Spurs season – xG and Kane’s drop in output

2018 – 2019 was a strange campaign for Tottenham – a lack of signings, the uncertainty over the stadium, mounting injury problems, Moussa Sissoko’s transformation from £30 Million bust, to player of the season.

Overall you would have to judge it a success. We are finally into our new stadium, we made the top four (just) and, best of all, we got to play in the Champions League final, even if we only got to enjoy it for 32 seconds.

But there is still the nagging feeling that the chasing pack missed the opportunity to take advantage of our failings.

In a series of posts I am going to look at our season through statistics.

Expected Goals

One way to look at underlying performance is to compare teams’ expected goals. Below is a chart of each Premier League team’s xG ratio ( xG for / (xG for + xG against) ).

Note: I have charted the difference from average (0.5), so good teams will have a positive value, bad teams a negative value.


Manchester City look in a class of their own. Liverpool are next best but maybe a bit further off the leaders than you might have thought. Chelsea look a clear third (maybe Sarri wan’t so bad after all?)

Spurs are a lowly eighth! But they are in a group of five teams with very similar performance. Somehow we managed to just about pip the other teams in this group. We will need to improve on these numbers if we are to challenge next term.

Expected Goals by Player

But how does this break down by player?

Below is the xG per 90 minutes for Spurs’ main contributors. I have included last years numbers for comparison. Lorrente and Lamela’s data should be taken with a pinch of salt as they didn’t have that many minutes.


Most players performed similarly to last season. The two big changes were a large drop for Harry Kane and an increase for Lucas Moura.

Kane’s reduction in output is mirrored in his shots per game and goals per game data. This is a little worrying but there are two likely contributing factors. Firstly the England forward played through injury for a large part of the season. Secondly, he was often given a deeper role, with Son and Moura breaking past him.

Let’s hope he has a good rest this summer and comes back refreshed.

Moura didn’t feature much last year and he was still finding his feet in Mauricio Pochettino’s system. Given the squad’s injury problems, his improvement was timely.

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