Lionel Messi is miles ahead of his expected goals and assists at Barcelona in 2018/19

FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano de Madrid - La Liga

There's good form and then there's Lionel Messi in 2018/19 form.

Even by the astronomically high standards of the Barcelona star, Messi is enjoying a remarkable season and has produced more goals and assists than anyone else in Europe's top five leagues.

Couple that with Barcelona's domestic success and chances in the Champions League, it looks as though Messi is the early favourite for this year's Ballon d'Or.

It seems no matter how you manipulate the statistics this season that Messi comes out on top and you can almost guarantee that he'll hoover up the annual awards in La Liga.

However, one set of data that hasn't been explored in great detail is expected goals and assists.

Messi's remarkable 2018/19

Despite being a controversial area in the world of football analysis, it demonstrates how many goal contributions players or teams 'should' be providing.

Therefore, if you're expected goal contribution is lower than the actual statistic, you can be deemed as underperforming and technically missing chances they should have taken.

Well, just in case there was any doubt about Messi's brilliance this season, data has been taken by professional analysis company WyScout and highlighted by journalist Paul MacDonald. 

FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano de Madrid - La Liga

Expected goals and assists vs actual

They have taken a number of selected statistics from the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga to show some of the most interesting examples.

Messi certainly takes the headlines. His expected goals and assists contribution this season is 25.66, but he is actually miles ahead of that figure and has delivered 38.

Cristiano Ronaldo is also performing better than expected but not to the same degree. His contribution is predicted to be 23.73, while he has actually produced a total of 25.

The amount of players who have had amazing seasons yet are technically 'underperforming', shows just how brutal the statistics really are and how unbelievable Messi has really been.

Take a look at the full set of data down below: 

Messi never fails to amaze.

Some of the other players who are exceeding expectations include Fabio Quagliarella, Krzysztof Piatek, Raheem Sterling and Mohamed Salah.

Meanwhile, Raul Jimenez and Ciro Immobile are some of the players who have room for improvement despite impressive campaigns.

It's certainly not the easiest statistic to wrap your head around, but it goes to show that Messi is providing assists and scoring goals from chances that the data never expected.  

UC Sampdoria v Atalanta BC - Serie A

And it's yet another area where Messi is ahead of everybody in Europe's top five leagues, producing the highest raw statistics and still proving the number one when analysed further.

What makes all of this scary is the fact he has two more months to improve on the numbers and potentially extend his lead even further.

Do you think Messi is the best player in the world right now? Have your say in the comments section below.

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