Kane, Costa, Aguero and Vardy – a statistical tale of four strikers


In last season’s Premier League, three strikers stood head and shoulders above the rest.

The established star – Sergio Aguero. The new arrival – Diego Costa. And the young upstart – Harry Kane.

How has this season started for them all? And what of new goal scoring sensation – Jamie Vardy?

  • Goals, shots and conversion rate

Note: All absolute numbers are per 90 minutes on the pitch.

2014/2015 Goals / 90 Shots / 90 Conversion%
Sergio Agüero          0.92            5.2 18%
Harry Kane          0.73            3.9 19%
Diego Costa          0.86            3.3 26%
Jamie Vardy          0.20            1.9 10%
2015/2016 Goals / 90 Shots / 90 Coversion%
Sergio Agüero          0.99            5.4 18%
Harry Kane          0.52            4.0 13%
Diego Costa          0.20            1.8 11%
Jamie Vardy          1.01            4.0 25%

The first thing that stands out, is the consistency of Aguero.

Kane’s goal to game ratio has fallen but after such an explosive start, there was bound to be a regression to the mean. It’s still at a pretty healthy one in two games and it’s good to see his shot frequency has remained largely unchanged. If he’s getting the chances, more goals will come.

Costa’s numbers have fallen dramatically. Part of the problem is that he’s taking almost half the number of shots he was last term but he’s converting even less.

Vardy has come out of nowhere. In fact, it looks as if Leicester and Chelsea have swapped players.

  • Accuracy and on target conversion rate

Can we delve any deeper into the numbers? Well we can split the conversion rate into accuracy – getting the shots on target – and the subsequent conversion rate of on target attempts.

 2014/2015 Accuracy OT Conversion%
Sergio Agüero 42% 42%
Harry Kane 42% 45%
Diego Costa 49% 54%
Jamie Vardy 50% 21%
2015/2016 Accuracy OT Conversion%
Sergio Agüero 42% 43%
Harry Kane 43% 30%
Diego Costa 39% 29%
Jamie Vardy 46% 55%

Again Aguero is the model of consistency, his numbers look based on talent rather than the ups and downs of fortune.

Kane’s accuracy is also pretty much unchanged. It’s just his on target conversion rate which has fallen, which had to be expected. Again this is promising, suggesting it’s more luck than bad form that has led to a cooling of his strike rate.

Costa’s accuracy has dropped but it is his on target conversion rate that has fallen off a cliff. 54% was never likely to be sustainable; a lesson to Vardy to enjoy it while it lasts. The Leicester player has actually lost a small amount of accuracy but now it is his goal to chance ratio that’s off the chart.

  • Long shots

Maybe the areas the shots were taken from can tell us something about Costa and Vardy’s change in fortune? Perhaps Costa has been reduced to shooting from range because of his side’s poor form?

2014/2015 Long Shots Penalty Area 6 Yard Box
Sergio Agüero 22% 73% 5%
Harry Kane 41% 50% 9%
Diego Costa 13% 78% 9%
Jamie Vardy 21% 71% 8%
2015/2016 Long Shots Penalty Area 6 Yard Box
Sergio Agüero 24% 58% 18%
Harry Kane 28% 65% 7%
Diego Costa 11% 83% 6%
Jamie Vardy 21% 73% 6%

In fact, not much has changed for the Chelsea and Leicester forwards, except for a small drop off in close range opportunities.

Aguero has had noticeably more of his chances in the 6 yard box this year.

The good news for Kane and Spurs is that the England striker doesn’t seem so keen on shots from outside the penalty box. Last season both him and his team were over reliant on chancing their arm from distance.

Will Costa’s form pick up? Can Vardy sustain this run long term? Which other strikers belong in this company? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Discuss it with me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs


3 thoughts on “Kane, Costa, Aguero and Vardy – a statistical tale of four strikers

  1. Jeff

    Worth pointing out as a city fan that although Aguero is credited for his goalscoring consistancy this season here, the 5 all coming in one game against Bournemouth does skew this a bit.

    1. Jon @ AnythingButPenalties Post author

      That’s a good point. Someone else has already pointed out his smaller sample size – 8 games – makes it harder to draw conclusions. It will be worth checking later in the season when he’s back from injury and we have more data.

  2. Kevin

    The biggest shocker is Costa without a doubt, but to be fair, he has been starved of service with Hazard and Fabregas misfiring.

    For me, what’s surprising is Kane’s reluctance to shoot from distance now. Not sure if defenders know him better but let’s hope his confidence comes back.


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