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DSTV Prem: Statistical Anomalies from 2021/22 PSL Season

Laduma Analytics provides you with some interesting insights and left-field stats from the DSTV Premiership season.

PSL Stats DSTV Premiership

We love the use of stats and the outside measured perspective they can bring into any conversation, particularly the occasional insane ‘did you know’ anomaly. The 30-match season of the DSTV Premiership is a very small dataset in comparison to what data analysts and scientists normally get to sieve through. Having said that, behind every season is a concealed packet of facts just waiting to be unearthed. These stats can form the backbone of any conversation and get fans further engaged in the discussion of why this team or player was better.

Laduma Analytics brings you some anomaly statistics from the 2021/22 DSTV Premiership below. Let’s dive in.

Goals Scored

We have to start with the big one – goals scored. We have mentioned it time and time again as the season went on. The 2021/22 DSTV Premiership season has seen the lowest number of goals scored (448) or 1.87 per match on average in a 16-team season since the league turned from an 18-team to a 16-team league in 02/03. This is what fans can see – what about some stats that may affect goal scoring – Shots taken and xG – have they also taken a hit?

Shots Taken

Similarly to goals scored, the number of shots that are taken in the DSTV Premiership have also been on the decline in recent seasons. For example, the season (2018/19) before Covid became a thing, saw teams on average in the league take approximately 12.4 shots per game. Now, in 21/22, it was down as low as 10.4 shots taken per team per game on average.

Expeced Goals

Expected goals (xG for short) have been shown to predict future goals scored (and conceded). In short, xG measures the quality of a chance by calculating the likelihood that the shot will be scored from a particular position on the pitch during a particular phase of play. Knowing that this relates to chance creation and shot-taking might shed some light on why we have had such a low-scoring season in the DSTV Premiership. Looking at the xG graphic below can help understand why.

Teams across the league have created fewer chances per game than they did the previous season – that also includes run-away leaders Mamelodi Sundowns. The only teams that had a more productive season than the previous campaign, in terms of xG, were in fact teams who found themselves close to the bottom of the table – Swallows FC, Chippa United and relegated Baroka FC.

Mamelodi Sundowns

The champions in comparison to the season before had just as solid of a defence in terms of quality chances allowed. As the saying goes, defences win championships, and whilst the team were dominant up front, the anomaly was that they were not as creative as the season previously, despite scoring 56 goals (7 more than in 2020/21).

Kaizer Chiefs & Orlando Pirates

The two Soweto giants had similar issues up front scoring 34 goals each when they were expected to score at least 40 goals each during the campaign. Both teams were creating the quality but did not have a poacher to finish the chances that they had created.

Defensive Improvement

Eric Tinkler did a magical job being back at Cape Town City FC. When he took over after the reign of Jan Olde Riekerink in July, there was one big hole the former Bafana Bafana player had to fill – the leaky defence. The Citizens had conceded 40 goals in 2020/21 and a year later cut the total down to 24 goals and a place in the CAF Champions League. The improvement was remarkable and it is unlikely that fans get to experience such a turnaround all too often.

Player Anomalies

Even some players had an anomaly of a season – the easiest to contextualise being from an attacking standpoint. Chibuike Ohizu who plays for Sekhukhune United only had 21 shots at goal throughout the whole season of which 10 shots hit the target and 8 turned into goals. Not even the league’s top goal scorer – Peter Shalulile was able to convert his chances at such a rate. Given the same amount of playing time and opportunities, it would be highly unlikely statistically speaking that Sekhukhune United could and should expect Ohizu to perform such a return again in 2022/23.

Some Notes

Goals scored per game:
The lowest number in a DSTV Premiership season

Shots per game:
Also decreasing

xG decreases all around the league:
Relates to goal scoring and chance creation -> interlinked with goal scoring opportunities

Swallows defence (xGA):
The unluckiest team in the 2021/22 season?

Sundowns – xG:
Creating less than last season, despite another phenomenal season..?

Cape Town City FC – xGA is such an improvement:
Such an improvement in one season is hard to come by – can they now be consistent?

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