and Opta data

As a Djurgården supporter I’ve welcomed Pelle Olsson’s sacking, as DIF have been very poor under him this season. Shot dominance has decreased since last season, but more importantly, the actual goal difference and Expected Goals Difference have plummeted. The club’s situation look alarmingly similar to when Per-Mathias Høgmo came in to save us from relegation in 2013. Hopefully Høgmo’s former assistant coach can repeat that feat this autumn.

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More news is that Opta data is now available for Allsvenskan. I probably won’t have time to dig too deep into it at the moment, but I’ve written a script for plotting passing networks, heavily influenced by 11tegen11 and David Sumpter.

Using these plots, we can compare Pelle Olsson’s last game using a 4-4-2 formation (Opta has it down as a weird 4-2-2-2 though) against Dempsey’s first game in charge where he used the same formation.1517

Sure, it’s only one game – but we can see some distinct differences here as Dempsey used a midfield diamond with Kevin Walker pushing up while Alexander Faltsetas dropped down deeper. Olsson has always favoured two holding central midfielders. Also, Dempsey has gone for a more straight forward approach to attacking, with more direct passes up towards the strikers, while Olsson used more crossing.

Allsvenskan round 17 update & Opta data!

Allsvenskan and Superettan player update

With Allsvenskan back in action after the summer break and the transfer window approaching, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at some individual player stats. Some players have already left the league for new challenges abroad, and when the window opens on July 15th we’ll likely see some moves between Swedish clubs as well. Given the limitations of my database, this post will focus on attacking players as the most advanced data available is shot coordinates.

I usually don’t write about Sweden’s second tier Superettan, simply because I don’t follow it at all, but as there are several players who could move to Allsvenskan and even abroad, I’ve also looked at players from this league.

So let’s start with taking a look at which players have produced the highest number of goals, assists and Expected Goals so far this season. I’ve only included players who have played 1/3 of the league so far (390 and 450 mins for Allsvenskan and Superettan, respectively) and also looked closer at younger players, splitting them into two groups: players aged 20-23 and players aged up to 19.

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Player profiles

There are some players in the plots above worth looking closer at. Let’s start out with last year’s top scorer, Emir Kujovic:players_03Kujovic has just recently signed with Belgian side Gent, leaving reigning champions Norrköping after a couple of highly productive seasons. His goal and xG output this season are on par with last season’s but he’s also doubled his assists per 90 minutes, having been involved in almost a goal per game this season. I don’t know much about Belgian football, but given the right kind of attacking style he may very well score some goals over there.

players_04Häcken’s Paulo De Oliveira, or Paulinho as he’s called, leads the league in assists+goals per 90 with his impressing 1.13 made up of just goals. Having overperformed against xG since his return to Swedish football, Paulinho may very well be the best finisher in the league.

players_05With Malmö struggling to capitalise on their xG last season, Vidar Kjartansson has grown into a very good signing for them. I haven’t seen him played that much, but given his shot profile he looks just like the strong center forward scoring from mostly inside the box they needed to gradually phase out the aging Markus Rosenberg.

players_06Struggling to take a regular spot at Malmö for the last couple of seasons, Pawel Cibicki’s move to newcomers Jönköpings Södra has worked out well for him. With more playing time, he has continued to improve his goal output and given his age he could be on his way to a bigger club abroad soon.

players_07One who has already taken the next step is AIK’s loan Carlos Strandberg, who after struggling at Russian CSKA Moscow returned to Sweden this season. The young and forceful striker continued where he picked up and has been crucial for his club this season. From his shot profile we can see that he favours shooting from the left, mostly due to his powerful left foot. Set to return to Russia soon, Strandberg will make his last game against Malmö this weekend.

players_08Leading the youngest players in xG per 90 is another AIK striker, 16 year old Alexander Isak, who has impressed so far and is supposedly targetted by a number of big European clubs. Yeah, the sample size is small but given his very young age he’s done well and should he continue to improve he could grown into a class player.

 

Superettan

As I’ve said, I very rarely watch Superettan so I know next to nothing about most players in the league. Here I’ve just picked out a few interesting players from the ranking below to look closer at, and I’ll leave the shot profiles uncommented.

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That’s it for now, but if you want to see shot profiles from any other player in these leagues, just hit me up on Twitter.

Allsvenskan and Superettan player update