The chart above represents the players who scored 10 and more Adjusted Goals in the past three seasons.Adjusted Goals (AdG for short) is a metric I created. Its basically only goals scored in open play plus shots that hit the woodwork. Free-kicks and penalty kicks are not taken into account.
As we can see there is some degree of correlation between penalty area touches and goals scored. Final third passes on the other hand I am not sure. In some other analysis I discovered a correlation of 0.03 between final third passes received and goals scored.
The outliers on the very right of the graph are Sanchez and Hazard over 3 years. That means the 14-15 Hazard, 13-14 Hazard, 15-16 Sanchez and 14-15 Sanchez. They were the only proper wingers I could notice in this set. Martial played as a left winger under Van Gaal. Wijnaldum played LW and CAM at Newcastle. Surprisingly Walcott did not feature regularly. The reason could simply be that Wingers tend to get more of the ball as they are in a relatively deserted part of the pitch compared to the crowded centre. This also could be attributable to the fact that Hazard and Sanchez are the chief goal threats of their respective teams.
The big surprises there were Lukaku in 2015-16 with 621 final third passes received and Martial also in 2015-16 with 600 final third passes received. Lukaku was a surprise as he is a forward and was the highest for a forward in this set. Martial was in his debut season and got the ball in the final third on par with the very best in the Premier League. Is Jose ruining him or was he a one season wonder?
The bottom dwellers below 100 penalty area touches were Yaya Toure in 2013-14, Siggurdson 2015-16 and other one season wonders who did not replicate their goal output. Ramsey of 2013-14 step forward.
The top most yellow dot is….any guesses?
Luis Suarez I hear you say? You are right. In that crazy season of 2013-14 he had a whopping 329 touches. That is the highest recorded in the past 3 years and you can see the gap between him and his nearest competitors. One quirky fact is Sturridge had only 159 touches in the penalty area in the same season yet he had 34 adjusted goals! MORE than Suarez. He is the bottom most yellow dot.
This suggests one of 2 things
- Sturridge is an insane finisher and highly efficent
- The chances created that season were of such high quality that he had very few touches to get the goals.
Could both be true? Could injuries be limiting one of the Premier League’s most lethal finisher? Suarez going to Barca as part of THAT attacking trident and creating great chances means the second reason is possibly true. Whatever be the reason that insane season is unlikely to be repeated.
What have we learnt?
There is some correlation between touches in the penalty area and goals scored
Sustained high goal scoring definitely is related to penalty area touches. This can be seen easily by the yellow and purple dots being entirely on top with a few exceptions. Repeatability is essential for any good metric and we can see that penalty area touches fulfils it.
Apart from using just shots we can also incorporate penalty area touches to get a better idea of which players are underperforming or overperforming.
Sanchez appeared on this list in 15-16 even though he missed a few matches with injury.If he had a full season its possible he would have been a yellow dot!
The last point of interest is that most of the players who are yellow and purple dots are Forwards.