A look at Shot Conversion Rates in English football
The saying goes if you dont shoot you wont score and as stupid as this sounds there are a fair few teams out there who dont shoot a lot and low and behold they dont score many goals. It isnt complicated, just like this article.
So I thought I would take a brief look at some Goal Conversion rates in English football and see what teams are ranking the highest and also the lowest. For the purpose of this piece I have excluded penalties for obvious reasons and only included shots on target and not the total number of shots as I think a) its just easier and b) its more accurate to narrow down the conversion rates this way.
The Premier League
When it comes to winning the league shots taken are a rather simplistic marker in terms of translating shots on target into winnng titles and it would be stupid to assume so of course.
But as I said before if you dont shoot.... you get the message. There are some teams in the top eleven of my table that I think its fair to say are surprising. Now of course it is easy to say Manchester City are a great side and run teams ragged in every game and indeed they do but they have plenty of shots therefore increasing there chances of scoring more goals which they do, obvious of course and at a decent conversion rate of 36% I might add.
But we can also see Brighton, 8th in my table, have a conversion rate of 31% from 73 shots on target and given they sit 13th in the table is this perceived as a pretty good effort from Chris Hughton's boys? Well yeh id say so. Easier said than done but having scored 27 league goals with an xG total of 25.5 if they can push that goal tally up a bit more they can creep up the table a couple of places just nicely as they are clearly creating (some), and taking the high quality chances they create they just dont create anywhere near enough of them. I have them with a current xPoints position of 16th in the table so they are already exceeding that. Can they push on?
I cant leave this part without commenting on Manchester United's position in my table. However dont be deceived 42 shots on target this year is still very good and they have hit the target on 158 occasions, on a par with their City rivals, but this smacks of high volume low quality attempts on goal, something Solskjaer will need to address.
I could go on a bit more with this but the table speaks for itself I think just dont @ me about Burnley!
Shot monsters WBA literally have a shoot on sight policy and this is one of the highest conversion rates accross the top four divisions at 38%, with 129 shots on target 50 have gone in and its just a shame it can sometimes be the same at the other end or else they would be in the top 2 in the league standings given the rate they are currently scoring at.
Similarly Chris Wilder's Sheffield United side are also hitting the target and converting their chances but are more picky in the shots they take and are much less gung ho than West Brom in the way they play anyway. Norwich City, Aston Villa and table toppers Leeds United are all hitting the target nicely with some high goal tallies to boot.
Some sides like Brentford are a great example of a team that has a high shot volume yet dont always convert the chances they create and this is where some xG numbers would be great but I dont have my up to date xPoints table for the Championship to hand, my bad, but last checked in December they were only exceeding there xG number by around 5.1 so again this is comparible to Manchester United's 48 goals scored this year and having an xG of 45.12. So we can see that although these types of teams hit the target a lot they dont put the chances away when they get them nor are they creating a large enough volume of high xG chances. Of course the latter may change at Old Trafford but less so at Griffin Park I would expect.
SkyBet League 1
Luton Town are top of the table for reason. They are the joint 3rd highest scorers in the top four league's with 52 and having hit the target no less than 161 times this season already this is hugely impressive and surely promotion beckons for The Hatters. Barnsley are also very effective at converting chances. Gillingham are a good example of an 'outlier' they currently sit 18th in League 1 and yet have scored 37 goals from 110 shots giving them a 33% conversion rate, any other day this would be pretty good but concededing 48 at the other end doesnt help, like i say a prime example that this measure is just simplistic in its showing of a teams shot conversion performance and nothing else.
SkyBet League 2
Ive said it so many times in my article's and to people in football but in my humble opinion Bury will be strongly challenging Lincoln come the final weeks of the season as they consistently exceed there xG numbers on a game by game basis and have scored an incredible 54 goals this season (only Manchester City have scored more in the top four english league's) but Danny Cowley has Lincoln firing week in week out and they have the highest conversion rate at 41% having scored 47 goals from 113 shots on target, impressive to say the least and they are tough to beat with a very direct attacking style and a midfield that recycles the ball aggressively. A recent 3-3 draw between the two sides tells you a great deal about the defensive side of the game at times in League 2 where goals literally mean points.
MK Dons have hit the target no less than 149 times this season yet have only scored 39 goals and have been on a bad run over christmas and with a 26% conversion rate its hardly promotion form.