Scatter graphics: La Liga, 2016/17

Now that all of the main European domestic seasons are at a close (barring a few play-offs), I thought I’d compile a full-season set of scatter graphics. Each of the three graphics is explained briefly below but there’s a longer explanation here.

Shot dominance

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).

The usual suspects are in the dominant bottom right corner: Real Madrid and Barcelona took far more shots than anyone else and the runners-up also allowed the fewest. Real marginally out-shot Barca this season but were more open at the back.

Relegated Gijon and Granada appear to have the worst of both worlds, allowing far more shots than anyone else and taking fewer than anyone except Espanyol.

Attacking effectiveness

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:

Again we have the traditional big two in the greenest part of the graphic: both Real and Barca are efficient at converting their many chances into goals.

Despite taking fewer shots than anyone else, Espanyol have managed to find the back of the net impressively often – on a par with Atleti and Sevilla.

Poor Granada had no luck in front of goal this season, needing over twice as many attempts as the top two to find the net on average.

Defensive effectiveness

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:

The defences of Atletico and Villarreal‘s – or at least their goalkeepers – have performed heroics, absorbing almost twice as many shots as the average team for each goal conceded.

There is an interesting contrast between Alaves and Osasuna: they faced a similar amount of shots but the former soaked up twice as many as the latter for each time they were breached.