Attack & Defence: Serie A

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 Serie A: 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:

Italy Att Def 2015-01-23Three sides – JuventusNapoli and Fiorentina are out-creating the rest, with Juve also leading the way at suppressing the efforts of their opponents. At the glamorous end of the spectrum, Cesena are carving out the fewest opportunities and allowing more in return than any club except Verona and Udinese. Strangely, Sampdoria and Cagliari have virtually identical records despite being at opposite ends of the table: 5th and 18th respectively.

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:Italy Att Eff 2015-01-23

Again we see that Sampdoria and Cagliari are right on top of each other, with both having scored 25 goals from virtually the same number of shots – we’ll see in the third graph below that it’s their contrasting defensive records which finally separate them. Torino are the most wasteful of four sides at the top of the graphic who have struggled to convert in front of goal this season, while Palermo currently have the sharpest attack in the division, narrowly edging that of Juventus.

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:Italy Def Eff 2015-01-23

Juventus are squirrelled away in the top left with the strongest defensive record by far, with Roma the nearest of the sides trailing in their wake. Now we see Cagliari and Sampdoria separate, with the former operating the division’s leakiest defence. Despite allowing an eerily similar number of shots against them, the Sardinian side have conceded 20 more goals.