Bolton's shooting boots found, stuck in the past: a look at the numbers

It's almost as if Bolton's strikers are being held back - Tony Marshall

Last week Mark wrote an article about the Bolton strikers missing their shooting boots. The heading also asked readers to contact Bolton if these shooting boots were found. Well, everyone, I'm here to tell you they've been found! They're just still in the 2011/12 or 2012/13 seasons. Now, if anyone knows how to resurrect H.G. Wells, track down the Doctor, or even get in that crazy guy from Safety Not Guaranteed we can fix this problem.

The problem, quantitatively, is that Bolton's three main strikers Jermaine Beckford, Craig Davies, and even the shooting-allergic David Ngog are all averaging about a shot attempt less per 90 than the last two seasons. Consider the tables below. (Note: All 2013/14 analysis comes with the small sample size warning. Here it is. An extra shot here or there will drastically change these numbers, and I realize that. We'll revisit this topic in another month or two and reexamine what's going on.)

Player

Season

Minutes

Shots On Goal

SoG/90

Total Shots

Shots/90

2011-2013 AVE SoG/90

2011-2013 AVE Shots/90

Beckford, Jermaine

2011/12

2551

31

1.09

64

2.26

1.16

2.23


2012/13

1493

21

1.27

36

2.17




2013/14

255

1

0.35

5

1.76



Player

Season

Minutes

Shots On Goal

SoG/90

Total Shots

Shots/90

2011-2013 AVE SoG/90

2011-2013 AVE Shots/90

Davies, Craig

2011/12

2963

48

1.46

91

2.76

1.83

3.24


2012/13

2254

58

2.32

97

3.87




2013/14

105

2

1.71

3

2.57



Player

Season

Minutes

Shots On Goal

SoG/90

Total Shots

Shots/90

2011-2013 AVE SoG/90

2011-2013 AVE Shots/90

Ngog, David

2011/12

2046

24

1.06

59

2.60

1.28

2.60


2012/13

2035

34

1.50

59

2.61




2013/14

164

2

1.10

3

1.65




Of the three strikers, Beckford by far seems to have had the worst opening quartet of games by far. He is averaging 0.47 shots less per 90 than his two year average and is average a pitiful 0.35 shots on goal per 90. However, with such a small sample size, quantitatively analyzing Beckford's performance also presents the most problems. The two main problems being: he is the newest member of the team out of the three strikers above and none of his statistics from the two previous seasons involve data from playing for Bolton. It's possible that unfamiliarity with his teammates is causing Beckford to miss out on opportunities to put himself in positions to receive the ball in order to take a shot. It is also entirely possible that Bolton plays a system that results in limited opportunities for Beckford, when compared to his previous teams.

Craig Davies, in terms of getting his shots on target per 90 is currently looking fairly comparable to previous seasons. However, his overall shots are down. For a player whose role is to come on, create havoc, and just shoot, the drop in overall shots is a little disappointing. However, it is encouraging that in this miniscule sample size Davies is doing a better job of putting his shots on frame. Still, for the role Davies plays I'd prefer him to tick back over 3 shots per 90 and sacrifice a little accuracy because this seems to match up better with his role as a high energy substitute. Granted, I'd prefer his number of shot increase and his current increased accuracy stick around, but if I had to choose I'd rather see the Craig Davies of last season than the one we've seen so far last year.

Finally, we come to David Ngog, the man with the most time at Bolton. In the previous two seasons, be they in the Premier League or the Championship, Ngog has been remarkably consistent in the number of shots he took per 90. In fact he took the same number of shots in each of the last two years, the 0.01 difference in his shots per 90 rates is because he played 11 fewer minutes in 2012/13. So, to see Ngog's shots per 90 rate dip by 0.95 in the early going is a strong indicator that Ngog is playing differently than in previous years. This is likely a result of Ngog, in general, playing as more of a withdrawn forward/attacking midfielder than an out and out striker. However, typically the reason for playing someone in more of a number 10 role is to get the player to get on the ball and allow them more space to create their own shot or feed the primary strike more and better scoring opportunities. While this has lead David to being tied for the team lead in successful dribbles with 8, he does not yet have an assist and only has 1 key pass all season.

Over the next month or two as the team finds its feet, gets healthy, and grows familiar with each other these number will start to climb back towards each player's average over that last two seasons. However, if they do not, expect to continue to watch a relatively toothless and mediocre looking Bolton attack.


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