2023/24 stats: No goalless draws and shots on the up

6 Sep 2023
Sterling goal

First 39 matches show increased emphasis on exciting forward play

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It’s still early days in the 2023/24 Premier League season, with only 39 of 380 matches played, but the opening few weeks of the campaign have delivered entertainment on a scale rarely seen in the competition. 

From the 39 matches played some 127 goals have been scored. The average of 3.26 goals per match, is significantly higher than that for season with the record number of goals in it.

That was last season when 1,084 goals were scored at an average of 2.85 per match.

We have yet to witness a goalless draw from the opening 39 matches of the season. 

One might argue that such numbers are skewed higher towards the starts of the season, when the days are longer, defences are less attuned to their opponents’ attacks and tactical awareness of opposing teams are still being developed.

But when compared with similar periods from seasons before, 2023/24 still stands out for its attacking qualities.

Only the 2020/21 season has gone further without witnessing a goalless draw. Then it took 46 completed matches before West Bromwich Albion and Burnley shared a goalless draw. 

The opening four weeks of the 2020/21 season, which were still played under COVID conditions without fans in stadiums, also outscores this campaign for the number of goals in the opening four Matchweeks. Then, 144 goals were scored after the opening 38 matches of the season.

Average goals per match (all-time)
Season Ave. goals
2023/24* 3.26
2022/23 2.85
2018/19 2.82
2021/22 2.82
2011/12 2.81

*39 matches

Other metrics show a greater attacking intent from Premier League teams so far this season. There have been 1,118 shots so far at an average of 28.7 per match, That rate is higher than all but one complete season, 2010/11, when there was an average of 29.1 shots per match.

Average shots per match (since 2003/04)
Season Ave. shots
2010/11 29.1
2023/24* 28.7
2011/12 28.7
2008/09 28.6
2009/10 28.6

*39 matches

Teams are also averaging more touches in the opposition box in their opening matches this season. In the 39 fixtures so far, the average is 58.1, a figure that is already on course to beat the highest previous total of 49.5 touches per match recorded in 2022/23.

Despite the increase in goals per match in 2023/24 already, the number of headed goals is considerably lower. Only 15 of the 127 goals this season have been scored this way, 11.8 per cent of the total figure.

Haaland's header v Sheff Utd

The 2019/20 season is responsible for the lowest percentage of headed goals in a single season, with 13.3 per cent of goals coming from headers.

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