Championship attack & defence 2014/15

This is an update of a previous post for the 2014/15 Championship season, but replacing the graphics with the new versions I’ve developed.

While I’m really happy that the scatter graphics I’ve been churning out for the past four years continue to be so well-received, I’ve long wished for them to look a bit prettier. During last season, @bootifulgame and I produced an experimental interactive version which looked much nicer and used striped “contours” to better distinguish which teams were performing better than others.

It’s taken me a while to get around to it, but I’ve adapted the code to produce a static version that I’m pretty happy with. You can click any of the graphics to bring up a full-sized version in a new tab.

Shot dominance

I’ll start by looking at how the number of shots taken by each club compares with those they face in return. In this graphic, the average number of shots taken per match by each club is on the horizontal and the average number of shots faced is on the vertical, so bottom right (take plenty, allow few in return) is good while top left (take few, allow plenty) is bad:

CH Att Def 2014-15

Before we look at the position of the clubs, I just wanted to flag what’s changed. The biggest structural difference between this and the old version is that rather than only shading the outlying areas of the graphic, the entire thing is now coloured in using the standard “green = good, red = bad” approach.

The diagonal lines are basically contours where, in this case, the ratio between shots taken and shots faced is the same. The axes are still centred on the average and one of the diagonal lines passes right through it – this is the line where shots taken = shots faced, so everything below it contains teams who take more shots than they face, with the stripes getting greener as they get more dominant, and everything above it contains teams who face more than they take.

  • Two sides stand out in the green bottom right: Bournemouth out-shot the rest of the division and allowed fewer shots than anyone except Norwich, who themselves created more chances than anyone except the Cherries. Given Watford‘s relatively average position here, the Canaries can be understandably aggrieved that they didn’t win automatic promotion.
  • Charlton lived very dangerously this season – taking the fewest shots and allowing the most is often a sure-fire way to get relegated, so finishing in the top half with this sort of performance is either very impressive or very lucky. Their position in the remaining two graphics will shed some light on just how they managed it.
  • Along with the Addicks, there are five other sides at the top of the graphic who allowed more than 15 shots per match and appear to form a separate cluster of busy defences. Interestingly only one of these – Blackpool – went down to League 1.
  • Wigan actually allowed fewer shots than everyone except the top three – it’s just a shame that they also carved out the fourth lowest number of shots.

Now let’s look at attacking alone. The horizontal axis stays the same as in the graphic above, but now the vertical shows the average number of shots needed to score each league goal. Therefore bottom right is good (taking lots of shots and needing fewer efforts to convert) and top left is bad:

CH Att Eff 2014-15

The contours now show sides who scored goals at the same rate, so clubs in a greener stripe have scored more goals per match and vice versa. You can see that Charlton, Birmingham and Bolton, who all scored 54 goals in 46 matches, are on an imaginary line parallel to the direction of the stripe they’re in.

  • We can see that Charlton made good use of the few chances they created, although Derby – the division’s most clinical side – and Watford headed a clutch of teams more clinical still. It took the Rams half as many attempts to score on average than either Sheffield Wednesday or Millwall, despite taking a similar number of shots.
  • Millwall‘s profligacy in front of goal surely played a big part in their relegation – despite taking a relatively average number of shots they needed more attempts to score than anyone except Brighton.

Finally 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:

CH Def Eff 2014-15The stripes now pick out clubs who have conceded at the same rate, e.g. Brentford and Blackburn, who both conceded 59 goals.

  • Once again we see Charlton in one of the corners: this time the top right, where despite facing more shots than anyone else they were also able to soak up more efforts per goal conceded than anyone except Middlesbrough.
  • Boro themselves were the division’s stand-out defence, withstanding an average of over 14 shots for each one conceded and allowing fewer shots than all but two sides – both who finished above them.
  • Again we see Millwall let down by quality rather than quantity – they faced a slightly below-average number of attempts at their goal but required fewer to breach than anyone else.