Average Goals Per Game In The Premier League

bttsIn football betting, one of the bets that is always tempting to look at is the Over/Under market when it comes to goals. We all remember the goals that were scored in a match, putting them front and centre in our thought processing when it comes to how many goals a game is likely to contain. As a result, we’ll often forget those boring 0-0 scorelines, imaging instead that games are goalfests and betting accordingly.

What is the truth of the matter? How many goals are scored in league seasons and what is the average number of goals that you can expect to see in a match? There’s no point betting on Over 3.5 Goals in a game if the average is less than two, for example, but it’s equally silly to place a bet on Under 1 Goal if the likelihood is that most matches see two or more scored in them. That’s what we’ll look at in more detail here.

Why It Matters

nil nil draw shown using footballs

The first question you might ask is why the average number of goals that are scored in a game matters to bettors. The answer comes in the form of the number of bets that might well be influenced by the information, if not outright decided by it. The obvious one of the Total Goals bets that you can place, with the Over/Under market also being an important one in terms of knowing how many goals you can expect to see in a match.

There’s also the likes of Both Teams To Score, which can’t be directly gleaned from knowing the average number of goals in a game but will at least give you some idea of what to expect. If there’s four goals in a game, for example, it’s entirely possible that one of the teams has won 4-0, but it’s not all that likely. Instead, a 3-1 or 2-2 scoreline is probably more what we could expect to see during the 90 minutes of play.

The Premier League Scorelines

premier league lionLet’s start by having a look at the Premier League, then. The English top-flight is known for its attacking football, filled with goals and excitement. It’s fair to say that you’re unlikely to see as much if you tune in to watch Burnley versus Everton, but generally speaking the idea is that the Premier League is where football lovers head when the put excitement at the top of their list of requirements for a match.

The best way to figure out how many goals are scored in a game on average is to look at the scorelines from three seasons to see how many times each one occurred. We’ll look at the recent campaigns, noting each scoreline and how many times it occurred.

2017-2018

Let’s start by looking at the 2017-2018 season, which was won by Manchester City with 100 points. Pep Guardiola’s team scored 106 goals and conceded 27 on their way to breaking the record points total in the Premier League, with the next closest side being Manchester United with 81 points. As an illustration of City’s dominance, their Manchester rivals scored 68 times and conceded on 28 occasions.

Here’s a look at the scorelines that were notched up that season, note that percentages are rounded to whole numbers so may not add up to 100% exactly.  You can work out an exact percentage by dividing the number of matches for each scoreline by 380 (the total number of PL matches in a season):

Full-Time ScoreNumber Of MatchesPercentage Of Games
1 - 1 45 12%
1 - 0 44 12%
0 - 0 32 8%
2 - 1 32 8%
2 - 0 27 7%
1 - 2 24 6%
0 - 1 23 6%
2 - 2 19 5%
0 - 2 15 4%
3 - 0 15 4%
3 - 1 13 3%
0 - 3 12 3%
2 - 3 11 3%
4 - 1 11 3%
5 - 0 9 2%
4 - 0 9 2%
1 - 4 7 2%
0 - 4 7 2%
1 - 3 5 1%
3 - 2 4 1%
5 - 1 3 1%
3 - 3 3 1%
4 - 3 2 1%
0 - 6 1 ~0%
2 - 5 1 ~0%
1 - 5 1 ~0%
5 - 4 1 ~0%
5 - 2 1 ~0%
2 - 4 1 ~0%
4 - 2 1 ~0%

2018-2019

Was 2018-2019 the most exciting Premier League title race ever? It’s a difficult one to call, given how many brilliant campaigns there have been in the English top-flight. One thing we can tell you is that it was the one that offered the smallest room for error, with Manchester City and Liverpool going blow-for-blow in the run-in and notching up 98 and 97 points respectively in the chase for the title.

City pipped the Reds, having scored 95 times to Liverpool’s 89 and conceded 23 goals to the Reds’ 22. Here are the scorelines from the Premier League that season:

Full-Time ScoreNumber Of MatchesPercentage Of Games
2 - 0 44 12%
1 - 2 33 9%
1 - 1 32 8%
2 - 1 29 8%
1 - 0 29 8%
0 - 1 26 7%
3 - 1 25 7%
0 - 2 23 6%
0 - 0 22 6%
2 - 2 15 4%
1 - 3 14 4%
3 - 0 12 3%
0 - 3 10 3%
3 - 2 9 2%
4 - 2 7 2%
2 - 3 6 2%
4 - 1 6 2%
4 - 0 6 2%
5 - 0 5 1%
0 - 4 5 1%
1 - 5 4 1%
1 - 4 4 1%
4 - 3 3 1%
6 - 1 2 1%
0 - 5 2 1%
5 - 1 2 1%
3 - 3 2 1%
2 - 6 1 ~0%
6 - 0 1 ~0%
5 - 3 1 ~0%

2019-2020

Many thought that Liverpool would fall away after coming so close to a title but missing out. Instead, their 4-0 comeback against Barcelona and subsequent Champions League win seemed to give the Merseyside club a taste for victory and it was Manchester City that couldn’t keep pace with them. The Reds secured their first title of the Premier League era and did so with their record points total.

The scorelines from that season were as follows:

Full-Time ScoreNumber Of MatchesPercentage Of Games
1 - 1 49 13%
2 - 1 37 10%
1 - 0 33 9%
2 - 0 32 8%
1 - 2 25 7%
0 - 2 25 7%
0 - 1 22 6%
0 - 0 21 6%
2 - 2 20 5%
3 - 0 19 5%
3 - 1 16 4%
1 - 3 12 3%
4 - 0 12 3%
0 - 3 10 3%
3 - 2 10 3%
2 - 3 8 2%
5 - 0 5 1%
1 - 4 4 1%
4 - 1 4 1%
0 - 4 3 1%
0 - 5 2 1%
5 - 2 2 1%
3 - 3 2 1%
1 - 6 1 ~0%
2 - 5 1 ~0%
1 - 5 1 ~0%
5 - 3 1 ~0%
2 - 4 1 ~0%

2020-21

In probably the strangest year in Premier League history the majority of the season was played behind closed doors amidst the coronavirus pandemic, this created some interesting upsets.  Some teams and players played better without crowds while others faltered.  Liverpool's defence of their title quickly faltered thanks largely to a raft of injuries in their back line, combined with a lack of a crowd at Anfield where they managed at one point to lose 6 games in a row, something that had never happened before.

It was Pep Guardiola's Man City that capitalised on the situation the best winning the title by 12 points to a far worse Man United.  The fact the title this year was won with just 86 points and 83 goals for Man City emphasises what a strange year it was and some of that is reflected in the scorelines below, that are different to other years, including more big results:

The scorelines from that season were as follows:

Full - Time ScoreNumber Of MatchesPercentage Of Games
1 - 1 40 11%
0 - 1 38 10%
1 - 0 33 9%
1 - 2 33 9%
0 - 0 30 8%
2 - 1 29 8%
2 - 0 26 7%
0 - 2 26 7%
1 - 3 18 5%
3 - 0 14 4%
0 - 3 14 4%
3 - 1 13 4%
2 - 2 7 2%
3 - 2 7 2%
2 - 3 7 2%
3 - 3 6 2%
3 - 3 6 2%
4 - 0 6 2%
4 - 1 4 1%
1 - 4 4 1%
4 - 2 3 1%
0 - 4 3 1%
2 - 4 3 1%
5 - 0 3 1%
5 - 2 3 1%
2 - 5 3 1%
4 - 3 2 1%
0 - 5 2 1%
3 - 4 1 ~0%
1 - 5 1 ~0%
6 - 2 1 ~0%
1 - 6 1 ~0%
9 - 0 1 ~0%
0 - 7 1 ~0%

Average Scored / Conceded Per Game

Now that we know what scorelines were the most common in the Premier League across those three seasons, let’s have a look at the average number of goals clubs scored and conceded per game in each of the seasons:

2017-2018

Back to Manchester City’s 100-point season, then. How much above the league average were Pep Guardiola’s record-breaking team?

TeamAverage Goals ScoredAverage Goals Conceded
Arsenal 1.95 1.34
Bournemouth 1.18 1.61
Brighton 0.89 1.42
Burnley 0.95 1.03
Chelsea 1.63 1.00
Crystal Palace 1.18 1.45
Everton 1.16 1.53
Huddersfield 0.74 1.53
Leicester City 1.47 1.58
Liverpool 2.21 1.00
Manchester City 2.79 0.71
Manchester Utd 1.79 0.74
Newcastle Utd 1.03 1.24
Southampton 0.97 1.47
Stoke City 0.92 1.79
Swansea City 0.74 1.47
Tottenham 1.95 0.95
Watford 1.16 1.68
West Brom 0.82 1.47
West Ham Utd 1.26 1.79

Across the 2017-2018 campaign, the average number of goals scored per game was 1.34, which was exactly the same figure as the 1.34 average goals conceded per game. As you might imagine, Manchester City scored well above the average and conceded well below the average, whilst Arsenal scored above the average but conceded exactly in-line with the average of the rest of the division.

2018-2019

Did the battle between Liverpool and Manchester City for Premier League supremacy mean that the average number of goals scored and conceded during the season go up? Or were they two exceptional teams trading blows whilst the rest of the division remained at around the same total as the previous season? Here’s a look:

TeamAverage Goals ScoredAverage Goals Conceded
Arsenal 1.92 1.34
Bournemouth 1.47 1.84
Brighton 0.92 1.58
Burnley 1.18 1.79
Cardiff City 0.89 1.82
Chelsea 1.66 1.03
Crystal Palace 1.34 1.39
Everton 1.42 1.21
Fulham 0.89 2.13
Huddersfield 0.58 2.00
Leicester City 1.34 1.26
Liverpool 2.34 0.58
Manchester City 2.50 0.61
Manchester Utd 1.71 1.42
Newcastle Utd 1.11 1.26
Southampton 1.18 1.71
Tottenham 1.76 1.03
Watford 1.37 1.55
West Ham Utd 1.37 1.45
Wolverhampton 1.24 1.21

The league average for goals conceded and scored was 1.41, with Liverpool and Manchester City both coming under the average for the former and over the average for the latter. Arsenal remained consistent in terms of goals conceded, once again notching up an average of 1.34.

2019-2020

The season in which Liverpool were the runaway Premier League winners is the only one of the seasons in which we don’t really need to think about what Manchester City were up to, given the extent to which they under-performed previous campaigns. That being said, it’s interesting to look to see whether we can identify why, exactly, the Citizens fell of a cliff so dramatically.

TeamAverage Goals ScoredAverage Goals Conceded
Arsenal 1.47 1.26
Aston Villa 1.08 1.76
Bournemouth 1.05 1.71
Brighton 1.03 1.42
Burnley 1.13 1.32
Chelsea 1.82 1.42
Crystal Palace 0.82 1.32
Everton 1.16 1.47
Leicester City 1.76 1.08
Liverpool 2.24 0.87
Manchester City 2.68 0.92
Manchester Utd 1.74 0.95
Newcastle Utd 1.00 1.53
Norwich City 0.68 1.97
Sheffield Utd 1.03 1.03
Southampton 1.34 1.58
Tottenham 1.61 1.24
Watford 0.95 1.68
West Ham Utd 1.29 1.63
Wolverhampton 1.34 1.05

The league average for goals scored and conceded in the 2019-2020 season was 1.36, with Manchester City actually over-performing on both fronts. It was in the goals conceded where they missed out to Liverpool, conceding more than the Reds in a manner that ultimately cost them dearly.

2020-2021

Normal service resumed in a very abnormal year as City yet gain romped to the title by a clear 12 points.  No one really put up a challenge, Liverpool scraped into 3rd on the last day and Man United were a comfortable second but were never in the race.

TeamAverage Goals ScoredAverage Goals Conceded
Arsenal 1.45 1.02
Aston Villa 1.45 1.21
Brighton 1.05 1.21
Burnley 0.87 1.45
Chelsea 1.53 0.95
Crystal Palace 1.08 1.74
Everton 1.24 1.26
Fulham 0.71 1.40
Leeds United 1.63 1.42
Leicester City 1.79 1.32
Liverpool 1.79 1.11
Manchester City 2.18 0.84
Manchester Utd 1.92 1.16
Newcastle Utd 1.21 1.63
Sheffield Utd 0.53 1.66
Southampton 1.23 1.79
Tottenham 1.79 1.18
West Brom 0.92 2.00
West Ham Utd 1.63 1.24
Wolverhampton 0.95 1.37

Man City were again top scorers but this time only with 83, we say only simply because of the bar the set in previous seasons. The result of a strange season mostly played behind closed doors with no real title challenge meant City didn't need to go as hard as usual.  The lack of crowds also created a lot of outlier results, as seen in the earlier table, and although the average goals/game numbers are similar to other seasons overall the distribution of results was a lot wider, with a single team scoring 6 goals or more in 4 games that season.

Over / Under Goals

The final thing that we’ll take a look at is the Over/Under statistics for each team across the seasons in question. Knowing which teams are most likely to score goals and concede them and in what number will give you some sense of where to go on the Over/Under market, depending on which teams are playing. Some of the information might surprise you…

2017-2018

Manchester City’s dominance of the Premier League in 2017-2018 can be demonstrated by the fact that they were one of just a few teams that had games featuring more than 6.5 goals. Here’s a look at the totals of each team:

TeamAverage Goals Scored0.51.52.53.54.55.56.5
Manchester City 3.50 95% 84% 71% 50% 29% 11% 5%
Arsenal 3.29 95% 82% 68% 42% 26% 11% 5%
Liverpool 3.21 89% 82% 66% 42% 29% 11% 3%
Leicester City 3.05 92% 89% 55% 29% 21% 8% 5%
West Ham Utd 3.05 92% 87% 58% 39% 26% 3% 0%
Tottenham 2.89 97% 79% 45% 32% 18% 8% 5%
Watford 2.84 92% 74% 55% 32% 21% 11% 0%
Bournemouth 2.79 95% 79% 66% 29% 8% 3% 0%
Stoke City 2.71 92% 79% 58% 21% 8% 5% 3%
Everton 2.68 92% 79% 47% 32% 11% 5% 3%
Chelsea 2.63 92% 68% 55% 32% 13% 3% 0%
Crystal Palace 2.63 89% 71% 55% 32% 16% 0% 0%
Manchester Utd 2.53 92% 66% 50% 32% 11% 3% 0%
Southampton 2.45 87% 68% 42% 24% 18% 3% 3%
Brighton 2.32 87% 74% 34% 26% 8% 3% 0%
West Brom 2.29 89% 66% 42% 24% 8% 0% 0%
Huddersfield 2.26 87% 74% 37% 18% 11% 0% 0%
Newcastle Utd 2.26 97% 58% 42% 21% 8% 0% 0%
Swansea City 2.21 89% 63% 37% 21% 11% 0% 0%
Burnley 1.97 89% 58% 37% 8% 5% 0% 0%

2018-2019

The season in which Manchester City and Liverpool battled for supremacy was one for the ages, but how do the Over / Unders compare to the other seasons? Here’s a look:

TeamAverage Goals Scored0.51.52.53.54.55.56.5
Bournemouth 3.32 97% 89% 63% 42% 21% 13% 3%
Arsenal 3.26 100% 89% 58% 45% 24% 11% 0%
Manchester Utd 3.13 95% 89% 68% 42% 16% 3% 0%
Manchester City 3.11 97% 82% 61% 39% 18% 8% 5%
Fulham 3.03 97% 84% 55% 34% 21% 11% 0%
Burnley 2.97 92% 82% 58% 42% 13% 11% 0%
Liverpool 2.92 92% 82% 55% 34% 18% 8% 3%
Watford 2.92 95% 87% 63% 26% 16% 5% 0%
Southampton 2.89 89% 84% 61% 34% 13% 5% 3%
West Ham Utd 2.82 97% 82% 50% 34% 11% 5% 3%
Tottenham 2.79 100% 71% 58% 29% 11% 5% 3%
Crystal Palace 2.74 89% 74% 45% 34% 18% 5% 5%
Cardiff City 2.71 89% 74% 50% 26% 24% 8% 0%
Chelsea 2.68 89% 84% 55% 26% 11% 3% 0%
Everton 2.63 92% 74% 47% 32% 8% 5% 3%
Leicester City 2.61 95% 74% 50% 24% 11% 5% 3%
Huddersfield 2.58 95% 71% 45% 24% 13% 5% 5%
Brighton 2.50 95% 68% 47% 26% 11% 3% 0%
Wolverhampton 2.45 97% 82% 37% 18% 5% 3% 3%
Newcastle Utd 2.37 89% 74% 47% 18% 8% 0% 0%

Perhaps the most interesting thing in the season is that neither Tottenham Hotspur nor Arsenal were involved in a 0-0 draw during the campaign. Perhaps the fact that 5% of Manchester City’s games involved more than 6.5 goals is why they were able to pip Liverpool to the title, who only had 3% of their games that ticked that category.

2019-2020

The Blue half of Manchester didn’t endure a single 0-0 during the campaign, which was a feat matched by Chelsea and Southampton. Here’s a look at what percentage of matches in the season finished with each Over / Under box ticked:

TeamAverage Goals Scored0.51.52.53.54.55.56.5
Manchester City 3.61 100% 92% 76% 53% 26% 5% 5%
Chelsea 3.24 100% 87% 66% 37% 18% 8% 5%
Liverpool 3.11 97% 87% 68% 34% 11% 5% 5%
Southampton 2.92 100% 87% 58% 29% 8% 3% 3%
West Ham Utd 2.92 97% 84% 50% 39% 18% 3% 0%
Aston Villa 2.84 95% 84% 58% 26% 13% 5% 3%
Leicester City 2.84 92% 84% 58% 26% 13% 3% 3%
Tottenham 2.84 95% 84% 61% 32% 13% 0% 0%
Bournemouth 2.76 92% 74% 61% 34% 11% 3% 3%
Arsenal 2.74 95% 82% 55% 34% 8% 0% 0%
Manchester Utd 2.68 97% 89% 42% 24% 8% 5% 3%
Norwich City 2.66 95% 74% 50% 32% 13% 3% 0%
Everton 2.63 92% 74% 47% 32% 13% 3% 3%
Watford 2.63 89% 82% 55% 21% 8% 3% 3%
Newcastle Utd 2.53 89% 66% 50% 34% 13% 0% 0%
Brighton 2.45 89% 79% 45% 21% 8% 3% 0%
Burnley 2.45 95% 76% 47% 13% 11% 3% 0%
Wolverhampton 2.39 89% 79% 37% 16% 13% 3% 3%
Crystal Palace 2.13 95% 71% 29% 16% 3% 0% 0%
Sheffield Utd 2.05 95% 66% 29% 11% 3% 3% 0%

The most noteworthy thing of the 2019-2020 campaign is the fact that Chelsea matched Liverpool and Manchester City in having two matches that saw more than 6.5 goals scored. There were plenty of teams that didn’t even take part in matches with more than 5.5 goals, which is why it’s so interesting.

2020-2021

The only team in the league to not suffer a single 0-0 draw in 2020-21 was Sheffield United and generally there were more matches with 4.5 and 5.5+ goals compared to previous years:

TeamAverage Goals Scored0.51.52.53.54.55.5+
Leicester City  3.11 97% 89% 63% 29% 18% 11%
Manchester Utd  3.08 82% 68% 61% 45% 24% 13%
Leeds Utd  3.05 92% 74% 58% 34% 21% 13%
Manchester City  3.03 97% 82% 50% 34% 24% 8%
Southampton  3.03 95% 79% 50% 29% 21% 13%
Tottenham  2.97 97% 82% 55% 34% 13% 11%
West Brom  2.92 92% 76% 55% 34% 18% 11%
Liverpool  2.89 95% 79% 50% 29% 13% 11%
West Ham Utd  2.87 95% 76% 63% 32% 16% 5%
Newcastle Utd  2.84 95% 89% 47% 24% 16% 8%
Crystal Palace  2.82 92% 82% 50% 32% 18% 5%
Aston Villa  2.66 89% 71% 58% 21% 11% 5%
Everton  2.5 95% 66% 42% 24% 13% 8%
Arsenal  2.47 92% 68% 53% 24% 5% 5%
Chelsea  2.47 84% 68% 45% 26% 13% 8%
Burnley  2.32 89% 63% 42% 24% 11% 3%
Wolverhampton  2.32 92% 63% 42% 21% 11% 3%
Brighton  2.26 84% 66% 45% 16% 11% 5%
Sheffield Utd  2.18 100% 58% 39% 13% 8% 0%
Fulham  2.11 87% 68% 32% 13% 5% 3%

The increase in the number of games seeing more than 4 goals was largely thanks to the pandemic situation that meant away teams especially felt more empowered due to a lack of fans.  Indeed, this season saw four games where a team scored more than 6, including Leicester beating Southampton 9-0 away from home.