Scatter graphics: Premier League, 18 Jan 2016

Here are updated scatter graphics for the Premier League, which compare the attacking and defensive performance of each club. These are explained here if you haven’t seen them before.

Shot dominance

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. The stripes are like contours: the greener the stripe, the better the performance (and vice versa for red).

2016-01-18 PL Att Def

They may be struggling for wins but Liverpool are still dominating matches; more so than anyone except Man City. Both Chelsea and Southampton are also having the better of things overall even if results haven’t been consistently going their way.

Down in the bottom left, Man Utd are still quiet. There are 13 top flight sides who have taken more shots but only neighbours City have allowed fewer.

It’s not been a great season for the North East, with both Newcastle and Sunderland spending most of their time on the back foot.

West Ham and Crystal Palace may be enjoying a prolonged spell in the top half of the table but both have allowed their opponents plenty of shots this season.

Attacking effectiveness

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:

2016-01-18 PL Att Eff

Liverpool are really having a tough time in front of goal; so much so that I had to move the label in the top right. Despite firing in the second most shots, the Reds are the top flight’s most wasteful finishers, needing almost five more attempts to score each goal than the average team.

Neighbours Everton are the Premier League’s most clinical finishers and have taken half as many shots for each goal scored. Leicester have also been very efficient at converting their chances this season.

While Newcastle and Sunderland have shot relatively infrequently, both have at least been above average at turning their efforts into goals.

Defensive effectiveness

Next 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:

2016-01-18 PL Def Eff

Three sides in the top right stand out: StokeCrystal Palace and West Ham have all made a habit out of allowing – and soaking up – plenty of shots.

Tottenham deserve a mention for the best all-round defensive performance here, allowing relatively few efforts and proving tough to break down.

Bournemouth have allowed even fewer but have struggled to keep them out; it’s taken less than half as many attempts on average to breach the Cherries’ back line as those four I’ve mentioned above.

Expected goals

Finally here’s an attempt at correcting the first graphic for the quality of chances created and allowed, using the same “expected goals” values that power my shot timelines (explained here). The reason for doing this is that the results tend to correlate more strongly with performance than when we treat all shots equally:

2016-01-18 PL EGWhen we correct for chance quality like this we can see that Norwich join Sunderland and Newcastle in the worrying top left corner. All three clubs are in danger of relegation if things don’t improve (although it’s unlikely that all three can be relegated given the extent of Aston Villa’s predicament).

Speaking of Aston Villa, they’ve looked relatively average at the back but have offered little going forward this season, so it looks like their poor attack has been the main reason for their disastrous campaign.

In the bottom right, both of the title favourites – Arsenal and Man City – have been the division’s best all-round performers. It’s interesting to see both Liverpool and Southampton also registering two of the better underlying performances despite their disappointing seasons so far.