Note: This is article is part of a series of statistical comparisons of the PSL vs the EPL over the last decade. Statistics are taken from the season starting in 2010 and does not include statistics from the 2019-20 season.
It’s the season for giving and what’s more generous than running the rule over a decade’s worth of soccer statistics?
Well, it’s not so generous if you’re a South African soccer club playing in the country’s Premier Soccer League (PSL). The goal drought both in the league and for the country’s national team has long been bemoaned by fans.
Comparing yourself to others isn’t always wise. But, if you want to be the best, you have to see what the average standard is.
Many consider the English Premier League (EPL) to be the best league in the world. While the league is far wealthier than the PSL down south, it is one of the most recognised leagues in the world – much like South Africa’s Premier Division is the most recognised competition on the African continent.
As such, both leagues are genuine premium soccer offerings. Comparing statistics from the two, then, isn’t as far fetched as you might think.
Goals scored carries bucketloads of currency in the entertainment stakes – even if it doesn’t always mean better quality football.
In fact, there might be an argument for the PSL being a league for the defensive connoisseurs.
Just how defensive? Let’s look.
The graphic below shows the total for the team with the most goals in their respective league in that season.
PSL vs EPL decade in review: Most goals by a single club in a season
It’s important to note that South African clubs play eight fewer games a season, but average goals per game for top-scoring team has not gone above two in the last decade for SA clubs. In the EPL, it’s been below just once – in 2015/16.
PSL vs EPL decade in review: Average goals by top-scoring club in a season
In South Africa, Mamelodi Sundowns is the only PSL club to score more than 50 league goals in a single season.
They have done so on four occasions in the last decade. Just once – in the 2012/13 season – did two PSL clubs score the same number of goals to tie the tally. Kaizer Chiefs and Platinum Stars both found the back of the net 48 times.
Manchester City is the only EPL club to score over 100 goals in a season – doing so twice – in 2017/18 and in 2013/14. They also have the honour of being the highest-scoring club in 2015/16 – that season where goal-scoring in the English Premier League was rather barren.
Antoinette is a recovering journalist, having written for Sports Illustrated, The Guardian, Daily Maverick and others. She has won multiple SAB Journalist of the Year awards, across a variety of categories. She thinks it’s strange writing about herself in the third person, unless she’s playing as herself in The Sims…which she’s been doing for over 20 years.