Philippe Coutinho scored a second half brace to put Chelsea to the sword on the Saturday of Gameweek 11. The Liverpool player is second only to Alexis Sánchez among midfielders for taking shots this season, but his goals against the Blues were just his second and third of the season.
There are a couple of factors that hamper Coutinho turning his high shot numbers into goals. Firstly, the Brazilian sits second in the league among midfielders for shots blocked – once again only Sánchez is ahead of him. This season Coutinho has had 43 per cent of his shots blocked. Last season the Premier League average for blocked shots was 28 per cent.
Secondly, Coutinho likes to shoot from outside the box where conversion rates are normally a lot lower. This year, Coutinho has only hit 47 per cent of his shots inside the penalty area. In comparison, 59 per cent of all shots hit in the Premier League last season were taken inside the box.
Despite this, Coutinho’s high shooting volume means he is joint second among midfielders for Shots in the Box and third for Shots on Target. His 23 per cent Shots On Target conversion rate is low and that might normally give a Fantasy Premier League manager hope that potential regression to the mean could see the player deliver more goals in future.
However, in the case of Coutinho, we need to exercise caution because his Shots on Target conversion rate this season is actually high compared to the past two seasons. Only in 2012/13, when he played just 923 minutes, has Coutinho come anywhere close to an average Premier League Shots on Target conversion rate.
One other interesting point to note about Coutinho is that more than half of his shots came in just three of the 10 gameweeks he has played (he didn’t play Gameweek 5). Those matches were against Bournemouth (Gameweek 3), Norwich (Gameweek 6) and Aston Villa (Gameweek 7). He averaged eight shots a game against those teams, which are all currently in the bottom five in the Premier League table, while in the other seven matches he has averaged three shots a game. Despite inflating his shot totals against weak opposition, Coutinho failed to deliver a single goal in those games.
Liverpool have some reasonable fixtures between now and the end of 2015 (CPL, mci, SWA, new, WBA, wat, LEI, sun) and Coutinho may score a few more goals in those games, but I would caution against getting carried away with his shooting statistics.