Often Partisan

Shooting Boots

A constant criticism of Birmingham City this season has been the perceived lack of attacking from the team. Many posters on messageboards have had a go at McLeish for being too defensive, and for not “giving it a go” enough. From the Guardian’s excellent chalkboards function, I have compiled some statistics on just how much Blues shoot on goal, as part of a bigger plan to have all statistics on this site. Please note all statistics are league only.

As you’d expect for a team that are currently second lowest scorers in the Premier League, we don’t have that many shots on goal. With 30 games gone, we’ve had 335 shots, which is just over 11 a game. In comparison, our next opponents Blackburn Rovers have had 353 in 31 games – which is marginally higher than us – yet they have scored nine more goals – which is 2% more accurate. Indeed, those doyens of attacking football Blackpool have has 428 shots – which in reality is just under 14 a game – at a conversion rate of just over 10.5%. Statistically speaking, we don’t have too many fewer shots than other teams per game – but we only convert a shade under 9% of our chances, and fewer than 1 in 3 shots on goal we take are on target.

One thing the statistics threw up that I wasn’t too surprised about was the player who was the most accurate at shooting. I’ve often maintained that he’s probably the best finisher at the club at the moment, and he has a knack of getting into the right place at the right time, and scoring with any part of his body he can. I am of course referring to Liam Ridgewell, who came out top having converted 1 in 3 shots he has taken into goals (4 from 12) ; fully half of his shots have been on target (6 from 12). The next best in this department amazingly are Roger Johnson (11 from 31), and Cameron Jerome (17 from 50). The most profilgate marksman at Blues also didn’t surprise me – David Bentley has only had 2 shots on target from a total of 20.

Craig Gardner, who is currently the top league goal scorer for us is top for the most frequent to have a shot, with around 34 minutes per shot on goal. Phillips is next in line at one every 35 minutes, with Bentley clocking in third at every 36 and a half minutes. Statistically, the team has taken a shot per every nine minutes played. The worst game for shots on goal was ironically one we won – Chelsea at home, where we had just 3 shots on goal; the best was another game we won – Blackpool at home, with 23 shots on goal.

I understand that people want us to be more attacking, and to have more efforts on goal, but I don’t think we’re that far off other teams that are perceived to be attacking. Whilst we haven’t scored that many goals, the situation isn’t as dire as some are making out. I know from watching some games online that commentators seem to be at pains to make out we’re dull, and a low-scoring team – and whilst it’s true I think it’s coloured perceptions to a point where people don’t notice that we do have create chances in most games. Of course, this is a purely mathematical exercise and doesn’t take into account how “clear cut” chances could have been, but it does point to a team that doesn’t need to do that much more to become a better side.

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3 Responses to “Shooting Boots”

  • Andy says:

    Lies, damn lies, and comparing apples to oranges.

    The problem with statistics is that they don’t pay any attention to detail, the reason Ridgewell and Johnson have the best ‘on-target’ ratios probably has something to do with virtually every shot coming from a set piece, meaning that they are probably only six yards from goal on average.

    I suspect that Bentley on the other hand takes most of his shots from outside the box and at wide angles which would naturally lead to a much lower success rate, maybe you should look incorporate into the statistics where the shots are taken from.

    I would argue that the problem with our shooting is not the number of shots, but more the nature of them, we need to be more speculative and shoot earlier. Our players tend to take too many touches on the ball which in turn gives defenders and goalkeepers time to adjust. It doesn’t come as any surprise to me that Craig Gardner is our leading scorer, he is one of the few who just ‘has a go’ from time to time.

  • almajir says:

    Whilst I’d agree that at times the team are afraid to shoot (which is a reason why our shot count is low), I think that it’s also about not shooting for the sake of it – Gardner shoots often from outside the box and is quite prolific; Bentley shoots from outside the box and can’t hit a cow’s arse with a banjo.

    • Andy says:

      One person who I think would benefit from shooting earlier is Jerome, he gets into quite good positions but by the time he’s brought the ball under control and composed himself the keeper is normally at his feet. I think he would be more successful if he tried a few more volleys or even just put his foot through it more often.


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