Middlesbrough improved on their 10th place finish in the 2020-21 EFL Championship campaign by finishing seventh on the points table. They were competing for the promotion play-offs until they lost 1-4 to Preston on the final matchday. Matt Crooks ended the season as Boro’s top scorer, and in second place was the Slovenian forward, Andraz Sporar. In this article, we will analyse the performances of Sporar in the 2021-22 EFL Championship season.
Andraz Sporar joined Middlesbrough in the summer of 2021 on loan from then Portuguese Champions, Sporting Clube de Portugal. Sporar has scored eight times for Boro in this season of the EFL Championship, which is the second-most of any Middlesbrough man this campaign. But the rate at which he has scored (0.28 per 90) is far below what xG estimated (0.41 xG per 90). He has managed to hit 2.4 shots per game with a shot accuracy of 38.24%. Sporar has made 3.54 touches in the opponents’ penalty area. He has attempted only 1.52 dribbles per game, with just over half his dribbles being successful.
Seen in the above visual is the shot map of Andraz Sporar for Middlesbrough in the EFL Championship this season. All of his eight goals have come from inside the box. In total, Sporar has attempted 74 shots for Boro, of which 27 have been on target. This means, his conversion rate has been 9.25 shots per goal scored. He has been very wasteful of the chances created by his teammates. He has attempted around 20 of his total shot attempts from outside the box.
Given above are the pass sonar, xT timeline and xT map of Andraz Sporar for Middlesbrough this season in the EFL Championship. As seen on the map, Sporar is not the primary threat creator for Middlesbrough. His xG per 90 of 0.41 indicated that he simply got into good positions and relied on his teammates to generate threats. But his underperformance in front of goal meant that he never really utilised the threat created by others. Only on a few occasions, did his xT score exceed 0.5. Most of it came through forward passes.
Given Andrez Sporar’s underperformance in front of the goal for Middlesbrough this season, it is no surprise to see the club from the northeast of England not interested in buying the Slovenian striker. He will return to Sporting Clube de Portugal and may generate interest from the top flight clubs of leagues that are ranked low on the UEFA coefficient ranking.