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Shots, goals… the untold statistics machine keeps on rolling – part 1

By Walter Broeckx

In my ever going on search of new numbers and new angles I will have another look on comparing shots and goals.

At first I will give you a table in which you can see how many shots where taken by each team in the EPL in the last season. And they are divided in shots taken from in the 6 yard box, from the area between the 6 yard and the 18 yard box and then finally from outside the penalty area.

Shots 2010-2011 % 6 yard % 18 yard % Outside
Chelsea 9 50 41
Manchester United 9 52 39
Arsenal 9 59 32
Manchester City 6 51 42
Tottenham 7 46 48
Liverpool 9 52 39
Fulham 6 50 44
Bolton 9 49 41
Aston Villa 10 53 37
Everton 8 52 39
Newcastle 12 56 32
Wigan 6 47 47
West Ham 6 50 44
Sunderland 5 48 47
Blackpool 12 43 44
West Bromwich 8 48 43
Stoke 15 53 32
Blackburn 11 57 32
Wolverhampton 11 49 40
Birmingham 11 45 44
Average 8,95 50,5 40,35

So these numbers are given in % of the total shots taken by each team during the season. And at the bottom you can find the total average of the EPL when it comes to shots taken by all the teams. In fact half of the shots are taken from somewhere between the 6 yard box and inside the penalty area.

If you look at shots taken from in the 6 yard box it looks as if the better team you the fewer shots you take from within the 6 yard box. As most of the teams that finished in the bottom half of the league table take a lot of more shots from within the 6 yard box compared to the teams of the top 4. Maybe this has something to do with the throw it in the box tactics used by some of those teams? Stoke had the most shots from within the 6 yard box and I really wonder how much of that number has anything to do with a towel and a pair of strong arms?

Arsenal is the team that takes the most shots from within the penalty area. We almost get some 9% more shots than the average EPL team does. But on the other hand we are the team that takes the lowest number of shots from outside the penalty area. Together with teams like Newcastle, Stoke and Blackburn we don’t take that many shots. All this in percentages of course.

But let us go a bit further and bring in the real numbers because if you take 3 shots per game on goal and each from the different types you get a nice 33 % but you hardly are doing anything exciting. Before I give you this table I must warn you that for some strange reasons the numbers of Blackpool and West Bromwich couldn’t be found online. So I just left them out and when I had to make an average I calculated this on 18 teams.

Goals 2010-2011 Goals for 6 yard % goals 18 yard % goals outside % goals
Chelsea 69 18 26,09% 43 62,32% 8 11,59%
Manchester United 78 23 29,49% 48 61,54% 7 8,97%
Arsenal 72 18 25,00% 49 68,06% 5 6,94%
Manchester City 60 11 18,33% 39 65,00% 10 16,67%
Tottenham 55 10 18,18% 30 54,55% 15 27,27%
Liverpool 59 14 23,73% 40 67,80% 5 8,47%
Fulham 49 10 20,41% 31 63,27% 8 16,33%
Bolton 52 14 26,92% 29 55,77% 9 17,31%
Aston Villa 48 15 31,25% 27 56,25% 6 12,50%
Everton 51 12 23,53% 31 60,78% 8 15,69%
Newcastle 56 21 37,50% 31 55,36% 4 7,14%
Wigan 40 8 20,00% 23 57,50% 9 22,50%
West Ham 43 9 20,93% 29 67,44% 5 11,63%
Sunderland 45 10 22,22% 30 66,67% 5 11,11%
Blackpool 55 0 0,00% 0 0,00% 0 0,00%
West Bromwich 56 0 0,00% 0 0,00% 0 0,00%
Stoke 46 20 43,48% 22 47,83% 4 8,70%
Blackburn 46 13 28,26% 26 56,52% 7 15,22%
Wolverhampton 46 15 32,61% 26 56,52% 5 10,87%
Birmingham 37 15 40,54% 19 51,35% 3 8,11%
Total 1063 256 573 123
Average 59,06 14,22 27,14% 31,83 59,70% 6,83 13,17%

If we would give names to the different types of goals I would suggest that we can call the goals from within the 6 yard box as the poachers goals, the ones from within the 18 yard box as the passing goals and the ones from outside as the shooting goals.

And then we see that the masters of the poacher goals are Manchester United. They have scored 23 of their goals from close range.  I must say that I found this a bit surprising. Less surprising was the fact that Newcastle and Stoke are next in this table. If you look at the percentages it is Stoke that scores most of their goals from a very close range, followed by Birmingham and Newcastle. Well they are better at other things than passing the ball around.

If we look at the goals from within the penalty area it is both in numbers and in percentages that Arsenal is leading the pack. We scored 49 goals like that.  Our tactic of choice one could say. And we are closely followed in numbers by Manchester United and Chelsea. Is this the mark of the best football playing sides?   But if you look at the percentages you can see that it is Sunderland and West Ham who are in second and third place.

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But let us turn our attention to shooting from a distance. And then we must admit that the top team in this range of goals are our neighbours – the club that formally played in Middlesex. Because they scored a staggering 15 goals. And that is 5 goals more than the team in second place Manchester City. And in percentages it is clear to see that almost 1 goal in 4 is made from a distance. In percentages only Wigan comes close to them. And the rest are far away. Both in numbers and percentages.

And if we look at Arsenal in numbers we are on the low side when it comes to making goals from a distance.  Not the lowest in fact but still apart from Liverpool not the types of teams you want to see next to you in any table. Next I will have a further look on these numbers and try to bring some more perspective.

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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. Walter

18 comments to Shots, goals… the untold statistics machine keeps on rolling – part 1

  • Naren

    The Arsenal statistics were expected but I must say that those regarding the other teams were interesting.
    I read somewhere that Arsenal had a thousand touches inside the penalty area…the undoubted masters of the ‘passing goals’.
    Are you not going on holidays, Walter?

  • Maverick

    I know its a little off topic guys…………but could you guys run a post on the Arsenal Media Player?

    Something that i have always wondered………especially now that we are starting to do tours in Asia etc i just wonder what our annual income from our media player is creating. Yearly subscription is about £39 or £45 if you pay monthly. I have no idea how many members are using it………..but imagine if Arsenal only got 1 million subscribers per year thats easily another 50 million to our funds. Funnily enough i dont ever remember Arsenal mentioning or telling people how much revenue they make off this.

    I know it is in its infancy in fact they recently just changed the format. But if you think logically there would not be much of an overhead for running this just server and bandwidth costs…………..but even though it only costs about £4 a month to use which is chump change if fans all over the world join and we get a couple of million members using it that is an extra 100m a year in our coffers.

    I would be really interested in knowing how many members it has and roughly what its pulling in even now even though its in its infancy. I mean they could even stream live matches on it which many millions of members around the world wouldn’t mind paying a few pounds a match……….this truly is the way forward not only for our club but for any club huh. This really has the potential to make hundreds of millions per year…………….but obviously not right now.

    I think this is being under-utilised at the moment, but i suppose there has to be a good infrastructure there first before untold amounts of members pound the servers watching streamed videos. I just think they are using it already to stream pre-season games etc, why not go one step further later on.

    I have always been interested in this side of Arsenals growth but Arsenal (unless i am blind) has not really made known how growth is going with this and what the plans are and also revenue growth from this system.

  • Gord

    The statistics you have presented, are the “result” of play, not the “intention” of the player. There will be some shots which were mishit, and were never counted as a shot. There will also be some passes which were either mishit or misaimed, that became shots on goal, or even goals. I suspect the intent of a the play of a ball is important.

    Ignoring the intent, if you take players and have them execute shots on net from various places and in various situations, their efficacy varies. Some players can put a shot on net in very trying circumstances, and others can’t hit the broadside of a barn.

    The ability of defenders and the goaltender to intervene, depends in part on how much notice a player gives that he (or she, if we look at women’s football) is going to shoot. If a player gives lots of notice, the shot may never count as a shot, as it may be blocked.

    I would imagine all the goaltenders playing in professional leagues have perfect eyesight (corrected or natural). People that have astigmatism, can misplay balls coming from a distance. Most people have their astigmatism lying in the horizontal plane, and they will tend to misplay a ball with sidespin. My astigmatism is mostly vertical, and a long shot with a lot of curve always caused me problems.

  • Naren

    What you say about Arsenal Player subscription being a significant source of revenue might have true till the past season; from now on, the service is complimentary with Arsenal Red Level Membership. So that cancels around 100000 subscriptions.
    Secondly, I think Arsenal or for that matter any other Club cannot stream the matches live because that will reduce the audience for the broadcasting companies that pay hard cash to obtain the telecasting rights. Imagine a scenario where all the fans of a Club pay the Club to watch the matches online then who would be left to watch Sky or ITV? How would they regenerate the money they paid for the TV rights without any audience and in turn advertising money?
    Thirdly, from this season, Arsenal will show the matches throughout the season in entirety but not live.
    Hope that was useful.

  • Dark Prince

    Good stats. Well, for Arsenal, it isn’t suprising, we aren’t long shot takers. Also i have to point out one very cunning tactic which ManU uses. They train players to go for powerful shots from a distance, and then take advantage of a spill by the goalkeeper to tap it in from close range. Something that i’ve never seen Arsenal do this season.

  • jayj

    just heard the bad news tweeted by Nasri’s agent:-

    ‘Samir Nasri and Arsenal regret to announce that they failed to agree contract terms due to irreconcilable differences. My client would like to thank Arsenal fans for their support and hopes they understand that his motivations are not financially motivated. Samir has not yet made a decision on where he will play in the future but hopes it will enable him to further his progress and allow him to compete at the highest level befitting his talent. Arsenal FC have informed me they will make their own statement early tomorrow morning. Thank You.’

  • Wrenny

    It’s quite a turnaround from last season when we were the top scorers from outside the box, and by a very long way, with 17 goals. Man City were second with just 10.

  • walter

    Wrenny, actually one of the players who scored most our goals from outside the penalty area was…Denilson. You know, the one we must get rid off. Not saying he had a good season as I think he had a disappointing season in fact. But still sometimes you don’t realise what a player adds to the team until you dont have him anymore.

  • Maverick

    Jayj, are you just stirring the pot? I doubt that an Agent would announce such a thing over twitter of all places………very unprofessional!

  • Stevie E

    @maverick – I’ll believe it tomorrow when arsenal make their announcement, until then id take it with a pinch of salt. I’ve seen or read nothing about so…

  • lew

    gd stats, would be intersting to see the oposite, goals conceded by each team to

  • walter

    Lew, you will get them in the next days and more information on goals scored and conceded. But it all was a bit too much to put it in one article.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    Hey JayJ

    You are even worse than Sun.. i bet u will take that as compliment..

  • jayj

    Abhishek Kumar

    I’ve only posted what has been tweeted, I’m no happier knowing one our best players could be out.

  • Abhishek Kumar

    Hey JayJ

    But dont u thonk that those media guys will report it even faster if it had any credibility.. if this is the case i will advise you to be a bit more vigilant next time..

  • Stevie E

    @jayj – if I wanted to hear speculation & rumor, I’d sign up to twitter myself… Just because you read something on the internet doesn’t make it true. Do us all (yourself included) a favor and stop with all the news flash nonsense, it just makes you look like a mug

  • patrick

    surely the fact that we do not shoot from outside is down to confidence.when rosicky first signed for arsenal he had a phenomenal record for club and country of scoring long range he will passbefore shooting. hleb needed to be in 6 yard box to shoot. even theo who has a cracker of a shot will hesitate if outside .chamakh like wise . song,i cannot remember when he had a shot on goal from outside and arshavin while scoring beauties (barcellona)does not shoot now like when he first arrived .it seems strange that
    rvp will shoot from any angle,or distance and only has one thing in mind when he receives the ball . this makes him so unpredictable and hard to defend against when he lays off .
    i believe the reason arsenal are so easy to defend against is this lack of variety in their play.aaron and jack had great eye for goals at lower level. lets hope they do not fall into this trap of low confidence in front of goal

  • bob

    @patrick: to pick up on your “lack of variety” insight, I think that one key factor in this perception (that there’s no in-game plan B or C, so to speak)is the injuries. With injuries to Cesc and Nasri – with (out of natural position) Arshavin, our best creators – there’s (understandably and tragically) not been quality bench players to fill in. The drop in level is obviously considerable and Aaron and Jack are still diamonds in the rough in their development. This said, the ref-shite takes its seriously toll when their non-calls give the wink-wink to the chronic agro-beatdowns launched against Cesc, Nasri and Arshavin. I’m interested in your further thoughts on this.