Week 5 – Defending Stats


Welcome back to another week of looking at the Premier League teams behind the ball – who can keep a clean sheet, who can’t, and notably WHY.

We always begin with the scoreboard, how many goals conceded & clean sheets kept – because it tells most of the story. For instance, why Huddersfield Town & Newcastle United remain near the top of the table through 5 matches. Why clubs like Leicester City who won the league in 15/16, and supposed top tier clubs like Arsenal & Liverpool are all falling behind in the table so fast & early.

Can the newly promoted sides keep this up through 38 matches? Will Leicester City, Arsenal & Liverpool through personnel moves in January or player development be able to shore up their half of the pitch and improve?

Here’s a fun anomoly vs. 16/17:

Liverpool conceded (9) goals vs. (8) last year through 5 matches (+1), relatively consistent.
Everton meanwhile pacing the league, conceding (10) goals vs. (3) last year in the same period (+7)

All else relatively static, hover over each stat below to see how your team did!

The story gets more interesting as we look at who’s conceding the most shots, and where they’re conceded.

Of course, makes sense teams who sit behind the ball more also concede more shots, here we’re talking Burnely, Swansea, & Stoke City.

But if we look at the more attacking & possession sides, only Manchester United & Manchester City are able to translate fewer goals conceded from fewer shots allowed.

Liverpool here is the anomaly. As a team, Liverpool concede only 3 more than league-leading Manchester City, though you start to see the separation looking at where these shots are conceded: (28) conceded inside the penalty area for Liverpool, while City allow (20). Comparing this to goals conceded, City show marked improvement in their back line, only conceding (3) goals overall to Liverpool’s (9) through 5 matches. Super clear therefore why Manchester City is leading the league and Liverpool find themselves in 8th.

You see a similar story with chances created, where the anomaly remains Liverpool – second-fewest chances allowed (28) to City’s (20), but second-highest goals allowed in Premier League.

As we then try to correlate to defensive errors, this is where it gets puzzling. No errors leading to goal for Liverpool, and only (1) defensive error through (5) matches, yet second-highest goal tally (9).