Scatter graphics: Championship, 20 Oct 2016

Below is the latest refresh of the scatter graphics, each of which is explained briefly below and at length 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).


The task awaiting Alan Stubbs’ successor at Rotherham is powerfully illustrated here: the Millers have taken the fewest shots in the division and allowed the most by quite some margin.

In the opposite corner Newcastle look very capable of mounting an immediate return to the Premier League, having taken the most shots and allowing the fewest.

Matches involving Huddersfield, who were recently deposed from top spot by the Magpies, have been pretty uneventful, averaging just over 21 shots in total compared with the average of just under 26 and more than 28 on offer in Forest and Bristol City games.

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:


The sharpest finishers at the moment are Norwich – the only club to have taken fewer than seven shots for each goal scored – who are keeping pace with Newcastle despite firing in a comparatively modest number of efforts.

Derby’s attacking problems are far from over, with almost 25 shots taken for each goal scored this season, but at least I don’t have to break the graphic to fit them in any more.

Ipswich finally nudged their goal tally into double figures with two goals at home to Burton in midweek, but their overall attacking record is still the poorest after the Rams’.

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:


Where Ipswich fans can take some pride is in their defence, which along with Brighton’s has been the most stubborn in the division and soaked up around seven more shots per goal conceded than the average back line.

While the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Norwich have allowed few attempts at their goal, the ones that do get through have been disproportionately likely to find the back of their respective nets.

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:


Brighton and Newcastle look to be putting in the most convincing all-round performances so far. While Derby are outperforming them both defensively, the quality of chances created by the Rams has left a lot to be desired so far.

With Huddersfield not too far away in the bottom left corner, it’s not surprising that their stay at the top of the division was short. However if they can improve in attack without compromising their tough defence then their promotion tilt doesn’t have to end here.

Rotherham remain lodged in the top left corner, allowing a full goal’s worth more chances than they’ve been creating themselves.