Attacking & defensive effectiveness: 30 September 2012

This is a refresh and tweak of the attacking and defensive effectiveness graphs, which are explained here. The graphics have developed once more to include movements since the last round of fixtures. I’ve also included the BSP, which would have been done earlier but there were so many outliers that the graphs was an abomination. As these are a regular feature which regular readers will be used to, I’ll be keeping the descriptions light.

Clicking on any of these graphics will load a full-size version in a new tab.



  • Ipswich‘s woes up front are plain to see – they need twice as many shots as the average team to score each goal!At this stage of the season one match can still make a large difference to the overall picture, as several sides here prove with sweeping movements. Charlton‘s 19 shots boosted their average significantly.
  • Peterborough‘s long-overdue victory almost launches them out of the ‘ineffectual’ quadrant altogether, while Birmingham surprisingly sink further into it despite their weekend victory owing to the small number of shots they mustered.


  • Despite defeat, Brighton‘s defence still stands head and shoulders above the rest – they can soak up roughly twice as many shots as the average for each goal they concede.
  • Leicester and Millwall are widening the distribution, with the latter allowing twice as many attempts at their goal as the former.

League 1


  • Scunthorpe remain an oddity: at the start of the season they struggled for goals so brought in Leon Clarke on loan. It looks like a stroke of genius as he’s scored a goal in each of his 5 games for them so far – the problem is that nobody else has! Clarke’s strike rate would argue for him being a clinical finisher, so perhaps the fault lies with the quality of chances being created? At least Oldham are rising to keep them company in the ‘energetically wasteful’ corner: both sides now need around twice as many shots to score each goal scored than the average League 1 side.
  • Like Peterborough in the division above, Colchester saw a first win of the season end 3-1 and catapulted themselves away from the ‘ineffectual’ zone.


  • Tranmere and MK Dons are setting the standard defensively, while Yeovil‘s promising start continues to unravel – while their defence was always busy it’s now veering towards being simultaneously porous.

League 2


  • Bristol Rovers and Dag & Red were both embarrasingly profligate earlier in the season – the length of Rovers’ line shows just how much of an outlier they were – but both recorded impressive wins to move in a more respectable direction
  • Burton‘s free-scoring ways are clearly visible here – they’re racking up more chances than anyone and almost 3 times as many as Wycombe, who could soon be drifting into the ‘ineffectual’ zone.


  • Gillingham finally lost their unbeaten record and the 2 goals they conceded saw their defensive efficiency regress towards a more sustainable (and still impressive) figure.
  • Wimbledon‘s rearguard continues to modestly improve after a dire start to the season – they no longer average the division’s busiest defence thanks to Northampton‘s 6 goal thriller.



  • Macclesfield are creating chances aplenty but their finishing is letting them down. They’re nowhere near as wasteful as Kidderminster though – despite a much better time in front of goal at the weekend, they’re still the division’s most profligate side.
  • Cambridge and Dartford have the opposite problem: they’re lethal in front of goal but don’t create a high volume of chances.


  • The Wrexham back line is setting the standard: tough to breach and adept at closing their opponents down. Grimsby and Forest Green also look imposing at the back.
  • Stockport‘s defence is almost as good at soaking up chances, but they have to deal with around twice as many as the aforementioned trio – by far the most in the division.

Next steps

As the season evolves I’ll be using the lines to compare movements month-on-month – as you can see even a single round of fixtures is creating large changes at the moment. I’ll also be combining these graphs with some other analysis (only for the 72 Football League teams in some cases) to try and paint a statistical picture of each club.

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