League 1 update: 17 Jan 2015

Following Saturday’s matches I’ve updated my scatter graphics to see how each of the four divisions below the Premier League are looking. For each division there are three graphics – the first shows overall dominance, the second attacking performance and the third defensive performance. All are based on shot data and give a high-level view of how each club is doing relative to the others, with the axes centred on the divisional average.

Here we look at League 1, starting with each club’s overall dominance. Shots taken are on the horizontal and shots faced are on the vertical, so bottom right is good while top left is bad:

L1 att def 2015-01-17

MK Dons are the most dominant side in the division, although Preston and Swindon also spend plenty of time in charge. Despite their top half position, Notts County have been under the cosh to an extent that might be expected of relegation candidates, while Coventry‘s matches have been relatively uneventful.

Now let’s look at attacking. The horizontal axis stays the same, but now we have the average number of shots needed to score each goal on the vertical axis:


L1 att eff 2015-01-17

Bottom side Yeovil actually create a respectable number of chances, but they’ve been dreadful at converting them. Walsall and Fleetwood have also been relatively wasteful, while Rochdale are the Football League’s most clinical side, needing fewer than 6 shots on average for every goal so far.

Now let’s look at the defensive picture – basically replace the word “taken” for “faced” on both axes. Now top left is good – facing fewer shots and able to soak up more per goal conceded – and bottom right is bad:

L1 def eff 2015-01-17

Here we see how Notts County have stayed in the top half: it’s very difficult to break them down, although it takes more attempts still to breach Bristol City or Fleetwood. The Cod Army’s solid defence has helped compensate for their profligacy in front of goal.


  • A very interesting analysis. I would also .like to see ‘attempts on target’ as the metric as this actually reflects the possibility of scoring

    • I’ve never been a big fan of “shots on target” as a distinction (even if the data collectors could identify them perfectly) because there are some truly woeful shots on target (e.g a tame shot straight at the keeper) and some very unlucky ones off target (those that hit the post, get blocked / deflected or narrowly miss). Also, it’s been shown that there’s a lot of variation when it comes to shooting and saving but a lot less in chance quality (i.e. where shots are taken from etc), so if I evolve this further I’m much more inclined to correct for this.

  • I’d like to see corner kicks factored in. Generally a side getting the most corner kicks is the most dominant. Also, how are penalty kicks classified in your analysis?

    • Re corners, I agree that they tend to correlate to dominance, but it’s not a perfect relationship and would be difficult to incorporate to this particular graphic. There’d also be a risk of double counting because a lot of corners are the result of shots and the corners themselves will create some shots.

      Penalties are counted as shots in here – I know they’re not the same as a shot from open play, but there are so few of them that it shouldn’t distort things much.

  • Reblogged this on The Washbag and commented:
    Football League data analysis, visualisations and insight blog ‘Experimental 3-6-1’ has provided their latest League One graphics showing how each team is performing. The graphics show Swindon Town’s dominance in attack, but highlights Town’s defence needs to increase its effectiveness if we are to sustain our push for promotion…