Use Fifth Grade Math to Better Understand Soccer Teams

A majority of the fundamentals of this site are based on three simple concepts, which are the Three Factors. These three concepts are Shot Quantity, Shot Quality, and Scoring Percentage. What I like about these three stats is that they require no more than Fifth Grade math to quickly understand more about soccer teams.

 

#1 – Shot Quantity

Which team had more shots? Honestly, this isn’t even Fifth Grade math, as just about any K-1 grader can tell you which team had more shots. Once we look at the formula (Shots / 96 minutes) it gets to Fifth Grade math. This also allows for stat consistency when games go to extra time. No need to calculate that on your own; that’s why there is a website. If one is trying to just identify a quick stat for two teams while looking at the stats, Which Team Had More Shots?

 

#2 – Shot Quality

Which team put a higher percentage of their shots on target? This is a Fifth Grade Ratio problem. If Team A has ten shots with five on target, and Team B has twenty shots with eight on target, which team had the better shot quality? For shot quality, the formula is Shots on Targets / Shots (SoT/Sh). Not all shots on target are equal, which is precisely the problem that xG attempts to solve. For our purposes,  we want a simple soccer stat that is easy to determine. Which Team Had Better Shot Quality?

 

#3 – Scoring Percentage

What was each team’s scoring percentage? This simple soccer statistic is Goals / Shots on Target (G / SoT). This statistic has wide variability, because it can be common for a team to score on either 0% of their Shots on Target or 100% of their SoT. The key to this stat is that extremely low or extremely high scoring percentages are unsustainable over time. No team will get shut out forever, and no team will score on all their shots forever. The second key to this stat is that it allows for some trash talk. If a team scores on 100% of their SoT, they are lucky. What Was Each Team’s Scoring Percentage?

 

Summary

Just on their own, each of those three simple stats are flawed. Yet, if one is able to quickly look at two different teams and compare the Three Factors for a game, there is quite a lot of insight that can be gained. Most of the stats on this site are based on just these three concepts, which require little more than Fifth Grade math to better understand. However, these three soccer stats can also be easily compared across teams, leagues, and over time, providing even further information.

  • Which team had more shots?
  • Which team had a better ratio of shots on target?
  • What was each team’s scoring percentage?