Top goalscorers in Europe: Which strikers are over/under performing their expected goals, including Messi, Kane, Salah, and Ronaldo

9 Apr

All top goalscorers go through runs of good and bad form – even Lionel Messi has an off day, just not that often.

But some superstars, despite their impressive goal tallies don’t hit the back of the net as often as they should, while others get way more than they realistically should.

Barcelona ace Lionel Messi celebrates scoring against Atletico Madrid.

It’s no surprise Barcelona ace Messi out performs most statistical models so expected goals (xG) is no match for the astonishingly good Argentine.

Since 2014/15, he’s netted 173 league goals but, according to OPTA’s xG model he should only have 131.78 – still a good number but to get 41.22 goals more is a sign of true greatness, especially given it’s over a period of four-and-a-half seasons.

But what about the rest of the top 30 goalscorers in Europe? Find out who over and under perform their expected goals total below.

What is expected goals?

  • Expected goals (xG) is a statistic used to work out how many goals should be scored in a match.
  • Every single shot is awarded an xG value based on the difficulty of the attempt, with factors including distance from goal, type of shot and number of defenders present affecting the value.
  • The higher the xG of a particular shot, the more likely a goal should be scored from that shot.
  • The xG value of every shot in a game is then used to calculate the expected goals in a particular match.
How the top 30 goalscorers in Europe compare to their ‘Expected Goals’.