2012/13 Halfway Point Analysis: shots on target against

Julian Finney

Following on from the earlier piece which focused on shots on target for, we shall now look at shots on target against.

This post will focus on teams' ability to prevent the opposition from registering shots on target. In order to prevent the opposition from registering those shots on target teams use a variety of tactics. For a team like Man City possession is king, along with some pretty good center halves and midfielders. Stoke cede possession in order to ensure their defensive shape is solid enough to restrict the opposition around their box thus minimizing shots on target against.

Shots on target against.

The lower the number the better.

Sota_ovr_19_medium

Man City are sensational by this measure (as they were in shots on target for) in only conceding 51 shots on target against through 51 games. That number needs context and that is provided by looking at not only the league average shots on target against number, 88, but also by comparing City's number with the second best shots on target preventing team. Those teams are Liverpool and Arsenal, both fine possession teams, who sit at 68 shots on target against. City are 17 shots on target against clear of the next best team. It's an incredible gap and City should boast the best defensive record in the league but for the save % being a handicap.

As for the poorer shots on target prevention teams we look no further than Reading who boast an inferior quality of player. Swansea, new media darlings, are the second worst team in the league closely trailing a Fulham team who are struggling to control games following the loss of two key players over the summer.

Man United, who can boast quality defenders and an incredible pedigree, are extremely poor by their own standards and are sandwiched between PL giants Southampton and Sunderland. United, who are conceding 4.89 shots on target against per game will need to improve drastically if they are to maintain their incredible winning form so far.

Shots On Target Against (home)

Sota_a_home_19_medium

City, as usual, lead the league in an underlying statistical category. Conceding less than 3 shots on target per game is a very good achievement.

West Brom, surprisingly to some, are the second best team by this measure. and this is the real key to their excellent home form. Restrict opposition shots on target and it can help build a platform to win the fixture.

United, mid table in shots on target against at Old Trafford, which was once a graveyard for visiting teams. This season, United are giving opportunities for opposing teams who are taking those opportunities, but the narrative of United's season is the ability to score themselves out of any sort of game situation,

Stoke are lauded for the defensive prowess and their supposedly unique ability to restrict the opposition, yet the table above tells a slightly different story. Yes, Stoke are a fine prevention team but not as mean as some or even most teams in the PL. Aston Villa, for one, are more adept at the prevention of opposition shots on target. If you need a clue as to Stoke's fine home defensive record then look for Danny's piece on save%.

Shots on target against (away)

Sota_a_away_medium

Here we see the away table.

From bottom to top we note that West Ham are being murdered on the road and are giving up far too many shots on target against than would be safely advised. If a team gives up north of 7 shots on target per game it cannot expect to win too many games.

Man United are the 4th worst team in terms of shots on target against away. Fourth worst in the league. Somehow United have won 7 of their 10 away games despite leaking shots against at a historically high level.

QPR and Sunderland, despite exhibiting some worrying away form, are both in the top ten of this away category. Stoke lie in third place on the road. Man City knock the league average, and anyone else in the league, out of the park yet again.

Man City, meanest shot prevention home and away, and when remembering the shots on target for post from earlier, the best shot creation team too. City are handicapped by the %'s which should positively regress and thus form and points accumulation should improve and more accurately reflect these outstanding underlying numbers.

A big doff of the cap also to Tottenham and Vila-Boas who in this category and a few others are the second best team in the league.

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