Scatter graphics: Serie A, 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.
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).
There are four teams “pushing the envelope” dominance-wise: the trio of Roma, Inter and Napoli who take far more shots than anyone else, plus Juventus who allow the fewest and are no slouches in attack either.
There’s then a neat-ish column of five clubs who have all taken a decent amount of shots, with Atalanta doing the best job of allowing few in return.
Empoli are in the most worrying position, having created the fewest chances and allowing opponents more than anyone except Cagliari. More on these two below.
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:
Of the three most industrious attackers, Roma and Napoli are converting their chances at an almost indistinguishably good level while Inter are struggling to make theirs count.
Despite creating a respectable amount of efforts, Pescara have found it incredibly difficult to hit the back of the net, as – more worryingly given their low output – have Empoli.
The division’s most clinical finishers are another side who haven’t created many chances: Cagliari have been able to outscore Sampdoria despite taking almost five shots fewer per game, thanks to their ruthlessness in front of goal.
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’s just as well that Cagliari are efficient finishers because their defence is in an awful state. While Empoli allow a similarly high number of chances they are at least soaking a lot of these up, but Cagliari have one of the division’s leakiest back lines. In fact the fortunes of these two sides’ defences are the opposite of their attacks.
While they allow far more shots than the likes of Juventus, both Milan and Roma have compensated somewhat by absorbing plenty of the attempts they face.