Scatter graphics: La Liga, 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 usual suspects are in the dominant bottom right corner: Real Madrid and Barcelona are the top two clubs for both shots taken and faced, with Atletico Madrid ranked third for both.

For the neutral spectator there appears to be far more entertainment value in following Deportivo, where an above-average number of shots are unleashed at both ends, than Leganes where there are relatively few.

Gijon appear to have the worst of both worlds, taking the second fewest shots and allowing the second most in return.

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:


Again we have the traditional big two in the greenest part of the graphic: both are efficient at converting their many chances into goals. However Sevilla are marginally more clinical, albeit from a more modest volume of shots.

Despite taking fewer shots than anyone else so far, Espanyol have managed to find the back of the net impressively often while a trio of teams – notably Leganes – have struggled to convert a more respectable number of efforts.

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:


Villarreal‘s defence – or at least their goalkeeper – has been performing heroics so far, absorbing twice as many shots as the average team for each goal conceded.

There have been similar feats over at Alaves, who rank second for shots faced per goal conceded despite only three teams allowing opponents more opportunities – it will be interesting to see if they can keep this up.

Three clubs – Leganes, Valencia and Osasuna – sit right along the bottom of the chart, having conceded more readily than anyone else.