If you have read the bitterandblue blog over the past year or so you may have stumbled across TSR (total shot ratio) which shows the share of a team of shots over a given time length - a game or a season etc. TSR can sometimes be confusing to those who are seeing it for the first time so I thought of a different way to display a teams shot information: good old shots differential. Basically shots +/-.
So here's what we do with shots differential: Instead of simply listing a raw number I am going to use the rolling shot differential number over 38 games. Why do this? I think it displays the trends and peaks and dips in performance throughout the season in a more easily accessible way. Naturally teams shot differential will be affected by injuries or exceptionally tough runs of fixtures or.........bad managers.
Total = the total shots differential
Close = the shots differential at Close game state (behind by a goal, Tied and up by a goal)
Tied = the shots differential at Tied Game State (only shots when the game was tied)
Shots Differential: League Positions 1-5
1) Manchester United
United's final season shot differentials aren't befitting of a title winner. United have some mighty interesting things going on though. United are the rarest of teams in that their Close shot +/- is more extreme than their total shot +/-.
United's shot +/-'s at all game states were rising at a steady clip, then at game 23 Gareth Bale and Tottenham destroyed their close and total shot +/-. Game 24 saw Southampton outshoot United, Games 25 and 26 saw United break even in Total and Close shot +/-. Note that United's Tied shots +/- was relatively unaffected by those games for those games featured United at their early scoring, shot blocking-voodoo-defensive shell best. United took 10 points from those 4 fixtures.
United's shot differential in all three game states picked up again before sliding at the end of the season when it was clear they were already on the beach.
2) Manchester City
Pretty steady climb in all three disciplines of Man City's shot +/- which was halted only by being outshot by Liverpool (game 25) and Southampton (game 26). City were never really the same shots powerhouse after that, the league was gone and City played like it.
A reinvigorated Man City with a manger upgrade in Pellegrini could be devastating in 2013/14.
Pretty large gaps here between Tied, Close and Total at the end of the 38 game season. Celsea's Total shots +/- figure is pretty good, better than United's but miles off Man City's. The real story is the effect that changing manager had on Chelsea as a shots team. After 13 games Chelsea, under Di Matteo, were only a ~+20 shots team (all 3 disciplines) which really is poor for a team of Chelsea's talent.
Benitez replaced RDM and after a two game bedding in period Chelsea began to hammer teams by the shot count. For the Chelsea fans: better to have a manager who gets his players to collectively hammer the opposition on the shots count than a manger (RDM) who was merely riding a crazy high PDO.
Arsenal's shot differentials were mighty good by the seasons end, but it wasn't always that way. Arsenal were a fairly good shots +/- team up until around game 21 or 22 when Arsenal were defeated and out-shot in back to back games by City and Chelsea. After that Arsenal played only 6 games against top half opposition in their last 16 games. That schedule certainly helped Arsenal in thier charge for fourth place and it showed in their shot differentials.
OK. So Tottenham are an amazing shots team. They were, by the seasons end, consistently out-shooting the opposition in all of the featured game states. But looking at that graph and focusing on game 16 as the defining point of the season may help.
Before game 16 Tottenham were a good but not great shots team who may have been struggling to learn and execute their new managers complex systems. Game 16 was a bad loss in which they were outshot pretty heavily and were cruelly defeated by two goals in injury time. Game 16 was Everton away and the loss came and the two goals conceded were highly improbable.
From game 17 onwards Tottenham just fucking exploded.
This explosion in shots +/- could have been due to a tactical switch, a positional re-focus for Ronaldo (Bale) or, and this may be unpopular, that tough loss away to Everton could have been a rallying point for the squad, the manager and the collective. I'd be intrigued by any possible suggestions as to why Tottenham went from a good shots team in games 1-15 who suffered a tough loss in game 16 and following that proceeded to destroy all qualities of opposition -home and away - by the shots count?
Up Next: League positions 6-10