With 40 Premier League matches played, only 78 goals have been scored, an average of under two per match. Whilst it is reasonable to expect this average to increase, I think that I have found potential reasons for the low scoring as this is now happening more frequently in general, and more often at the beginning of the season.
As someone with an extensive background in statistical analysis, my initial reaction to the narratives about this low goalscoring was one which I didn’t spend long enough thinking about. I simply assumed that the 40 matches we have seen so far are a statistical anomaly and regression to the mean will take us back to normal levels of goalscoring.
An article by blogger Mark Taylor in particular forced me to examine my position in more detail though. That analysis included a simulation which estimated the chance of so few goals being scored by this stage at 0.5%. I decided to replicate that but with real data rather than a simulation. Using all of the seasons from 1968/1969 onwards, and splitting the matches up into 40 match blocks, produces the distribution shown in the graphic below.
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