Josh Ginnelly has been one of the top performers for Hearts in the Scottish Premiership 2022/23. He is second in terms of goal contributions for the Jam Tarts, only behind the prolific Lawrence Shankland. Ginnelly initially joined Hearts on loan in 2020, appearing sporadically in the first team and scoring a few goals. Ultimately, Hearts signed him on a permanent basis next summer and the English forward become a regular member of the first team since. His contributions from the front have proven significant with Hearts retaining their third position in the current Scottish Premiership campaign. Below we look at some stats from the current season to access the Englishman’s role in the team.
2022-23 season with Hearts
Josh Ginnelly has appeared 22 times in the Scottish Premiership this season, starting 18 matches. As a centre-forward, he stands out for his ball control, shooting, and finishing qualities, along with his movements on and off the ball. The above viz shows the percentile rank of the player’s stats compared to other centre-forwards in the Scottish Premiership. His attacking strengths are highlighted by his high rank for indicators like goal contributions and dribbles and his ability to retain and pass the ball has also been impressive. For the defensive side of things, his positioning sense has been decent, along with his intent to contest defensive duels.
Josh Ginnelly’s main role for Hearts is to get into scoring positions, and he has netted eight goals in the Scottish Premiership thus far. He has taken 32 shots and accumulated a total of 3.87 xG. The xG map above shows he has scored a few goals in and around the six-yard box and one from the edge of the penalty area. He has done well to take his chances inside the box and has also shown the desire to shoot from range. Overall, Ginnelly averages 1.81 shots per 90 minutes with an accuracy rate of 37.5%.
2021-22 season with Hearts
Last season, Josh Ginnelly made 31 league appearances and started 16 matches. He took 47 shots at 0.08 xG per shot and scored five goals in the Scottish Premiership. He averaged 2.46 shots per match and had an accuracy rate of 29.8%. The pizza chart above provides an overview of his performances last season. He was averaging more shots last season, but with less accuracy and goal contributions. This season, he is more involved in the build-up phase, as seen by the improved stats across various types of passes.
In addition to finding the back of the net, Ginnelly creates scoring opportunities for others. The above viz shows the shot assists delivered by the player in the last two Scottish Premiership campaigns. He has recorded four assists in a Hearts shirt thus far with an xA value of 5.14. It can be observed that most of the key passes are inside the penalty box in the form of layoffs and cutbacks. Currently, Ginnelly averages 1.07 shot assists per 90 minutes, compared to an average of 0.73 shot assists last season. He has also created four big chances this term.
One of the key aspects of Ginnelly’s gameplay is his ability to progress the ball through dribbles by utilising his speed and agility. The viz above shows that the forward does the majority of his dribbling in the wide positions of the final third. He excels in 1v1 situations in the wings, skipping past opposition and delivering crosses into the box for his teammates to attack. The Englishman averages 6.04 dribbles per match with a high success rate of 64.5% and also delivers 3.61 crosses per match with 28.1% accuracy.
Winning possession back
Another way the Englishman contributes to the team is by recovering the ball in the final third. He presses the opposition players inside their half and wins possession back. This is evident through the eight dangerous recoveries and 18 counter-pressing recoveries he has made. On average, the 25-year-old makes 2.37 recoveries per 90 minutes. 78.6% of these recoveries have come in the attacking half, including six inside the opposition penalty box, three of which have generated shots.
A move to Hearts has seen Josh Ginnelly develop into a vital player for the team with regular first-team experience. Apart from getting attacking returns in the form of goals, he also contributes to the team with his chance creation and additional abilities on and off the ball. Hearts will expect the same consistency from the 25-year-old for the remainder of the campaign as they look to consolidate third place in the Scottish Premiership.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine