Kylian Mbappe's attacking stats put him in Messi and Ronaldo territory

With the Top Five Leagues on hiatus, we take another look at various statistics across forwards

1:00pm on Monday 27th April 2020
Paul Macdonald


Last week we looked at strikers in the top five leagues in Europe and assess which players hit the most shots P90, which players are best at hitting the target, and which players have the best shot accuracy.

Let's take this a step further. Let's remove penalties from the equation.


Shoooot: Which players in Europe hit the most accurate shots?


In effect, anyone can practice penalties and score them and, furthermore, the award of a penalty kick is outwith the control of the team. One month they may be awarded three, and then not be given another until the end of the season. Finally, it's a free shot of goal from close range and isn't a chance created by any skill or quality. We want our players creating without being given an unchallenged shot.


Because players who aren't regular starters shouldn't be punished by that fact and by taking a look at the P90 numbers, we can average it for players who play plenty of minutes and those who play less.

With that being said, to avoid outliers these statistics are based on players who have acquired a minimum of 10 goal contributions and have played a minimum of 1,000 league minutes.



#Player NameTeamS P90
1Kylian MBAPPEPSG1.07
2Robert LEWANDOWSKIBayern0.97
3Josip ILICICAtalanta0.90
3=Sergio AGUEROMan City0.90
5Mauro ICARDIPSG0.85
5=Duvan ZAPATAAtalanta0.85
7Timo WERNERRB Leipzig0.79
8Lionel MESSIBarcelona0.76
10Memphis DEPAYLyon0.70

As we noted in our previous piece, Kylian Mbappe's attitude and application has been up for debate in French press this season but, domestically at least, his numbers cannot be questioned. Ligue 1's overall depth aside, Mbappe's rate in pretty much every metric is enviable but here, with penalty duties handed to Neymar, is still able to shine all on his own.

Removing penalties hurts Lionel Messi who falls to #8, and Cristiano Ronaldo more so, whose 21 goals has him ranked #4 in Europe on goals total, but with the spot-kicks removed he drops down to #16 with an NPGP90 rate of 0.65.

But just look at Josip Ilicic and Duvan Zapata. It defies logic that these players are mixing it with such illustrious company, but it is testament to Atalanta's wondrous season that they are here, and Ilicic in #3, no less.

Also a shout for Angel at Getafe - he may just scrape past the 1,000 minute requirements, but he makes excellent use of his time on the pitch.


We've identified players who don't need penalty kicks to pad their numbers, but how what about non-penalty goal conversion rates?

This is calculated by counting a players goals minus penalties/ shots - penalty shots (including misses). The list becomes a little different under this metric.

Again, we wanted to make this a good sample size, so we restricted to players who hit a minimum of 50 shots.

Non-Penalty Goal Conversion Rate%

#Player NameTeamOT P90
1Jamie VARDYLeicester27.6%
2PE AUBAMEYANGArsenal25.4%
3Wissam BEN YEDDERMonaco25.1%
4Francesco CAPUTOSassuolo23.8%
5Sadio MANELiverpool23.3%

Jamie Vardy has regularly overperformed xG this season and it's reflected in his extremely high conversion rate - his 15 goals from just 54 non-penalty shots puts him well clear in Europe. He is joined by fellow Premier League hitmen PE Aubameyang and Sadio Mane.

Sandwiched in between is Monaco's Wissam Ben Yedder - his shot accuracy was also extremely impressive, hence this comparison - and the figure of Francesco Caputo of Sassuolo, who has been extremely ruthless with his finishes so far this season.

Just outside of the top 5: Moussa Dembele at Lyon, and, notably, Danny Ings at Southampton, whose numbers have effectively kept his team in the division.

Incidentally, two players fall below the 50-shot barrier but have NPG Conversion Rates of above 30%: Mauro Icardi at PSG (32.8%) and that man Jadon Sancho (31.7%).


Why are touches inside the box important? Well if your attacking player is getting touches inside the area it means they are getting closer to goal, and the closer they are to to goal, the better position they are in to shoot and have a better Expected Goals in doing so.

Touches In Box P90

#Player NameTeamIn Box P90
1Kylian MBAPPEPSG12.2
2Raheem STERLINGMan City10.8
3Mohamed SALAHLiverpool10
4Serge GNABRYBayern9.9
5Robert LEWANDOWSKIBayern9.5

Just a quick glance at this and you can see that the list is populated by the most potent attackerd in world football right now. Kylian Mbappe's presence - again - highlights the extent of his attacking threat, and though Raheem Sterling's goals have dried up this season, he is still getting in the positions to miss them.

Mo Salah's in-box numbers have always been extremely good, while the Bayern duo of Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski have been in scintillating scoring form.


In Part III we will take these numbers and utilise Expected Goals to see which players are over and under-performing.

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