Crossing in Soccer has a Strong Negative Impact on Scoring: Evidence from the English Premier League
Frankfurt School of Finance & Management Gemeinnützige GmbH
February 20, 2013
Crossing in soccer plays a significant role in scoring, about 23% of all goals scored in the recent seasons of the English Premier League are the result of crosses. Set play crosses (after free kicks or corners) represent about 8% of all goals and open play crosses represent about 15% of all goals. However, crossing from an open play is hugely inefficient, only 1 open cross in 4.87 is an accurate cross and only 1 open cross out of 91.47 leads to a goal on average. Statistical evidence indeed confirms that games with smaller number of open crosses tend to lead to more goals. When we estimate the impact of open crossing on scoring of the individual teams, we conclude that the net effect of crossing is negative for most teams. An average team is expected to score additional 0.57 goals per game if it reduced open crossing. The quality of the team is the major explanatory factor on the number of such missed scoring opportunities, stronger teams are more negatively influenced than weaker teams. Stronger teams have more options how to score and open play crossing seems as one of the suboptimal ways of a goal creation. Teams such as Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool or Manchester City have a potential of scoring an extra goal per match if they reduced open crossing. Interestingly, the actual conversion of open crosses to goals plays only a minor role for explaining the impact of open crossing on goals.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 13
Keywords: crossing, soccer, statistical analysis
JEL Classification: C52working papers series
Date posted: February 28, 2013
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