As a fan of a financially sensible football team, there's rarely much to get worked up about at the transfer deadline. The team did bring in Luke Moore, however. Another striker with a little premier league grooming behind him (Aston Villa), rewarded with the toughest job in town - being Swansea's lone striker. Already, the list of those who have tried and failed is long enough to be a trivia question, each player in succession holding on to the job like a drunk sorority girl on a bucking bronco. Anyway, a quiet evening + a good measure of intrigue + an analytical mind = a load of charts, which i made to shed some light on Swansea's strikers struggles.
I've profiled four of the team's strikers here. I saw no point cataloging the innumerable loanees who have made cameos up front, as none of them are still with the club. Gorka Pintado makes an appearance mostly to add some contrast - I've used his stats from last season (when he actually had some stats), when the team was playing under Paulo Sousa, who liked to play a stifling 4-5-0 formation, with Pintado as the 0; he had to do so much ball chasing it wouldn't be right to list him as the 1 up front, and yet he was spread so thin in that system it also wouldn't be right to put him as an extra number anywhere else. Poor Pintado.
Speaking of 0's, that's the same number of goals newcomer Luke Moore has, which can't be good for anyone. As Swansea's latest would-be striker-saviour, he's included in this analysis, as are the ever-injured Craig Beattie and super-sub/so-so-sub Stephen Dobbie.
Let's get some basic stats out of the way first. Moore has only played 7 games so far, all starts. Dobbie has made almost as many starts as substitute appearances (14 and 16), Beattie has 8 starts and 6 subs and Pintado looks a lot like Dobbie with 18 and 17. In those games Moore has no goals (yet), Dobbie and Beattie have 4 each and Pintado has 2.
On to the meat and potatoes. Someone once said you can't win the raffle if you don't buy a ticket, and they're right, so let's have a look at how many shots each player is taking:
It's plain to see that Stephen Dobbie is the least afraid to let rip, with 51 total shots in all games played. Pintado is next best with 25, just half that of Dobbie. Of course, shooting is no good if you can't get it on target, so let's have a look at our shooter's accuracy:
Clearly leading the pack this time is Luke Moore, with a muscular 75% compared with everyone else's mediocre 50-or-so. Maybe now we can start to see why Brendan Rogers has put so much faith in Moore so far. It's interesting to note how similar the other players totals were. So far we've seen that Stephen Dobbie is the most trigger-happy, and Luke Moore the most precise (even if that precision hasn't paid off yet).
Obviously, even more important than shooting is actually scoring, so let's have a look at each player's goals per game:
Now it's Craig Beattie's time to shine. Beattie manages to score at a 0.50 (half a goal per game) clip when he features in the first eleven, which is a strong showing in football. Over the course of a season, that would work out to be 23 goals in league matches alone. Dobbie's 0.29 is perfectly respectable, although it's worth noting Beattie achieves the same figure when we include all the games he's entered as a substitute - all those difficult last-20-minutes spells when the player's coming into the game cold. And any Swansea fan will tell you no charts are necessary to prove Pintado's scoring futility under former boss Sousa.
OK, now we've seen most of the important stats, and interestingly three different players have asserted themselves in each of the three charts so far: Moore for accuracy, Dobbie for attempts and Beattie for spoils. Let's play those figures off each other and have a look from a different angle - this time, how many goals each player scores per shot:
Beattie dominates this category, too. We can see he scores 0.24 goals per shot, which more-or-less means he can expect to score 1 goal for every 4 shots taken. When we look at the same statistic for just those shots which are on target, we can see he reaches 0.44, not too far off a fantastic half a goal per shot on target. Dobbie and Pintado once again achieve spookily similar, if underwhelming, results.
Lastly, let's take a look again at how many shots each player is taking, only this time we'll break it down to shots per game, and throw in goals-per-shot whilst we're at it:
We can see here that per game, Luke Moore is chalking up the most shots. At least he's enthusiastic. Stephen Dobbie unsurprisingly also rates fairly highly. It's interesting that of the four strikers, only one is reaching 2 shots per game, which is problematic when your team only plays one striker. Maybe we're starting to see a bit more of the problem, but we still haven't found out which one of Swansea's strikers is "best". So...
Looking back at the previous chart and comparing the information, we can see that Craig Beattie will score 0.44 goals per shot on target. This means if Beattie can find 2.27 shots on target per game, he'll score a goal. To date, Beattie is only reaching 1.21 shots per game, which is one shot too few. We also know that Beattie will only put half of his shots on target anyway, so he really needs to be hitting 4 shots a game, not less than 2.
Meanwhile, Dobbie and Pintado share the same rating for goals per shot but Dobbie's shots per game is much higher. In simple terms, this might indicate Dobbie's shooting is not very effective, which is a shame given that he's hardly gun-shy. Pintado achieved the same return on far fewer shots playing in a more defensive system. Wether this is down to poor shot selection or a lack of power or precision we can only speculate (which is all this is anyway).
It's a shame that Luke Moore hadn't managed to score at the time I decided to write this up; his 0 goals effectively took him out of most of the charts, but given his impressive shooting accuracy alone I'd expect good things in the future. Maybe it's just a case of nerves from the new kid in town?
So who is Swansea's best striker?
On this evidence, I'd say Craig Beattie should start and Luke Moore should be used as the late sub, at least until he gets some confidence (i.e. some goals). Also, thank Rogers for Scott Sinclair.
SUMMARY : HOW SWANSEA CITY CAN SCORE MORE GOALS
Craig Beattie needs to shoot a lot more, especially because he possesses a dangerous shot (0.44 goals per shot on target).
Stephen Dobbie needs to pick better times to shoot or work on making his shots count.
Gorka Pintado was clearly hung out to dry and could probably use a fresh start (he's currently on loan at Larnaca, and has scored 4 times in 6 games!).
Luke Moore? The jury is still out...