Welcome all. Here is part 6 of the detailed look at all the stats behind the 2011/12 EPL season that ended last month. Our beloved Man City were crowned champions in a dramatic finale. Were Man City consistently the best team in this seasons EPL stats wise? How close really were Man Utd to Man City when thinking of the underlying numbers?
I hope this series will help us discover the answers to these questions. Join me after the jump when I take a look at Shot +/-'s for every EPL team. We will look at home records and away records and sort the EPL table accordingly
2011/12 EPL Table by shots for +/- (home)
So this is the follow on piece to yesterday shots for at home, and shots against at home pieces.
No suprise here to see Man City top the shots +/- measure. Man City had a generationally strong home season, winning 18 of 19 so it would have been a hell of a shock to not see them on top. As it is, Man City led the league with a 12.53 shots +/-.
Liverpool were a strong team by this measure coming in 2nd place which fits with the previous articles I wrote, where Liverpool were a strong team when looking at just shots on target for and against. Man Utd slip down to 6th place despite having the 2nd best EPL home record.
We then see a drop off of around 4 shots per game from Man Utd to Everton, who are the last team to finish above the mean. So that gives us 7 teams who finished above the mean, although teams such as Man City, Liverpool and Spurs distorted the mean line with exceptional shot +/- numbers.
We then move to teams that finished the wrong side of zero and slipped into a - number. Norwich and Sunderland slip into the bottom 5 by this measure with Sunderland again, particularly disappointing. Bolton with a -1.3 is to be expected, Wolves ditto with -3.84 per game. But, it is Stoke again who post a poor number with -1.63 +/- per game. We all are fed the line that Stoke are exceptionally difficult to play against, this may be true, but they are regularly and consistently outshot at home, which should, if all things being equal and playing styles similar lead to a poor home record. As it is, Stoke play a unique style, giving up territory in order to not leave gaps in their formation becoming exposed. Stoke look like a relegation team by all the numbers except points. Their unique playing style allows them to twist the numbers.
2011/12 EPL Table By Shots Per Game +/- away
This is where the graphics and charts get interesting. When we look at the chart above we can see just how difficult it is to outshoot the opposition away from home on a consistent, season long basis.
Man City just romp away with it at the top of the table by this measure. Man City's 5.42 shots per game is an outstanding number, yet, it was a number that only translated to the 2nd best away record. If total shots +/- had complete uniformity to points gained we would see Man City with the EPL's best away record, alas, shots to points gained doesn't have as strong a relationship as some think. Still, for Man City to outshoot the opposition by such a marging per game is mightily impressive.
Arsenal, Spurs and suprisingly, Liverpool sit just off Man City's high number. Only 4 teams have a positive +/- number and this is testament to the difficulties of playing on the road. I think it was Arsene Wenger who once commented that there should not be a mental block in regard to playing away or at home. It is still a pitch with a ball and 11 a side. But the chart above shows how difficult it is to outshoot your opponents even if it is easier to out possess them.
The bottom clubs in the table above are to be expected, Sunderland feature again despite O'Neill's hiring. Newcastle finished 5th to last with a -6.89 shots per game differential. Newcastle had the EPL's 6th best away record.
Man Utd come in 5th place by this measure with a -1.05 shots per game differential. This may be somewhat suprising to some, considering they had by far the EPL's best away record. Other factors, and possibly unsustainable factors, propelled Man Utd to the EPL's best away record. As an example of why shots used on their own as a stat is misleading we can use two of Man Utd's away victories .
Man Utd's away vs Bolton 0-5 was the score, shots on goal Bolton 22 Man Utd 14
Man Utd's away win vs Fulham. 0-5 Fulham 15 shots, Man Utd 18
Now those are two extreme examples but there are numerous other, less extreme examples, of why using shots in isolation can be misleading.