The Question: why are more goals being scored?


Athletic Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa
“A spectre is haunting Europe – the spectre of goals. They’re everywhere – in every competition, in every country, in every stadium (apart from games involving Sunderland). Four-goal leads are regularly obliterated (Angola v Mali, Newcastle v Arsenal, Germany v Sweden, Arsenal v Reading). Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Radamel Falcao break goalscoring records every week. Everybody attacks, all the time. In the top flights of England, France and Spain, there has been a clear upward trend in the numbers of goals scored per game over the past decade. Last season, for the first time ever, the knockout stage of the Champions League yielded more than three goals per game and that has continued into this season’s group stage, with 3.03 goals per game. And even in Italy and Germany, where goals per game have remained relatively constant for 10 years, this season is showing above average numbers of goals.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

How English game of pace and power benefits from European precision
“More passes, less ‘hoofs’ from back to front, and a slicker goalscoring rate: the Premier League has become a more technical “continental” competition that is a fusion of English pace and power and European subtlety. These are the implications of statistics from Opta that chart a shift over the past five years from a direct approach to a more patient game that now features greater precision in passing and finishing. The national team continue to see little benefit from this evolution, with experts citing the prime factors as the influx of foreign players and coaches, better club pitches and training facilities, a clampdown on tackling and the influence of a Champions League dominated by Barcelona’s carousel-passing style.” Guardian

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