Who’s going to score all the goals this Serie A season? If I knew for sure, I could easily get Juventus to cough up 50 million euros.
It doesn’t take a genius to say that Pazzini, Milito, Cassano, Miccoli or Di Natale could have a big season, since they have a great track record.
I like to focus on players who could take a big jump in production from past years. There are typically two types of players who make the jump—great performers in limited minutes, and players who were on the cusp of better production.
More minutes = more offence
Looking at the SOAR number for Serie A forwards from last year, I filtered the list to show players with 1000 - 2000 league minutes played, and the highest offense rates.
While we’ve already bemoaned the loss of Balotelli to the EPL on the podcast at PSWG, the rest of the list gives the Serie A fan a group to keep an eye on.
Davide Lanzafame would have been a great candidate to come up big this season until Juventus signed Milos Krasic, who will likely take his spot in the starting lineup now.
Since Abel Hernandez had great production in limited minutes at Palermo, there’s a good chance he’ll have an outstanding year. He did have some outstanding luck (see below), but I could easily see him scoring 12-14 goals this year.
Lots of time, but poor shooting/luck
Another way for us to evaluate whether a player could possibly score more is to look at the gap between their eSOAR and their real SOAR. Expected SOAR (eSOAR) assumes a league-average shooting percentage.
A player who has a large negative gap is either a terrible shooter or just had some bad luck. They obviously played well in the build-up, because their SOAR was good in the first place, but didn't finish off the chances they made. Take a look at the table below (click on it to make it bigger).
Unfortunately, we won’t get to test the theory with Stevan Jovetic after his recent injury. He passed our stat test and my own personal “eye test” as well.
A more likely candidate to break out or “bounce back” is Mauro Zarate. He either is the worst shot in Serie A, or he had some disgusting luck last season. His gap between eSOAR and SOAR was three to five times the amount of most players on this list. Given that he had 13 goals in the 08/09 season on the same number of shots, it could be a combination of both.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see him tally 12 goals and five assists this season, especially with new addition Hernanes in the midfield to aid the attack.
Another player I really think could step it up is Alexis Sanchez. He underperformed compared to the number of shots he created, and he also had an excellent World Cup as a focal point of Chile’s attack. He consistently drew fouls which is a sign of the danger he presents to defenders with the ball at his feet.
Hopefully this gives you a few players to watch intently as the season gets started.