Scatter graphics: Championship, 4 Mar 2017
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).
Newcastle and Huddersfield have been more dominant than anyone else in shot terms, with Fulham out-shooting both of them but allowing far more in return.
Interestingly Brighton look far more ordinary here, although the fourth graph will shed a bit more light on this.
While Bristol City and Barnsley have created plenty of chances this season, they’ve also allowed an above-average number of attempts at their own goal, with the Tykes second only to Rotherham – albeit by quite some distance – for number of shots allowed.
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:
While Newcastle don’t create as many chances as Fulham they’re far more efficient at converting them: in fact the Magpies are the division’s most clinical finishers, marginally ahead of Norwich.
The disappointing seasons endured by Aston Villa and Derby have a lot to do with how wasteful they’ve been in front of goal, with Bristol City‘s poor run also having plenty to do with their shooting accuracy.
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:
While Derby have often struggled to find the net this season, they’ve also excelled at preventing their opponents from doing likewise. Brighton and Leeds have also done a good job of soaking up the shots they’ve faced.
Norwich may be clinical finishers but no defence has been as leaky as the Canaries’. With just over seven shots faced per goal conceded in a division where 10 is more usual, it’s no wonder they’ve struggled to sustain a promotion pace.
Reading have allowed more shots than anyone except Rotherham and Barnsley but have remained in the top six thanks to the number of attempts they’ve absorbed for each goal conceded.
Finally here’s an attempt at correcting the first graphic for the quality of chances created and allowed, using the same “expected goals” values that power my shot timelines (explained here). The reason for doing this is that the results tend to correlate more strongly with performance than when we treat all shots equally:
When we correct for shot quality we can see how much Ipswich and Wigan have struggled to create chances this season, although their defences have performed respectably.
We can also see that Brighton have shifted into the bottom right corner alongside Newcastle. The Seagulls may look relatively average when all we’re interested in is shot quantity, but when we look at the type of shots they look a lot more like a promotion challenger.
Reading remain an anomaly, having sustained a play-off challenge despite an average-looking attack and permissive defence, while Bristol City and Wolves have struggled despite seeming to perform well.