Bar a couple of high-scoring games involving Machester City and Liverpool, goals have really dried up since the Premier League was rebooted.
It’s true that the sample size is not very big but there are some trends that have emerged and the purpose of this piece is to examine the reasons behind the fewer goals scored during this time.
How Have EPL Teams Fared in the Goals Department Recently?
Manchester United managed to score three goals away at Brighton yesterday but this was one of the very few high-scoring games we’ve seen since the restart.
Manchester City did thrash Burnley 5-0 and there was a heavy defeat handed to Crystal Palace by champions Liverpool but apart from that, there have been little to none games that have produced the same amount of goals.
A quick look at the stats show a very big discrepancy with how things were going prior to the hiatus.
Twenty four Premier League games have already been played since Project Restart began and we’ve seen a first-half goal in only ten of those.
It’s true that only three have finished goalless as a whole but it does seem like slow starts to games and lack of creativity are affecting the team’s chances to get going in games early.
No less than seventy-one percent of the goals since the reboot have been scored in the second half, but this is not the only worrying trend.
The number of chances created has plummeted from 4.1 per game before the lockdown to 2.7 in the games played since the restart.
This is a huge difference and despite the fact that there are quite a few matches left to be played, I believe this is enough of a problem to warrant an explanation.
I address this in my next section.
What Are the Reasons Behind the EPL Goal Drought?
The uncertainty around rebooting the league has definitely played a big part.
Players and managers alike were absolutely clueless as to the exact conditions in which the games will be played and what can cause another lockdown.
This is bound to have affected the mental state of everyone involved and it’s no surprise that the bottom teams have been woeful since the restart.
The top dogs boast world-class talents on their rosters whose professionalism and ability to adapt is far greater.
But even with this elite quality, teams like Leicester City who were probably one of the most creative teams in the league prior to the pause, have been a shadow of their former selves in recent games.
Another club that looks quite rattled currently is Sheffield United.
The Blades were the definite surprise package of the season and were right in the thick of the battle for European places but have fallen off the wagon since Project Restart began.
They have managed only one point against struggling Aston Villa and have notched up two straight defeats.
After the heavy loss against Manchester United, manager Chris Wilder has expressed concerns over the motivation of his players and I feel this is one of the major reasons behind the current goal drought.
The players can be excused to an extent for failing to adapt quickly to the current atmosphere at stadiums.
Strikers, in particular, are quite prone to feeding off from the crowd reactions and they are not getting this right now.
This has led to a massive drop in the shots taken per game stats and the conversion rates of some of the top forwards have all fallen significantly.
Another thing to consider is the players’ physical condition right now.
All the top pros were monitored during the lockdown and I’m sure most of them have handled the period professionally.
Despite that, it is evident that not all of them are looking sharp right now as there hasn’t been a lot of actual match practice they have taken part in.
This coupled with the obvious fatigue which comes from the hiatus is what has led to a lot of late goals and a lack of them in the early stages of the games.
Conclusion and Final Words
There was no way that the restart of the league will go swimmingly but I feel the Premier League board’s desire to simply conclude the season whatever it takes has taken a big toll on some of the smaller clubs.
Liverpool was always going to clinch the title but rebooting the season before teams like Sheffield United, Leicester City, and the relegation-threatened clubs such as Norwich, Aston Villa, Bournemouth and Brighton could get up to speed with the preparations has really done a number on them.
Let’s hope everything goes back to normal soon and we return to seeing the high-scoring spectacles that hvea made this league the most competitive and entertaining domestic competition in European football.