Ike Ugbo: dribble & shot analysis

Looking at the 2019/2020 Eerste Divisie season and I wasn’t really impressed by Roda JC’s performances. They had a player from Chelsea on loan and he was kind of unremarkable – especially considering he is coming from an elite club in Europe. Imagine my surprise when he went on loan to Cercle Brugge and started to perform, scoring over 10 goals in this season.

In this analysis I will zoom in ons his attacking decisive actions during the 2020/2021 JPL season in Belgium with the focus on dribbles and shooting stats from Wyscout data and then concentrating on some video fragments from Wyscout as well. In my dataset I’ve chosen for all players playing on the striker position and have played over 900 minutes in the JPS season. This leaves me with 55 players in my dataset to further go into the data analysis.


In the image above you can see two metrics combined in a scatterplot. We look at the dribbles per 90 and the successful dribbles in percentages to look at two things. How many dribbles per 90 have been conducted per 90, and how high is the percentage of success at a particular player.

When we look at Ugbo we can conclude that he has 2,45 dribbles per 90, which is below the average among strikers of 3,54. When we look at the percentage of dribbles that is successful we see that Ugbo has a success rate of 46,15% which is just below the average of 47,34%.

I want to know where his dribbles have occurred during the season. I’m not as interested in the carries and where he finished the dribbling, but from which positions he started the dribbles. In the image below I’ve looked at the starting position of all dribbles he has attempted during the season.

As described above, you can see all the starting locations of the 78 dribbles Ugbo had in the season. Of those 78 dribbles, 46,15% were successful, that’s roughly 36 dribbles that are successful. He has the most dribbles on the left side, with a fair number of dribbles starting at the halfway line. Further, we can assess that a lot of his dribbles start in zone 14 of which we will give two examples below.

In the two videos above in the game against KV Oostende and KRC Genk, you see Ugbo making a dribble with the starting location in zone 14. He then proceeds to make a 1v1 action in the middle or to the side in order to create a goalscoring opportunity or to set a player up who can be a threat as well.

Attacking third presence
Following his dribbles, I want to know how much his presence has been in the final third. To do that I will have a look at the last 6 games in the league and see what his positioning has been based on all events, and to look at his final third passes in those games. Again, I will look at the starting point of the passes, rather than the receiving point.

In the image above you can see the heat maps of Ugbo in his last 6 games for Cercle Brugge. These heat maps have been made showing the pass locations of Ugbo in those specific games, and you can see that he loves to operate in the middle of the pitch and on the right wide midfield.

In the image above we can see the final third passes of Ugbo. The yellow arrow indicate successful passes, while the orange arrows indicate unsuccessful passes. This shows us the passes that have the final third as begin location and not necessarily the end location.


I’ve added the metrics above to the profile to assess Ugbo, because he has been instrumental in being a threat in front of goal. That’s why I’m looking at his numbers in shots per 90 and how many threat does shot pose – what is the probability of a shot being converted into a goal. This can be measured with the expected goals per 90 metric.

Ugbo does quite well in these metrics as you can see in his position in the scatterplot. He has 1,76 shots per 90 and 0,49 expected goals per 90.

In the beeswarmplot above, you can see 6 metrics to assess a striker. It tells us how good Ugbo is compared to his peers in each of these metrics. He performs quite well overall, but in the Non-penalty goals per 90, goal conversion and xG per 90 – he does very well.

The shootings stats in themselves show us the number of shots or type of shots or anything data related to the shots. Serra does very well in those terms, but in the next part of the analysis, we want to look at where the shots actually came from and what that does tell about the position Ugbo attempts to score a goal. Does he generate his xG from a few big chances? Or does he accumulate his xG by shooting a lot of low probable chances?

In the image below, we can see all of Ugbo’s shots taken in the JPL 2020/2021 season. There are 56 shots of which 16 have gone in goal which is a pretty good conversation rate of 29%. The image shows us the shot locations of the last 40 shots during the season and I will attempt to analyse which are most frequent.

Ike Ugbo has scored 16 goals in the Jupiler Pro League 2020-2021 season so far and had 56 shots in total. That is a goal conversion rate of 29%. From those 56 shots, 44% went on target. In the visual above you can see the shot locations of every shot attempted in the current season. In red, you see the goals and in grey the shots

What we can conclude from this visual is that the majority of the goals are scored within the six-yard with no goals coming from the edge of the penalty area – the rest of the goals have been within the penalty area.

In the visual above we see the four most common shot clusters of Ugbo in the JPL 2020-2021 season. Cluster 0 is yellow and is the most frequent shot cluster with 15 shots. Cluster 2 is orange and comes second with 13 shots. Cluster 3 is green and comes third with 9 shots, and cluster 1 is blue with 3 shots. This is concentrated on his last 40 shots.

How has he finished the season? How many shots did he have and how many times did he score? In the image above you can see his last 6 games for Cercle Brugge.

You can see that in the games against Waasland-Beveren, KRC Genk, KAA Gent, Beerschot, OH Leuven and KV Oostende, Ugbo has scored 4 goals out of the 13 shots he had in those 6 games. That’s a conversion rate of 0,46 – which is very good for player like Ugbo in a side lige Cercle Brugge. His goals come from within the penalty area and that is where he loves to operate.

In the videos below I will have a look at five goals scored by Ugbo, showing that he is a beast in and around the six-yard box – which is a valuable quality for a striker and will gain attention for the clubs possibly interested in his services.

In the video above we see Cercle Brugge against OH Leuven when the Cercle Brugge is attacking to the left. Ugbo progresses to the edge of the penalty area and receives it there – just inside zone 14 – and makes his way into the penalty area, after which he scores a very decent goal.

In the video above we see Cercle Brugge against Royal Excel Mouscron when the Cercle Brugge is attacking to the left. They have a corner on the left and the ball will swing in, into the six-yard box. At first, the keeper collects it, but he drops it and the shot following that hits the bar. The rebound is there for Ugbo who pays attention and is in the six-yard box, to score the goal.

In the video above we see Cercle Brugge against KV Kortrijk when Cercle Brugge is attacking to the left. A cleared ball is picked up and goes to the left flank. Ugbo’s movement goes from behind the defender to the far post zone anticipating a cross in that area. Because he stays close to his opponent and only accelerates in the last few moments, he is quicker than the defender and he scores an easy goal.

In the video above we see Cercle Brugge against Royal Charleroi when Cercle Brugge is attacking to the right. They have a freekick that is delivered to the far post zone. The ball is headed to the other post zone by Cercle and there is Ugbo to tap it in. As soon as the original freekick is taken Ugbo makes himself available in that space, anticipating a pass or a rebound – and that’s why he is alert enough to score the goal.

Final thoughts
Ike Ugbo played in the JPL on loan from Chelsea with a contact expiring in the summer of 2022. It’s not likely that he will feature in the Chelsea squad for the 2021/2022 season, but he has proven himself in a respected top flight league and has attracked interested from the Premier League, but also the top tier in Spain, France and Germany. He is definitely a striker we should keep our eyes on, especially his movement in the box and as a consequence, his goals – he could make a name for himself even more.


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