Memphis may be on the move this summer with many big sides, particularly in the Premier League, linked. Ignoring all the talk about about his attitude etc, let us just focus on his finishing and creating to see what he offers a team.
Note that analysis will generally take a negative slant on players. This is because when scouting players, you are firstly looking for weakness/limitations which could rule eliminate a player as an option. It is a process of filtering out. It is also something of a falsifiability test. In essence, if you try to find fault in a player and can come up with very little, it strengthens the argument that the player is good/effective.
Memphis Depay Finishing Analysis: Body Part Breakdown
Here is a breakdown of Depay’s shooting based on body part. As you can see, it suggests he cannot head the ball and therefore doesn’t try. Alternatively, it could just mean Lyon don’t provide that sort of service, therefore very few chances and small sample size.
One of the teams strongly linked is Liverpool, given his close friendship with Wijnaldum and VVD there. So given a lot of their goals involve Robertson and Salah picking out people for close range headers, would he struggle to convert even those easy headers?
Based on the xG per shot of his left footed chances, it seems like he only takes on left foot shots that are big chances &/or very close range. He seems to focus on just getting the ball on target and scores 71.8% of his xG compared to 93.5% on his right foot.
His conversion rate of 27% of his shots on target is very low. Consistent finishers in top european leagues like Icardi, Lewandowski, Messi, Salah are typically in the 40-50% range here.
All in all, he needs more than 10 shots per goal. These aren’t great numbers and you wouldn’t want your leading goal scorer having these numbers. However, if Depay is going to be a hybrid playmaker/scorer then he could be a 10 goals +10 assists attacker.
Memphis Depay Finishing Analysis: Shot Map
Next we look at the locations of shots he is taking on in his shot map. As you can see based on the cluster in the 6 yard box, he is getting a lot of big chances in a good location, yet is struggling to find the net due to only getting half on target. He takes on a lot of low-scoring shots, particularly from range. Although, many of these are direct free-kicks where he seems quite proficient and has 2 goals from an xG of 1.4.
He is only taking ~16% of his teams shots and scoring ~16% of his teams goals. Often, the main goal scorer of a team will be scoring 25%+ of their teams goals such as Mbappe (31%), Auba (30%), Salah (25%), Lewandowski (25%) and of course Messi (40%). This again suggests he isn’t be used as the main goalscorer in the team and his shooting profile suggests he may not be best for that role.
Memphis Depay Finishing Analysis: Big Chances
Now we look at his involvement in Big Chances this season. The first thing to notice is that he takes on a lot of low scoring probability shots. We noticed this yesterday also when looking at this shot map. Now we can see he has 64 ‘small chances’, 24 of which are direct FKs.
He scored 3 goals from those small chances, of which 2 were from direct FKs. This means, when eliminating freekicks, he is taking on 40 small scoring chances resulting in just 1 goal. In addition, we can see he had 26 ‘standard chances’ which he is also converting just 1 of.
This all suggests he can be quite wasteful with his shooting. Also, if not for direct freekicks, he would be underperforming xG in every category here. This adds to what we believed yesterday, that he isn’t a good finisher, but merely has a good shot.
By this we mean if he can get his shot on target and away from the keeper, he will cause problems. However, he lacks the control in his shooting to do so consistently which sees him get fewer shots on target and fewer on those shots on target result in goals than expected.
This does, however, make him a menace from direct free-kicks which is a very repeatable shooting process which he has refined to get shots on target and cause a problem.
Memphis Depay Finishing Analysis: Situations
Now we look at the situations he is taking shots and scoring goals from. We will also look at his average performance over 90 minutes to check for consistency throughout a game or if he tails off towards the end of games.
Firstly, as the team’s set piece taker, it’s not surprising to see he has little involvement in goals from corners and indirect set pieces. We will look at his performance from a creative point of view on set pieces later. His performance from open play and direct freekicks we have already covered. The donut charts here continues to reinforce what we have already theorised.
Memphis’ shooting patterns changing over the course of 90 minutes
His performance over time in matches is interesting though. The number of shots he takes during the course of the game is fairly consistent but then spikes right at the end. He is also has a lot of shots in the 90+ minutes bin here. This suggests he stays involved in the game for the full 90 minutes and isn’t taking time to get into games nor fading out as games go on, so all positive here. However, shot quality is a concern. His quality of shots is quite good up to the 60th minute mark – then tanks.
This would suggest as the game goes on, perhaps he stops making those runs to get into better scoring positions? Or he stops working as hard to move a defender out of his way for a shot by trying to work an angle for his shot with some quick footwork. Or, given that his shot volume is very high in the 80-90 and 90+ bins, perhaps he is someone that forces the issue too much when he needs a goal. This would also align with what we were seeing before with a lot of waste in his shooting.
Memphis Depay Finishing Analysis: Consistency
Lastly, in terms of his shooting, we will look at his performance over the full season to look for consistency or peaks and troughs. We will also look at his performance based on pitch area.
The first thing is his performances look fairly consistent between home and away matches. He isn’t someone who buckles in front of the pressure in front of his own fans, or struggles on his travels without the fans behind him. So this is positive.
However, the worry would be whether the good feeling about him right now is weighted with recency bias. We can see on the xG graph a very clear rise over the course of the season with most of his xG being scored in the final few months. This is a worry from a consistency pov.
In terms of shot area, we can see here a LOT of shots from outside the box. He actually gets a lot of these shots on target, considering where he is taking them from. However, the SoT conversion rate of the shots suggest that he is not hitting the corners with these shots. And in leaving them too close to the goalkeeper, the vast majority of them are saved.
To read about Memphis Depay’s creativity, click here.
We created this article from a thread on twitter. For this reason, it may not read the way our articles normally would. The character limit of twitter defined paragraph length and forced the use of abbreviations. You can also read the original thread here. Thank you for reading.
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All data used in our articles is sourced from Understat, FBRef, Sofascore, Transfermarkt and 538.