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August 2021

Shots, goals… the untold statistics machine keeps on rolling – part 3

By Walter Broeckx

Now let us try to have a look at the goals against and the way they were scored in the last season of the EPL. And we all know a lot of critics said about Arsenal and defending and now we can see how the goals went in.

Shots/Goals 10-11 6 yard % goals 18 yard % goals outside % goals
Chelsea 7 21,21% 20 60,61% 6 18,18%
Manchester United 12 32,43% 22 59,46% 3 8,11%
Arsenal 12 27,91% 24 55,81% 7 16,28%
Manchester City 10 30,30% 20 60,61% 3 9,09%
Tottenham 11 23,91% 25 54,35% 10 21,74%
Liverpool 12 27,27% 27 61,36% 5 11,36%
Fulham 9 20,93% 27 62,79% 7 16,28%
Bolton 20 35,71% 28 50,00% 8 14,29%
Aston Villa 16 27,12% 36 61,02% 7 11,86%
Everton 12 26,67% 28 62,22% 5 11,11%
Newcastle 14 24,56% 40 70,18% 3 5,26%
Wigan 20 32,79% 35 57,38% 6 9,84%
West Ham 18 25,71% 44 62,86% 8 11,43%
Sunderland 19 33,93% 31 55,36% 6 10,71%
Stoke 17 35,42% 24 50,00% 7 14,58%
Blackburn 14 23,73% 39 66,10% 6 10,17%
Wolverhampton 9 13,64% 47 71,21% 10 15,15%
Birmingham 24 41,38% 23 39,66% 11 18,97%
Total 256 540 118
Average 14,22 28,03% 30 58,94% 6,55 13,02%

And I must say that when we look at the average percentage down below and compare them to the actual percentages we don’t do that bad when you look at the table with the goals scored from within 18 yards. And also our defending in the 6 yard box is slightly better than the average EPL defence. The worst defensive record for Arsenal is in fact the shots from outside the penalty area in which we concede more goals on average than the rest of the EPL.

If you look at the other teams we see some strange things. Birmingham conceded the most goals from short distance. And also Wigan and Bolton conceded a lot of goals from within the 6 yard box. I also look at the numbers of Stoke who concede a lot more goals from close range than Arsenal does and also more than the average % in the EPL.

If we look at defending in the penalty box we see that the best defensive team in this range seen in %  is…Birmingham. I must say some numbers can catch you and leave you surprised. This is one of those occasions. In fact Birmingham did better than us even when you look at numbers themselves. Only the other top teams like Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City did better in numbers than Birmingham. I don’t care that much but it looks that Birmingham lost their place in the EPL because of bad defending in their 6 yard box.

When it comes to goal scored from outside the penalty area I had to praise Tottenham for scoring the most of the whole EPL. But when it comes to conceding goals from outside the penalty area they also are top of the table in the percentages. In real numbers they only have to let Birmingham in front of them and have the same number as Wolverhampton.

So I think this is a bit strange that Tottenham score a lot from a distance but also concede a lot from a distance. The team that concedes the least goals from a distance is Newcastle. I just wonder if this is because of their strong and nasty defending at times in the middle of the field which leaves the opposing team not much time and space to even think about taking a shot?  The same can be said of Manchester United and Manchester City who also only conceded 3 goals from outside the penalty area.

If we look at it in detail and try to see how unsuccessful teams have been when it came to conceding goals I come up with these tables.

Shots/Goals 10-11 % shots 6 yard % goals Succes/failure
Chelsea 9 21 12
Manchester United 9 32 23
Arsenal 9 28 19
Manchester City 6 30 24
Tottenham 7 24 17
Liverpool 9 27 18
Fulham 6 21 15
Bolton 9 36 27
Aston Villa 10 27 17
Everton 8 27 19
Newcastle 12 25 13
Wigan 6 33 27
West Ham 6 26 20
Sunderland 5 34 29
Stoke 15 35 20
Blackburn 11 24 13
Wolverhampton 11 14 3
Birmingham 11 41 30
Average 8,83 28,06 19,22

If you compare the % it  shows that with the same % of shots taken we have defended them better than Manchester United. The worst record is Wolverhampton who with from some 11% shots from within the 6 yard box have 14% of their goals against them.

Shots/Goals 10-11 % shots 18 yard % goals Succes/failure
Chelsea 50 61 11
Manchester United 52 60 8
Arsenal 59 56 -3
Manchester City 51 61 10
Tottenham 46 54 8
Liverpool 52 61 9
Fulham 50 63 13
Bolton 49 50 1
Aston Villa 53 61 8
Everton 52 62 10
Newcastle 56 70 14
Wigan 47 57 10
West Ham 50 63 13
Sunderland 48 55 7
Stoke 53 50 -3
Blackburn 57 66 9
Wolverhampton 49 71 22
Birmingham 45 40 -5
Average 51,06 58,94 7,89

So when it comes to defending shots from within the penalty area we are one of the teams who have a negative record which in this case means in fact a good defensive record. And Birmingham have the best defensive records of them all when it comes to defending in the penalty area. Wolverhampton have the worst and this is in stark contrast with their success at defending in the 6 yard box. Maybe this shows that Wolverhampton have defended too close to their own goal line?

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Shots/Goals 10-11 % shots outside % goals succes
Chelsea 41 18 -23
Manchester United 39 8 -31
Arsenal 32 16 -16
Manchester City 42 9 -33
Tottenham 48 22 -26
Liverpool 39 11 -28
Fulham 44 16 -28
Bolton 41 14 -27
Aston Villa 37 12 -25
Everton 39 11 -28
Newcastle 32 5 -27
Wigan 47 10 -37
West Ham 44 11 -33
Sunderland 47 10 -37
Stoke 32 15 -17
Blackburn 32 10 -22
Wolverhampton 40 15 -25
Birmingham 44 19 -25
Average 40,00 12,89 -27,11

And again this table just shows that shooting from outside the penalty area is not very successful. Unless you play Arsenal and Stoke. When it comes to Stoke I think this is down to them very much defending deeper. For Arsenal I really wonder if this has something to do with the fact that we sometimes seem to lack aggression in that part of the pitch. Or some kind of attitude that spells: well we know that you don’t score much from such a position so just have a go. Only to see it being successful a bit too often. Certainly this is true compared to the other teams. Because almost half the attempts seem to hit the net against Arsenal compared to 1 in 3 for most other teams.

Or have we been suffering from some goalkeepers problem when it comes to shots from a distance? Now 7 goals is not that much of the total but every goal you can prevent is a goal won.

In the next days I will try to give some more information on how the goals have been scored.

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28 comments to Shots, goals… the untold statistics machine keeps on rolling – part 3

  • aditya

    Boy you get a lot of stats. Great work as usual.

  • bob

    @Walter: What is the total number of shots and the total number of goals the Arsenal took and scored last season? I’d be grateful for your figures and will take it from there. Thanks.

  • Dark Prince

    Btw, wanted to ask whether you have considered penalties as goals inside the 18 yard box??

  • WalterBroeckx

    DP, penalties are in the 18 yard categorie.

    I will try to give them also

  • sahil

    To bob, arsenal took 595 shots at goal this season and scored 72 goals

  • Dark Prince

    Walter- would be preferrable to remove goals and shots at goal via penalties.

  • bob

    @Walter: If Arsenal took 595 shots and made 72 goals, then the following percentages appear:

    0.8264% of our 595 shots are converted into goals (72 total)
    0.03026% of our 595 shots from within the 6 yard line are converted into goals (18 total – or, 0.25% of our 72 goals)

    This said, I want us to explore its further meanings, if any:
    Please, if possible, compile a comparative table of how this result measures up against the rest of the teams and the league averages. This MIGHT provide some useful insight into (a) our relative Scoring Efficiency (total goals:total shots)and (b) our relative Clinicality (total “poacher” goals [inside 6 yards]:total shots)- an Efficiency Index and a Clinicality Index that might, in turn, have some value for the UA community as we assess our relative standing and player needs going forward.

    Perhaps this could be done for each spatial category: 6, 18, beyond. And, for Arsenal, on a more granular level, who took how many total shots for how many goals within each spatial category. This might give a Player Efficiency Index of some value. I have to believe that Arsenal (each team) does these types of calculations when it comes to in-house personnel reviews.

  • bob

    @walter, DP: to DP’s point, it seems we should agree that penalty shots be broken out as a separate category; and, that said, we could (if you would revisit, Walter) have a table of which of our players are most relatively efficient in converting their penalty opportunities.

  • bob

    @Walter: I’ve offered my first posting as a spur to further interpretive analysis of goal efficiency and clinicality. If that C-word rankles (- some people on UA obviously hate the word as a kind of media cliche, and I’m NOT wedded to it, but it has recognition and some intuitive value -) then the calculations that I’ve requested you display as a table may give a bit more substance, rigor, definition to the term. Or, let’s adopt another better term. The point is to draw more refined conclusions about where we stand relative to the rest and what we need to win the league going forward.

  • bob

    @sahil: so many thanks for the totals! I think they really matter and will help us all think more productively about the meaning of the percentages that are on our collective plate.

  • sahil

    @bob: here are some more totals! manu took 543 shots and scored 78 goals. chelsea took 635 and scored 69. manc took 477 and scored 60. liverpool took 475 and scored 59. spurs took 560 and scored 55. tht means manu manc liv have better conversion rate than us.

  • WalterBroeckx


    I will come to those numbers in the next days and of all the teams.

  • bob

    @Sahil: Cheers! Your coming through and Walter’s further work are greatly appreciated. As we keep building our understandings on each other’s good work. It’s exciting to get clearer.

  • bob

    @Walter: I like the term “conversion rate” When it’s applied within the 6 yard line, for example, can we call it (or not) degree of clinicality. A lot of people use the word. Now perhaps we have a measure of it, and, should you drill further down on a player by player basis, we will know (to some extent) who is more efficient, more clinical if you will by this measurement at least. There are qualitative aspects left out, like, say, degree of difficulty for a particular goal, I’m sure. But at least there seems a better way to talk about clinicality in this which does not reduce it to a meaningless slogan and, at least, demands that someone produce the statistics before irresponsibly tossing labels at people.

  • sahil

    @bob: I just went over more stats.You may find this hard to believe but even newcastle and blackpool have better conversion rates than us.I think it shows we need a top notch striker.The kind of style arsenal play and the amount of possession we have we should be the highest scoring team in the league and that too by a distance

  • bob

    @Sahil, Phil: Phil Gregory’s article here today calls us masters of scoring inside the 6 yard line. Based on your help, Sahil, I’ve determined (copied from my posting above) that:
    + 0.8264% of our 595 shots are converted into goals (72 total)
    + 0.03026% of our 595 shots from within the 6 yard line are converted into goals (18 total – or, 0.25% of our 72 goals)
    As Phil is going to write on our offense in his next installment, I think that we (Sahil and I) could contribute an important perspective, depending on you (Phil) analyze our needs. All of course is meant to help produce our best side going forward.

  • sahil

    @bob: bob i dont know how you calculated the conversion rate to be +0.8264% but according to me it is 12.10084. I think to find the percentage we would do 72/595 * 100 = 12.10 . That would mean we scored 25% of our goals from 6 yard line(18 OUT OF 72) and not 0.25%

  • bob

    By 0.25 I meant 25%. To me 1.0 means 100%. So I think we are in agreement. I’m very happy to adapt your approach which is much clearer. But I think this clears it up. Would you agree? If so, no problem, should I change the way I state this for greater clarity to everyone?

  • bob

    @sahil: In any case, I hypothesize that our poacher goals:poacher shots within the 6 yard line may turn out to be a relatively low conversion rate in comparison to the other teams. I don’t have those stats for the other teams. Do you? If so, would you agree on that?

  • bob

    @sahil: All this to try to say that I feel that an offense that produces 18 goals from within the 6 yard line out of 595 total shots raises follow up questions that beg answers. Is this a low goal conversion rate relative to other teams? Please consider and calculate as I defer to your methodology.

  • sahil

    @ bob:I am glad we could clear that out,but i would suggest you state 100 as 100 you know just for greater clarity,i hope you do not mind.

  • sahil

    @bob:I went over the 6 yard conversion facts like you asked. Arsenal have a 33.6% conversion rate inside the 6 yard.Manu have a 47% conversion rate,manc have 38.4%, chelsea have 31.5% and liv have 32.7%. That is why i think we need a real fox in the box someone like falcao.With our passing style of play we should need to be much more efficient in this department in order to outscore all other teams.

  • bob

    @Sahil: cheers for the work! I fully agree on the fox-in-the-box need and more so, as you say, given our style of play. One point man is not enough, and I feel that RvP has great strength from behind the point man. Having a second attacker/poacher up front (the new Eduardo, so to speak) would be great. This said, statistics-only people will argue, Ok, Arsenal have a relatively similar 6 yard line conversion rate to all but ManUre. Your argument, I think, is that we need to have something MORE than just a comparable conversion rate than the rest in order to maximize OUR type of game, correct? Could you expand on that a bit – why would we need a more than comparable conversion rate to better fit our style of play? How would the new fox-in-the-box help in this regard? And lastly, would you go a bit further and look at our relative goal/shot conversion rate from the zone between the 6 and 18 yard lines? Knowing this, I think, would help fortify the argument for prioritizing the new fox as arguably our top offensive need. Do you agree?

  • bob

    @Sahil: And would you also argue that another poacher/fox would/could be a considerable (difference-making) weapon against the parked bus strategy?

  • sahil

    @bob: Yes my argument is that we need MORE than a comparable conversion rate.Especially since we have a leaky defence,in order to have a superior goal difference we need a fox in the box.Also when van persie is injured we lack that final product and yes i agree it will help against the parked bus strategy.Just imagine the difference it would make if we have another striker like van persie in the attack.

  • sahil

    @bob:I will look at the 6-18 yards statistics.

  • sahil

    @bob:Also we took the most number of shots at goal but still were the second highest scoring team,this would mean we wasted many goal scoring opportunities which is quite evident when we watch our games.A FOX can help in this regard.