Scatter graphics: Championship, 2016/17
Now that the regular season is over here’s a final version of the scatter graphics, each of which is explained briefly below and at length here.
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 were the most dominant side in the division this season so their title win wasn’t exactly a shock. Fulham narrowly out-shot them and Huddersfield were marginally more effective at suppressing opponents’ shots.
Barnsley created an impressive amount of shots but allowed even more, while Wolves kept things quiet at the back but their attacking output suffered as a result.
Ipswich carved out worryingly few chances – even fewer than relegated Rotherham – while Reading remain an enigma, having spent much of the season on the back foot despite their play-off finish.
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:
Fulham, Norwich and Newcastle led the way attack-wise, creating plenty of chances and finishing them off well, while Bristol City created a similarly impressive volume of shots but struggled to convert them.
Leeds and Reading didn’t create much but their above-average finishing kept them in the play-off race.
Rotherham and Wigan‘s relegation isn’t a surprise given how ineffective they were up front, while Birmingham‘s finishing was also pretty ropey.
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:
Huddersfield‘s defence was a bit of an enigma this season: nobody allowed fewer shots but they also repelled fewer attempts for each goal conceded than anyone else, so the attempts that did get through were pretty hard to stop.
Brighton and Newcastle both impressed defensively – the Seagulls at soaking up shots and the Magpies at preventing them – while Leeds also absorbed plenty of punishment.
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:
Brighton and Newcastle look a lot more similar than in the first chart, suggesting that the runners-up focused more on quality than quantity.
Fulham‘s attacking output was insanely good, while Ipswich were the only side to create fewer than a goal’s worth of chances per match.
Reading look just as enigmatic here – it will be really interesting to follow their progress next season to see whether the bubble bursts or they continue to overachieve. If the latter, then they may be doing something that the data doesn’t measure very well.