Deep Dive on Darwin Núñez
Definitely not a Uruguayan Andy Carroll
A lot has been made of Darwin Núñez’s early Liverpool career. When he scored the game-clinching goal against Manchester City in the Community Shield, things looked promising. He began his Premier League campaign with a goal and an assist against Fulham, before a red card for his own stupidity against Crystal Palace in gameweek two set him and his confidence back.
In the last couple of weeks though the Uruguayan has looked the part once again, and his increasing influence on the team going forward is indicative of that. In his last four starts, two each in the league and Europe, the 22-year-old has scored three goals. Coming off the bench against City in the league, as crazy as it was, also had bits of promise.
In this deep dive we look at Núñez’s numbers in the Premier League using advanced metrics. His numbers are then compared with centre-forwards in the league, and how he is impacting Liverpool with a closer look at his style of play in a Red jersey.
Numbers taken on 25th October, after the weekend’s action (22-24 October) of the Premier League.
Núñez v PL Centre-Forwards
This section will look at Núñez’s league numbers on various metrics, compared with centre-forwards or number nines in the league. Condition being a player has to have played a minimum of 350 minutes to be included.
Considering all the unnecessary slander and the limited game time he has got so far (four starts in 11, 386 minutes out of minimum 990 in total), Núñez’s numbers are looking pretty good. He is not shot-shy that is for sure, and is only second to Erling Haaland in expected assists, expected goals and touches in the opposition box.
With regards to his non-penalty goals rate, only Roberto Firmino and Haaland are better than him. 0.7 goals per 90, if accumulated to a 38-game season, shows that the Uruguayan can score 26 goals in a league campaign. Of course, he won’t be playing all 38 games this season, but the forecast isn't bad for the future.
He is pretty good aerially and has received the most long balls among any centre-forwards in the league. Liverpool have tended to go long early when he is on the field. His tendency to play on the shoulder of the last line and having the pace to beat most centre-backs is a good lure for that tactic.
Núñez’s Impact in the Liverpool side
This section deals with Núñez’s numbers on metrics similar to the ones used above, and ranks them against the Liverpool players. It will help us measure his impact on this side.
Núñez is only behind Firmino in goals and expected goals metrics. He is taking close to seven shots per game and only 2.3 of them are on target. Goals per shot on target means the amount of shots on target that got converted into goals so far this season. At this moment, there is a 33% chance of his on target shots going in.
The rest of this article, including the analysis of Darwin’s play using stills from his performances, is for subscribers only.
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