Cristiano Ronaldo has been announced as the Premier League Player of the Month of September, as his return to Manchester United had a dream start. The Portuguese superstar started scoring goals right away and helping Man United in ways that were necessary. That was enough for him to win his fifth award of this kind, making him one of the best Premier League players ever in that regard as well.
So we decided to take a closer look at how Ronaldo played for the Red Devils so far through the numbers and underlying metrics. Yes, he just played a handful of games and the number of minutes he spent on the pitch could skew things thanks to a small sample. Still, we will be careful to look for certain patterns in his performances and what made him so good for Man United so far.
The Basic Numbers
Ronaldo made six appearances in the Premier League and Champions League this season, scoring five goals. He spent just 465 minutes on the pitch, meaning he was netting a goal every 93 minutes, or in different terms, Ronaldo has been scoring 0.97 goals per 90 minutes he plays. And that is a truly phenomenal start which over the entire season will most probably get to a lower number.
Ronaldo scored his five goals from 23 shots, which is 4.45 shots per 90 minutes. That is a bit lower than his career average, since usually he is shooting over 5.5 times per match. Yet, he still managed to do plenty with those numbers. Almost half of his shots were on target (11), which is 2.13 shots on target per match. These are all good numbers for him after not having the chance to actually work with the team for a longer period of time.
The Underlying Metrics
Cristiano scored five goals for Man United so far, with his expected goals in the process amounting to 3.8 xG. That is a slight overachievement for him, but also a testament to his finishing. That has been the case especially in the Champions League, but Ronaldo’s ability to finish off everything he gets in the box is exactly what United needed. Also, all of his expected goals came from non-penalty situations.
Another reason for Ronaldo’s slight overachievement on xG could be the fact that the average chance he gets in is worth 0.165 expected goals. For someone who makes a high volume of shots and is not afraid to shoot from tight angles, low-scoring opportunities, that is a pretty good number.
Among other things Ronaldo does – not just goals – he created six chances for his teammates, three in each of the two competitions. Cristiano is known for not doing much in defensive terms and the numbers prove that as well, but it is interesting to see Ronaldo applying slightly more pressure on opponents in the Champions League than he does in the Premier League. With the goalscoring poacher he has become and a true number nine that does not care about much else than goals, Ronaldo has been doing that very well since returning to Old Trafford. Hopefully he will be able to continue in similar fashion throughout the season…