EPL, Long Range Strikes - Tactics Limit the Goals


100 games. 2012/13 Including matches upto October 2012

In a 100 match study of  English Premier League matches from the start of the season through into October, 133 goals were scored in open play, this does not include free kicks and penalty kicks. 

The teams had a total of 1393 strikes (again not including free kicks and penalties) 454 were on target and 939 off target. The shooting accuracy from the 1400 strikes was 32.4%.

From many of our previous studies it was found that by far the majority of goals scored were from an area shown in figure 1, we call it the GOLD ZONE (GZ)

GZ goals = 80%

80% of these goals, (107) were scored in the Gold Zone (GZ) as shown in the diagramme. 

There were 473 strikes from within GZ of which 215 were on target and 258 off target. The shooting accuracy was 45%.

The 473 strikes were just 34% of the total strikes

Fig. 1 The GZ

non GZ goals =20%

Just 20% (26 goals ) were scored in the Non GZ zone, as shown in Fig. 2 Non GZ Goals. There were 920 strikes from within the Non GZ zone of which 294 were on target and 626 were off target.The shooting accuracy was just 26%

The 1214 strikes from within the Non GZ were 66% of the total strikes (1393) 

Fig.2 Non GZ Goals

The evidence strongly suggests that the GZ is the most effective area from which to score goals since 80 % are scored from here from just 473 strikes. The goals to strikes ratio is 1:4.4 and the goals to strikes on target ratio was 1:2

The Non GZ zone produced just 20% of all goals from 920 strikes! the goal to strike ratio is 1:35 and the goals to strikes on target ratio was 1:3.4

The implications for coaching in terms of both winning matches and developing players is do we allow attempted strikes from anywhere once we have possession in the final third resulting in a goal for every 11 strikes on target or do we develop the mentality, technical and tactical ability to play the ball into the GZ with possession followed by a strike with a goal for every 2 strikes on target!

which tactic

Chelsea player prefers to strike from long range, did not trouble GK. there were 3 options to pass the ball into the GZ. One through ball and two box crosses being the options.

Everton player takes a difficult strike, fails to beat the GK. Options were two box crosses or a back pass that may have then resulted in an effective pass into the GZ

Liverpool player makes correct decision to strike outside GZ, under pressure with no alternatives other than to shoot

What are the implications for coaching?

  1. Monitor where, how and who made your strikes and do the basic analysis. 
  2. Just because strikes outside the GZ are only 20% accurate, don't fall into the trap of just working on long range strikes. You need to affect from where the strikes are taken from!
  3. Change the mentality of the players from "try a shot from anywhere" to "only shoot from outside the GZ if nothing else is on. "Awareness"
  4. Training must be structured to get the ball into the attacking third with possession and then into the GZ.
  5. Work on the sources of gaining Attacking Third Entries.
  6. Work on the sources of getting more balls and players into the GZ.

Produced by John Bilton and Dr. Peter Usher       iperformancefootballcoaching.com    November 2012

© JOHN BILTON & Dr Peter Usher 2012          iperformancefootballcoaching.com