What is the Expected Threat Metric in Football and Why it Matters

With the advancements in data analytics in football, experts can now dissect tha game to the smallest of data parameters. Learn what the "expected threat" statistic is and discover why it is held in such high regard in modern football.

Expected Threat in football visual

The concept of "expected threat" is a relatively recent addition to football data analysis and it has taken the world of analytics by storm. It's primarily used to gauge the offensive goal threat of in-game actions. This measurement considers factors like player positioning, distance from the goal, and the likelihood of a shot being taken. It provides a precise indicator of how much danger a team poses to its opponents.

The calculation of expected threat relies on statistical models developed from extensive data on game events. This data helps assign a threat score to an action, signifying the probability that the action will result in a goal. Expected threat is a valuable tool for coaches, analysts, and managers, as it enables them to assess the effectiveness of their game strategies by analyzing past offensive actions and predicting the success of future ones. Furthermore, the analysis can be utilized to evaluate your own team’s performance, as well opposing players and teams, supporting decision makers in their preparation operations.

More than just Expected Threats

Delving deeper into the concept of expected threat, we can break it down into several sub-metrics or derived parameters. In KAMA, we have generated four additional metrics to offer a more refined analysis:

-Expected Threats (xT): This is the generic statistic encompassing all of a team's offensive plays.

-Opponent Expected Threats: Similar to the previous statistic, but from the opponent's perspective.

-Expected Threats from Carries: This statistic focuses solely on carrying actions, helping identify players and teams that pose a threat by dribbling.

-Expected Threats from Passes: This metric considers the dangers generated by passing.

-Goal / Expected Threats: This parameter measures the conversion rate of threats into goals by the team. A higher rate indicates a team's proficiency in capitalizing on offensive plays.

-Goal conceded / Opponent's Expected Threat: This rate reveals how well a team defends against opposing threats.

Match analysis use case

To fully demonstrate the value of the expected threat metrics, we are going to look into a practical example. Imagine you're a match analyst preparing your team to face Roma in the upcoming league day. You can use the parameters mentioned above to gain insights into the opponent's threat generation.

Let's start with the parameters that give a wider perspective on the team, using the Serie A team ranking for the 2023-2024 season as a benchmark:

1. Standart statistics and conversion rates

Expected Threats (xT)

Roma ranks fourth in the league, with an average xT per game of 2.6 points.

Expected Threat rankings for the Serie A season 2023/2024.

Goal / Expected Threats

Roma leads the competition with a conversion rate of 0.9, showing their efficiency in turning threats into goals, especially with star players Dybala and Lukaku.

Goal/Expected Threat rankings for the Serie A season 2023/2024.

Opponent Expected Threats

Roma is among the best in Serie A, conceding only 1.7 xT on average, making it difficult for opponents to create scoring opportunities.

Opponent's Expected Threat rankings for the Serie A season 2023/2024.

Goal conceded / Opponent's Expected Threat

It is very interesting to note that while Roma excels offensively, they face challenges defensively, as they concede more goals compared to the effort they put into preventing threats.

Goal conceded / Opponent's Expected Threat rankings for the Serie A season 2023/2024.

2. Expected Threats from passess and carries

Expected Threats - from Passes

Despite their high xT ranking, Roma is only sixth in Serie A when it comes to generating threats through passing.

Expected Threat from passes and crosses rankings for the Serie A season 2023/2024.

This is also confirmed by the statistics for players: the player who on average carries the most xT from passing on the team is Zalewski, who is only 102° in Europe for this statistic.

Player rankings for Expected Threat from passing for season 2023/2024.

Expected Threats - from Carries

Roma excels in carrying the ball, ranking fourth in the league. Spinazzola is the third-best player in Europe for creating threats through carries, just behind Doku and Dembèlè, who are specialists in this area.

Expected Threat from carries rankings for the Serie A season 2023/2024.

Other players who who rank high on expected threat from carries are world-class dribblers such as Vinicius Junior from Real Madrid and Kaoru Mitoma who rank 4th and 5th respectively in the overall rankings.

Top 5 player rankings in expected threat from carries for season 2023/2024.

By considering the insights we've gained from the dangers generated by passes and carries, we can form a clearer picture of Roma's attacking style. They appear to be a formidable force in open spaces, leveraging the exceptional carrying abilities of players like Lukaku and Spinazzola, particularly at high speeds. Conversely, they might face more challenges when up against tight defenses, where the ability to find the key pass becomes essential.

About Kama.Sport

Kama.Sport is a cutting-edge software and data science company specializing in sports data, digital transformation, web services, and the 4.0 industry. Kama provides high-tech solutions that enhance the outcomes of both tactical and strategic decisions, support a team’s competitive development, and aid in their digital transition.

Kama’s all-in-one platform integrates the world’s most advanced sports data and technology to help coaches, teams, leagues, and federations structure their work and operate more efficiently. Kama’s tailored solutions allow teams to simultaneously analyze both proprietary and third-party inputs, streamlining operations and providing football teams with an edge in a highly competitive industry.

Learn more about Kama here.