Attack breakdowns: League 1, 16 Jan 2017

I’ve had a few requests for updated versions of the attack breakdowns, so thought it was worth refreshing a batch for each division. These are explained in detail here, but in summary they are simple scatter graphics that work as follows:


Each graphic shows a club’s main attacking players: those who have featured for at least a third of their total pitch minutes in the league this season and averaged at least one shot per game. The size of each player’s bubble is proportional to the percentage of possible minutes that they’ve played.

The two axes work like this:

  • On the horizontal axis we have their goal threat, based on the “expected goals” value of shots taken per 90 minutes. This is effectively a measure of the combined quality of their goalscoring chances.
  • On the vertical axis we have their scoring rate, using a less abstract measure of actual number of goals scored per 90 minutes.

Both axes exclude penalties, as those can massively skew a player’s contribution away from the threat they pose from open play.

Since the original versions I’ve also added in a shaded “stripe” which indicates the long-term shot conversion rate of all finishers except the top and bottom 10%, so we can identify those whose performance may be unsustainable. If a player is above the stripe, they’re converting chances at a rate consistent with someone in the top 10% of finishers, and likewise a player below the line is in the worst 10%. Based on what we know about the specific player, we can therefore take a view on whether we expect their scoring rate to continue.

Club-by-club graphics

Sheffield United‘s Billy Sharp continues to set the pace for the division, but it’s not clear who would step up for the Blades if he were absent.

Rochdale meanwhile seem to be spreading attacking responsibilities across the whole squad, with 10 players making the cut for their chart and most converting their chances reliably.

There are three teams – Oldham, Oxford and Swindon – whose players are all below the stripe, which is pretty unusual. I find it hard to believe that they’re all poor finishers, so is there a tactical explanation?

Bolton‘s Zach Clough is getting on the end of an enviable amount of chances but his conversion rate is a bit on the low side, so unless there’s a good reason for this he could potentially spring back into life as the season wears on.