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2012/13 Halfway Point Analysis: Save %

There has been plenty of focus on City's problems in attack but is their defence equally as culpable for falling behind United?

Alex Livesey

We took a look at Scoring % in this earlier post so it is time to look at the opposite end of the pitch and Save %. Again, we know which teams concede the fewest goals but, unlike with Scoring %, is there a greater correlation between league position and Save %.

For the purposes of this analysis Save % is a basic percentage calculation of the number saves made per shots on target.

Save % by League Table

We can see from the ranks that the Premier League current top two fare badly in this category, but hereas United are being sustained by their potent attack this is not the case with City. We know that they have a low goals against total but they do lead the Premier League in terms of shots against with 51, some 17 less than the next side Liverpool (68), who, similarly to last season are struggling and rank 20th to see Brendan Rogers struggle early in his tenure.

Is it interesting that whilst West Ham, Norwich and Sunderland all rank in the top eight the remaining bottom seven sides in the Premier League also all rank in the bottom ten of the rankings.

Team Save % Rank
Man Utd 69.89 9
Man City 68.83 11
Chelsea 77.3 3
Tottenham 62.86 18
Everton 67.61 13
West Brom 74.7 5
Arsenal 73.53 7
Stoke 81.08 1
Swansea 78.3 2
Liverpool 61.76 20
Norwich 70.21 8
West Ham 76.47 4
Sunderland 74.47 6
Fulham 66.91 14
Newcastle 69.07 10
Aston Villa 64 17
Southampton 62.5 19
Wigan 67.98 12
Reading 66.97 15
QPR 65.68 16

Save % Table 19 games

We can see that Premier League average is 70%, with only eight Premier League sides above this figure. Stoke's defence has been lauded over the course of the season and their mark of 81.08% is an impressive mark.


Whilst both United and City struggle in terms of Save % Chelsea have matched their second rank in Scoring % with a third place ranking and both West Ham and West Brom also record top ten placings.

Over the second half of the season it will be key for the current bottom five to improve in this regard given that they all rank poorly - and in the case of QPR, Wigan and Aston Villa in the Scoring % ranking too - and as shown by Reading and Southampton's high Scoring % (ranked 5th and 8th respectively) this will not sustain you over the course of the season.

The best

Aside from a dip following game 3 Stoke have since resided above the Premier League average and have steadily increased their Save % as the season has progressed. It may not win them the plaudits but Tony Pulis has implemented an effective system that is yielding results.

Can they continue with this mark? Quite possibly and if so, it will match their top ranked position in the Scoring % from 2011/12.


The worst well, (almost)

Tottenham currently sit in fourth place in the Premier League table yet for virtually all of the season to date they have been below league average and their 25 goals conceded and six defeats are testament to this. They are in the midst of a battle for a Champions League battle and this is an area to watch to see if it can positively regress (along with a Scoring % slightly below average) that would see them gain ground on the likes of Everton, West Brom and even Arsenal.



Whilst City's Scoring % has remained fairly constant throughout the season (although ranked 14th) their Save % has at least shown signs of improvement. However, for just two games has their Save % been above the league average. As much as their Scoring % has resulted in a high number of draws this season the fact that although they boast the Premier League's best record in terms of shots on target against, the low Save % may also be hindering them; an aspect not often talked about as the focus has primarily been on the attack.


We can see a significant increase from the problematic early week an the past ten games have taken on a more consistent look but it is a figure City still need to increase beyond the Premier League average. If they manage this they will be reduce even further the goals conceded, perhaps - and much depends also on their Scoring % - increase their points haul, minimisin the high number of draws that have seen them - despite being defeated only twice - slip a significant distance back from United.