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The Mexican Looking To Fire Wolves Into Europa League Contention

 

After netting 17 goals during the 2019/20 Premier League season, Raúl Jiménez has also helped Wolves secure a place in the last eight of the Europa League. In the midst of one of his most prolific seasons, Stats Perform reviews the striker’s performances this campaign.

 

By: Federico Camblor

Following four seasons playing his domestic football in Spain and Portugal, Raúl Jiménez became the tenth Mexican to grace the Premier League in the summer of 2018, joining Wolves on a season-long loan from Benfica before making the move permanent last April.

The forward has quickly adapted to the demands of one of the best leagues in the world, featuring in 97 of his club’s 103 games (94%) since his arrival; only Conor Coady (101) has played in more.

Having helped his side to a second successive seventh place finish in the Premier League, Jiménez will now have a key role to play in Nuno Espírito Santos’ side’s push towards the latter stages of the Europa League.

We have taken a closer look at his numbers from the 2019/20 campaign so far to try and measure the impact he has had at Molineux this season.

Surpassing Chicharito

During 2019/20, Jiménez was directly involved in 23 Premier League goals (scoring 17 and assisting six), surpassing his performance from the previous campaign (20 – 13 goals and seven assists).

In addition to breaking Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernández’s record for goals scored in a single campaign by a Mexican player (13 for Manchester United in 2010/11), Jiménez was the Latin American player involved in the most goals in the 2019/20 English top flight.

Proving Lethal Inside The Box

Wolves scored 51 goals in the Premier League, with Jiménez being involved in 45% of them. This marginally surpassed his ratio from 2018/19, when he had a hand in 20 of his team’s 47 goals (42.5%).

For the second consecutive season, the Mexican was in the league’s top five players for the most attempted shots: he attempted 118 goal attempts across the campaign (ranking him second, behind Mohamed Salah’s 132). In the previous campaign, he ranked fourth with 111 shots.

Jiménez also ranked fourth for attempts on target (44), with 39% of those resulting in goals. His ability to convert chances was also reflected in his expected goals output: excluding penalties, he scored 13 goals, which was roughly in line with expectations (13.5).

As highlighted by his shot map below, Jiménez tended to shoot from close range, like his countryman Chicharito, scoring all of his goals from inside the box. In fact, 93 of his shots were from inside the box, the second highest output in the league, again only behind Salah (110).

Jiménez’s All Round Contribution to Nuno’s Wolves

As well as being prolific in the box, Jiménez is also a big asset to his side as a result of his ability to create opportunities and bring others into play. He created 13 big chances during the season, which accounted for 23% of all of Wolves’ big chances.

He also used his 6’3 frame at both ends of the pitch to provide a valuable aerial presence. Defensively, his 0.7 headed clearances per 90 highlights his direct involvement at defensive set pieces (no other Wolves forward averaged more than 0.3), whilst his five headed goals was the joint-highest output across the Premier League, matched by Virgil Van Dijk and Chris Wood. Two of his five headed goals came from set pieces.

Wolves have also benefited from Jiménez developing a strong on-field connection with Adama Traoré. Over the course of the campaign, they combined together to score ten league goals, with the Spanish winger contributing seven assists and Jiménez three. This was the seventh time in Premier League history that two players had combined on at least ten occasions during a campaign, and was unmatched by any other duo during 2019/20.

Jiménez’s influence domestically has also transferred to Wolves’ assault on Europe. Excluding the qualification phase, the Mexican has been involved in a third of his team’s total Europa League goals so far – scoring three and assisting three.

Europe’s Stand-Out Mexican Player

In total, only seven Mexican players made at least one appearance across the big-five European leagues this season. Of those, Jiménez ranked first for games played, goals scored and assists.

Arsenal’s victory in the FA Cup last weekend means that Wolves need to win the Europa League to secure European football next season. Supporters in Wolverhampton, and those in Mexico who have followed his career since his initial breakthrough at América, will be hoping that Jiménez can continue his prolific form into August and help his side progress to the tournament’s latter stages.

With a Champions League place at stake, European glory could potentially usher in a new era for both Jiménez and his club, as they look to build on two strong Premier League campaigns going into 2020/21.

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