Expected Goals (xG) has become a common statistic on which to judge goalscorers, a statistical measurement of the quality of goalscoring chances.
But which players in Europe’s top five leagues have wasted the most clear-cut chances this season? Using date from Understat, we’ve looked at the six stars with the biggest XG underperformance in 2023/24 so far.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Marseille (-3.73)
A decade after leaving Saint-Etinne to begin a venture representing some of Europe’s biggest clubs, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang returned to Ligue 1 last summer.
Part of an exodus at Chelsea, the veteran forward signed for Marseille, returning to France after winning top-scorer awards in the Bundesliga and Premier League.
Aubameyang has scored five league goals from an xG of 8.73 so far this season, the sixth-highest underperformance in Europe’s top leagues. However, four of Aubameyang’s goals have come in his last six appearances, alongside four assists, in a purple patch of form.
2012 ➡️ 2023
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s always fresh 🇬🇦💈 pic.twitter.com/NhrScjxoKu
— Ligue 1 English (@Ligue1_ENG) October 11, 2023
He is the leading assist provider in Ligue 1 (7).
Victor Boniface – Bayer Leverkusen (-3.86)
Victor Boniface has been a big hit since signing for Bayer Leverkusen in the summer, with the Nigerian forward having fired the German side to the top of the Bundesliga.
Leverkusen remain unbeaten in all competitions as we reach the end of January and Boniface’s form has been crucial to that. He has 10 goals and seven assists in 16 Bundesliga appearances, a continuation of the form that saw the 23-year-old finish as the Europa League’s top scorer at Union Saint-Gilloise last season.
However, Boniface’s impressive return could, and perhaps should, have been even better. He’s posted an Expected Goals figure of 13.86 in the Bundesliga this season.
Nicolas Jackson – Chelsea (-4.18)
Chelsea spent £32m to sign Nicolas Jackson from Villarreal last summer and the forward has had to shoulder somewhat unfair expectations for Mauricio Pochettino’s side this season.
Christopher Nkunku’s injury problems have added pressure for Jackson, who has been guilty of missing some glaring chances during the current campaign. A return of seven goals in 19 games is a respectable return for a 22-year-old in his debut season in the Premier League, but the optics of Jackson’s performances – and xG underperformance – show refinement is required.
Cyle Larin – Mallorca (-4.52)
Mallorca signed Cycle Larin in the summer for an initial fee of around €7.5m, though the Canadian has failed to fire as hoped for the island club.
The 28-year-old has scored just twice from 20 La Liga appearances, despite an XG of 6.52.
Larin’s club returns have been modest since an excellent 2020/21 campaign at Beşiktaş, in which the forward netted 23 times in all competitions. He has also scored 28 goals in 65 caps for Canada, for whom he is the nation’s record scorer.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin – Everton (-4.60)
Dominic Calvert-Lewin ranks second for xG underperformance across Europe’s top five leagues this season.
The forward’s career has been decimated by fitness problems across the last two-and-a-half campaigns and Calvert-Lewin has been unable to rediscover the form that made him a regular in the England squad.
— Premier League (@premierleague) January 17, 2024
He has scored just three goals from an xG of 7.60 this season, which included a big one-on-one miss in the recent goalless draw with Aston Villa. Everton are the biggest underperformers in the Premier League for chance conversion this season and Calvert-Lewin has been a chief culprit.
Darwin Nunez – Liverpool (-5.02)
Darwin Nunez leads the way for xG underperformance in 2023/24 so far.
The Liverpool forward remains a fascinating, if frustrating, watch, a forward who often creates chances singlehandedly but has a habit of spurning them. That said, the chance-magnet has scored seven goals in 20 league appearances this season and is just two from matching his total in the Premier League last season.
Jurgen Klopp has continued to back the Uruguayan, who is the only Premier League player to record 10+ goals and 10+ assists in all competitions.
No player in the Premier League has missed more big chances (18), or hit the woodwork on more occasions (5) than Nunez this season.