Where the goals are scored
From the week starting the 25th January there were a total of 20 Premier League games played. In those 20 games a total of 50 goals were scored, from a variety of positions and angles.
What we’ve decided to look at is how those goals were scored. Were they after dribbles, or were more scored from crossing? If we look at where, and how, the goals were scored it can help you get an idea of the best positions to be in, and the most important aspects for you to focus on in order to help you, or your team, score more goals.
During the week there were some absolutely fantastic goals, great counter attacks and some stunning finishes. My personal favourite has to be Mo Salah’s second goal against West Ham on Sunday, with a super first touch setting himself up for a flick with the outside of the boot past the West Ham goalkeeper.
Technically, the level of finishing in the Premier League is outstanding, but we can all learn from each goal and we’ll soon see where most goals come from.
We’ve broken down the goals into six different areas: goals scored first time inside and outside the box. We’ve then got goals scored with two touches inside and outside the area. Then, finally, we have goals scored with three or more touches inside and outside of the area as well.
In total there were 50 goals in 20 games, some screamers, and some fantastic team goals.
Of the 50 goals there was only one that was scored first time from outside the box: Pierre-Emile Hojberg’s fantastic driven strike from outside the area against Liverpool being the only first time shot from distance hitting the back of the net.
In total just 8 goals were scored from outside the box, which is a little lower than I was expecting, with 5 from outside the box scored with two touches and 2 goals with 3 or more touches.
So it is clear to see that the majority of goals were scored inside the box, but how?
Only 7 of these goals were scored with 3 touches or more inside the area, which is understandable as it is congested in the area and there is little time to get your shot away. Take too many touches and there’s a high chance the shot will get blocked.
Two touches inside the box were the next highest amount of goals scored with 9 coming from players controlling the ball and finishing. However, the first time finish in the box, by far and away, is the most common type of goal scored.
Typically goals from corners, or free kicks, delivered into the area, will be first time, but many of the goals this week came from cut backs, low crosses that allow the players to run onto the ball and finish assertively. It was noticeable how many positive passes were played forward to the overlapping full back, allowing the ball to get cut back and finish. In my opinion though, these goals are some of the hardest to score. To cushion and control a first time finish is very difficult and we can see this quite often. There’s many a time where the ball may get scuffed, or skewed wide, even though these players are at the top level.
In total, 27 of the goals scored in the Premier League were first time finishes, inside the box.
So how can we learn from it?
Firstly, what I noticed was the desire of the players to make overlapping runs, creating overloads in the channels, in order to get crosses and cut backs into the box. Positive passes forwards were key to triggering these movements, allowing the wide players to get high up the pitch, moving into dangerous positions.
However, it’s not just about the delivery of the cross, or cut back. Usually, these wide players will be cutting the ball back or playing it into a space for the attacker to run on to. Therefore, the key thing is movement.
Can the attacking player attack the cross, getting into the area where the ball is being delivered on time, meeting it before the defender gets there? The desire to get to the near post and attack the ball, ahead of the defender, is key, as is being alive in the box, being ready for the ball to bounce to you, even if it doesn’t look like it will.
Movement is vital and a huge amount of goals are scored by players who are prepared to put the hard work in off the ball.
If you’re looking to score more goals you’ve got to aim to get to the ball ahead of the defender. Good movement in the box will help any player score more goals. It is rare that the ball will just fall to the attacker in the most opportune position. The top players move to get themselves in the best position to score.
In total, 54% of the goals scored in the Premier League last week were first time in the box.
So, if you want to score more goals as forward, winger, or midfielder, then the main aspect you should focus on is getting into the box, attacking the ball in order to get there ahead of the defender.
We can learn a lot from analysing games and seeing where goals are scored from most can definitely help you in your game, especially with training and practice.
Quite often we think of improving shooting but focus on being able to strike the ball from distance about 25-30 yards away from goal. There is definitely a time and place to practise this, but if we want to work on finishing and scoring more goals then the practice of scoring first time goals, from cut backs and crosses, is really important.
So if you’re training with a partner, or team, aim to focus on finishing from deliveries in wide areas. On your own you could use a rebounder to pop the ball to you, helping you step forward on to it while keeping control of your body as you guide the ball into the net.
The main thing to score more goals is to notice where they come from and then practise in that area.
Typically we’ll remember the screamers, the goals from distance, more. But in reality goals scored in the area are most common. Practise finishing in the area while also developing your ability to shoot from range but, to score more goals, we’ve got to get in the area more.