Scatter graphics: Ligue 1, 5 Oct 2016

With the international break upon us I’ve chucked the data from some of the major European leagues into my scatter graphics to see how they’re shaping up so far. It’s still early days but usually some interesting patterns are already beginning to emerge. Each of the three graphics is explained briefly below but there’s a longer explanation here.

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).

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This is the first graphic I’ve seen in ages where PSG aren’t the most dominant side. Lyon have taken the most shots by far and it’s unusual to see the likes of Nantes and Angers registering similar numbers.

I was also surprised to see Metz sitting eighth in the table given that they rank worst for both shots taken and faced – the latter by a huge margin. If this is representative of their true performance level then they may not be in the top half for long.

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:

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While Angers and Nantes can match PSG for quantity of shots taken, this doesn’t seem to apply to the quality of finishing. Angers are the fourth most wasteful finishers but have still converted their chances almost twice as readily as Nantes, who along with Nancy have had obscenely bad luck in front of goal so far.

The sharpest attack so far is that of Monaco, although this has surely been boosted by their 7-0 hammering of Metz.

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:

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Nice have allowed more attempts at their goal than anyone except Metz but been incredibly effective at repelling them. While almost 16 shots per game have flown towards their goal, it’s taken over 25 efforts to breach them on average so far.

The opposite can be said of Lille, who have permitted opponents fewer chances than anyone else but have also seen the highest percentage of shots end up in the back of their net.