At the time of writing, only 8 teams have played more than once and already we’ve a couple of upsets. Due to the fragmented nature of this gameweek and the fact the next runde doesn’t start until Monday, I thought I’d do some midweek stat diving and in particular everybody’s favourite: Expected goals and the like!
1. FK Bodø/Glimt
2. SK Brann
3. Kristiansund BK
4. Molde FK
5. Rosenborg BK
6. Tromsø IL
7. Vålerenga IF
8. Viking FK
Vålerenga have the highest average total xG (2.26) as well as being the most likely to score from open play. Conversely, their xG from set plays is way down at 0.09 (not including the penalty miss – 0.79xG). Considering they’ve had 29 corners and at least 43 free kicks during this time, it doesn’t paint the best picture in regards to their ability to utilise set-pieces efficiently. That being said, to have an Open Play xG of almost 2 is impressive – Aron Dønnum (10.1mNOK) is still very much the man to have and surely, SURELY Viðar Örn Kjartansson (11.5mNOK) will start putting some chances away, right?
Molde look to be the most attacking team in the first 45 minutes (1.41xG) while Vålerenga find their rhythm later on, their xG for the 2nd Half is way ahead of everyone else at 1.57. Their delta (difference between 1st and 2nd half xG) is almost 1 (0.89) which shows us just how much they go up another gear later in games. Versus Brann (A) and Kristiansund (H), they were only able to manage 0.44 and 0.47 xG in the first half, but in the 2nd this increased to 1.21 and 2.42 respectively.
Kristiansund looked poor in the opener against Molde, a bit better in their 2nd match versus Glimt and somehow they were able to see off Vålerenga in their third, despite only having 26% possession and a total xG of 1.45. This was a classic case of the better team not taking their chances (as perfectly expressed through Dønnum squandering his chance from the spot) and the poorer team getting more than they deserved.
- Most Impressive: Vålerenga – highest xG, look lively throughout the entire 90 minutes – expect goals
- Least Impressive: Brann – just look at those stats – where are the goals coming from?
Reigning champions Bodø/Glimt have created on average 12.33 chances per game so far, slightly ahead of Vålerenga (12) and Rosenborg (11.33). Incredibly Molde have created the fewest chances – 8.33 – but 24% of those chances have been ‘big chances.’ Quality over quantity, plain and simple. Vålerenga are also creating 2 BCC per game while just 8.11% of Glimt’s chances have been BCs. For a team like Rosenborg to not even be averaging 1 BCC a game is worrying. They have the same average BCC/game as Tromsø, Kristiansund and Viking but their % BCC is lower than all of them. Should we be giving the biggest club in Norwegian footballing history a wide berth for now or will they buck the trend in their coming fixtures? After their home game with Brann on Thursday they face Molde at the Lerkendal but then have kinder fixtures in Sandefjord (A), Stabæk (H) and Strømsgodset (A) – so perhaps all is not lost quite yet.
- Most Impressive: Vålerenga and Molde – both averaging 2 BCC/game and have high % BCC
- Least Impressive: Brann – 0.33 BCC and 3.7% of their chances have been BCC – zero creativity
There’s not much daylight between any of the sides when it comes to shots but Vålerenga do lead the way with 15.67 – 2.67 more than the next best side which just happens to be…Brann! So this is interesting, right? Expected goals and chances/big chances are low yet shots are relatively high…
Again, sometimes less is more. Molde may have produced just 12 shots on average every game, but 58.46% of them – or 6.33 – have been on target. That’s better than any other team by almost 20%. They are not messing around. And neither are Vålerenga, with almost a third of their attempted shots on target. The utterly ridiculous statistic is that 83% of their shots (13/15.67) have been inside the area. 83%. If they can average anywhere near that number of attempts in dangerous areas, they are in for a good season.
I know, I know – it’s early days and we can’t invest too much in such a small, incomplete pool of data, but this does give us some idea as to how these teams have been approaching their games and how well they’ve been performing.
Context is of course helpful and welcomed wherever it can be applied and in the case of Tromsø, I feel it’s most certainly needed. They are the worst-performing team for shots across the board but have played Glimt, Molde and Viking. Incredibly they managed to score 4 goals in those three games even with such poor-looking stats – they overperformed. I actually think this is a very, very good sign. They scored 3 against Molde despite posting an xG figure of 0.89 and only recording 4 shots on target. If they’re able to eke chances out of almost thin air, that’s an encouraging sign for a newly promoted club – imagine what they can do when they start playing better.
Vålerenga (65), Glimt (57) and Molde (52) are the only teams to average more than 50% possession while Kristiansund (36.33) are the only side to average less than 40%. The difference column illustrates the average negative or positive difference/delta in possession. Vålerenga have looked so dominant and powerful in these opening games which is why the home loss to Kristiansund was even more of a shock. They outplayed them in every relevant metric but still couldn’t even salvage a point.
The idea that anybody can beat anybody is part of what makes the Eliteserien a thoroughly entertaining league to watch and statistically interesting to analyse. For example, Vålerenga attempted 614 passes and complete 510 (83%) vs. Kristiansund. Their opponents? 134 accurate passes from 216 attempted (62%). They had better xG stats, created more chances, took more shots/on target, more shots inside the area and had almost three times the amount of possession – yet still lost. There is no other way I can compute that result as anything other than an anomaly which offers mental application as the key factor in determining the result. Nine times out of ten Vålerenga win that. 99 times out of 100. Surely, right?
We saw Bodø/Glimt dominate last season through keeping the ball and out-passing their opponents – is 2021 Vålerenga’s year?
- Most Impressive: Vålerenga – come on, it’s obvious
- Least Impressive: Kristiansund – Average possession = 36.33%. That’s not very good. At all.
Vålerenga and Molde are ticking all the right boxes while Glimt are making sure they’re doing what they need to do to stay at the top of the table. (Well, level on points anyway). Rosenborg look to be struggling creatively while Brann are in big trouble.
Tromsø will be buoyed from turning up and grinding out a spirited display away to the champions, scoring 3 past (probably) the best team in the league (Molde) and beating the team that finished 6th last season. The main area of concern for the coaches will be to ensure the players are not shooting for the sake of shooting – they have not created many clear cut, decent chances as their goals scored would suggest and going forward this will surely see the goals dry up unless they adopt a different approach.
Kristiansund have looked poor. In all three games despite beating Vålerenga. They have been routinely beaten in every meaningful statistic and will continue to be easily beaten unless they can hold onto the ball a bit more. Vålerenga lost that game – Kristiansund didn’t win it. Don’t get me wrong, they secured the 3 points and fair play to them, but if anyone thinks they can play like that on a regular basis and get away with it – they’re going to be disappointed.
After just 3 games and with a small pool of data, we have in fact been able to identify areas of strength and concern in all teams, despite it not being as conclusive as it could be. Due to Vålerenga’s 2nd half xG being so much higher than their 1st half xG, does that not suggest attacking substitutions like Osame Sahraoui (8.0mNOK), Tobias Christensen (6.9mNOK) and Henrik Udahl (8.4mNOK) could become more viable Fantasy assets, even if they aren’t guaranteed starters?
I don’t think Glimt will retain the title and I don’t think they’ll score anywhere near 103 goals, but they seem consistent, reliable and professional in their approach – for me it seems almost a given that we should have at least 2 if not 3 of their players in our team at all times. They will get the job done and even though I think Molde will have too much for them, they will be at their heels for the entire campaign.
I would love to have a team full of Molde players, but the issue is… rotation. They are Norway’s answer to Manchester City. They have such depth for pretty much every position as we saw with Birk Risa (6.0mNOK) missing out vs. Brann. Ohikhuaeme Omoijuanfo (11.6mNOK) has gone from scoring 0pts in R1 to producing 11pts and 15pts in the following gameweeks. He does blow hot and cold and he’s not guaranteed to keep his place but right now he’s looking good for the money and with Molde being as clinical as they are, there’s a good chance this guy could be worth the risk.
- Vålerenga and Molde = Exceptional
- Bodø/Glimt = Very good
- Kristiansund = Overperformed in last game – well beat in other two
- Viking and Tromsø = Better than Rosenborg at the moment…
- Rosenborg = Suffering from a creative block of some sorts
- Brann = Might as well move to the OBOS now