Analysing Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s season statistically

I decided to look at the raw statistics for strikers in the Premier League and the La Liga, the two top leagues in the world.


First, let us take a look at the number of goals and the number of shots of all the strikers who have scored more than 10 in the league.

Rank Name Shots per Goal Goals per Shot Total Shots Total Goals
1 Alexandre Lacazette 3.38 0.3 71 21
2 Falcao 3.38 0.3 54 16
3 Edinson Cavani 3.62 0.28 94 26
4 Harry Kane 3.63 0.28 69 19
5 Andrea Belotti 3.64 0.28 80 22
6 Romelu Lukaku 3.82 0.26 65 17
7 Aubameyang 3.86 0.26 81 21
8 Iago Aspas 3.93 0.25 55 14
9 Timo Werner 4.0 0.25 52 13
10 Marco Borriello 4.08 0.24 49 12
11 Anthony Modeste 4.13 0.24 66 16
12 Luis Suárez 4.16 0.24 79 19
13 Bafétimbi Gomis 4.31 0.23 69 16
14 Sadio Mané 4.33 0.23 52 12
15 Diego Costa 4.41 0.23 75 17
16 Jermain Defoe 4.57 0.22 64 14
17 Gonzalo Higuaín 4.58 0.22 87 19
18 Robert Lewandowski 4.68 0.21 89 19
19 Dele Alli 4.92 0.2 64 13
20 Lionel Messi 5.0 0.2 115 23
21 Nikola Kalinic 5.17 0.19 62 12
22 Mauro Icardi 5.29 0.19 90 17
23 Alexis Sánchez 5.35 0.19 91 17
24 Dries Mertens 5.44 0.18 98 18
25 Antoine Griezmann 5.5 0.18 66 12
26 Cristiano Ronaldo 6.5 0.15 117 18
27 Ciro Immobile 6.5 0.15 104 16
28 Sergio Agüero 7.08 0.14 85 12
29 Edin Dzeko 7.21 0.14 137 19
30 Zlatan Ibrahimovic 7.33 0.14 110 15

Zlatan is at the bottom of this list, at 7.33 shots per goal. With Zlatan’s style of play (he’s not Sanchez / Hazard), he creates very little of his own chances, this means the team needs to create over 7 chances for him to score 1 goal. In comparison to the top performers in this chart, I’d first declare that nearly all of these guys create more goals for themselves (look at Kane’s goal against Everton, half of Messi’s goals, and on, and on), but even with that, their teams only need to create half as many for their strikers to score than United do for Zlatan.

This, for me, is one of the key reasons why United’s home stats really aren’t that surprising. They are not firing on all cylinders anywhere, really, but when your main and central forward is wasting these many chances, unless you’re always going to keep a clean sheet , you have to create nearly 20 chances to score 2 goals and win a game.

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Rank Name Shots per On Target Shot On Target Shots per Shot Total Shots Total On Target Shots
1 Romelu Lukaku 1.51 0.66 65 43
2 Nikola Kalinic 1.55 0.65 62 40
3 Aubameyang 1.56 0.64 81 52
4 Sadio Mané 1.58 0.63 52 33
5 Harry Kane 1.6 0.62 69 43
6 Alexandre Lacazette 1.61 0.62 71 44
7 Dries Mertens 1.61 0.62 98 61
8 Timo Werner 1.63 0.62 52 32
9 Diego Costa 1.63 0.61 75 46
10 Antoine Griezmann 1.65 0.61 66 40
11 Iago Aspas 1.67 0.6 55 33
12 Bafétimbi Gomis 1.68 0.59 69 41
13 Marco Borriello 1.69 0.59 49 29
14 Falcao 1.69 0.59 54 32
15 Lionel Messi 1.69 0.59 115 68
16 Alexis Sánchez 1.69 0.59 91 54
17 Ciro Immobile 1.7 0.59 104 61
18 Dele Alli 1.73 0.58 64 37
19 Jermain Defoe 1.73 0.58 64 37
20 Gonzalo Higuaín 1.74 0.57 87 50
21 Sergio Agüero 1.77 0.56 85 48
22 Edinson Cavani 1.77 0.56 94 53
23 Andrea Belotti 1.78 0.56 80 45
24 Zlatan Ibrahimovic 1.86 0.54 110 59
25 Luis Suárez 1.88 0.53 79 42
26 Edin Dzeko 1.96 0.51 137 70
27 Robert Lewandowski 2.02 0.49 89 44
28 Cristiano Ronaldo 2.17 0.46 117 54
29 Anthony Modeste 2.2 0.45 66 30
30 Mauro Icardi 2.73 0.37 90 33

 


Rank Name On Target Shots per Goal Goals per On Target Shot Total On Target Shots Total Goals
1 Anthony Modeste 1.88 0.53 30 16
2 Mauro Icardi 1.94 0.52 33 17
3 Falcao 2.0 0.5 32 16
4 Edinson Cavani 2.04 0.49 53 26
5 Andrea Belotti 2.05 0.49 45 22
6 Alexandre Lacazette 2.1 0.48 44 21
7 Luis Suárez 2.21 0.45 42 19
8 Harry Kane 2.26 0.44 43 19
9 Robert Lewandowski 2.32 0.43 44 19
10 Iago Aspas 2.36 0.42 33 14
11 Marco Borriello 2.42 0.41 29 12
12 Timo Werner 2.46 0.41 32 13
13 Aubameyang 2.48 0.4 52 21
14 Romelu Lukaku 2.53 0.4 43 17
15 Bafétimbi Gomis 2.56 0.39 41 16
16 Gonzalo Higuaín 2.63 0.38 50 19
17 Jermain Defoe 2.64 0.38 37 14
18 Diego Costa 2.71 0.37 46 17
19 Sadio Mané 2.75 0.36 33 12
20 Dele Alli 2.85 0.35 37 13
21 Lionel Messi 2.96 0.34 68 23
22 Cristiano Ronaldo 3.0 0.33 54 18
23 Alexis Sánchez 3.18 0.31 54 17
24 Antoine Griezmann 3.33 0.3 40 12
25 Nikola Kalinic 3.33 0.3 40 12
26 Dries Mertens 3.39 0.3 61 18
27 Edin Dzeko 3.68 0.27 70 19
28 Ciro Immobile 3.81 0.26 61 16
29 Zlatan Ibrahimovic 3.93 0.25 59 15
30 Sergio Agüero 4.0 0.25 48 12
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These two next stats need to be taken as a pair, IMO, which is shown perfectly by Mauro Icardi. Mauro is the worst performer for the number of on target shots per shot, 2.73. Out of his 90 shots, only 33 have been on target. But, he’s doing so well because of the efficiency of those shots he scores a goal from every 1.94 shot on target Out of his 33 on target shots, he’s scored 17 goals.

This shows Zlatan up in quite a bad light yet again. He has a really bad conversion rate of 110 shots for 59 shots on target, but of those 59 shots on target, he’s scored only 15 goals, with Sergio Aguero being worse (surprisingly, or not, considering the season he’s having).


Is Zlatan doing fantastically well for a 35 year old? Absolutely, yes he is. Is he having a fantastic season by all accounts? Really and truly not. He absolutely is part of the problem United are having, and whether or not United have the replacement within their ranks or not (Martial / Rashford / … Rooney / Wilson / Burkart…), I’ve no idea, but if they go into next season with Zlatan as the main man in the front-line, they’ll probably have a similar wasteful season.

These days, strikers who boast a “one in two” ratio are hardly even spoken about. Players like Messi, Ronaldo and Suarez, the real elite forward players, have really pushed beyond that. United are the current moment are not in a position to sign any one of them, but they should go all out in the summer for a striker who is more efficient than Zlatan is at the moment.

Rank Name Shots per Goal Goals per Shot Shots per On Target Shot On Target Shots per Shot On Target Shots per Goal Goals per On Target Shot Total Shots Total On Target Shots Total Goals
1 Alexandre Lacazette 3.38 0.3 1.61 0.62 2.1 0.48 71 44 21
2 Falcao 3.38 0.3 1.69 0.59 2.0 0.5 54 32 16
3 Edinson Cavani 3.62 0.28 1.77 0.56 2.04 0.49 94 53 26
4 Harry Kane 3.63 0.28 1.6 0.62 2.26 0.44 69 43 19
5 Andrea Belotti 3.64 0.28 1.78 0.56 2.05 0.49 80 45 22
6 Romelu Lukaku 3.82 0.26 1.51 0.66 2.53 0.4 65 43 17
7 Aubameyang 3.86 0.26 1.56 0.64 2.48 0.4 81 52 21
8 Iago Aspas 3.93 0.25 1.67 0.6 2.36 0.42 55 33 14
9 Timo Werner 4.0 0.25 1.63 0.62 2.46 0.41 52 32 13
10 Marco Borriello 4.08 0.24 1.69 0.59 2.42 0.41 49 29 12
11 Anthony Modeste 4.13 0.24 2.2 0.45 1.88 0.53 66 30 16
12 Luis Suárez 4.16 0.24 1.88 0.53 2.21 0.45 79 42 19
13 Bafétimbi Gomis 4.31 0.23 1.68 0.59 2.56 0.39 69 41 16
14 Sadio Mané 4.33 0.23 1.58 0.63 2.75 0.36 52 33 12
15 Diego Costa 4.41 0.23 1.63 0.61 2.71 0.37 75 46 17
16 Jermain Defoe 4.57 0.22 1.73 0.58 2.64 0.38 64 37 14
17 Gonzalo Higuaín 4.58 0.22 1.74 0.57 2.63 0.38 87 50 19
18 Robert Lewandowski 4.68 0.21 2.02 0.49 2.32 0.43 89 44 19
19 Dele Alli 4.92 0.2 1.73 0.58 2.85 0.35 64 37 13
20 Lionel Messi 5.0 0.2 1.69 0.59 2.96 0.34 115 68 23
21 Nikola Kalinic 5.17 0.19 1.55 0.65 3.33 0.3 62 40 12
22 Mauro Icardi 5.29 0.19 2.73 0.37 1.94 0.52 90 33 17
23 Alexis Sánchez 5.35 0.19 1.69 0.59 3.18 0.31 91 54 17
24 Dries Mertens 5.44 0.18 1.61 0.62 3.39 0.3 98 61 18
25 Antoine Griezmann 5.5 0.18 1.65 0.61 3.33 0.3 66 40 12
26 Cristiano Ronaldo 6.5 0.15 2.17 0.46 3.0 0.33 117 54 18
27 Ciro Immobile 6.5 0.15 1.7 0.59 3.81 0.26 104 61 16
28 Sergio Agüero 7.08 0.14 1.77 0.56 4.0 0.25 85 48 12
29 Edin Dzeko 7.21 0.14 1.96 0.51 3.68 0.27 137 70 19
30 Zlatan Ibrahimovic 7.33 0.14 1.86 0.54 3.93 0.25 110 59 15
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This post by seaders firest appeared on https://www.reddit.com/r/reddevils

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