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Analysis: The Top 7's performance at a tied game state

In the previous Analysis post I wrote about goals scored at certain game states, and in that article I hinted at the importance of teams' performance when the game is currently tied (tied game state). In today's piece I want to explore certain teams' performance, in terms of shots on target and goals, when the game is tied.

In this post I shall be looking at the top 7 teams in the PL. Just those teams. Partly due to the fact they are the most popular and a lot to do with these 7 teams being the best the division has to offer.

Why are we solely looking at performance at a tied game state? For a start, the sheer number of goals scored at that game state makes it interesting to investigate, and surely teams' shots performance at a tied game state is crucially important. For a team that outscores the opposition when the game is tied put themselves in a far better position to win the fixture, plus there is the little matter that, on average, 48% of the time in every Premier League game is spent in a tied position. If nearly half of Premier League games are spent tied then it is surely an area that warrants further investigation. So here goes....

The Top 7 Teams

Man United, Man City, Chelsea, Spurs, Everton, Arsenal and Liverpool. These teams are the current top 7. They are also the teams that have historically been the top dogs and they will likely, in one order or another, finish as the top 7 in the PL this year.

Shots On Target And Goals At Tied Game State


This is the top 7's shots on target for and goals for, when the game is tied.

Tottenham, then City, are the two most competent teams when it comes to generating shots on target. The next 5 teams are more closely bunched with Arsenal and Chelsea being the poorest of the top 7 teams in terms of shots on target.

Generating a high number of shots on target at even strength doesn't necessarily indicate that a team will score a high number of goals at that game state.

Man United have scored the most goals of the top 7 when the game was tied, Chelsea are a close second despite registering the lowest numbers of shots. Liverpool and Arsenal are tied for the fewest number of tied game goals. So why do some teams score more at even strength? Luck, quality of chances created and 'talent' may all be relevant answers. The fact is, we just don't know.

One thing that surprised me here was Tottenham's ability to generate such a big number of shots on target when their games have been tied, and Chelsea's and Arsenal's relative inability to do the same. Could the amount of time these teams have spent in a drawing position tell us something?

This is where being creative and recording random stats paid off. Using the ideas of this article on time spent winning/drawing/losing and updating the numbers for the 23 games played, we can look at how much time each club has spent in a tied game state.

Man Utd 777
Liverpool 866
Chelsea 956
Everton 1050
Tottenham 1074
Arsenal 1077
Man City 1090

*90 minute games.

Minutes Per Shot On Target And Goal At a Tied Game State


This is a little more telling.

Firstly, Arsenal register a shot every 20.7 minutes when at he tied game state and this leads to taking 71.8 minutes to score a goal at this game state. Chelsea, despite taking 18.3 minutes to register every shot, are a pretty good team in terms of minutes per goal scored.

Man United, and to a lesser extent, Chelsea, are the teams that look somewhat out of sync with the rest of the top 7. Are Man United an overwhelmingly better team than all the rest at recording such low minutes per shot and goal numbers?

Having never seen any analysis fo this kind on ability and performance when the game is tied it's difficut to know what to make of it. I believe these numbers are either slightly luck driven and, thus, may regress or Man United really are the best team in recording shots on target in a hurry when the game is tied and there for the taking. As for United's minutes per goal, that looks really out of place and surely is luck driven?

Shots On Target AGainst And Goals Against At a Tied Game State

Let's run throught the against numbers now.


Everton give up the most shots on target at a tied game state, United, Arsenal and Chelsea are not too far behind Everton in SoT conceded. Then we get to Liverpool. Whoa!

Liverpool have conceded just 26 shots on target against whilst their games have been tied, and this is the best number of the big 7. Yet Liverpool have conceded 15 goals on just the 26 shots on target against. How, why, what?

Again, it's worth checking out just how few, or many, minutes each team has spent in a tied game position.

Minutes Per Shots on Target And Goals Against


So, Liverpool are the second best team of the big 7 in terms of minutes per shot on target conceded, with a shot against every 33.3 minutes at the tied game state. This is an excellent number, which highlights just how good Liverpool are at restricting the opposition when the game is tied (48% of game time).

Even though Liverpool are an excellent shot restriction team when the game is tied, they are, somehow, the worst of the big 7 in terms of minutes per goal against. It doesn't add up, and surely we should be thinking that Liverpool have been unlucky when the game is tied, for they are outshooting the opposition but are scoring and conceding a goal every 57.7 minutes, thus becoming the only big 7 team that doesn't score at a higher rate than they concede.

Chelsea and Man City are conceding less than a goal a game against at a tied game state. Man United are the worst team of the big 7 in terms of shots against and the second worst in terms of goals against. This confirms pre-held ideas about the fragility of United's defence, and that fragility extends itself to the game situation that matters the most: Tied game.

Bonus Charts


pdo at evens Save% at evens Scoring% at evens
Chelsea 117.53 79.07 38.46
Man Utd 105.54 71.11 34.43
Arsenal 99.3 70.45 28.85
Everton 90.83 62.5 28.33
Tottenham 90.37 68.42 21.95
Man City 90.29 65.63 24.66
Liverpool 84.48 57.69 26.79

Are Chelsea really this good, or are they just lucky? Hard to believe there are better than the other big 7 teams by such a margin. Liverpool are being killed by their save%, which is just brutal. Tottenham are being held back by their inefficient scoring %.

The spread of these pdo numbers would indicate that luck is a pretty big factor. if that is true, expect regression of the good and evil type to take place.

Shots On Target Ratio

Shots on target ratio
Man City 69.52
Tottenham 68.33
Liverpool 68.29
Man United 57.55
Chelsea 54.74
Arsenal 54.17
Everton 54.05

Simple really. Three teams are far and away better than the big 7 and the rest of the league, too. These numbers indicate a teams share of the shots on target, and their supremacy over their list of opponents.

The gap between the top 3 teams in that chart and the rest is so big it can barely be believed, but it's true.

If goals, for and against, were distributed along the lines of every shot has .30 chance of being a goal and every shot on target against had a .70 chance of being saved, then the big 7 teams' goal difference at a tied game state would be very different to their actual goal +/-.

Using each teams volume of shots on target for and against and shots on target ratio, this is how goals for and against would appear if luck and 'talent' were not factors and all goals were scored and conceded along those .30 and .70 percentages.

Goals for goals Against Goal +/- Actual Goal +/-
Tottenham 24.6 11.4 13.2 6
Man City 21.9 9.6 12.3 7
Liverpool 16.8 7.8 9 0
Man Utd 18.3 13.5 4.8 8
Everton 18 15.3 2.7 3
Chelsea 15.6 12.9 2.7 11
Arsenal 15.6 13.2 2.4 2

The difference in goals +/- for some teams is stark. The 3 teams with the best shots on target ratio's are also the 3 teams who have been hardest hit by their own poor conversion rates in terms of goals for and against.

Everton and Arsenal are pretty close to their 'actual level' at a tied game state. Liverpool, City and Tottenham are the three best shots teams who, somehow, are also the three 'unluckiest' teams. For those teams the poor conversion percentages are holding them back when their fixtures are at the tied game state. Call them anchors, if you will.

Thanks for reading. Any questions, please let me know.

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