• 0 > 1 - why clean sheets are more valuable to the Albion than scoring a goal

    The reason why the Albion are struggling this season is because we're not scoring enough goals, right?

    If that's what you are thinking you're wrong. A more detailed analysis of our results since moving to our theatre of cocoa, reveals that points have been earned through not conceding goals, rather than scoring them.




    The common view is that we desperately need a striker, but perhaps we should be looking to concede less, rather than score more, goals this season.

    2011/12

    First season at the Amex, incredible memories, Buckley in the 97th minute against Donny, cup wins against two Premier League clubs, sitting top of the table during September, breaking our record signing fee twice before the season had even started etc.

    We finished tenth, a decent, but ultimately disappointing season given the excitement at the beginning.
    During this season, under Gus, we had 18 clean sheets in league and cup, and that produced 14 victories, but averaged 2.56 points per clean sheet.

    However, in terms of games in which we scored one goal, on which there were 16, we only managed two victories, and averaged 0.94 points per game.

    2012/13

    Highest finish in 30 years, stuffing Palace on St Patrick's Day, memorable cup games against Newcastle and Arsenal, then the debacle of the playoff defeat against you-know-who and the mysterious, almost Stalinist removal of Gus.

    The Albion however an identical number of clean sheets to the previous season (which seems strange given the abuse towards Casper Ankergren and Sexy Pete in our debut in the Championship). The 18 clean sheets produced only 11 victories, which still meant that we earned 2.22 points per clean sheet.

    There were only 10 games in which we scored one goal, and this produced but a single victory. Overall we averaged 0.9 points from the games in which we scored one goal.

    2013/14

    Our season under Oscar produced a few good memories, (anyone who was at Forest on the final day will endorse that it was however all worth it).

    Oscar's brand of football (and he was remember 'addicted to attacking'), whatever the intentions, seemed to produce a more cautious set of statistics. We had 22 clean sheets in league and cup, but still produced an impressive 16 victories and 2.45 points per game.

    There were however 25 games in which we scored a single goal, and that generated five victories, and averaged 1.00 points per game, 'one-nil to the Albion' was a more common chant under Oscar than Gus.

    2014/15

    And so to Sami, to date we have only managed four clean sheets, and these have averaged two points per match. The five games in which we have scored once have yet to produce a victory, and the average points per game is 0.8. Both sets of stats are noticeably worse than under his predecessors.


    2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 Total
    Matches Played 53 51 52 19 175
    Clean Sheets 18 18 22 4 62
    Clean Sheet % 34.0% 35.3% 42.3% 21.0% 35.4%
    Points per clean sheet 2.56 2.22 2.45 2.00 2.39
    Victories 14 11 16 2 43
    Victory % 77.8% 61.1% 72.7% 50% 69.3%
    Score 1 goal 16 10 25 5 56
    One goal % 30.2% 19.6% 48.1% 26.3% 32.0%
    Points per 1 goal 0.94 0.90 1.00 0.80 0.85
    Victories 2 1 5 0 8
    Victory % 12.5% 10% 20% 0% 14.3%

    It's still early days under our new manager, but his ability to organise the keep the defence clean seems a bigger issue than that of scoring goals. This seems a paradox given that he was a central defender, and both Oscar and Gus were attacking minded players.

    Clean sheets under the morbid Finn are noticeably less frequent than in our previous years in this division, and perhaps that is the issue we should be addressing if we want to get out of our current relegation scrap.

    PREVIEW: Albion v Wigan


    Comments 6 Comments
    1. Austrian Gull's Avatar
      Austrian Gull -
      Good stuff, El Pres.
    1. LamieRobertson's Avatar
      LamieRobertson -
      Well we got that clean sheet....and look what happened we won!
    1. El Presidente's Avatar
      El Presidente -
      CLEAR evidence that Sami reads NSC (I think he posts as @sir albion)
    1. Wilko's Avatar
      Wilko -
      Very interesting stuff indeed. As much as I hate to admit it, the philosophy of 'play not to lose' seems to reap more reward than 'play to win'.
    1. The Merry Prankster's Avatar
      The Merry Prankster -
      Very interesting but you really do need to get out more.
    1. El Presidente's Avatar
      El Presidente -
      I've updated the stats for life under Sami

      We have now scored once in ten matches this season (we scored once ten times in the WHOLE of our time under OG) and have only won one of those matches.

      We have managed just 6 clean sheets in 23 matches (and two of those were against Cheltenham and Burton in the Cup). Under Gus we managed a clean sheet in 36% of our matches, under OG it was 42%, but under Sami it's 26% (and only 16% of league games).
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