Danny Welbeck: An Analysis

Danny Welbeck, a regular first-team player for Manchester United and the tender age of 22, is an exciting forward prospect for both club and country. Blessed with with pace, skill and a strong worth ethic, his support play and movement if oft-praised by United fans who have high hopes that Welbeck can become the first home-grown forward to develop at the club since Mark Hughes.

For all Welbeck’s physical gifts and ‘toolsy’ potential: He doesn’t score.

Welbeck has one goal in the Premier League this year through 12 starts and 12 sub appearances which total 1203 minutes of game time. Yes, Danny offers more to his team than just goal-scoring, and he often plays wide or as a support forward, but one goal is a poor return in a team as offensive minded as Man United.

Now, let’s look at why Welbeck isn’t scoring, what his shot performance is like and what he offers to the team in terms of ‘shot assists’

Basic Shot Numbers


*Danny’s shots total read 38 on espn’s home page, but I could only find 37 when I trawled through the game casts. One shot is floating around somewhere, attributed to another player maybe.

Basic numbers here. Just 9 of 37 shots were on target. Welbeck’s shots numbers are 2.76 shots per 90 and 0.67 SoT per 90. Welbeck’s shots per 90 number is actually pretty good, better than Aguero and Tevez’s number this season.

Conversion %’s


Obviously Welbeck has only scored the solitary goal this season which is crippling his Scoring% and conversion % (goals/Total Shots). Welbeck’s shooting efficiency (SoT/Total Shots) is really not very good. But these numbers may well positively regress with a little ‘ball’ luck.

Perhaps Welbeck really needs to work on his shot, his shot selection discipline or get into better areas on the pitch to shoot from.

Location Of Shot Attempts


Well, there’s that theory about Welbeck’s shot discipline or Shot Location blown out of the water. Welbeck, despite scoring just 1 goal all season is taking 81% of his shots inside the box and 54% inside the red zone/central area of the box.

We have a player here who cannot score, has pretty good shot discipline and shot location so what gives? Where are the goals?

Maybe the location of Welbeck’s red zone shots can help us.

Red Zone‘ Ability


This is Welbeck’s shooting ability from the red zone/central box area and may help explain why the player has just one goal. The youngster has taken 20 shots from the red zone (54%) but has registered just 5 of those red zone shots on target (25%).

In short: Danny gets into good shooting positions and then proceeds to either have a high number of his shots blocked (red zone is congested with defenders) or he misses the target completely.

Of course, these are tiny tiny samples, but we are examining Welbeck’s form this season and the results are mixed.

Welbeck has good shots and SoT per 90 numbers, but as I have shown the shots that Danny has taken have been inaccurate despite those shots coming from pretty good locations (we don’t know opposition pressure) in the box.

At the very minimum we can say Welbeck has shown poor shooting ability in 2012/13, but this is something that ‘by-eye’ we have noted for throughout his very brief career and is backed up a little by his PL career scoring% of just 28.8%.

Welbeck’s shooting efficiency, again for his PL career, is just 35.7% which isn’t a strong number, and falls down even further if we say that for a good portion of his career he has had the boost of the Man United effect–high quality team with very  strong attacking instincts who create a lot of shots and, I assume, a good quality of shooting opportunity also.

Welbeck in one all encompassing generalization: Strong shot volumes per 90 minutes, good shot location, terrible shooter, below average conversion percentages.

Raw Numbers

I have decided to post the players raw numbers if anyone would like to do something  different with these numbers.

Home=Bold Away=Italics. Red=subbed off Green= subbed on

A very quick scan over those details show that Welbeck has made hay in terms of recording big shots numbers (over 3) against three specific teams: Wigan, Stoke and Reading, and all fixtures were at home.

Minutes Left Shot Center Shot Right Shot Outside Shot SoT Blocked Missed Pass Assist Cross Assist Goal
Everton 67   3       2 1      
Fulham 23               1    
Southampton 70               1    
Wigan 90 1 5   1   3 4 1    
Liverpool 2                    
Tottenham 13                    
newcastle 90   1 1   1   1 2    
Stoke 77   3   1 1   3 2   1
Norwich 22   1     1     1    
QPR 78   1 1     2   2 1  
West Ham 13                    
Reading 17                    
Man City 4                    
West Brom 90 1 1 1   2 1        
Wigan 13               1    
Liverpool 90 1 1   1   1 2 2    
Tottenham 90 1 1       1 1 1    
Southampton 90   1     1          
Fulham 7                    
QPR 50 1         1   1    
Norwich 25 1     1 1 1   1    
Reading 90 1     3   1 3 2    
Sunderland 13                    
Man City 79   2     2     2    
1203 7 20 3 7 9 13 15 20 1 1
Minutes Left Shot Center Shot Right Shot Outside Shot SoT Blocked Missed Pass Assist Cross Assist Goal
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