Sports: One BPL player rises above the rest when it comes to heading accuracy so far this season

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Find out how players are scoring headers with greater efficiency than ever in soccer sports

Stoke’s Mame Biram Diouf has the best heading accuracy in the Barclays Premier League

 As we take a look at the statistical trends that are emerging in the first third of the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season, it appears that players are proving more efficient than ever when it comes to scoring with their heads.

The 2015/16 season is on course to set a new low for headed efforts on goal, with the 3.67 per match average some way short of the highest mark recorded since Opta started recording data 13 years ago, which was 4.45 in the 2008/09 season.

Yet, although headed goals are on the wane, the percentage of goal attempts with the head are being scored with greater efficiency than ever. With 19.6% of headed attempts going in, the share of goals scored via the head is at a record high this season, compared with 18.5% in 2014/15.

11/12 12/13 13/14 14/15 15/16*
Headed shots/match 4.14 4.03 3.88 4.02 3.67
% of headed goals 17.2% 17.4% 15.2% 18.5% 19.6%
Crosses/match 34.52 32.24 30.54 32.49 28.77
Attempted dribbles/match 29.47 31.25 35.87 38.51 39.61

Georginio Wijnaldum, of Newcastle United, who was revealed in our recent article as the player with the highest shot conversion rate in the BPL, also leads the way as the player to have scored the most headed goals (four).

Southampton’s Graziano Pelle has directed the most headed attempts on goal (16), and Stoke City striker Mame Biram Diouf, who has emerged as the striker with the best shot accuracy in the division, is also the most accurate player with his head. Eight of his nine headed efforts this season have been on target.

Pelle has directed the most headers on goal

Pelle has directed the most headers on goal

A correlation can be found between the reduction in headed goals and a fall in crosses, which average at 28.77 per match, the lowest rate ever.

This is way short of the 2003/04 high of 41.98 crosses each match, which led to an average of 4.35 headed attempts.

Perhaps a reason for the drop in crosses is the increased willingness of players to dribble with the ball.

This season there have been 39.61 attempted dribbles per match, bettering the high of 38.51 from last term, and continuing a steady increase since 2011/12.

The most successful purveyor of this art is Leicester’s Riyad Mahrez who boasts 39 dribbles completed, four more than Eden Hazard, of Chelsea, and six more than Arsenal’sAlexis Sanchez.

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