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Clear-Cut Chances – Hits And Misses | Opta Stats Analysis

CCC conversion Vs overall chance conversion

Keen observers must have already noticed large variations between the conversion rates. The blue line in the following graph charts those numbers.

The red line shows the corresponding conversion rates for all goals scored from total shots on and off target.

One can immediately conclude teams score a lot more frequently from clear-cut chances than they do from other opportunities but you probably didn’t need a graph to tell you that. However, since the blue line is so high up, it does make one wonder how low the chance conversion rates from other opportunities would be for the red line to be in the middle.

Think of it this way, the average CCC conversion figure is around 38 percent while the corresponding number for total chances is around 13 percent. That means the conversion rates for other opportunities must be lower than 13 percent. Indeed, when I looked at long range shots earlier, Man City had the best success rate that was just under 8 percent and the average was around 3.4 percent. Of course, that analysis was done in February and the sample size of games does not match, but the numbers do provide a reasonable indication of the vast difference in the probability of success with different types of chances.

That’s not to say teams should only look to create easy chances. As we can see Wolves, surprisingly, have the best conversion rate for sitters. But their overall conversion rate is low and this correlates well with the fact that they had zero goals from outside the box when the earlier analysis on long-range shots was undertaken. In fact, City and United had the highest conversion rates for shots from distance showing the importance of having multiple scoring options. But I digress, let’s keep the focus of this article on high quality chances.

While the average CCC conversion rate is around 38 percent, only 6 teams have converted a lower fraction of their chances. Wigan (23.26), Sunderland (26.19), and Liverpool (28.99) are the worst offenders. In contrast, Wolves top the charts (45.24) with Man United (44.94), Newcastle (43.9), QPR (43.59), and City (43.18) in close proximity. 9 teams convert between 38 and 43 percent of their easy chances. Stoke, Everton, and Spurs score from approximately one in three gilt-edged opportunities.

Wigan and Liverpool are the only teams below the 10 percent mark in total chance conversion rates. Their inability to convert clear-cut chances has obviously had a big impact on their respective seasons. In contrast Sunderland have a healthy 14.4 percent overall rate, which is higher than average, despite their second-lowest CCC conversion success. Again a higher number of goals from outside the box – they were third highest by early Feb – would have helped their cause.

Another very interesting observation is that the top teams, with all their big stars, are not head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to clear-cut chance conversion. For instance, Man United have an overall conversion rate of over 20 percent which is approximately 50 percent above the average that’s around 13. But their success from easy opportunities, while close to the top, is only around 18 percent above average.

It indicates that the difference in the skill level of players is not so big as to have a significant impact on their ability to convert high quality chances. Could it be that the real differentiator here is the amount of such opportunities created and not the conversion?

Liverpool fans will obviously disagree as they fret over their side’s inability to finish. Supporters of Bolton, on the other hand, will point to their above average conversion rates and lament their inability to create more. Perhaps the key variables are different for each team and might even vary with each season based on personnel, tactics, and form.

Finally, I want to take a look at the ratio of goals scored from high quality chances to total goals scored.

This graph is really very different from all the others. Essentially, it depicts the gap between the red and green lines in the first figure above. The closer the two lines are, the higher proportion of a team’s goals are coming from clear-cut chances.

So Aston Villa clock over 70 percent with 22 of their 31 goals coming from gilt-edged chances. While high, this number is not very healthy as it suggests they have fewer other avenues of scoring. Swansea and Wolves are the only other teams for whom such goals account for over 60 percent of the total goals scored.

At the other end, Sunderland score less than 29 percent of their goals from easy chances. This would have been a phenomenal stat if their total goals scored figure had been very high. But at the moment, it’s as much a reflection of their inability to convert simple chances as of the diverse ways they can score goals.

The average is around 48.76 percent with the top three achieving between 52 and 56 percent.


This data is inherently very subjective and hardly conclusive.

One could say the top teams are creating a lot of high quality chances and converting a fair proportion of those. They also achieve a healthy balance by scoring goals from other types of chances thereby increasing their total goals count.

Beyond that it’s hard to generalize over such a broad spectrum. Each team probably has its own set of strengths and weaknesses.

Some of the numbers, especially the CCC conversion rates, are very close together and a couple of games could change the shape of the curve. However, one would not expect a team to fall from 40-45 percent to the 25-30 percent range. At that broad level we can see indications of struggle or strong points for most of the sides.

With that I’ll leave you  to form your own conclusions. Remember these stats are available to subscribers on a seasonal and match-by-match basis. To look at other details for your team or to make your own comparisons pick the package that suits you best.

All of the stats from this article have been taken from the Opta Stats Centre at EPLIndex.comSubscribe Now (Includes author privileges!) See Demo’s and videos about the Stats Centre & read about new additions to the stats centre.

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