Don’t shoot, you can’t score: Newcastle’s empty chamber

Voetbalreizen Engeland

Last Saturday, I attended a Premier League match in person for the first time in many years with DFDS taking me from the Netherlands to the fixture between Newcastle United and Norwich City. The home club dominated but still had to undergo a nervy final few minutes with only a single goal lead. Their failure to turn their dominance on the pitch into the same in the scoreline was due primarily to profligate shooting, particularly from one player – Cheick Tioté.

Newcastle had a total of 19 shots against Norwich City according to the Infostrada Sports database. Of those 19, only five were on target but 12 were struck from outside the box with only Shola Ameobi managing to force saves from the goalkeeper from distance. Cheick Tioté hit a remarkable five shots – all from distance – with none hitting the target. One, a volley direct from a corner even went out for a throw-in.

It is becoming better and better known now that shooting from outside the penalty area is a low percentage strategy. A player is more than five times more likely to score from inside the box than outside according to the Infostrada Sports data. However, the chance of scoring is obviously 0 if the ball is not even placed on target.

It is important to stress here that I am not suggesting that long range shooting should be outlawed altogether. In a sport like football, it often takes only a single goal to win the match and there are plenty of situations in which a shot from long range is a perfectly reasonable conclusion to a pattern of play. However, it is also important that the player firing a shot from distance is also as accurate as possible, which was not the case for the majority of Newcastle’s long range shots, and those from Cheick Tioté in particular.

Remember this?

Incredible wasn’t it? It is, however, approaching three years since that happened but this is surely the situation which still goes through Cheick Tioté’s head when the ball falls to him in similar situations. He might be better off remembering last Saturday’s volley which went out for a throw-in as he has scored just one Premier League goal in 84 appearances. His success rate is nicely illustrated in the following tweet, already nearly a year old, from a Newcastle supporter.


So, how bad is Tioté in terms of long range shooting. Looking at the time that Tioté has played in the Premier League, he is one of the 10 least accurate long range shooters to score 0 or 1 goals. The following table of players should probably limit their shooting, or maybe even be fined if they shoot as suggested above, as they are both inaccurate and fail to score:


Tioté is therefore not the worst over the time that he has been in the Premier League. However, his record is even worse when considering his entire career. He had 43 shots from outside the box in his Eredivisie years with Roda JC and FC Twente but failed to score at all.

So, in total, Tioté has managed to score just once from 100 long range shots in his league career. It was a great goal and an important goal but perhaps he should leave it at that and minimise his long range shooting to allow more accurate teammates to try their luck instead.

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4 Responses to Don’t shoot, you can’t score: Newcastle’s empty chamber

  1. The downside of taking a long shot is that you (a) lose possession of the ball and (b) waste an opportunity for a much higher percentage shot. The upside is that you might score or get a rebound. But since the top ten score about 1.2% and turn over well over 70% (not counting the easy saves which could up this number to around 90%–and this might lead to a counterattack which is the worst downside). If your missing the goal that often–just possess and pass the ball instead. Of course if they are only a few seconds left then it’s worth taking the shot

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