Attacking and defensive efficiency: Football League

I knew I’d end up doing this, by which I mean combining my last 3 posts into one mega-chart showing the relative attacking and defensive efficiency of all 72 Football League clubs. As before, click to enlarge it:

I’ve made some observations based on this on the individual division posts that precede this, but to give an illustrative example from each division:

  • Championship: While Hull’s promotion has to a large extent been built on their miserly defence – they could potentially be undone by their wasteful finishing.
  • League 1: There’s not much separating the two Sheffield teams in the table, but this suggests that the Blades could have the edge (if you’ll pardon the pun). While the Owls are marginally more clinical in front of goal, their defence is significantly less robust.
  • League 2: If lowly Macclesfield can improve their shooting they might surprise a few people, as their back line can withstand a lot of punishment.
A few teams’ positions on this chart demand attention:
  • Charlton‘s dominance of League 1 comes across starkly here – they’re scoring with every 5th shot they take but only conceding once for every 13 shots they face.
  • Bristol City have real problems up front – on average they need 14 shots to score, while fellow stragglers Nottingham Forest are struggling at both ends.

Hopefully this gives you the idea. Useful reference or hideous eyesore – you decide.

If you want to see what this looks like for a specific division:

A quick favour…

If you could click play on the video below that’d be great, and if you find yourself watching it all the way to the end and decide to share it with others that’d be absolutely brilliant.

It’s a short and very well-made film about my using Twitter to connect fans of Torquay United all around the world, including lots of inspirational footage from an evening match at Plainmoor. It’s had 20,000 hits in its first week, which is evidence that it’s actually quite good and I’d love for it to be seen as widely as possible. As soon as you click play it counts as a view, so that’d be enough for me! Apologies to regular readers of the blog who will have already seen this plea a few times – I will stop haranguing you soon, I promise.

Footnote: These are by no means perfect or absolute measures of efficiency. The defensive metric is the slightly less useful of the two, as an effective defence probably prevents as many shots as it repels. However you could also argue that a good defence will force opponents to attempt their shots from less advantageous positions.


  • Brilliant graph. Love it.

  • Bristol City fan here. Not completely shocked by the graph…anyone that’s seen us at Ashton Gate this season knows that our definition of attacking success is based on how many times the ball can be passed around the outside of the penalty area rather than the amount of goals that are scored. It might be difficult to collect the data, but my guess would be that the amount of times ‘shoot!’ is shouted/screamed by our fans is roughly 20 to 30 times higher than the amount of shots actually taken.

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