Vinicius Junior looks like a new player this season and he is among the best in Europe for shots taken and goals scored.
The Brazilian's talent was always clear, but now he has become more dangerous. He knows how to use his skills and pick his moments and is making better decisions.
Those subtle changes add up to devastating effect. Vinicius is getting more chances and putting them away better than ever before.
Now his place among the top forwards in Europe is clear, but it is even more impressive if we look at how his numbers have improved over his time in Madrid. Vinicius' goalscoring potential has almost quadrupled since his first season in LaLiga Santander.
His non-penalty goal-per-game average has jumped from 0.21 in 2018/19 to 0.76 this campaign. His npxG (non-penalty expected goals) is up from a three-year average of about 0.3 to 0.45 this season, showing that he is getting better quality chances.
In 2021/22 so far, the 21-year-old has seven goals, although his xG of 0.45 suggests he should only have had 4.17, so he is performing above expectations. That can be seen too in his post-shot xG of 0.76, showing the quality of his finishing in increasing the likelihood of a goal so much.
In fact, no player in LaLiga Santander this season has a bigger positive percentage difference in xG and post-shot xG than Vinicius with 68%. Indeed, the next two players, Alvaro Garcia and Raul de Tomas (35 percent) don't even come close to him in this regard.
All the stats back up the leap Vinicius' finishing has taken. He is placing his shots better, finding the corners, rather than shooting more centrally, for example.
From low to high
Vinicius' post-shot xG last season dropped to 0.19, his worst while with Real Madrid, but he's bounced back this season, shooting more and shooting better.
Part of his struggles last season was down to his close-range finishing, failing to put away any of his six chances inside the six-yard box and only notching three across the whole campaign.
This season, he's finding the target more and finishing with greater ease from more difficult positions as well.
The Brazilian, still only 21, is becoming the player that Madridistas hoped he would be. It doesn't seem to be a flash in the pan, either, the new Vinicius is here to stay.
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