Real Madrid: Predicting how many goals Vinicius Junior will score in 2021-22

Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Vinicius Junior (Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images) /

Vinicius Jr. kicked off the season all guns blazing by scoring three goals in the first two fixtures of LaLiga as a substitute. These fiery impactful performances earned him a spot in the Real Madrid starting 11. The big question surrounding the Real Madrid fanbase was whether this was going to be another one of those phases where he catches fire for a brief period then disappears.  He then went on to score another two goals in the next three LaLiga games, instilling a sense of trust and creating justified hype among the global fanbase. But was this sustainable? Perhaps not.  It’s been 4 games (all competitions) since we’ve seen Vinicius Junior on the scoresheet.

So where does that leave us on the Vinicius Jr. hype train?  I’d say ready to enjoy the ride. Despite not scoring in the past few games, the young Brazilian has not played poorly. In fact,  the improvements we have seen in his decision-making and box threat remain consistent and sustainable.  He no longer looks like the clumsy finisher in front of goal, but someone who looks confident and knows what he is doing in the box. The leap he has taken this season is not just a fluke but a sign of growth in his mindset and maturity.

The scoring spree was going to halt at some point, the numbers were not only overvalued but also a reflection of the team’s overall offense generation.  That makes one of the reasons for the drop-off. There was a lack of collective offense as a team. Now let’s dive deeper into the numbers.

Per Fbref Vinicius currently boasts an xG of 3.2 in La Liga and has 5 goals, outperforming his xG by a solid 1.8 goals. To gain more perspective, let’s assume he plays around 30 games this season in La Liga. At this rate Vinicius will score around 24 goals just in the league, outperforming his xG (15)  by 9 goals. And these statistics are taken after accounting for the goalless games.

Vinicius Junior could score 20 goals this season

If we look at the numbers after the first three games, the disparity in numbers will increase by a lot. Outscoring the xG is rarely sustainable over a nine-month season and we can conclude that Vini Jr.’s drop-off is only normal and not a cause of concern for Real Madrid fans.

Now to the real question- what is a realistic expectation for the winger’s goal tally this season? Judging by the conventional method if he has 5 goals in 8 games by the end of the season he should have approximately 5 times that, which would be 25 goals just in the league. This seems highly unlikely and unrealistic as injuries/fatigue, rotations, and offensive stalemates come into play during the course of the season.

On the other hand, his current xG/90 is 0.51 and again assuming that he plays 90 minutes 30 times this LaLiga campaign, at this rate he will end up with 15 goals which is a much more fair and realistic assessment.  Since there is not enough sample size for the other two competitions, a realistic assumption would be that he scores at least four to five goals in the Champions League(compared to last season’s three)  and anywhere between two and five in the Copa, depending on Real Madrid’s unpredictable progress in the cup competition.

This leaves us with 20-25 goals for the season in all competitions. Vinicius creates chances for fun and finds himself in scoring positions often. He also ranks in the 87th percentile for npxG in the past year.

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So as long as he keeps his head clear, 20 goals for the season is very much achievable. However, the season is unpredictable and not linear. Accordingly, my personal guess is that he’ll score a minimum of 15 goals and anything additional would be a bonus. If he also manages to hit double-figure assists, then he’ll surely be rated amongst the most elite wingers in Europe.

Glossary –

xG – expected goals

xG/90 – expected goals per 90

npxG – non penalty expected goals

All stats by