There have been goals aplenty across the English top four tiers in 2023-24 so far, so might we see some records broken? We look at the highest scoring clubs in England, as well as those that have struggled in front of goal.
The Premier League has seen matches average three goals per game in 2023-24 as we head into the October international break. The English top-flight hasn’t seen as high a goals-per-game average as this season in 55 years.
The Championship is following suit, with this the highest average seen in a second tier in England since 1966-67. League Two has also seen more than three goals per game (3.01) – the first time since 1965-66 (3.12) that the average has eclipsed the three-goal-a-game mark in the fourth tier of English football. Okay – League One might be letting us down, with the lowest seasonal average (2.42) since 2007-08, but 2023-24 has been a goal fest so far.
Brighton and Hove Albion have the highest goals-per-game average among the 92 clubs in the top four tiers of England so far this season, with their 2.63 goals per game. Extrapolate this over the entire 2023-24 season and we could see them become just the sixth team in Premier League history to reach 100 goals in a single season, and the first since Manchester City’s 102 goals in 2019-20. All five of those previous centurions finished in the top two come the end of the season, and three of them lifted the Premier League title.
As it stands, based on their current goals-per-game average, five clubs are on course to reach 100 league goals (excluding play-offs) in 2023-24: Brighton, Ipswich Town in the Championship and Swindon Town, Notts Country and Crewe Alexandra in League Two. Ipswich were the only team to reach 100 goals in the top four tiers of England last season, with their 101 goals helping them win promotion from League One.
Kieran McKenna’s side have scored 25 goals in 11 Championship games so far this season, at an average of 2.27 per game. If Ipswich were to reach 100 league goals again in 2023-24, they’d become the first team to do this in successive league seasons since 1960-61 and 1961-62 when both Burnley and Peterborough United did it – the Posh doing so over different league tiers, while both of Burnley’s came in the top-flight.
The last English Football League season where as many as five clubs reached 100 goals in their league campaigns came back in 1960-61, when seven teams hit the century.
*Data included from Leyton Orient 1-0 Lincoln City, which was abandoned in the 84th minute on 3 October.
The highest scoring team in England’s top four tiers so far this season are League Two side Crewe. Their 28 goals have come from an expected goals total of 17.81 – that 10.19 overperformance is the largest across all 92 clubs, and they have averaged 0.85 goals per game higher than expected.
At the other end of the spectrum are Everton, who have had no problem creating chances, but have struggled to convert them. Of course, Saturday’s 3-0 home win over Bournemouth in the Premier League offered some positivity, but this season overall, they’ve underperformed their xG total by 0.74 per game – the worst record of the 92 clubs.
Overall, Cheltenham Town have been the most wasteful in front of goal, scoring just once from an xG total of 6.4. Spare a thought for the League One side, who finally scored their first goal of the league season on Saturday in their 1-1 draw at home to Derby County. This arrived in their 12th game of 2023-24, with their 11-game run without a goal from the start of the season the longest in English league history, surpassing the previous record of eight games set by Halifax Town in 1990-91.
With one goal across 12 league games this season, Cheltenham Town average a meagre 0.08 goals per game. The lowest mark in a single English Football League season currently stands at 0.53 goals per game, a record shared by three different clubs: Loughborough in the 1899-1900 second tier, and more recently in Premier League seasons by Derby (2007-08) and Sheffield United (2020-21). That’s a record Cheltenham fans will be hoping to avoid.
Every other club other than Cheltenham have seen at least three of their squad score a league goal this season, with Championship side Swansea City seeing the biggest spread of goalscorers – 13 different players have scored a league goal for them in 2023-24.