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2011/12 EPL--Goals And Game State

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Welcome one and all. Following on from a recent post I wrote about the importance of the first goal I want to write a little post about about goals and when they are scored. By 'when they are scored' this means the goals that are scored at certain game states, and whether the game was tied or a team was leading by a goal or losing by two goals.

Join me after the jump for an in-depth look at all EPL goals and at what game state they were scored at


First things first let me just give a short explanation to the reader on what the phrase game state means. The phrase refers to what type of situation a game is in. Is it a draw, is one side +1 or +2 goals in the lead, or -1 or -2 goals behind?

Those + and - numbers refer to what game state the game is in and once we know this we can say that not all goals scored are equal. Goals scored at 0 (tied game), -1 (losing by a goal) and +1 (a team leading by a goal) are far more important than a goal scored at +4 or -3 where the likelihood is that the game is either won or already lost, except for exceptionally rare fixtures and think of Man Utd away at Chelsea for an example of this.

0 0-0, 1-1, 2-2, 3-3

+1 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, 4-3

+2 2-0, 3-1, 4-2, 5-3

+3 3-0, 4-1, 5-1

-1 0-1, 1-2, 2-3

-2 0-2. 1-3, 2-4

-3 0-3. 1-4, 2-5

These are just a few examples of scorelines at which a goal maybe scored at and the game state which represents the score line.

If a goal is scored at 2-0 it will be represented in the chart below as being scored at +2

Goals, Game State and Win %


Game State Goals Win %

-4 2 0
-3 4 0
-2 27 7.4
-1 89 24.7
0 255 75.6
1 133 96.2
2 62 95.1
3 20 100
4 9 100
5 4 100

These are all the goals scored by the home team in the 2011/12 EPL. As explained above, the goals are listed at certain game states (see above for scoreline examples of game states).

I have also listed the win % in accordance to what game state the goal was scored at. As we can see above a goal scored at +1 at home has a win % of 96.2%, a high percentage indeed. +2 has a slightly lower number due to a smaller sample size.

The most goals naturally were scored at 0, a tied game state. Even a goal scored at this game state results in a win % of 75.6 %. If a team gets the tying goal having been losing by a goal then it can only be expected to win 24.7% of the time in the 2011/12 EPL.


Game situation Number of goals %
-6 1 0
-5 1 0
-4 0 0
-3 19 0
-2 33 0
-1 81 28.3
0 205 68.7
1 80 90
2 23 100
3 13 100
4 5 100
5 0 0

These are the away numbers and I have highlighted two points of interest.

In the green shaded area we see win % for the away team when scoring a goal at a -1 game state (trailing by a goal). The -1 win % of 28.3% is superior to the home -1 win % of 24.7. The away team is more likely to win when scoring the game tying goal than the home team are.

In the red shaded area we can see the away team has a win % when scoring a goal at a 0 game state, ie the goal is scored when the game is tied and thus the away team takes a goal lead. The win % is 68.7% for the away team down from 75.6 % win % for the home team.

I have listed the numbers above in preparation for a part 2 of the top 15 strikers in the EPL and at what game states each striker scored his goals. A little preview for that piece, RVP is other worldly when looking at the importance of his goals.

I also wanted to list the numbers as seen above to demonstrate firstly the difference between the win % of scoring goals at certain game states when comparing home form to away form, and secondly to give us an idea of what kind of average win % can be expected when a team gains a one goal lead or a two goal and just how difficult it is to come from behind to win a game.