clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

xGunners: Does Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have a finishing problem?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in the middle of a cold run of form. Should this be a long term worry?

Arsenal FC v Fulham FC - Premier League Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

There is a bit of discussion going around about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and his finishing. Specifically his finishing of “Big Chances”. For those that might not know, a “Big Chance” is an Opta-defined statistic that meets the following criteria:

A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range.

A lot of this started from a tweet by David Wall:

The discussion continued with Elliot Smith (AKA @YankeeGunner from the Arsenal Vision Post Match Podcast) tweeting about it, and then saw (heard) further discussion by Andrew and James on the Arsecast Extra.

I figured as the TSF stats guy, I should chime in as well.

My short answer is no, I don’t think that there should be a worry about Aubameyang, and I will explain why below.

Aubameyang isn’t an elite finisher like some prolific strikers. His world class skill is getting into and creating very good scoring chances for himself. Once there, he typically finishes at or slightly below average the expectation.

Aubameyang Conversion Rate 2015 to 2019

Season Goals (non-pen) xG (non-pen) Conversion Rate Expected Conversion Rate
Season Goals (non-pen) xG (non-pen) Conversion Rate Expected Conversion Rate
2015-16 22 25.16 18.6% 21.3%
2016-17 29 28.11 25.0% 24.2%
2017-18 19 21.27 21.3% 23.9%
2018-19 13 13 21.7% 21.7%
Stats via Understat

While the misses from these great spots can be frustrating, most other strikers never even get into the positions where they can get as clear a shot as Aubameyang, which is a trade off that’s well worth the misses in the long run.

Switching now specifically to “Big Chances”, the story is similar.

Aubameyang Big Chance Conversion

Season Goals (non-pen) xG (non-pen) Conversion Rate Expected Conversion Rate
Season Goals (non-pen) xG (non-pen) Conversion Rate Expected Conversion Rate
2015-16 13 13.6 48.1% 50.4%
2016-17 14 12.6 42.4% 38.2%
2017-18 19 16 55.9% 47.1%
2018-19 6 8.3 33.3% 46.1%
Via My own stats database

Another helpful way to look at this is to take the same data, but look at how conversion rate fluctuates over time (this is also a great example of regression).

So while Aubameyang is currently suffering through a slump in front of goal, I remain confident that the goals will come as long as he continues to get into good chances. His history shows that he isn’t a great finisher, but even still, his current low rate of finishing chances this good is an anomaly, and one that with patience will pass.