Attack breakdowns: League 2, 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

Grimsby‘s graphic stands out due to the sheer extent of their reliance on Omar Bogle – if they lose him this month then someone else will have some pretty big shoes to fill.

Crawley look to be similarly dependent on James Collins but there are a few other sides who appear set up to serve a single goalscorer.

Meanwhile Carlisle have an embarrassment of riches, with four players all getting plenty of chances and converting them at a respectable rate.

A player who interests me is Luton‘s Jack Marriott: few strikers are getting as many chances but he’s been struggling to make them count. Unless he’s a genuinely bad finisher – which you think a coach would have noticed by now – his scoring rate could well improve over the rest of the season.