I have been scouring my database for a comparison to Tottenham Hotspur's horrible scoring record. Based on my Shot Matrix data on shot location and pass/shot type, I project that Spurs should have scored about 18 goals from open play this season instead of six. That's a gap of slightly over 12 goals in just 12 games. And I have found a comparable. It's sort of a good one and a bad one. Liverpool in 2011-2012 (aka Dalglish's Liverpool aka Eighthpool).
From October 1st away to Everton through December 26th against Blackburn, a run of likewise 12 matches, Liverpool should have scored about 23 goals from open play, but netted only 11. Also a gap of 12 goals. Over the remainder of the season, Liverpool were close to but not quite normal at goal conversion. I have them with a projected 35 goals from open play compared to 30 actual.
I don't really know what conclusions should be drawn from this. We see that Liverpool certainly did not come close to continuing their pace in goal conversion. So there's no reason to project that will happen with Spurs either. On the other hand, Liverpool created many fewer chances in their other 26 matches than they did in the terrible 12. The Reds were actually doing ok through their run of terrible goal conversion (21 points against a relatively tough schedule), and it was in the remaining matches that they dropped more points. So this data enables us to tell the happy story (Shot Matrix G/SoT regresses to the mean!) or the sad story (bad Shot Matrix G/SoT numbers lead to bad future xG numbers lead to eighth place). I don't know. I'm still more confident than not.
One kind of funny little thing that happened on Sunday was that Spurs' xGA regressed to the mean. All year we've been the beneficiary of some good fortune in opponent shot placement, with six goals from open play allowed compared to eight or nine expected before the City match. City scored five goals from open play (plus an own goal, which I exclude from the analysis) compared to an expected three based on their shot location and type numbers. And we are right back to normal. It would take more than one match to bring Spurs' goals scored total back into line with our xG, but maybe that's what comes next.
Let's go to the projections.
Projections and Power Rankings
Do remember that because of rounding, not all the numbers necessarily add up quite right.
|West Bromwich Albion||11||13||14||46||-6||86||0%||0||3%||-0||0%||0||0%|
|West Ham United||9||12||17||39||-14||79||0%||0||21%||+6||0%||0||0%|
- Arsenal and City are really pulling away. Both won easily in home matches against good competition. City had been fractional points behind Arsenal last week, and their slightly more impressive win this week now gives them a fractional point advantage on Arsenal in the projected table. (It's more like 0.4 points difference than a full point.)
- Chelsea were the beneficiary of dropped points by all the other major contenders below Arsenal and City. Liverpool and Everton drew, Spurs lost, and Manchester United dropped points on a late equalizer by Cardiff. It was a good win for Chelsea, but the big difference maker for the Blues was everyone else dropping points.
- Manchester United put in another very poor defensive performance against Cardiff They managed three Danger Zone SoT in attack and allowed three to a previously unimpressive Cardiff side. I have United's defense this season rated at 95 Def-, only about five percent better than league average. While it's not like the Fulham match upcoming for expected goals, this should be an opportunity for Spurs to score a little.
- Hull City have to be among the most boring, pointless sides in recent EPL history. They can defend reasonably well and occasionally put a cross into a good area, but that is literally all they are capable of. With a man advantage and chasing a goal against perhaps the worst side in the league, they just started shooting from distance and attempting bad crosses. They managed two SoBoT down the final stretch, nothing from inside the box. And that was their most dynamic attacking performance of the match up to that point. On the season, Hull have 12 Danger Zone SoT, and 8 of those 12 have come from crosses. Four Danger Zone SoT not assisted by crosses is the worst mark in the league. Even Sunderland (with 7) and Crystal Palace (8) have nearly twice as many. I rate Hull's attack at barely over 50% of league average so far this year, worst in the Premier League. Their defense might keep them up, but for the sake of football fans, I hope it doesn't.
- It looked like a five-club relegation chase last week, but West Ham and Norwich getting beaten easily, combined with Cardiff picking up an unexpected point, has dropped those two clubs a little bit further toward the drop zone. My numbers project that the Hammers and the Canaries should be a good step better than the clubs below them in the projections, but any time you're projected to under 40 points, you can't be doing all that well.
- They won, and an actual winning streak might make this bit premature, but come on, it was against Hull. Crystal Palace are still getting relegated.