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Joe Hart In The CL: Shot Location and Location Save %

Joe Hart, City's outstanding young 'keeper was City's only real bright spot in this years Champions League. He was very good in most games, and in the games in which he wasn't very good he was incredibly good. He brushed against greatness in the home game against Dortmund to put in what may have been his best individual performance since that Tottenham away games many moons ago,

Laurence Griffiths

Right, so we know Joe is good 'keeper, any arguments? No, good. Let's move on to his performances in this years Champions League.

Basic numbers

shots on target Goals against Save %
45 11 75.56%

That is 7.5 shots on target against Joe Hart every game. That is an awful lot of work for a keeper, and it leads us to believe that Man City were heavily outmatched in the CL this season.

Left, Right or Center?

So we know that Man City conceded 1 goals against and here is the very basic info on location. Did Joe Hart conceded a higher proportion of goals to his left, as he has in the PL? No, is the answer....


This is a fairly even distribution of the data which I recorded manually. Let's move onto bigger fish.

Shots On Target Location

Forgive me for the graphics!


This is basic and pretty understandable. You have the goal frame in the shot above. 4 shots top right, 1 shot on target top left etc etc. 45 shots on target in total and note how many of them are in the bottom half of the goal, 75.55% in fact.

Goals by Location


The goal location matches the shots on target location more or less. 81.8% of the goals Man City conceded were in the lower of half of the goal.

45.4% to Joe Hart's right post (left in the above graphic)

27.3% in the center of the goal

27.3% to Joe Hart's left post (right side in above graphic)

Save% by Location


We can understand that we are dealing with small sample sizes due to only six games played, but we have 45 data points to work with and 11 goals against to factor in, too.

The above graphic tells us about save% by location. The only interesting thing that is teased out by doing this is Hart save% on his own right side of the goal(left in the graphic). Hart has faced 11 shots on that right side in total and conceded 5 goals in that same area for a save % of 54.5%.

Is this a specific weakness in Hart? Unlikely. Do Man City have a weakness in the right hand side of their defence? Thinking back, Madrid exploited our right side to great effect, but Madrid scored 3 of their 4 goals on the other side of City's goal.

Let's break down how the goals were scored into the left portion of that goal:

Dortmund--Reus's breakaway at the Etihad beat Joe Hart on that side

Dortmund--Schieber's back post tap in from a cross

Madrid--Benzema's back post tap in from a cross

Ajax--Two near post goals from corners from the left

Listing the goal methods may help us conclude that it may not be Hart's fault but a weakness in:

1) conceding near post corners (Ajax)

2) defending deep crosses in the right back/right center back area.

That zone is the responsibility of Kompany and Maicon. Communication is key, positioning is king. One goal was on Maicon, the 2nd goal, Dortmund's, was on Kompany who hesitated, stutter stepped in trying to track the Dortmund players run and thus was in no position to cut out the cross.


All distances are accurate approximations, pressure is recorded as the nearest opposition player who can pressurize the shooter.

Distance (yards) Goals Pressure (yards)
0-3 2 3
4-6 3 2
7-9 0
10-12 0
13-15 2 2.5
16-18 1 3
18+ 3 3

Firstly, the closer to goal a player shoots the more likely is to score. Knowing this it's no surprise to see Man City having conceded 5 goals from distances of less than six yards. This is to be expected.

Man City conceded 3 goals from distances between the penalty spot and the 18 yard box line, it's fair to say that this happens, shots from inside the box are dangerous.

What is not normal is Man City having conceded 3 goals from outside the box; Marcelo's long range drive, Benzema's turn and shot just outside the box in City's first CL game of 2012/13 and de Jong's deflected goal in Amsterdam to make it 3-1.

Every shot taken outside the 18 yard box has a 4% chance of being a goal in the PL (source:Dan Kennett) and it is fair to assume that this number must be more or less equal in the CL. It may be fair to say also that City were slightly unlucky then in having conceded 27.2% of their goals from outside the 18 yard box. yes there exists a higher quality of player in the CL, but it is not a stretch of the imagination to suggest that on another day Marcelo's shot balloons into the stand, Benzema's shot is saved or De Jong's long distance shot that was deflected rolls wide. The numbers were a little cruel on City in terms of long distance shots finding the back of the net in this year's Champions league.

As a comparison:

Man united have conceded 0 long distance goals from their conceded total of 5.

Chelsea have conceded 2 long distance goals from their conceded total of 9.

Arsenal have conceded 1 long distance goal from their total of 8.

In total, for those English clubs, long range goals account for 13.6% of the goals conceded, or roughly half the number that Man City suffered.

Is it bad luck? It's entirely possible, for not many teams will concede that number of goals from outside the box. Or, could it be poor closing down from the City players? Possible. When looking at pressure that the City players placed upon the shooter we can begin to fill in the gaps in our knowledge.


I don't have too many reference points for defensive pressure. I imagine it is something opta counts and refuses to share with us. But here goes.

Goals inside the 18 2.5 yards
Goals outside the 18 3 yards

No noticeable difference, shots from outside come from less pressure on the ball. But if we look at Man City's goals from open play (4) in the CL we see slightly different results:

Man City's goals for 1.75 yards

Man City's goals for came under greater pressure from the opposition, and although there are small sample size issues at play here and as such we cannot make any great claims, City may have had a problem in the lack of pressure they applied to the opposition shooter.


Man City conceded far too many shots in this years CL, too many of those shots found their way on target. From there we know Joe Hart performed very well overall (high save%) and extremely well in certain games, Madrid away and against Dortmund in both fixtures. There was a slight quirk in Joe's location save %, but this is more due to the defenders inability to defend corners and deep crosses which account for 4 of the 5 goals Hart conceded to his right side.

Of the 11 goals conceded, 3 were long distance shots and an element of luck is associated with these shots, especially in comparison to England's other CL competitors. Pressure, or lack of, on the opposition shooter was one cause of many of Man City's goals against, but frankly, a lack of cohesive defensive shape, weaknesses in the right side of the team and goals conceded from corners are all reasons for Man City's goals against. On another day those long distance shots fly high or wide, but instead, they went in against Man City who can count themselves a touch unlucky. More so, they should honestly evaluate their defensive performances in the CL and say ' we were overpowered, we were no way near good enough'