In finishing fifth in the Premier League last season, only four teams scored more goals than Spurs.
Man Utd led the way with 86, then came Chelsea with 75, Arsenal with 72 and Liverpool with 71. Our tally of 66 meant we finished level with dethroned Champions Manchester City, not a bad return given the struggles of our misfiring strikers.
We ended the campaign gaining our highest ever Premier League points total, but just how clinical were we in front of goal last season?
When it came to carving out opportunities last term, there were two interesting teams atop the leader board, one of them being Spurs.
Only Liverpool created chances more frequently than Spurs. The Reds carving out an opportunity every 4.9 minutes were the only side that topped Tottenham’s 5.3 minutes per chance created.
Man City (5.5 mins), Everton (5.7 mins), Chelsea (5.8 mins) and Arsenal (6.1 mins) all followed, whilst amazingly eventual Champions Man Utd came in seventh. The Red Devils chance created every 6.4 minutes saw us fashion 110 more opportunities than the men from Old Trafford over the season.
It’s not just about creating chances; you have to hit the target as well.
Whereas Man Utd weren’t creating the chances that others were, their shooting was highly accurate. The Red Devils led the way, hitting the target with 36.5% of their shots, but once again Spurs came in second with a very respectable 34.5%.
Man City (33.9%) and Arsenal (33.8%) came third and fourth, but the big sliders were Liverpool. The Reds created the most opportunities, but only Stoke and Reading hit the target with a lower percentage of their shots than Brendan Rodgers’ boys.
Converting chances in to goals
Whilst we can create chances and hit the target, were we equally as impressive at converting these opportunities in to goals?
Man Utd (15.3%) were way out ahead of the pack when it came to being clinical in front of goal. Fergie’s men scored a Premier League high 86 last term and although they were only ranked seventh in creating chances, their accurate shooting and finishing paid off.
Spurs were second in creating chances and hitting the target, but in finishing these opportunities off is where we have fallen down. Our 9.7% conversion meant we finished just ahead of Liverpool (9.6%), who suffered from their inability to hit the target, as did Everton (8.7%).
The Merseyside clubs finished in the positions behind us, whereas the two teams above us, Chelsea and Arsenal, both converted 12% of their chances in to goals.
If we take a look at the shooting and goal scoring exploits of our midfield and attack in the Premier League last season, we get some interesting results.
|Shots||% Of Team Total||Accuracy||PL Goals||Goal Conversion|
Gareth Bale took by far the greatest number of shots on the team, which was also a quarter of the Tottenham total for the season. His 12.7% conversion is much better than the team average of 9.7%. However, if we compare him to other top-scoring midfielders, we can see that despite Bale’s amazing 21 goals, his conversion rate is not as good.
Michu notched 18 times last season and he took 22% of Swansea’s shots, but his goal conversion was 16.4%. Frank Lampard was the next highest goalscorer from midfield with 15 strikes, but he only took 12.7% of Chelsea’s shots and converted 18.8% of those in to goals. Theo Walcott was next with 14 goals, as he took 15% of Arsenal’s shots and converted 16.1% in to goals.
Despite Bale’s excellent 21-goal return in the Premier League, our over-reliance on him is highlighted in the proportion of our shots he is taking. This especially relevant when compared to the next three highest goal scorers from midfield. His goal conversion rate is lower than Michu, Lampard and Walcott, but saddled with our attack, Bale takes 60% of his shots from outside the box, thus lowering his conversion.
Jermain Defoe was our next highest scorer and his conversion rate of 10.2% was also above the team average. Despite his struggles, Emmanuel Adebayor (11.9%) was more clinical than Defoe, but both players’ finishing was way down on their conversion rates of the previous season. In 2011/12 Defoe converted 16.7% of his chances and Adebayor 17%.
In midfield, Aaron Lennon had the highest conversion rate on the team, but on the flip side was the least accurate and didn’t shoot very often. Moussa Dembele with his powerful dribble-drives only notched once in the Premier League and his 4% goal conversion was the lowest among our starting midfielders and attackers.
Just ahead of Dembele was Gylfi Sigurdsson. The Icelandic international’s 5.7% goal conversion did improve from 2.3% after his switch to play in a more regular role out on the left. It is one area of his game that has suffered when you compare it to his 10% goal conversion whilst at Swansea.
Just how clinical are Spurs?
Last season we created chances, were accurate in our shooting, but didn’t convert these in to goals.
Three of the top four (Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal) were among the most clinical sides in front of goal. Man City fell away in the title race and their eighth placed goal conversion was a big factor in this – they finished second in goal conversion when winning the Premier League.
If Spurs want to challenge this top four then we need to be more clinical in front of goal. This means less of a reliance on Gareth Bale and more productivity from those around him.