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Sky Sports bust common football myths: Score more if you shoot more?
Liverpool hit a decade-high 17 shots on target during 6-1 win against Watford in 2016
Last Updated: 05/04/20 11:34am
They often say that if you don't shoot, you don't score - but do more shots mean more goals? We've checked the data to bust the myth...
Technically, the saying has already been disproved. Watford and Crystal Palace both registered winning goals without hitting a single shot on target in 2016/17 - both from own goals.
Conversely, Liverpool took 17 shots on target during their 6-1 win against Watford in November, 2016 - more than any other game over the past 10 seasons. But Arsenal struck 16 at goal and still lost 3-1 to Manchester United in 2018.
Data from the past 10 years indicates 15.2 per cent of attempts inside the box are scored - more than four times as clinical as shots from range (3.5 per cent).
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However, shots on target clearly translate to more goals - but what are the ratios here?
The graphic below shows 7,416 combinations between teams' shots on target and resulting goals in games over the past decade. The most common is registering three shots on target and scoring one goal.
Indeed, if you break those goal numbers into averages, one is scored from roughly every three shots on target. The most common here is four shots on target - which averages at 1.3 goals.
As expected, accurate shots and headers inside the box are more likely to be scored - while only 14 per cent of shots that hit the target from outside the box end up in the back of the net.
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The graphic below illustrates the win rate of teams, rising with the number of shots on target during a game - with two outlier exceptions caused from small sample sizes.
How does this translate in the league table this season? Well, the current top five in the Premier League all rank among the top five for total shots on target - although not in precise corresponding order.
The data suggests Leicester have been extremely clinical with a league-topping ratio of scoring every 2.66 shots on target, while Arsenal also have an impressive rate but have hit the target on far fewer occasions.
Sheffield United are the biggest outliers with a league-low 92 shots on target but holding seventh spot in the league table, while Norwich are rooted in 20th with just one goal from every 4.6 shots on target.
So, more shots clearly produce more goals and, even when factoring the defensive cost of attacking, more goals produce more wins.