Attack breakdowns: Premier League, 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

Man City‘s Sergio Aguero is getting the best chances in the division, followed closely by Man Utd‘s Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Charlie Austin was presenting the next most potent threat overall, so his absence is understandably being keenly felt at Southampton.

Further south, Alexis Sanchez has been overachieving for Arsenal and Diego Costa has been doing likewise for Chelsea, although given their pedigree perhaps that’s to be expected.

The absence of an attacking focal point on Middlesbrough‘s graphic explains why they were so keen to bring in another striker this month.

It’s crazy how few players make the cut on West Ham‘s graphic, especially considering that one of the three who did is actively trying to leave the club!