The season is over, so how did Boro’s players perform in front of goal?
Of the Strikers, only Ashley Fletcher had a lower goal tally than his expected goals total, scoring just one league goal with an xG of 1.92 (-0.92). The biggest negative disparity in the squad.
Britt Assombalonga netted 15 league goals from an xG of 14.87 (+0.13), Patrick Bamford 11 goals from an xG of 8.7 (+2.3) and Rudy Gestede 3 goals from a 2.9 xG (+0.10).
It is only possible to score from the chances created for you, and as the goalscorers (barring Fletcher) all slightly over performed against their expected goals, Boro’s issues would surely point towards a lack of creativity rather than being toothless in front of goal.
13 of the 24 players all scored more than their expected goals against probabilty of chances created, the ones that didn’t were mainly players from the defensive third, The exception being Dani Ayala who netted 7 times – nearly double his xG of just 3.91 (+3.09). The two other defenders who overperformed against xG were George Friend (+0.3) and Ryan Shotton (+0.6).
The most notable players who did not score enough from their respective xG totals were Midfielders, Stewart Downing, 3 goals, xG 3.76 (-0.76) and Grant Leadbitter, 3 goals, xg 3.73 (-0.73) and it could be noted that age possibly played a part in that as neither are in their prime. Jonny Howson was steady all season (+0.04).
Players that did not score during the season all had minimal chances of getting a goal based on xG, Adam Clayton (xG 0.28), Jack Harrison (xG 0.39), Dael Fry (xG 0.18), Adam Forshaw (xG 0.07) and Martin Cranie (xG 0.03), so any criticism for not scoring would be unjustified.
Creativity of chances is still the achilles heel for Boro, whether its a 3 behind the striker or the strikers themselves – both Assombalonga and Bamford scored the most goals in the Championship without providing an assist – however, Martin Braithwaite (+2.05) turned out to be no loss when leaving on loan as Adama Traore (+2.31) took his chance when offered by Pulis and performed better in front of goal than the Dane.
Its time for Middlesbrough to address their midfield issues, Karanka built a defence, the club have spent big on strikers, but the midfield has been neglected, padded out recently with players past their prime or unproven in ability, the focus has been on defensive midfielders rather than some attacking creativity…
..ITS TIME FOR CHANGE. #UTB