I mentioned after the international break that goal-scoring was down crazy low in the Premier League, and that the underlying problem was that for two weeks, no one was creating good chances. I felt it was something to watch, but it was really a two-week trend. Week 1 of the EPL season had seen perfectly normal numbers in goal scoring and chance creation. Last week was not as dire as previous weeks, but still well below last year's averages. Here are the numbers, along with averages for 2012-2013. Numbers are listed per team-game, "BC" are big chances as classified by Opta, SiBoT are shots in the box on target drawn from the publicly available game data:
The number of big chances went up, though goals and SiBoT stayed down a bit. As you can see, there seems to be a smaller range of variation in SiBoT overall than big chances. I'm not sure what's going on here. The wide swings in big chances, could suggest problems arising from a subjectively scored statistic. Or the lower variation in SiBoT even in weeks where not a ton of chances were created, could suggest that SiBoT isn't telling a full story. I'm going to continue using both and continue tracking the numbers. Four weeks is far too small a sample to test any hypotheses about the quality of the data I'm using.
The rebound in big chances last week has to be at least a little bit encouraging, even if it wasn't reflected in goals scored or even fully in shots on target in the box. Movement in the right direction, maybe?
Stats and Projections for Spurs/Cardiff
Tottenham Hotspur project to beat Cardiff City. The majority of the time. My stats continue to project Cardiff among the relegation battlers, while Norwich City, last week's opponents, projected as lower mid-table. Nonetheless, since this is an away match, the numbers are not as optimistic as they were for Norwich last week. I have Norwich rated as roughly 15% better than Cardiff, but that difference is still trumped by the roughly 25% home field advantage in the Premier League.
As continues to be the case, the difference between a win and a loss at this point in the season isn't determinative. Multiple wins add up, though, and with the crazy six-team chase forming at the top of the table, every percentage point matters.