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Shots, goals… the untold statistics machine keeps on rolling – part 5 – How did we concede last season?

By Walter Broeckx

So now let us take a look at the goals that were scored against Arsenal and the rest of the teams in the EPL. And we will try to look at how the goals were scored like we did it with the goals in our favour: open play, dead ball and penalty.

Goals 2010-2011 Goals against Open play % goals Dead ball % goals Penalty % goals
Chelsea 33 23 69,70% 8 24,24% 2 6,06%
Manchester United 37 21 56,76% 11 29,73% 5 13,51%
Arsenal 43 24 55,81% 13 30,23% 6 13,95%
Manchester City 33 19 57,58% 10 30,30% 4 12,12%
Tottenham 46 33 71,74% 9 19,57% 4 8,70%
Liverpool 44 29 65,91% 8 18,18% 7 15,91%
Fulham 43 35 81,40% 8 18,60% 0 0,00%
Bolton 56 35 62,50% 18 32,14% 3 5,36%
Aston Villa 59 36 61,02% 19 32,20% 4 6,78%
Everton 45 36 80,00% 7 15,56% 2 4,44%
Newcastle 57 41 71,93% 11 19,30% 5 8,77%
Wigan 61 44 72,13% 13 21,31% 4 6,56%
West Ham 70 52 74,29% 13 18,57% 5 7,14%
Sunderland 56 37 66,07% 14 25,00% 5 8,93%
Stoke 48 33 68,75% 12 25,00% 3 6,25%
Blackburn 59 39 66,10% 14 23,73% 6 10,17%
Wolverhampton 66 47 71,21% 15 22,73% 4 6,06%
Birmingham 58 39 67,24% 14 24,14% 5 8,62%
Total 914 623 217 74
Average 53,15 34,61 67,78% 12,06 23,92% 4,11 8,30%

So if we take Arsenal and look at the goals against us in open play we are the team with the best record. Slightly better than Manchester United in second place and Manchester City in third place.

So in fact this is not as bad at first sight. But I can hear some of you saying: it is the dead balls that have killed us this season. And yes in numbers we have the worst record of the whole top half of the table. But when you compare this to Manchester United (and as they are champions I think it is a good team to compare yourself with) then you see that United only manages to be a little bit better than our “bad defence”. In fact United have the second worst record of the top half teams when it comes to defending dead balls!

A small detail I would like to point at is the fact that Bolton (Cahill) and Blackburn have conceded more goals from dead balls than Arsenal this season in numbers. Bolton conceded 5 more than Arsenal and Blackburn one more. Now this is something that makes you wonder.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying the world is fine and all is fine with our defending. But when you take in account that we lost what should have been our best defender for almost the whole season this really is not as if we have been totally useless the whole season long when it came to defending dead balls. And like I said in one of my other articles: each goal that you can prevent from being scored against you has a high value.

So yes we should work on this and add something to our team and reduce this number. If we only could avoid a few it could have brought us some extra points. I also would like to point at the fact that the +40% of goals against Arsenal from set pieces also includes almost 14% penalties, as one of our readers already said a few weeks ago in his comment.

When you look at the goals scored from penalties we can see that Liverpool are the number one team. No team has got more penalties given against them this season. And there should have been more given. But Arsenal are in second place closely followed by Manchester United and City. And from United I know for a fact that a few more penalties should have been given.

And to finish this series for the moment I will try to give a few tables in which one could try to see the difference between the different types of play and the goals conceded. In a way one could say a table with strength and weaknesses of each team. And see if there is any balance between the way a team scores their goals and concedes their goals

Goals 2010-2011 Open for Open against Difference
Chelsea 68,12% 69,70% -1,58%
Manchester United 80,77% 56,76% 24,01%
Arsenal 81,94% 55,81% 26,13%
Manchester City 65,00% 57,58% 7,42%
Tottenham 70,91% 71,74% -0,83%
Liverpool 69,49% 65,91% 3,58%
Fulham 57,14% 81,40% -24,25%
Bolton 67,31% 62,50% 4,81%
Aston Villa 72,92% 61,02% 11,90%
Everton 68,63% 80,00% -11,37%
Newcastle 58,93% 71,93% -13,00%
Wigan 70,00% 72,13% -2,13%
West Ham 65,12% 74,29% -9,17%
Sunderland 80,00% 66,07% 13,93%
Stoke 52,17% 68,75% -16,58%
Blackburn 67,39% 66,10% 1,29%
Wolverhampton 58,70% 71,21% -12,52%
Birmingham 64,86% 67,24% -2,38%
Average 67,74% 67,78% -0,04%

So the higher the difference between the two scores means the higher the way they conceded goals from open play in this case.

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And so you can see that Manchester United and Arsenal are the teams that score most from open play and concede not that much from open play. Fulham is the opposite of the two teams mentioned as they have a high negative difference between conceding and scoring from open play.

Goals 2010-2011 Dead ball for Dead ball against difference
Chelsea 23,19% 24,24% -1,05%
Manchester United 15,38% 29,73% -14,35%
Arsenal 12,50% 30,23% -17,73%
Manchester City 21,67% 30,30% -8,64%
Tottenham 20,00% 19,57% 0,43%
Liverpool 20,34% 18,18% 2,16%
Fulham 36,73% 18,60% 18,13%
Bolton 25,00% 32,14% -7,14%
Aston Villa 18,75% 32,20% -13,45%
Everton 25,49% 15,56% 9,93%
Newcastle 32,14% 19,30% 12,84%
Wigan 25,00% 21,31% 3,69%
West Ham 23,26% 18,57% 4,68%
Sunderland 11,11% 25,00% -13,89%
Blackpool 0,00% 0,00% 0,00%
West Bromwich 0,00% 0,00% 0,00%
Stoke 41,30% 25,00% 16,30%
Blackburn 30,43% 23,73% 6,71%
Wolverhampton 34,78% 22,73% 12,06%
Birmingham 29,73% 24,14% 5,59%
Average 24,82% 23,92% 0,90%

And in this case we see a definite weakness in the numbers of Arsenal. We don’t score a lot but we concede a lot more than we score. But the same goes actually for Manchester United and this is a bit more surprising for me.

And what goes up must come down and when I had to say that Fulham had a big difference between goals for and against in open play it is the reversed thing with goals from dead balls.

Goals 2010-2011 Penalty for Penalty against difference
Chelsea 8,70% 6,06% 2,64%
Manchester United 3,85% 13,51% -9,67%
Arsenal 5,56% 13,95% -8,40%
Manchester City 13,33% 12,12% 1,21%
Tottenham 9,09% 8,70% 0,40%
Liverpool 10,17% 15,91% -5,74%
Fulham 6,12% 0,00% 6,12%
Bolton 7,69% 5,36% 2,34%
Aston Villa 8,33% 6,78% 1,55%
Everton 5,88% 4,44% 1,44%
Newcastle 8,93% 8,77% 0,16%
Wigan 5,00% 6,56% -1,56%
West Ham 11,63% 7,14% 4,49%
Sunderland 8,89% 8,93% -0,04%
Blackpool 0,00% 0,00% 0,00%
West Bromwich 0,00% 0,00% 0,00%
Stoke 6,52% 6,25% 0,27%
Blackburn 2,17% 10,17% -8,00%
Wolverhampton 6,52% 6,06% 0,46%
Birmingham 5,41% 8,62% -3,22%
Average 7,43% 8,30% -0,86%

And finally the difference between the penalties for and against. And we must admit in this case that you cannot say that United for this season success has been dependent on received penalties. They had a low number of penalties and also a low numbers in percentage of goals scored from penalties.  Arsenal is in second place so we cannot say that we have been well treated when it comes to penalties. Also Blackburn has been badly treated in this way.

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17 comments to Shots, goals… the untold statistics machine keeps on rolling – part 5 – How did we concede last season?

  • PragmatistGOONER

    How come ManUtd conceedes more goals than Chelsea and ManCty become champions?? :O

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    PragmatistGOONER – concedes has only one e before the d and none after!
    How did Manure win the EPL, by winning more games than their competitors and tying more as well despite conceding a lot of goals, giving them enough points to beat all opposition to the top.
    Hypothetically,a team could win the EPL in a 35 game season with 25 1-0 wins while still losing 5 games 5-0 and tying five games 5-5 then they have a total of 50 goals for,and 80 points, as well as 50 goals against and yet they still win the title….could happen?? Another example would be a team who never lost one game in the season but won only 10 by a 1-0 score and tied every other game 1-1. That would give the team 55 points and 45 goals for versus 25 goals against! They still wouldn’t win the EPL title and wouldn’t even make the top 4!
    Isn’t math lovely!!!

  • J

    One thing strikes me when reading this, above everything else.

    You say that out of the 40% of goals scored against us from set pieces, 14 % were penalties.

    Yet thinking of those penalties …. how many were clichy doing something stupid when what he should have done is just cleared the ball? or Kos giving away penalties, of the top of my head i can think of at least 2-3 where he has given away pens? Or squilachi being caught out of position and having to foul to stop a certain goal… same as djourou?

    Now compare this to set pieces… what you have is a scenario where instead of the individual errors of our defenders, you have a collective failure to defend from set pieces!

    No matter how you paint it, statistics may look as though up untill march or so we were doing very well comparative to our main competitors, however stats do not tell the whole story and this article is simply misleading.

    Yes, Vermelaen was out most of the season …. well, we conceded quite a few goals from set pieces when he was playing, and only finished 1 place higher in the league so is he really the massive player we were missing – possibly, im not trying to lay into verma here, no doubt he had a great season for us.

    But simple answer…. our defending, individual and collective was woeful and no stats will make that fact go away – and i didn’t even take into consideration the own goals.

  • Praaam

    You are forgetting how massive TV5 was last season and it was his first season..with him available we may have conceded fewer goals even from open play and maybe scored a few goals ourselves which could have improved our total points tally…

  • Dark Prince

    Some of the biggest key points of this article-

    1. We have conceded more goals via open play and set pieces than Chelsea, ManU and City.

    2. Contrary to popular controversies, ManU concedes more goals via penalties than score. Infact, their difference between Penalties for and Penalties against is the biggest in the whole league!! as shown in the table at -9.67%

    3. Offense wins games but Defense wins Championships.

  • kale

    i love this blog,it is just great.Are you the one who put the epl in numbers, that was the best article i ever read.

  • Shard

    This is a great analysis Walter. Some numbers are quite surprising actually. Like Fulham being the best dead ball team in terms of offensive and defensive play together.

    Also it is a little surprising about ManU’s penalties. yet I think the feeling of anger at such decisions this season, was that ManU should have actually conceded a lot more penalties. Their defense is good, but is aided a lot by fouls not being called against them. If they had to face more free kicks in their defensive third, they would concede a lot more goals. Vidic, that great big beast in the air, has won 69% of his aerial duels. Koscielny has won 70%. Ferdinand was called for only 3 fouls the entire Premier League season.

    Facts are a lot more unbiased than many opinions. I don’t find this article misleading in any way. We concede too many from set pieces. That is often correctly highlighted. ManU concede quite a few too. Easily forgotten. I don;t see how it is misleading at all.

    And Dark Prince. The point 3 is an old basketball adage. It’s just something that some witty fellow came up with and it sounds funky. It doesn’t mean much you know. Winning games IS what wins you championships. And games are won by having outscored your opponent. So it is offense that wins you games. the defense can save you games. Both together win you championships. I’d rather my team was more offensive minded than defensive minded if there was only the choice of one. And not just for aesthetic reasons.

  • bjtgooner

    @ Shard
    Well said.

  • walter

    J, for your information about the penalties given against us

    Tottenham – handball Cesc correct penalty
    Wigan – Koscielny involved but no contact and dive and outside penalty area
    Newcastle – Koscielny – very soft penalty from Dowd
    Newcastle – Rosicky – a complete joke of a penalty from Dowd
    Liverpool – Eboue involved- another wrong decision
    Tottenham – Szczesny came late – correct penalty

    So J, this is only two penalties involving Koscielny and in both cases he was not doing much wrong in fact. And Clichy is not even close to any penalty decision this season.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- first, of all that Basketball adage means that both Offence and Defence is important. Its a common misconception on many here at Untold that Offence is more important than Defence. But the simple fact is that both are equally important. And at the moment, our defence is not upto the mark of Champions even though our offence is.

    You jus have to check out the Champions of the last decade…in the last decade, there have been 7 instances where the Champions have scored the most goals, but there are also 7 instances where the champions have conceded the least goals….

    So in simple words, we score a lot of goals, like we did this gone season also, but its our defence which costs us our championships.

  • Shard

    @Dark Prince

    I was merely pointing out the inconsistency in that cool sounding statement. I did say both together win you championships. But if there were to be the choice of only one between offense and defense, offense will be the better choice.

  • Shard

    Also, I don’t think our offense has been good enough either.

  • Dark Prince

    Shard- i think our offence is good enough, but obviously only if all our players are fully fit. But cant say the same for our defence. We still haven’t seen a superb championship winning central defensive partnership in Arsenal. Look at the last 5 seasons, we had different 1st choice central defensive partnerships in all the 5 seasons, and this new season too we’ll most probably see a new central defensive partnership…

  • FunGunner

    apologies if this appears twice

    @ Walter
    Thanks, interesting reading.

    @ DP
    DMacM is right – and so is Shard. That basketball adage does not hold true for football, nor is it borne out by the figures Walter posted. A championship-winning side has to be very good both in attack and in defence, but the team with the highest number of goals scored is more likely to win the championship than the team with the fewest goals conceded.

  • Dark Prince

    FunGunner- i’ll disagree with you. Check out in the last 5 seasons, Arsenal has scored the most goals in 3 seasons. But Arsenal is no where near winning the title. Offence and Defence is both important. And neither can be relied upon completly.

  • FunGunner

    @ DP
    If that’s true, then we’re bucking the trend!
    But I didn’t say the side that has the highest number of goals always wins. I was talking about the probability of the most prolific side winning a league compared to probability of the side with the meanest defence winning it.
    And I did say that if you want to win a championship you have to excel at BOTH attack and defence. I certainly didn’t claim you can “rely” on either. But you can’t win a match or a championship unless you outscore your opponents, and that is the bottom line. If you score a lot of goals, it is more likely that you will win a lot of games and that is why there is a correlation. Of course if you concede a lot, you lose a lot as well, but you might also draw some – provided that you score, too. If you don’t concede, you can’t lose, but you don’t win either – unless you score. And given the arithmetic of 3 points for a win and 1 point for a draw, the figures over a season favour attack – a bit.

  • Dark Prince

    @FunGunner- ah, the classic battle between which is more important – Attack or Defence??

    You did state one example when you said that to have 3 points you need to score, but u failed to realise that having a clean sheet will definately guarantee u a minimum of 1 point…but scoring goals wont guarantee even that 1 point….so its still kinda even battle between both.