Season so far: Championship 13 Sep 2015
There have been just enough matches played for the shot numbers to start settling down, so I thought I’d give a first airing of the season to the three scatter graphics I track for each division. These are explained here if you haven’t seen them before.
First of all, here is how the number of shots taken by each club compares with those they face in return. The average number of shots taken per match is on the horizontal and the average number 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:
Reading‘s impressive victory on Friday night was only their second win of the season, but you could argue that they’d “deserved” a strong result to go with their previous dominant performances so far. They’re out on their own in the bottom right at the moment – nobody else has put in a significantly above-average display at both ends of the pitch.
In the opposite corner, MK Dons have found themselves on the back foot so far this season, taking the fewest shots and allowing more than everyone except Birmingham. Worryingly for Sheffield Wednesday they’re the only other side with fewer than 10 shots per match to their name so far.
Nottingham Forest remain the division’s entertainers, taking more shots than anyone while allowing their opponents a fair few in return.
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:
The graphic is stretched by that cluster of underperforming sides at the top – Bolton, Preston, Huddersfield and Blackburn – who have all taken more than 20 shots for each goal they’ve scored. The good news is that (based on experience) I’d be very surprised if those numbers didn’t improve over time.
We can see that many of Nottingham Forest‘s shots have been wasted, while Derby have also found it difficult to convert their chances so far. In the opposite corner things look slightly better for shot-shy Sheffield Wednesday, who have at least made good use of their sparse chances.
Birmingham are the most clinical side in the division so far, needing around four fewer shots to score each goal than the average side, as Gary Rowett continues to overachieve.
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:
Just as it was last season, Middlesbrough‘s defence is already looking very solid. While both Brighton and Charlton have soaked up slightly more shots for each goal conceded, it’s been much easier to get a shot away against them than Boro.
Their 5-1 defeat on Friday night has pushed Ipswich into the undesirable bottom right quadrant, with only Bristol City and Rotherham having now conceded at a faster rate overall.
It’s interesting to see the three sides relegated from the Premier League forming almost a perfect straight line from Hull in the top left, through Burnley almost bang average to QPR in the bottom right. The Tigers’ back line looks pretty solid while Rangers are struggling so far.