Comparing Ben Brereton…

So, Ben Brereton has left Forest. Theres all sorts of conjecture about what this says about Forest going forward.

I wrote a small thing on the LTLF forum comparing Brereton to Daryl Murphy, who Aitor Karanka has preferred over the rest of the available strikers this season.

The conclusion I drew from that was as follows.

We know that Brereton is the more mobile striker, having appeared on either wing during his matches last season, he is also the one more likely to run the channels, but, at the same time, he has shown that he isn’t as likely to fashion chances out of these runs, either for himself, or teammates, as his crossing and dribbling success isn’t overly fantastic.

Whilst, although he has played less minutes and games, Murphy is more successful with the ball at his feet, and as such, fashions chances for himself and others, as was demonstrated when he was scoring throughout the first couple of months of last season.

Breretons chances fall further out, whereas, the average distance from goal for Murphy to score is 10 yards. This includes his penalty vs Middlesbrough.

Against the less mobile defender, Brereton causes issues (case in point, vs Per Mertesacker), but, he can’t dominate the more physical or mobile defenders.

Murphy won’t blow past defensive lines with excessive pace, but, is more likely to succeed in one v one battles in the air, and holding up the ball for other attackers.

Lastly, using the Expected goals method, we can see that every chance that Murphy has, he is more likely to score from. Over the course of a 46 match season, assuming he plays 40 games, this will see him score 13.28 goals, or rounding down, 13 goals (+/-1).

In comparison to Brereton, using the same numbers, he would score 8.63 goals, or, rounding up, 9 goals (+/-1).

Taking this further, I added the data on Brereton and Murphy to the data from some of the top goalscorers in the Championship last season, for comparative purposies.

For purposes of this, I’m disregarding any international or friendly appearances.

Matches appeared in (League and Cup only)
Ben Brereton – 38, 2598mins, 68.3mins per game
Daryl Murphy – 28, 2189mins, 78.17mins per game
Britt Assombalonga – 47, 3494mins, 73.06mins per game
Matej Vydra – 44, 3037mins, 69.02mins per game
Bobby Reid – 51, 4649mins, 91.16mins per game
Lewis Grabban – 38, 2999mins, 78.92mins per game

Shots on goal
Brereton – 45, 19 on target (42.22%). 6 goals, (5 league, 1 cup), 1 goal assisted
Murphy – 60, 26 on target (43.33%), 7 goals (7 league), 1 goal assisted
Assombalonga – 88, 36 on target (40.91%), 15 goals (15 league), 0 goals assisted
Vydra – 75, 32 on target (42.67%), 22 goals (21 league, 1 cup), 4 goals assisted
Reid – 93, 42 on target (45.16%), 21 goals (19 league, 2 cup), 7 goals assisted
Grabban – 78, 38 on target (48.72%), 19 goals (19 league), 0 goals assisted

Brereton – 397/466 passes (85.19%), 2/4 ‘long’ passes (50%), 2/24 crosses (8.3%)
Murphy – 258/341 passes (75.66%), 3/6 ‘long’ passes (50%), 4/12 crosses (33.33%)
Assombalonga – 379/460 passes (82.39%), 8/13 ‘long’ passes (61.54%), 4/15 crosses (26.67%)
Vydra – 657/828 passes (79.35%), 6/17 ‘long’ passes (35.29%), 5/21 crosses (23.81%)
Reid – 1009/1279 passes (78.89%), 41/71 ‘long’ passes (57.75%), 19/69 crosses (27.54%)
Grabban – 603/745 passes (80.94%), 19/36 ‘long’ passes (52.78%), 19/36 crosses (30.43%)

Brereton – 90/149 (60.427%)
Murphy – 32/42 (76.19%)
Assombalonga – 80/139 (57.55%)
Vydra – 75/106 (70.75%)
Reid – 106/164 (64.63%)
Grabban – 64/89 (71.91%)

Duels/Aerial Duels (events vs defenders)
Brereton – 250/797 duels (31.37%), 24/128 aerial duels (18.75%)
Murphy – 169/518 duels (32.63%), 55/159 aerial duels (34.59%)
Assombalonga – 342/1099 duels (31.12%), 50/232 aerial duels (21.55%)
Vydra – 240/632 duels (37.97%), 240/632 aerial duels (28.41%)
Reid – 363/1099 duels (33.03%), 27/146 aerial duels (18.49%)
Grabban – 212/678 duels (31.27%) 21/112 aerial duels (18.75%)

Expected Goals – What is xG??
Brereton – 0.22 , predicted goals – 8.08, actual goals 6
Murphy – 0.33 , predicted goals – 9.3, actual goals – 7
Assombalonga – 0.31 , predicted goals – 14.55, actual goals – 15
Vydra – 0.39 , predicted goals – 17.16, actual goals – 22
Reid – 0.35 , predicted goals – 17.98 – actual goals 19
Grabban – 0.46 , predicted goals – 16.46 – actual goals – 19

‘Radar’ chart showing comparisons between 6 players. pg is the Expected Goals multiplied by the number of matches appeared in, and aG is the actual amount of goals scored by the player. 

So, compared to the top strikers in the division last season, as well as one we know pretty well at Forest in Britt, Brereton sits below the actual comparative level in every area, except for the amount of ‘duels’ won, and shots on target.

He compares to Bobby Reid and Lewis Grabban in terms of his aerial ability, but falls short in his ability to translate his chances into goals.

This is an issue composure wise for him, which, has been seen with the amount of one v one and open goal chances he missed last season, as well as an issue that may arise in the future when he will want to push on in terms of where and how he plays.

He may improve his ability to lead the line as a lone striker, but, he is firmly in the ’19 year old failing to take his opportunities’ bracket at this time. Sitting 2 goals below his expected value, both him and Murphy were disappointing last season, but, even whilst on international duty this summer, Brereton appeared to be snatching at his chances.

Brereton may turn out to be a good signing for Blackburn, but, at the same time, he hasn’t pushed on in the last 12 months as much as people have been expecting of him, and with the likes of Virgil Gomis and Arvin Appiah having trained with the first team, as well as the potential signings of one or more strikers, the decision to move him on has been made.

My head says its a good decision, and, whilst its a disappointment to see a product of your youth setup leave, the money raised can be reinvested elsewhere, and theres some addons included that will take the price further.

Data used is from