Manchester United unsurprisingly lead the pack but does this measure explain City's struggles so far in 2012/13?
The latest in our series of posts analysing the halfway point of the 2012/13 Premier League season looks at Scoring %. We know which teams are scoring the most goals (and only 14th place Fulham have currently scored more than any of the top seven in the Premier League) but which are the most effective at converting their opportunities?
For the purposes of this analysis Scoring % is a basic percentage calculation of the number of goals scored per shots on target.
Scoring % by League Table
As stated previously, the current top seven in the Premier League all feature at the top of the scoring charts but if we look at the Premier League table by position how does this correlate to their Scoring %:
Whilst United of course lead both the Premier League table and the Team Scoring % there are some notable teams that stand out. At the bottom sit QPR with a horrendous 19.28%, some 13% lower than any other side and little wonder they prop up the table. Noticeable too is the fact that the bottom four in Team Scoring % occupy the bottom six positions and positions15-20 in Team Scoring % all in the bottom half.
It is interesting though that both Reading and Southampton buck this trend, both being in the top eight in Team Scoring % but struggling in terms of league position, a likely consequence of their poor defensive records.
At the opposite end of the table it is noticeable that West Brom sit in third position which is sustaining their bid for European football, whilst we now come onto City, whose figure of 27.64% (broken down as 33.33% at home and 21.05% away) both explains their lower goals total through 19 games and is also leading to a higher number of draws (six so far) and narrower winning margins than in 2011/12 - a season which was buoyed by their 38% Scoring %; some 14% higher than the current season so far.
Scoring % Table 19 games
We can now see the Scoring % ranked 1-20 which also provides evidence of quite how far ahead of the rest of the Premier League United are compared to the mean. United of course skew the table with their exceptional number which is way in an advance of any other side in the Premier League. A note of caution (or should that be hope?) though would be that their number is likely unsustainable, which should mean that their goals total reduces over the second half of the season, which, if aligned with a situation where they do not correct their tendency to concede first, will provide an opportunity for City to claw back the seven point gap.
City's number is a huge surprise and the fact that they have managed 34 goals this season is based on them having a Premier League leading shots on target total but their current Scoring % is only the fourteenth best and sits below the average. Logic suggests that this number is unsustainable though and should positively regress but given City likely need to take around 45 or 46 points over the second half of the season to challenge for the title they will need to hope that any regression sees the high number of draws converted to wins on a sustained basis.
It is fair to say that Scoring % is a combination of luck and skill and whilst over the second half they will regress (both positively and negatively) to the mean for some teams at the bottom end of the table it will not be enough to save them for relegation. Teams like QPR, Wigan, Aston Villa and even Newcastle will be interesting to watch to see if their number can improve whilst both Reading and Southampton will be wary of the number regressing negatively given their need for points in 2013.
2011/12 Scoring %
For comparative purposes here is a quick look at how the 2011/12 season finished and whilst we can see that some teams (Aston Villa, Stoke) have remained similar to last season, there are some (Chelsea, City) that have a sizeable change, both positive and negative:
Here we can see just how consistent United have been in this category. Since game 4 United's Scoring % has only dipped below 40% on one occasion for the rest of the season and it sits some way above the Premier League average.
We can see from last seasons final 'table' that United's figure is higher than last years 'winner', Stoke City, and being above 40% we can expect this to cool off at some point but will it be significantly enough to see a drop off in points?
QPR are performing significantly under both the Premier League average and the lowest total from 2011/12 so again, we'd expect their total to positively regress. If it increases significantly enough (along with an increase in their save %) they may have an outside chance of avoiding the drop.
Whilst City have been below the Premier League average their high number of shots on target has allowed them to remain in the title race. Although you'd expect this figure to increase the worry from City's perspective is that the figure has more or less flatlined over the six or seven games and has been sustained by their defensive record.
Being the Premier League leader in terms of getting shots on target means there is no issue with a lack of creativity, but the low Scoring % does illustrate an issue with both bad luck and bad skill; categories which need to be corrected for them to repeat as Champions next May.