Having finished 11th in the season prior to the previous one, Millwall slightly improved last season by ending 9th on the points table. They were one of the biggest overachievers as far as defence is concerned, especially when factoring in xGA. The Lions conceded 45 goals, but xGA predicted them to let in close to 60 goals. As good as the defensive unit was, the main reasons Millwall missed out on the playoffs were a general lack of creativity and inefficiencies in front of goal. However, the team looks to have gone some way to solving this problem by acquiring George Honeyman from Hull City on a free transfer.
Honeyman appeared 35 times for Hull City last season in the EFL Championship as they finished in 19th position on the points table. He scored five goals and did so at a rate of 0.14 per 90, higher than the 0.08 xG per 90 predicted. The Englishman’s shot accuracy of 50% was good enough for the top 3% among midfielders. He was very selective with his shots, attempting just 0.5 per 90. His xG per shot of 0.164 put him in the upper 8% of midfielders. Only 2.27 dribbles per 90 were attempted by him, but his success rate was a respectable 76.54%. He also contested in over six offensive duels and attacking actions per 90 each.
In addition to five goals, Honeyman registered four assists in his 2997 minutes of game-time, giving him a goal involvement every 333 minutes. His rate of 0.11 assists per 90 was more than respectable, though still below the 0.14 xA per 90 estimated. Despite being an attacking midfielder, he was a passenger in build-up play, attempting only 33 passes per 90, and his pass accuracy was much below par at just 75.06%. It is a similar trend in ball progression as he tried less than five passes into the final third per 90 at just 58.52% accuracy. The Englishman delivered 2.36 crosses per 90, placing him in the upper quartile. With 0.93 smart passes per 90 and 1.26 through passes per 90, he was put in the upper quintile for both categories.
Despite being listed as an attacking midfielder, Honeyman was more active and involved on the right-hand side of the final third. The Englishman cut inside to make room for the right-back to make overlapping runs. He also drifted out wide and beat defenders to deliver balls into the box.
All five goals of Honeyman came from inside the box as he attempted the vast majority of his shots from inside it rather than outside. He missed a few fairly big chances but generally, he overperformed on his xG. Overall, he attempted 18 shots and hit nine of them on target, taking his conversion rate to 3.6 shots per goal scored.
George Honeyman ended the last season as the joint second-highest goalscorer for Hull City along with Tom Eaves and only behind Keane Lewis-Potter. Keep in mind that this is for a team that scored only 41 goals. This season, Hull’s loss might be Millwall’s gain as the latter aims to make the jump to, at least, a promotion playoff spot.