At the beginning of the season, Millwall signed London-born DR Congo striker, Benik Afobe, on loan from fellow EFL Championship club, Stoke City. The Congolese striker ended up as the team’s top goalscorer this season as he helped the Lions to a ninth-placed finish in the second tier of the English Football League system. Goals wise, Afobe has had the second-best season of his career. In this article, we will analyse the performances of Afobe for Millwall in this EFL Championship season.
Afobe scored 12 goals for Millwall this season. Being the top goalscorer of the team, he netted 23.53% of the team’s total goals. Afobe scored at the rate of 0.33 goals per game, which is in the upper quartile for forwards this season. As a result, he outperformed his xG per game of 0.27. Afobe took only 1.78 shots per game but hit the target on 51.56% of the occasions; the latter ranks him in the top 3% of all forwards. Afobe managed to touch the ball in the opposition’s penalty area 3.4 times per game. The Congolese man also attempted 2.14 dribbles per game at an above-average success rate of 68.83%.
Given above is the shot map of Benik Afobe for Millwall in this season of the EFL Championship. All but two of his 12 goals this campaign came from inside the opponents’ penalty box. Even those two strikes from outside the box came from just outside the penalty area. Afobe’s average shot distance was between 10-15 yards from the opposition goal. In total, the Congolese took 74 shot attempts, and 34 of them were on target. As a result, the conversion rate of Afobe stood at 6.17 shots per goal scored.
Seen in the above visual are the pass sonar, xT timeline and xT map of Afobe. He was not the main threat-creator for the Lions this season. As a pure striker, he relied on his more creative teammates to produce the threat as his xT during a game rarely exceeded 0.2. Most of his xT came from forward passes. Afobe managed to surpass 0.5, but that was few and far between. Unsurprisingly, whatever little threat he created, came in and around the opposition’s penalty area.
Benik Afobe has returned to Stoke City following the end of the EFL Championship season. The Lions’ defence has been very strong relative to xGA, but if they are to challenge for the promotion next season, they will need to improve their creativity in midfield and bring in a more clinical striker.