4 of the most interesting stats in the Scottish Premiership right now

St Johnstone's Michael O'Halloran celebrates his winning goal. Picture: SNS
St Johnstone's Michael O'Halloran celebrates his winning goal. Picture: SNS
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To help you look forward to week seven of the Scottish Premiership season, we’ve collated some of the most interesting advanced statistics thus far.

LAST WEEK’S ARTICLE - 4 of the most interesting stats in the Scottish Premiership right now

Anthony Stokes leads the league in shots

The Hibs striker has attempted 39 shots so far this season, eleven more than nearest challenger Louis Moult. Hibs are second in the league with total shots, only behind Celtic, while Stokes is second behind only Ali Crawford in terms of shots from distance.

His tendency to let fly from outside the penalty area is a minor bone of contention among the Hibs support, but for the meantime they may have to live with it.

After scoring consistently across the Betfred Cup early rounds and opening two weeks of the season, Simon Murray’s goal heroics have fallen flat, while Neil Lennon is yet to see consistent production from Danny Swanson or Lithuanian striker Deivydas Matulevicius. Hibs have struggled to win games they should have, and with four goals to this name, Stokes’ impetuous side will be tolerated as long as his team-mates fail to find the net on a regular basis. (via Wyscout)

Michael O’Halloran has been the most valuable scorer this season

He’s not Pedro Caixinha’s type of player but there’s little doubt O’Halloran has been doing the business for St Johnstone so far this season. He’s currently the second top scorer in the Premiership, with five goals to his name, just behind Alfredo Morelos. However, in terms of the importance of their goals, O’Halloran actually has the lead on his Ibrox training ground team-mate.

Craig Anderson, Mr SPLStats himself, has worked out a new measure for figuring out the value of each and every goal. The calculation is made by getting estimates of a team’s win probability at the time in the match before and after the goal is scored, and how much difference the goal made to their xP (expected points).

Consider it this way: if a team wins 3-0, the first goal is of much greater value than the last goal. The first changed the entire course of the game, whereas the last just extended the margin of victory. So not all goals are born equal.

Using this method, O’Halloran’s goal value stands at 4.894, above Alfredo Morelos at 3.707 and Stevie May in third with 2.907, making him the leader in the Alternative Top Scorer chart. (via @SPLStats)

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Aberdeen’s defensive improvement against Motherwell

Dominated by the forward duo of Motherwell during their previous game, manager Derek McInnes changed up his team to ensure it didn’t happen again. Learning from the Betfred Cup loss, the Aberdeen manager brought in Kari Arnason and Scott McKenna into the back-line. Not to be content with that, Anthony O’Connor retained a place in the side, but as a defensive screener in front of the back four; a job usually reserved for Greg Tansey, who, oh yeah, played as well - alongside the dynamic Graeme Shinnie in the engine room.

Needless to say, this system - which looked like a 2-1-4-2-1 in possession (no, seriously) - was based around making Aberdeen compact and hard to beat, and it was successful. Andy Considine’s second half goal, bundling in what was otherwise the away’s side slickest move of the game, ultimately proved to be the winner.

The defence played a huge part, with Arnason and McKenna winning their individual battles and the midfield working much harder to get to second balls than the fixture prior.

Underlining the renewed solidity was the shot map from the game, which showed Motherwell having zero attempts from inside 12 yards. They were the only team in the Scottish Premiership last weekend to fail to shoot from closer than the penalty spot, highlighting the impressive play of the visitors. (via @TheBackpassRule)

Losing Gary Woods could be huge blow for Accies

Accies have been ever-so-slightly fortunate through the first seven games, at least as far as their defence is concerned. They’ve not been brilliant, conceding 13 so far, which is only good enough for joint-eighth, but according to the advanced stats they should be even lower.

In expected goals (xG) from open play, Accies are currently dead last, well behind Kilmarnock and Partick Thistle and just above Dundee, three teams behind them in the league.

Part of the reason why they’re not further down the table, or at least why they’ve not conceded a few more, is that Gary Woods has been the best goalkeeper in the league thus far at repelling such high percentage chances.

Unfortunately for Martin Canning, Woods may now be out for a month after suffering a lacerated kidney in last weekend’s defeat at St Johnstone. Ryan Fulton was loaned this summer from Liverpool to compete with Woods for the No.1 jersey, and now he’ll get his chance in the Scottish Premiership. Let’s hope he does better than his debut, and only match to date, a 4-4 away draw at Albion Rovers. (via @TheSPFLRadar)

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