STATS: PSL Penalty statistics


The 2019/20 Premier Soccer League (PSL) season is on course to become the campaign with the most penalties awarded in the last decade.

As we look forward to the resumption of the Absa Premiership and GladAfrica Championship next week, one statistic that stands out is the number of times match officials have pointed to the spot.

53 penalties have been awarded all season, meaning we have already exceeded the number of penalties from any of the last eight seasons, and that with 22% of the season yet to be played.

Since the 73 penalties awarded in 2010/11, no season has seen more penalties than the one we are in now – all this without VAR. We dug through the spot-kick numbers to conduct some exploratory analysis and bring you a midweek read.

Comparison over the last 10 seasons

The graph shows the number of penalties awarded over the last ten seasons in the PSL. The average over the years is 50.4, and we’re already above the average this season, with 54 games to play. The decade started off on a high, with 73 penalties awarded in 2010/11. Some context matters here, as 2010/11 was a record-breaking season:

602 – There were 602 goals scored in the 2010/11 league season, the highest for a 30-game league season.

The 2012/13 season had the lowest total, with just 35 penalties awarded. From then, the number of penalties awarded has been fairly steady – always ranging between 45 and 50, except for the sudden bump in 2016/17. And then this season happened.

Penalties as a percentage of total goals

Further proof that this season stands out is the percentage of total goals scored that have come from the penalty spot, relative to total league goals. Of course, this ratio may yet go down (or up) when the season resumes and more games are played.

The 2012/13 campaign which had the lowest number of penalties was also the lowest proportion-wise the past decade. The 2010/11 season that had the highest number of penalties averages out to just under 10% of the total goals.

The current season stands out again here, with the highest proportion of penalty goals in a decade.

10.6% – The 43 goals scored from the penalty spot this season (total goals 404) represents the highest percentage of penalty goals in any of the last ten seasons. No other season has exceeded 10% in that time.

Who has scored the most penalties?

4 – Themba Zwane and Knox Mutizwa have scored 4 penalties each in the Absa Premierships this season, more than any of their other peers.

While Mutizwa has scored four, he’s also failed to score in one of his spot-kicks, giving him an 80% conversion rate. Themba Zwane leads on that front with a 100% record from his four takes. Contrary to some opinion, the Top 3 sides have not been awarded the most penalties this season.

Golden Arrows lead on that front having received seven penalties, just one more than Supersport and Maritzburg (6 each). Sundowns have received four, while Pirates and Chiefs were awarded three each.

Our future analysis will go into HOW these penalties are awarded, and hopefully, we will start to see WHY there has been an increase (if there is a logical reason).

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By Opta Jabu

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