The title of this post will be a familiar expression to followers of Gaelic Games. However, what follows is not about Ireland’s national sport but the English Premier League and was motivated by a tweet I saw posted which said every Premier League goal score by a team this season is worth roughly one point.
I had never thought about the relationship that way. I decided to take a closer look and collected data for the last 5 completed seasons (2016/17 to 2020/21). The relationship stands up as the figure below illustrates. The R-squared is a whopping 0.94!
The season before Liverpool and City battled to the final day, with City winning the league by one point (99 to 98) and also outscoring the Reds 95 to 89. In fact, one goal (Leroy Sane) was the difference and denied Liverpool both the league title and an unbeaten season.
Two other observations are worth noting. First, Manchester United’s second place finish in 2017/18 under Jose Mourinho saw them collect 81 points from just 68 goals. Huddersfield were relegated the following season scoring just 22 goals. However, this should have gathered more than the 16 points they accumulated.
Of the 100 observations over the past five seasons, 9 times teams got the exact same number of points as goals scored. In another 15 cases there was just one goal between the number of goals scored and the total number of overall points.
In future, maybe teams could target 40 goals rather than 40 points if they want to stay in the division.