Attack & Defence: Eredivisie

Having recently updated my scatter graphics for the Football League and Conference, I thought I might as well run them for some other divisions in a series of quick posts. There are three graphics here for the Eredivisie: the first shows overall dominance (or lack of), 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.

Let’s start with the dominance graphic, which shows shots taken per match on the horizontal and shots faced per match on the vertical i.e. bottom right is good while top left is bad:

Holland Att Def 2015-01-23Three sides clearly stand apart here: Feyenoord create plenty and are the masters of restricting attacks by their opponents, while Vitesse and PSV carve out even more shots of their own. In the opposite corner, new side Dordrecht haven’t had much fun and look destined for an immediate return to the second tier, with Go Ahead and Groningen also spending much of the season on the back foot.

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:

Holland Att Eff 2015-01-23Despite being far quieter than the “noisy three” who stand out on the right both here and above, second-placed Ajax have been sharpest side in the division in front of goal. Vitesse are mired in mid-table despite their overall dominance of matches, and being the fifth most wasteful side in front of goal is a partial explanation for this. Despite creating a similar number of chances to Excelsior, struggling Dordrecht have required over twice as many shots to score each goal on average.

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:

Holland Def Eff 2015-01-23Here it’s easy to see how well Feyenoord have restricted their opponents, facing fully three shots fewer per match than the next tightest defence. PSV – and to a lesser extent Ajax – have relied on soaking up the shots they face, with the former doing so very impressively: around twice as well as the average club. While Groningen have allowed plenty of efforts at their goal, they’ve soaked up enough of these to cement a mid-table position so far.