“Finishing is the act of putting the ball in the back of the opponent’s net.” – Debra LaPrath
One of the more important attributes of a striker is his finishing skill, i.e. given a presentable chance and assuming that the player does get a chance to shoot it before an opponent gets to it, how likely is that player of scoring?
On BayernForum.com, just as other places where Bayern fans converse, when things go bad we are often quick to point the finger at the striker who missed some chances. More often than not, we tend to remember the shots that went wide or straight at the opposing goalkeeper, but obviously there are other ways in which one can miss chances, such as mishitting the ball completely, straying offside and getting dispossessed by an opponent.
In this article, I will be focusing purely on shots taken vs goals scored. It’s not meant as an article to prove who’s the better player, but it can certainly indicate who may be the better finisher. I used the word ‘may’ because it is not so clear as one player might regularly try his luck from far while another may only be shooting from inside the box.
I have taken statistics, provided by ESPN on each Bayern striker of the last three seasons and also up to this point in the current season. These statistics are taken on all matches for both club and country. I then compare these statistics to incoming striker Robert Lewandowski and to the three strikers chosen yesterday in the FIFPro World XI, i.e. Ronaldo, Messi and Ibrahimovic.
The percentages in the table below indicate the amount of goals scored per 100 shots taken.
This table shows us, that when it comes to amount of missed chances, perhaps us Bayern fans don’t have all that much to complain about. Interestingly, it was Bayern’s first choice striker Mario Mandzukic who missed most chances, but then again, Mandzukic has been finishing a higher percentage of shots than Bayern’s latest signing Robert Lewandowski.
Another interesting statistic is that the two highest rates where by Gomez last season and by Klose in 2010/11. In both cases, the players were ironically not deemed as first choice players and played the following season at another club. It goes to show that finishing isn’t everything in football, but Bayern have been really spoiled in this aspect. Perhaps, when we complain about a shot that went wide, we may want to stop and think: “it could have been worse, the ball could have been shot by Ronaldo.” because really and truly, the shot-to-goal ratio of the Ballon d’Or winner is abysmal.
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