It all comes down to the final 10 minutes
Craig Shakespeare is now long gone from Leicester, dismissed off the back of an unfortunate spell of variance in what is truly a fitting final act for his managerial tenure there. Perhaps he would have held on longer if Leicester had performed better at the very end of matches, in the final ten minutes (plus added time).
Though two of these games don’t belong to Shakespeare, the Foxes have the worst rate of shots being taken inside the box in the last ten minutes, with just 22% (headed shots are discounted as they would skew the figures towards teams who crossed a lot).
What’s more, this is the biggest decrease from the rate during the first 80 minutes of a match, this figure being a respectable 55% of their footed shots. The drop is over 30 percentage points, far away from the next biggest drop of Swansea City of 18 percentage points.
Leicester have entered the final 10 minutes losing or drawing on six occasions so far, all of these coming in Shakespeare’s eight games in charge.
In fact, Leicester has only taken two-footed shots inside the box in the last ten minutes of matches, the dead worst figure along with aforementioned mournful Swansea. Even if Leicester were taking shots from distance because they were winning and no longer cared about scoring, a better strategy would be to keep the ball rather than ceding possession in this way.
This splitting of when shots are taken sheds an interesting light on defending champions and (currently) troubled souls Chelsea. In the first 80 minutes of games, they have the second-worst rate in the league for their footed shots being in the box at just 39.5%. Their 38 shots are, amazingly, one below Crystal Palace’s figure, and less than half of Manchester City’s 80.
However, when they get to the final stretch, they transform completely. Their rate of footed shots in the box shoots up to 85%, their 17 shots within 18 yards in this period the joint most in the league, along with Manchester United.
Unlike United, who have faced a number of teams who have simply collapsed as matches have approached their conclusion, there does not seem to be any obvious reason for Chelsea’s huge change in output in the last 10 minutes. Perhaps it’s the opposite of what happens at Leicester, and Antonio Conte’s men simply concentrate more in the final moments and make a concerted effort to create good shots.
United themselves have an extraordinary amount of their footed shots taking place inside the box at the end of the game at 77%. The only thing stopping their increase from first 80 to last 10 rivaling Chelsea’s is the fact that nearly 56% of their footed shots in the first part of the game is taken inside the box. This rate is second only to neighbors City.
Still, Mourinho’s men have an increased rate of 21 percentage points of the share of footed shots being taken inside the box going into the last 10 minutes. It seems likely that this is driven, in part at least, by the collapses of Swansea, West Ham, et al at the start of the season.
Poor Everton does not fare particularly well in either time period. In the first 80 minutes of games, they are the only team whose share of footed shots being taken inside the box is worse than Chelsea’s at 38.7%. They improve slightly, by just over six percentage points, but this still amounts to taking less than half of their footed shots inside the box – and for a team performing like Everton, they could really do with more.
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