Scoring 20+ goals in the premiership – part I

Since 1995-96 (the last 15 seasons – the 38 game era) there have been 34 occasions when a player has scored 20+ goals. Below is the ‘average’ season from a player scoring 20+ goals

Games Goals
34.8 24.2

I’d expect goal scoring to be a fairly repeatable skill so there should be some repetition from year to year, yet a player there are only 10 occasions where a player has had back to back 20+ seasons. This is what we see from these 20+ goals players the seasons prior to and after a 20+ season.

Year Games Goals Goals per game
Season prior 31.0 17.4 0.56
season of 20+ 34.8 24.2 0.70
Season after 27.9 14.4 0.52

I think there’s a couple of logical explanations highlighted here. Firstly players have to stay healthy to score 20+ goals, something that appears hard to do for goalscorers over a two or three year period. Secondly the goals per game ratio appears to shoot through the roof in a 20+ goal season, I’d suggest it’s likely down to an unsustainable shooting percentage and a change in the style of play (such as Darren Bent playing the lone striker last year and scoring 24, then alongside Gyan this year and being way off that pace).

Next I’ll take split the sample up between those who had back to back 20+ seasons and those who didn’t and see if there’s more to learn.

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2 thoughts on “Scoring 20+ goals in the premiership – part I

  1. Jim, I am enjoying this, I think you’ve got a promising idea for a site here, because although there are lots of sites looking at tactics in quite a technical way that have sprung up recently influenced by Jonathan Wilson (read his book “Inverting the Pyramid” by the way if you haven’t already), there still isn’t that much on stats and data. Have you seen the stuff here at The Guardian, might be some good resources for you to use there http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/chalkboards for within match stats.

  2. The guardian website would be an excellent resource. If I get round to learning how to data mine then there’s an unbelievable amount of useful stuff there. Stats are creeping in to the media but not this kind and I imagine it’s because they don’t provide a narrative. For example I’d say that Arsenal were lucky to beat Barcelona in the first leg of their tie but that angle doesn’t sell as well as some crap about heart and team spirit and maturity. Throw in a well presented chalkboard or a freezframe of poor defensive positioning and there is something a reader can identify quickly, stats often require interpretation so if this is going to be successful I think I’ve got to make the numbers speak for themselves with minimal explanation.

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