Having recently taken a look at the transfer spending of the current Premier League top three, as well as reviewing their record with big chances, I thought it was time to look at how they have fared with shots on target. As Liverpool and Manchester City meet at Anfield this weekend, I will look at their stats in this article, and factor in Chelsea ahead of their visit to Merseyside in two weeks time.
Regular readers will know that I’m a big believer in the importance of a team’s ‘shots in target ratio’ (SoTR), which shows what percentage of the shots on target in their matches a team themselves has had. You can read more on it here, but as a simple example, if a team has sixty shots on target and allows their opponents forty, then their SoTR is 60%.
Historically, teams that average a SoTR of above 60% can be in the mix for the title, and as this page shows, Manchester City and Liverpool are in the Premier League top three for SoTR, with figures of 64.7% and 63.6% respectively. We can therefore see that both teams are deserving of their top four places. How is their form for SoTR looking right now?
We can see that Manchester City’s SoTR has been better than Liverpool’s throughout 2013/14, but also that the gap has closed massively over the last half season; nineteen games ago, City were over 10% ahead of the Reds, but the gap is now down to 1.1%, and Liverpool’s SoTR is at it’s highest point of the season (excluding after the first game of the campaign).
When we look at the SoT conversion rate trends, we can see that both teams are operating at a truly elite level.
I have included the record of Manchester United last season as they had the highest shot on target conversion rate of any team in the five seasons from 2008/09 onwards, and were at least 1.5% better than every other team in that period.
We can see that Manchester City are ahead of that line at present, and Liverpool are not too far behind it. Whilst the Citizens lead the way, the Reds team of 2013/14 currently have the joint-sixth best SoT conversion rate of the 120 team seasons in the aforementioned time period. It’s no surprise to me in view of the shots on target stats I’ve presented here that these two teams are duking it out at the top of the division.
As with all statistics, the more context that can be provided the more use they are, and using the pitch maps on Stats Zone, I have been able to determine what areas of the pitch the two teams have had shots on target from, and allowed their opponents too.
Much like as with my chance quality work, I have broken the pitch down into six zones:
- Six Yard Box
- Centre Box (width of the six yard box, between that area and the edge of the penalty box).
- Wide Box
- Central Outside Box (again, width of the six yeard box)
- Other (all other areas outside the penalty box).
Here are the for and against figures for the two teams, by zone.
- Liverpool are slightly below par at keeping out shots on target from within their six yard box. I know from this Stats Bomb piece that a higher proportion of shots in the six yard box are headed rather than kicked, and considering the issues the Reds have had with defending set pieces, I suspect that the majority of the issues here have been in the air rather than on the deck.
- Manchester City are perhaps a little weak at keeping out shots from the wide box area, conceding six goals when they might expect to allow four, but as I said, the samples are too small to prove anything either way.
Of course, these season-long trends will count for little when the match kicks off at 13:37 on Sunday, with both teams very capable of claiming a victory; indeed, the Euro Club Index site rate the result chances as 35% Liverpool, 32% for a draw, and 33% a Manchester City win. In other words, it could hardly be closer, and the shots on target figures here also show that there’s very little between the two clubs this season.