Who’s hit the woodwork the most this season?
I was asked on Twitter earlier whether I had stats on which teams had hit the woodwork the most this season, which I do. It felt like a nice, compact dataset to cover in a Friday lunchtime post, which I haven’t done for a while, so here goes.
I wanted to show both shots taken and faced which had hit the woodwork, so I dropped the data for each of the top four English divisions into my scatter graphic templates. I’ve plotted shots taken which hit the woodwork horizontally and those which hit a team’s own goal frame vertically, dividing each chart into four based on the average.
Straight away we have Sunderland – the only team in the top four divisions not to have hit the post this season. You’ll notice that a lot of the teams struggling near the bottom are in that top left quadrant: teams who don’t hit the woodwork much but have their own struck regularly in return. This makes sense as over the long term you’d expect the ratio of woodwork hits to be similar to that for shots taken and faced.
This looks to be mirrored in the bottom right, where we find the two Manchester clubs, and most of the other big sides aren’t far away. Interestingly Bournemouth are there too, having hit the woodwork a joint-most 10 times and only seeing theirs struck twice in return. Does this mean that the Cherries would be sitting higher if not for some bad luck this season?
Conversely, while Everton are enjoying a good season they’ve had the frame of their goal to thank a lot more often than their opponents.
West Ham and West Brom are poles apart when it comes to woodwork strikes this season: there have been just seven combined in Baggies matches but over double (15) when the Hammers are involved.
There’s a far less obvious relationship between performance and woodwork-hitting here, with the top two of Newcastle and Brighton both hitting it a below-average number of times. Perhaps they employ more precise finishers than others in the division can afford, or carve out chances where the striker has less to do?
While my E Ratings model suspects that Reading may have been a bit lucky at times this season, their strikers certainly haven’t. Despite ranking 15th for the number of shots taken, only two clubs in the division have seen more shots hit the woodwork.
Those two – Cardiff and Birmingham – have both endured difficult runs of form this season, so it’d be interesting to see if those overlap with an unusually high frequency of post and bar-hitting.
While the 14 times that Bury‘s woodwork has been rattled is pretty high, it’s not the most in the top four divisions (see below). However the Shakers are the only club featured here whose opponents have struck their woodwork over 10 times more than they have.
Karl Robinson looks to be more popular with goal frames than he is with his fellow human beings: the two clubs he’s managed this season – MK Dons and Charlton – lead the way for woodwork hits in League 1 this season.
We’ve had to wait until the last graphic to find the team in the top four divisions whose goal frame has been rattled the most: Stevenage‘s has been struck 15 times and they’ve crashed nine attempts against the woodwork at the other end for a total of 24: four more than matches involving any other club featured here.
Surprisingly given their struggles this season, Morecambe have hit the woodwork a joint-high 14 times and only seen their own struck five times in return, so perhaps they’ve been playing better than my model thinks.