Gareth Bale By The Numbers

Michael Regan

Welcome to this cursory look at Gareth Bale's performance in the Premier league. I am going to look at Bale's performance in terms of shots, goals and his scoring % as the season has progressed using moving averages.

We are then going to look at Bale's share of Tottenham's shots and goals in order to see if his influence on the Tottenham team has increased throughout the season.

Gareth Bale's Total Shots


As stated these numbers are moving averages. We use these to give us an indication of whether his shot volume has progressed or regressed.

We see high early season variance, then a 'settling' period between 3 and 3.5 shots per game for fixtures between 7 and 23. Then from that point on see a marked increase in Bale's shot volume per game. Is this a function of Bale's move to a central position? You guys know better than me if that is true......

Breakdown Of Bale's Total Shots


Here we have shots on target, missed shots and blocked shots.

Shots on target, as it stands today, accounts for 46.3% of Bale's total shots, missed 32.6% and blocked 21.1%. The moving averages indicate the changes of the constituent parts of Bale's total shots.

Shots and target and missed shots have both increased since that 23 game mark, but it is blocked shots which have really spiked. Again, is this due to the central move where more of Bale's shots would be blocked in an area which has a higher number of opposition bodies?

Overall, Bale is getting a good number of total shots on target, and this despite a tendency to shoot for distance. That long distance accuracy and it's potential unsustainability is something that Footballfactman has promised to look at.

Bale's SHooting Efficiency And Scoring%


Shooting efficiency is defined as shots on target/total shots. Scoring% is goals/shots on target.

Bale has a pretty good shooting efficiency, getting just under 50% of his total shots on target. This number has been fairly consistent since game 6 or 7, and it may be a true reflection of Bale's ability.

Scoring% shows some more variable data. Bale's scoring% has steadily increased as the season has progressed. Now, some people may attribute Bale's recent scoring run to luck, infact it is likely to merely be the expected positive regression to the mean of league average scoring%.

League average scoring is 30%. I'm not sure what you guys think but I would expect Bale to be a better shooter than 30% over his career for a couple of reasons:

1) Bale is going to be a forward for the rest of his career and forwards tend to have higher than league average scoring %'s

2) Bale has too good a shot to be a sub scoring percentage player. To see an increase in his scoring% may only require a little positive regression and a slight tweaking of his shot selection in certain zones of the pitch.

Bale's Influence On Tottenham

Tottenham aren't a one man team as been stated in the press, but you already know this. That doesn't mean that Bale's influence on Tottenham hasn't grown throughout the season.


Bale's share of Tottenham's total shots has been pretty steady all season, although it has shown improvement since that game 23 mark.

Bale's share of Tottenham's goals is bullish, though. Bale's share has been steadily increasing all season, but we have seen an even sharper increase recently. This is due to Bale upping his shot volume, upping his shots on target volume per game and most importantly, the positive regression of his scoring%.

The Welshman is simply becoming more important to Tottenham as the season wears on. But how important is Bale to his team when compared to some of the very best?

Messi is on another planet, Ronaldo is a shot machine and crucial to Madrid, and then we see Bale who is ahead of a striker of the quality of RvP.

Tottenham aren't a one man team, they just happen to have an extremely good player in their first XI. A player whose influence has grown throughout the season, a player who appears to be in the form of his life.

Personally I think there may be more to come from Bale in terms of his scoring%. If Bale ends up having better decision making in terms of when and which part of the field to shoot (closer to goal), we may see his scoring% rise above 35%. A 35% scoring% over a full season this year would have seen Bale score an extra 3 or 4 goals. that rise in scoring% is very attainable when thinking of his shot selection and maturity as a forward.

A bonus in case you're interested in this kind of thing

Bale's Performance At Certain Game States

-3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3
Missed 0 1 7 22 8 2 0
Blocked 0 0 5 12 4 2 0
SoT 1 0 6 24 19 4 1
Total Shots 1 1 18 58 31 8 1
% 0.85 0.85 15.25 49.15 26.27 6.78 0.85

-3 -2 -1 0 1 2 3
Shooting Eff % 100.00 0.00 33.33 41.38 61.29 50.00 100.00
Scoring % 100.00 0.00 16.67 25.00 31.58 25.00 100.00
Goals 1 0 1 6 6 1 1

Thanks for reading. I write for Bitter and Blue.

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