Eredivisie attack & defence update

The lull created by the international break is as good an opportunity as any to crank out some updated attack and defence scatter graphics for the major European leagues, looking here at the Eredivisie.

There are two graphics: the first showing attacking performance and the second defensive performance. Both are based on simple 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. You can click on a graphic to bring up a full-sized version in a new tab.


Looking first at attacking, the average number of shots taken per match is on the horizontal axis and the average number of shots needed to score each goal is on the vertical. Therefore bottom right is good (taking lots of shots and needing fewer efforts to convert) and top left is bad:Holland Att Eff 2015-03-28

  • The differences between the top two are interesting: while PSV and Ajax are the two most clinical sides in the division, current leaders PSV have created over four additional chances per match.
  • However two of the chasing pack – Feyenoord and Vitesse – have fired in even more efforts at goal, albeit with a significantly lower rate of success.
  • Poor Dordrecht have really struggled to make an impression up front this season – while they have taken a similar number of shots to Excelsior, the latter have needed half as many to score each goal on average.

Now let’s look at the defensive situation – basically take the above chart and 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 2015-03-28

  • Not only do Feyenoord create plenty of chances, but their defence is significantly more restrictive than anyone else’s – the average side allows five more attempts per match.
  • We saw above that the current top two – PSV and Ajax – are sharp in front of goal, and they appear to have a monopoly on clinical finishing in matches they contest, with their defence soaking up an impressive number of efforts for each goal they’ve conceded.