Serie A 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 Serie A.

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:Italy Att Eff 2015-03-28

  • While most the teams near the top of the division cluster in the bottom right as expected, Sampdoria and Roma have performed more modestly and sit nearer the average here – in the case of Roma we’ll see below that they rely more on their defence.
  • Despite sitting a disappointing 10th in the table, Inter have created plenty of chances, while rivals Milan have relied instead on their ability to convert a more modest number of efforts.
  • While it’s unsurprising to see Parma in the top left, two clubs – Chievo and Atalanta – have endured a more frustrating season in front of goal, with the former

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:Italy Def Eff 2015-03-28

  • Juventus have maintained a formidable defence this season, allowing the fewest chances and being the toughest team to break down, while Roma have also been solid.
  • Chievo have allowed their opponents plenty of chances but have repelled more for each goal conceded than everyone except the league leaders.
  • Meanwhile two of the bottom three – Cagliari and Parma – have faced a relatively average number of chances but struggled to keep many out.