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Shot Zones

I had ended my previous post with a goal probability map where shots closer to goal (as expected) had a higher chance of getting in. To get into further detail, using the great Strata data, I generated the following where I divide the pitch into ‘zones’. In the below image, all shots of 2016-17 season in Dutch Eredivisie are shown (around 7000 shots, excluding penalties).

Some observations:

  • First and foremost: overall conversion rate is 12%. Without taking anything else into account, around 1 in every 8 shot finds the net.

  • The 6-yard box (blue on the pitch) has the largest conversion rate around 40%, followed by the 18-yard centre (orange) with 16.5%. A 2.5-fold difference.

  • Shots from center have significantly higher probability. This is expected as center shots provide a better angle for the player.

  • Shots from right (compared to left) tend to be ‘better’: 11.2% vs. 8.5% inside the 18-yard, 3.6% vs. 2.9% outside.

I actually calculated the same conversion rates from the Strata data for Italian Serie A and Turkish Super League. The result seems to hold: shots from right have higher conversions.

Is this a consequence of attacking players’ dominant foot? Or defending players? What about the goalkeeper? Probably a combination of all. But, let’s leave this for a future post.

Next: Eredivisie 16-17 and what happened at PSV?


This article was written with the aid of StrataData, which is property of Stratagem Technologies. StrataData powers the StrataBet Sports Trading Platform, in addition to StrataBet Premium Recommendations.


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