Are Spurs wasteful in front of goal?

Jermain Defoe’s shot from point blank range at home to Fulham and Gylfi’s effort off the post at Anfield have been two examples of great chances missed by Spurs in recent weeks. It is often these fine margins that can be the difference between taking a point, three, or even none.

When watching games this season, it can appear on the eye as if we have been missing a lot of chances. However, sometimes we can remember the glaring misses more than the opportunities we’ve taken. Therefore, I wanted to take a look some statistics to see if it backed up what we may or may not have seen.

So, have Spurs been wasteful in front of goal this season?

Spurs creating chances

I thought I’d start by looking at how many chances we are creating and how this compares to the rest of the Premier League.


Spurs have done well in fashioning chances this season, sitting second behind Liverpool. The Reds have been creating an opportunity every 5 minutes per Premier League match, but we have a very health 5.2 minutes for creating an opening.

That’s better than the teams around us in the table – Man City (5.4 mins), Everton (5.6 mins), Chelsea (5.7 mins) and Arsenal (6 mins).

The surprise is league leaders Manchester United, who have been creating a chance every 6.3 minutes. That’s over a minute less than Spurs and less than their title rivals. But where they make up for having less frequent opportunities, is by being the most accurate when hitting the target.

Spurs accurate shooting

Man Utd lead the way when it comes to accuracy of shooting, but Spurs again sit just behind in second place.


Man Utd hit the target with 36.8% of their shots, but our 34.5% is not far behind.

Chelsea (33.6%) and Arsenal (33.1%) are both creating less chances and are being less accurate than Spurs. Whereas Liverpool, who were creating the most chances, have been the least accurate with just 28.7% on point.

So, if we’re creating frequent chances and hitting the target regularly, surely we can’t be that wasteful in front of goal given that we’re fourth in the Premier League?

Spurs goal conversion

We’ve scored the same amount of goals as Man City in the Premier League, four less than Arsenal and seven less than Chelsea, so tha can only mean one thing. Although we are creating chances and hitting the target, we’re not converting chances in to goals. spurs-goal-conversion-2012-

Man Utd rank top again, converting 15.7% of their chances in to goals, with Reading (12.2%) surprisingly in second.

Our rivals for a Champions League place see Chelsea (12.1%) converting the third most chances in to goals, with Arsenal (11.9%) just behind them.

Spurs rank fourteenth with just a 9.4% conversion rate of chances in to goals, the same as Wigan and just behind Everton (9.5%).

Spurs shooters

Not one player is entirely responsible for a team’s failings in front of goal, but if we take a look at our top shot takers, we get some interesting results.

Shots% of Team
AccuracyPL GoalsGoal

Gareth Bale has taken the most shots by any Spurs player this season, but he is one of the most accurate and turns his strikes in to goals. His 12.7% conversion rate is well above the team average of 9.4%.

Jermain Defoe has also taken a ton of shots and arguably should have more goals for the number of strikes he has taken. His 9.7% goal conversion is just above the team average, but it should be higher given the number of chances he has had and last season’s 16.7% conversion rate.

Clint Dempsey has taken the third most shots, but hits the target almost 40% of the time and has the second best goal conversion on the team.

Gylfi Sigurdsson struggles this term have been well documented. These are reflected in his poor accuracy and also goal conversion.

Emmanuel Adebayor has only taken 27 shots this season – he has an attempt at goal half as often as Jermain Defoe. On the flip side, his accuracy is the best of any Spurs player, but his goal conversion is not. This season’s 7.4% conversion rate is well down on last season’s 17% in the Premier League.

Aaron Lennon is not renowned as a shooter or goalscorer. He’s taken just 26 shots this season – less than one a game – but his conversion rate of 15.4% is the best on the team, even if his accuracy is the worst.

Moussa Dembele has scored some big goals this term, but his infrequent shots are backed up by his lack of goals.

Have Spurs been wasteful in front of goal this season?

For the amount of chances we’ve created and the fact that we’ve been accurate, we haven’t been clinical enough when it comes to hitting the back of the net.

Our rivals for a Champions League place – Man City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Everton – create less chances, are all less accurate, but convert more of their chances in to goals.

With the run-in proving crucial and games against City, Chelsea and Everton to come, taking our chances in front of goal will be paramount. We will create opportunities, the question is, can we put them away?

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