Finishing: What it is and what it ain’t

Here’s a thing. Dicussions of finishing skill in relation to Expected Goals tend to revolve around whether a player scores a similar amount of goals to their Expected Goals number. They have 18.4 xG in a season and scored 18 goals and do this more or less every year and therefore you just can’t say that the player is a ‘bad finisher’.

Here’s another thing. When I think of ‘finishing’ as a specific footballing skill, I think of the kind of thing that 99% of these goals are.

What I don’t think of when I think of the word ‘finishing’ as a particular skill that footballers have are:
– headers- long-range Gerrard strikes
– tap-ins from the ball bouncing around the box after a corner
– most volleys

But all of these contribute to goals and Expected Goals totals.

Here’s a third thing.

Giroud got 3.25 Expected Goals from open play crosses and 5.38 from set pieces. A bunch of these are likely to the ‘lotta central headers’ that Ted mentions. He scored 13 goals from this 8.63 xG. Overperformed.

He got 5 goals from the other 7.83 xG. Underperformed.

I don’t know what the numbers would look like if you carved up his shots into a ‘finishing skill’ specific section, and this specfic example could just be an example of variance, but my point is that Giroud’s overperformance at heading may offset an underperformance in other areas of goalscoring.

Hence, my supposition goes, someone like Giroud might actually be both a bad ‘finisher’ and someone who performs in line with their expected goals. At any rate, using all shots to talk about ‘finishing skill’ probably confuses things.

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One thought on “Finishing: What it is and what it ain’t

  1. Pingback: From me this month… | Every Team Needs A Ron

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