Skill and chance in football goal scoring

These data appeared in my in box this morning.

Their arrival took me back to Charles Reep and Bernard Benjamin’s observation fifty years ago:

an excess of shots by one team does not mean that, by chance, the other side will not get more goals and thus win the match (1968:585)

The team that managed 13 shots on goal had an ELO Rating of 4 in Asia and 37 in the World (as of 4 September 2017). The team that had 1 shot on goal had an ELO Rating of 12 in Asia and 108 in the World (as of 4 September 2017).

The game ended as a 2v1 win for the higher ELO rated team.

Charles and Bernard concluded (shortly after the 1966 World Cup):

with rare exceptions (for example, the 1966 World Cup series) it takes 10 shots to score 1 goal. (1968:585)

Prior to the 2v1 result, the higher ELO rated team had scored 14 goals in 9 games, the lower ELO rated team had scored 5 goals (conceded 22) in 9 games.

The data come from a game played at home by the higher rated ELO team.

I am hopeful that these kind of data change our language in training environments. We might stop talking about shooting practice and start conversations about goal scoring practice, rehearsal, scenarios and consequences.

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