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Why The Lack Of Goals?
Footytubeblog (Blog) 3 years ago
We are fortunate in this country. We have the best league, with the greatest players and arguably the most exciting matches. Many may argue that the Bundesliga is close to overtaking the Premier League in terms of footballing quality, but our league is still undoubtedly the most marketable in the world today.

This season has been different though. A worrying lack of goals have clouded what has been a pretty tepid start to the campaign. For a League that is touted as so exciting, where have all the goals gone?

Now clearly most of us don’t put entertainment down solely down to goals but it still represents a significant part of the matter. This season we have seen a goal average of just 2.31 per game compared to last seasons 2.80 and the Premier League average of 2.63. Goalless draws and tight tense affairs have led to their own kind of dramas, but why has this pattern suddenly emerged?

This summer has been one of significant upheaval for many of the top clubs. New faces and new ideas have necessitated something of a honeymoon period for the previously free-scoring contenders. The pattern of scoring this season would reflect a bedding in period. For the first 4 game weeks the average goals per game was as low as 1.95, and evidently many of the new regimes struggled with teething problems from the outset.

That said we still haven’t seen anything like the flamboyance of previous years thus far, and already mid-way through October you would expect many clubs to have begun to get into their stride. Naturally the most goals come from the top clubs, so this is a good place to start when looking for reasons for the apparent drought.
In general the philosophies of many of the clubs towards the top of the table has been changing in recent years. Gone are those with a desire to play a buccaneering style to dazzle opposition, instead many are keen to stifle and frustrate and hit opposition on the break.

Both United and Chelsea have recently hired what I would consider are pretty negative-minded managers, who have historically tried to remain tight at the back ahead of anything else. Mourinho may often take lesser teams apart, but during clashes with top sides has he ever really gone out all guns blazing? The pattern doesn’t stop there, even AVB at Spurs is a much more negative minded tactician than say his predecessor Harry Redknapp.

It is easy to blame managers for negativity, but in reality their prudence is to be expected. Year on year the Premier League has become more and more competitive with teams at either end of the table able to take points off each other. Gone are the days of teaching the league’s whipping boys a lesson, instead the top clubs have to work hard for every point regardless of who they are playing.

New faces extend way beyond the managerial appointments, clubs up and down the league have seen unprecedented transfer market spending that has led to complete overhauls of their match-day squads. Some players take to the league with ease, but the majority understandably take time to adapt to our culture and way of life. Mesut Ozil may be the standout transfer so far, but think of the many that are still struggling to make the impacts that were expected of them. Osvaldo, Soldado and Van Wolfswinkel to name but a few of the new attacking imports, very few have come up with the goals that were expected.

This isn’t to say the lack of goals is because these are all flops, more so that it is too early for them. So by that logic I would expect the number of goals to continue to increase per match day towards the middle and back end of the season.

There is another explanation that many statisticians have prophesised over and that is the emergence of a pure anomaly. Sometimes statistical variations happen, the chances may be small but there doesn’t necessarily have to be a rhyme or reason. By that reasoning you would again expect the goals for the season as a whole to return to the mean, but for me this is a little bit lazy.

Of course statistical outliers happen, but personally there is reason enough to explain this pattern by other means.
So no it isn’t time to panic about the lack of goals, probably more a transition than a worrying new trend about to emerge.

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