Premier League

Premier League: Teams find their shooting boots as the finale approaches

After a cagey start to the Premier League’s return the numbers suggest that we may be in for an exciting final few weeks of the 2019/20 season.

Premier League: Teams find their shooting boots as the finale approaches
MICHAEL REGAN REUTERS

It took everyone a while to adjust to the ‘new normal’ and Premier League clubs were no exception with the number of goals per game down considerably after the restart from the stoppage for the coronavirus pandemic.

Up until the league was suspended in mid-March there had been an average of 2.7 goals per game, roughly in-keeping with previous seasons. But the three game-weeks after the restart saw that number fall to just 2.2, with some pointing to a lack of match sharpness after a three-month hiatus and more cautious tactics.

Chance conversation rate in the Premier League up

But things have improved recently and appear to be returning to normal after an average of 2.75 goals per game across the last two Premier League game-weeks.

Accordingly the chance conversation rate has improved in that period as players start to get back up to speed. The first 24 Premier League games after the restart saw a chance conversation rate of 10.1%, but that increased to 12.6% across last weekend’s fixtures. Fittingly there was a brace for the league’s top scorer Jamie Vardy, who had also struggled for goals since the Premier League’s return.

Bundesliga trends suggests an exciting finale for the Premier League

Similar trends were observed in Germany after the lockdown with teams becoming more adventurous and scoring more goals as the season drew to a close. The final weekend of action in the Bundesliga was by far the most goal-heavy since the restart with 34 scored in total, at an average of 3.78 per game. With teams needing points to achieve their targets for the season they may have been more willing to push forward and leave themselves vulnerable to the counter-attack.

The clearest example of the switch to more attacking play was Werder Bremen, who avoided the automatic relegation places by a single point after a swashbuckling run of form in the final four league fixtures in which they picked up two vital wins. They scored 12 goals in those games, accounting for 28.6% of their total for the entire season.

They were then victorious in their relegation play-off with Heidenheim to secure a 40th consecutive season in the top flight. With five games remaining in the Premier League teams at the bottom may soon decide that attack is the best form of defence.