This is a follow up to my post regarding the strong correlation between completed in the final third and goals scored.
Is there a correlation between the final third completions & goals scored at the game level?
I investigated to see if this correlation exists at the game level using the #MCFCAnalytics data set. I plotted the completions in the final third vs. goals scored for Manchester City in all their 38 games of English Premier League.
Blue = Away ; Orange = Home
- Linear regression had an R2 of 0.04 implying that there is no correlation between passes completed in the final third and goals scored at the game level.
I did the plot for a few other teams and got similar results.
- Arsenal – Away and Liverpool – Home. In both cases, Manchester City had very little success completing passes in the final 3rd. However, they lost 1-0 at the Emirates and won 3-0 at home vs. Liverpool.
Against Liverpool, City had 6 shots on target and 2 off target.
Against Arsenal, City had 0 shots on target and 3 off target.
- QPR – Home and QPR – Away. City scored 3 goals each against QPR home and away. However, they had a season high 326 completed passes in the final 3rd at home vs. just 74 in the away fixture.
Shots vs. QPR Away – 5 on target & 10 off target.
Shots vs. QPR Home – 15 on target and 10 off target.
The City – QPR fixture was that crazy season finale. City fell behind and they threw everyone forward to go for the win and the Premier league title. QPR was a man down from 55th minute and they defended at the edge of their 18-yard box for most of 2nd half. This explains the unusually high number of completed passes in the final third.
The above examples underline the rarity of the “goal” event. In any given game, there could be factors like bad shooting, luck, the opponent’s goalkeeper having a great game etc., which could influence the # of goals scored. However, over a season those things seem to even out.
In the next step of analysis I will add a 2nd variable to the model and analyze.