Scatter graphics: Eredivisie, 4 Jan 2017

I realised that it’s been unforgivably long since I took a look at the major European leagues with my scatter graphics. 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).

The top three sides – PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord – have been far more dominant than the rest and form the top three for both most shots taken and fewest faced.

Groningen games look pretty entertaining, with an above-average number of shots been fired in at both ends of the pitch.

Nobody really stands out as worse than the rest: there are a cluster of teams who spend a similar proportion of time on the back foot.

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:


PSV have had far less success than Feyenoord at converting a similarly high number of chances into goals so far, with the former the fifth-most wasteful finishers and the latter the most clinical.

Poor Roda JC have needed over twice as many attempts as the average side to score each goal and they haven’t created an abundance of chances either. Zwolle and Willem II have also struggled to find the back of the net reliably this season.

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:


The top three are also unsurprisingly doing well in defence, with PSV the most impressive of all: allowing the fewest chances and requiring the most attempts to breach.

While Willem II were struggling to convert their chances in the last graphic, here we can see that they are at least making their opponents’ lives similarly difficult, although the result is few goals for the neutral to enjoy.

While Alkmaar allow few chances, they’ve soaked up fewer shots for each goal conceded than anyone except struggling Zwolle.