A brace is all you need: Scoring and results in the Premier League

Tony Marshall

A look at the results that teams around the league get when they score two or more goals. The good news: Aston Villa are better than average.

Yesterday, I came to the conclusion that if Aston Villa could just score two or more goals in every match, they'd be the best team in the league right now. The idea was rather tongue-in-cheek, but it was based upon the realization that the club have taken 83.3% of the available points in matches in which they have scored 2+ goals. At the time I wondered how this compared to the rest of the league, but didn't have the chance to research that. I sort of figured I wouldn't, but then Jamie Cutteridge asked me the same question, and UTVilla and Dan Ward chimed in with some helpful ideas. My thanks to them, as what you see below was inspired by that conversation.

There have been 276 matches played thus far in the 2013-14 season, which means that there have been 552 individual chances for teams to score two or more goals. For the purposes of scoring and results, we may think of this as 552 matches. Below, you'll find the chart for all of the matches played in the Premier League this season in terms of goals scored. From left to right, the groups show the number of matches of each variety played, the number of wins, draws, and losses from those matches, and the total points gained from those matches. Clicking on the headings will limit by home teams and away teams:

We can see that 2+ goals have been scored in 210 instances, for a total of 630 available points. From those chances, 506 points have been taken, for a conversion rate of 80.3%. This means that Aston Villa are actually above average at converting 2+-goal matches into points. Since we have the data, though, we might as well dive into this a little more deeply.

Over the course of the season, home teams have been - unsurprisingly - better at taking the points available when they score two or more goals, taking 295 from an available 360, for a rate of 81.9%. Away teams convert at a 78.1% rate. Shockingly, this means that Aston Villa are better at turning these matches into points than even the average home team. Making this more surprising is the fact that half of Villa's 2+-goal matches this season have been on the road. If we ever needed more confirmation that Villa were a better road team than they were at Villa Park, I think this is it.

While we're here, we might as well see how Aston Villa compare to the league as a whole in the disparity of their performances. If you remember, we discovered yesterday that 74% of the club's goals have been scored in 29% of their matches. Does the league as a whole show such disparity?

In short, yes, but it's not quite as drastic. 76.9% of the league's goals (those taken in 2+-goal matches) have been scored in 37.9% of the "matches" (remember, for the sake of this, we're treating each scoreline as an independent entity). As with the other chart, you can also sort these numbers additionally by home and away statistics. As a whole, the league seems to be a bit more inclined to spread their goals out than Aston Villa are. Given what we've seen, this should come as no surprise whatsoever.

It seems, though, that if Aston Villa could even out their performances a bit more, it wouldn't take much for them to become a better-than-average team in the league as it is currently constructed. I joked yesterday that if we just looked at 2+-goal matches, Villa are the best team in the league. They obviously wouldn't be, but given the fact that the defense has enabled them to convert those offensive outbursts at a higher rate than most of the rest of the league, it stands to reason that they would certainly be amongst the league's best clubs. There's no one solution to make this happen, but it's clear that Paul Lambert has built a squad that is absolutely bursting with potential. The real test of the manager will be whether or not he can covert that potential to results, and that's been the step he has yet to accomplish.

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