Rabu, 24 Oktober 2012

League 2: How do teams score the first goal?


Last time, I wrote about the importance of the first goal (here). We know how important the first goal is, so the next question is “How can we score it?” Therefore, we will look at how the league 2 teams score their first goals. If you search in the internet, it is not difficult to find some findings about the general goal statistics. However, most of the goals were scored in different backgrounds and situations. Only the first goals are scored under the same circumstances: 0 – 0. Therefore, I think it is meaningful to look at the first goal statistics because it reflects the ability of teams to break the 0 – 0 situation. Please note that all the data of goals and league positions were updated to 22/10/2012.

All First Goals

The following chart shows how the teams scored all their first goals:


The goals were divided into five categories: open play, corner, free kick, penalty and throw-in. Here are the key findings:
·         At least 50% of first goals were scored in open play in most teams except Aldershot, Bradford and Gillingham. Only 20% of first goals of Bradford were came from open play.
·         Gillingham, which is leading the league, shows how strong they are in this chart. Not only they scored more first goals than the rest of the league, the more important point is they showed that they can score first goal in different ways (the only team which scored first goals in all five categories). They get both quantity and variety of first goals.
·         Cheltenham is the second best. They scored 9 first goals in four categories.
·         AFC Wimbledon, Bristol Rovers and York City scored all their first goals in open play. If you are play against them, it may be a good idea to be more aggressive in tackling to interrupt their open play because they are weak at scoring the first goal in set piece.
·         If we look at the best 4 teams in this chart (Gillingham, Cheltenham, Chesterfield and Rochdale). Their league positions are 1st, 4th, 13thand 8th. I argue that strong at scoring first goal will bring teams to the top half of the table. However, it also depends on how good the team can retain their winning position. This topic was discussed last time.

Open Play First Goals

Then we focus on the open play goals first. The following chart shows how the teams scored the first goals in open play.

The goals were divided into four categories: right foot, left foot, header and other. Here are the key findings:
·         Aldershot and Bradford are struggling in scoring open play first goal by scoring just once. However, it is worthy to note that Aldershot is in 23th and Bradford City is in 5th position.
·         Barnet and Southend are the second worst by scoring 2 open play first goals. Barnet is in 24th and Southend is in 11th position. I argue that weak at scoring open play first goal will bring the teams to bottom zone but it is interesting to find out what Bradford and Southend did to bring them a decent league position.
·         AFC Wimbledon and York City scored the most open play first goal by left foot.
·         If we look at the best 5 teams in this chart (Chesterfield, York City, Fleetwood, Morecambe and Port Vale). Their positions are 13th, 12th, 3nd, 14th and 2nd). Only 2 out of 5 teams are in the first 7 positions which is playoff zone. I argue that strong at scoring open play first goal will bring the team to a mid table position at least but not enough to be the top 7 positions.
·         Only 8 teams had scored open play first goals by header. 6 out of 8 teams are in the top half of the table. Gillingham and Fleetwood are the best and they are in the top 3 position in the league table. I argue that there is a relationship between them.

Set Piece First Goals

The following chart shows how the teams scored the first goals in set piece.

The goals were divided into four categories: right foot, left foot, header and penalty. Here are the key findings:
·         Most of the teams scored 1 or 2 set piece first goal.
·         Gillingham is overwhelming in this chart, performing much better than the rest of the league. Interestingly, there is no header and left foot goal within those 7 goals. Scoring set piece first goal is a strong weapon of Gillingham to be the leader of the league.
·         Bradford is the strongest team in scoring by headers in set piece first goal.
·         If we look at the best 4 teams in this chart (Gillingham, Bradford, Cheltenham and Rochdale). Their league positions are 1st, 5th, 4ndand 8nd). All of them are in top half of the table. 3 out of 4 teams are in the top 7 positions which is playoff zone. I argue that strong at scoring set piece first goal will bring the team to the top 7 positions.

Conclusions:

·         At least 50% of first goals were scored in open play in most teams except Aldershot, Bradford and Gillingham
·         Gillingham and Cheltenham can score first goals through different ways and they are the two best team of scoring first goal
·         Strong at scoring first goal will bring teams to the top half of the table
·         AFC Wimbledon and York City scored the most open play first goal by left foot
·         Only 8 teams had scored open play first goals by header. 6 out of 8 teams are in the top half of the table
·         Weak at scoring open play first goal will bring the teams to bottom zone. Aldershot and Barnet are the examples
·         Most of the teams scored 1 or 2 set piece first goal
·         Gillingham is overwhelming in scoring set piece first goal
·         Bradford is the strongest team in scoring by headers in set piece first goal
·         Strong at scoring set piece first goal will bring the team to the top 7 positions
Scoring first goal is not everything, it is also important to retain the winning position which was discussed in the last article (here).

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