Shots, goals the untold statistic machines keeps on rolling – part 6 – passes, succes rates

By Walter Broeckx

Who was the best passing team? Who had the most accuracy in shooting on goal? How many shots where on goal? How many of those ended up at the back of the net? We just keep on finding answers for your questions.

If it comes to passing the ball around you all can remember the media going wild on saying how many successful passes Barcelona has made against Arsenal and how much this shows that they are the best team in the world. So how is this in the EPL?  Let us have a look at the numbers of successful passes in last season.

Team Succ Passes Average/game
1 Arsenal 16903 445
2 Chelsea 16079 423
3 Man United 15336 404
4 Man City 14643 385
5 Tottenham 13448 354
6 Liverpool 12906 340
7 Fulham 12458 328
8 Blackpool 11553 304
9 Wigan 11469 302
10 West Brom 11090 292
11 Everton 10935 288
12 Aston Villa 10827 285
13 Newcastle 10794 284
14 Wolves 10721 282
15 Sunderland 10180 268
16 West Ham 10112 266
17 Birmingham 10042 264
18 Bolton 8508 224
19 Blackburn 7291 192
20 Stoke City 6612 174

So if we could use the same standard as they do for Barcelona it is clear that Arsenal are by far the best team in the EPL. Now I could have missed it but I didn’t hear the serious media in the UK praise Arsenal like they praise Barcelona. But in a way this could be understood as Barcelona won something and we didn’t. But still when Barcelona beat us the media couldn’t keep their mouth shut about the passing the ball around but they didn’t make anything of the neck grabbing of 3 Barcelona players.

If you look at the bottom of the table you can see Stoke with a very very low number of successful passes. They sure play a different kind of football over there. The success rate of a “hoof-pass’ is very low compared to the other teams and certainly the top teams. But they like it over there and as long as they don’t hurt anyone with their type of play, who cares.  Oh, they do hurt people with their kind of play. I sure wouldn’t miss them if they go down next season.

Now let us take a look at the shot accuracy of the teams in the EPL last season and see how many shots where taken and how many ended on target.

Team Shots On Target Shot Accuracy
1 Arsenal 501 238 48%
2 Liverpool 434 205 47%
3 Man City 382 177 46%
4 Man United 462 212 46%
5 Wigan 371 170 46%
6 Everton 406 181 45%
7 Aston Villa 379 165 44%
8 Newcastle 380 167 44%
9 Chelsea 563 244 43%
10 Fulham 401 172 43%
11 Wolves 327 139 43%
12 Blackpool 387 161 42%
13 Tottenham 459 191 42%
14 West Ham 419 174 42%
15 Bolton 417 173 41%
16 West Brom 446 182 41%
17 Stoke City 360 143 40%
18 Birmingham 314 121 39%
19 Blackburn 347 135 39%
20 Sunderland 399 154 39%

And once again Arsenal is the team that has the most accurate shots. Almost one shot on 2 ends up between the posts. Not saying past the goal line but still some 48% of the shots on target is not that bad. Well it is better than the rest. The only team that has more shots in total than Arsenal is Chelsea.  And they also had 6 more shots on target last season in total compared to Arsenal. But they miss the target a lot more than we do.

But how many goals come from all this shooting and can we see how accurate the shooting has been when we look at the goals each team made?

R Team Shots pg Total shots Total goals Success rate all shots
1 Manchester United 12 462 78 16,88%
2 Manchester City 10 382 60 15,71%
3 Newcastle 10 380 56 14,74%
4 Arsenal 13 501 72 14,37%
5 Blackpool 10 387 55 14,21%
6 Wolverhampton 9 327 46 14,07%
7 Liverpool 11 434 59 13,59%
8 Blackburn 9 347 46 13,26%
9 Stoke 9 360 46 12,78%
10 Aston Villa 10 379 48 12,66%
11 Everton 11 406 51 12,56%
12 West Bromwich 12 446 56 12,56%
13 Bolton 11 417 52 12,47%
14 Chelsea 15 563 69 12,26%
15 Fulham 11 401 49 12,22%
16 Tottenham 12 459 55 11,98%
17 Birmingham 8 314 37 11,78%
18 Sunderland 10 399 45 11,28%
19 Wigan 10 371 40 10,78%
20 West Ham 11 419 43 10,26%

And in this table we see that Manchester United are the most successful team in the EPL and that this could be the reason (amongst others which we have been talking about in other articles) they won the league.

They didn’t have the most shots per game, they didn’t have the most shots in total. But they had the most goals and had the highest success rate when you look at all the shots each team has taken.

Arsenal ends up in 4th place in this table. So maybe we should shoot less but finish our shots a bit better. I would like to say that most people have the impression that we don’t shoot enough. But in fact we do shoot more than the rest (apart from Chelsea) but we just should score more from our attempts. Easier said than done.

And finally I would like to have a look at the success rate of the shots on target and see how many of those shots end up in a goal. And then we get this table.

R Team Shots OT pg Total shots OT Total goals Success rate shots OT
1 Manchester United 6 212 78 36,79%
2 Blackpool 4 161 55 34,16%
3 Blackburn 4 135 46 34,07%
4 Manchester City 5 177 60 33,90%
5 Newcastle 4 167 56 33,53%
6 Wolverhampton 4 139 46 33,09%
7 Stoke 4 143 46 32,17%
8 West Bromwich 5 182 56 30,77%
9 Birmingham 3 121 37 30,58%
10 Arsenal 6 238 72 30,25%
11 Bolton 5 173 52 30,06%
12 Sunderland 4 154 45 29,22%
13 Aston Villa 4 165 48 29,09%
14 Tottenham 5 191 55 28,80%
15 Liverpool 5 205 59 28,78%
16 Fulham 5 172 49 28,49%
17 Chelsea 6 244 69 28,28%
18 Everton 5 181 51 28,18%
19 West Ham 5 174 43 24,71%
20 Wigan 4 170 40 23,53%

And again Manchester United has had the best success rate when they had shots on target. One could say that if they have 3 shots on target they will have one goal scored. And in this table we find ourselves in a mid table position. We had the second most shots on target in the league but when you look at how many goals that we scored we only manage a rather low number. The biggest disappointment in this table could be Chelsea. They had the most shots on target of all the teams but only end up in 17th place when it comes to having success with those shots.

In fact it is a bit strange that the 3 teams who had on average some 6 shots on target per game end up in such different positions in the success rate table. United comes first, Arsenal tenth and Chelsea seventeenth.  And another surprise is the fact that Blackpool didn’t take much shots but had a very high success rate of the shots on target. But they didn’t shoot enough to stay in the EPL.

For Arsenal the conclusion could be that we had a lot of the ball and worked the ball rather well. We had a lot of shots and we did manage to shoot on target very well. But we just didn’t score enough goals and at the end of the day,  this is what matters most.

Untold Index

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Making the Arsenal

21 Replies to “Shots, goals the untold statistic machines keeps on rolling – part 6 – passes, succes rates”

  1. Woah!!!! Thats some serious statistics!! Have to admit, ManU have some serious clinical finishing. Thats where we need to improve. But then, we had some 22 shots hit on the woodwork also. It would be interesting to see how the last 2 table would have looked liked if all the shots of all the teams which hit the post would have been counted as a goal. But then again, thats the difference…we jus were not clinical enough, while ManU were.

    Nice article!! 🙂

  2. If only the EPL title was decided on statistics post-season.
    In real life it’s only the doings on the pitch that count and last term this is where our failings were exposed.
    However, this close season is going to be a bit different to those of the past. Selective new blood will come in and the result will, IMO, create completely new stats for compilers to play with.

  3. Walter,
    If you don’t mind, I would like to point out a small technical mistake. The last line of the third paragraph says ‘neck-grabbing “of” 3 Barcelona players’. Though not completely incorrect it is quite ambiguous and means that Arsenal players grabbed Barcelona players’ throats. Using “by” instead of “of” would make it flawless as in ‘neck-grabbing “by” 3 Barcelona players’.
    Excellent work, Walter and I am surprised that the machine is still rolling on…will it continue?

  4. No problem Naren, thanks for pointing this out.

    And my calculator has broken down for the moment so this is for now the final part of the statistic machine. 😉 But as I know myself I will find another point of view and start again…

  5. It’d be interesting to know the stats player-by-player. The image that i have is of Cesc and Jack having very bad luck in their shooting last season. There’s no doubt that the style of play is enough to dominate possession against most teams which leads to plenty of chances but none of the midfielders are goal-scorers like a Lampard, Scholes (in his prime), Gerrard or Sneijder. I guess it’s greedy to ask for everything from your midfielders.

  6. i find it baffling that all these lads do is kick a ball 24/7 yet they still fluff shots at goal. is that what separates someone like messi etc to the rest? does messi think ok ive made it in footie now to become the best by practicing where as the rest are content with their ability?
    ive watched a large percentage of the 501 shots and it has been very frustrating along with the crosses and corner kicks that fail to beat the first man or are lobbed in instead of my preferred whipped.

  7. Excellent work as always! Intriguing that the number of shots on target doesn´t result in most scored goals. Could it be that Man U has more counterattacks than us (or Chelsea), and because of that gest more one on one chances with the keeper, or has fewer defenders to beat? Just a thought.

  8. “But in fact we do shoot more than the rest (apart from Chelsea) but we just should score more from our attempts. Easier said than done.” Well, here’s an idea for how to more easily do what is said:
    For starters, YES! We are Not Clinical Enough, especially within the 6 yard line. For those who don’t like that word (NCE), then just consider the proposition that we need to buy/bring in the next Eduardo: the Fox-in-the-Box. To this point, please note that Sahil and I have been having this ongoing, pertinent discussion on June 16 and 17th on:

    SOME KEY RESULTS (thanks to Sahil’s researches!):
    June 17th, 2011 at 2:08 pm: @bob:I went over the 6 yard conversion facts like you asked. Arsenal have a 33.6% [goal] 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.

    June 20th, 2011 at 6:54 am: @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.

    June 20th, 2011 at 10:13 am: @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.

    Sahil is now researching our conversion rate between the 6 and 18 yard line.

  9. Your analysis nicely answers some questions, but raises others. For example, is there is a way to determine the influence of the opponent’s goal keeper? It seemed that Arsenal’s scoring was limited in a number of matches by truly exceptional performances by the opposing keepers. In other words, did the opposition goal keeper’s play average out over the season (like the presumed calls for and against) or was it disproportionally stronger against Arsenal?

  10. Shard- i agree, ours is not the best attack this gone season, but its certainly championship quality. We still have scored the 2nd most number of goals in the league….that says something. Only if our defence had some discipline, then we should have been champions. I can already remember games like that last min goal conceded against sunderland, the last min goal conceded against liverpool, the 2nd last min own goal by Squillaci against Wigan, the late goals against Bolton, Newcastle. Thats easily 10 points. Just a little more defensive discipline and we could hav been champions.

  11. This is my conundrum. How can a player like Cesc who can land any pass on a sixpence not transfer that same accuracy into his shooting ? For a while he was scoring regularly and then it just dried up. It may be down to power and it may be psychological. You often find that those with the best long-range passing accuracy are also in possession of a pretty good shot. Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Gerrard and Lampard are all examples.

  12. Cyberian,
    I think that keepers who play against Arsenal have been named man of the match on a few occasions this season.

  13. I think it’s worth pointing out that Man Utd are a very strong counter-attacking team, so the chances they create on a quick counter are likely to be of a much higher quality. That can give the appearance of their strikers being much more clinical than their opponents’, but it might be the case they simply get a higher number of tap-ins and easy finishes.

  14. @Shard:

    Sorry, off topic, but I’ve been trying to find you 🙂 I finally got back to that earlier thread where we were talking about the data spreadsheets that we were working on. I’m working on mine now, and I’m actually having some difficulty with it. I would really appreciate it if you had the chance to go back to that thread and let me know a little bit more about what you were able to come up with. Thanks. -A

  15. @Wrenny: On your last MU observation: Someone wrote at UA the other day that MU intentionally launches some long distance bombs per match at the keeper with a Fox-in-tight buzzing the goal mouth, there to pressure and/or just in case the keeper mishandles the ball for a tap in. Something to look into or perhaps to adapt (if there’s some chance with a keeper having a shaky day on the pitch).

  16. One thing that could change these stats, how many more penalties did Man I,O U have, than the rest of the clubs. You have done Fantastic Job well done & Thanks

  17. i will just add one more points.. The lack of goal from free kicks.. I dont remember many goals from free kick by arsenal.. So although they are counted as shots on goal we are not scoring.. Lets hope we can correct that..

  18. I think the fact that we deal with a parked bus every other game has a big influence on the stats. Many of our shots are difficult to execute and put past the super-keeper / bus driver. With that in mind, we didn’t do too bad. What we need is an effective strategy against the bus.
    Teams don’t fear manure enough to park the bus against them every time, since they are a defense-first team. Teams are ready to have a go at manure, which since they’re a counter attacking team, is exactly what they want.

  19. @C4: I think you’ve put the cart before the horse: to me it’s not whether our stats look too bad or good enough in the face of the parked bus; rather, it’s that we have not solved or found work-arounds to the parked bus and this failure has hurt us as a cup-competitor. So many draws does not satisfy, as you surely must feel?

  20. @bob: Perhaps I should have begun with the last sentence of my first paragraph… We’re actually saying the same thing.
    The stats aren’t the main issue, it’s more that we need an effective way to deal with the parked bus. It’s almost the norm now. Just look at man shitty when they come to the Emirates.
    But teams like manure don’t deal with the bus as often as we do. Most teams realize that playing against Arsenal means being starved of possession, so they feel they don’t have a choice but to park the bus. Much like how we adopted a similar stance when we played Barcelona, and the tactic bore fruit until the little god in the black uniform took the match into his own hands.
    So yes, I agree. The issue is that we need a way around or through that bus.

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