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NPGA90: Who are the Best Goal Scorers & Creators in Egypt?
With the Egyptian Premier League season winding down, KingFut.com‘s Ali El Fakharany thought it would be useful to take a look at the players who have contributed the most to their side’s goal scoring this season. So who do the statistics say is the best performer in the EPL this season?
The Value of Goals
Goal scoring is crucial to winning football games. In fact, goals scored are often the biggest predictor of points in most leagues. The value of a goal in points is shown below from a study done by two economists on football:
0 goals: .28 points
1 goal: 1.14 points
2 goals: 2.15 points
3 goals: 2.67 points
4 goals: 2.90 points
5 and more goals: 3 points
So basically, a side that has scored 0 goals averages .28 points and so forth.
Since goals are so valuable, it follows that players that are goal scorers & goal creators are also very valuable. In today’s football, where rules favour the attacker, it is no coincidence that most awards go to attacking players who are capable of creating football’s most important statistic. In the past two decades, only one defender (Fabio Cannavaro) has won the Ballon d’Or/World Player of the Year award. For a little more on the attackers vs. defenders subject, Micheal Cox outlines why defenders don’t usually win awards brilliantly in this article. While defending is more of a team task, attacking is often more individual in nature, leading to attackers claiming most individual accolades. So who has been the best attacker in Egypt this season so far?
* Note: Data is of Wednesday, May 7 2014
Goal Scoring in Egypt
Looking at goal scorers is the obvious place to start when trying to figure out who the best attacker/goal contributor has been in Egypt this season.
A quick look over at transfermarket.co.uk shows the top goal-scorers in the Egyptian Premier League so far. Here is a little chart showing the top 5 goal scorers:
As you can tell, John Antwi of Ismaily is the leading goal scorer, followed by Basem Morsi & Abdallah El-Said (Entag El-Harby & Al Ahly respectively).
Most top goal scorers lists present the data in the way shown above, with total goals scored being the statistic that separates goal scorers. Since King Fut readers are more sophisticated than most readers (and have been introduced to smarter statistics) I can already see them pointing out the flaws with using this statistic to rank goal scorers. The first flaw that our readers would be quick to point out is:
Penalties don’t say much about goal-scoring ability!
Seems like a pretty big flaw. Penalties are converted at around 77% by the average player, and so a striker that has taken more penalties shouldn’t be rewarded for his team winning them. Seems like a fair enough concern.
As a result of this concern being voiced, we’ve decided to introduce a new statistic for our readers: Non-Penalty Goals (NPG for short). We take goals scored subtract penalties and this is the new top 5 we get:
As you can see, Abdallah Said drops out of the top 5 (due to 3 of his 9 goals being penalties) and is replaced by his teammate Amr Gamal on 8. Basem Morsi & John Antwi are now tied on 9 goals for the lead.
So now we have a slightly better statistic to measure goal scoring, but I can already hear the incredibly intelligent KingFut fan criticizing it:
Basem Morsi has missed a couple of games! He’s scored these 9 much quicker than Antwi! That should be taken into account.
Interesting observation. The rate at which they score should be taken into account if we’re trying to see who the best goal scorer is. But the problem then becomes, wouldn’t that really reward super subs who spend 20 minutes a game on the pitch and score often?
The NBA, and NPG90
So how do we fix the problems of using goal scoring rate, but not rewarding those who play so few minutes? Well, a quick look at other sports shows that the NBA actually use points-scoring rate to award the scoring title at the end of the season. The NBA uses Points Per Game, not Total Points for the top scorer, and they fix the same problem by having a games cut-off. So the scoring title has to go to a player that has played at least 72 games (out of 82) in the NBA season, or scored more than 1400 points ( a lot of points).
Using the same logic, we took a look at Non-Penalty Goals per 90 (NPG90):
This is the top 20 in NPG90. As you can see, the low minutes problem is evident in the very first selection with Sherif Ashraf having scored two goals in basically a game and a quarter. He definitely should not be the goal-scorer of the year with just 1.2 games played, and so we had to put a cut-off of minimum amount of games played (although Sherif has just scored 2 more goals as I write this, he may be in contention for the end of year’s award if he can hit the minutes cut-off).
The cut-off we chose was a minimum of six games, or 540 minutes. Obviously this cut-off will get higher at the end of the season, because more minutes will have been played. For now though, I think that six games is a good cut-off that separates regular performers from players who have not had enough minutes yet.
Here are the top 10 goal-scorers using our new statistic: Non-Penalty Goals per 90 (six games minimum):
Look who comes out on top – Basem Morsi! 9 goals, no penalties, and a couple of missed games have made the Entag El-Harby striker the best goal scorer in the EPL thus far. Saladin Said, Sherwyda, Amr Gamal (after his brace last night that was not taken into account in the earlier table), and John Antwi complete the top 5. John Antwi sticks out as his 0.6 is even more impressive when you look at how many games he has played (in the red). Mohamed Salem rounds out the top 10 with half a goal a game, which may seem unimpressive on this scale, but is actually a pretty good rate. For a quick comparison, here’s a list compiled by Ted Knutson on NPG90 in the Premier League this year:
With obvious differences in competition, the rate of 0.5 is still quite a strong one as you can tell by the list shown above of top English Premier League goal scorers. The cut-off for the above list is 10 games.
Assists Per 90
Now that we have a way to figure out who the best goal scorer in Egypt is, we should also figure out who the best goal creator is. An assist is just as valuable as a goal, and therefore should be incorporated into our search for the best goal contributor in Egypt.
Using the idea of assist rate, just like goal-scoring rate, we take numbers of assists per 90. Here is the top 20 list, without a minutes cut-off:
As you can see in the top 5, two do not qualify for our minutes cut-off (Mostafa Fathi & Saleh Gomaa). Using the same six games minimum here are the top 10 assist makers in the Egyptian Premier League:
Moussa Yedan has been quite the assist maker this year (although only in 6.8 games, let’s see if he can keep it up). The only two players to be on both top 10 lists are Mohamed Salem & Ahmed Hamoudi who have both had extremely impressive years.
Combining NPG90 & A90:
So we know who the best goal scorers in Egypt have been this season, as well as the best goal creators. What about the best goal contributor overall? Wouldn’t that be the best way to see who has contributed the most to their teams goal scoring? Taking another cue from a different sport (we’re diverse like that!), in hockey, the scoring title goes to the player with the most points, with goals and assists each counting for a point.
Without the cut-off this is the list:
Sherif Ashraf, Mostafa Fathi, & Saleh Gomaa have been pretty impressive in the limited time they have been on the pitch, and perhaps the first two should see more time, as Gomaa is on loan in Portugal with Nacional.
So adding NPG90 and A90 into one NPGA90 or Goal Contribution 90 gives us this:
Yedan’s extremely strong assist numbers lead him to be top in overall goal contribution after an extremely impressive season. However, he has done it in just a little over 6 games. Even more impressive from an Egyptian players’ standpoint is the performance of Ahmed Hamoudi and Mohamed Salem. With the latter being linked as Mohamed Salah’s potential replacement for Basel, it’s clear that he has stepped up his game this year, contributing to 0.82 goals each 90 minutes he plays. Ahmed Hamoudi has also been extremely impressive playing as a number 10 for Smouha, contributing to almost a goal a game in 11 games and a half.
So the scoring title right now is Moussa Yedan’s, although he may need to be become more involved to meet the end of year minute cut-off which will probably be higher. Extremely strong seasons from Mohamed Salem, Ahmed Hamoudi, Amr Gamal, & Saladin Said are also captured in the chart above. The future looks bright for Egyptian football if these four can continue their dominant performances.
Goal scoring Champion: Basem Morsi
Assist Leader: Moussa Yedan
Scoring title (Goal Contribution Leader): Moussa Yedan
Stand-out Players: Ahmed Hamoudi, Mohamed Salem (Top 10 in both categories)