Shot Location by Teams in the EPL

For this last look at shot locations I have decided to look at the breakdown of shots per zone taken for each team.  As before, I am including shots and headers, but excluding penalties from the images and analysis.

In order to aid analysis I have included the teams in the order that they finished in the league, so we start off with the Premier League winners for 2012/13 – Man United.


Man United took 45% of their shots from the absolute centre areas of the penalty area, but more importantly only 12% (which is a league best number) of their shots came from poor positions.  For the purpose of this piece, “poor positions” are defined as any zone beyond the penalty area which has been extended to the dotted line in just the Man United image.
As an aside, if the figure is 0% that means that at least 1 shot was taken from that zone, but not enough to be rounded up to 1%.


In terms of shot location, Man City were not that very different from their Manchester rivals.  They had a handful more shots from further out and didn’t manage to have as many of their shots from very close in range.


22% of Chelsea’s shots originated from poor positions, whilst their proportion of shots from very central locations inside the area was at 35% – a decrease on the top 2 teams’ numbers.


Arsenal were very conservative with their shot selection, with any long distance shots being taken from central locations.  Santi Cazorla would have been a huge influence on the long range shots that they took, exclude him and their shooting locations would be even more impressive.  The 31 zones that they shot from was the least by any team; in fact Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez shot from more individual zones themselves (33 and 32 respectively).


Tottenham had 25% of all their shots from poor positions.  Well, they should have been poor positions, but Gareth Bale made sure that they managed to get an an unreal percentage of them on target.
Only 27% came from central inside positions, which is very low for the team that finished 5th in the league.  Quite simply, their shooting was from another planet this season – the question is can they do it again next season.  One aspect they have in their favour is that per @simongleave Bale posted some pretty amazing shooting accuracy numbers in previous seasons.


Everton couldn’t really have asked for better shot locations than the ones the received this season.  39% were central inside, with only 15% coming from poor positions.  Unsurprisingly, the left hand side of Everton’s attack seen much more heat than the other side.


So Liverpool managed to hit shots from 40 different zones this season, that is the most for any team (tied with Wigan) in the Premier League.  I had shown in the individual player numbers that a certain Uruguayan can take most of the credit for Liverpool earning that particular prize.
20% of Liverpool’s shots came from poor positions and 31% from inside central ones.



Swansea showed great control in their shooting for a mid table team, with only 17% of shots from poor positions and 36% from inside central spots.


As has been noted by the author in previous pieces on this site West Ham did a brilliant job with their shot locations.  At only 12% of shots from poor positions they tied with Man United, and their figure of 48% of shots from centrally inside the penalty area was a league high number.



Norwich and Fulham had similar shot profiles, both did well to keep their shots from poor positions to less than 20%


A little like West Ham, Stoke make a big play on shot location with 43% of all their shots coming from great central inside locations.  Their shot profile, at least on paper, looks like that of a much more successful team.  What more successful teams do, however, is have more than 10 shots on average per game over the course of a season.



Aston Villa had a nice heatmap in terms of their shot locations, although they struck 18% of their shots from what I defined as poor positions earlier, the majority of them were at least central.  Also, with just 32 zones covering all the shots that they took they match Man United in that regard for the league’s second lowest number, just behind Arsenal.


Newcastle had a wide range of shot locations and with 27% of them coming from poor positions they would need to attempt to work into closer positions next season.  The figure of 27% was the worst in the league.  Just 30% was from inside centrally.



Wow, Wigan really seen most of the park.  With shots from 40 different zones they had as many varied locations as Liverpool (they shared the league high number).  However, they still had less of their shots from poor positions than Newcastle did.


Reading’s issue wasn’t the breakdown of their shots, it was the fact that they didn’t have nearly enough of them.  Just 18% of shots from poor positions and 44% from inside central areas aren’t indicative of a team that were relegated.  However, just have 391 shots from 38 games is.



Despite having to go all the way down the league table to the 8th placed team until we find a team that had less shots than Man United, the heatmap of Man United goes a long way to showing why they won the league.  They had a hugely measured approach to where they pulled the trigger.

Everton’s huge reliance on their left hand side is apparent and one wonders want their Merseyside neighbours, Liverpool, might have achieved had they calmed their head a little before shooting from all locations.

Tottenham’s shooting locations are just plain ugly, but they do have Gareth Bale who, it seems, can undo a lot of ugliness with his left foot.

It is interesting that there are a couple of teams in Stoke and West Ham who place great importance on pitch location.  It’s a good job that Sam Allardyce hasn’t had the pleasure of managing Luis Suarez – that would be an interesting battle of minds!!

Given how many shots Newcastle were (presumably) forced into taking from poor positions they can perhaps count themselves lucky to be able to call themselves a Premier League team again next season.


4 thoughts on “Shot Location by Teams in the EPL

  1. Pingback: The Not Quite So Wonderful World of West Ham | Tactical Strikes

  2. Pingback: Central Midfield Transfer Targets for Manchester United | thebubblegame

  3. Just discovered this blog, makes for excellent reading, thanks a lot.

    One question: Where do you get the shot location positions from? I know Statszone app does them but that seems very long winded to collate the amount of data you have….

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