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Goal Glut November Update

There was an interesting article this morning on Soccernet about Robin Van Persie being in the “injury red zone”.  Hyperbole aside, it raises the point that Arsenal have had the luxury of playing Van Persie in every league match so far (starting 12 of 13) but will have to manage his workload a little more conservatively or risk a decrease in performance or potential injury.  Arsenal aren’t the only club facing this problem, with many top clubs still involved in multiple competitions (Newcastle’s and Liverpool’s league form is probably benefiting from their absence from Europe).

Why do I bring it up?  After much hype about the goal glut in the Premier League this season, things are starting to quiet down.  Goals per match dropped from 3.3 in October to 2.87 in November which is expected based on previous years’ data.  If this season continues to be like others, we can expect the dip to continue through February.

Goals per match by month for the Premier League from 2005-present. Orange marks are for the current season. The grey area represents one standard deviation from the mean.


Looking at how total goals are progressing, this season isn’t much different from previous seasons.

Running total of goals in the Premier League. Orange is this season.

We have a decent idea of what is going on here (goal scoring pace slows in the middle of the season) but we don’t know why.  Is fatigue and squad rotation responsible?  It certainly is an interesting theory to investigate.


  1. Martin H says:

    regarding the Jan-Feb dip, would you consider weather or sunset times having an effect on goal frequency? I had a look and Jan and Feb do have lowest mean temperature, but Dec is the darkest month… hhmmm

  2. Andy Kriebel says:

    Sarah, it might be worth considering the number of games played in each month, which I would think would relate to fatigue. I know I always hear that there’s a very congested fixture schedule in December, which would explain the dip, but I don’t have the data.

    How does this data compare to other top leagues? The fact that there is no winter break in the EPL might show a different pattern than those that have a winter break, like Germany.