Player Analysis: Felipe Caicedo, the Lazio Ultimate Super-Sub

After scoring in injury time for Lazio and saving a point for his team against Juventus, Felipe Caicedo once again proved that the concept of a super-sub is well and truly alive.

The Ecuadorian is definitely not one of the most free-scoring strikers you would see. He doesn’t score a lot of goals and, in all honesty, is not the sort of a striker you would use for 90 minutes. The 32-year-old is a very unique striker, the sort of that a team might need but never truly want.

Scoring at the death is not just happenstance. It is an event that is the culmination of several scenarios, from exploiting the opponent’s concentration levels to overloading their penalty area to rolling the dice.

So that is why in this episode we decided to talk a little about Felipe Caicedo’s goal scoring tendencies, especially those in the last 15-20 minutes of a game and also looking at how the Serie A overall measures in its ability to guarantee goals in the last quarter.

Squeaky bum time as Sir Alex Ferguson would call it (Fergie time too), is one of the most exhilarating parts of a match so why not have a small data-centric discussion on that?

Felipe Caicedo – Serie A’s Last Gasp Man

In order to fully understand Caicedo’s ability to make his mark in the final stages of a game, it is imperative to look at the total number of goals he scored during the 2019-20 campaign.

The Ecuadorian featured in every Serie A game last season and managed to score eight goals – a rather low total for someone who is believed to score goals right before the referee is warming up his whistle.

His first goal of the previous season came in the 4-0 mauling of Genoa in which he scored in the 59th minute. The next goal took a few weeks to be conjured but was a crucial one in the 2-1 win over Sassuolo.

After Ciro Immobile had given Lazio the lead in the 34th minute, Francesco Caputo leveled before the break. But right at the death, Caicedo scored the winning goal. He had been put on the field in the 79th minute and it took him only 11 odd minutes to make the difference.

Then game the all-important clash with Juventus. Lazio won that game 3-1 but the game wasn’t as easy as the scoreline suggests. The Bianconeri were on top of proceedings and in the 89th minute, Caicedo was thrown in the deep end.

The former Manchester City man did not take a lot of time to put the result beyond any doubt and buried his shot past the Juve goalkeeper.

Keeping in touch with his ability to make a difference, Caicedo once again scored an injury time winner for the Aquile against Cagliari. That game was a very interesting one since Giovanni Simeone had given the home side the lead in the 8th minute and it too two injury time goals for Simone Inzaghi’s men to register a much-needed win.

In the 5-1 mauling of Sampdoria, Caicedo was given a rare start and the experienced striker scored in the seventh minute which was a rarity.

Similarly in the demolition job of SPAL, Caicedo scored a brace in the 3rd and 29th minute.

In the 1-0 win over Parma, Caicedo was on the mark yet again right before the break, thus showcasing that the Ecuadorian can be a tough person to deal with during the closing stages of a game.

Caicedo started the 2-1 defeat at the hands of Lecce and scored in the fifth minute but that goal wasn’t enough.

By the end of the 2019-20 campaign, Caicedo had scored three goals in the second half, with two coming in the closing stages of both encounters.

So does this statistic showcase Caicedo’s importance or knack of scoring at the death?

Probably not!

However, if you look at the points tally, Caicedo’s displays gave Lazio four points and if you add in his match winning goal against Parma you would have a seven-point performance. Without his goals, Lazio would have still qualified for Champions League but Roma would have been breathing down their necks.

This season, Caicedo has managed to find the net four times in eight games which is a fairly good return for a player who has played only 221 minutes for Lazio.

His first goal of the season came in the 1-4 mauling at the hands of Atalanta (57th minute).

However, Caicedo continued to prove his importance to the team by showing up with his shooting boots on in a highly entertaining encounter with Torino. With Torino leading 3-2, Caicedo was introduced in the 73rd minute.

17 odd minutes later, the Ecuadorian would score the winning goal right after Ciro Immobile had drawn level for his side from the spot.

In the Champions League encounter with Russian giants Zenit, Caicedo was given more time to impact proceedings and the Ecuadorian did not disappoint, stealing a valuable point for his side in the 82nd minute.

Keeping up with his antics in Europe, Caicedo won his team a point against Juventus in injury time, thus proving once again that he is one of the most uniquely talented strikers in the game in the sense that he doesn’t require a lot of time to find his rhythm before making an impact.

Keeping in touch with the work done at The Scouting App, our mini-analysis confirms that Caicedo is a player who is a very solid finisher, has great physical presence, and has excellent movement which allows him to score goals in crucial stages.

He might not be scoring a lot of goals but most of them have proven to be very decisive for his team in the long run.

The Serie A and Lazio’s Goal Scoring Habits

In order to fully understand Caicedo’s importance to Lazio, it would be great to look at how the Aquile have gone about their goal scoring business since the 2019-20 campaign.

2019-20 Season

The capital club finished in fourth place in the league standings, averaged 2.05 points per game and failed to score in 11% of their games.

In total, they scored 79 goals in the league out of which 37 were scored in the first half and 42 were scored in the second half. This particular statistic tells us that the Aquile are a fairly balanced scoring outfit and are a threat in either half of the game.

However, upon deeper inspection, our analysis found out that the most number of goals they scored last season came in the last 15 minutes of the game. They scored 18 times in the last quarter of a match, a feat bettered only by Atalanta who scored 19 goals in the closing stages of the game.

Serie A as a whole proved to be a league where teams scored a lot of goals after the first half.

In total, 649 goals were scored in the second half and out of those 649 goals, 244 were scored between the 76th and 90th minutes. In total, 21.1% of Serie A goals were scored in this period.

2020-21 Season So Far

As things stand, Lazio are in 9th place in the league table and are averaging a lowly 1.57 points per game – which is not going to be enough for them to make it into the top four. With only seven games played so far, the Aquile have already failed to score in 14% of their games.

When it comes to timing of their goals, Lazio have scored four goals each between in periods 46-60 and 76-90. However, the problem is that scoring at the death has not been helpful so far this season because they have already conceded four times between  the 31st and 45th minutes which shows that the capital giants have some serious concentration issues to deal with.

Caicedo on the other hand, continues to score crucial goals whenever given the chance. While he may not be as prolific as Ciro Immobile, the Ecuadorian’s knack of being at the right place at the right time and not taking a lot of time to settle, makes him a very valuable member of the Lazio squad.

Moving forward, the former Manchester City striker is unlikely to get a lot of chances but you can be sure to see him continue maintain his xG of 1.60 – something that is only bettered by Ciro Immobile.