Vardy’s Scoring Likelihood

Two articles this morning looked at Jamie Vardy’s excellent start to the season to see if it might be sustainable. Adam Bate at SkySports concludes:

Vardy’s start to the season may have been extraordinary but the evidence is overwhelming — it has not been a fluke. Don’t be too shocked if the goals continue to go in.

Mark Thompson is slightly cooler on Vardy, writing at EastBridge:

Is Vardy genuinely good then? Kinda, but not as good as his current total suggests. If I were a betting man, I might even look up the odds of him scoring fewer than 15 in the league this season.

Building on my chance quality and save difficulty models from yesterday, I would take the over on 15 goals, but I do agree Vardy is over-performing. To analyse this, I’ve taken each player in the Premier League with more than 20 non-penalty shots, and simulated their likelihood to score at least their current number of goals given:

  1. They total shot number and their average chance quality.
  2. The number of shots on target and their average save difficulty.

This should show if they’re doing better or worse than you would expect for the chances coming their way, and also whether they’re getting lucky or unlucky with their actual shots on goal. Looking at it this way, there is only one striker luckier than Vardy this year:

Player Shots On Target Goals SoTR Conv % Scoring % SD CQ Likelihood (SD) Likelihood (CQ) Expected (SD) Expected (CQ)
Graziano Pellè 38 11 5 29% 13% 45% 43% 13% 54% 53% 5 5
Sergio Agüero 33 14 6 42% 18% 43% 42% 12% 56% 22% 6 4
Olivier Giroud 23 12 4 52% 17% 33% 39% 14% 76% 43% 5 3
Alexis Sánchez 45 15 6 33% 13% 40% 37% 12% 49% 47% 5 5
Harry Kane 33 12 2 36% 6% 17% 34% 9% 95% 83% 4 3
Jamie Vardy 36 15 7 42% 19% 47% 35% 12% 24% 15% 5 4
Romelu Lukaku 28 12 5 43% 18% 42% 34% 13% 39% 27% 4 4
Diafra Sakho 29 10 3 34% 10% 30% 34% 13% 72% 76% 3 4
Sadio Mané 26 10 2 38% 8% 20% 30% 9% 86% 72% 3 2
Bafétimbi Gomis 22 10 3 45% 14% 30% 32% 11% 66% 46% 3 3
Ross Barkley 28 9 2 32% 7% 22% 25% 5% 69% 44% 2 1
Odion Ighalo 26 9 5 35% 19% 56% 28% 10% 7% 10% 2 2
Theo Walcott 26 12 2 46% 8% 17% 33% 15% 94% 91% 4 4
Rudy Gestede 22 7 3 32% 14% 43% 25% 11% 25% 44% 2 2
Memphis Depay 25 8 1 32% 4% 13% 22% 8% 87% 88% 2 2
Riyad Mahrez 23 9 3 39% 13% 33% 21% 8% 30% 27% 2 2
Aaron Ramsey 27 8 1 30% 4% 13% 23% 10% 88% 94% 2 3
Philippe Coutinho 39 11 1 28% 3% 9% 20% 7% 92% 95% 2 3
Yaya Touré 26 8 1 31% 4% 13% 21% 9% 85% 92% 2 2
Jonjo Shelvey 21 7 0 33% 0% 0% 9% 5% 100% 100% 1 1
Troy Deeney 23 4 0 17% 0% 0% 9% 8% 100% 100% 0 2

Vardy’s 24% chance of 7 goals from his shots shows he’s probably getting lucky (only Odion Ighalo at Watford is luckier, and by quite a margin). But his most likely haul is still somewhere between 4-5 goals, which isn’t bad at all. The question of whether he and more importantly whether Leicester can continue their scoring shenanigans remains to be seen – if they suddenly learn how to defend, are we still going to see these weird Vardy-inspired fightbacks?

Vardy’s Scoring Likelihood

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