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Everton and Advanced Stats: Part 2

Dave Thompson

Yesterday we outlined a few of the simpler advanced stats, and today we are going to look at some more in depth things that we are planning to take a look at. Some of these numbers may not pan out. It could be they aren't significant or that what we are trying to do just doesn't work. We may also find some new numbers we want to look at.

Set Pieces

I've always had a problem with how over rated set pieces are. Pundits and fans like to talk about how many corner kicks and free kicks teams earn like it is significant. The problem is that conversion rates of set pieces are far worse than those from open play. I want to see just how good/bad Everton is at set pieces. We have a few standard numbers like how only 1 in 9 corner kicks results in a shot on goal and 1 in 5 of those shots results in an actual goal. We'll be able to see if Everton measures up to those numbers as well as how they do in relation to every other team in the Premiership.

Goalkeeping

We all love Tim Howard, his play over the past 12 months has been spectacular, but just how good has he been? We are going to look at his ability at stopping shots based on a measure ESPN's FiveThirtyEight developed during the World Cup. We are going to ask how many goals Tim Howard saves relative to the average keeper. During the season we are going to track how many shots it takes to score a goal in the EPL. Then we are going to compare that number to Howard's goals per shot value. Say in the EPL it takes 5 shots per goal, but Howard has faced 25 shots and only given up 3 goals. You would expect the average keeper to give up 5 goals which means Howard is 2 goals better than an average EPL goalie. We are going to rank all of the keepers in the league based on this and see what happens.

While this isn't the perfect measure of GK ability, there are still things like commanding the box, organizing the defense, and grabbing crosses that matter, this will be a good indicator of just how well a goalie prevents goals which is pretty important.

Most Valuable Strikers

As has been pointed out in many places, straight goals is not a great stat. You don't know how many minutes a forward has been playing, if he is getting enough opportunities, or if his goals are meaningful. We are going to try to get a true measure of how valuable a striker is. Each goal in soccer is worth a certain number of points. For example scoring the second goal for your team will earn you .99 points. The idea being if your team scores two goals in a game you are almost always going to win or draw. A first goal for a team is worse less, and then goals 3, 4, and 5 are worth less than the .99 as well.

We are going to take each goal scored and multiply it by points earned to get a total number of points each striker is responsible for. This will provide a much better comparison on how valuable strikers are. Scoring that first or second goal is much more important than goals 3-5.

Again if you have any questions don't hesitate to ask. Same if you have any ideas to improve these metrics or if there is something new you want to look at.