Having reviewed the effectiveness of Di Canio’s substitutions and defence, Adam Johnson now takes a detailed look at how the goal have flown in at the other end of the pitch causing mad bursts of passion from a certain Italian in the dugout.
When your manager is Paolo Di Canio, you expect the goals to flow and finally against Barnet we saw the true potential and quality in our side.
His unveiling brought the prospect of top strikers, wetting our appetites, but it has taken an average of 53 minutes per game to score a goal and that has only been brought down by the recent thrashing of Lawrie Sanchez’s side. It takes the good taste out of your mouth slightly doesn’t it?
With the joint second best goal difference in the league though, you have to be happy with how it is going at either end. To see though after ten games how it has all gone up front, you need good old trusty stats, they never lie.
118 shots and only 17 goals…
The most important stat to look at to see our effectiveness in the final third is our conversion rate. Town have had 118 shots on goal, 56 on target and 17 goals. The shots on target efficiency is ranked 14th in League 2 and the overall strike rate of around seven attempts on goal for us to hit the back of the net places Swindon at no.8.
Having just under half of your shots on goal also on target is a good ratio and one that many teams would expect. However, only 17 goals out of 118 shots is lower than you’d like. The stats do paint the two different pictures of the season we have witnessed so far.
Go back to the four games that we lost in a row against Dagenham, Cheltenham, Oxford and Shrewsbury and you see where. Against these four we had 46 shots, but only managed 2 goals with 43% on target. This was when we struggled to get a constant frontline with De Vita, Bodin, Connell, Kerrouche, Magera and Clarke all tried and tested but we never found a solid partnership between them.
Fast forward to the recent 4 victories out of 5 against Rotherham, Southend, Crawley, Burton and Barnet and the stats significantly improve.
The introduction of a solid and stable front two in Connell and Kerrouche, who’ve now built up a good understanding of each other’s game, has seen a massive improvement. 61 shots on goal with 56% on target has led to a recent ‘goalfest’ with an increased strike rate from 1 per game to 1.7 per game as a result of the 12 goals in five games.
Right hand dominance…
At times we may have struggled to convert chances but our ability to create them has been a consistent plus point.
True to Di Canio’s principles of beautiful football we’ve seen a corresponding shift in the manner in which we’ve scored. This season goals have been largely created from open play. Town have dismissed the normality of a heavy reliance on set peices in lower league football with 14 of our 17 goals scored from chances created through midfield.
The key to our creativity has been the wings, particularly Matt Ritchie, who after a slow start to the season has really flourished since the Rotherham game. The strength and importance of Caddis and Ritchie combined down the right hand side has now created 6 of our goals from open play down the right, compared to 4 through the centre and 4 down the left.
You look back to Saturday and every goal except the first was made down the right hand side of the pitch and this isn’t a rare occurrence. Against Crawley for example the first goal started from a cross on the right hand side met by Connell. Also, the first of Kerrouche’s two goals was scored from a cross delivered by right winger Matt Ritchie.
All these goals haven’t been setup by Ritchie or Caddis but these two have formed an effective partnership. Only two goals have been scored from the left hand side so when the ball enters the right hand side, we can expect great results.
Fox in the box…
Flint, Kerrouche, Connell and Matt Ritchie, all these players have got a great head on them and once again, the stats don’t lie. Town have scored seven out of their 17 goals from a header, such as both of Connell’s goals v Rotherham, Flint v Crewe and Ritchie’s goals v Oxford and Shrewsbury.
Town’s goal scorers have proved to have a bit of Ruud Van Nistelrooy in them. The Dutchmen is famous for only scoring one goal at Manchester United from outside the penalty area and Town have so far scored six from inside the 6 yard box.
Great strikers are those who can be in the right place at the right time, and also can take their opportunities. Scoring goals in the 6 yard box sounds easy but to be free in those areas and take the chance is harder than it looks. Making the most of every opportunity on a football pitch reaps rewards and so far, Di Canio’s men have proved they can pop up when needed and turn a well judged cross into a goal.
All these stats make us look like world beaters. That’s if we are on the right of the pitch just inside the six yard box on the end of a cross heading it in, sadly negatives have to be drawn on too.
It’s not an uncommon one in football to score less away, but Town have been dire, scoring 4 goals this season and 3 of those came in one game! Often teams go away with the thought of snatching a draw but under Di Canio, he wants to win every game with similar tactics being used at SN1 and away.
Judging by results, we’re uncomfortable away from the County Ground but this is also reflected through our goal count. It’s not been a disaster away from home but if you score only less than one goal in a game, you’re unlikely to come away with the three points on a regular enough basis to challenge for promotion. An obvious improvement here is sorely needed.
Tomorrow night sees a trip to Macclesfield and judging by the stats, I’d put a bet on us scoring a header inside the six yard box from a cross from the right side of the pitch. If you fancy a gamble though and want to go against the trend, bet for us scoring from the left. At the end of the day, a goal is a goal and we’ll all take it however it comes!