Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Clear Cut Chances and the Premier League

Clear Cut chances are one of those underrated stats in football. The definition of a clear cut chance is ‘A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range.’ (EPL Index) So in other words, a clear cut chance is a chance where the attacker is odds on to score, it can range from a one on one finish, a unmarked headed chance or a tap in chance.

My theory is this, the more clear cut chances you create, the more goals you score, let’s see how many clear cut chances the Premier League sides have created this season.

Summary of Clear Cut Chances & Chances Created

Green =best, Red = worst
Home Clear Cut Chances

Stats via EPL Index
Away Clear Cut Chances

Clear Cut Chances and Goals Scored

My theory that the more clear cut chances you create, the more goals you score is not 100% true. The likes of Tottenham and Reading both break that line of thinking, but the stats do suggest a some connection between clear cut chances and goals scored.  

Key Points/ Observations

·         Man United creating clear cut chances in abundance: Man United have created an incredible amount of clear cut chances. This is one of the reasons why United are free scoring this season. United have created more than double the chances of around 6 Premier League sides. One must credit Sir Alex Ferguson’s ability to create sides and find players that have the understanding and tactical awareness to create good chances for their fellow team mates. It is quite clear looking at the stats, Man United create a stupendous amount of clear cut chances at home, no other Premier League side have created 20 clear cut chances at home, while United have created 26, which roughly equates to 3 clear cut chances created per home game. If Man United continue to create clear cut chances at this rate, I believe they will carry on scoring for fun this season.
·         Norwich creating an impressive amount of clear cut chances: Norwich have been on a monumental run of late, going unbeaten in their last 10 PL games. This run has been fuelled by the fact Norwich have the ability to create a decent amount of clear cut chances. A reasonable 15% of the chances Norwich have created have been clear cut. What impresses me about The Canaries, is although they do not create a whole deal of chances, the chances they do create are quality chances, which can be the difference between winning and losing games.
·         Everton have created the most chances in the Premier League: Everton being the top creators in the Premier League is no surprise to me. After all, the likes of Baines are have the fantastic ability to create chances not only in open play but from set pieces too. But Everton creating 27 clear cut chances is not bad at all, what will satisfy David Moyes the most is the a near equilibrium in the clear cut chances created home or away. 
·         Arsenal create the most clear cut chances away from home: Perhaps this comes as no surprise to some, after all, Arsenal are at their most effective when playing on the counter and away from home, they have a better chance to counter, as the opponent presses higher and plays a higher line.
·         Wigan’s poor 4 clear cut chances created away from home is an early concern: At the DW Wigan have no problem creating clear cut chances, however, on the road, it’s a different story. What surprised me was the fact, Wigan’s system is predominantly structured on counter attacking and you’d expect them to create more clear cut chances on the road, given it is more likely that there will be more space for them to exploit on the road. Furthermore, it is probable that a clear cut chance will be created when there is more space, as the marking is lax and players can be found out of position.
·         Liverpool creating chances, but not enough quality chances: Liverpool’s lack of finesse in front of goal has been widely talked about for the past 18 months. However, there have been many calls that, ‘Liverpool are one natural goal scorer away from being successful.’ I am unsure of this, although having a goal poacher would certainly see Liverpool score more goals, the quality of the chances Liverpool have created has not been great. Only 9% of Liverpool’s chances have been clear cut, there are 14 sides who have created more clear cut chances than The Reds, even though Liverpool have created the second highest amount of chances in the Premier League. If Liverpool are to improve their League standing, I feel they need to indeed their chances, but more pertinently the chances they create have to be better, therefore making it easier for the attackers to finish.
·         Aston Villa’s struggling to create at home: A few seasons ago, Villa park was something of a fortress , but a mere 4 clear cut chances being created at home is something which perhaps demonstrates this young Villa sides lack of experience and know how. Perhaps the pressure of playing in front of a big crowd is having an effect on Villa’s expressive side of their game, if you look at their away clear cut chances, its far far better, I think it is a mental aspect which is effecting this young Villa team at home.
·         Tottenham scoring comfortably, yet not created many clear cut chances: This is an odd one, one which really surprised me, prior to looking up the stats, I expected Tottenham to be up there with the teams creating the most quality chances in the Premier League, I mean look at their creative players, the likes of Lennon, Bale, Dembele and Dempsey. These are all players who can create quality chances. I expect Spurs to create more clear cut chances as the squad grows into AVB’s team. 

And to finish off, here's a pie chart showing how much or how little clear cut chances the Premier League sides have created.


(Stats from EPL Index, Date stats taken: 18/12/12 ) 


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