Scatter graphics: Serie A, 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).


While Juventus are looking the most dominant all-round team so far, Roma have taken the highest number of shots overall; three times as many as the quietest attack of Palermo.

Palermo have also had one of the busiest defences, second only to Cagliari, and Empoli are the only other side to have taken fewer shots per match.

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:


Empoli have had terrible luck in front of goal so far, taking over 30 shots for each goal scored. This is over three times the divisional average but will surely improve over time.

While Inter have taken the third most shots, they’ve also been among the most wasteful finishers. Despite taking just under eight fewer shots per match, Cagliari – the most clinical side in the division – have been able to outscore them so far.

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:


It doesn’t look good for Crotone at the back so far, with the second leakiest defence after Atalanta and the fourth most shots conceded.

Cagliari have faced far more shots they’ve performed far more respectably at keeping them out of their net, whille – Palermo who have allowed almost as many – have been the most resilient in the division at repelling their opponents’ efforts.