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August 2017
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Shots, goals… the untold statistics machine keeps on rolling – part 2

By Walter Broeckx

After my first article on shots and goals  I will try to see at what possible shot gives you more chance of  success on scoring goals. And so I come up with the next table I made from last season.

It gives you a comparison between the % of shots taken and the % of goals that came from this shooting. I hope this table can give us some more insight in the difference between a shot and the goals.

Shots/Goals 10-11 SHOTS%  6 yard GOALS % SHOTS % 18 yard GOALS % SHOTS % Outside GOALS %
Chelsea 9% 26,09% 50% 62,32% 41% 11,59%
Manchester United 9% 29,49% 52% 61,54% 39% 8,97%
Arsenal 9% 25,00% 59% 68,06% 32% 6,94%
Manchester City 6% 18,33% 51% 65,00% 42% 16,67%
Tottenham 7% 18,18% 46% 54,55% 48% 27,27%
Liverpool 9% 23,73% 52% 67,80% 39% 8,47%
Fulham 6% 20,41% 50% 63,27% 44% 16,33%
Bolton 9% 26,92% 49% 55,77% 41% 17,31%
Aston Villa 10% 31,25% 53% 56,25% 37% 12,50%
Everton 8% 23,53% 52% 60,78% 39% 15,69%
Newcastle 12% 37,50% 56% 55,36% 32% 7,14%
Wigan 6% 20,00% 47% 57,50% 47% 22,50%
West Ham 6% 20,93% 50% 67,44% 44% 11,63%
Sunderland 5% 22,22% 48% 66,67% 47% 11,11%
Blackpool 12% 0,00% 43% 0,00% 44% 0,00%
West Bromwich 8% 0,00% 48% 0,00% 43% 0,00%
Stoke 15% 43,48% 53% 47,83% 32% 8,70%
Blackburn 11% 28,26% 57% 56,52% 32% 15,22%
Wolverhampton 11% 32,61% 49% 56,52% 40% 10,87%
Birmingham 11% 40,54% 45% 51,35% 44% 8,11%
Average 8,95 27,14% 50,5 59,70% 40,35 13,17%

And then we see that with only some 9% of the shots taken from within the 6 yard box it leads to 27% of the goals scored.

Shooting from within the penalty area is also very profitable as half of the shots are taken from within that distance and this leads to almost 6 goals in 10.

Shooting from a distance can bring you spectacular goals but in fact some 40% of the shots are taken from outside the penalty area but the chance of success is rather low as only 13% find the back of the net. Now we all like to see them hitting the net from that distance but  it is a rather unsuccessful way of trying to score, except for Tottenham and even then a lot of their attempts brings you nothing. And I wonder if the Arsenal players have been told this and this could lead to them not attempting it that much and rather try to come closer to the goal?

So statistically one could say that the best way to score more goals is by putting the ball in the 6 yard box and hoping for the tap in from close range. But most goals are made from a slightly further distance.  Shooting from outside the penalty area is not the best way to be successful but I would never suggest it is not tried every now and then.

To make this a bit clearer I have put this analysis in to different tables and so you can have a look at the difference in % for each team and that total of the whole EPL.

Shots/Goals 10-11 SHOTS%  6 yard GOALS % Success
Chelsea 9 26 17
Manchester United 9 29 20
Arsenal 9 25 16
Manchester City 6 18 12
Tottenham 7 18 11
Liverpool 9 24 15
Fulham 6 20 14
Bolton 9 27 18
Aston Villa 10 31 21
Everton 8 24 16
Newcastle 12 38 26
Wigan 6 20 14
West Ham 6 21 15
Sunderland 5 22 17
Stoke 15 43 28
Blackburn 11 28 17
Wolverhampton 11 33 22
Birmingham 11 41 30
Average 8,95 27,11 18,16
Average 8,95% 27,11% 302.92%

And so you can see that for the shots from close range the possibility of scoring goes up very high. And the teams that made the most of their attempts from close range are Stoke and much to my surprise Birmingham comes on top of this.  But it didn’t help them to stay in the EPL.

Shots/Goals 10-11 SHOTS %  18 yard GOALS % succes
Chelsea 50 62 12
Manchester United 52 62 10
Arsenal 59 68 9
Manchester City 51 65 14
Tottenham 46 55 9
Liverpool 52 68 16
Fulham 50 63 13
Bolton 49 56 7
Aston Villa 53 56 3
Everton 52 61 9
Newcastle 56 55 -1
Wigan 47 58 11
West Ham 50 67 17
Sunderland 48 67 19
Stoke 53 48 -5
Blackburn 57 57 0
Wolverhampton 49 57 8
Birmingham 45 51 6
Average 50,5 60,00 9,5
Average 50,50% 60,00% 118.81%

For the shooting from within the 18 yard box the numbers still indicate that it is worth taking the shot. In this table we can see 2 teams with an negative number when comparing shots and goals from within the penalty area. Stoke and Newcastle have more attempts then goals. Blackburn is a team that has the same % of shots and goals.

Shots/Goals 10-11 SHOTS % Outside GOALS % succes
Chelsea 41 12 -29
Manchester United 39 9 -30
Arsenal 32 7 -25
Manchester City 42 17 -25
Tottenham 48 27 -21
Liverpool 39 8 -31
Fulham 44 16 -28
Bolton 41 17 -24
Aston Villa 37 13 -24
Everton 39 16 -23
Newcastle 32 7 -25
Wigan 47 23 -24
West Ham 44 12 -32
Sunderland 47 11 -36
Stoke 32 9 -23
Blackburn 32 15 -17
Wolverhampton 40 11 -29
Birmingham 44 8 -36
Average 40,35 13,00 -27,35
Average 40,35% 13,00% 32.22%

And as for shooting from a distance it shows that the chance of scoring goes down a lot. And this is the same for all teams including Tottenham. Arsenal have the worst record together with Newcastle in this.

So calling for a player to shoot from halfway in the opposite half is not the wisest thing to do when you look at those statistics. But I do admit there is no better feeling than to see the ball hit the net after having taken a shot from the distance. But the problem is most of the shots taken from afar don’t hit the back of the net.

If you are still in for more I will try to have a look in the same way at the goals scored against us in the next days.

Untold Index

History Index

Making the Arsenal

Note: As you know we accept articles from people who want to write for Untold. For the moment Tony Attwood is enjoying a holiday and will not be able to come online.  So if you have written an article and there is no hurry to see it published you can send it to the usual mail address. If you want to see it published in the next days you can send it to my mail address  walterbroeckx(at) and then we can see that it gets published as soon as possible.


13 comments to Shots, goals… the untold statistics machine keeps on rolling – part 2

  • Dark Prince

    To be honest, its not surprising that shots taken outside the penalty area are not as dangerous, but doesn’t it scramble the defense and the goalkeeper for a moment which can create opportunities inside the penalty area for a tap in?? Like the ManU example i gave last time. Also long shots in itself lead to more corners also, which again lead to more goals inside the penalty areas from the resulting corner.

  • TommieGun

    @ DP – exactly what I thought. Another point – it just gives the opposition defense something else to think about. If you shoot from distance every now and then, they need to keep it tighter on the 18 yard line, enabling you to pass a diagonal and cross. Diversity and the element of suprise is the key to almost any battle – predictability is the opposite.

  • Phil

    Good post Walter, certainly explains why we try and walk it in sometimes!

    DP – A long shot into a packed penalty area will more likely be blocked and go out of the area (either back towards the Arsenal goal) or out of play IMO. Yes it’ll lead to some opportunities in the box, but when you look at how ineffective long shots are, do those few opportunities compensate for the ineffectiveness of long shots? Not in my view.

    Also regarding corners – there’s no correlation between the number of corners a team has and the number of goals they score, from a study I’ve seen. Corners are really poor opoortunities to score, and hauling your defenders up for such a poor opportunity can even leave you open to conceding on the break. Short corners are the way to go for me, unless your side has a big aerial advantage.

  • Dan

    I think the key to shooting from distance is to do it only if there is not a better option available. If there is a chance to make a pass to somebody within the box with a shooting opportunity then take it, the statistics show they’re more likely to score.
    At the same time players cannot be affraid to shoot from distance now and then, particularly in wet conditions or against an underconfident goalkeeper.

  • bob

    I’d find it clarifying to see the total number of shots in each case displayed in the same chart. As you know, there has been a recent debate here about our offensive “clinicality,” and whether or not people like that word, it would be easier for the more statistically-challenged (like me) not to have to calculate further but to see this for each team: what is the Total Number of shots taken within 6 yards, etc., and, of those, the Total Number of goals made within 6 yards, etc. This could help more people analyze clinicality, weigh in on the issue, and have an easier-to-grasp. I apologize if this is too simple-minded, but we may number (my intuitive guesstimate) over 65% of UA readership. Clinicality is a qualitative interpretation that could well be made more refined and rigorous, but the number of goals:shots in each spatial range will, I feel, enable a more meaningful debate. (If you have done this already yet, please provide a link (reference), and my apologies for the request.)

  • bob

    @Walter: further to the above request, I’d like to have, for Arsenal, a game-by-game tally of our goals:shots within each spatial category. That would allow a further determination of to what extent a lack of “clinicality” was a factor in a draw or loss. This worry/charge is always lodged against our side and it would be worthwhile methinks if the mighty stats machine were to service my request. I advocate for another poacher to complement RvP and I am looking for numbers to base it on. Whether or not the numbers are there remains to be seen. But I think readers would find it a better and more interesting debate if we had them and a goals:shots:player tally (a kind of “efficiency” [I don’t dare say clinicality] index could be had for further evaluating last season and thinking about our needs in the transfer window to be opened).

  • Wrenny

    Good points, I totally agree. Set-pieces and also crosses are in general very inefficient ways to create good goal-scoring opportunities.

    If I may, I’d like to link to an article about Barcelona and their system and tactics, which I found very interesting as I saw parallels to Arsenal and how we could incorporate aspects of their play. Particularly points 4. Lack of crosses and 5. Set pieces. It’s from an Arsenal blog by the way – The Backwards Gooner.

  • Wrenny

    And there’s also plenty of video clips demonstrating the aspects of Barcelona’s play being discussed, it’s a really well put together piece.

  • bob

    @Wrenny, All: “The Backward Gooner” link that Wrenny provides for us has a Section 9 called “Pressing” which interestingly spells out in depth the dynamics of how Barca does defense: I think we’d do well to consider its analysis and any ways it might apply to our assessments of our present moment and needs (from autopsy of last season to the run-up to the transfer window).

  • Anne


    Great link. I really enjoyed that, thanks. I wish there were more media sources that would spend the off season putting stuff like that together, as opposed to making up ridiculous transfer rumors.

    Also appreciate that Untold seems to be staying off the transfer rumor bandwagon as well. Thanks guys 🙂

  • Anne


    Might be the first time I’ve said this, but I actually completely agree with you 🙂 I’m not so sure about long shots as a way to directly create opportunities within the box, but I think it’s important to blast enough of them in there to keep the opposing defense guessing about where your attack is going to come from.

    If they know that you’re ONLY going to be taking short corners and shooting from inside the box, it would make you too easy to defend. Just as an example, look at the way that Xavi regularly takes shots from outside the box for Barcelona. To say that Xavi’s not very good at that type of shot would be charitable (ok, I’ll admit it, he’s terrible at them. 🙂 ). The point is, I haven’t seen one of them go in all season, but he still always takes the shot whenever he sees an opening in the defense.

    Tactically, I think the reason he does it is just to keep the defense guessing. So long as they know that Xavi is WILLING to shoot from those areas, they still have to devote some attention to marking him, which helps free up other players in the box.

    That being said, I don’t have any serious problems with the way that Arsenal handles their offense now. Specifically, I don’t think they need to take more shots from outside the box. I know that it’s always good to score more goals and everything, and you can’t really go wrong by improving in that area. But Arsenal’s main problem this season wasn’t that they didn’t score ENOUGH goals. It’s that they conceded too many 🙂

  • Anne


    I agree that it would be interesting to see a game-by-game tally of Arsenal’s goals. That’s something that you could probably put together yourself if you have Arsenal TV. Or “Arsenal Player,” as I guess it’s called now.

  • bob

    @Anne, Walter, Dogface, anyone: I think that whoever has the time-stamps as a quick-guide to when each goal was scored in each match could help do this the fastest. Perhaps Walter, you, anyone could provide a list of time-stamps for starters. Then it becomes a time-efficient exercise. I’m glad you also think it has value so let’s keep it in play. Walter, do you have these goal time-stamps for each match; and, if son, would you consider posting them to the UA community to enable anyone’s further researches (of all sorts)?