Defensive Stats for the Top 7 Teams in the Premier League

Defensive Stats for the Top 7 Teams in the Premier League

You often hear that goals win you games and whilst this is true you can’t overlook just how important a solid defence is. After all, the fewer goals you need to score as a team to win, the better, right?


With this in mind I decided to look at the resiliency of the top 7 teams in the Premier League when it comes to conceding 2 or more goals.

2 or more

The image above shows how many times the top 7 teams scored and conceded 2 or more within the season.

This shows how resilient they are defensively but also how potent they are in attack. Basic logic would say if a team scores 2 or more on more occasions than they concede 2 or more they’re onto a winner, right?

This image also shows the undefeated % of these teams when they do concede 2 or more. Now, the important part here is how many times the teams concede 2 or more. You have be 50% undefeated when you concede 2 or more yet lose 7 games whereas someone may only be 30% undefeated and only lose 1 game.

The image shows that Liverpool flirt with nearly conceding 2 or more in the same amount of games as they score 2 or more in. Not exactly the record you want. The surprise for me was the fact Man City conceded 2 or more in 12 games last season but won 5 of these games. Surely it plays on the opponents minds knowing even if they score 2 it may not be enough.

This is the opposite to Arsenal, as in the 9 games they conceded 2 or more in they lost 7, as did Southampton. You’d imagine Arsenal had the firepower to overcome this but evidently not.

3 or more

Next up, how many times the top 7 teams scored and conceded 3 or more. You’d like to think these top sides wouldn’t be conceding 3 or more that often *however* you’ll see Liverpool conceded 3 or more an astonishing 7 times. This means 53% of the time when Liverpool conceded 2 they went on to concede 3 or more. Clearly an issue with their defence.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Manchester United. Despite fielding such a weakened defence of the majority of the season they only managed to concede 3 or more on 2 occasions.

Spurs conceded 3 or more on 5 occasions yet picked up 6 points during these games which should be considered bonus points, and important ones at that.

You may find the fact Chelsea conceded 3 or more on 3 occasions a little bit of a shock but one of these was after they’d won the league, one game they won and the other was against Spurs who we spoke about earlier as being rather resilient even when they’ve conceded 3.

clean sheets

The above table is one I’ve come up with, not to detract away from clean sheets but to show they aren’t a way to gauge a solid defence.

I list the amount of clean sheets the club has had, the amount of goals scored in the games without clean sheets, the amount of goals conceded in the games without a clean sheet and finally goals conceded.

The purpose of this is to find out how teams respond to conceding. Can they outscore an opponent still and do they implode defensively?

As you will see WBA managed to keep 15 clean sheets, yet in the games they conceded a goal they averaged 2.21 goals. Which means on average to win their remaining 23 games they’d need to average 3 goals per game.

Again, you’ll see Liverpool kept an impressive 14 clean sheets but then conceded a not so impressive 2 goals per game in the other 24 games.

You’ll then see the likes of Arsenal (1.38), Chelsea (1.52), Man City (1.52) and United (1.37) all concede the fewest amount of goals in games when a clean sheet wasn’t kept. Could this be why they finished top 4? A tight defence as a foundation means you don’t *need* to score as many to win the games when you do concede.

If Spurs and Liverpool are serious about pushing for top 4 next season you’d imagine both sides would have to concede about 15 goals less to just even be in with a shout. A huge ask, but is this way easier than the Liverpool way of 2013/2014 of goals goals goals? Which one is more sustainable?