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The impressive stats of Kylian Mbappé

  • Mbappé’s stats are >30% better than the top strikers in Europe
  • With Mbappé, PSG would greatly increase its potential, but would not be (yet) the best attack in the world
  • Monaco replacing Mbappé with Keita Baldé and Jovetic: Falcao gets support

Mbappé, only 18 years old and already >30% better than the top strikers

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It is definitely not common to see an 18-year-old player scoring 15 goals in around 1,500 minutes in his top national league (FL1).

Even less common for an 18 year-old footballer to produce, in his first Champions League (‘UCL’), 6 goals in slightly more than 500 minutes. All-in-all, Mbappé scored one goal every 97 minutes, impressive.

Furthermore, last year Mbappé also delivered 8 assists in FL1 (0.35 per 90 minutes). As our SpiderChart (Chart 1) shows, the stats of Kylian Mbappé really stand out:

  • His shot accuracy is 33% above the average of our sample of top strikers in Europe (c.100 names): 54.9% vs. 41.4%;
  • Such a high accuracy has, so far, led him to a much better goal conversion: 25.2% vs 14.1% average (+79%);
  • He is able to successfully dribble 30% more than the average top striker (see the next paragraph);
  • Mbappé produces more key passes (+11% vs the average) and more than double the amount of assists (0.4 P90 vs 0.2 P90).

In summary, Kylian Mbappé displays the best potential for forwards worldwide and the transfer fee that PSG seem ready to pay (EUR 180m, i.e. USD 215m) could start making sense, if such potential is converted into real numbers in the next few years.

Above-average dribbling skills

An important differentiating factor for Mbappé, when compared to the typical striker, is represented by his propensity to dribble, which is actually more similar to the one of the lateral attacking midfielders.

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This is well documented by this gif, an attack terminating with an assist to a teammate.

Looking at the stats, we discover that during 2016/17 Mbappé was able to successfully dribble 50 times in 38 apps, for an average of 2.2 successful dribbles every 90 min (2,037 min played between L1 and UCL). As a comparison, the median forward, in our panel of top players, successfully dribbles 1.6 time every 90 min. The dribbling skills give a important edge to Mbappé, who is able to make himself the space for shots or key passes.

PSG: Best attacking trio in the world? Not yet

At PSG, Mbappé would join the newly-signed Neymar Jr. and Edison Cavani, forming one of the best attacks in the world. Or should we say ‘The Best’? In this paragraph, we compare it to the ones of the UCL finalists Real Madrid and Juventus and of Barcelona. For Real Madrid, we use the data of Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale. In the case of Juventus, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala and Mario Mandzukic. For Barcelona, we take Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and the freshly-signed Ousmane Dembélé.

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In Chart 2, there is the summary of our findings: in a nutshell, while displaying top-notch potential, PSG’s attack does not seem to be the best, yet. Our numbers show how Messi’s out-of-this-world stats still make Barcelona’s the top attacking line, with PSG coming third in our ranking (Real Madrid being second-in-line).

Among this sample of teams, PSG would have the youngest (24 year-old on average) and “lightest” trio (69kg on average). They would display the highest shot-accuracy (48.2%) and goal-conversion percentage (19.3% in open play). Where the PSG trio does worse is mainly in the number of shots (3.3 P90 vs Real Madrid’s 4.7 P90) and the number of aerials won per 90 minutes (unsurprisingly, giving the shorter average height: 179cm vs Real Madrid’s 185cm).

Monaco replaced Mbappé with Keita Baldé and Jovetic

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Monaco just signed Keita Baldé from Lazio and Stevan Jovetic from Inter Milan. Keita Baldé, 22,  has played for Lazio over the past four seasons, scoring 31 goals in 137 apps. Last year he recorded his personal best, with 16 goals in 31 apps in ISA. Jovetic, 27 years old, joins Monaco after two years of contract for Inter Milan, although last year he played in the Spanish La Liga (‘SLL’) for Sevilla, where he scored 7 goals in 22 apps.

As Chart 3 shows, Jovetic and Keita have different characteristics to the ones of Mbappé: both seem more inclined to serve assists rather than scoring. Their shot accuracy is either in line (Keita) or slightly below (Jovetic) the average. Their goal conversion (in open play) is also slightly below the average.

Where they both do better is in the number of successful dribbles per match (Keita c.3 P90, Jovetic 2.1 P90) and in the number of key passes (passes leading to a shot): 1.85 every 90 minutes for Keita, 1.68 P90 for Jovetic, while the median top striker in Europe stops at 1.4 times every 90 minutes.

We conclude that Radamel Falcao, already 7 goals in FL1 this season, could benefit from the two signings and could have the opportunity to extend his lead over Cavani and Neymar (5 and 3 goals respectively, so far). However, it will be interesting to see how Mbappé ranks this year!

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