Last year I showed that attacking events (goals, shots, shots on target) had been increasing during the last 11 Premiership season (link). The trend continued in 2011-12:
Each point on that plot represents a season worth of data. So how does the Premiership in 2012 compare to the Premiership in 2001?
Goals: 2011-12 was the third straight season that 1000+ goals have been scored. There are roughly 5% more goals now than in 2001, which translates to about 2.5 per team over the course of a season.
Shots on target: After wavering a little between 2001 and 2006 they’ve skyrocketed, up by a third in the past six seasons, an increase of about 60 shots on target per team over a season.
Total shots: A similar, but not as dramatic, story to shots on target. Since hitting a minima in 2006 they’ve increased by about 20%, an extra 85 shots per team over a season
As a side note: In 2001 ~48% of shots were on target. In 2012 that number was ~57%.
Sh% & Sv%: The numbers for the ’00-01 and ’01-02 season look pretty anomalous. Maybe the definition of a shot on target was changed prior to the ’02-03 season? Since then there has been a steady drop in sh%. The current sh% ~2.5% below the twelve year mean, costing each team about 6 goals per season.
In summary whilst there has been a marked increase in goals in the Premiership this has been caused by teams taking a much larger volume of shots, as opposed to a shot being more likely to go in.
I think this has to be a good thing for fans. Low scoring games are close games by definition. The vast majority of these games (64%) resulted in a tie or one goal win. Therefore as a fan there’s always either the hope that your team could nick the goal needed to take the lead/pull level, or the nerves associated with holding a one goal lead late in a game.
Had sh% stayed the same whilst the number of shots increased then logically this wouldn’t be the case as often, the better team would be much more likely to win. If that were the case then those lucky bounces, fluke deflections and freak 40 yard strikes would be less likely to count for something. I’m glad they’re still part of the game.