Lies, damn lies and Rangers’ statistics

The Rangers club crest
Not as good as the papers make out

I just happened cross the back page of the local rag on the way in tonight and there’s an utterly pointless headline regarding Glasgow Rangers‘ match tonight. Basically, they’re defending the best defensive record in British league football.

They’ve conceded fewer goals in league play than even the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal or Manchester United. If I recall correctly, 14 in 26 games. Apparently this is a huge thing to crow about.

However, saying this means they have the best defence in British football is like saying that Switzerland have Europe’s best navy as they’ve never been invaded by ocean-borne attackers. It’s simply not just a matter of numbers.

You can’t publish a statistic like that without taking into account what Rangers are up against on a footballing basis. Drop them into the EPL and does anyone really think their defence would still only have leaked 14 goals? A quick check as of 20:46 this evening and the goals scored in the EPL are as follows:

  • Chelsea – 60
  • Manchester United – 61
  • Arsenal – 60
  • Liverpool – 43
  • Manchester City – 47

And so on.

Compare this to the SPL:

Tails off a lot faster, doesn’t it? It’s not wholly to do with Rangers’ defence being good. It’s also the fact that SPL teams aren’t as free-scoring as their EPL equivalents. Drop below half way and SPL teams are barely managing 20 goals – and that’s against other teams of their calibre, not just Rangers and Celtic.

As a little aside that made me smile, at the time of publishing this Rangers were losing 1-0 at Motherwell.

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