Set-pieces, long-rangers and left-right balance - Analysis of how Ipswich score and concede

Wes Burns levels for town.

Attack-minded right wing-back Wes Burns top-scored for Ipswich Town with 13 goals in 2021/22. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town scored 75 goals and conceded 55 during the 2021/22 season. Here’s a breakdown of how they went in. 


BIG PICTURE 

Town played 55 games in all competitions. They scored 75 goals and conceded 55. 

The Blues ranked 11th in terms of goals scored in League One (67). The average number of goals scored by teams that finished in the top six was 77. 

Only three teams in the division (Rotherham, Wigan and MK Dons) conceded fewer goals than Ipswich (46) though.

Macauley Bonne celebrates scoring the third goal at Gillingham.

Macauley Bonne was Ipswich Town's top-scoring striker in 2021/22 with 12 goals. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

WHO SCORED THEM

27 of the goals came from central strikers - Macauley Bonne (12), James Norwood (7), Kayden Jackson (5) and Joe Pigott (3).

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21 came from attacking midfielders - Conor Chaplin (11), Bersant Celina (6), Sone Aluko (3) and Scott Fraser (1).

14 came from wide players - Wes Burns (13) and Matt Penney (1).

Nine came from midfielders - Sam Morsy (3), Lee Evans (3), Tyreeq Bakinson (2) and Idris El Mizouni (1).

Just two came from defenders - both bagged by George Edmundson. The other two were own goals.

It's the first time since 2007/08 (Pablo Counago, Alan Lee and Jon Walters) that Ipswich have had three players finish the season in double digits for goals.

Oxford celebrate in a chaotic penalty area as the equalise with almost their last touch of the game.

Oxford celebrate in a chaotic penalty area as the equalise with almost their last touch of the game. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

TIMINGS 

Ipswich’s first half record in the league was impressive - 32 scored and just 16 conceded (+16 goal difference). 

Their second half record was 35 scored and 30 conceded (+5 goal difference). 

Here’s the breakdown of when the goals went in: 

0-15 minutes: F12 A3 

16-30 mins: F9 A9 

31-45 mins: F11 A4  

46-60 mins: F9 A10 

61-75 mins: F13 A5 

76-90+ mins: F13 A15 

Town, on average, spent only 14 minutes per game trailing – only Rotherham (10.3 minutes) can better that statistic. 

It highlights just how damaging those late goals conceded against the likes of Crewe, Wigan, Rotherham, Shrewsbury, Oxford, Bolton, Sunderland, Cambridge, Accrington, AFC Wimbledon, Cheltenham and Burton were. 

Yes, 12 points were salvaged by relatively late goals (remember Macauley Bonne sneaking up on Sheffield Wednesday keeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell and Bersant Celina scoring at the death against Fleetwood). 

However, 28 points were dropped from winning positions (D8 L4). Only AFC Wimbledon (39pts), Fleetwood (32pts), Cheltenham (30pts), Morecambe (29pts) and Oxford (29pts) let more points slip.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna applauds fans after the game.

Ipswich Town manager Kieran McKenna says he wants to build a young squad. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

HOW MANY PER GAME 

Town scored four of more goals in a game on five separate occasions (6-0 at home to Doncaster, 4-0 at Portsmouth, 4-1 at Wycombe, 4-0 at Gillingham, 4-0 at home to Charlton). 

Only five other teams (Bolton, MK Dons, Oxford, Sheff Weds and Sunderland) matched that feat. 

Town kept 17 clean sheets (13 of them under Kieran McKenna). Only four teams had more (Rotherham, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Wycombe). 

Only once (5-2 home loss to Bolton) did they leak more than two goals in a game (the best record in the league). Again, it highlights the fine margins in the season. 

4+ goals scored – x5 

3 goals scored - x1 

2 goals scored - x13  

1 goal scored – x16 

0 goals scored - x11  

Clean sheets – x17 

1 goal conceded – x15 

2 goals conceded – x13 

3 goals conceded – x0 

4+ goals conceded – x1 

Lee Evans takes a corner late into the game

Lee Evans takes a corner late into the game - Credit: Ray Lawrence

SET-PIECE STRUGGLES 

Just 13% of Town’s goals (10) came from dead ball situations (not including penalties). And the three that were scored under McKenna (see below) aren’t exactly set-piece classics either.    

1: Joe Pigott stooped to bravely head in Evans’ deep free-kick delivery under pressure (Burton away). 

2: Evans converted at the far post after Scott Fraser’s corner had flicked off a defender’s head (Doncaster home). 

3: George Edmundson met Evans’ deep free-kick delivery to stab home on the run (Doncaster home). 

4: Macauley Bonne thumped home a header direct from an Evans corner (Shrewsbury home). 

5: Scott Fraser’s swirling corner came back off the inside of the far post and was scrambled home by Sone Aluko (Cambridge away). 

6: Evans’ corner to the far post was not cleared. Morsy put a deep ball back into the box and Edmundson headed home (Plymouth away). 

7: Evans’ deep free-kick delivery wasn’t cleared and James Norwood converted the loose ball in the box (Wigan away). 

8: Janoi Donacien sent a throw-in into the box from the right. Bonne provided a neat lay-off, Morsy’s bundled effort was saved and Norwood diverted in the rebound (Wycombe hone). 

9: Morsy quickly took a short free-kick up the right and Donacien pulled the ball back for Conor Chaplin to score (Accrington home). 

10: Bersant Celina’s deep free-kick hits a defender’s shins and falls kindly for Chaplin to score. 

Meanwhile, more than a quarter of the goals conceded (15 = 27%) came from set-pieces. 

Back in late March, McKenna said: “It’s borderline impossible to get out of this division with our record on set plays. 

“Around 25% of goals usually come from set plays and I believe in this division it’s even higher. 

“In a way I see it as a positive that we’ve been able to get the results we have without scoring set plays. 

“If we can add that to our artillery then I think we can be a different threat as a team. It’s something we need to work on. 

“I am going to add to the coaching staff over the summer. It will also be part of our recruitment bringing in players who can help us become a more dangerous team on the attacking set plays and more solid on defensive set plays.” 

Jumping for joy: Tyreeq Bakinson celebrates scoring Towns first.

Jumping for joy: Tyreeq Bakinson celebrates scoring Towns first. - Credit: Steve Waller - stephenwaller.com

LONG-RANGE GOALS 

Another 12% of Town’s goals (9) came from outside the box. Just two of those came under McKenna. 

The scorers were: Matt Penney (Cheltenham away), Sone Aluko (Cambridge away), Chaplin (Fleetwood home), Celina (Wycombe away and Crewe at home), Idris El Mizouni (Oldham away), Kayden Jackson (Arsenal U21s at home and Burton at home), Tyreeq Bakinson (Charlton at home). 

“I think we should be taking more shots,” said McKenna, following an end-of-season 2-2 home draw with Wigan. 

“I don’t want us to take pot shots, I don’t want us to be speculating on very low opportunities, but we need to be better at getting our shots off in tight situations. 

“The way we’re dominating games, often there are going to be bodies in front of the ball and you’re not always going to have a clear opportunity, so that’s one of the details we need to get better at, getting our shots off and manipulating shooting positions in crowded areas.” 

Town conceded just three goals from outside the box, with Shrewsbury’s Shaun Whalley accounting for two of them. 

Bersant Celina celebrates at Oxford.

Bersant Celina celebrates at Oxford. - Credit: Pagepix Ltd

LEFT V RIGHT 

The eye told you that Town had a right-left imbalance, with an over-reliance on Wes Burns to score/assist from the right and too many crosses entering the box from their less cohesive left side. A look back at all the goals supports that view. 

Town scored 54 goals scored inside the box from open play. Here’s the breakdown of where they were created from: 

Right side: 20 

Left side: 15  

Central: 13  

Deep: 4  

Error: 2 

Town conceded 33 goals inside the box from open play. Here’s the breakdown of where they were created from: 

Opposition right side: 12  

Opposition left side: 9 

Central: 5 

Deep: 4 

Error: 3. 

“It’s very much a hybrid system we’re using at the moment that’s about trying to get the best attributes out of the players that we have,” said McKenna, referring to the very high starting position of right wing-back Burns. 

“As the squad develops over time we’ll look at the qualities of the players that we have and how we fit them best into a system.”