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Welcome to part 10 of the seasons review
Having just looked at scoring % in the EPL the next logical step is to look at save % for the 2011/12 season.
Save % is shots on target against/goals conceded. It's a good way to judge a teams ability to keep the ball out of the net, but also in conjunction with volume of shots on target against, save % is a quick and useful method for evaluating goalkeepers.
After the jump we'll look at who was the team with the best save % overall, at home, and away.
2011/12 EPL save % (overall)
So here is the EPL teams save % numbers. Save % runs at a shade over 0.70%, 7 out of ten shots on target end up as goals over a season wide, team wide analysis. Some teams have better goalkeepers thus increasing the save % number. Some teams give up a lower quality of shot on target. Some teams are just lucky, but that should even itself out over a 38 game campaign.
Man Utd top the league with a 0.79 save % number. Strange you may think considering the stick that De Gea was subjected to in the first half of the season. Yes he conceded soft goals, he looked shaky and not quite ready for the responsibility of the Utd #1 jersey by eye. Yet the stats and underlying numbers told a different story.
During the part of the season when De Gea and Lindergaard were sharing the #1 position I looked into their respective save %, shots on target against numbers etc and saw some interesting things. Lindergaard was facing less shots on target per game than De Gea was, why? It could be to do with his team mates confidence, quality of competition, giving up rebounds and hence more shots. But it was what it was.
De Gea had the same save % as Lindergaard despite facing more shots per game. He may have looked like he was drowning under the pressure by eye, but he wasn't. De Gea was performing well, save the odd howler. He then grew in confidence, and was outstanding and a points saving keeper in some games as the season progressed, Chelsea and Wigan away spring to mind. De Gea is an outstanding goalkeeping prospect (with a flaw or two) who recorded the best save % of any goalkeeper (he had help from his defenders when talking about a lower quality of shot faced than say Wolves' goalkeeper faced) in the EPL and thus helped Utd to the #1 rank in the EPL in terms of save %.
City with Joe Hart and a low quality of shot given up are in 2nd place. Suprisingly Sunderland are 3rd, is this due to a defensive style, containment-allowing low % scoring chances, preventing high % ones?
Newcastle with Krul, Swansea with the outstanding Vorm are in the top 6. Stoke and Liverpool are par sides by save %, Chelsea and Everton slip just below par despite reputations as strong defensive clubs, Chelsea gave up the 6th fewest shots on target and Everton the fewest shots on target in the EPL, thus the lower save % didn't hurt them as much as it could have.
Blackburn, Bolton, QPR are poor by save %. The real story is Arsenal, though. They have the 2nd worst save % in the 38 game EPL season with 0.63%. Why? were not sure, was it that the quality of shot given up was poor (we'll never know), chopping and changing of defensive personnel (it didn't help), was it a poor defensive record (no, 4th fewest shots on target conceded) or was it the goalkeeper? All roads lead to Arsenal's goalkeeper, Szczesny. A 'keeper thought very highly of, who has had his rough spells, but seems on the path to being an above average goalkeeper in the EPL, but whom when we look at the evidence seems to be the one player who should (maybe) be shouldering the blame for the 2nd worst save % in the EPL
2011/12 EPL Save % (home)
Here we have home save % numbers for the 1011/12 EPL season. Note save % is 0.715 ish% at home.
Newcastle lead the pack here. They were mighty impressive at home, with a strong committed defense and very high scoring %'s. Yet Newcastle have an 0.80 save % despite giving up the 14th most shots on target at home. Krul faced a high number of shots per game at home and still came up with the goods in terms of saving 4 out of every 5 shots on target (again, shot quality or lack of, is something we don't know). An excellent performance by the young Dutchman.
Man City and Swansea are in the top 3, City had the league's best home record and Swansea were strong in Wales.
Stoke are 5th in save %, this stat along with a 0.40 scoring % and a very unique style that gets their players into high scoring % areas accounts for their strong home record (31 points out of their tally of 45) despite being bottom 3 in shots for per game +/-. Stoke certainly use their excellent save and scoring %'s to confound the poor shot data they recorded.
We see Spurs slip just below the mean despite having the 3rd best home points total. Liverpool are below the mean line, as they are for scoring % too, despite having top 6 shots on target for/against data. Arsenal and Chelsea are both at 0.66%, this number is not too bad when we consider Arsenal were 1st in shots on target conceded at home and Chelsea 6th. The damage of the low save % was limited to due to the low shots totals (not too many goals conceded)
2011/12 EPL Save % (away)
|Save % (Away)|
|v Man Utd (1)||0.823|
|v Man City (2)||0.774|
|v Fulham (15)||0.769|
|v Spurs (4)||0.731|
|v Sunderland (14)||0.722|
|v Stoke (17)||0.722|
|v Chelsea (7)||0.722|
|v Aston Villa (13)||0.699|
|v Liverpool (8)||0.697|
|v Wolves (18)||0.693|
|v West Brom (6)||0.685|
|v Norwich (11)||0.685|
|v Swansea (16)||0.677|
|v Bolton (12)||0.676|
|v Wigan (10)||0.667|
|v QPR (20)||0.666|
|v Everton (9)||0.663|
|v Newcastle (5)||0.657|
|v Arsenal (3)||0.605|
|v Blackburn (19)||0.55|
Away save % is at 0.69 compared to 0.715 ish at home.
Man Utd ran away with 1st place here, as they also did with scoring %, unsustainable or sign of a (vastly) superior EPL team when compared to any other? De Gea and the defense again deserve credit.
Fulham-a side who were battered away from home- come in 2nd place, god knows how their away form would have looked without this excellent number (0.77%).
Spurs and Liverpool have above average save % numbers away from home compared with below average numbers at home.
Everton, Newcastle and Arsenal are all top 6 sides in the EPL who had below average away save %, with Arsenal particularly bad.
Wolves and Bolton's save % numbers are mid table for away save % and this fits (along with other away stats) with those two sides being two out of the three EPL sides who had a better away points total that home points total. West Brom were the other.
Save % doesn't tell us everything about a goalkeeper or the quality of teams defensive set up or personnel but it gives us another layer of useful information in terms of evaluating the behind the scenes why's and how's a team performed in the EPL.
Thanks for reading
I write for bitter and blue.
Further parts of the seasons review are found on the main page.