3-6, 5-3, & 8-0. Just three results from the Premier League so far, and we’re only in October. Another high scoring Premier League season is upon us.
In recent seasons we’ve seen a large increase in the amount of goals scored in England’s top division. The highest tally to date was the 2011/12 season in which during all 380 matches there was a total of 1066 goals scored – that’s a total of 2.80 per game. The two seasons both after and preceding that record were extremely high also, with a total of 1063 goals being scored in both.
A lot has been made of the weakening defences in the Premier League and this season is currently on course to break the record set in 2011/12. There has been 90 games so far in this Premier League season and currently the goals tally is on 259 (was 219 at the same time last season) – which is 2.88 per game on average. That puts the current season on course for a total of 1094 goals. That would be a considerable margin in comparison to previous seasons, and it shows no signs of stoping. There must be something to explain this recent trend, but what?
Is it quite simply a case of defenders not being as good as they used to be? Has the departure of Tony Adams, Sol Campbell and Jamie Carragher really affected the entire division? There’s no doubt in my mind that the level of defenders hasn’t really dropped at all, and certainly not as drastic as the stats suggest.
Is it to do with the quality of strikers? Well, in the record season of 2011/12 three players scored over 20 goals (Van Persie, Rooney, Aguero), and a further 5 players scored 15+. Some of those in the latter category are certainly not seen as amongst the greats in the Premier League era: notably Yakubu, Clint Dempsey, and Grant Holt. So lesser players were able to score a high amount of goals.
However, that argument falls down when you look at last season (which was relatively far off the record) with Suarez scoring over 30, along with 20+ each for Sturridge and Yaya Toure. Another 7 players scored 15+ also.
439 players have made an appearance in the Premier League thus far and if all those were to score one goal each, that’s 439 goals (good at maths, me). Many players will score at least once and of course a select few will score over 20, however to break the record for goals, there must be a contribution of goals from many positions and from many clubs i.e. top players won’t be enough to break the record.
The quality of footballers in the Premier League has generally risen as an average in recent years. Maybe if the quality of defenders and attackers increases in the same amount the attackers will still dominate proceedings – after all, regardless of how good a defence is they will concede sometimes.
Football favours attackers and football without goals is completely pointless, therefore the goals tally will keep rising slowly but surely with no real definitive explanation.