Goals are everything in football.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a football fan who, after making the trek to their team’s weekend game, feeling the energy of the stadium and the attendant pre-match anxiety, isn’t devastated if the game finishes 0-0, even if they’d accept the point.
In this article, we’ll look at the average amount of goals scored each game in English leagues and throughout Europe, and we’ll break down the statistics to find which league provides the greatest enjoyment for fans and the most goals for every game.
What is the average number of goals scored each game in the Premier League?
Of fact, football, like most things in life, evolves with time, with some variances resulting from regulation changes, some from culture, and others for unknown causes. There have been moments in the game when more goals were scored than today and others when fewer were. Of course, there are distinctions across leagues, cups, and tournaments, but our emphasis here is the Premier League in the contemporary period.
The average number of goals scored each game in the Premier League from 2016/17 to 2020/21 is 2.74. This demonstrates that, although 0-0 draws sometimes occur, the Premier League has regularly high-scoring games; it is unquestionably a competition that never fails to delight. In a single weekend, for example, on Saturday, 13th August 2022, there were four games with four goals or more, including Brentford’s spectacular 4-0 upset over Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United. Nonetheless, when we look at the statistics behind this metric for average goals, we can see that the 18/19 season had the highest average with 2.82 goals per game, while the previous season, 17/18, had the lowest average with just 2.68 goals scored per game.
The average is quite close to the normal 2.5 goals used as the over/under line for the popular bet. This makes sense since the odds for over/under are relatively comparable and often lie on either side of even money. Of course, the fact that the average is 2.74 does not inherently imply that over 2.5 goals will win more often than not. Still, it is a statistic to remember for anybody looking to bet on the many goal-related markets bookmakers provide.
Is it more frequent to score goals in the first or second half?
There is a widespread belief in football that more goals are scored in the second half of a game when legs are tired, the time is ticking, there is more urgency, and replacements are sent in to attempt to turn the game. Also, a few legendary goals are scored in the first half, with practically all of the best goals of all time coming late in the game.
To mention a few memorable late goals include:
- Andres Iniesta’s 2010 World Cup-winning goal against the Netherlands.
- Sergio Aguero’s title-winning goal against QPR.
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s winner in the 1999 Champions League final (which you can watch here).
These goals are readily remembered, but do the statistics support the idea that the second period of a game sees more dreams?
Do Premier League teams score more at home than on the road?
It is often assumed that teams would score more goals while playing at home, similar to the idea that more goals are scored in the second half.
Playing at your home stadium in front of tens of thousands of loving supporters eager to see you win must encourage teams to score more goals, right?
This notion is supported by facts, as clubs averaged 1.51 goals per game at home but just 1.23 goals per game abroad. When playing at home, teams are more likely to attack. In contrast, when playing away from home, many teams set up defensively, preferring to play on the counter-attack, especially when facing a stronger opponent, with only the top teams able to dominate possession in both home and away clashes consistently.
What is the difference between this and the lower English Leagues?
The English Premier League
It is well acknowledged that there is a significant difference in quality between the Premier League and the other English divisions, but does this imply that the top flight scores more goals?
Due to the inflow of top-class players and coaches from all over the globe, the Premier League has an almost different style of game than the other English leagues, which you may expect to result in more goals flying in.
Yet, as seen below, there is a difference in average goals scored, although smaller than could have been predicted.